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DVD Review

DVD cover

Death Note
Volume 4


Starring (voice): Kappei Yamaguchi, Mamoru Miyano, Ai Satou and Akeno Watanabe
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 09 February 2009

What would you do if you found a book entitled Death Note, which purportedly kills anyone whose name you write in it? Would you use it? Light Yagami finds such an object and overcome with curiosity writes the name of a criminal in it, who promptly dies. When he tries it out on some street thugs they die too. But the book does not belong to him having been dropped by Ryuk, a rogue Shinigami god of death, who returns for it. However, not everyone agrees that arbitrarily killing criminals is anything but murder and the authorities turn towards the world’s greatest living detective, ‘L’, who plans to hunt down Light, now going under the pseudonym of Kira, but now it seems as if there is more than one person with a Death Note...

Based on the best-selling manga by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no Go), volume four of Death Note continues the psychological game of cat and mouse between Kira and L with episodes twenty-five to twenty-eight: Silence, Renewal, Abduction and Impatience. One word of warning, don’t start watching here. Death Note is a rarity in that it presents a very complex story. Start here and you’ll have no idea what is going on, especially after the audio and visual assault on your senses presented as the opening sequence.

This part of the story takes another, darker twist. With Light under observation, criminals are still being killed and both L and Light conclude that there is another Death Note on the loose. It must be Misa, which puts Rem, her Shinigami, in an impossible position. To save Misa’s life she will have to put L’s real name in the book, all part of Lights plan to elevate himself to the role of God with Light having the power of life and death over everyone. With L gone Light is asked to take over his role meaning he is now both L and Kira. He asks Misa to move in with him, to keep her closer. When he finally enters the National Police Academy and the killing dramatically increase dividing the world into those who overtly support what he is doing and those who are trying to catch him.

Five years have passed, but L had one final trick up his sleeve, sending an encoded message to his two possible successors Near and Mello, Mello concedes the role to Near who goes after Kira. New player, same game.

The extras across the series have been particularly good and there is no drop in quality for the fourth disc. There is another production art gallery as well as a feature length audio commentary with Karl Willems, Alessandrro Juliani and Colleen Wheeler (Rem) for episode twenty-five and interviews (10 min, 47 sec) with the English voice actors including Alessandrro Juliani (that’s Felix Gaeta from Galactica, how cool is that?) who plays ‘L’, French Tickner who voices Watari. He pops up in a lot of anime releases, so you’ll recognise his voice if not his face. Karl Willems shows up to talk about his role as the English dialog director. The disc wraps up with the DVD credits and four trailers.

The disc is visually clear presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with audio options for Japanese 2.0 with or without subtitles and the excellent English dubbed track.

The show just gets better, with good value from the disc this should be an essential buy for any anime fan.


Charles Packer

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