• Hello KHInsider Forum Members! Please hide all spoilers and discussion for Final Fantasy VII Remake in a spoiler tag, keep all titles spoiler-free, and do not share any videos/streams/images prior to April 9th 9pm Pacific Time. Anybody who fails to comply will be banned immediately for a week.

Anime/Manga ► DEATH NOTE



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

Dast

Active member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
338
Awards
0
Location
Luxembourg
I watched the anime a year or so ago. I don't watch much anime but I really enjoyed it and it wasn't how I expected it to be when my friend recommended it to me.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,879
Awards
0
I watched the anime a year or so ago. I don't watch much anime but I really enjoyed it and it wasn't how I expected it to be when my friend recommended it to me.
Yeah I don't watch anime at all, but I gave it a chance because it was only one season and not 200+ episodes like other anime.

I adored it so much. I also remember when it debuted years ago and my school heard about it and demanded no one watch it. I think it was because they only knew about the premise of the Death Note and assumed that it was about some emo kid writing names of people he hated in it and didn't want to breed "kill lists" in school.

Anyway, aside from that weird side note, I keep imagining/debating with myself whether Light would have beat Near if Mikami didn't mess up.
 

Dast

Active member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
338
Awards
0
Location
Luxembourg
I adored it so much. I also remember when it debuted years ago and my school heard about it and demanded no one watch it. I think it was because they only knew about the premise of the Death Note and assumed that it was about some emo kid writing names of people he hated in it and didn't want to breed "kill lists" in school.
Yeah I remember hearing about that kind of thing while I was at school. That's why I was surprised to find the anime wasn't really about an emo kid getting revenge on people, and didn't focus on horror and gore (which I hate), and it didn't even spend much time talking about the morality of Light's actions. I loved how it was really all about the cat and mouse game between Light and L (then his successors).
Anyway, aside from that weird side note, I keep imagining/debating with myself whether Light would have beat Near if Mikami didn't mess up.
Yeah it does sort of make me uncomfortable that in the end Light was caught because of his lackey's mistake and not his own. I'd like to think he would have got cocky and slipped up in the end but who knows.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,879
Awards
0
Yeah I remember hearing about that kind of thing while I was at school. That's why I was surprised to find the anime wasn't really about an emo kid getting revenge on people, and didn't focus on horror and gore (which I hate), and it didn't even spend much time talking about the morality of Light's actions. I loved how it was really all about the cat and mouse game between Light and L (then his successors).

Yeah it does sort of make me uncomfortable that in the end Light was caught because of his lackey's mistake and not his own. I'd like to think he would have got cocky and slipped up in the end but who knows.
Light was able to manipulate Misa (of all people) to not make mistakes, so it was really odd that Mikami who was way more intelligent and methodical than Misa was the one to mess up.

I personally find it very interesting that Light chose to use the Death Note in the manner that he did. If he was really a psychopath looking to cure himself of boredom, why not go crazy and start wars or mess with the police? Instead he went after criminals to build his new world, which yes I suppose was his god complex, but it still makes me wonder about whether Light's actions were right or wrong.

At the end of it all, Kira achieved a major reduction in worldwide crime and wars ceased. The only issue was that judgement was dependent on Light's perspective. Which begs the question whether we should be looking at our own criminal justice system - we have juries and judges to determine a criminal's fate, what's the difference between Kira and the established system? The established system is what was voted in and agreed upon versus Kira's system that ACTUALLY brought about peace in the world? However, the peace the world was artificial - there was only peace because people knew Kira would kill them if they committed a crime. So now another question to ask is whether artificial peace is better than no peace?
 

OneDandelion

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
371
Awards
0
I've watched death note 2 or 3 times over the years, its a great anime and the one I usually recommend to people who don't watch anime because its super intelligent and doesn't really have any of the stereotypical anime tropes people usually associate with anime.
Light was able to manipulate Misa (of all people) to not make mistakes, so it was really odd that Mikami who was way more intelligent and methodical than Misa was the one to mess up.
It's been a little while since I watched it last, but the problem with Mikami was that Light didn't predict that Mikami would act on his own. It's not that Misa was manipulated not to make mistakes, it's that Light knew what Misa was and was not capable of and assigned her tasks accordingly. Light did the same thing with Mikami; and he relied on Mikami to be a tool that did exactly what he was told at all times, but in the end he did not take into account the possibility that Mikami would do something outside of his control in a pinch and he ends up getting caught.

The Mikami thing was a highly debated topic earlier in the shows life if I remember correctly... a lot of people didn't like how the show ended. But personally I think it was a great ending because it goes to show that no matter how intelligent you are you aren't able to perfectly understand someone else - and so trying to control people through manipulation will always fail given time. A lot of sociopaths end up thinking the way Light does, thinking they're a god and manipulating people into doing everything they want, and imo it was the perfect way for him to fall from grace; because it's easy to say that Mikami was the one that messed up, but Mikami was just a pawn in Light's game of chess and Light never saw him as anything more.

I personally find it very interesting that Light chose to use the Death Note in the manner that he did. If he was really a psychopath looking to cure himself of boredom, why not go crazy and start wars or mess with the police? Instead he went after criminals to build his new world, which yes I suppose was his god complex, but it still makes me wonder about whether Light's actions were right or wrong.

At the end of it all, Kira achieved a major reduction in worldwide crime and wars ceased. The only issue was that judgement was dependent on Light's perspective. Which begs the question whether we should be looking at our own criminal justice system - we have juries and judges to determine a criminal's fate, what's the difference between Kira and the established system? The established system is what was voted in and agreed upon versus Kira's system that ACTUALLY brought about peace in the world? However, the peace the world was artificial - there was only peace because people knew Kira would kill them if they committed a crime. So now another question to ask is whether artificial peace is better than no peace?
This is the thousand year old argument that death note was able to brilliantly modernize. "Do the ends justify the means?" This philosophical argument could be and has been expanded upon in volumes and volumes of books, but imo it comes down to what an individual wants to believe in - and that is you can believe in principles or results, but never both. Perhaps if you're atheistic or nihilistic to a degree you may find what Light did reconcilable but for most of the religious world there is a hard line drawn in the sand against murder so naturally Kira appears as a monster to many.

You're also right that there is almost no difference between Kira and the established system - the only difference being that the burden of judgement is split among a wide range of people rather than only Kira. For the majority of people that burden is relatively easy to bare, but what happens when a jury sentences a man to death, or life in prison, only for him to be found innocent after its too late? Would the weight of your participation in sentencing a man to death be any less profound than, say, Kira killing an innocent person to protect his ability to play God? In both cases we are sacrificing innocents in order to maintain a system that we believe justifies those sacrifices. They continue because the results are justified by the losses - "the ends justify the means". If one system works better than another, ie, if Kira is more effective at lowering crime and ultimately saves more lives than the current system then certainly the argument could be made that Kira should have and maintain his control.

As to whether artificial peace is better than no peace, i suppose you must ask: at what cost? There's no simple answer and as far as I can tell humanity's animal instinct is to seek freedom when we're bored and seek protection when we're tired and scared. Imo peace isn't something that can be achieved, it's something that must be consistently maintained within individuals through courage, hard work, and discipline - asking any less from yourself and others will probably end in compromises that either lead to a physical cage or slavery disguised as freedom. But this is another topic that spans volumes and volumes and has been considered for thousands of years, and this is merely one mans opinion. Sorry for the long post, it's easy for me to get lost in these kinds of philosophical questions.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,879
Awards
0
I've watched death note 2 or 3 times over the years, its a great anime and the one I usually recommend to people who don't watch anime because its super intelligent and doesn't really have any of the stereotypical anime tropes people usually associate with anime.


It's been a little while since I watched it last, but the problem with Mikami was that Light didn't predict that Mikami would act on his own. It's not that Misa was manipulated not to make mistakes, it's that Light knew what Misa was and was not capable of and assigned her tasks accordingly. Light did the same thing with Mikami; and he relied on Mikami to be a tool that did exactly what he was told at all times, but in the end he did not take into account the possibility that Mikami would do something outside of his control in a pinch and he ends up getting caught.

The Mikami thing was a highly debated topic earlier in the shows life if I remember correctly... a lot of people didn't like how the show ended. But personally I think it was a great ending because it goes to show that no matter how intelligent you are you aren't able to perfectly understand someone else - and so trying to control people through manipulation will always fail given time. A lot of sociopaths end up thinking the way Light does, thinking they're a god and manipulating people into doing everything they want, and imo it was the perfect way for him to fall from grace; because it's easy to say that Mikami was the one that messed up, but Mikami was just a pawn in Light's game of chess and Light never saw him as anything more.



This is the thousand year old argument that death note was able to brilliantly modernize. "Do the ends justify the means?" This philosophical argument could be and has been expanded upon in volumes and volumes of books, but imo it comes down to what an individual wants to believe in - and that is you can believe in principles or results, but never both. Perhaps if you're atheistic or nihilistic to a degree you may find what Light did reconcilable but for most of the religious world there is a hard line drawn in the sand against murder so naturally Kira appears as a monster to many.

You're also right that there is almost no difference between Kira and the established system - the only difference being that the burden of judgement is split among a wide range of people rather than only Kira. For the majority of people that burden is relatively easy to bare, but what happens when a jury sentences a man to death, or life in prison, only for him to be found innocent after its too late? Would the weight of your participation in sentencing a man to death be any less profound than, say, Kira killing an innocent person to protect his ability to play God? In both cases we are sacrificing innocents in order to maintain a system that we believe justifies those sacrifices. They continue because the results are justified by the losses - "the ends justify the means". If one system works better than another, ie, if Kira is more effective at lowering crime and ultimately saves more lives than the current system then certainly the argument could be made that Kira should have and maintain his control.

As to whether artificial peace is better than no peace, i suppose you must ask: at what cost? There's no simple answer and as far as I can tell humanity's animal instinct is to seek freedom when we're bored and seek protection when we're tired and scared. Imo peace isn't something that can be achieved, it's something that must be consistently maintained within individuals through courage, hard work, and discipline - asking any less from yourself and others will probably end in compromises that either lead to a physical cage or slavery disguised as freedom. But this is another topic that spans volumes and volumes and has been considered for thousands of years, and this is merely one mans opinion. Sorry for the long post, it's easy for me to get lost in these kinds of philosophical questions.
I read that the creator wanted Light to lose due to someone else's mistake. I think he really wanted Light to seem way too smart to lose to Near. I don't think people had an issue with Mikami messing up, I think the issue was the way Near won (with making an exact duplicate of the Death Note in one night). I also think they didn't like how Light declared "I won Near" to give himself away before he saw them die. I mean, I have some issues with it because knowing Light, he could have went into the situation better (like writing all the agents names down before hand, so that the only person Mikami would have to see is Near and Light/Mikami could probably physically take on Near if there was resistance lol).

I don't mind the long post, Death Note really makes me think of philosophical questions. Another aspect that I didn't mention is the role of the Shinigami. Ryuk could have written Light's name in his Death Note whenever he wanted, so who was really in control of the situation? I'm sure Ryuk only let Light go on that long because it entertained him. Also, the rules of the Death Note are interesting - when the user dies they don't go to heaven or hell. Did Light consider (or know) that fact? If he did, you could argue that he was willing to sacrifice his own soul/afterlife to improve ("cleanse") the mortal world. Does that make him a hero or just insane?
 

OneDandelion

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
371
Awards
0
I agree that our justice systems aren't much better either. Incidentally, I think the jury system is not a very good idea at all and decisions of guilt or innocence are better made by trained judges. But to me there's an important difference to a system which will condemn innocent people to death by mistake and Light intentionally killing innocent people to protect himself and his system of justice. Looking purely at the results, Light's way might be better but if you consider the motivations behind them and believe you should never treat people as just a means to an end thnt I think our justice systems are better than Light's tyranny. On the other hand, I think the idea of someone being innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt does have problems in a lot of cases, particularly rape and domestic abuse cases, where it will often come down to the word of he accusing woman against the accused man. Women are extremely unlikely to lie about being raped but their word will very rarely lead to conviction of their rapist in court, as the burden of proof is on the accuser. Plus I think men who commit the most horrible of crimes are very unlikely to reform and go on to make the world a better place so I can see arguements for a more punitive justice system in some cases. Still I don't think making one person the arbiter of good and evil for everyone else would be a good idea.
We're probably gonna disagree a lot here. "Training" judges isn't something you can objectively do, if it was then it would probably be better to program a computer to make all judgement calls based on previously agreed upon conditions and exceptions. The reason why our courts (in USA) are set up the way they are is so that our local peers (who are most likely to understand your state of mind) are able to judge you in accordance with local laws with respect to local belief systems.

That is how the system is supposed to work, and it works in the defendants favor because, for example, someone from new york who has grown numb to individual people and is surrounded by excess daily would have a tendency to judge a crime like thievery differently from someone who lives in a low population area in Kansas.

You're right that there is a distinction to be made between Light killing out of self preservation and a jury killing a man out of error. But if you take a step back the distinction becomes negligible. That is because juries are formed by our system out of a necessity to continue to exist (if we stopped prosecuting people our system of law would break down), and juries make judgements either because they agree with the way the system works or out of ignorance. Therefor Light killing a man to protect himself is truly no different than a jury agreeing to kill a man with any kind of reasonable doubt - because in this case the jury makes a judgement that protects the system through their active participation and sacrifices a man that may have been innocent to do so. The difference is only in how often the sacrifice needs to happen and how many people share in the guilt (as if that makes a difference, whose to say?)

There have also been many false rape allegations that have ruined lives. My own father was accused of rape while he was a police officer and would have lost his job if he didn't go out of his way to record every interaction he had with suspects on camera - now it has become common practice. Is it rare? Sure, but it happens frequently enough for it to be a significant problem and the severity of the accusation is enough to ruin your reputation at a minimum and potentially your life. And whats worse, is that it's an extremely emotionally charged allegation - it's not uncommon for a woman whose been raped to falsely accuse someone because they were unable to properly identify their assailant.

Point being, no system is perfect and no system of judgement will always be better than another in every case. If results are all that matters for you than an argument could be made for both systems and I suppose it really all comes down to whether you prefer the tyranny of the many over the tyranny of the few.
 

Dast

Active member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
338
Awards
0
Location
Luxembourg
We're probably gonna disagree a lot here. "Training" judges isn't something you can objectively do, if it was then it would probably be better to program a computer to make all judgement calls based on previously agreed upon conditions and exceptions. The reason why our courts (in USA) are set up the way they are is so that our local peers (who are most likely to understand your state of mind) are able to judge you in accordance with local laws with respect to local belief systems.

That is how the system is supposed to work, and it works in the defendants favor because, for example, someone from new york who has grown numb to individual people and is surrounded by excess daily would have a tendency to judge a crime like thievery differently from someone who lives in a low population area in Kansas.

You're right that there is a distinction to be made between Light killing out of self preservation and a jury killing a man out of error. But if you take a step back the distinction becomes negligible. That is because juries are formed by our system out of a necessity to continue to exist (if we stopped prosecuting people our system of law would break down), and juries make judgements either because they agree with the way the system works or out of ignorance. Therefor Light killing a man to protect himself is truly no different than a jury agreeing to kill a man with any kind of reasonable doubt - because in this case the jury makes a judgement that protects the system through their active participation and sacrifices a man that may have been innocent to do so. The difference is only in how often the sacrifice needs to happen and how many people share in the guilt (as if that makes a difference, whose to say?)

There have also been many false rape allegations that have ruined lives. My own father was accused of rape while he was a police officer and would have lost his job if he didn't go out of his way to record every interaction he had with suspects on camera - now it has become common practice. Is it rare? Sure, but it happens frequently enough for it to be a significant problem and the severity of the accusation is enough to ruin your reputation at a minimum and potentially your life. And whats worse, is that it's an extremely emotionally charged allegation - it's not uncommon for a woman whose been raped to falsely accuse someone because they were unable to properly identify their assailant.

Point being, no system is perfect and no system of judgement will always be better than another in every case. If results are all that matters for you than an argument could be made for both systems and I suppose it really all comes down to whether you prefer the tyranny of the many over the tyranny of the few.
I deleted my last post because I think I shouldn't have started a debate on some of the topics here and it certainly gets a bit far from Death Note. This is no disrespect to you and your response at all :)

What I would say is I personally am not only concerned with overall results and so think a good justice system should never seek to put innocent people to death for the greater good, which Light does do without any remorse and that's why I think he's wrong
 

Rodin

Active member
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
820
Awards
0
Location
USA
I thought it was great when I read it back in high school a decade ago. The recent one-shot manga was fun. The American live-action adaptation was a mess but the Japanese one was great.

If I ever catch up on my Netflix queue I'll give it a rewatch.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,879
Awards
0
The point about Light being exempt from his own judgement makes a lot of sense. If someone who never committed a crime before goes on to kill a murderer and thus becomes a murderer themselves, would Light excuse that person? If not, then he would be a hypocrite for his whole approach towards justice.

I think the fact that he killed when taunted (when L first confronts him) and when he is going to be exposed/caught basically shows Light's true colors. I think that his whole crusade for justice was nothing more than a cure for his boredom, masquerading as some grand cause.

The author intentionally showed us Light's reactions to certain situations to establish his mindset. When Lind L. Taylor called him evil, he immediately grabbed the Death Note and wrote his name HUGE. L wasn't trying to declare that he was going to capture Kira, he was trying to provoke a response from Kira -- and he was spot on to assume that Light was an extreme narcissist.

Because of Light's narcissistic behaviour, I have trouble buying his belief system. I think it's flawed because it comes from a flawed person.

With that being said, I think a big question coming out of Death Note is -- can the Death Note ACTUALLY be used for good? If killing criminals can end up in such a grey area (like Light's usage), then is there any clear distinction in a good use of the Death Note? Or does it all fall back to the discussion on whether having the choice to kill someone (good or bad) is not for a normal citizen to decide outside of an established justice system?
 

Dast

Active member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
338
Awards
0
Location
Luxembourg
With that being said, I think a big question coming out of Death Note is -- can the Death Note ACTUALLY be used for good? If killing criminals can end up in such a grey area (like Light's usage), then is there any clear distinction in a good use of the Death Note? Or does it all fall back to the discussion on whether having the choice to kill someone (good or bad) is not for a normal citizen to decide outside of an established justice system
It's really tricky for me as I can see the benefits of easily getting rid off the most violent people and those most likely to cause harm. It seems really wrong how Light moves from that into killing good people investigating Kira to protect himself but I guess any justice system punishes people who seek to destroy the system and if he were caught then Light wouldn't be able to stop murderers any more so I think it would be hard to use the Death Note much without eventually having to kill some well-meaning people. I wonder how people would feel of Light killed all the same people he did but showed more remorse and self-reflection, would that make him better?

As a system, I worry about any individual having absolute power like that and think that nobody should be above the law, even those who judge and make the laws. I know this isn't really the case in any existing justice system though, where sometimes powerful people are given immunity and more often the wealthy are able to get better justice by hiring better lawyers. I guess you could argue that a justice being dispensed by the Death Note holder is actually better because the privilege is only held by one person so almost everyone is equal before the law, assuming the holder doesn't have prejudices of their own.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,879
Awards
0
It's really tricky for me as I can see the benefits of easily getting rid off the most violent people and those most likely to cause harm. It seems really wrong how Light moves from that into killing good people investigating Kira to protect himself but I guess any justice system punishes people who seek to destroy the system and if he were caught then Light wouldn't be able to stop murderers any more so I think it would be hard to use the Death Note much without eventually having to kill some well-meaning people. I wonder how people would feel of Light killed all the same people he did but showed more remorse and self-reflection, would that make him better?

As a system, I worry about any individual having absolute power like that and think that nobody should be above the law, even those who judge and make the laws. I know this isn't really the case in any existing justice system though, where sometimes powerful people are given immunity and more often the wealthy are able to get better justice by hiring better lawyers. I guess you could argue that a justice being dispensed by the Death Note holder is actually better because the privilege is only held by one person so almost everyone is equal before the law, assuming the holder doesn't have prejudices of their own.
I don't think people would feel differently if Light showed remorse for killing the criminals. That's kind of like asking if people would feel differently towards other actual serial killers in real life, if they had shown remorse. I know the difference between victims is criminal and innocent, but what does that say about a person that approves the widespread killing of criminals (some who were already prosecuted, sentenced, and serving their punishment). It's sort of like wars, where people are OK with killing people to "win the war" for their respective side. Light was basically at war and would kill anyone that got in his path to victory. But the supporters of the war -- are they just as guilty? I wish we got to see how Light would react to his own followers questioning his motives.

In real life, justice systems do have loopholes and even people who oversee them can be subject to them (even though I know rich people/celebrities/people of power can evade it), but Light was only ever at risk to Rem/Misa/Ryuk's death notes. Even though everyone was equal in the eyes of Kira on who would be killed -- criminals -- it's interesting to think about what L's crime was. L is a detective and was helping to solve crimes, he actually captured criminals. The only offense that L committed against Kira was investigating him. Would Kira have let L live if L never challenged him? Would Kira have actually admired L for what he was doing?
 

Dast

Active member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
338
Awards
0
Location
Luxembourg
I don't think people would feel differently if Light showed remorse for killing the criminals. That's kind of like asking if people would feel differently towards other actual serial killers in real life, if they had shown remorse. I know the difference between victims is criminal and innocent, but what does that say about a person that approves the widespread killing of criminals (some who were already prosecuted, sentenced, and serving their punishment). It's sort of like wars, where people are OK with killing people to "win the war" for their respective side. Light was basically at war and would kill anyone that got in his path to victory. But the supporters of the war -- are they just as guilty? I wish we got to see how Light would react to his own followers questioning his motives.

In real life, justice systems do have loopholes and even people who oversee them can be subject to them (even though I know rich people/celebrities/people of power can evade it), but Light was only ever at risk to Rem/Misa/Ryuk's death notes. Even though everyone was equal in the eyes of Kira on who would be killed -- criminals -- it's interesting to think about what L's crime was. L is a detective and was helping to solve crimes, he actually captured criminals. The only offense that L committed against Kira was investigating him. Would Kira have let L live if L never challenged him? Would Kira have actually admired L for what he was doing?
I think Light actually did admire L while he had amnesia (though my memory is a little fuzzy) so I think the fact that Light didn't hesitate to kill him shows how hollow his morality is. I think that when it came to L, then Near, Light was more interested in proving his superiority than justice.

What I said about Light showing remorse/self-reflection does seem silly when you think of him as a serial killer, though often sentences are reduced for offenders who show remorse or make plea bargains. I think it's more interesting looking at Light as the maker and enforcer of a justice system. I believe that no justice system can be perfect and mistakes will be made, hence it's actually important that those making laws and judgements question whether they are doing is right frequently and acknowledge the possibility of things going wrong and a need to improve the system and its enforcers. The fact that Light never questions his own decisions/fitness to judge everyone else makes it easy for him to tip over into killing L and other innocents so someone less sure of themselves might have made better choices. I don't think you could trust any one person not to get drunk on power.

Your question about whether his supporters are guilty too is really interesting and really hard. My first thought was that they aren't as guilty because they don't take part in Light's decisions in any way but on the other hand it's possible that if Kira didn't get so much adulation then Light would have been discouraged. What do you think?
 
Top