Death Note or Death Not

The 2006 Death Note movie was fantastic

Sorry for the lame title. I couldn’t think of anything better.

I have been a Death Note fan for quite some time, nine years to be exact. It was my introduction to the world of manga and anime, so for that reason it holds a special place in my heart. That and it is a fantastic story with interesting characters. Heck, I’m cuddling my L plushy as I write this. I also have my own Death Note, all three of the live action movies and the two spin-off novels.

I am sure you know about the new Death Note adaptation. I for one am not happy.

By now I think you might have the impression that my problem with the adaptation is with the casting of L which seems to be the biggest talking point. You are half right, but my main problem isn’t with L but the cast as a whole. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first lets address the elephant in the room.

The role of L is being played by Keith Stanfield of Short Term 12 and Straight Outta Compton fame. At the risk of offending people, a black man.

The writer of Death Note, Tsugumi Ohba, has gone on record stating “I think of him as a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian, a quarter French or Italian, like that”. So it is possible that L could be black, but he wouldn’t be the L we know and love. In every other adaptation, he has been a pale, skinny and odd looking guy. Stanfield is none of these things. L’s look is iconic in the anime community, in fact my first cosplay was L and he is my favourite character not only in Death Note but in anime overall. With the exception of Kenichi Matsuyama I have no idea who could bring L to life on screen.
Wiki1The problem isn’t just Stanfield. I mean, Nat Wolff as Light, really? Who’s not so bright idea was it to cast a guy who is mostly known for romance films and teen movies to play a sociopath genius with a messiah complex?

That said, William Dafoe as Ryuk? Yes please!

What is worse is the obvious way they are making it more western.It feels like the writers don’t think that the intended western audience will be able to connect to non-western characters.

They have changed Light’s surname to Turner. Seriously, of all the western surnames you could have chosen you picked Turner. No disrespect intended if you have that name, but when I hear that name the first thing that pops into my head is Timmy Turner.

Here is the really annoying thing though, this could have worked. You could have made a western version of Death Note without annoying long term fans. You could have told an original story.

As much as I love Death Note, the story is getting old. There are three movies, an anime series, a live action series and two tours of the musical version in Japan and Korea. So why not make a fresh story? New characters, new story and new twists. Death Notes are dropped every now and then, so why not make a new story about a Shinigami dropping one in America and a new character picks it up.

This way fans can get a new Death Note story, and Netflix would have less limits and more possibilities. But alas, it was not to be.

3 thoughts on “Death Note or Death Not

Add yours

  1. I’m just gonna say right off the bat I’ve been defending this movie, until we actually see it, because you never know with these things. The thing is with the casting there has to be a reason why these actors were chosen above other actors so for all we know they’ll give some amazing performances. As for the westernization they have to do that. They’re not exactly gonna cast these people and leave them with 100% Japanese names or have it be an all Japanese cast in Japan because that’s been done before and not something, unfortunately, the mass of western audiences actually want to see. As for the actual westernization? It was going to be MUCH worse. When this was still a Warner Brothers production They wanted to scrap shinigami and make the character that was going to be light, most likely with a different name entirely, be killing people for revenge. Now for one of the biggest reasons why I’m defending this so far: Netflix. I know that Adam Sandler has ruined most things because he keeps making shitty films and dumping them there but the thing is that for this Death Note film they more or less have free reign to do whatever for the film. Not much interference, if any, from big wigs that are looking for what will make the most dolla. As well as the fact that besides Death Note being set in Japan the story lends itself very well to being set anywhere to be honest.
    Don’t get me wrong this movie could be terrible, probably will be mediocre and we’ll all forget about it in a few years time, but I’d like to have an open mind about this because it could be amazing, it’s already set itself up as a unique adaptation as is so I’d like to give it a chance instead of writing it off immediately. Besides there’s still the new Death Note film Japan has been making about 6 Death Notes dropping into the human world and it’s not like this film will erase existing Death Note adaptations so where’s the harm? At the very least we know it CAN’T be as bad as Dragonball Evolution. Also thanks for not being impulsive and dumb about your thoughts like most of the internet has been so far. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still think that it would have been a better option for Netflix to make a original story rather than a western. Not because of the race issue (I am not going anywhere near that can of worms) but because the story is over done. It seems more like a cash in than something made with genuine effort. Everything about it seems lazy to me, like they took every shortcut they could.

      I honestly wish I could be open minded about it, but I can’t bring myself to give it a chance. Normally, I believe in never judging a book by its cover, but when a franchise like this is so close to my heart I can’t.


      1. I get that the story’s overdone but there’s a good reason for that: it’s an amazing story. And I get being skeptical over a franchise you love. Like to be honest here, I’m dreading the Fullmetal Alchemist live-action film Japan is making. Mainly because the fact it was set in the west (of a fictional world) was actually a massive plot point with their own equivalent to Asia there as well. I had the same fears about the Attack on Titan live-action films and they were “it’s so bad it’s good” kinda way but I really don’t to see that happen to Fullmetal.
        But yeah keep your opinions strong! That way if the movie’s actually really good it’ll be a pleasant surprise otherwise it’ll just fade into obscurity. 🙂


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