Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

Jul 3, 2012

Light Yagami is a bright young man, so when he finds the notebook of a death god that will kill anyone whose name is written in it, he’s understandably skeptical.  It doesn’t take much experimentation to find out that it does exactly what it claims, and it takes even less time for Light to decide that he’s going to clean up the world by killing all the criminals. 

Mass murder, even by untraceable means, will eventually result in public notice.  The eccentric L, the world’s best detective, is hired on for the case.  The elaborate games of cat and mouse between Light and L are astounding in breadth, foresight, and copious amounts of sugar. 

Part police procedural, part study in megalomania, and part intricate plotting by a couple of chess-masters, Death Note tells the story of Light, his supporters, and the people trying to stop his reign of terror.  An exquisitely plotted story, it’s worth the read.  For those new to graphic fiction, this is a good entry point, as it’s printed in right-to-left format (requiring a little adjustment) but is largely devoid of the graphical shortcuts and tropes that often discourage new manga readers.  While superficially nothing alike, this and Cowboy Bebop are akin in their quality and thematic resonance.

Reviewed by Library Staff