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Manga Review

Book Cover

Death Note
Volume 11


Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Viz Media
RRP: £5.99, US $7.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4215 1178 8
ISBN-10: 1 4215 1178 9
Ages: T+ (For older teens)
Available 02 June 2008

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. The criminal promptly dies. When Light tries it out on some street thugs they die too. But the book does not belong to him. It was dropped by Ryuk, a rogue Shinigami god of death, who comes back to claim what is his...

Death Note: Volume 11 - Kindred Spirit is the highly successful Manga by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata. The manga not only spawned the anime, but also three live action films. I'd love to see those some time, as the book is very cinematic in its construction.

You have to question the reasoning behind an editor who sends you the first DVD of the most excellent anime created from the manga, and then sends you the last two books in the manga with the end of the story before you’ve enjoyed the middle of the anime series. I urge you friends to castigate this cruel and unusual man till he sends me issues one to ten.

That said, and with the whole of the story ruined (picture the poor reviewer crying into his beer now), what do we think about the manga? Well, if it were possible, the manga is even better than the anime version. This should easily be in the top ten mangas to read - with none of this reliance on slightly eclectic hairstyles to differentiate what is essentially the same character because the illustrator has a mind block on what different faces look like. The artwork by Takeshi Obata is some of the best I’ve seen for some time.

The narrative is dense and convoluted - or in the words of Blackadder: it twists and turns like a twisty turny thing - which, considering the amount of juvenile dross which is published, puts the book head and shoulders above the competition. The whole thing feels like a rich fat feast of pleasure.

If you’re like me then for the Lord's sake don’t try and start the story here. Light appears to be the new ‘L’. Originally ‘L’ was the guy after him, and Near has taken over ‘L’s’ moral crusade to take Light down before he kills everyone who opposes him and achieves some form of psychotic godhood. Volume 11 charts the calm before the storm, so makes little sense on its own.

That said, it was a most enjoyable read, leaving me with the feeling that I want to read the whole run. Friends, don’t start here, start at Volume 1 and experience what manga truly has to offer as an art form.


Charles Packer

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