Death Note Drama: Episode 11 (Final Installment) Review

“I am the way into the city of woe,
I am the way into eternal pain,
I am the way to go among the lost.

Justice caused my high architect to move,
Divine omnipotence created me,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.

Before me there were no created things
But those that last forever—as do I.
Abandon all hope you who enter here.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

It took Light Yagami the deaths of many to finally admit that he is, after all, Kira. Among the casualties – L, a prospective friend who knew his agenda and his own father who desperately hold on to hope that his son is not a murderer. In both deaths, Light pretended to mourn but is actually celebrating – how can someone be so ruthless, so heartless? 

The answer lies in becoming a god. A god who walks tall among men, who is both judge and jury.

In the final episode of Death Note, Light Yagami (Masataka Kubota) died in flames, still holding on to his desire to become omnipotent and punish men for their sins.

 3 stars out of 5

I could not help but remember Daedalus and his young son Icarus. As father and son escaped from the Labyrinth using two pairs of wings made from feathers and wax, Icarus was so thrilled that he can almost touch the sky. In his frenzy, he flew too high and the sun melted his wings and he died a tragic death. Light and his father, who both adhere to law and justice had a similar fate – as dedicated as he is to his son, Soichiro knew that he is doomed to rescue Light, so as to make the ultimate sacrifice he dedicated his life for Light’s salvation. 

Whether or not you are a fan of the Death Note manga and its subsequent anime and movies, the NTV drama series is more than just a companion to the earlier adaptations. It explores the whole issue of the struggle between good and evil, of the crusade of justice and the ultimate sacrifice for the ones we love. Unlike the movies which require condensing and editing the source material, the producers of the drama version knew they have a lot of time in their hands – enough to develop the characters and offer surprising twists and turns.

But no matter how well you polish the script or employ the best technical crew, the actors need to be at their best and shine. At this point in his career, Masataka Kubota is no longer suffering from “second lead syndrome”. Right after his critically acclaimed performance in N no Tame Ni, his portrayal of Light Yagami, will be considered a career highpoint – a level up from the usual secondary characters he was “forced” to play. On the other hand, Kento Yamazaki’s take on L will be considered as a character study where his acting and the character itself will be the subject of debates for months. Is he a lesser player in the grand scheme of things? Definitely not. As you can imagine, he was already rewarded with 3 high-profile movie roles usually reserved for more popular (and/or senior) actors.

Unlike high-value drama productions from America or even South Korea, Death Note drama already suffers from handicaps – less budget, less ability for special effects. But writers Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata made full use of their writing skills to come up with surprises (for the fans) and novelty (for the uninitiated). 

As I said in my Episode 10 review, this drama already surpassed my expectations, and while this final episode is somewhat anti-climactic, it shows Yamazaki’s final take on L- melancholic, almost tragic. I bet everyone went gaga over Kubota’s acting, but I still am rooting for Kento!


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