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DVD Review

DVD cover

Death Note
Volume 5


Starring (voice): Kappei Yamaguchi, Mamoru Miyano, Ai Satou and Akeno Watanabe
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 01 June 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. But now L has been defeated and killed, to be replaces with one of his own chosen successors, Near. In a bizarre twist, Light is asked to lead the investigation into the Death Notes...

Based on the best-selling manga by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no Go), volume five of Death Note continues the psychological game of cat and mouse between Kira and L with episodes twenty-nine to thirty-seven and I, for one, was as sick as a pig to receive these review disc as it meant that the show was going to end.

In terms of art, animation and storytelling this is the series which you show to doubters, regarding anime, as proof positive about just how good it can be. The series has maintained its commitment to the end and likewise the discs producers have continued to deliver good value discs with some good quality extras.

It seems pretty pointless in giving an episode by episode synopsis, because if you haven’t followed the show you’ll have absolutely no idea what is happening and if you have I’m not going to spoil your enjoyment by telling you how things pan out. Let’s just say the ending won’t disappoint fans of the show.

Once more the show's print is clear showing off the detailed animation. Although the audio track does a good job, it is limited to an English and Japanese stereo track with optional English subtitles, let hope for a box set in the future with a 5.1 track. Another plus of the series was the high quality of the English audio dub, often these things don’t come anywhere close to the original Japanese, this criticism can't be held against this show as the English dub is on par with the original.

The two DVD set comes with some nice extras. Disc one has another Production Art Gallery as well as a full length commentary for episode thirty: Justice. The is another in the series of interviews with the English dub actors (11 min, 01 sec) talking about their experiences and their take on the characters and show. As usual it concentrates on just two of the actors - this time Cathy Weseluck (Near) and David Hurwitz (Mello). Disc two has a full length audio commentary for episode thirty-seven: New World, some more Production Art and the last interviews (15 min, 29 sec), this time with Brad Swaile (Light); Kirby Morrow (Mikami); Heather Doerksen (Kiyomi) and Karl Willems (English dub Director).

In retrospect there are far too few shows which reach this level of artistry and I for one will be sorry to be saying sayonara.


Charles Packer

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