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"Death Note Short Stories" Review

*Review is not spoiler free!

Publisher Summary:

Is Kira’s story truly over, or does his influence linger? In this complete collection of Death Note short stories penned by the series’ creators, discover tales of lives irrevocably changed by the sinister influence of the Death Note, with surprising and thrilling answers to the question of what it truly takes to use the Death Note…or fight it.

Review:

I received this manga as an ARC from NetGalley. I’ll be breaking my rating down by short story.


(c-Kira: 3.5/5 stars)

Since I never got a clear look at “C-Kira’s” face or any sort of connection to him other than what outside characters mention, and what I as a reader could assume based on his actions like Near mentioned, it wasn’t anywhere near as interesting for me as the original Death Note. However, that’s not all bad, considering that this is only a short story. I must explain that my rating is pretty high because I actually liked Near here. I was a huge fan of the Death Note anime as a teen, and it was one of my first anime. I watched it more times than I can count, but I absolutely hated Near and almost all of Season 2. I thought he was a cheap imitation of L (funny that he’s the one who calls this “kira” c-kira, or “cheap kira” here), and I found him incredibly boring in comparison. With a little more backstory and look into his thought process of his own ideals and desires versus L, he definitely became much more of an interesting character to me. In the end, though, this short story only made me want to go back and rewatch Death Note again. Perhaps that was the real purpose it served.

(a-Kira: 4/5 stars)

This particular short was an intriguing take on if Death Note had been set closer to present day with the rise of surveillance on the internet. In general, a-Kira was much more clever and took greater care with his plans than c-Kira, which added to my score for this one. A teenager who was only interested in making enough money to live peacefully in the future without having to dirty his own hands is about what I’d expect from an average teen, to be honest. His plan was just enough to bypass any of the tools the police or Near could’ve used to catch him, but he still met his downfall in the end. It would have been interesting for Near to have his own longer-term “Kira” who could give him the real challenge that he so desires in the future, but it would still be hard to recreate a fresh and new dynamic that isn’t simply a rehash of L and Light. Overall, a neat (if a bit comedic) short story.

(L, One Day & L, Wammy’s House: 4/5)

I combined these two shorts into one score since they weren’t very long. Both are neat peaks in to L’s day-to-day life and childhood outside of his game with Light. L has become a bit more endeared to me after this, and I can really picture this as being how he spent his time. An odd, introverted guy with a love for solving complex puzzles, who only takes on cases he finds fun. That’s what makes L an enjoyable character.

(Taro Kagami: 4.5/5 stars)

You can obviously tell that this was written before the long-running Death Note series due to all of the questions such as “would you do ___ if you had the Death Note?” and how tidy the ending was. The original owner doesn’t die, and everyone they killed came back to life due to that handy eraser. The eraser was a neat addition, but for the darker story of Death Note, I don’t think it would’ve had a place in L and Light’s cases.

However, Light was nearly an adult with a pretty solidified (albeit twisted) sense of justice and individualism. He was a teenager with a massive ego from his constant streak of academic achievements with little to challenge him before L arrived. Someone who thought he knew what was best for the world from the start, while Taro was much younger and without such a massive god complex. I like the contrast between these two protagonists, though it’s really not the same without our eccentric L.

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