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The Gonna-Die-By-Angry-Swords
ROSSMAN

Raito (or "Light") Yagami (the lead character of Tsugumi and Takeshi Obata's manga Death Note) is a fucking moron. True, he is one of the smartest fictional characters since Sherlock Holmes, but he's still a complete fucking moron.

Explanation:
Raito, a genius high school student when the story opens, finds a Grim Reaper's (aka Shinigami's) dropped Death Notebook and starts using it to kill those whom he believes are the undesireables of a civilized society -- in order to make himself a god in the new world order that he will create. Lofty goals to be sure, and he starts off as a sort of uber-genius in both his calculating method and ability to actually make his dream come true. See, the notebook of a Shinigami allows the user to write in the name (while thinking about the face) of anybody whom they've ever seen, and that person will die of a heart attack within 40 seconds (or if you actually write down the cause of death, the user of the Death Note can control the actions of the soon-to-be departed and they'll go kill themselves or get killed just as it was written... in case you were wondering).

Raito starts off by killing people who've been convicted of violent crimes en masse as a warning to everybody else that even though these crims may have only gotten a few years (if any) behind bars, they will not escape justice. But of course the leaders of the world start shitting themselves wondering when this nameless and faceless Killer (nicknamed "Kira" by the Japanese press because they can't pronounce English words AT ALL) will stop, and they probably also collectively shit their pants wondering if their naughty political dealings and bribings would cause them to get the Kira-treatment themselves. Seriously, I'd probably be one of the first to go in a real Kira-world. Scary.

This whole thing is reeeeeeeally complicated, but I'll give you the gist of the rest of the story here. So, the world is either behind Kira or pissing their undies wondering if they're among the societal rejects of whom Kira is gunning for, and into this mess walks "L". Well, for a while L is just a voice on the other side of a computer screen seeing as he's a super smart super slueth who knows better than to show his face or reveal his real name to somebody who only seems to need both in order to cut one's life short. Then the battle of the brains begins.

See, both L and Kira/Raito are two of the smartest characters I've ever read about. Seriously, their rivaly is actually more heated than the brainy competition between Professor Moriarty and Fu Manchu. Soon they meet face to face, and each seems to know who the other is, but neither can do jack shit about it since they don't yet hold all the cards -- and that's what Death Note is all about: who holds ALL the cards.

Before long, monkey wrenches are thrown into both L's and Raito's ingeniously laid out plans in the form of a second Kira appearing and the Shiningamis themselves who watch over their respective Death Notes. Then things get REALLY convoluted, but in a damn good way, and in a way even too twisty and turny that I could not possibly reflect correctly in this pitiful review. And then things end very satisfactorally... Well, things SHOULD have ended at about chapter 58, but nooooooo. The creators thought that they could milk this puppy for another 5 or so tankobans, and so the story goes off in such a direction that it looks like the second half of the series was written by somebody else completely. Somebody else with the Downs. Somebody else with the Downs who likes to make poopy in their pants. Fuck you, second half of Death Note. Fuck you to Gay-Storytelling-Hell.

I just can't get over how disappointing the very end of this series was. During the entire first half of the story I was totally and completely rooting for Raito and his plan. Yeah, he was a twisted dickhead, true, but even though L was on the side of law and order, he had no real reason to take Raito's murder-spree so to heart (seriously, Raito was only killing evil assholes -- where's the harm?). L was autistic and creepy, and way too logical thinking. I fucking hated his filthy guts. The police involved in the Kira case who were helping L were stupid as baboon shit too. The only real person to cheer for was Kira... oh, and his Shinigami Ryuku too. He/she/it was a fucking badass.

But then a big "what a twist!" happened, and the series flipped on it's side. Raito became a hoser and two new adversaries appeared: two kids who seemed to be cloned directly from L himself. And my GOD were they annoying little pricks. The story turned from paranormal mystery/cat and mouse game into a muddled mess of mad malarchy. There became absolutely nobody with whom the reader could side with, and the plot just got too complicated and stupid for its own good. Everything all led up to the big finale, and I became sort of jazzed again, but the way that the winning party pulled that FINAL "what a twist!" out of his fucking ass like that was such total bullsheeyat. It was a total slap to the face as there was no POSSIBLE way even a super genius (like all the main characters were supposed to be) would have been able to have pulled that off. Yes, I could have possibly accepted the fact that his mind could have WORKED in such a way as to have figured it all out like he actually did, but to have actually CONSTRUCTED the necessary physical props in like a day's worth of time and passed them off as anything even remotely believable is totally unbelievable itself. There is no possible fucking way... I declare unadulterated SHENANIGANS on the writer. It's like he just gave up and decided to wrap the whole thing up in a quick 10 chapters after already creating a spectacular first 58, then a so-so to lame 40 leading up to the final 10. Major plot points (like Misa-Misa's choice to use the Shiningami's eyes twice in her life, and what happened to Raito's family) were just forgotten and/or ignored in the end too. I had put a lot of time and effort into reading this whole thing and I felt betrayed by the final page... So many loose ends and story elements that seemed to go nowhere in the second half. SHENANIGANS!

Anyway, back to my first point: Raito is a moron. There were a couple of parts in this manga where I just rolled my eyes at his monstrous ego. If he was serious about that "new world order" that he was trying to create then there were several different ways in which he could have gone about it better, especially after chapter 58. If I had gotten a Reaper's Death Note myself, I'd have a plan all lined up that would immediately pin the blame on some poor schmuck I had never even met. THEN, months later I'd go after my personal enemies... Jimmy Jammer, that asshole who cut me off on the highway this morning, Angry Amy, etc. etc... Hmmm, I wonder if the Death Note works on soulless automatons too....

What did I think of the Death Note manga? In the end I give it one out of two thumbs up. The first half was stylin', but the second half, and the totality of the ending, had me bummin'. So, if you read it, stop with chapter 58.

Man, I hope that the upcoming live action duology movies end at 58 too. If not, then I refuse to even download them for free. Yowzah...


The Got-Her-Penciled-In-For-
"Death By Exploding 'Roids"
ANGRY AMY

You know what I'd do if I ever got a Death Note in my possession? No, I wouldn't kill the Rossman outright -- the cops would totally question me first, and even if they had no proof for the Death Note murder they'd still have me on my couple of dozen previous attempts anyway. No, I'd only kill the Rossman's little (Rossman's edit: she means HUGE) cock. I'd kill it good. Make it turn all black and leathery... Then maybe wither and fall right off. BLESS YOU, DEATH NOTE!!!!!

It's always good to dream, and this comic book allowed me to dream the best of dreams! Four stars!


The "Picture's Worth a
Thousand Words" SKIPPER

Arrrrrrr. The Skipper has a "Death Book" of his own of sorts. It be not a book that KILLS people just by writing their names in it though. Me Death Book is just a list of all the wenches that I've banged like a heathen devil and probably gave many a passed-on disease to that puts scurvy to shame. To SHAME says I! Arrrrr.

This Death Book in the comic strip isn't quite as scary as me own, but it be a good tale all the same. Arrrrrrr.