Death Note

I have to talk about DeathNote. It's a really clever Japanese anime series about a young man who finds an old notebook lying around. He picks it up, not realising that a death god has left it there because it's always amusing to see what a human will do when they find a deathnote. Light, however, does not take long to figure out what he's got and start testing it out. All he has to do is write the name of someone into the notebook while thinking of their face, and they will die. Finding that this works, he proceeds to kill a bunch of people he feels deserve to die. The names and faces are easy to come by since they are broadcast during the crime report on the news every night.

Light is studying law, and his father is a cop. Light feels strongly that too many criminals are getting away with murder.

Other people, however, feel that murder is murder no matter who dies. They call on the sleuth known only as L. Without his name, Light can't kill him. So begins a cat and mouse game between the two. At times they are even handcuffed together, but although L calculates that there is a high probabilty that Light is the murderer, he can't prove it. Light makes sure of that.

This is a fascinating series. It ought to be boring: Much of it consists of the two antagonists thinking out their strategies against each other. But it's not boring, it's quite tense. In fact, there are people in the world who side with Light. I don't why. In my opinion Light is just a murderous little  b... Then again, L is exactly the kind of sleuth who fascinates me, in the vein of Holmes and Spock, so I'm naturally biased. Besides, L just loves sweets.

DeathNote started as a thirteen book manga series, and spawned the anime series and a movie. I didn't like the movie as much although it did clarify a few points in the series. If you haven't come across DeathNote yet, and especially if you're looking for fantasy that is not the usual medieval dungeons and dragons, and most especially if you like thrillers and duels of wits, this is worth checking out.