Death Note Drama: First Impressions + EP 1 Review

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In the case of Death Note, the power to kill your enemies or just “bad” people serves a means to an end. But can it be justified? This power was the dilemma of Light Yagami (Masataka Kubota) when he was offered the choice to write the names of anyone he wishes to die. This ‘death note’ fell from the sky and it may appear to have fallen at random. However, there seems to be more than what ‘meets the eye’ as Light was chosen because he is decent, yet he is just an ordinary student living an uneventful life. This seemingly ordinary young man carry his share of the burden – bullies that go after him and his friend, a dedicated police detective/investigator for a father, and a younger sister who likes to live life a day at a time.

 3 out of 5 stars

Unlike Tatsuya Fujiwara’s Light, Kubota’s character is younger, and here the battle between good and evil in both his mind and soul is more intense. His sense of justice and revenge are strong, but his conscience and the fact that his Dad serves as a law enforcer subdue any drastic actions. 

Masataka Kubota’s opening scenes represent half of EP1 of the highly-anticipated Death Note drama from NTV. It created some good impressions because Kubota delivered an excellent performance. There maybe some over-the-top acting, which serves a purpose. But Kubota always controls himself – every grin, every look, everybody movements were deliberate yet you cannot say he is conscious of his acting.

But wait! I honestly think Kento Yamazaki might stretch his acting by playing L but he deserves the role, and it seems to fit him like a glove. Kenichi Matsuyama’s charming, playful and naughty take of the private sleuth was the gold standard – he made the character his own, but Yamazaki’s take is signature Kento – the same daring and naughty side are there, and just right into the very first scene, you can feel his presence. For a 21-year old, Yamazaki surprised me with his matured acting, if that can be defined as such.

There is little deviation from the original movie adaptation in that Ryuk was introduced right after the Death Note. L’s correspondence with the police is also exactly like that in the film, but his unusual nature is reduced. But we are still in the introductory phase of the drama with much to anticipate. If this is going to be a copycat of previous live action adaptations, then the older generations of Death Note fans might get bored. I am may getting ahead of myself by saying that, but from the recent interviews, much are to be offered and perhaps we just have to wait and see…

Other members of the cast – especially the police force serve their purpose. No other got the chance to steal scenes because quite frankly we have two scene stealers dominating the show as the lead stars. 

I like what I saw; it teases the audience to look forward to the next episodes, and I would say, many might agree with me.


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