The sixth volume of Death Note: Black Edition is the final book in the highly popular Death Note Manga series. I’m happy to say that Ohba managed to fThe sixth volume of Death Note: Black Edition is the final book in the highly popular Death Note Manga series. I’m happy to say that Ohba managed to finish things off on a satisfying note, but it doesn’t change the fact that I found this series to be a tad uneven, despite the fact that it has received near universal praise.
I’ll provide my general thoughts on the series below, while keeping things pretty spoiler free for those who haven’t read it yet. If you haven’t even read the first volume, you should be fine.
While Takeshi Obata’s artwork is always sharp, and the character designs are pretty flawless, Tsugumi Ohba’s writing was another story. Death Note started off on such a strong note. The premise- a brilliant high schooler finds a notebook and discovers that once he writes someone’s name in it, that person will die- is pretty awesome. Not to mention, it raises a ton of interesting moral and ethical questions. It doesn’t take long before the series settles into a gripping battle of wits between Light (the high schooler, who uses the notebook to become a god-like figure) and the brilliant detective L.
And then it pretty much stays there for the entire series.
Sure, the cast gets shuffled around a bit here and there. But by the time I reached the fifth volume of the Black Editions (volumes 9-10 of the original manga), it began to get awfully repetitive. Scene after scene of brilliant characters one upping each other got surprisingly old after a while. And when you add in the fact that there wasn’t much character development, this merely exacerbates the issue. The series has its fair share of side characters, which range from amusing to nails-on-a-chalk-board annoying (some of the female characters have… issues). Unfortunately, Death Note’s leads are SO brilliant and SO many steps ahead of everyone that the actions of the other characters ultimately do not matter. Sometimes, they don’t even really do much of anything, merely standing around in the background while Light thinks brilliant, devious thoughts. So in the end, you have a plot that merely repeats itself, and secondary characters that don’t really matter. NOT what I’d expected after such a strong initial volume.
Of course, this doesn’t change Death Note’s obvious strengths. Even after considering all of the issues I mentioned above, it was impossible not to get drawn into the final standoff. Who will emerge victorious? Who possesses the greater mind? And after dancing around the issue for several volumes and over a hundred manga chapters, we finally get the answer. And you know what? It’s just the ending the series needed.
I just wish that it had arrived a little sooner. Because while Death Note possesses a brilliant premise, intriguing questions of morality, and nail biting suspense, it also overstays its welcome, which kind of takes the edge off of things. Had the series been leaner, and meaner, I bet I would have enjoyed it a lot more....more
While the last couple volumes have seemed a little lite on the action, volume 6 makes up for that lack in spades, reading like 200 page action sequencWhile the last couple volumes have seemed a little lite on the action, volume 6 makes up for that lack in spades, reading like 200 page action sequence, with only one real interruption to give you an idea of where Eren fits in with the survey corps. This volume mostly revolves around the female titan that arrived during volume 5. We've already learned that like Eren, she's actually a human in a Titan's body. As we saw before, a Titan with human-level intelligence and fighting skills is a danger fan beyond a typical Titan, and our cast of characters has a real hard time dealing with her.
Kind of sad to see Mikasa not play too much of a role here, but there's always next time. Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger, so I'll be digging into the next volume the moment I can get it from the library....more
In volume four, it was determined that the secrets behind Eren's Titan powers exist in the basement of his old house. Volume five shows you some of thIn volume four, it was determined that the secrets behind Eren's Titan powers exist in the basement of his old house. Volume five shows you some of the obstacles that lie in his way. Some are titan, but some are far more human.
I think my favorite part of this manga was getting to really meet the members or the Survey Corps, as they are quite interesting characters. The "trial" section seemed a little overly long, but it did get to introduce you to some of the different types of people that live in the city (they can't all be soldiers, of course). Interestingly, the most shocking bit of information revealed here is in a short side story about a Survey Corps member. All in all, this was another page turner of a volume, that ends on a cliffhanger. I will be checking volume six out from my library once I can get my hands on it....more
In volume 4 of Attack on Titan, things take a surprising twist. After three volumes of action sequence upon action sequence, the series takes a much qIn volume 4 of Attack on Titan, things take a surprising twist. After three volumes of action sequence upon action sequence, the series takes a much quieter, more character focused track, flashing back in time to Eren and Misaka's military training. One of the things this manages to do is flesh out some of the side characters, who felt a little neglected, and bring a few moments to humor to this all together grim series. I found this to be an unconventional, but solid decision. The one draw back is it does draw attention to Isyama's weaknesses as an artist. While the action sequences can really pop, simple scenes of characters siting around and talking can look weirdly unfinished. Fortunately, we don't spend the entire time in the past, and the story brings us back into the present just in time to show us what the next step in Eren's journey will be.
Can't wait to pick up volume 5 form the library....more
Volume three of Attack on Titan begins to answer the questions raised by the cliffhanger in volume two. Why did an unconscious Eren emerge from a titaVolume three of Attack on Titan begins to answer the questions raised by the cliffhanger in volume two. Why did an unconscious Eren emerge from a titan's body? How will humanity react to this revelation? And does the city have any hope of fighting back the hordes of titans? My favorite parts were probably the moments when the "cowardly" Armin is allowed to show his own strengths, and of course the action sequences are great as always. The parts that focuses on the rest of humanity's rising fear can feel a little bit like padding, but I do feel that it's important to show their perspective. Also, it doesn't stop the book from being a page turner. As always, things end with a high stakes cliffhanger, so of course I'll have to read volume four....more
Okay, I think I'm hooked now. Yes, there were a few occasions on where the art was a little muddled, and some of the side characters seem a little illOkay, I think I'm hooked now. Yes, there were a few occasions on where the art was a little muddled, and some of the side characters seem a little ill defined, but this is pretty addictive. Both volumes have a really good sense for balancing exposition and action. Volume three continues to slowly fed us information about character backstory and worldbuilding, yet lets the plot progress forward at a steady pace. Also, the character of Misaka is awesome in a way that female characters don't always get to be in shonen series: strong, capable, and compelling, all at the same time.
Looks like I'll be checking out volume three....more
Time to see what all the fuss is about! Volume 1 of Attack on Titan introduces a world overrun by giant creatures called Titans. The remains of humaniTime to see what all the fuss is about! Volume 1 of Attack on Titan introduces a world overrun by giant creatures called Titans. The remains of humanity has hidden away in a city surrounded by massive walls, but they can only protect them for so long.
Although some aspects of characterization can feel a little paint by numbers, Attack on Titan is nevertheless a bit of a page turner. The appealing mystery of where the titans come from, combined with plenty of action scenes explains why this manga has grabbed the attention of so many. Volume 1 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I'll have to check out volume 2 ASAP....more