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My First Manga
Death Note: Vol. 1 - Tsugumi Ohba
Member Name: honest-word
Death Note: Vol. 1 - Tsugumi Ohba
Advantages: Story , characters , design
Deathnote volume 1 is the first in a series of 13, in which we meet Light Yagami. Straight A student that wants to be the head of the Japanese detective agency. On the way out of college he sees a rather odd notebook with the words "Deathnote" across the front and so in his curiosity picks it up and so the game begins. Unknowingly he has picked up a book of the death gods, by writing a name in this book that person will die.
Although initially sceptical, Light tests the theory out on a man who has taken a nursery hostage and when the results are a heart attack he begins to see that he holds something very powerful.
Light is followed by Shirigami (Death god) called Ryuk who is the origional owner of the deathnote, usually losing their deathnote means death for a Shirigami but Ryuk has managed to find another and been able to drop this one onto earth to see the results.
From this point Light begins a psychological descent as he feels more like a god and starts to kill of those who have sinned. But this has not gone unnoticed and a mysterious detective called L is on Lights tail. And so a thrilling game of cat and mouse unfolds.
Now this deathnote isn't as simple as it sounds and there are some terms and conditions which definatley need to be looked at before you start killing.
1. The name of the person you have written will die within 40 seconds.
2. When writing the name you must picture the persons face, this prevents everyone of that name being killed off.
3. Cause of death can be decided.
4. If cause of death is not stated then a heart attack is default.
5. Details of death can be written in the following 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
These are just the basics and as the book goes on more are revealed, which then allows Light to be more extravagent as he tries to throw L. off his scent.
One of the main hooks of this manga is its psychology. Inbedded within the thrilling crime story is an interesting set of questions posed to both Light and the reader. "Who deserves to live", "what happens if a mortal man was given god-like powers" and "does power corrupt".
Light is an intelligent character and one of japans top students, but he has a bubbling hatred of criminals and their actions. As he commits more killings his belief that it is a righteous decision increases and that it is for a greater good. This means that very early on in the story we see the effects when his power is challenged or reduced, there is a moment in the book where the unknown L. challenges Kira (Light, but known as this name to the media) to kill him, but as Light hasn't seen his face or even his name he can't. This sparks rage and vengance in Light who decides to make it his aim to kill L. who isn't a criminal but another Righteous man doing the right thing.
This adds to the excitement as a reader because although Light is the main protagonist and were meant to be on his side, you can't help but think that the police are doing the right thing and that Light is becoming evil as power corrupts him.
As a main character Light does have a strong presence in the book, he has a lot of depth to his thinking and the effects of the deaths and police investigations do take their toll. Lights thinking does shift and you can sense the way his origional thoughts of good are becoming clouded as he soon wants to get rid of the people hunting him.
Ryuk is a shirigami (Death god) and has decided to drop a deathnote on earth out of pure boredom and to see how humans would handle the power and responsibilty given to them. To Ryuk it is a dull existence and he needs a form of entertainment, his life is only lengthened by killing people before their time and taking their remaining years and so he is otherwise immortal. He doesn't take sides with characters and to me is the exact description of a qoute by michael cain in batman, "Some people just want to watch the world burn".
L. is a hidden detective for this volume. Never seeing his face and only catching glimpses throughout the story. As a detective he reminded a lot of House, mainly because he only takes cases that interest him and that his thinking is very logical and clever, his methods are unusual and even proves a point about Lights power by having him sacrifice a criminal on live television.
Being my first manga I have nothing that really sets a benchmark before this, the level of depth in story as the two forces try to outhink each other is great, as well as character development being as good as any book. It's also not all doom and gloom with some clever comedy also being used throughout.
Quality of image is high, there is a good amount of detail to make it nice to look at as well as easy to read. Emotions come across really well and the range of panels used means you are dragged into the story and a big panel can mark a powerful point in the storyline.
I've never really gotten into manga , rather I never actually tried. But after nagging from freinds I was lent the first 4 volumes and having read this one I am suitabley impressed and can easily see myself ordering some more of the series.
Available on £4.25 , it is 7 chapters long and 200 pages. 1 volume may only take a day to read but its quality and story make it a worthwile buy. Although it can also be read for free online at Read manga share.
Also remember to read from right to left as this is kept in the traditional Japanese manga style.
Summary: A top manga story
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