Sunday, May 20, 2007

Death Note 5

No snippets from last episode, as we dive right into the action in episode five. Or rather, the aftermath of the action. Ray Penbar conveniently asks Light not to tell anyone that a super secret FBI agent was present during the bus hijacking. Light's beard, who was also privy to this info, is conveniently forgotten, or perhaps dealt with offscreen. Penbar goes home to his wife, who raises questions about his presence coinciding with what I'm fairly sure is a rare crime (who robs a bus?). Turns out she's ex-FBI herself, and the bureau got the short end of the Penbar exchange. In an astounding display of chauvinism, Ray puts her in her place, assuring her that he's the supercool FBI agent in this family, that he would know if he'd just shared a bus with Kira, and all but tells her "soon you'll be so busy making babies and sammiches, you'll forget you'd ever done anything else." I have now forgotten why I felt any sympathy for this guy before. I want to shower him with hatorade™.

And now, dramatic reveal! Light, cleverly disguised as "Light in a hoodie," ambushes Penbar and makes the dangerous gamble of revealing that he is Kira. It works, and believably so. If you were in this anime, and someone came up behind you claiming that they were Kira and would kill you if you turned around, would you? Hell no. At this point in the anime, no one knows how Light kills. He could have a death gaze, or think you dead, or telekinetically crush your heart. Even if you apprehended him, how could you be sure to prevent him from killing you? The only defense is to keep your face and/or name secret, and Penbar was hardly walking around with a mask on. Heh, the best part of this scene is that it all happens in a public train station. Light talks out loud to Ryuk about his experiments in murder, then accosts and threatens Penbar. And, of course, he has to prove his power, so he kills someone on the platform. Light kinda sucks at bluffing, really, but then how good do you have to be when you're holding a royal flush? We're seeing a pattern, though. Light easily becomes complacent, thinking power is all he needs, and doesn't utilize his intellect to its full potential.

So, what happens to Penbar? He dies, of course. It was him or Light, and it's pretty rare that the main character dies at all, let alone this early. I'd spill the details, but it's such an amazing scene that you really have to see it for yourself. It's worth buying the DVD, whenever that comes out, for this scene alone. I mean, assuming you pay less than $20 for it. No anime is worth $30 for 3-4 episodes. Feh. Anyways, I'll probably mention it again in a future review, as the specifics of his death tie into a couple running themes. So if you're deadset on "watching" this series solely in recaps, you won't miss too much.

The L/Police conflict comes to a head after the director of the FBI rats out L for investigating his so-called allies. This revelation doesn't appear to be delivered with malicious intent, but you have to wonder why he does it. Professional courtesy? I suppose they would've found out eventually, what with all the snappily-dressed bodies lying around. L's being thwarted at every turn, and Light's hardly trying. The FBI investigation is over, the cops are pissed at L and quitting in droves to avoid death by Kira, everything's going swimmingly. Light's dad makes like a paladin, vowing to hunt down and punish naughty ol' Kira regardless of the very real threat to his own life. Light echoes Dad's sentiments, though they don't sound as impressive on the rebound. "If anything happens to you, I'll catch me and send me to my execution personally!" Uh huh, sure. Sir Yagami challenges the rest of the police to stand up to Kira in classic paladin style. The penalty for backing down? Nothing. The reward for continuing to pursue Kira and probably dying as a result? Um, honor! Yeah, for honor. Do the right thing. Throw a trash can through a window. Huzzah! The Yagami Challenge, which at some point was probably a Japanese gameshow involving octopi and genital shocks, reduces the Kira Investigation Team (Go, KIT!) to six, just enough for a Baldur's Gate party. Aw, yeah! Light: Lawful Evil, likes to solo. L: Chaotic Good, hates godmoders.

Penbar's widow gets her investigate on, figuring out in, like, two seconds that Kira was on that bus and has to be along the bus route somewhere. More from her next episode. Another cop quits, and L meets with the diminished KIT, revealing his identity in a gentler and arguably less risky way. Now is time for pseudo-psychological profiling! L is predisposed toward pleasure without shame, a subservient personality who pushes people away with blunt honesty lest they get too close. He'd be an awesome friend (or more, if he's your type), but it's an uphill battle getting past his defenses. Light is a control freak, corruptible in the extreme. Give him power and he goes mad. He's all about pain and dominating, and isn't interested in a relationship that doesn't involve the other person serving him. It's possible he's asexual, believing himself above such concerns. If anything's scarier than a guy who can kill you with a notebook, it's a guy who isn't interested in sex. Talk about twisted. Next episode: ZOMG, it's L!

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