Revisiting Death Note Anime (Episodes 7-9)

Episode 7: Clouded Sky

Manga chapters: 13-14
Original air date: November 14, 2006

L's introduction in the previous episode was great; however, he looks a little off-model in this episode. His eyes are particularly weird-looking. His face doesn't have the personality that it did before. Actually, all of the Kira task force members look strange. I think that this episode was done by a sub-par animation crew. This seems to be a pattern with this series, unfortunately. The lighting also seems unnatural in the hotel scenes.

After this episode, I doubt we'll be seeing the innocent side of Light again (except when he's faking it). He fools Naomi with his innocent act, though it's a close call. When I first read the manga, the Naomi incident made me question whose side I was on; up to that point, I was rooting completely for Light. The way this episode is executed makes it much harder to side with him.

Things pick up in the second half of the episode when Light gets closer to discovering Naomi's true name. This scene is much more tense and creepy than in the manga. In the manga, it's snowing throughout most of this scene, but here, the first snowflake appears only when Naomi shows Light her ID. Unlike the manga, when Light tells Naomi that he's Kira, she doesn't say anything in response. The way her face changes as the horror dawns on her is chilling. Everything, from the scene's near-silence, to the melancholy music at the end, and Light's taunting ('my dad's cell phone is on now, wanna talk to him?'), makes the scene twice as effective as the manga.

It's one thing to kill people in 'random' accidents or with heart attacks, but to force them to knowingly commit suicide is just sadistic. Not to mention that it must be hell for the victims, who are aware, but are powerless to stop. The ending suggests something that I've always pondered: manga!Naomi seems a little robotic when she goes to kill herself, as if she doesn't even know what's going on. In the anime, however, there's a definite look of terror in her eyes as she walks away to her death.

Episode rating: B+

Matsuda is scolded by the chief.
Matsuda is scolded by the chief.
L's huge eyes.
L's huge eyes.
Light tells Naomi he is Kira.
Light tells Naomi he is Kira.
Goodbye, Naomi. :(
Goodbye, Naomi. :(

Episode 8: Line of Sight

Manga chapters: 15-17
Original air date: November 21, 2006

This episode opens with some cute moments with the Kira task force eating ice cream, and it's nice that Soichiro gets the most scoops. The quality of the art is improved from the previous episode's; the NPA members and L look normal again, and scenes in the darkened hotel room don't suffer from poor definition and off-model characters. Also, some of their facial expressions are priceless. For instance, why is Aizawa apparently so shocked by the ice cream? Weirdo.

Aside from the ice cream, the task force is actually working. L figures out that Raye Penber was killed by someone connected to the Kira case, narrowing it down to people that Raye was investigating. I forgot how high-strung Soichiro can be: L tells him he'll be monitoring his family, and everyone flips out. Of course, L doesn't care about that. I think he would have done it anyway, without the NPA's knowledge.

In a neat reference to the light novel Another Note (a spin-off from the manga), L mentions Naomi's work in the BB murder case in Los Angeles. His high regard of Naomi is much more explicit here than in the manga.

Meanwhile, Light ignores Ryuk for a while because he knows about the bugging. He explains his pencil lead and door handle angle tricks, as well as the paper decoy. They're clever and crazy, just like Light (see below).

We also see the return of the choral music/sparkle combo (previously seen, to great effect, in episode 1). The potato chip plan reuses some of the shots of Light writing feverishly in the first episode. It also uses the same techniques--split screens, handheld camera angles, visual effects--and lots of melodramatic slow-motion writing and chip-eating: "I'll take a potato chip...and eat it!"

Episode rating: B

L irks Matsuda with his poor social skills.
L irks Matsuda with his poor social skills.
L.
L.
Light explains the pencil lead trick.
Light explains the pencil lead trick.
The potato chip bag of doom.
The potato chip bag of doom.

Episode 9: Contact

What an exciting episode. I was looking forward to seeing our geniuses finally meet, and this episode does not disappoint. The To-Oh commencement ceremony was done in double-quick time, with the male students watching Light and L in awe and envy, and the girls swooning. I always thought it was heavy-handed, having characters compare Light's carefully cultivated brilliance to L's sloppy, effortless genius. I guess Obha thought it necessary to spell it out for his readers. So, people, in case you didn't get it, Light and L are similar, yet opposites--two sides of the same coin (or insert other cliché here).

When L tells Light who he is, you can see Light tremble just a bit. It's good that they kept that part in the anime, as the circumstances of L's revelation are slightly changed from the manga. It makes more sense, dramatically, to have it this way, so no loss. Light's seiyuu does very well here, too. (I don't watch Ouran High School Host Club, so it makes no difference to me if he sounds like another character--which was a frequent complaint amongst fans when the anime first aired.)

Light's meltdown scene at home is well done; he's handsome and unhinged at the same time. Yet even when he's freaking out, his hair is perfect. It always is, actually. It's a defining part of his character design: his well-groomed exterior matches his conception of self, that is, of a self-styled god.

All in all, a satisfying episode. Though I consider both L and Light interesting characters, Light was the more captivating here. It was Light's show, no question.

Episode rating: A-

Light and Ryuk go to the grocer for some apples.
Light and Ryuk go to the grocer for some apples.
L tells Light who he is.
L tells Light who he is.
Light's angry: "He got me!"
Light's angry: "He got me!"
And here comes the maniacal laughter.
And here comes the maniacal laughter.

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