Death Note / Re-Light Vol 1 : 3 of 5

Although I’ve read the entire Death Note manga, watched the complete anime series, plus the live action movies, it seems they’ve figured out a way to squeeze a few more hours of attention out of me. Death Note: Re-Light is an interesting idea, which is to retell the story from a different point of view, which happens to be none other than Ryuk the Shinigami in this case! Unfortunately, this movie is just the first half of the anime re-edited and crammed into a two-hour time frame, with only a few new scenes added to keep things interesting. However, since I enjoyed the series so much, I didn’t really mind watching this compressed version, and I was impressed with the editing (especially the re-voicing of a few scenes to help explain the plot). Truthfully, the only moments from Ryuk’s point of view happen in the opening and closing framing scenes, which take place in the Shinigami realm as Ryuk tells his story to another Shinigami, and looks almost longingly at Light’s name in his Death Note (which he wrote to kill Light at the end of the series). The other new scenes include a new meeting between Light and L (not nearly as effective as the original), plus an extended moment at L’s funeral where Light goes mad with his victory (which provides a chilling look into the Light’s character). Most of my favorite scenes from the anime are all included in the movie, and they even kept in Misa’s creepy song, though that seems like something that would have been easy to cut. I think claiming this movie is a new version of the story goes a little far – at least they should have let Ryuk do some narration to make it seem more like he was telling the story! The DVD includes some nice Japanese interviews with the director and voice actors, but they are pretty short. I still had a good time watching Death Note: Re-Light (and I know I’m going to watch the next volume, which will compress the second half of the series), but I can’t really recommend it to new viewers (since it’s more difficult to follow than the extended series), so only dedicated fans should check it out!