Upon the release of the trailer of the Netflix’s original film, “Death Note”, fans of the original manga and anime were quickly disappointed by the white washing of the characters. When the film was released on August 25, fans were further disappointed.

The film is based on the manga, “Death Note,” by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, that deals with human morality and justice. An anime series was created in 2006, which was also a great hit. It was followed by live action films, a mini-series, novels and video games.


“Death Note” follows Light Yagami, an exceptionally intelligent high school student who discovers a notebook from a ‘Shinigami’ that can grant its user the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in the notebook. Light decided to cleanse the world of evil with the notebook (under the name Kira) until a mysterious detective called ‘L’ tries to stop him.

The greatest problem with the film was to fit the enormous details of a 12 hour long anime to a 2-hour film. The film’s director, Adam Wingard, failed to capture some of the great story details in the manga and anime, which created plot holes in the film. Some fans suggest that it should have, at least, been turned into a Netflix series instead.

No cat-and-mouse game

In the anime, Light Yagami is introduced as a composed and brilliant young man with a strong sense of justice. These qualities made him a worthy opponent to ‘L,’ a young detective, just as brilliant and composed as Light, but he is socially awkward and has a messy appearance. Light uses his intelligence to stay one step ahead of the authorities and L, and L uses his intelligence to pinpoint and prove that Light is Kira.

In the film, Light Turner is not as composed as Light Yagami, but he did seem smart since he was doing other people’s assignment to make money.

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Meanwhile, L did seem awkward and smart, but he was very expressive and he loses control over his emotions.

One of the greatest disappointments in the film is the absence of the splendid cat and mouse game between two very intelligent people. It was half of what made the story great. In the film, L was able to pinpoint that Light is Kira after some quick investigations, thereby removing the lengthy game of wits between the two characters.

More Ryuk

Probably the only redeeming quality of the film is Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Ryuk.

However, as much as it was a delight to watch Dafoe’s Ryuk, his presence in the film is not as strong as it was in the anime. Both he and the notebook were not given enough background. In the anime. He always watched Light with fascination when he uses the notebook, their interaction with one another is one of the most entertaining scenes in the series.

The story

The story of “Death Note” itself is in the long form storytelling. Just the exploration of the notebook’s powers takes a long time. In the anime, Light took some time to conduct experiments to test the limits and capabilities of the Death Note to find its loopholes.


Another problem with the film is the development of the characters. The film failed to portray how exceptional Light and L could have been. It could have shown Ryuk’s background and the true purpose of a Death Note. It could also have shown a better establishment of Light and Mia’s relationship.