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Death Note, Vol. 6
Already one of the best anime series in current release, Death Note really kicks it up a notch with volume six. With Light no longer owning a notebook he and L are working tirelessly to track down the person who has taken over as Kira. As they close in on the new killer, Light's plan becomes apparent and his Machiavellian scheme is beautiful in its design and execution. An excellent series, this is a must-buy for anime fans.
Light Yagami is a brilliant high school student. He's at the top of his class, and on the practice college entrance exams he routinely places first in the nation. One afternoon while staring out the window, he sees a notebook fall from the sky. After class he picks it up and finds some odd instructions on the inside front cover, instructions that tell him how to kill people by simply writing their name down while picturing their face.
A few days after getting the Death Note, Light is in his room when a shinigami, (a Japanese demon,) named Ryuk appears. Ryuk was the previous owner of the Death Note and dropped it in the human world on purpose because he was bored. He wanted to see what would happen and is quite surprised by the results: Light has filled up pages and pages with names. The young man has decided that he'll craft the perfect world, one without crime. To do that all he needs to do is let people come to the realization that all criminals will end up dying. After all, who would rob a gas station if they knew they'd end up dead in a day or two.
With criminals in prison all over the world dropping dead of heart attacks everyday it's not long before the governing bodies, and the public who dub the mysterious killer "Kira", start to take notice. Obviously outside of their league, the multi-national taskforce that's investigating these crimes agree to let the mysterious figure "L" takes over the investigation. L communicates only through a laptop computer, and no one knows his real name or what he looks like. With a razor sharp intellect, L soon starts to track Light down.
When a second "Kira" appears and starts killing criminals, it seems that Light is in the clear. L quickly determines that there is a second killer. This one turns out to be a young attractive girl named Misa who's not too smart, but has fallen in love with Kira and even discovers that Light is the other person who possesses a Death Note.
With L closing in and Misa being apprehended by the genius, Light takes some drastic measures. He hides his notebook, has L imprison him, then both he and Misa give up ownership of their Death Notes. With this their memories of everything associated with the object disappear and Light is just a regular teenager once again.
Light and L have discovered that the new Kira is a member of a large corporation, and have even narrowed it down to one of seven men who meet to plan their strategy and decide who among their competitors to kill. But which of the seven is it, and how does he manage to kill at a distance?
Things take an unexpected turn when the shinigami who used to own Misa's Death Note, and who is in love with the young human, touches her with a piece of paper from the alien notebook. She now can see and hear the otherworldly visitor, Rem, and he reveals who the new Kira is and confides in her that Light was the original one. This all comes as a shock to her, but a happy one as she's been in love with both Light and the idea of Kira for a while.
Misa trusts that Light has a plan, so she takes the situation into her own hands and seduces the new Kira and tricks him into confessing. Knowing who Kira is and figuring out how they manage to kill are two different things however and even with the suspect's office and cars bugged L can't discover how he pulls it off. So a trap is set, one that will force him to attempt a murder while Light and L are looking on, but even then will they be able to tell what he's doing?
This was an exciting volume. The pace of the show was a little slow at the beginning of this disc, but it certainly picked up by the end. The trap that Light and L set for their prey was nice, but it paled in comparison to what Light had been planning all along. In this disc the plans he made before turning himself into L are revealed and they were pretty impressive. Not only did the plan work, but it didn't rely on chance or luck, the way a lot of movie and TV schemes do.
That's the strong point of this series: the fact that Light is super-intelligent and that is demonstrated by his actions. A tightly scripted series, it follows the manga closely and Light's schemes are intricate by believable. He's a great anti-hero because viewers can't help but be impressed with his intellect and ability to out think everyone else in the series, but at the same time he's a mass murderer. Series creator Tsugumi Ohba straddles that fine line and manages to make a likeable killer.
This disc comes with both the original Japanese audio track as well as an English dub, both in stereo. I alternated language tracks with every episode and found them both equally good. The English voice actors do a good job and don't ham it up as sometimes happens. Given the nature of the show, mainly dialog based without any big action sequences, the mix is adequate. There's some use made of the front sound stage, but not a lot. The voices are mostly anchored on the screen, but that's not really a problem. A solid sounding show. One thing I did notice is that there isn't an option for translations of the signs only. This was a pain when watching the dubbed version since there are notes and such that move the plot forward that are never read aloud.
The 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced image looks very good. A lot of the story takes place in Light's dark room, and the image is intentionally a little soft, but this only serves to enhance the mood of the story. The colors in the daylight scenes are bright and solid, and the wide range of grey tones are well defined. There isn't much in the way of aliasing or banding, making this a very nice looking show.
This disc has another behind-the-scenes featurette with one of the English voice actors. This time it's with the actress who plays Light's father who talks about the role and the show in general. It wasn't that exciting, but worth watching.
Then there's also a commentary track to episode 23 with the English director and English writer. This was okay, but that's about it. There's also a production art gallery, a trailer to the live action film, and a clean opening and closing.
One of the best installments so far, and that's saying a lot. This intricate game of cat and mouse between two exceptionally bright people is entertaining and engrossing. Highly Recommended.