Death Note (デスノート, Desu Nōto) is a live-action television drama that aired from July to September 2015 on NTV. It is based on the Death Note manga series but includes many notable changes. The series was announced in April 2015. Masataka Kubota stars as Light Yagami and Kento Yamazaki as L.
Light Yagami is a normal college student living with his father and sister in a society with an imperfect justice system. One night, after encountering a school bully, he finds a strange black notebook, which allows the user to kill a person simply by writing down their name. He resolves to use the Death Note to bring justice to the world by killing criminals, while the great detective L resolves to solve the case and catch him.
There are several major changes from the manga the series is based on:
- Light's mother, Sachiko Yagami, is killed prior to the series.
- Light is an average college student with a close group of friends and little ambition, working a part-time job at a pub.
- Light likes Misa Amane, regularly attends her concerts, and intentionally looks up the name of her parents' murderer to kill him.
- Light does not want to become a police officer. As a child, he shared his canon counterpart's dream, but his father's absence after his mother's death changed this.
- Misa sings in the popular girl group Ichigo Berry. She realizes Light is Kira when she spots him at one of her concerts and cannot see his lifespan after she obtains the Shinigami Eyes.
- Unlike in the manga, where the lifespan isn't understood by humans, Misa can read a person's lifespan and knows when they're going to die.
- Misa's Death Note is red instead of black.
- Misa does not obtain the Shinigami Eyes a second time. She and Mikami are in contact.
- Ryuk chooses to give the notebook directly to Light, rather than just dropping it for anyone to find. He actively encourages Light to use it, and even brings it back to him after Light throws it off the roof of a building to discard it.
- Near is introduced early and is in regular contact with L. They have a stronger presence throughout the events of the series. The depiction of Mello suggests that Near might have Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder), although it's not explicitly stated.
- Mello is introduced early and is a puppet that Near carries around. He is given a personality and voice by Near. L and Watari treat Mello as separate from Near and shouts at him directly when he starts giving Near problems in L's presence.
- Teru Mikami is introduced early as the prosecutor handling Misa's case. He writes L's name in his Death Note after seeing it with his Shinigami Eyes.
- Raye Penber's fiance is Cathy Cambell, but she doesn't take the role of Naomi Misora, who isn't in the series.
- L wears shoes and sprawls in his chairs. Instead of frequently eating sweets, he's constantly drinking energy juice packs. He's always immaculately dressed, and instead of sitting hunched over, he puts his feet up and crosses his legs.
The series aired on NTV from July 5, 2015 to September 13, 2015.
The series was simultaneously released streaming online with English subtitles by Crunchyroll in multiple territories. The first episode was available on July 8th at 7:30 pm Pacific Time. It was available within a few days of the Japanese airing for Crunchyroll subscribers, and a week later for free for all viewers.
The series was released in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray as a box set on January 27th, 2016.
The drama was scored by Takayuki Hattori and released on the Death Note Original Soundtrack.
The song Aryarya, performed by Misa's group Ichigo Berry, prominently features in the series.
- Cathy Cambell's name is clearly written as "Cambell" onscreen in episode 2, but the official subtitles misspell it as "Campbell."
- Belle's name is written as "Belle" onscreen in episode 3, but the official subtitles misspell it as "Bell."
- At the end of the series finale, the teaser trailer for Death Note: Light Up the NEW World aired for the first time under the initial title Death Note 2016.
- Official website: ntv.co.jp/drama-deathnote/
- Official Twitter:
- Wikipedia: Death Note (2015 TV series)
- IMDB: Death Note
- Anime News Network's encyclopedia: Death Note (live-action TV)
- Crunchyroll official English-subtitled streaming episodes: Death Note Drama
- "Death Note" Live-Action TV Drama Story Details Revealed, July 02, 2015.