Death Note – 2 – Hiding behind a notebook

I’m surprised by just how fast Light is losing grip on reality. In only this second episode he coldly considers killing his family if they were ever to piece together his part in the (now world famous) mass-murdering case, while later he shows no signs of regret upon murdering (using the Death Note, obviously) a then “police detective” who is threatening him via a TV broadcast. At this moment Light loses any perceived sense of neutral justice and edges closer to outright abuse of power, killing not for the good of the human race, but merely for himself and his own twisted ideals.
Despite Light gradually growing insane, the convoluted brilliance of Death Note is in not knowing whether to cheer for or to boo at our new age dictator; he may be an idealistic bastard, but the hard truth of the matter is that he is arguably doing mankind a great favour by killing off line after line of unrepentant murderers, raining down an ultimate judgement on those criminals protected behind years of lawful bureaucracy. The issue is complex, but ultimately comes down to whether or not you feel everyone, no matter what they have done, deserves a second chance, or if murder deserves murder in return. Both ideals are paved with contradictions. There is no right answer, merely point of view. Light can make mistakes; he will kill innocent people, but does the end ultimately justify the means? Is a better world worth a few innocent lives?
As if to comment on the herd like mentality of human nature, Light pokes fun at the cult websites springing up around his mysterious murdering sprees, and even goes so far as to dub his online followers cowards; suggesting these are people unable to support his methods in public, so they turn to the safe annoniminity of the internet. Knowingly though, Light is himself hiding behind a notebook, only capable of doing the “right thing” behind a locked door.

6 replies on “Death Note – 2 – Hiding behind a notebook”

Extremely well said. This is EXACTLY what I love about Death Note. A handful of controversial issues already, and we’re only on the second episode. Plus it’s use of camera angles/movement, sound, and setting really give it an intense feeling despite an apparent lack of "action" so far. I can’t wait for more.

@Bateszi and Retsgip: Agreed. This is where the fun really begins! The problem seems to lie not in Light’s intentions (which are twisted but fundamentally based on justice and doing the right thing) but going about it in the wrong way. Unfortunately, he’s already losing sight of his noble goal but the results of this will make for great viewing from here on in.
In terms of presentation and music, this show can’t be faulted but the main event is still the complex moralising and plotting – every review I’ve read has, like the one above, been right on the mark but all all have a slightly different take on it. It’s rare for a show to throw up so many interesting issues so early on…and it will only continue to do so!

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