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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

始まる: Death Note

We continue the Death Note vs Code Geass rewatch to see which one deserves the spot at the bottom of the top 5 list. Those who have seen both will recall a certain similarity between the tonally very different shows, specifically, the notion that they are both adolescent power fantasies (not that there is anything wrong with that) that put the intelligent, superpowered villain in the protagonist's role. While Code Geass is a tale of knights and kings, Death Note is noticeably darker, trading very heavily on a goth aesthetic.

But at heart this is a Holmes vs Moriarty tale, and these last few years have been good ones for Holmes stories. The particular dysfunctions of the great detective, here a brilliant Japanese youth, reveal a bit more about Japanese culture and otherization than is perhaps intended, but offer a new and interesting take on a character that has otherwise been done to death.

I have seen this once before, though again it was quite some time ago, but the two things that stand out particularly in my mind were the aesthetic and what seemed at the time to be digressions. As a personal note I substantially prefer the bright and bombastic aesthetic of Geass over the darker one of Death Note, and particularly have little patience for the gothy metal that I recall filled the opening titles. Additionally, I recall numerous distractions from the main plot that served to explore the philosophical inquiries of the show, though at the time they seemed more than a little masturbatory.

These issues aside, the core story is more my kind of thing. If I hadn't just been blow away by how exciting Code Geass was, I would already be calling it for Death Note. As it is, watch along with me over on Hulu. There may not be a popcorn break, as I am otherwise engaged this weekend and the event that serves as a natural midpoint actually happens late enough in the show that I may just save thoughts for the review (or not, depends on how it goes).

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