The latest anime fascination around this house has been Death Note. It’s a little more psychological than we usually take up with, being largely a mental chess match between the protagonist and his opposite number on the side of the law. I hate to spoil– as it’s not yet been a year since the U.S. release– but even though I was still excited to see the live action films as they were released here, the anime and manga has been all but ruined for me by the ending.
Let’s just say screaming like a bitch is no way for a man to go.
Getting that behind me lets me go on to the live action movies. We haven’t had the third one (which I’m told is a prequel) here yet, but the second was here only last week. Even though the plot had to be condensed and changed (much like Lord of the Rings) to fit into the foreshortened movie form, I can only wish that all live-action adaptations of animation were as good.
First off– except for the main character, Light– the casting was dead on. L, in particular, was just like the cartoon come to life. His body language was inspired, he must have watched the anime over and over. The main problem with Light was in wardrobe. The character of Light was a precocious, upright, and dare I say fancy lad. He played tennis and chess, aced all his classes, and aimed for a position in law or government. His hair and dress were always impeccable onscreen. However, the hair of the actor was often messy, his posture lax, and his clothes were too casual. I think if the actor had gotten better direction and wardrobe his skills would have compensated. Misa Misa, while physically not quite like her animate predecessor, was dressed and carried herself just like her… if not a little more badass, which made her more palatable. She made me want to dress a little gothy myself… I loved her footwear beyond reason.
The ending was somewhat better, as well. The way Light came to justice (Okay, that’s no spoiler, dramatic necessity required that he come to a bad end), was much more satisfying to me, personally. As much as I liked fantasizing about L’s origins and a clone-creche/orphanage that turned out freaky geniuses, I liked that they kept things simpler and between the principles.
Last, but not least, my favorite thing (things) were the shinigami themselves. Someone worked very hard on them, especially Ryuuk. Unlike many of the CGI actors, it did not detract from the movie or the Shinigami themselves if sometimes they did not look quite like they ‘belonged’ because they don’t. They were ‘not of this earth’ and the fact that they looked so perfectly like their pen-and-paper counterparts added to the surrealism of the situations. The interactions between Light and Ryuuk were seamless and natural.
I was jazzed to see the Death Note movies come to a theater so near to my fairly small city. Moreso was I jazzed to see that it got a pretty respectable crowd… although for the second one there was more ’emo kid’ audience members than before. Stands to reason, if I look objectively then it’s ‘their’ type of movie. Hot Topic was one of the sponsers.
Hot Topic is another story, entirely. If it weren’t for the somewhat attitudinal help there, I have to admit they sell some fun tees and shoes (I have a shoe thing, can you tell?). It’s a good thing there isn’t one in the immediate vicinity of my town, because I’d probably get even more of a rep shopping there.
Of course, like I said… another story for another time.