Death Note Vol. 2
Tsugumi Ohba, writer
Takeshi Obata, artist
Pookie Rolf, translator/adapter
Viz, November 2005
First of all, look at that price point–talk about bang for the buck! No wonder these things are so popular. Second of all I found this volume to be an improvement over its predecessor in virtually every respect. The art is more interesting and individualized in its depiction of the characters: I loved the big bag-rimmed eyes, wiggly bare toes, and thumb-biting neurosis of L the wunderkind investigator, and man oh man I could look at the clothes and hair Obata delivered for the ill-fated Naomi Misora all day. But of course we won’t be seeing much of her anymore, and that’s part and parcel of the improvement in terms of the tension of the cat-and-mouse suspense aspects seen in this issue: We see just how far Light will go to preserve his anonymity by killing off very likeable, very innocent characters, and by having that happen this early in the game, the creators show us that no one is safe and that they’ll be throwing curveballs. I still get a little tired of the constant narration of everyone’s thoughts and deductions–I long for the quiet cogitation of the characters from The Wire, which I’m experiencing for the first time more or less simultaneously to Death Note and which displays a lot more faith in the audience to follow what’s going on–but I’ll admit that it’s an effective way of showing off how byzantine the schemes and counter-schemes get from moment to moment. It’s enjoyable pulp fiction.