Posted On July - 25 - 2009




  RATING:   T+
  RELEASE DATE:   05/22/2009
  REVIEW DATE:   07/25/2009

Through the power of the Death Note, Light Yagami is close to creating a world in which he holds ultimate authority over right and wrong. But many obstacles remain, including a second Death Note user who has his own nefarious goals, and the two brilliant protégés of L, the genius detective who once vowed to expose the identity of the Death Note’s owner. Light is confident that he can prevail, but as the surviving players in the game converge for a final showdown, whose name will be the last one written in the Death Note?

Contains the second half of the TV series, 17 episodes on 4 discs (episodes 21 to 37) plus a 5th bonus DVD filled with extras exclusive to this box set!

The second half of the Death Note TV series is even more nerve wracking than the first! The Yotsuba group is a force to be reckoned with. Misa had been sent in to infiltrate the group by all it has achieved is to put her in the grasp of the man behind all the deceit and devious plotting! A new, third Kira emerges. L and Light work each for their own ends. Light no longer has the Death Note and with it gone, so are his memories of using it, but he’s still a wily cat and everyone else the mouse – everyone except L!

In the end of this stage of the game the Task Force gets their hands on a Death Note and find out part of the truth behind the sinister book. Someone makes a deal for the shinigami eyes, and following it all, the battle of wiles between L and Light comes to a final climatic conclusion. When I say it comes to an end, I mean the grave! It’s been hypnotic watching these two one up each other, masterminds in a game that has the fate of humanity in their hands. Light is shown as the completely corrupt and evil bastard he has become. He will stop at nothing and will use and kill anyone in order to get what he wants. The ends justify the means and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You would think that would be the end of it but no way, no how. The anime jumps a few years later with Light at the head of the Task Force, Kira unstopped, and with every day he gets closer to achieving his twisted utopia with him as its absolute god. It all looks like it will go off without a hitch, but that wrench in the works comes with not one, but two protégés of L’s emerging from the woodwork to take Light down! Mello and Near have a history and Mello is competing with Near to prove which one of them is the best. They both use very different means to try to capture Light. Mello uses gangs and criminal tactics while Near has his base in America working with the US Task Force to bring Kira to justice.  Both are geniuses and they are going to make Light very, very mad.

Just when you think you know what’s going on, a third shinigami named Shidoh shows up. Near is getting close to the truth and so is Mello. Kira cults are rising up everywhere and Light, getting his back against a wall, finds a way out. A zealous Kira fan and attorney named Mikami becomes his right hand and he coldly uses Mikami to try to throw Near and Mello off their respective games. And old flame of Light’s complicates things and also shows one step more extreme just how ruthless he’s become. There is a comical girl moment when Misa and Kiyomi meet, getting catty with each other over Light. But his using the two women is a ploy that could backfire on him. Meanwhile the seeds of doubt Near has planted in the SPK members are starting to take root. Some of the Task Force are beginning to wonder if maybe Light isn’t Kira after all.

When Mello abducts Kiyomi, the events that follow are totally brutal. It is some of the harshest stuff in the entire series and really puts to the audience just how corrupt Light has become. He’s rotted inside and out. His sense of justice might have started from an extreme yet righteous place but it is now dead. He only uses it as a justification for all the evil he perpetrates. Finally he and Near arrange to meet face to face. It’s the final showdown and in the end all the cards will be laid out and the final name in the Death Note will be revealed. Who lies and who dies is shown and wow, what an ending! This story does not let up or give up its hold one iota. It will leave you awestruck.

The bonus goodies in this box set are vast indeed my fellow DN fans. The episode discs all come complete with the original bonus features from their single releases. These include the usual trailers, production art gallery, and textless openings and endings, but also each of the Behind the Scenes with the English Cast and Crew that was featured on the individual discs. There are interviews and behind the scenes recording sessions with Colleen Wheeler (Rem), Andrew Kavadas (Higuchi), Alessandro Juliani who you might know from Battlestar Galactica, he played L, French Tickner (Watari), David Hurwitz (Mello), Cathy Weseluck (Near), Heather Doerksen (Kiyomi), Kirby Morrow (Mikami), and Brad Swaile (Light).

There are also commentaries aplenty. On episode 23, Karl Willems (ADR Director) and Andrew Kavadas (Higuchi) throw in their considerable 2 cents. Episode 25 has Karl Willems (ADR Director) joined by Colleen Wheeler (Rem), and Alesandro Juliani (L). There’s more audio commentary on episode 30 with Karl Willems and Cathy Weseluck (Near). And the final audio commentary is found on the last episode 37 with Karl Willems, Brian Drummond (Ryuk) and Brad Swaile (Light).

The bonus fifth disc holds extra features exclusive to this second box set! You can only find them here! It has an expanded art gallery with different sections for characters, props, and sets. Then get ready for a huge collection of original Japanese video features that were exclusive to the Japanese releases and are now here in this second box set and only collected in this second box set. There are so many cast and crew featured in these videos that it would take over a full page to list them all. Suffice it to say that you can expect to see and hear from Aya Hirano (Misa) and Haruka Kudo (Sayu) (you’ll see a lot of them), Kimiko Saito (Rem), a rare interview with Shido Nakamura (Ryuk), Kappei Yamaguchi (L), Mamoru Miyano (Light), Tetsuro Araki (Director), Masaru Kitao (Character Designer), Toshio Nakatani (Producer), Chiaki Yamada (Sound Director), and that’s still not all of them!

You will see combinations of the above cast and crew in the following video features: First there’s behind the scenes with the Japanese voice actors and runs just under 24 minutes. Then there’s the original Japanese Death Note interstitials. This is a lengthy collection (nearly 25 minutes) of short promos with the Japanese voice actresses for Misa and Sayu dressed up as a devil and an angel respectively, giving viewers the latest info on the anime, the live action movies, CD soundtracks, DVD release, newscaster interviews, behind the scenes shots, even clips of music band videos and performances. Third is the interview with Animation director Tetsuro Araki and Character Designer Masaru Kitao. And last but not least is “Bringing Death Note to Life: Conversations with the Japanese Cast and Crew” which runs over 17 minutes.

The box set comes with a hard glossy black slip cover and the discs are held inside a fold out with an amazing fold out illustrative scene of Ryuk overlooking the city at sundown.

The coolest, most riveting story in anime! It’s dark, it’s ruthless, and it is attention-grabbing all the way through.

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