Deathnote is a long-running Japanese suspense comic about a bored demon who gives a gifted teenager control over a Death Note, a notebook that kills anyone whose name is inscribed on its pages. There are many rules governing the Death Note -- the owner has to picture the face of his victim when he writes the name -- and an imaginative Death Note owner can even specify the way that his victims die, in lavish detail.
Light Yagami, the teenaged protagonist, is the only person who can see the demon who gave him the Note, and he and the demon trade quips as Light sets out to improve the world by killing all of its worst criminals. This works for a hundred or so deaths, but then the G8 and Interpol sic L, the world's greatest, most mysterious sleuth, on the trail of "Kila" (killer), the person responsible for all of the killings.
The pacing is very tight, with surprising twists and turns. Light is a great, cheerfully amoral killer, a teenaged megalomaniac who delights in using his prodigious smarts to test the limits of the Death Note, approaching it like a Royal Society natural philosopher devising a series of tests to determine its parameters, to the delight of his demon companion.
The total absence of any disapprobation for Light's deeds is what sets this apart from American vigilante comics. In those books, there's always someone there to wag a finger at the crimefighter, even if it's just the crimefighter's own tortured conscience. That might appear in later volumes of the Deathnote books (I've only just read the first collection, there are 11 in print or due soon).
I don't read a lot of Japanese comics, but this came highly recommended by Secret Headquarters, my local neighborhood funnybook emporium, whose proprietor, Dave, has yet to give me a bum steer. It's a real treat living near a great comics shop.
Update: Dan sez, "it is also is about to be a major Japanese movie, being released later this month throughout Asia."
Update 2: James sez, "Two Death Note films have been released in Japanese theaters. The latest one, 'Death Note: The Last Name,' was a huge box office success when it was released a couple months ago."
Update 3: Hung sez, "there's also
an anime series running right now in Japan. It started running around
October of last year."
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]
Unless you’re a programmer or webmaster, the term SQL probably doesn’t mean much to you. But for those looking to understand more about how and why the web works the way that it does, know this – SQL and its process of managing and presenting large data sets is everywhere…and it’s the most in-demand programming […]