There might be something or nothing in this, but the Vietnamese press is reporting strong rumours of romance for Hinako Sano with Japanese movie idol Ryunosuke Kamiki.
The couple have been spotted wearing matching t-shirt and caps, hanging out together frequently at Kamiki's house (pictured right).
Though when asked, both parties claim a close friendship over anything more romantically inclined.
Hinako Sano is known to us as Misa Amane in the TV drama adaptation of Death Note (2015).
Award-winning Japanese actor Ryunosuke swept the board in accolades during 2013 for his 'best supporting actor' role as Shin'ichi Numata in Kazoku Game.
More recently, and more relevant to us, he starred as Akito Takagi in the 2015 movie Bakuman, written by Death Note creator's Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
Hinako Sano Dating Ryunosuke Kamiki? Romantic Rumours for Death Note TV Drama's Misa Amane with Bakuman Movie Star
On a global scale, Misa-Misa has been dubbed, played and in some instances sung into life for the delight of Death Note audiences everywhere.
In honour of her monthly event on Death Note News, we have collected together the names of the twenty-one Misa Amane actresses from Death Note adaptations across the world. Who for you, amongst these ladies (and one gent), wore the face or spoke the voice of Misa the Second Kira?
I love Japanese actor Maeda Goki.
We know him as Touta Matsuda in TV's Death Note drama, wherein he delighted, charmed and downright became our character. I mean look at him! Can you imagine anyone else now being Matsuda in live-action adaptations of the story?
We've been spoiled.
But more than that, he's the kind of celebrity who constantly reaches out to fans, letting us share in his experiences and his world. Throughout the drama's run, Goki was forever Tweeting, Tumblr-ing, Instagramming and whatever other word I've probably just made up to describe his fabulous ubiquity online.
He's been a great source of behind the scenes Death Note sneak previews and fun. Like ninja-ing in to take pictures of colleagues between takes, then apparently copying their stance for his own photographs:
Maeda Goki captured in the mirror photographing L actor Kento Yamazaki
between takes at Death Note (2015) - before posing in Kento's position
Source: Instagram @gokimaeda
Or giving us close up images of props from Death Note TV drama:
Occasionally even lifting items from the filming lot and sneaking them out to present to fans at promotional events. As with whatever this was here - *checks Google Translate* - a marshmallow apparently.
Sometimes even taking requests from followers on various social media, and doing them too.
During Maeda Goki's spell on Death Note, folk asked him to cosplay Death Note characters other than his own. He did. This was the result:
Death Note Actor Maeda Goki Accounts on Social Media
Fans in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia are currently enjoying high definition airings of the Death Note TV drama courtesy of the GEM Channel.
The television network is the sparkly new collaboration between Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and Nippon Television (NTV). It includes exclusive shows from both companies portfolios, as well as a clutch of other programming too.
Eventually GEM will be beaming Death Note into South Korea, Taiwan and other Asia territories too, including China, which will surely go down well.
* Chinese Cyber Authority Cracks Down on Death Note
* Death Note Fans in China Dodge the Censor
For the rest of us, there's a nice selection of images from the Death Note television drama, courtesy of NTV, highlighted on the GEM Channel Death Note show webpages. Some of which are reproduced here, above and below.
In addition, there's a synopsis of the show, programming information (every Monday and Tuesday at 8pm (JKT) and 9pm (BKK)) and profiles on various cast members, including Yutaka Matsushige as Soichiro Yagami, Hinako Sano as Misa Amane, Kento Yamazaki as L, Mio Yuki as Near and Masataka Kubota in his award-winning performance as Light Yagami.
A nice touch there is the trivia end-piece on each actor, informing us for example that Yutaka Matsushige is one of the tallest actors in Japan (he's 6ft 2") and Mio Yuki's real name is Rina Kanno. She was launched into stardom after winning a HoriPro talent contest in 2012.
In Other News...
Meanwhile, there's an apology to make. Much hecticness and chaos behind the scenes a few months ago at Death Note News meant that our analytical reviews of the last few episodes of the drama were never published. Nor indeed written, though much enjoyment was had in actually watching the show!
We intended to. It's just that the write ups never made our To Do list, thus were overlooked and finally forgotten entirely. They might never have appeared if one of our readers hadn't been on the ball.
Grace Butler has given us the nudge (politely and very sweetly), hence those Death Note (2015) reviews are back on the list to do. Thanks Grace! And sorry to all who have been waiting on them.
In the meantime, here are the Death Note News analytical reviews of Death Note drama episodes so far.
Reviews & Critical Analysis of TV Death Note Drama Episodes
Masataka Kubota Best Actor Speech at the 86th Drama Academy Awards
Unfortunately without subtitles, here is how Masataka Kubota received his Best Actor Award for Light Yagami in Death Note 2015 television drama.
If anyone would like to proffer a translation - or the general gist in summary - we'd all be very grateful.
Japanese readers may also enjoy Walker Plus's interview with Masataka Kubota upon winning Best Actor for playing Light Yagami. No-one else will, as the translation programs absolutely scramble it beyond all comprehension. Yes, we'd love to know what he said there too. Thank you in advance.
TV Drama Death Note in Television Drama Academy Awards
MIPCOM - the world's entertainment content market - will be held at the Palais de Festival in Cannes this October, and Death Note will be there.
Nippon TV will be showing their live action television drama Death Note to international media industry executives, in the hope that one or more will snap it up.
If successful, then Death Note (2015) may be subtitled or dubbed for native viewers in other countries.
NTV will also be taking Matsuko-Roid - a show wherein a cross-dresser presenter and his android companion explore a future where robots have become mainstream in society - and The Kindergarten - a mix between a game show and reality TV, wherein young children are filmed completing quizzes, reacting to the appearance of monsters and confessing all on-camera.
But mostly the broadcasting corporation is pinning its international syndication hopes upon Death Note.
Confidence is already running high that the show will be picked up in the USA and Europe. A press release from NTV stated that the company were inundated with expressions of interest from television companies worldwide, as soon as their dramatic live action Death Note series was announced in June.
One buyer from Italy seemed especially keen. Hence it may turn up on terrestrial television there sooner rather than later.
MIPCOM runs from October 5th-8th 2015.
At 10.30pm GMT, the countdown timer came to a close on an official website normally devoted to Warner Bros. Death Note movies in Japan.
I caught the moment in .gif form above, but wasn't filming widely enough to capture the message that ultimately popped up. (Nor did I start soon enough. I was sooo going to have this counting down for 40 seconds...)
Here's a still of the final screen:
And a translation from the wonderful Amaryllis:
There is an important announcement in the final episode of Death Note (referring to the drama)! Don't miss it!
Which is a little strange, as said Death Note television drama had finished airing several hours before, and I'd already blogged about the announcement.
Did somebody mess their timings up?
As expected, the website was counting down to telling us about a new Death Note film, set within the Japanese live action movie universe, due for release in 2016. See earlier blog entry for more details.
It turns out that I had way too much to say about this episode. But I do love dissecting the symbolism and drifting off on a voyage of thematic discovery re Death Note.
You should read part one of my discussion about episode 8 in Death Note's TV drama before carrying on here. This is merely a continuation of that.
Yellow for Nobility and Courage in Japan
The colour yellow seemed to be everywhere in Death Note's episode eight. Particularly in the vicinity of the hapless Kudagawa and/or providing hints towards the emergence of Mello.
Previously, I was speculating that yellow, in television Death Note's colour themes, had something to do with thuggery or violence.
However, there was a very poignant moment with the colour yellow, seemingly teeming with significance, which fell back upon the traditional meaning of yellow in Japanese culture. Namely the hue of courage or nobility.
This was the moment when Near handed L a yellow jigsaw piece and suggested they might add the final bit of the puzzle together. And L slotted it perfectly into the partially completed jigsaw on the floor.
It was all in stark contrast to the mirror scene in episode seven, when L distractly tried to force a piece into the wrong position on a white jigsaw.
Then handed Near the errant jigsaw piece with dire warnings that it might not be himself to insert the last one. Maybe it would be Near.
White is the colour of purity and spirituality. Yellow is the hue of majesty and bravery. The photography and direction of both scenes were extremely similar, but bathed in light to match the colours on the jigsaw.
Though they sat in the same relative positions, L faced Near the first time around. He sat sidewards on the second, wherein the personality could well have been Mello. Or Near under internal barrage from Mello's scathing tones.
Plus the emotions of the major players were at odds.
In the first instance, receipt of the jigsaw piece caused consternation in a hitherto jubilant Near. It triggered Mello into momentarily coming out, both personae swinging back and forth in domination of their body.
Meanwhile, a despondent L merely left.
In the second, a watchful Near purportedly had control of their body after earlier taking it back from Mello. Near seemed quite pensive, until L took the jigsaw piece.
Meanwhile, a determined L simply sat back down. Then fitted the piece into the puzzle.
Death Note's L and Near Jigsaw Dialogue
To my mind, a whole sub-current in unspoken conversation was going on here.
In the first iteration, L was unsure if Near (and/or Mello) were even on side regarding the Kira case. They'd joined in with the whole Babel thing, but then so had Light.
Previously Near had left Wammy's House without sanction and proceeded to hack L's computer and interfere with his investigation vis-a-vis handing information to the errant Kira Countermeasures police team.
Right now, Near was sitting back in a position of purity, innocence or spirituality. Chaotic neutral at best, but certainly not fully signed up as L's successor in anything, let alone the battle with Light Yagami.
L handed over the white jigsaw piece as a challenge. Pretty much saying, "Who's side are you on, Near?"
We'd seen that yellow jigsaw previously in episode eight. It was after Near/Mello had been off breaking and entering, then murdering folk, then had popped back to enjoy an afternoon with L and Watari.
The former NOT playing jigsaw puzzles with his younger foster ward. The latter baking Near's favourite cakes as a lovely treat.
Near anxiously queries L's safety with Mr Wammy, who doesn't do much to alleviate their concern. Mello, as puppet, gleefully concludes that L is prepared to die to 'finish Kira'. Near tells him to shut up with such talk.
Thus we get a long shot, the mirror of that above, but with Near and Mello turned 90 degrees from their prior position.
Their allegiance appears already cast with L, if the evidence of the puzzle board is to be believed. Even Mello has his sights set firmly on (the) board.
Internal decision made, all that is left now is to inform L that they will become his successors in the Kira case, if circumstances require it. Hence the undue significance placed upon Near (or was that Mello; it works best as a combination of the two) handing over that yellow jigsaw piece.
Yellow for courage and/or nobility.
And note that we're not yet over the hidden chess-piece symbolism either. Near's come from a position of white - spirituality, priesthood, monks - and he's now sitting in L's gigantic chessboard room, occupying the Bishop spot.
Moreover, look at how prominently L's White Queen pillar is displayed, along with all that lighting picking out Near/Mello, in the instant immediately prior to the yellow jigsaw piece being handed over.
Near and Mello may play black or white in this particular, or indeed any, game of chess. But right now they are firmly aligned with the White Queen, in whose defence L is prepared to become over-shadowed.
In short, the second iteration of this scene is a continuance of the first. "Who's side are you on, Near?" "Yours, L."
Death Note: Not the Ayes But The Eyes Have It
Light's strategy, early on in episode eight, surrounded setting up matters so that Misa acquired shinigami eyes.
It didn't quite work out like that, but it set up an on-going theme involving eyes and watchfulness per se, which ran throughout this entire chapter in television's Death Note story-telling.
Here are a few such recurrences:
Only this time, L had pulled off the most delightful twist. Circumventing Near's trick from the Yellow Box scene in canon - swapping the Death Note for a fake, thus surviving.
Thus giving all us old timers watching something unanticipated to enjoy. No-one's averting their eyes here, I can tell you. It's aye all round!
L: Is this a Death Note I See Before Me?
I am in blood
There was a bit, quite early on, wherein Light bent over his Death Note was attempting to justify his use of it. He said something which seemed to me to paraphrase MacBeth's famous line, quoted above from his eponymous play by William Shakespeare.
All this spoken whilst staring down at his clawed fingers in a 'will these hand ne'er be clean?' kind of way.
I wish I could find where I wrote about that, because it was very much mirrored by L's feigned first usage of his own Death Note. Only with the hooked hands bit substituted for a 'is this a dagger I see before me?' sort of pen-holding stance.
Same MacBeth quote in modern form though.
Oh! And he had a Tolkeinesque moment too - with L practically recasting himself as Samwise right at the instant when the hobbit realises his best friend Frodo can't escape the fatal pull towards using the Ring.
All in all, it's (patently) left me fascinated, and I can't wait to catch up with the three remaining episodes. Though writing their analyses in blog entries might take longer.
Yes, I know I'm lagging behind the whole world here. I'm on it. I'm on it.
We're up to episode eight of the Death Note live-action television adaptation, wherein Light has his memories back; Kira has his Death Note in his Golem-esque clutches; and the Wammys are pursuing new leads, whilst telling everyone to witness, watch and don't avert their eyes.
Don't blink. Whatever you do. Don't blink. And now, how about a nice game of chess? White moves first...
Great Acting in Death Note TV Drama
I know I've said it before, but I think it's worth the reiteration. There are some truly wonderful performances from the actors in Death Note (2015).
After this episode, we were discussing Shugo Oshinari's portrayal of Teru Mikami. He seems born to play him!
Fitting the role so perfectly that I can't imagine anyone else doing so.
Even physically, there's a resemblance between the actor and the manga/anime depiction of Mikami. It makes you wonder if the cast were chosen as much for their looks in comparison to the characters, as anything else. Or if the actors are just so good, that they draw that likeness down onto themselves.
Then there's Matsuda. Anyone else feel like Gouki Maeda has brought our bubbly hero Tota to life so completely, that it appears nothing short of preternatural?
I could highlight several more fabulous actors from this series, but those pair are the current stand-outs from Death Note episode eight.
Light Up Kira in his Shinigami Gaze
Talking about great Death Note actors, some are perennial and none more so than Masataka Kubota as Kira. He can eject Light with a look; bring Kira slithering in on a glance.
Light Yagami quite notably never got the shinigami eyes. But that isn't to say that the Death God can't been seen in his gaze.
As Light, he can seem quite wide-eyed and innocent, self-effacing even, nevertheless able to focus straight on. Head high, facing the world, though internally he may be scheming.
Then see him turn to Kira in a sudden sidewards shifting of his vision. Like the killer stands alongside him, stepping in.
From now on, that stare will rarely meet any sight head on. Kira's gaze slides like a snake has control of each orb, weaving, winding, coiling in their sockets, taking his head on a nodding, sinking, roller-coaster orbit too.
Just as it always will, when Kira presence is known.
In the sequence above, Light - as Kira - is captured in stills taken from the midst of a sweeping gaze. The second part with L following hard on the first in his room, as a continuation of the same internal dialogue.
His sidewards glance from the initial couplet carrying straight into that smug perusal of L. Then onwards; his vision moving across the floor, defocusing upon a spot beside him and up finally in smirking contemplation.
Shifting, sliding, crooked; just like Light's suddenly hooked index finger in the second of the four images, snapped at the instant that Kira fully comes to the fore.
Or Light Yagami gets a plan worked out to fruition. Which is pretty much the same thing.
But there's much more to see here, and I'm having fun revisiting my Uni housemate's Film Studies degree (which I might as well have added to my own CV, the amount of times I was in the actual study part of it...).
So let's head on into the nitty-gritty.
TV Death Note's Kira on the Left Hand Path
Look again at those four screenshot images and note how often Light and/or his Kira persona are filmed on the left hand side of the frame. Even in close up, you get a lot of background scenery seen on the right.
In fact, his Kira gaze first looks left, then settles into whichever way it'll slither.
All over the world, the left has historically been denigrated as a cultural no-no. Some societies reserve the left hand for unsavoury necessities, like using it for cleaning oneself after using the toilet. Others have considered left handed folk to be luckless, awkward, stupid or downright criminal.
Language too, on a global scale, routinely disdains the left - 'the left hand path' is used in Abrahamic religions (and some Pagan ones) to describe selfish, sinful or destructive practices in worship and/or magic; from ancient Mesopotamia, through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and into modern times, 'left' has been inserted into phrases meaning evil, wrong or otherwise not quite what should be done.
Nor is Japan exempt from this left disdaining social etiquette.
It's considered impolite - and bad luck - to eat with your chopsticks in your left hand there. The majority of left-handed children are still forced to use their right hands to write.
However, given the prevalence of Christian imagery in this adaptation of Death Note (and indeed the original too), it's worth noting that the Archangel Gabriel sat at God's left hand. And he was the Angel of Judgement.
Judgement Incarnate or possibly Satanic (in the traditional modern sense) evil doer? You decide.
Though I will say that imagery in previous episodes has suggested Light aligning more with Lucifer the Light Bringer, than Gabriel the Bringer of Life from the baby spirit banks of Sheol. I haven't seen Kira raise a trumpet to his lips once.
'We All Fall Down Like Toy Soldiers'
Noticing what's in the background is generally quite worthwhile in Death Note's television adaptation. There's no exception here.
While Light ponders strategy, we clearly see his troops lined up against the wall behind him. Symbolically, at least, in the form of toy soldiers.
We're meant to spot them. They fill half of the screen, in perfect clarity, vividly green against a white background. Apparently green means 'freshness; eternal life; youthfulness' in Japan's colour coding. Innocent then, in the prime of their lives, individually placed so each stands out.
Yet overlooked, thus dominated by the antlered head of a Japanese Kirin - as already discussed in my review of episode two - positioned like Light to the left.
This mythological being is representative of vengeful judgement and justice. Its placement making it almost seem like a sheepdog herding those toy soldiers into their orderly rows. Like sheep corralled into the fold.
And below there is a human skeleton, not unlike Rem in aspect, standing slightly off the ground, aping Misa's stance whilst captured by L and the Japanese police. It's flanked by the skeletal reproductions of two dinosaurs - both extinct.
Does anyone know what purple creature features prominently in that bottom corner? It's staring straight at Light.
Possibly a mythological Japanese totem for luck or protection? Most of those pertaining to Light generally fall into that category, unless they're representing Kira in murderous reckoning. It looks like a horse to me. Please do shout up, if you can identify it.
Now keep your attention on Light's carefully placed pawns - those plastic troops - as he switches persona more noticeably into Kira.
He fades in. They fade out. Still commanding half of the screen, but utterly out of focus. Kira's looking away and our eyes naturally follows his direction.
No-one cares now what happens to the once vivid and innocent, penned and ignored toy soldiers. Losing their individuality as they fade from view. Just pieces to be played on Kira's personal battlefield. Deployed in dialogue, and already moving out of sight. Out of mind to follow suit quite swiftly.
Like any other war really.
White Knight L Upon a Death Note Chessboard
Of course, if you're going to create a combat driven gaming board of your surroundings, then nobody does it better than L.
His entire inner sanctum seems fashioned upon a gigantic Wammy House chessboard - a game which was invented to equate a theatre of war, requiring tactical moves not unlike those found upon real life battle-fields.
I know it's been highlighted before, but look at that colour scheme and ceiling squares. Everything square or rectangular really, even the paper that L is holding up. The whole theme suggestive of a chequered board in chess.
Kira's biggest problem being the white knight sitting one step before him and two beside. That's an L shape and knight can own any piece from there, not least the black king currently held in check.
And is that a giant white king chess-piece looming alongside Light? Bit dangerous. It can only move one square, but that's enough to take him completely should he get too close.
Luckily it's only a pillar. Randomly ornate in a room full of squares, mostly in black and white with a nice blue border. (Cloudlike patterns for blue sky thinking.)
See the double row of identical shirts, white pawns awaiting play upon their white squares. With an option on snakes and ladders, as an option at the back.
No, no, I'm sorry, I'm a noob. Double row, stacked squares - bricks in a castle, spiral staircase leading up into the tower. Besieged by a darker ladder with the potential to breach. Sky above. Placed in a corner of the chessboard, precisely where one would expect to find a white side's rook.
(Black rook sits opposite. The entrance way into the room, all dark steel cages and stairs to descend within.)
The pawns are the white computer chairs standing all in a row. Presumably that's a bishop disguised as a triangle shaped meditation tent over to the side. Spiritual and triangular to imply diagonal.
Ignore the flowing curves of L's desk. A little fancy, but still L shaped. Positioning the White Knight, who has so often got his feet up; astride his table - equine in its stead - as befits a rider.
That L is the White Knight in a giant chessboard also accounts for his choice of lucky ring. The horseshoe signet which had me so befuddled back at the beginning of Death Note's television series run, when I thought it was actually a crescent moon.
Perhaps this explains too the purple horselike creature surveying Kira in that last picture from his own room. Black gets a knight too, though I'm not sure purple counts as black.
Nevertheless, Light's better off now than he was two episodes back, when white captured the black queen and took her clean off the table. A move which forced black king Kira to play repeatedly in check, relying upon stalemate to remain in the game.
A desperate recourse to hope that he lasted long enough to win freedom by default. But it all worked out as planned.
At least he's got a queen. Stop looking at Near, no white queen there despite the actress playing them. Weren't you paying attention last week with the Tower of Babel and all? Or the week before that, with Near positioned up above in surveillance from a camera? Or a few weeks back with that big, red monument beckoning them on to the field of play.
Dude's playing rook right now.
Meanwhile L's having to pretend white has a queen too. Played psychologically - to be subtly intimidating, standing right alongside him - and introduced by dint of installing a suitably regal chess-piece pillar halfway across the board.
Divergent Plotline for Death Note (2015)
Just when I thought that television's Death Note plot was firmly back in the canon groove, it goes and changes things around again.
The glee in this household was palpable. After years of knowing the same old story inside and out, it's wonderfully exciting to have something new to enjoy within the same broad contours of this fascinating, familiar tale.
So Misa goes into the forest to collect her Death Note, finds it, digs it up and reads the title. All in red, like a woman on the brink of powerful ascension, as per long established colour coding in imagery for this Death Note television adaptation. Power right there in her grasp, with all due regard to those scarlet fingernails, which with she raked a manicured touch right across the cellophane.
Then in lieu of regaining her memories, she gets smacked around the head with a spade instead.
Talk about shock! And good fight with this show's propensity to surprise. Now us old timers can watch without knowing what is about to happen next.
And It was All Yellow - Colour Coding Villainy & Violence in Death Note Television Show
Meet Mikami's new friend Hiroki Yudagawa. Misa's assailant in the woods; temporary conveyor of the Death Note; quickly sought and identified by L; and an unwelcome distraction for Light.
Yudagawa was brought to us today by the colour yellow.
I'm not kidding. Look, it follows him around.
He was yellow, Light. Everything about him yellow, from the random hook on his front door to the children's slide outside his house and about a trillion other things besides.
Including the fact that Near is part way through completion of a plain yellow jigsaw (in place of the usual white one), whilst discussing Yudagawa with L.
You'd think it was just his colour, but then yellow crops up again and again. Like in the childhood bullying scene reminisced by Mikami, wherein a much more junior thug was indeed wearing yellow.
Hence yellow is slowly being introduced as the Death Note TV series hue of violence. It's the colour associated with villainy of a much more bog standard level than hitherto encountered in murderous notebook owners, or authority figures advocating torture, and proclaimed geniuses applying the same in blatant disregard of its ineffectiveness as a vehicle for truth.
Yellow applies to the kind of physical violence you'd find in any dodgy pub on a Friday night. Plus the sort of villains who might live in your street.
They Call Me Mello Yellow (Quite Rightly)
Soft glow illuminating from Wammy's desk, drawing the eye at the centre of the screen. Casting yellow shadows that bounce from the white and fade into black, showing us Near, sitting there staring back.
Except its not Near, is it? And I think we all know whose persona watches from the sidelines there.
Lamp like a spotlight, picking out just one figure to be fully lit in this scene: the Mello marionette. Glow bouncing blond like a halo around the top of its head; its shadow reaching out in the pool of yellow light before it.
Near hasn't twirled a single lock in ages. The same lamplight shades that white hair in hues of blond and grey. The puppet lies abandoned a few feet away. To my mind, that's already Mello staring back at us.
So does yellow also mean Mello in this show's internal colour coding? He'd certainly factor into the Man of Violence designation, vis-a-vis the Mafia.
Not to mention the more obvious link with the colour of his hair.
So We're Going to Ignore Murder in Death Note Then?
We've already had a definite glimpse of Mello in episode eight of Death Note (2015) and there was certainly much violence involved, and a profusion of the colour yellow.
It makes the scene above downright weird.
Basically we have to accept that Wammy and L are blithely welcoming Near into their midst - introducing them to high-ranking police officers as L's highly intelligent 'right hand man' (despite looking like a child) - and calmly hanging out playing jigsaws.
All without mentioning this:
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that my parents would have freaked. I think I would have at least been grounded.
What I'm 100% certain about is that my Mum and Dad would not have plonked me in front of the Meditation Tent equivalent of a naughty step, then not mentioned the sodding great corpse I created with my own bare hands, while helping me complete pretty puzzles and complimenting me in front of their friends.
But then again, my parents aren't child traffickers in pursuit of detective dollars (unlike Watari) nor enthusiastic torturers (like, say, L). So perhaps this behaviour is normal in Wammy circles. The evidence seems to point towards as much (yes, we're all looking at you, Beyond Birthday).
Nevertheless, let's just review what the Wammy House massive are overlooking in their child today:
First their little cherub broke into the home of a known violent assailant.
With inevitable results, when their ward was violently assaulted. Thus accounting for the split lip sported in later scenes. (Then mysteriously healing in order to disappear for scenes set just hours later.)
However, this triggered some kind of honour code within the mindset of the emerging Mello persona. No longer smirking from a puppet's face, Mello sneered, "You've done it now."
And whatever showed upon his expression - turned away from the camera, thus hidden to us - was enough to cause panic to pass across a grown thug's face.
Mello continued, "Remember, you're the one who laid a hand on me first." Thus proving that he was raised right, in the correct and sane values that it's ok to commit cold-blooded murder, as long as they hit you first.
Mello and/or Near - in the pursuit of evidence to support their theory that viciously killed Kudagawa was in receipt of the missing Death Note - then completely trashed the place.
Before calling home to report upon their investigative breaking, entering and criminal damage;' 'fess up to murder; and get invited around for a nice evening eating cake and doing jigsaws.
Kids today, eh?!
Shedding Light on Community Policing in Death Note's Japan
Imagine the scene. A young lady has been viciously attacked. A police officer arrives in her hospital room to take her statement.
Just on it, her boyfriend turns up. He gabbles stuff about them being friends and asks the constable to go away, so that the couple could talk.
The officer does not know if this is actually the assailant, as he has no verification nor yet a statement. But he is aware that there's a dangerous woman battering thug out there in his city today. He needs information fast, so the next female digging in woods might do so without a spade across the head.
So the policeman says, "Yes, no trouble. I'll just leave you to it and take yet more time out of my busy schedule to come back at a time more convenient you to, Mr Random Stranger." Or words to that effect.
Actually, you don't need to imagine it. That's precisely what happened in Death Note this week, and the police officer wasn't even being sarcastic in his polite agreement before leaving.
Dodgy Scriptwriting and Police Procedure in Death Note Television Drama (2015)
Yet not even close to being the most bizarre moment.
That's when the Kira Countermeasures task force hears about the attack upon Misa, and L basically hacks the city's CCTV cameras to find out who did it.
Armed with a name and address, the assembled police officers pretty much discuss whether they can be bothered to investigate further. The conclusion being that they're too busy with the (largely stagnant) Kira case to nip over and arrest the spade-wielding psycho.
Not even with all that circumstantial evidence linking Kudagawa WITH the Kira case. Nor does anybody check with head office that Misa's assault is on somebody's else's desk as a case file.
After all the police officer originally tasked with collecting her statement was too busy being polite to actually do his job. (See above.)
So far, so sadly indicative of many police force attitudes around the world.
Though perhaps not the message that Death Note's scriptwriter and director intended to convey in this scene. That would have been - show the caring, supportive presence of nice law enforcement agencies, then get him the Hell out of here ASAP, so we can move the plot along with an anxious exchange of words between Misa and Light.
THEN the bizarrest moment of all kicks in.
Matsuda decides that actually, he CAN be moved to check out the assailant. But he would like to take his boss's son along with him, perhaps for work experience or something.
Moreover, Mogi supports Matsuda's suggestion. Telling their gaffer that Matsuda is so crap at his job that he can only be trusted to investigate if Light is with him.
In lieu of, say, any trained police officer, who's sworn an oath to uphold the law and thus given a mandate by the people of Japan, to act on their behalf in the protection of civilians, pursuit of criminals and preservation of the peace.
After all, the victim was Light's girlfriend, so taking him into the home of her supposed assailant is fine. I mean, what could possibly go wrong there? It's not like there's any potential for an emotional reaction, like avenging his missus with swift and bloody retribution, and/or leaving something nasty inside Kudagawa's home.
Plus you know, getting a warrant to search the property is too much paperwork. So Matsuda will just call the suspect's landlady instead and get her to open his front door.
Anyhow, much waffling done and much more to continue, so I'm going to call this another two parter. Be back soon with the other half.
A rather intriguing countdown timer has appeared on the official Warner Bros website for their Japanese live action Death Note films.
Ordinarily, the site is dedicated to the earlier trilogy of Death Note movies - Death Note (2006); Death Note II: The Last Name (2006); and L: Change the World (2008).
They were all distributed by Warner Bros., with the first two produced in conjunction with Nippon Television (NTV).
This is significant, as the timer on that website runs out on September 13th 2015, at 10.30pm Japanese time. Also known as the moment when the final installment of NTV's Death Note television drama finishes airing.
In short, the small screen climax will coincide with whatever news for the big screen this will bring. A double w(h)ammy for Death Note fans then.
Naturally I've checked the source code to see what clues might lie in there. Nothing much. Just a plain, old page with the apple icon bouncing and the countdown completing.
Its meta tags are all in Japanese, but for one English language rendering of the title Death Note and the words 'movie, trailer'. Which are repeated in the native tongue too, alongside the kanji for Yagami, Light, Raito, Kira, Shueisha, Nippon Television, NTV, official, film, Warner and Warner Bros.
All of which could pertain to the content this counter replaced. Or might not.
The current buzz, across the fandom and anime/manga news sites, is that we're about to see a fourth Japanese live action Death Note film announced. But it's all speculation at this juncture.
What do you think?
Consider this a preview: we are finally going to see Mello as a live action Death Note actor. Mio Yuki switches clothes and character to bring the Mafioso bad boy to life.
As spammed all over Twitter - glimpsed in episode nine, already aired in Japan - here's our first look at a fully realised Death Note Mello live action persona.
Did you miss out on the opportunity to see Death Note's theatrical stage-show during its inaugural run live in Japan?
Then dry your tears - HoriPro has just announced that it will be airing its musical on Japanese television this autumn.
Viewers will be able to watch two live performances of Death Note the Musical from the comfort of their own homes. Featuring the original cast, filmed in Tokyo, during dates which marked the international launch of Death Note as a stage adaptation.
Headed by Kenji Urai and Koike Teppei, as Light and L respectively, the company perform songs composed by Broadway's Frank Wildhorn, and produced by Kuriyama Tamiya.
Your first opportunity to watch the televised show will be on October 17th 2015, at 8pm.
The demanding role of Light Yagami, within a packed performance schedule, meant that it was divided between two actors. Playing Kira on alternative nights was Hayato Kakizawa, who will be in the lead role for the second Musical Death Note to hit Japan's television screens.
This production will be broadcast on November 7th 2015, at 6.30pm.
(NB There's a Tweet circulating, which has the Kira actors switched for these Death Note the Musical televised shows. I guess we find out in due time.)
It's hoped that those televised premier run recordings will gain even more significance over decades to come, as Death Note becomes established in theatres globally. The production has already been staged in South Korea to great critical acclaim.
Death Note Musical Promo with English Songs
In other news, there's a brand new theatrical trailer for this 2.5D Death Note live adaptation.
The promo features songs from the Death Note Musical in English, no doubt to render it more attractive to theatre companies and executives in the West. (Yes, we're all looking at you, America.)
Enjoy it while you wait for the show - be it on your television screen or on a theatrical stage, if or when it finally turns up in your own country.
Near Watch is pretty much concluded. After episode 7 of television's Death Note drama, it's undoubtedly proved to be Mello Watch too. Though the jury is still out on Matt there as well.
We so called it. Back in my review of the very first episode of Death Note's TV drama, I wrote:
Is Near hearing voices? Are we witnessing a schizophrenic future L? Or is (s)he merely dissociating him/herself from the dodgier thoughts passing through consideration?
Watching and piecing together the clues from week to week, my SO and I have increasingly been talking about Near with Multiple Personality Disorder (though I understand that psychologists would prefer us to discuss this as Near's Dissociative Identity Disorder, because they renamed it again).
By episode seven, all speculation was confirmed as fact. We saw Near's persona physically switch into Mello. We witnessed a re-emerging Near beg Mello, "Don't come out."
Thus paving the way for a million future Death Note memes on the subject of Mello coming out.
Death Note's Babel in the Tower: Multiple Voices Seeking to be Heard at the Same Time
There was a hint, in the scenes immediately prior to the great reveal, that split identities - or the divisive babble of too many voices simultaneously sounding - was going to factor into this story.
Our clue was in the pseudonym taken by Near: Babel.
With all the Judeo-Christian imagery surrounding Near in this series, it's not too difficult to guess from whence they lifted this new moniker. Genesis 11:1-9 tells - within a Biblical context- the story of the City of Babel.
Its people decided to build a tower, those top reaches would allow them to climb into Heaven itself. God wasn't best pleased about this imminent invasion of human beings, so set out to thwart them.
Until then, everyone on Earth had been united. They spoke just one language and all understood each other. God did a bit of smiting, or cursing, whatever you call it, whereby their mother tongue suddenly splintered into all the various languages heard around the globe, then and since.
Hence Babel being the root of babble. Multiple voices. No-one able to understand the other.
Additionally, God 'scattered them abroad', so that none were congregated in the city anymore, but its population exiled all over the planet. The people divided from one into many.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language...
Oh look! Near and Mello are one! And possibly Matt makes three, though the evidence is tenuous and not yet confirmed by canon. But they can be - and are about to be - separate entities. Just like the people of Babel.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Plus it doesn't hurt that Babel looks a bit like Babe L, as befits L's successor or, as Near is described in the TV adaptation of Death Note, 'consultant'.
Nor does the Babel imagery end there.
Kiras Meeting in the Yotsuba Tower of Babel
The whole Yotsuba group could be seen as acting akin to the citizens of that Biblical city. They band together at the top of a Tower and, as a kind of collective Kira, they seek to steal for themselves that which habitually belongs to deity. Be that access into Heaven, or writing in a Shinigami's notebook.
The Yotsuba arc continues running parallel to the Tower of Babel tale, insofar as God (well, Light Yagami shorn of his Kira memories) sets out to divide and conquer them, thus snatching back divine power as his sole preserve.
Light doesn't change the Yotsuba executives' language. Despite the nice touch in 'Babel' (aka Near/Mello) asking for 'hush money'.
However L and Babel succeed in causing divisions amongst the group's mindset. When they are no longer working in accord, nor even in the same room, its a simple matter to confound their pseudo-divine plan.
Another Note: Beyond Birthday's Near Nod in Death Note (2015) Episode Seven
Of course, when we first saw that giant B appear upon the screen, none of us were thinking of Mello, Near, Babel nor anyone else inserted into the show.
In the Death Note universe, an Old English font letter B signifies L's original back-up: Beyond Birthday.
I thought we were jamming with L's second. We were, but not in the way that elicited so many gasps from those watching from my house.
Watari: There are three people known as the greatest detectives in the world. L, Eraldo Coil, and Marie Deneuve. Babel is ranked after the three of them.
He was B. B stood for Backup. For Babel - the second... OMG! Was Death Note's Beyond Birthday in this show after all?!!
I mean, how fabulous would that have been?!
The first child, A, was unable to handle the pressure of living up to L and took his own life, and the second child, Beyond Birthday, was brilliant and deviant.
Alas, no. Near has not only merged with Mello, but absorbed Beyond Birthday's background too. It remains to be seen whether this includes his jam-loving, murderous self, as a separate persona.
However in that 'I know all about it. Deep down inside, you think you're better than L' line from episode two, we've already seen Mello accuse Near of something more commonly attributed to Beyond. Did 'deep down inside' hold a more significance than hitherto realised?
Dissociative Identity Disorder in Death Note
Ok, I'll call it - Near IS Beyond Birthday! And that's not all.
A could have been the original individual - the first child - whose personality fragmented into the rest, and is now lost beneath them all. Near is so named, as the persona most closely resembling A. Or its an acronym: Near Enough A's Replica.
I tell you, Matt's in there too. Probably Linda and all the Letters from L: Change the World as well. Given enough time, scope and energy, Near's going to turn out to be a walking Wammy's House; all Watari Letters contained within a single form.
Which probably accounts for the outstanding cleverness overall.
A Double Wammy in Death Note's Multiple Personality Plot Twists?
We should never forget the key point about Beyond Birthday - he looked like L. Enough to fool Naomi Misora into thinking she was dealing with the same man. Practically clones, L and Beyond, physically at least.
Beyond Birthday with Naomi Misora on the fly sheet of Another Note.
A version depicting Beyond Birthday close up adorns the German translation book-cover.
Have we yet discounted the hypothesis given in an earlier blog entry - that it's L with the multiple personalities? Near et al live solely within his head; with an option on Watari additionally being a dissociated fragment of L's own self.
It would explain why the detective's insistence upon a sterile home environment faded whenever he went outside to play tennis or watch Ichigo Berry in concert. That wasn't L. It was Mello or somebody wearing L's face.
Less L changing the world, than the world triggering a change in L.
Moreover, L's Dissociative Identity Disorder would fix an anomaly which has been niggling me since the very first episode. (I am a Death Note fan-fiction writer, finding plot-holes to credibly fill is what breathes life into our tales.) How could Wammy's House alter architecturally, depending upon whether L or Near sit on that staircase?
Maybe there is no Wammy's House in the physical world. It exists as a mind palace inside the psyche of a genius detective, acting as the gateway through which dissociated selves become dominant. No accident therefore why it appears as a hallway - the only room ever glimpsed in that house - devoid of creature comforts, stark and stripped, even when highly decorated. Its main purpose being as a place to leave or be received.
Its secondary purpose to be where personae stand by, acting as consultants in the near consciousness. Communicating fully with the self on public display, seeing upon their screens what that worldly self views with their own eyes.
Which is why L and Near's respective monitors once displayed the same page of Kira suspects; why L was able to hear Mello speaking, though the camera showed that Near's lips were not moving. They were still in the House at that point. L discerned Mello coming to the fore within his own mind.
Hence the terrified look then, and the horror on L's face, when Watari informed him that Near had left the House.
Watari acts as a kind of internal gatekeeper, or an external carer, able to inform L when personae become dominant without his knowing that time had been missed.
Watari was telling him that he'd been usurped by Near. That Near had been dominant, while L unknowingly and unwittingly was shut down, losing time through being stashed somewhere within the unseen chambers of Wammy's House.
Worse still, that Near could act as a conduit, or else has a twin, a counterpoint to his own behaviour - so close in morality to L, that the latter doesn't always mind him coming to the fore - which can too easily flip to control them both. It might be Mello playing maverick with their case-load, and it's impossible to predict his moves or count on tracking them down later.
They couldn't even trust that he was always on their side, working with L and Near, rather than Kira.
They could lose the game simply because Mello played by different rules, or entered into another game entirely. And what would it cost, if Beyond Birthday was ever to wake to discern the death of the world from a Wammy House hallway window?
Oh! There's so much fun to be had speculating on the possibilities inherent in this new Death Note storyline! But I'd better return to what is, and not what might potentially be.
Creation of a Successor - L and Near's Michelangelo Moment in Death Note (2015)
As primary player in opposition to Kira, L demonstrated his ability to consider the whole team in episode seven of Death Note TV drama. If he was forced to forfeit his position, then it would be beneficial to assign a successor.
That way Kira wouldn't gain too much ground, while struggles for dominance divided and conquered those who might stand in his way.
L has already foreseen that his baton could soon need to be passed on. He cryptically tagged Near, placing him on stand-by as his choice for successor.
The way he did so owed a debt in imagery to Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. Wherein God reaches out to touch Adam, gifting the spark of life to one made in His own image.
Or, as L did it in Death Note (2015), gifting a jigsaw piece to the one who thinks most closely to himself.
All on the off-chance that L should (metaphorically of course) fatally place his own wrong piece in the battle against Kira. Then it would fall to his successor - 'It could be you, Near' - to finish the puzzle, and the war.
Near caught the implication loud and clear, with an expression further seeing significance in L leaving the scene, as soon as his piece was conveyed. It was a gesture laden with pathos. Inherently implying that L expected to die.
Though naturally Mello was looking in the opposite direction, when all consideration of L's successor pointed due Near.
He was probably too busy noticing that their surroundings still looked like a Mafia penthouse in Los Angeles.
Nor had it been explained, other than the room wasn't in Wammy's House ("You don't have to go back to the house?" L asked Near not two minutes previously). The furnishings weren't even remotely like those in the hotel, wherein we last saw Near lodged and within the depths of which L had his own hide-out.
Perhaps it would have been too blatant had they gone instead for the zebra striped suite from the other Mafia digs in the desert.
Though it begs the question that, if I'm right about where this scene takes place, then why are Near and L there?
Unless I'm also right in my wilder speculation that this room doesn't exist in the real world. It's L visiting a secondary self inside a place located inside his own psyche.
And that jigsaw piece passing hands is L acknowledging that he's losing his position as dominant personality amidst a multitude of others.
Light Changes L's Mind: Death Note Winners
Actually, we did watch L's mind wilfully changing, or at least his mindset concerning how winning and losing would be judged in this clash between himself and Kira.
In L's world-view, the challenge has been issued with Light as his opponent, regardless of how they spent episode seven double teaming against an external interloper. The Yotsuba group, headed by Higuchi as the current Death Note owning Kira, were never serious challengers in L's book. They existed as an opportunity to gather clues and ammunition for the proper battle of wills with Light.
But to play an effective game, both sides need to know the rules. Otherwise how could anyone be declared champion? It would be a hollow victory without the loser knowing themselves to be beaten.
Thus the conditions for winning were set out by Light and agreed by L.
Even if we learn how he kills people, if a comrade dies that's losing, in my opinion.
A game-changing moment, which saw L immediately switching tactics to take down the Yotsuba group and its Kira with ease. But for him, this contained a fatal flaw.
A Fatal Flaw for L in new Death Note Drama
Light couldn't have known that he spoke for Kira too.
But no matter that. L had already observed that Light and Kira's minds worked along the same lines. Light's thoughts would probably fit in with Kira's plans too. Their dual outlook aligning in this duel.
Nor was Light necessarily aware that his definition of winning was meaningful for L.
It was Kira who entered into the battle of wills with the detective, not Light. If he felt the challenge, then it was in reaction to L's actions now. His memories of the previous cerebral duelling had been wiped.
If L's pride hadn't been so intent upon recognition as the winner, then he wouldn't have altered his game-plan. Perhaps the outcome might have been different. As it was, allowing Light to influence strategy had immediate consequences.
He touched the Death Note. His memories flooded back. Himself as Kira returned. Just as planned.
Paradise Lost and Kira - Myself am Hell
There have always been shades of Milton's Paradise Lost running as an undercurrent through Death Note.
One day, I shall write a whole blog comparing the two, demonstrating how significantly Kira quotes Satan from Milton's epic verse.
To my mind, one of those moments comes in Light's classic line, 'I am Kira'. I can't help thinking of Satan in Paradise Lost screaming out, 'Myself am Hell!'
It's not word for word - nor even close - but their proclamations hold the same feeling for me. Not least because both are spoken as each anti-hero assumes their role by mentally and emotionally accepting its inevitability. Each against a background of isolation, as all relationships become merely instruments through which power may be gained or retained.
If this Death Note live action drama continues along tradition lines, then we can see another link between Milton's Satan and TV's Kira.
Each are now poised to duel with an avenging second. Be it Satan's clash with the Archangel Michael (Champion of El), or Kira's confrontation with Mello, aka Mihael Keehl (Champion of L).
The latter already long since viewed in kinship to St Michael. Ensured by Near's constant visual references to Giordano's The Fall of the Rebel Angels - showing Michael taking down Satan - whenever Mello's potential in play came to the fore.
Plus the obvious parallel in which Satan was Heaven's Light-Bringer, and Kira was Light. Ignorance is bliss they say. Light hated Kira. His own paradise lost in the knowledge that he is Kira.
The Return of the King: Kira Finds his Precious
However it wasn't Milton, but Tolkien brought to mind in Masataka Kubota's performance as a re-emerging Kira.
Watching this Kira clutch his Death Note prompted me to write 'Gollum' on my pad, then circle it several times as the sequence progressed. I really did expect him to start hissing, 'My Precious!'
The television adaptation of Death Note has pinged off Tolkien's Middle Earth saga several times already.
Not until Death Note 2015 have we heard that the notebook alters personalities to the bad. That using it invokes paranoia and feelings of dread, not to mention causing agony for those writing names. These are traits more commonly associated with the One Ring to Bind Them All in Tolkien's universe.
The emergence of a secondary personality - split from the owner's primary persona and seemingly built to serve the artefact - is another facet found in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most notably in Gollum, whose conversations with his other self might have also inspired Mio Yuki's portrayal of Near and Mello in open discussion.
That Gollum with the Ring appears physically transformed is echoed in how TV Death Note's Kira can be discerned, distinct from Light, changed utterly.
In Death Note's Dark Prism Light Splits
Light was actually being truthful then, when he emphatically told L that he wasn't Kira. At least in this version of Death Note.
There was none of that in the original manga Death Note, nor its anime, nor even the previous Japanese live-action adaptations. In all of those variants, Kira seemed less Light Yagami's split personality and more an alternative name for the same individual.
Light's nick-name, if you like.
Accepted and assumed during a period when Light's psyche stretched to embrace ownership of the Death Note. A label therefore for his supposed megalomania and increasingly apparent descent into madness. But still fundamentally a single self.
Only by integrating Tolkienesque themes, do we witness Light and Kira separated, as dissociated identities and possibly an emerging secondary self entirely.
By implication, the Death Note dividing his very soul.
Kira Identified in Split Personalities
Let's just say this: you will feel the fear and pain known only to humans who've used the notebook. And when it's your time to die, it will fall on me to write your name in my death note. Be warned any human who's used a death note can neither go to heaven nor hell for eternity... That's all.
Maybe this soul-split is why those who use the Death Note are condemned to Mu when they die?
Complete souls are required to enter Heaven or Hell, at least as such things are understood by shinigami. Personae fragmenting from the same being dilutes the core identity enough that their passport into the afterlife is denied. With nowhere to go, they are lost to the void and formless. Nothingness ensues.
Moreover, this might explain why Death Note owners are identifiable by the lack of a name and date above their heads. It could be that shinigami eyes are confounded by the data being multiplied, as more than one person is present inside that head.
If so, then this has obvious implications for Near and Mello too.
Not least because shinigami eyes are twice used to read Mihael Keehl above Mello's head in the canon rendering. What will happen during those scenes in the story? Can Mello still be killed, as one self amongst multiples?
If so, how does that affect Near? Will he die too? Or will he seem to make like a gamer or a cat with apparently numerous lives to risk in battling Kira?
If not, then how might Kira react to the discovery that some - to all practical extent and purpose - possess immunity from the Death Note's deadly reach. And L's successors are amongst their number.
A new twist beckons, as the insertion of split personalities creates diverging plot-lines. It will be interesting to see how this pans out as the story progresses.
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