A dark venture into questions of responsibility, passing judgment, and power's insidious ability to corrupt, DEATH NOTE is a title for teens and adults alike. Light, a teen guy from an upstanding family, discovers an abandoned Death Note, a book used by the legendary shinigami (soul reapers) to determine the time and place of each individual's death. Filled with righteous inspiration, Light starts to use the Death Note to wipe out all criminals and force a better world on a corrupt and complacent humanity. As convicted criminals start dropping like flies, the mysterious and xenophobic investigator known only as "L" is brought in to stop the killings. A cunning game of cat and mouse begins: but who is the cat and who is the mouse?
Not for the faint of heart, but remarkably free of gore, DEATH NOTE is entirely about the horror in an idea. If you had the power to kill at will, would you? How would you decide who lived and who deserved death?
Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 10, 2005