First Look at Live-Action Death Note Coming to Netflix

Death Note has been an extremely popular manga series and the anime adaptation did well too. Seeing a live-action interpretation is going to be interesting. So far Netflix has been doing well with adaptations and originals, they’re truly becoming a TV force to be reckoned with. But I’ll admit to still being a little skeptical, particularly in regards to the Shinigami. The silhouette and glimpses we’ve seen so far are showing the creep and crazy factor, but we’ll see how well it really translates. Previously in live-action adaptations, the Shinigami have been CG instead of live actors. The Netflix version is definitely a different take on the characters. William Dafoe is playing Ryuk, the main Shinigami that follows Light around. I have to admit, that might be the most brilliant casting. He has the right look and the perfect amount of menacing charm even without makeup and costuming.

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Death Note has been adapted multiple times in Japan for live-action and quite a few fans are concerned with this new adaptation. It is the first time an American live-action adaptation has been made. They are keeping the names of the characters, Light, the quirky detective L, Ryuk, etc. but have gone in a different direction for their appearance. While I can understand their desire to cast for a new audience and setting, it is originally a Japanese property so the question of whitewashing comes up. Manga and anime are popular around the world and it could just as easily do well in America with an Asian cast. It’s much the same as the issue that cropped up with the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie. Hopefully the actors do the characters and story justice.

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Lakeith Stanfield and Nat Wolff in the Netflix Original Film "Death Note"

Lakeith Stanfield and Nat Wolff in the Netflix Original Film “Death Note”

This teaser definitely shows off the creep factor. This could be a really effective thriller if it’s done well.

Confused by that teaser? Let me break it down a bit for you. Light is the main character of the series. He finds a notebook called the Death Note. If he writes a name in the notebook, that person will die. The notebook is accompanied by a Shinigami (god of death or death spirit) called Ryuk. Light decides to use the notebook to cleanse the world of evil, meting out his own brand of justice by writing criminal’s names. A very quirky detective known as L works to track down the source of the deaths and stop Light from killing more people.

I’m definitely curious how closely this adaptation from Netflix will follow the original story. It was always an interesting battle of wits. They seem to have changed the setting to Seattle instead of Japan but kept the same character names. In a released picture of L and Light talking, L still has his signature crouch on the chair. So they don’t seem to be deviating too much from the source material. I’ll be giving it a watch at least. We’ve got a while to wait for this new adaptation though so brush up on the source material and watch the original anime on Netflix or Hulu to prep! It’s the perfect series for some weekend binge watching.



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