Special Screening: Death Note the Last Name, aka The True EndingNovember 17, 2008
With the love-love that is nigh palpable from Narutaki, there was no way were going to miss the big screen showing of the second Death Note movie. Instead of going to the theater in Union Square we went to Clearview’s Chelsea which was significantly less crowded. If they continue to get anime movies at that theater, I think I will go there from now on. It was a nice place and they had an awesome waffle shop across the street. I myself had some good chai bubble tea. There was a closed shop called Burgers and Cupcakes which I am sure could have been saved by Narutaki if only he knew of its existence before.
Wow, what a big difference between two theaters that are just a few blocks from each other. Our experience at Union Square, while not sold out, was still packed and we were stuck with crummy seats. This was a whole other story, sadly there were only about 10 to 15 people besides us at the screening. However, compared to the number of people in total at this theater that night, that doesn’t seem like bad numbers. The theater was really nice and clean, I will definitely be picking this place over Union Square.
The first Death Note movie ended with L and Light meeting face to face for the first time. The second movie then takes the remaining books and and combines them into 1 movie. This means a whole bunch of extraneous characters, plot lines, and one very controversial plot point got the ax. We get a greater disparity between the movies and the manga than the first movie. I know this leads to some rather strong opinions towards either the manga or the movies.
While the first movie was different from the manga, it still kept some of the major plot lines and interwove them just a bit differently. The second movie starts pushing it in a very different direction. Where the manga stumbles through some of its shifting plot, the movie removes altogether. Afterall, there is only this one movie to wrap up the story so inevitably a lot of things will go missing. To create a solid ending for a series like this in just 2 hours was a challenge that was handled really well.
The movie begins with Misa Misa gaining her own Death Note and becoming the second Kira. L tries to prove that Light is in fact Kira while also trying to catch the second Kira. Light is as always trying to kill L and mold the world to his vision. The plot then follows the manga in a condensed manner up until the Yotsuba Arc. We get a thankfully short version of the arc and deals with one other new Kira. Of course, no Death Note adaptation would be complete without the most infamous line in the series, “exactly as planned.”
The cast carries over from the first film and that is much to its credit. These actors, especially Kenichi Matsuyama, really brought great things to these characters in the first film and continue at the same pace here. You read an in-depth view in our review of the first movie. But we have a few new additions to discuss, namely Misa Amane, Rem, and Kiyomi Takada. Misa starts off our tale and follows rather closesly to her path. Light proves how easily he can manipulate women though never to the misogynistic extent of the manga. Kiyomi is sort of a mish-mash of characters from the manga. She helps exhibit that desire for power present in Light but not seen in Misa. I thought she did an excellent job portraying how easily one can fall into it. The character also solidified my feelings that Light, while a genius, doesn’t have ideals that are new or even unique.
The original Kiyomi Takada from the manga was Light’s girlfriend in college that eventually becomes Kira’s mouth piece as a news announcer. In the movie she is an aspiring news anchor who is a closet Kira supporter. She eventually becomes more involved with the Death Note due to Light’s schemes. Kiyomi Takada works fine in her role. I can’t say that she was extraordinarily gripping but I don’t think she was supposed to be. She is supposed to be a person who feels she has grand designs but really just has very petty schemes especially compared to the machinations of Light and L. Misa Misa is now is now fully integrated into the movie so her full force of annoying is apparent but thankfully has a shortened appearance. Less Misa Misa is always better. Rem is generally the same as she was in the manga but they never make note that Rem is in fact female.
The dub as per the first film makes people giggle at inopportune times. Though Ryuk didn’t seem nearly as out of control. Once again we talked a bit about this in the first film review. Everyone basically stays on target. Though I always miss not hearing Kenichi’s voice just because I like him so much.
I don’t really think about dubs anymore being a subtitle person. I don’t hate them but I just don’t think I pay attention. Therefore someone has to stand out as being really good or really bad for me to notice. The Death Note dub did not have anyone standing out for better or worse. I, like Narutaki, did notice that people were sometimes laughing at the wrong times but it was not anything that negatively effected my viewing experience. Then again I wonder if I really notice anyone being anything other than extraordinary for better or worse in Japanese.
Well, thank goodness someone realized how crappy the extras for the first movie were. They certainly stepped it up a notch with this release and had the actors talking about their roles and working together. It also had some fun scenes of each one performing their final lines for the film and then being given flowers!
I also think the directors insights into the movie were a little more interesting because he was doing more than simply adapting the manga. He was making it his own. It was interesting to see what all the principal actors thought of their roles.
A lot of things about this shorter version appealed to me. Biggest of which was the intensity, the manga became so enormous that it couldn’t hold on to that edge. It started to become too sensational, but with the movie you stayed glued exactly as long as a person can. L also always stays a focus, as he should. He is the perfect foil to Kira and the only one suitable for this life or death game with Light. Plus, strangely, I don’t have enough time to hate Misa in the movie because she is never there for any exorbitant amount of time bumbling things. And if you couldn’t guess it has the ending as I always wanted it.
The Death Note movies are the definitive version of Death Note for me. The second movie takes the best of the middle and end of the manga and condenses it into a climatic ending. The director has the ability to use 20/20 hindsight and take the best while tossing away the chaff. I felt the manga went on for far too long due to its popularity and lost much of its focus in the middle. The movies also have the ending that I feel a majority of fans wanted from the start. I know it has the ending I much prefer. You could say they basically ended up in the same place but I feel both conclusions leave a different taste in your mouth.
Top 5 L quirks
5. No shoes
4. Great tennis player
3. How he holds a phone
2. Making pastry shish-kebabs
1. Crouched sitting position