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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Death Note Collection on Blu-ray Impression

Looking for a Blu-ray double-feature with mystery, suspense and death gods? Look no further than Viz’s Death Note Collection on Blu-ray, a package that gives viewers both full length features Death Note and Death Note II. These movies are based on a very beautifully drawn, excellently told story and while it shrinks down the story the acting and plot points make it a worthy watch. What is a death note and why should gamers care, let’s take a look.

The Story – Ryuk is a Death God, a Shikigami who is bored. To sate his boredom Ryuk drops to Earth his ‘Death Note,’ a notebook with the power to kill. Writing a name in the notebook causes that person to die. There are many rules, rules which Light Yagami who finds the notebook learns and exploits. Light is brilliant, top of his class and looking to become a lawyer. He embraces the Death Note and strikes down criminals with its power. Assuming the alias Kira, Light should be hailed as a hero but is soon targeted by the police. Kira is a murderer no matter who he kills and the brilliant ‘L’ is brought in to help reveal who Kira is. A cat and mouse game begins where Light must work to outsmart ‘L’ and suspicions into his life as his father heads up the task force looking for Kira. Death Gods, death notes, brilliant investigators, more Death Gods and a Kira obsessed fan will make Lights life anything but boring.

The original manga story is longer, much more fleshed out and contains a different ending and characters but these movies do an excellent job of getting across what the death note is. Both movies are needed to appreciate and fulfill this edited down story so from that aspect the collection is perfect. The acting is well done as this is the cocky, smart and self assured Light known in the manga and the quirky ‘L.’ Ryuk looks perfect and blends in to a real world setting perfectly. A well done story faithful to the manga that can be enjoyed with no knowledge of said manga.

The Design & Art Direction – Characters look and act just as fans of the franchise would expect based on the manga. No major design changes or setting changes, it’s a real world, big screen translation of an excellent manga and story. Ryuk is a Shikigami but feels pretty real not full of cheesy effects. The star is the story and a star that really shines.

Why Gamers Should Care – Most Blu-ray, especially animated ones covered here are fairly easy to tie to a video game genre. Death Note Collection is a bit different as it’s got more in common with mystery games, the CSI, Trauma Center and detective stories out on consoles and handhelds. This is a chance to put down those particular games and see a mystery being solved when all the players and agendas are known. It’s also a well acted, executed film that is just enjoyable to watch. Don’t watch Death Note due to a game relationship but because it’s an enjoyable double-feature.

Overall the Death Note Collection on Blu-ray is a very solid manga based movie set that remains true to the manga while delivering a stand-alone ingestible entertainment experience. Fans of mystery and crime based video games that require thinking will enjoy this cat and mouse romp and just who is the mouse?

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