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Watch & Learn: Death Note Episode #37

The final episode! What did I think?

 He might not be the man who should've won, but he's the one who finally did.
 He might not be the man who should've won, but he's the one who finally did.

Forgive me for this taking a little longer than usual. This show’s ending has taken me a while to digest.  

The best revenge stories bread down like this. 90% of the plot’s spent getting you to hate the bad guys, while the final 10% is all about savoring their comeuppance.   DEATH NOTE’s 36 episodes and 12 hours of content have set Light up as a thoroughly-detestable, ultimately- loathsome wretch… and I got serious satisfaction watching him squirm, panic and finally lose in such an undignified way. And I relished each successive humiliation leveled upon all of Kira’s accomplishments:   how Misa’s presumably walking to her own death like some brainless lemming (possibly because Ryuk wrote her name down, too,) how proud Mikami scurried like a rabid rat (and spewed blood,) how this whole grand ordeal began and ended on the capricious whims of a bored demon.

 Such a fitting image.
 Such a fitting image.

Actually, you think about it, and this whole show’s quite nihilistic (although, that shouldn’t be too surprising for a show called DEATH NOTE.) All this drama could start all over the next time a shinigami wants some diversion.  The revelation about how Mello’s death was actually him sacrificing himself to force Light’s hand and identify the note… that’s touching, but how profound is it when it all it takes is another book dropping to invalidate it? I cheered for Matsuda finally stepping up and saving the day, but you can’t help feeling like everybody’s really as clueless as he usually is.

 Oh, Mello... you WERE a hero, all along.
 Oh, Mello... you WERE a hero, all along.

Despite all of that, this ending wasn’t actually much of a downer. Like I’ve always said, this show doesn’t push themes that force you to read it in one way. Rather, it just presents events as they would likely happen in this world and lets you read into it as you'd like. I’d say my only criticism of the show is that it presents so many rules and plot threads that it’s couldn't possibly address. Like what was the point of specifying that shimigami eyes come at a cost if we never actually see the consequences of the deal (unless Misa’s suicide is an example of that?) And I really wanted to see a little more about L and Near’s backgrounds revealed - - although I suppose that might take away their mystique.

There aren’t really any lingering mysteries to this show, I suspect. Not like EVANGELION, at least.   I give this show great respect for maintaining such highly-strung tension over so many episodes, for being so intense without ever needing to have a brawl and for having no other show, comic, novel or movie I can adequately compare it to. DEATH NOTE truly stands alone and it's truly inspiring. 
 
Watch this final episode "New World" on Hulu here and decide for yourself. Read my comments on the previous episode here and be sure to vote on what I should watch next for this column here.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

OmegaChosenon July 1, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.
The anime ending is okay but I vastly prefer the manga ending to it. Look it up if you feel like seeing Light squirm even more as well as Matsuda's surprisingly feasible theories on how exactly this all went down.
 
In any case, really liked this series. Can't wait to see what you do next Tom.
AnimeAlexon July 1, 2010 at 9:22 p.m.
Really liked this Watch and Learn.
Gaseroon July 1, 2010 at 9:25 p.m.
 The way I see it, Light only lost because Mikami didn't do as he was told. Mikami went off track to get the Death Note again when Takada was in trouble and the SBK member was able to get the book. I'm not sure how Light's plans would have played out if it weren't for that incident.
 
By the way, how ridiculous was it that that SBK guy was able to get the book, make a duplicate of it - including the handwriting - and provide Mikami with a fake overnight? I did not like that part of the finale at all. It felt like such a leap.
 
In my eyes, it was of no fault of Light that he lost. It was Mikami's fault. Seeing Light squirm after he had been confident the whole series really made me cringe though. I guess his character deserved it, but wow that was such a drop for him.
 
Of course, the throwback to what Ryuk said at the beginning of the series about being the one to kill Light was pretty good. It made me wonder though, how is Rem going to write Misa's name if Rem died? Who kills Misa is really the ultimate mystery of Death Note.
sickVisionz moderator on July 1, 2010 at 10:09 p.m.
I enjoyed watching this episode but two things made me want to punch a wall. 
 
#1 Matsuda aka Kira fanboy #1 aka Mr. I don't think Kira is that bad all of the sudden grows a pair and shoots Light?  That was a ruiner for me.  Of all the people who could have done something, they made it him?  I guess it was supposed to be ironic or something but I thought it was stupid. 
 
#2 Mello, the same guy who killed Near's whole crew solely to say, "F you, who's the smart one now?" has a change of heart and knowingly sacrifices himself to help out Near?  I didn't buy that happening.  Maybe it was supposed to come off as some sort of redemption for the dirt he did or show that he really had a heart of gold, but I liked his character more when he was dark and homicidally petty.  I like to remember him that way rather than him being a pawn for Near's victory.
 
Mikami's death was a nice touch though.  Him gutting himself like a fish was sweet justice for the idiot move that he made.  Light's death walk around the warehouse was a nice scene and Ryuk killing was a nice touch.  9/10 I usually want the bad guy to win so I was sad to see Light go, especially after the Matsuda chump off, but Ryuk landing the final blow was a nice one.  All of the series was caused by his boredom and when Light couldn't provide anymore entertainment, he offed him.  It wasn't really a bad guy winning, but it was close enough for me.
KaiokenKidon July 1, 2010 at 10:15 p.m.

Its funny that if Mikami didnt screw up the way he did, Light probaly would have gotten away with it. Thats what happens when you rely and use others that way. They might think on their own and screw up your plan. Not a good thing to happen if your a puppeteer mastermind.
No_name_here staff on July 1, 2010 at 10:19 p.m.
@OmegaChosen:  I probably won't get a chance to read the manga. What's different about it?
 
We'll see if I can start the next series tomorrow. There's a lot to fit in, in addition AX 2010.
No_name_here staff on July 1, 2010 at 10:20 p.m.
@AnimeAlex:  Thanks! Watch out for the next show.
No_name_here staff on July 1, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.
@Gasero:  > The way I see it, Light only lost because Mikami didn't do as he was told. Mikami went off track to get the Death Note again when Takada was in trouble and the SBK member was able to get the book. I'm not sure how Light's plans would have played out if it weren't for that incident.
 
 I was actually going to comment on that. The tragedy of Light is that he's the only pro at using the Death Note. He only ever gets in trouble when he delegates its usage to amatuers. But he has to eventually and the proves to be his undoing.
 
By the way, how ridiculous was it that that SBK guy was able to get the book, make a duplicate of it - including the handwriting - and provide Mikami with a fake overnight? I did not like that part of the finale at all. It felt like such a leap. 
 
I figured if he was a fed and that was his training, it wasn't TOO much of a leap.
 
 
Of course, the throwback to what Ryuk said at the beginning of the series about being the one to kill Light was pretty good. It made me wonder though, how is Rem going to write Misa's name if Rem died? Who kills Misa is really the ultimate mystery of Death Note.  
 
I'm thinking either Ryuk wrote it to tie up the last loose end, or it was a result over her shortened life from the deal, or mayb e she was just so distraught over Light's death.
sotyfan16on July 1, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.
@Gasero:
Exactly! 
 
Mikami ruined it all. But from all that has happened and how meticulous Near and Light are, Light should have known better than to just have one fake notebook made. L would have figured there would be two or three fakes had he been there. But with Near Light could have gotten away with having a second. Light's breakdown was epic and I yell and stare at the screen hoping for Light to get his shit together. Then I judge Light as if I'm a higher power and thus find him unfit to create the new world. In the perspective of the world Kira did great work in driving down crime rates and war. 
 
In the end Light despised his father for his ideals, not as a man. Also, Light did depend a lot on others doing his work as he cried out for Misa and Takada. He almost got away with writing Near's name, too. Light should have still had a piece of the notebook on him. Hell, he could have even set up a successor (but then he would have later killed him/her). 
 
This ending is one of my favorites and best I've seen. Misa jumps off a roof to commit suicide as she cannot live in a world without Light. Mikami kills himself with his pen: which is so fitting for him. And Ryuk, who you could say is the true mastermind behind it all, kills Light. Light had no complaints and seemed to be at peace with himself. He must have felt that at least he did what he could but was still pissed beyond hell that he lost to that twirp Near! I find Light's death appropriate but I still sigh and say, "damn", and lay the subject to rest. 
 
One thing is not resolved, however. What is to become of the world? People will still be wary of Kira for a while but how long will that last? 2 years? 5 years? 10? 20? It's hard to say but if Kira is absent (as in the SPK and task force don't work to keep the idea of Kira alive to keep the peace) the world will once again return to the way it was.
No_name_here staff on July 1, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.
@sickVisionz:  
#1 Matsuda aka Kira fanboy #1 aka Mr. I don't think Kira is that bad all of the sudden grows a pair and shoots Light?  That was a ruiner for me.  Of all the people who could have done something, they made it him?  I guess it was supposed to be ironic or something but I thought it was stupid. 
 
They made a point about him acting on his emotions and wearing his heart on his sleeve. And I suppose that includes anger over the betrayal.
 
#2 Mello, the same guy who killed Near's whole crew solely to say, "F you, who's the smart one now?" has a change of heart and knowingly sacrifices himself to help out Near?  I didn't buy that happening.  Maybe it was supposed to come off as some sort of redemption for the dirt he did or show that he really had a heart of gold, but I liked his character more when he was dark and homicidally petty.  I like to remember him that way rather than him being a pawn for Near's victory.
 
I could read it as his desire to defeat Kira overriding a lot of his other desires. 
 
Or he's just a chump.
 
Mikami's death was a nice touch though.  Him gutting himself like a fish was sweet justice for the idiot move that he made.  Light's death walk around the warehouse was a nice scene and Ryuk killing was a nice touch.  9/10 I usually want the bad guy to win so I was sad to see Light go, especially after the Matsuda chump off, but Ryuk landing the final blow was a nice one.  All of the series was caused by his boredom and when Light couldn't provide anymore entertainment, he offed him.  It wasn't really a bad guy winning, but it was close enough for me.  
 
One thing that bugged me was exactly what Mikami killed himself with. His pen? I don't know if you'd gush like that.
AgentJon July 1, 2010 at 10:53 p.m.
I read the series when it was initially translated to english by Viz, but only got to L's end in the anime. I don't remember Misa commiting suicide.  
 
Now I haven't seen it, but apparantly the "Relight" OAV shines some new interesting light on the series. There's even a shinigami that looks suspiciously like our "hero" Light. 
No_name_here staff on July 1, 2010 at 11:34 p.m.
@AgentJ:  Is that a follow-up?
AgentJon July 1, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk: More like it recounts the series from Ryuk's perspective with some new material added in. At least thats how I understand it. 
Dzagoon July 2, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
Small alternate ending part 1, part 2 (manga style). Probably fan made, but really good.
OmegaChosenon July 2, 2010 at 1:55 a.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk:  The main difference is that Light doesn't run away like a little girl and die on some random steps with L's ghost staring at him. Also, Mikami doesn't pen himself in the throat and somehow release an elephant's worth of blood at fire hose pressures. >_< 
 
In the manga, all those bullets Matsuda riddles him with basically do their job and Light starts to get extremely desperate and/or delusional from blood loss, crying out for Misa, Takada, or Mikami to kill Near and everyone else, even though Misa and Takada aren't there to begin with and Mikami is handcuffed. As he's crawling on the floor bleeding to death he notices Ryuk and realizes Ryuk can kill them for him. He begs Ryuk to but Ryuk explains that if he's asking for his help, then Light really is screwed. Reminding him that he said that he would be the one to end his life, Ryuk writes Light's name in his Death Note and Light dies while begging for his life.
 
Also, Near burns the Death Note or something and Ryuk goes home.
 
It jumps to a year later following Matsuda and Aizawa(I think) as they go off to a meeting, them taking in that the world has basically reverted to how it was before Kira ever showed up. Matsuda puts forth a few theories, such as Near writing in the Death Note that Mikami would not realize his death note was a fake and then setting his death a few days later in order to insure victory, seeing as Mikami mysteriously died a few days after being arrested and Near burned the death note without letting anyone else see it. Aizawa brushes this off and the meeting they go to is with Near through video conferencing, who apparently still uses them and has picked up Mello's penchant for eating chocolate.
 
Finally, the last few pages are devoted to some random mountain where a long procession of people are praying to the "God" Kira, who now has his own cult apparently. Oh, and you find out that Light found from Ryuk that there really is nothing after death, just nonexistence. Whatever. :P That's about it for my overly long description of like 10-20 pages. >_>
JackSukeruon July 2, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.
I've only read the manga so I was a bit surprised that the Anime had such differences, Misa killing herself? now that I would have liked to see >:P 
  
I don't remember the manga making a hero out of Mello, more that he unintentionally had the effect that he did, with Near eluding that "maybe somehow he knew" or something like that. 
 
I really enjoyed watching Light getting his dues, though I initially thought it was lame that he seemed to turn into a generic losing villian, but then I realized that it was part of his humiliation. All in all, pretty sweet.

I do like the final pages though with the cult and everything, it shows that while Light has gone away his actions has left their mark and  will continue to mess up the world for a good while probably. 
 
Edit: Oh and I liked that L continues to be the baddassdest with us learning both Near and Mello's real names, but never his.
Ninja_Novaon July 2, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.

I liked the ending, but I think it could've been better...I stopped watching Death Note after episode 25! :P....I still read the whole manga though...
ninjadude853on July 2, 2010 at 12:01 p.m.
the manga ending is cooler, at least in my opinion, light squirms a hell of a lot more
NegaZurgon July 2, 2010 at 5:38 p.m.

Am I the only person who liked Light, and was sad to see him die?
AgentJon July 2, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.
@RockmanBionics: Actually, L's real name does exist. A "13th" volume of Deathnote was published both in America and Japan, and essentially is just a guide to the series. Inside, you learn his real name. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you can find it on this very site.

Dig Deeper into Death Note

Death Note is about a shinigami(Gold of death), the book death Note and a Boy named Light Yagami. All names Who is written in this Notebook will die.

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