Cindy's Reviews > Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom

Death Note, Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba
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's review
Jan 24, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: graphic-novel, fiction, fantasy, in-translation

First time reading manga - for my book challenge. Even though it's in English, you read it back to front and follow right to left!

I've read a few graphic novels and graphic memoirs, both of which have captivated me with the intersection of writing and graphics. Really good ones tell part of the story not just through images but also through their layout on the page. It can be mind-blowing and brain-bending when done well.

This is the first time I've tried manga, and I'm quite disappointed. The graphics and layout were pretty good, but the writing and dialogue leave a lot to be desired. Too much of the story is in dry, teenage dialogue, saying the same things over and over again, usually in the bedroom of the protagonist. "The world is a rotten mess." "The world needs to be cleaned up." "Change the world." "The world will start to become a better place." Oh, and ellipses as dialogue? Overused and not helpful.

Overall, the story falls into the bad-book pattern of telling instead of showing, which is surprising considering it's, you know, a graphic novel.

The good news is that the story got a 2nd star near the end of the book. The clever way that the protagonist, Light, uses all the rules of the Deathnote to accomplish at least 4 different objectives in one fell swoop was impressive. Sadly, it was one of the only times where the reader gets to see action and work out what Light had planned.
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