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Death Note (デスノート, Desu Nōto) is a series of live-action Japanese films, including a short film and a miniseries. It is based on the Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The first two films adapt the manga series with some notable changes, and after that the series continues with original story lines.

OverviewEdit

The first and second films, titled Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name, were both released in 2006. The two films adapt the main manga storyline but keep the battle between Light Yagami and L. As with the manga, the story centers around university student Light who decides to rid the world of evil with the help of a supernatural notebook, called a Death Note, that kills anyone whose name is written in it. The two films were directed by Shūsuke Kaneko, produced by Nippon Television, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan.

A spin-off film directed by Hideo Nakata by the name of L: Change the WorLd was released on February 9, 2008. A short film focusing on Matsuda, titled Matsuda Spin-Off, was aired on television prior to the film's release and was later released as a DVD extra.

A fourth film, titled Death Note: Light Up the NEW World, was release on October 29, 2016. A three-episode prequel miniseries bridging the 10-year gap, titled Death Note: New Generation, premiered September 16, 2016 on Hulu Japan. The day before the film released, the re-edited version of the first two films with newly shot footage was aired on Nihon TV under the title Death Note: Genius of the Counterattack (デスノート 逆襲の天才, Death Note: Gyakushu no Tensai).[1][2][3]

PlotEdit

Death Note and Death Note: The Last NameEdit

Last Name DVD cover

Death Note: The Last Name, the second film in the series.

LchangetheWorLd theatrical poster

L: Change the WorLd, the spin-off third film in the series.

Main articles: Death Note (live action film) and Death Note: The Last Name

Light Yagami is a To-Oh University student who resents the crime and corruption in the world. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note," lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person will be killed. Light is initially skeptical of the Death Note's authenticity, believing it is just a prank. However, after experimenting with it and killing two criminals, Light is forced to admit that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a Shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his judgment on criminals.

The number of inexplicable deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the International Police Organization and a mysterious detective known only as "L." L deduces that the murderer, dubbed by the public as "Kira" (derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "Killer"), is located in Japan. L also concludes that Kira can kill people without laying a finger on them. Light realizes that L will be his greatest nemesis, and a race to prove mental superiority between the two begins.

L: Change the WorLdEdit

With only a few days left before he dies, L continues solving cases. When a small village in Thailand experiences a deadly virus outbreak, F sends Watari a message along with a boy who is immune to the virus. L must figure out who's behind the creation of the virus and stop them before it's released globally.

Death Note: New GenerationEdit

A prequel mini-series to the fourth film that bridges the ten-year gap from the previous films. The three-episode series introduces the three new main characters: Tsukuru Mishima, Ryuzaki, and Yuki Shien.

Death Note: Light Up the NEW WorldEdit

Death Note Light Up the NEW World

Death Note: Light Up the NEW World, the fourth film in the series.

It's been ten years since the confrontation between L and Light. Once again, shinigami bring Death Notes to the ground, and the human world falls to chaos.

Following in the late Soichiro Yagami's footsteps, Tsukuru Mishima leads the Death Note Task Force. Ryuzaki, who is the true successor of L, is also investigating. Yuki Shien is a cyber-terrorist and Kira supporter. A three-way battle ensues between these men over the notebooks.

CastEdit

Character Actor English dub
L Ken'ichi Matsuyama Alessandro Juliani
Light Yagami Tatsuya Fujiwara Brad Swaile
Misa Amane Erika Toda Shannon Chan-Kent
Naomi Misora Asaka Seto Nicole Oliver
Ryuk Shidou Nakamura (voice) Brian Drummond
Rem Shinnosuke Ikehata (voice) Michael Dobson
Raye Iwamatsu Shigeki Hosokawa Michael Adamthwaite
Watari Shunji Fujimura Ron Halder
Soichiro Yagami Takeshi Kaga Chris Britton
Shiori Akino Yuu Kashii Ashleigh Ball
Sayu Yagami Hikari Mitsushima Kristie Marsden
Kanzo Mogi Shin Shimizu John Murphy
Lind L. Tailor Matt Lagan Ted Cole
Sachiko Yagami Michiko Godai Saffron Henderson
Shuichi Aizawa Tatsuhito Okuda Trevor Devall
Touta Matsuda Sota Aoyama Vincent Tong
Hirokazu Ukita Ikuji Nakamura Jeremy From
Kevin LeRoy Ruben Chacon
Ryotaro Sakajo Masanori Fujita Michael Donovan
FBI agent Norman England
Matsubara Takeo Nakahara Ron Halder
Sasaki Yoji Tanaka Bill Switzer
Saeki Masahiko Tsugawa
Kiyomi Takada Nana Katase Heather Doerksen
Takeshi Maruo Vincent Tong
Sanami Miyuki Komatsu Janyse Jaud
Takuo's friend Michael Donovan
Kiichiro Osoreda Minagawa Sarutoki Brian Dobson
Katsuya Seta Brian Dobson
Takuo Shibuimaru Kaohiko Kaoda Louis Chirillo
Yusuke Hibisawa Toshiyuki Watarai Louis Chirillo
Koreyoshi Kitamura David Kaye
Ayako Yoshino Ai Maeda

HistoryEdit

The first film, simply known as Death Note, premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks, pushing The Da Vinci Code into second place. It is mostly faithful to the manga, starting in medias res with Light in university and flashing back a month earlier to when he received the Death Note. It ends with his first meeting with L.

The second movie, Death Note: The Last Name, premiered on November 3, 2006, and instantly topped the Japanese box office, remaining at number one for four straight weeks, and grossed 5.5 billion yen in Japan by the end of the year, making it one of the year's highest grossing Japanese films. It combines elements from the rest of the storyline creating an outcome similar to the manga, but with a few key differences.

There is a spin-off, featuring L as the protagonist, entitled L: Change the WorLd, directed by Ring director Hideo Nakata and set in the United States, which was released in 2008.

The first Death Note film was released in Hong Kong on August 10, 2006, Taiwan on September 8, 2006, Singapore on October 19, 2006, Malaysia on November 9, 2006 (with English and Chinese subtitles), and in the Unite Kingdom on April 25, 2008,. The sequel was released in Hong Kong on November 3, 2006, in Taiwan on November 24, 2006, in Singapore on December 28, 2006, and in Malaysia on January 25, 2007, with English and Chinese subtitles. The world premiere was shown in UA Langham Place cinema in Hong Kong on October 28 2006, and this film is the first Japanese movie to have its world premiere in Hong Kong. It is also available in American specialty stores. Although the dialogue is still only in Japanese, the Hong Kong release of the DVD has English subtitles (the Japanese release only has Japanese subtitles).

The first movie will briefly play in certain North American theaters on May 20th and 21st. The theatrical version will feature the actors from the English dub of the anime voicing over their respective characters. A DVD release is scheduled for September 16th, 2008, with The Last Name arriving soon after.

DVDsEdit

Currently these film DVDs have been released in Japan:

MusicEdit

Soundtracks
Theme Songs
Title Artist Type Featured in
Manatsu no Yoru no Yume Shikao Suga Insert Death Note (2006 film)
Dani California Red Hot Chili Peppers Ending Death Note (2006 film)
Opening Death Note: The Last Name
Opening Death Note: Genius of the Counterattack
Snow ((Hey Oh)) Red Hot Chili Peppers Ending Death Note: The Last Name
I'll Be Waiting Lenny Kravitz Ending L: Change the WorLd
Fighter Namie Amuro Ending Death Note: New Generation
Insert Death Note: Light Up the NEW World
Dear Diary Namie Amuro Ending Death Note: Light Up the NEW World
Tribute Albums

LiteratureEdit

Novelizations
Booklets
  • Death Note Official Movie Guide
  • Death Note: The Last Name Official Movie Guide
  • L: Change the WorLd Official Movie Guide
  • L FILE No. 15

Reception to Death NoteEdit

A press release stated that 80% of viewers in one theater described satisfaction with the film. The film earned $41 million United States dollars in Japan, $1.9 million USD in Hong Kong, and $1.6 million USD in the Republic of China. Some fans also enjoyed the Different story preferring L to win in the end and stay alive until the end of the film. In 2007 The Star (Malaysia) article states that more than ten film companies in the United States expressed interest in creating a remake.

North American remakeEdit

Netflix poster Light

Netflix's Death Note film poster of Light

Main article: Death Note (2017 film)

Netflix developed a separate Death Note film which was released streaming on August 25, 2017.[4] The film was directed by Adam Wingard and stars Nat Wolff as Light Turner (based on Light Yagami), Margaret Qualley as Mia Sutton (Misa Amane), and Keith Stanfield as L.

The film location is set in Seattle instead of Tokyo, and many changes were made to the storyline and the characters.

Talk about an American remake began in 2007,[5] the year after the release of the first two Japanese films. Until its release in 2017, the production shifted multiple directors, screenwriters, and distributors. Wingard was announced as the director in 2015,[6] casting began in late 2015, and principal photography took place in 2016. Warner Brothers was on board to distribute the film when they dropped the production just before it was ready to go into principal photography, but it was picked up by Netflix who gave it a budget of $40-$50 million.

ReferencesEdit

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