So about a week ago, Netflix released their adaption to Death Note. I haven’t see it mainly because I lost faith in the movie becoming great after it’s trailer came out but I began to think to myself, did this movie EVER have a chance at turning out good? Now keep in mind I haven’t seen the Japanese live-action to Death Note (though I own the DVDs and I do plan to eventually come around to watch it).
What made Death Note so amazing is it’s perception on good and bad. Light, our anti-hero starts off as a genius who’s intentions was to end crime in the world but only to become crime itself and furthermore develop a selfish god-complex. L, Light’s rival on the other hand although had the pure intention of bringing Kira to justice, in order to do this he does many things that are questionably unethical to the extent of being almost criminal. Death Note spends so much time focusing on this cat and mouse game but nobody is genuinely good or entirely bad in this anime and it’s this endless game Light and L play with each other that makes Death Note so notably amazing to almost everyone and of course made it popular enough to attract American filmmakers into adapting this series.
However when you get down to it, there is no chance of an American adaption to ever work. For most animes being adapted to American film, it should work, even if the whole thing is being whitewashed, it should still work as long as it’s reasonably faithful to the story and characters and only making some reasonable changes. For Death Note’s case, it never will because of the story that was portrayed in the anime. Where it all starts is simply changing the setting. I know such significant change shouldn’t make an anime like Death Note any more different, but really it does. Death Note as an anime and furthermore as a manga is so entirely refreshing and well-done, say what you will about it being similar to Code Geass or whatever, Death Note is one of the most iconic and one of the most original animes out there and a live action can never live up to it unless it is completely and truly faithful to the original source. Where the Japanese live action can go right is of course, it’s Japanese, much like the original series where it’s set in Japan, it already has the opportunity to be great as long as it is faithful to the original. An American adaption however doesn’t have the same opportunity to be entirely faithful, even the smallest changes can feel like you’re taking so much away from an already very unique series.
So with that being said, Death Note really has always been doomed to fail. But I can’t judge too harshly since I haven’t watched Netflix’s adaption. Maybe it turned out great, maybe it doesn’t need to follow the original source so faithfully and can make something of its own out of an already fantastic series, maybe I’m overthinking this whole discussion. Either way, I want to know what you guys think of Netflix’s Death Note, did it turn out well or did it turn out badly. Is the Japanese adaption any good or any better. May do a comparative to the two adaptions in the near future. Just let me know!
Till next time 🙂