Death Nooo – A heart-broken fan.

Death Note is a widely popular Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba, which later also became a highly successful Anime and has fans all over the world.

Death Note.   Image Credits – Viz Media/ Madhouse

It is about a Model Japanese student Light Yagami, who is depressed by crimes all around and the slowly rotting world. One day he finds a supernatural notebook, Death Note, which has the ability to kill the people whose names are written on it, within 40 seconds. The person dies with a heart attack if the cause of death is not mentioned. While writing the name the user must have the name and a face in mind, so that people having same names do not die. It’s then he creates a havoc all around the nation, with his new found ability to kill assisted by a Death God (Shinigami) –Ryuk. Then enters L, a highly intelligent detective, the only one capable enough to stop him, and thus begins a series of psychological warfare.

This epic Anime is being made into a Live action movie by Adam Winger that hits Netflix on 25th August. They launched it’s trailers and being an avid fan of the original Anime, boy was I disappointed!  Although the basic plot is same, there are huge differences from the original series. The names of the characters, their traits, everything has been altered. And when the number of dislike on a video is way more than the likes, chances are high that you are doing something very wrong.

Nat Wolf as Light Turner

The protagonist (Light Turner) played by Nat Wolff seems way off from the Light we see in the Anime. Light was a model Japanese high school student, until he found the death note. The composed intelligence and sinister in his eyes are missing completely in this version. He looks more like the grunge kid from the street. Moreover, he was the one with the plan and manipulated Misa, used her for his own benefit. He never cared about anyone, but in the trailer he seemed a bit dramatic and romantic with her. Also Mia (Misa) is seen influencing Light, but that was never the case. Light’s decisiveness and self assuredness are a defining part of his character, but here he needs push from Ryuk (who tells him to write the 1st name in the trailer) and later Misa.

Margaret Qualley as Misa Amane

Margaret Qualley plays the role of Mia Sutton, originally called Misa Amane in the anime, who is the Japanese version Harley Quinn, a cute but slightly crazy character, deeply in love with a sociopath, that craziness seemed missing here too. But what is positive here is that Misa is getting a lot more important role in the movie than she ever had in the Anime, which might turn out to be good.

Lakeith Stanfield as L

The most vexing was the casting of L. L is essentially a weird detective, a bit malnourished, devoid of sleep but extremely ingenious. He is a calm, deductive, perceptive and observant character. But the L in the trailer seems to be frustrated and angry and not to mention black.  He also seemed to be doing public appearances, when he is not sure how the killer gets to his victim, something I can’t even imagine the Anime version of L would even consider. He would never make himself vulnerable like that, he was always calculative and a step ahead, that’s what we loved about L.  So, let’s just try to be optimistic towards this huge miscast for now and let’s wait see them play out their part.

If that was not enough, Jeremy Slater (who wrote the screenplay of the Fantastic Four (2015) reboot) is one of the screen writers for the movie, and my expectations disappeared faster than Hogwarts goes through its defense against dark arts teachers.

The main plot of the Anime is dark, edgy and deals with the ambiguity of killing people for the greater good. Its main ploy as the psychological war between two equally intelligent characters, but the trailer seemed more action oriented rather than being intellectually oriented. So that dynamic between the main characters and the battle of wits might go missing too. Here in the trailer we see him being creative about killing people, accidents, ferris when bending etc, where as in the Anime he consistently killed people with heart attack, thus establishing his style and letting people know there is someone out there with the power to kill. Every serial killer has a signature style, which they use to prove that it is their kill. So without any signature style, I am not sure how they will establish Kira.

But then if they say that it’s their American adaptation, why are they using the word ‘Kira’. Light is termed as Kira by the people in the Anime, Kira is actually the Japanese pronunciation of the word Killer. So how are they incorporating that if this is completely based on American characters, is a big question.

Honestly, I don’t like the way it’s going at all.  As a fan such deviation scares me, as it might ruin the version and vision we have of the original story.

What a fan like me would have wanted to see, is a proper adaptation of the classic Anime, and with the budget Hollywood has, it would have been a dream come true. The only positive thing that the trailer has given us is Willem Dafoe as Ryuk. His voice seems perfect for the role.

Well, it’s too early to comment on the totality of the movie though, as it’s yet to release; and maybe, the characters might fit perfectly to the new adapted screenplay of the movie. Also, the people who are not that much into anime, might start to look into its legendary world.

To end this rant I’d say – part of me is saying “It’s just an adaptation, it’s not supposed to be the exactly same” but another part of me is dying in dismay.

 

What are your expectations of this? Let us know in the comments!

 

Comments

  1. A nice write-up. Good job.

    I would really be surprised if this rendition turns out to be even tolerable. They should have at least taken cues from the Ghost in the Shell and Fullmetal Alchemist Live Action 3D adaptations. Not to mention how cringing the Attack on Titan movies were.

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