Near and Mello in Death Note TV Drama 2015
Near always looks over the head of the puppet, whenever (s)he addresses Mello. His voice is heard, projected without so much as a twitch of Near's lips.
In the second episode it seemed that a shoulder could be glimpsed in the shadows of the fireplace chair alongside Near. Right at the spot where his/her eyes kept being drawn, roughly consistent with where a head might be on the individual seated there.
L addressed Mello directly, as someone external to Near in that same instalment. He subtly did it again just moments prior to the wide-shot scene above. Watari approached to say that Near was on the line. L answered, "I'll call them back." Implying that there was more than one person to be called back.
Mello: He's disrespecting you!
Near: Calm down.
Mello: Hey, call Kira! We can work with Kira to erase L!
Near: We can't do that.
Mello: Help him out.
It's at this point that Near shifted to physically align position with the puppet.
Near and Mello: You're so stuck-up, Near.
Near: You talk too much Mello.
Near and Mello: Dummy! Dummy!
What Near was looking at - in lieu of referring to an actual Mello there - was the canvas depicting the Fall of the Rebel Angels.
Yet two voices were heard and they were both Near. So yep. That's the major gossip. Near is in fact Mello. And a whole section of the fandom freezes. While also admitting that it makes for an intriguing storyline.
I know that half of the Mello/Matt fandom are here. What do you make of it? Personally I'm quite fascinated. I'm sticking around to see where they go with this, whilst holding out for a real Mello to turn up later in the series.
After all, Near's puppet was based on someone in the manga. It might still be here too.
Item one is a wilful disregard for human life on the part of all three main protagonists. Four, if we include Near/Mello's avowed compulsion to kill L.
There's Light scribbling down names a week in advance, so Kira's body count may continue, even as Light himself is under surveillance. He contemplates the fact that he can only get five names onto his scrap of paper, not with any remorse for murder, nor any avowed sense of justice, but as a personal smoke screen. He's a very different young man from the sobbing one seen in the earlier episodes. Kira cold and plotting, already consumed by the need to succeed whatever the cost.
There's Misa blithely noting that a cameraman only has a year to live, even as she's smiling and posing for pictures. It doesn't seem to penetrate emotionally at all. She doesn't know him and he appears to be a bit of a creep. Nevertheless, you'd expect a flicker of human feeling at the realisation of his imminent demise.
Later, she's downright gleeful, as she joins spectators at the scene where two criminals lie dead. They've been killed by herself, with her own Death Note, at the urging of Rem. There's none of the angst that beset Light at his first Kira kills playing upon her face. She's even dressed appropriately as the Black Widow incarnate.
Mind Games in TV Death Note Episode Four
It was more important for L to be the one to find Kira, than it was to catch Kira per se, or save a man's life.
Compliance and the Loss of Human Rights
The phenomenon of compliance exists all too easily in real life too - which is how concentration camps are built and harsh laws enacted without much more than a murmur on the streets - and L knows very well how to invoke such behaviour.
Human beings basically want to follow the herd. No matter how heinous the action, most will first look around to see if anyone else is speaking out. We second guess ourselves, if all our peers appear readily accepting of the situation. If someone in authority assures us that it's alright, then it's pretty much game over. We're socially programmed to not only keep silent, but actually join in that which ordinarily we'd call an outrage.
Matsuda protests against L's deadly usage of Ray Penbar for bait. L sneeringly dismisses the condemnation, assured in his personal immunity because Matsuda can't file an official complaint without exposing his real name and face to Kira.
The police officer instantly backs down. Personal safety, the silence of his peers and L's scathing tone reduce his concerns to nothing, despite the clarity of his duty here.
The compliance is complete, when all officers not only cease their protest, but join in with what they previously found so reprehensible. It's only several days hence that Mogi has an insight to level at L, "You're the same way (as Kira)!"
Then they're all sent home. L no longer needs to manipulate them into compliance, he was about to switch tactics anyway.
Manipulation Tactics in Death Note Episode 4
Then again Soichiro Yagami himself was above similar guilt manipulation.
I refer to his whole speech partway through about evil being the ability to kill, and those with such power being truly cursed. His condemnation of 'Kira is evil' soon wiped the smirk from his son's face.
Strategies involving manipulation were also very much in evidence in this episode of the television live action Death Note drama.
Some were very subtle indeed, like Light Yagami reading girlie magazines in full view of cameras that he knew to be there. Moreover, he discerned that his father was watching. An obvious guilt trip to make it really awkward for Soichiro to be witnessing the scene before all of his staff.
Other techniques of manipulation were middling, such as Watari - acting upon L's orders - broadcasting fake news bulletins about 1500 FBI agents entering Japan to search for Kira.
More yet were downright blatant. Light came on like a bulldozer in manipulating Ryuk by force of apple abstinence into helping him find the surveillance devices in his bedroom.
Given that the police authorities had already 'lost their nerve', it's probably a blessing for L that its chiefs didn't know his location. Else Misa might have won that round.
Hidden Nod to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
The stricken Chief of Police was called Ogiso Takeshi. That he shared the same name as Death Note's canon artist was obvious. Less so was the link between Ohba and Ogiso.
We have to slip back a few centuries and relocate to Africa. There you'll find the biggest Benin dynasties. Firstly the Ogiso, which was succeeded by *drum roll* the Oba. Different spelling, same pronunciation. Tenuous? I think not.
Paranoia in the Watchers and the Watched
Particularly in the sense of that old adage: 'just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not watching you'.
Light Yagami is downright paranoid from the off.
Though, to be fair, it's with good reason, what with FBI agents following him, Japanese agents watching his every move at home, Misa stalking him and L turning up at his school to challenge him in front of all his friends.
He begins the episode with statements like, 'if anything happens to me, Kira's judgements must still go on', thus implying that he believes something might happen to him. He then has a good long paranoid moment in class, trying to guess the identity of the second Kira - is it someone he knows? It is somebody famous? It could be anybody!
His paranoia also shows in his behaviour. Booby-trapping his bedroom door is a big one, though again that actually tipped him off that his room had been entered by professionals.
By partway through, his self-commentary is coming out with things like, "If I make one false move, (L will) find out." Not the musings of a sane boy, however correct his presumptions transpired to be.
Mind you, he did manage to traverse the potato chip scene without any of the iconic bellowing of his English dub anime counterpart.
Then you get Misa's big moment, wherein Rem warns her that using any Death Note causes its owner to become highly paranoid. (A new aspect created for this telling of the tale?) Until now, Misa has appeared relatively intelligent and capable. Suddenly she's beaming blankly at Rem, asking airily, "What does paranoid mean?"
Before setting out to manipulate Light by triggering his own Death Note incurred paranoia. It all felt a little jarring from where I was sitting.
Light xL Fanservice in Death Note TV Episode 4
Until now, Kento Yamazaki taking his shirt off every episode has been the biggest fare on offer for his fans. Now a good ten minutes was taken up with nothing much beyond Light and L flirting incessantly and posing with little to no clothes on. There was a whole scene in a communal shower for Kami's sake!
Let's just have a little picture show and let the images speak for themselves.