Death Note is Coming on Netflix
Anime is hugely popular in both the West and the East. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “anime” denotes animated television shows with a Japanese influence, or actually created in Japan. Anime has a certain style to it, and it’s a incredibly large part of Japanese culture. Entire buildings in Japanese locations like the Akihabara district are entirely devoted to anime series. It’s comparable to the global Disney craze, with the exception of its Western origins. Theme parks, lunch boxes, and all manner of toys represent the vast amount of anime series.
Reflective of Disney’s move to make live actions remakes and their success (see Beauty and the Beast), it seems like anime might be the next big source of animation to get large Hollywood remakes. This is even more apparent after Netflix announced that their live action film adaptation of Death Note, an incredibly popular anime series, will be arriving on August 25th.
We’ve only received a teaser from Netflix, showing us only a minute, so fans are speculating about how much the film will follow the original source material. Specifically citing the teaser, there’s a ferris wheel scene that doesn’t seem to appear in the original series. The series is also changing location, switching the setting from Japan to America.
The original story of Death Note follows a young boy named Light, who discovers a mysterious notebook. The notebook itself reveals that anyone’s name that gets written in it will die. With time, Light meets with Ryuk, a sadistic and cynical god of death. He also has an affinity for apples. The original series was 37 episodes, so fans are a bit worried about how much the film will be able to contain.
Let’s Ask an Expert
I’m not a huge fan of the original series, so I asked a close friend of mine what his opinion was. Thomas Patton Jr, former director of Ohayocon (one of the top 10 most attended anime conventions in the US), had a few answers for my questions.
Q: Do you think that Netflix is going to make just one movie and call it quits, or do you think this is a potential series? Can they fit 37 episodes into a good film?
A: Looking back at what Japan did, there is a way to do just one film. Netflix is probably going to probably contain the entire story in one go, but what they need to do is break it up by arcs (storylines). They could make multiple movies and use this as a launch pad, but I think we’ll just see this one. Unless it’s successful, then maybe they’ll leave out some of the later arcs.
Q: Do you think Death Note is for fans, newcomers, or perhaps both?
A: I think this is a movie that is meant to be a gateway for new fans to get into the entirety of anime. I don’t think it will give anything special for long time fans besides a bit of fan service. The new Ghost in the Shell film is for fans, that’s for sure. (Author Note: Thomas then proceeded to gush over Scarlett Johansson.)
Q: There’s tons of different anime series out there. Some have gotten film adaptations, but many have not. What’s the one series you think would make a great adaptation?
A: Evangelion needs to get treatment. It needs to get made. We saw Pacific Rim, and that’s a whole other ballgame, but if that can be popular, Evangelion can. The scope, depth, and theatrics put into a trilogy or four part series would be absolutely fantastic. It would blow everyone’s minds. It would take a dump on Star Wars.
With only a teaser to go by, we’ll all have to wait eagerly until Netflix releases the first full trailer. Personally, I’m pretty excited to see how it plays out. Until then, I’ll leave you with this wonderful photo of a Ryuk cosplayer taken at the aforementioned Ohayocon. If you don’t get the joke, check out the original series. You can find it online through a variety of streaming services (Crunchyroll, etc).