There’s a moment where what you’re watching is so far off the source material that you are fairly sure you’ve stepped into an entirely different story. The characters are, well named the same and look the same. However, everything is so off you can’t help but wonder to yourself “What kind of messed up world line am I in?” and you start reasoning everything in Steins;Gate world divergence. Your mind can’t wrap around all the changes they’ve made, so you convince yourself that this has to be some alternate timeline.
That’s this live action, entirely, in a nutshell. Everything is so wrong this review would read like a bullet point of differences if I even tried to list them all. There are two major points in the first half an hour though that toss it so far off it’s original it’s almost painful. Forgetting small details like how Light used the notebook, let’s go with the big changes.
Point one, Sachiko Yagami is dead. In this adaptation, she died when Light and Sayu were still children and Sochiro, being busy with work did not arrive until after she died, leaving Light resenting his Father. Which Is very interesting, because in the manga he deeply respected his father. It’s never said outright, but heavily implied that many of Light’s morals were shaped by Soichiro.
Which leads directly into this adaptation of Light not wanting to be a cop, which will create issues further down the storyline.
Alright, my biggest issues with this so far come from two places. Light and L, which is a huge problem is there are such glaring issues with both of your main characters. Light is no where near the shining perfect prodigy that we know him to be. The first two killings alone leave a huge trail to his identity, something that Light never would of allowed to happen.
In fact, the entire first half of the episode all I could think to myself was about the scene of Light watching a bully in his prep school class and thinking about killing him dismissing it because it couldn’t be anyone that he knew. So having the first victim be a bully that stole his phone is just so painfully out of character it kills me inside.
The next scene that truly bothers me is the part where Ryuk and Light meet for the first time. Where do I begin with how wrong this is? You know, there’s no point. Honestly if I go through dissecting this episode scene by scene. We’ll be here forever, instead of talking about what was WRONG with the episode. let’s talk about what it got right why don’t we?
What it got right was everything that wasn’t Light or L, Sayu was the first flag I saw of something going right in this show. She’s perfectly characterized to the way she should be. On top of Sayu the characterization for Soichiro, Matsuda, Aizawa, Misa, and Ryuk were all pretty spot on. We also got glances of characters like Teru and Near in the episode. Teru…oh Teru, I don’t know who’s playing you but…I’m free this weekend…-cough- er, um, sorry.
-touches screen- you’re not allowed to be more beautiful then Light….but you are.
However, since they’re only on screen for such brief moments, we can only take guesses at what their characters will have coming later on. In the small scene that Teru has with Misa. You can see how he would become the man that he does in the manga.
The scene in London with Watari was well done and I enjoy the fact that they set it there, it’s a very unappreciated fact in the fandom that L was raised in London. Also they explore here a part of his personality that I don’t see a lot of attention too, his severe OCD. I could sit here and go on and on about the proof that L has a number of psychological problems but perhaps one day I’ll make that dream “Death Note, a complete overview.” post i’ve always wanted to write.
With that said, they neglected a lot of other more well known parts of him such as his sweet tooth, hunch and iconic sitting pose.
There is no way you can take this and hold it against the original, it’s just too different. I just wish that we could get a perfect adaptation, the actors are for the most part wonderful and I can’t fault them for much. It’s honestly the scripting I have to blame here and it’s sad, because I actually had generally high hopes for this Live Action due to the wonderful casting.
If you can stomach the differences or aren’t all that attached to the original story then this may be your cup of tea. If it’s your introduction to Death Note, there’s that too. However, as a seasoned fan of this franchise for a long time now, I can’t say I’ll be able to enjoy this much.
I may continue watching it, but I doubt I’ll be covering it….oh well. Maybe NEXT live action they’ll get it right.