Death Note Vol. #07 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 215
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0628-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Death Note Vol. #07

By Julie Rosato     August 23, 2006
Release Date: September 05, 2006

Death Note Vol.#07
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Story by Tsugumi Ohba, Art by Takeshi Obata
Translated by:Alexis Kirsch
Adapted by:Alexis Kirsch

What They Say
After a high-speed chase, Light and the taskforce apprehend the newest Kira. Light regains his Death Note and his memories, and the depths of his cunning are revealed as the plans he carefully put in place before going into confinement are slowly unveiled.

His masterful manipulation of both humans and Shinigami lead him to the strongest position he's yet enjoyed. But the glow of his victory is marred when a new threat appears. Can Light withstand a surprise attack on two fronts?

The Review
At the time of Higuchi's capture, the Death Note is found and mysteries unraveled. It doesn't exactly bring about the end of the case, but thanks to Light's planning before his imprisonment, he and Misa are both exonerated from suspicion and restored to their previous status as Kiras. L knows things just don't add up and never once stops suspecting the two, however this too was part of Light's plans, and is his undoing. Ryuk makes his return (yay!), but in exchange we bid farewell to Rem, L and Watari (among others), leaving none to challenge Light, nor anyone to stand in the way of his plans for world domination.

But Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither can a utopia be. Fast-forward 4 years; Light's working intelligence in the NPA and brilliantly playing the part of both Kira and, secretly, L. He's slowly shaping the populace to his will, even gaining support. But the L farm has harvested its new crop, and his name is Near. There's also Mello, Near's rival, but in this case the enemy of your enemy is NOT your friend. Look out, Light.

Without a doubt, the end of this volume brings a major series reset. However, new rivals/villain upgrades are a regular element of Shounen Jump stories, so L's defeat shouldn't come as a particular surprise when viewed against the big picture. That said, Death Note's "mental battle" angle has been something more unique, and the friction between Light and L what really made this series so great. Whether it lives or dies by the imposition of this standard rivalry formula remains to be seen, but it's exciting when a manga takes chances, too.

This is a hard volume to grade for content; technically speaking the large majority of it is executed in great form - suspense, style, surprise, humor, dialogue all fantastic - but the actual results will make or break the volume for readers alone, independent of a well-composed set of chapters. Moreover, the otherwise perfect pace of this volume is soured some by the changes ushered in toward the end with the new wave of characters. Though necessary, the use of the fast-forward technique so late in the book makes the shift somewhat disruptive. Additionally, two antagonists posing a threat for Light is an interesting take (upgrade) on what was very much a one-on-one battle before, but making them "opposites" reeks of indecision to me. Pick a new L (Near) or make a new L entirely (Mello) -- either is fine -- but a focus on both makes for a clash of attitudes and rough transitions. This volume will divide readers; it will either fascinate or incite. Nonetheless, it was a thrilling, page-eating read and though I'm not as content with the start of the new arc compared to what came before it, I'm willing to see how well it's handled before I choose camps.

The art continues to impress; there are some amazingly composed panels here and the character art is just fantastic. There are a couple of typos in the translation though, and the dialogue-heavy text frequently covers large chunks of art. Although a symptom all along, this became increasingly noticeable in the last volume and is even more so in this one. Translation overlay is an understandable obstacle, but I can't help but think font size could be a factor as well. I don't know if it can be helped, but it seems a shame to loose so much of Obata's terrific art in this way.


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