Death Note 25
Posted On April 13, 2007
Did Hideaki Anno just bust into Mad House for no reason crying “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT” then proceed to sit down and write, storyboard and direct Death Note episode 25? That’s probably not the case at all, as I doubt Anno is even the least bit interested in Death Note, but damn that episode was so fucking Anno I nearly cried tears of justice. Well, I guess it would be more tears of pretentious arty directing.
The Death Note anime has been a bumpy ride for me. I was very impressed with the first episode, so much so that I went out and bought the first four volumes of the manga right after I watched it. After that it was a bit of a trudge, as all the tension that was meant to be there was lost on me, as I had just read the manga beforehand. That and the anime wasn’t really doing anything to enhance the material, like it did with episode 1. I really like the first episode because it took advantage of its medium. That one montage where Light was killing the criminals was beautiful, and something that could have never been done in manga. The episodes after that were more or less a play by play of the source material, and were quite safe. One thing I think hurt later installments were just how static the long inner monologues became. I think they could have enhanced those a bit, to make them more visually interesting. However, between episodes 1 and 25 there were some really great episodes which truly put more life into certain events than there was in the manga, specifically the latest episodes.
Now we are at episode 25. The interesting thing about this one is that there is a lot of new material that pads out the, erm, “main event” quite well. The additional scenes helped flesh out the characters a bit more. If there’s one thing the Death Note manga misses, it’s characterization. The manga is very focused on telling the story, and leaves little room for quiet introspective moments. That one scene with L on the roof was good, as it showed his weakness and distinct lack of confidence. The scene with Misa singing does something similar. Overall, it was nice to see an episode where the tension was off, but didn’t necessarily feel relaxed? Something like that.
The use of music in this episode is quite minimal, and relies more on ambient noise to set the mood (a very Anno-esque way to go about things.) In certain scenes, the sound is muted out completely, just for emphases. Because of this, when we come to the climax of the episode, the music played works really well and doesn’t cheapen the scene at all. I like how that certain scene ends with just the church bells ringing, and no other sound. Especially given the fact that L mentioned hearing a church bell earlier.
Another thing which made this episode work was the “shooting.” There were a lot of really great shots here. There were a number of distinct shots which were quite minimal, but framed well. Maybe it’s something like a character standing closer to one side of the frame, with lighting taking up the rest. Or maybe a shot of two characters sitting together in a completely empty room, with the shot showing more of the empty room than the characters. Stuff like that. Much like with the music, these minimal scenes helped enhance the climax a lot, given its energy in contrast to the previous scenes.
Sadly, I doubt we’ll see many episodes like this again, especially considering where the story is going to head now and given the quality of most of the other episodes. I’d just like to note, I’ve not read the end of the Death Note manga. I am keeping up with Viz’s release, as I am not fond of reading things on my PC. I wonder if I’ll see the end of the anime before the end of the manga? I actually hear the manga end is dissapointing. Maybe the anime will change things up? Who knows.