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 dead 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. He also genuinely likes Misa Amane, regularly attends her concerts, and intentionally looks up the name of her parents' murderer to kill him. Light wanted to be a police officer when he was younger but his father's absence after his mother's death caused him to drop this ambition in the show's present day.
- Misa Amane 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. Misa's Death Note is red instead of black. She does not obtain the Shinigami Eyes a second time, and survives albeit with erased memories.
- Unlike in the manga, where the lifespan isn't understood by humans, Misa can decipher the numbers floating above a person's head and thus knows when they will die.
- Ryuk gives the Death Note directly to Light, rather than just dropping it for anyone to find. He actively encourages Light to use the notebook, even bringing it back when discarded by the latter.
- Near is introduced early and is in regular contact with L. Near therefore has a stronger presence throughout the events of the series. Mello is depicted as a puppet to which Near gives a personality and a voice. L and Watari treat Mello as a separate person, although they and Near are all aware that he is a puppet.
- Teru Mikami is introduced early as the prosecutor handling Misa's case, meaning that the two are in regular contact. He writes L's name in Misa's stolen Death Note after seeing it with his Shinigami Eyes, and survives albeit with erased memories.
- 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, sprawls in his chairs and consumes energy drinks instead of confectionary. He changes his shirt when it gets stained, and crosses his legs instead of propping them in front of his torso.
- Rem survives, and returns to the Shinigami Realm with Ryuk.
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.