Death Note Vol. #12 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 212
  • ISBN: 1-4215-1327-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Death Note Vol. #12

By Julie Rosato     June 12, 2007
Release Date: July 30, 2007

Death Note Vol.#12
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata
Translated by:Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adapted by:Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
The battle ends here!

The Review
I'm not going to spoil the ending outright; you'll have to read the book to find out exactly what happens.

While I personally feel that Death Note never quite regained the tension and steam it had prior to the infamous volume seven, it did actually deliver the high-class ending it needed. Much like number seven, regardless of how one feels about the actual content, this volume worked. The suspense is riveting. It twisted my gut, made me gasp in surprise and, most importantly, kept my fingers turning the page. The artwork really delivers, too. A strong suit to this manga all along, it depicts wonderfully the changes in tone and emotional states, presenting a worthy compliment to the number of psychological metamorphoses occurring throughout this series.

Death Note's best surprises are those that turn the Shonen Jump formula on itself. While it certainly leant itself to a few tropes and pitfalls, this series also challenged perceptions right up until the end. Not just about which side wins, but which represents the "hero" of the story. Either way on both accounts would defy convention, cracking molds if not actually breaking them. It was just this aspect that kept me reading, never quite sure of my convictions, especially as the series moved into a rockier "second" part. I didn't enjoy all of the changes ushered in along the way, but am satisfied with the fervor of the ending and felt it largely redeemed itself from the lull of the previous handful of volumes.

Death Note offers up an unequivocal ending but also the chance to question whether the winner really won and the loser really lost. Whether this indicates a lack of conviction and confidence, or whether we're simply to be reminded of the nebulousness of the themes introduced in volume one, will be up to the individual reader to take away. But I think a good psychological thriller should leave a lingering sense of what if..., something that makes us question a motivation or perception. There is room to debate the finer points, but for better or worse, this manga wasn't afraid to take chances, and in doing so proved to be engaging, addicting, and in many ways unique.


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