Death Note

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Death Note and Nihilism

The successful manga Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba is about what if one person (the main character Light Yagami) could kill anyone they wish by simply writing down a name.

Since that’s how the Death Note works, *spoilers* it isn’t surprising that Light loses not only his life but also any compassion he had towards the people he personally knew, including his own family.

As a result, the story of Death Note shares possible connections to the philosophy of nihilism by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Analyze those connections in the Death Note manga to nihilism’s definition and practice. Include also how Death Note has been mistaken like nihilism (link) as something to literally follow in real life (link)

Please note that this topic doesn’t focus on the Death Note anime/show but the original Death Note manga only (i.e. where Light was told early on that there is nothing after death by his Death Note’s shinigami owner.) Therefore, that aspect of the Death Note manga connects back to nihilism as an example since nihilistic belief is also about there being no afterlife.

  • I would point out that the show does point out that Light does end up changing things because the crime rate went down tremendously. SO, I wouldn't say 'attempt to change life never works.' To relate an Anime to a Philosopher, we need actual evidence of the philosopher. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
  • In regards to your first link, I would be wary of it. He makes mention of Nietzsche's famous quote, "God is dead!" but he does not give context to it, or even make mention-- for those who have not read, The Gay Science-- where the quote comes from. The quote comes from section 125 in The Gay Science and the section is italicized, The Madman. For your sake I'll quote it, The Madman.-- Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: "I seek God! I seek God!"-- As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea-voyage? Has he emigrated?--the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. "Where is God gone?" he called out. "I mean to tell you! We have killed him,--you and I! We are all his murderers! but how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breath upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Dow we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction?--for even God putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console our selves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife,--who will wipe the blood from us?.... That is most of the section. For a better knowledge of Nihilism and Nietzsche in general, I refer to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Not only is it free, but every article provides citations to tell you where this idea came from and why they are citing it. It might even be interesting, in staying with the Nietzsche vein, to think about the possibility that either Light or L are the Übermensch (Overman or superman in German). – garland41 9 years ago
  • Another thing people should take into account is how the anime deconstructs the notion of justice and how more terrifying it is to look at when seeing it is more based on power rather than actual morality, which is itself more relative than people realize. – Vicious237 3 months ago

Was the Netflix Death Note adaptation as abysmal as people say?

Netflix recently released its live action adaptation of Death Note, and people were less than impressed by it. A few people who have not seen the original have said that they enjoyed the film for what is was. Without associating it with the source material, is there joy and entertainment to be found here?
Also, is it possible that the whole ‘white washing’ element cast a dark cloud over the whole production (which seemed a bit odd considering that it is the most diverse iteration of Death Note with a wide array of characters from many different races). It would be very interesting to find reasons while the Netflix adaptation, though flawed, was not as bad as people made out.

  • I feel like what made people so upset about this was not necessarily the "white washing", but the uprooting the entire premise of the show and moving it to America. – ees 7 years ago
  • It's embedded in the nature of adaptation. Rampant fandoms prove to be a consumer lock but also a social media nightmare. Manga/anime fandoms are serious and tough. If we were talking about any number of other adaptations, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. That people are mad for the Obha & Obata manga (and subsequent, concurrent anime series) automatically sets an absurd bar for any adaptation. Check *Oldboy,* maybe. It's done a series of adaptation loops. Regardless, good topic. – Paul A. Crutcher 7 years ago

Death Note after L

It is exciting to watch Light and L intellectually battle throughout the T.V. show. However, after L dies, does the show lose this excitement? L’s presence seemed to serve a crucial function to keep the audience engaged. As one kept wondering, who would win? Light or L? Once L dies, the victor is clear. With the lose of L, what once captivated the audience is also lost.

  • It is to vague. Why do you think it loses excitement? Talk about the different characters that substitute L's absence. – Andrestrada 8 years ago
  • It seems like a promising topic but maybe you could provide a little more details about the context. It would be helpful if you offer some hints about what people should analyze/ examine. – Nilab Ferozan 8 years ago
  • Would this be more of a comparison between L and Near/Mello? Or a comparison of the structuring of the 'dance' between Light/L, Light having to be an absolute master of planning, even without memory, as opposed to the way in which he deals with L's successors? Also, is this exclusively about the show, or also about the manga? – chandlerwp 8 years ago
  • It could be interesting to focus on Light's character between the first half and the second (after L's death). Light's character changes a bit throughout the series, and no doubt a lot of it involved his struggle with trying to get L out of the picture. For me, I think the series lost its excitement when it took away any sympathy Light could possibly have (or any sympathy the audience could feel for him). In my opinion, Light's story felt less compelling after L's death because the show had constantly built up their rivalry, only to drop another "opponent" (Near) on the viewer, which the viewer had no prior attachment to or knowledge of. – Filippo 8 years ago
  • This needs to be way more specific in order for any kind of productive article to come out of the topic. It's a bit too proud and subjective, as far as what you're defining as "excitement" – Antebellum 8 years ago
  • I was never a big fan of the series after L dies. Light vs. L is the early stage character & plot development and thus, naturally, has more excitement and theatrical tension. I agree with @Filippo up there that Light's story felt "less compelling after L's death". Personally, I'd even prefer the story to maintain the Death Note concept but change the MCs after Light has lost his destined rival L. It is best for the villain & the hero to end their journey upon the death of one party, and I'd definitely want to see someone write about this topic. – Chiharu 8 years ago

Death Note: Saitama meets Light

What would happen if Light Yagami from "Death note" wrote Saitama’s name in the Death Note? In addition, what would happen when other aspects of different anime’s worlds combined and clashed with one another. for example, if Edward Elric attempted alchemy on Tōma Kamijō’s right hand? In essence, when key elements from different story lines meet, which one takes dominance? Saitama’s (for all intents and purposes) invincibility or the absolute inescapable death provided by the Shinigami’s death note?