Death Note Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13+
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 200
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Death Note

Death Note Vol. #3

By Dani Moure     December 09, 2008
Release Date: October 06, 2008


Death Note Vol. #3 UK
© Manga Entertainment UK

With both Light and Misa captured by L, his attentions turn to the corporation that has begun killings under Kira’s name, Yotsuba, and then to the truth behind why Light and Misa wouldn’t remember the killings if they were Kira.

What They Say
After fifty days of confinement, the killings continue, and Light and Misa are released, only to face the ride of their lives with a seemingly crazed Soichiro. Then Light rejoins L in the investigation and notices a strange connection between the recent Kira murders and a business outfit called the Yotsuba Group. Misa agrees to pose as the Yotsuba Group's spokesperson, with the eager Matsuda playing her manager. But Matsuda may be getting himself in too deep when he decides to do a little snooping at the Yotsuba Group's Tokyo headquarters!

The Review!
Audio:
I listened to the English language track primarily for my main review, and noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical problems. Since the show is so dialogue heavy, most of the output comes from the centre channel. The same can be said of the Japanese track from the areas I spot-checked.The English dub is excellent and very well produced. The veteran Brad Swaile does a brilliant job on Light’s rather schizophrenic character, and Alessandro Juliani (of Battlestar Galactica fame) is great as L. Shannon Chan-Kent also makes a good impression as Misa. In general all the characters here are well cast and none sounded out of place.

Video:
Death Note aired from October 2006 to June 2007 in Japan, and as such looks really good. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the show looks great. I noticed no artifacting or any other problems while watching; in fact this was one of the best looking anime DVDs I’ve seen upscaled so far. The colour palette for the show is really fitting, and brings the manga to life exactly how you’d expect.

Subtitles are in a yellow font which is easily readable, and I didn’t notice any obvious spelling errors this time out. These appear to be the same subtitles that appear on the US DVDs from Viz Media, and this set is also the first I believe that Manga has produced that contain a separate signs-only subtitle track.

Packaging:
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

Menu:
The menus look really good. Both discs feature some moving imagery in the background with the show’s logo and the selections down the left hand side. Disc 1 is in a purple hue, with an image of Rem on the right, while Disc 2 features Ryuk on the right and is in a pinkish colour. Some dramatic music from the soundtrack plays over the main menu. Sub-menus are all static but the same colour and style as the main menus. Access times are fast, and overall the style fits nicely with the tone of the show.

Extras:
A few good extras are on these discs. First are two very interesting Behind the Scenes features across both discs, each running about 10 minutes. The first has an in-depth interview with Chris Britton (Soichiro Yagami), and the second features Colleen Wheeler (Rem) and Andrew Kavadas (Higuchi). All the actors discuss their work, and in particular talk about the show and the characters themselves, with some behind the scenes recording snippets.

Additionally, there are two interesting voice actor commentaries, one on Episode 17 and the other on 23, both of which are worth a listen even if they don’t go into too much detail about the show. To round things out, we get a couple of production art galleries. There’s definitely some good depth to the extras here again.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
By the end of the last volume of Death Note, Light, Light’s father and Misa were both put in solitary confinement by L in order to determine whether or not they had any involvement with Kira, and of course, neither could remember a thing thanks to Lights dealings. So the first disc here picks up with the trio having been confined for fifty days, and things get a whole lot more interesting.

Light’s father is removed from custody by L, who has come up with a plan. Mr Yagami takes Light and Misa out in a car, saying they’ll both be killed because they are the first and second Kira. Since their innocence can’t be proven, he says it’s the only way, but since neither can actually remember anything about being the respective Kiras, they are baffled. Nevertheless, Mr Yagami pulls a gun on them, and pulls the trigger. But as it turns out, that was L’s test; if either Light or Misa were Kira, Mr Yagami would be dead.

With the test over, Light returns back into the fold of the Kira task force, while Misa returns to her real work as an upcoming singer and actress. L has also moved the task force into a new custom-made building, so everyone has their own space and is all in one place. L is still unsure of Light’s true nature, despite everything, but the investigation continues into the Yotsuba Corporation’s dealings. Two months pass, and the police soon drop their part in the investigation due to external pressures, forcing the members of the task force to go rogue if they want to continue their investigation. Most end up staying, but due to concerns for his family, Aizawa ends up returning to the police.

Matsuda ends up almost throwing things away for the task force, when his own insecurities lead him to try and infiltrate Yotsuba’s headquarters alone. He is captured but manages to swing it and use his cover position as Misa’s manager to his advantage. The fight to find which member of the company is acting as Kira is well and truly on, and eventually, with Misa’s help, L and the others lure him out. But his capture is not necessarily a good thing for all, as it leads Rem into action and the time has finally come for Light to regain his memories...

There’s always a lot to like about Death Note, but what impressed me the most about this volume was how quickly the plot continues to move forward. The writers aren’t afraid to move things along quickly before they get stale (hence not dragging out the scenes between Mr Yagami, Light and Misa at the start of the volume), nor to jump forward in time when necessary without dragging out the gaps. The story always takes more than its fair share of twists, and when you’re getting eight episodes at once it can be a lot to take in. But the ride is so enjoyable because watching the characters do battle and change has become so much fun.

In this volume, we start with Light and Misa being completely innocent, and in Light’s case it only emphasises how much finding the Death Note change him. We see his old morals coming to the core at various times, especially in his arguments with L about what he will and won’t do with Misa, and you almost find it admirable. It gets a bit disturbing as he finds himself realising that he would do what Kira has done in a few situations, but I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw Light’s memories racing back to him. As fun as it was to see the other side of Light, I started top miss his cold and calculating self as Kira. The most interesting thing now will be to see what goes on between him and L now, as L is unaware of what really happened when Light touched the Death Note again.

It’s a fantastic twist to make the shinigami visible to L as well, watching his rather nonchalant reaction to seeing Rem in the flesh. He is always so stern and assured but deep down you could see that Rem’s existence threw him in many ways. Now with all the additional rules Light planted in the Death Note, he has virtually no way at all to prove Light or Misa are involved with Kira.

Misa gets her fair share of things to do in this volume, from masquerading as the innocent star in front of Yotsuba to capture Higuchi, to getting her memories back and working with Light in every way. Her blind following of him continues to be somewhat unfathomable at times, especially when she shortens her life again to regain the shinigami eyes, but it’s good to see her heavily involved.

Of all the characters, Matsuda is the one I felt sorry for most, as he is often overlooked by everyone else, and you can’t help but feel for him when he tries to go it alone and fails miserably. Light’s father gets close to breaking point in this volume but manages to regain his composure, as you’d expect. The one character I had a problem with would be Higuchi, but that’s only because he’s so unlikeable, and that is exactly the point. He is actually quite reprehensible, more so in some ways than either Misa or even Light, so he’s an easy character to hate.

Perhaps the only thing holding me back from giving this volume total praise would be that I was left wondering where we go from here. Light has his powers back now and so there’s only one thing left to do: take down L. But how exactly will he go about it? The storytelling in Death Note has yet to really let me down (yes, it gets overly extravagant and exaggerated at times, but still within the bounds of the show it works) but I do have a few reservations about whether they can pull off a decent finale to this part of the story. Still, there are plenty of episodes left to go to get it right.

In Summary:
Another eight episodes of Death Note, and another great volume. The show continues to work extremely well with some gripping plot twists, but more than that a really interesting cast of characters that get a real work out in this batch of episodes. Stripping Misa and Light of their memories made for a great change of pace, and the hunt for the newest Kira proves quite riveting. With Light now back to where he was, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for L. Getting so much value per volume from Manga is great as well, and I can only keep recommending this show.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0), English Language (2.0), English Subtitles, Behind the Scenes with English Voice Actors, Audio Commentary for Episodes 17 and 23, Production Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Samsung LE40M86 1080p HDTV, Philips DVP 5980 region free DVD player upscaling to 1080p via HDMI, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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