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Watch & Learn: DEATH NOTE Episode #5

Light, baby, say it isn't so!

   You're the hero, L!
 You're the hero, L!

Alright, Light’s definitely crossed a line here.  Up until this point, there’s been some gray morality regarding who’s the real hero of the show. Kira’s methods were, of course, extreme, but since he was only targeting criminals who were already on death row, you could still describe him as just a vigilante. Now that he’s killed the fed who was following him as well as twelve other FBI agents (!!!) though, I’d say he’s firmly defined him as a ruthless villain - - or, at best, an anti-hero. Before, you could make as equal arguments to sympathize with L or Kira, depending on your leanings, but, after this, well... you really have to root for the master detective with the one-letter name, don’t you?

That’s not to say there isn’t still some sympathetic points to Light. Actually, I think this gives this whole series a lot more complexity and the kind of maturity that doesn’t just boil down to the level of gore. The dinner table conversation with his father and the rest of his family was especially well done. The drama of this police chief breaking the dangers of his job to his family is so powerful and convincing, you forget the irony of it for a moment. Not only is this man chasing his son, who’s right across the table from him, but he’s voicing concern about his own safety when, out of anybody in the investigation, he has the least risk of dying. It’s brilliant stuff.

Ack! I hate to bring up another logic issue, since I already went on that screed about this show’s appealing freeness in regard to suspension of disbelief, but… seriously, what’s up with L’s agent? The police are getting into knots about L’s identity when they can easily interrogate or fingerprint this mysterious trench coat guy who’s standing right there? And how does he always manage to be in the shadows?
You can watch this episode, "Tactics", on Hulu here. And check out my thoughts on the previous episode here.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on

Catolfon May 29, 2010 at 8:23 p.m.
Really glad you enjoying, and even up to the last episode i was still pretty sympathetic with light, he has his motivations, but i'll leave you to continue watching, it get's better though!
FoxxFireArt moderator on May 29, 2010 at 9:16 p.m.
I wouldn't categorize Light as an anti hero. Considering he's only killing people who are working for real justice to cover his own ass. He's the epitome of youthful, self-indulgent ideology. He is so passionate about what he sees as his way. That everyone else must be wrong. He has taken his own belief system and he's trying to shove it down the throats of the world and call it literal dogma. Get in his way, and he'll kill you.
He's no better then a murder and a terrorist. Ruling through fear. People always try and excuse Light by claiming that the Death Note corrupted him to do it, but it was obvious that Light always had these ideals. It's only now he was give the ability to act on them. 

I look at it like this. What if some serial killer was only killing prostitutes and drug dealers, but he also started killing any police who started investigating and getting close? Even police who weren't close. Just to throw off the trail. Why does it suddenly matter if the class of people he's killing changes? They are still people.
Light didn't just put a toe over the line. He leaped over it with both feet.
L did use that man in his experiment to catch Kira in the open, but he was already scheduled for execution and L isn't the type to kill someone who stands in his way. If you don't agree with his methods then leave.
About the police not investigating the shadowed Geek Squad member. I think it's sort of a "don't look a gift horse in mouth" moment. Why would they burn down their bridge to the one person who they know stands the best chance to catch Kira.
AURON570on May 29, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.
Better yet instead of categorizing Light as hero/vigilante/anti-hero, start out by categorizing him as human.
hitsusatsu11on May 29, 2010 at 11:23 p.m.
L is cool, but I always found myself rooting for Light. Not that I agree with Kira's methods or even purpose, I just found myself wanting his plans to work, and wondering what he could have done better. Where as I always wanted L and the police to not be successful in finding Light.
Mcfarton May 30, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.
I kinda of rooted for Light most of the anime, but I knew at one point that he would get his conupins, espically what happens at around episode 20.
OnlyWonderBoyon May 30, 2010 at 6:37 a.m.
What you say makes sense, but I found myself rooting for Light anyway. Maybe it's just because I enjoyed watching him narrowly escape being caught. I think I liked L as a character better than Light though.
Gaseroon May 30, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.
The first 4 episodes I was seriously rooting for Light because I believe I would do the same thing with a Death Note. Of course, I had to stop rooting for Light when his real focus became killing people investigating him. I probably would have just stopped, and better yet, wouldn't have provoked L in episode 2.
Light started off as a character that seemed smart and mature, but he slowly fell into a pattern of arrogance and villainy. While I did enjoy the overall arc of Light and L's story, this was something that disappointed me.
BestChancethoron May 30, 2010 at 11:09 a.m.

You'll enjoy the whole series Tom. without being too much "action" I was on the edge of my seat
ninjadude853on May 30, 2010 at 4:09 p.m.
if you think Watari is unbelievably now, wait until you see his sniping skills
sickVisionz moderator on May 30, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
I'm glad you liked this episode.  The entire Ray Penbar and Friends/Family arc is my favorite back to back episodes of the whole series.  All of the plotting and scheming in this episode is pretty great.

I think that in the first episode he says something like, "... and I will be the God of this new world."  Anyone who crowns themselves a God, especially a god via mass homicide, gets a big bold check mark in the villain column.
OmegaChosenon May 30, 2010 at 7:34 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt:  I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've written.
sotyfan16on May 31, 2010 at 12:17 a.m.

I say Light all the way. His constant battle with L is amazing and only gets better as the anime goes on. There are many twists that come up that will surprise mamy who are new with Death Note. My advice is to not look to much into everything until you have seen the whole thing. In addition, I love the working of morality and I side with Light because I like what he is doing (yes I do agree killing the innocent is crossing a  line). I'll be bringing this topic up in my next ethics class.

Luis_is_coldon June 1, 2010 at 4:33 p.m.
Thank you for introducing me to this anime! Im by episode 13 and its great so far!!

Dig Deeper into Death Note

A shounen franchise of enormous popularity, Death Note started with Tsugumi Ohba's manga, illustrated by the popular artist Takeshi Obata. The series is essentially an extended police chase thriller, but with added twists, including the existence of Shinigami (death gods) who can control the death of humans.

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