Friday, June 1, 2007

Death Note 6

Have I mentioned that L is one of my all-time favorite anime characters? All barefoot and google-eyed, all sitting legs-up on his chair constantly eating sweets. He's quirktastic! The Kira Investigation Team meets him this episode, and they're duly impressed. Well, more weirded out than impressed, but give it time, they'll come around. L gives KIT a fake name, Ryuzaki, and starts in with the psychoanalyzing. "Kira is childish and hates to lose," he says. "I'm childish and hate to lose, too. That's how I know." More deducing follows, then a plan. They'll fool Kira into thinking his murder of FBI agents prompted a massive intelligence invasion. Fifteen hundred officers enter Japan to track down Kira! Holy claustrophobia, Batman!

But first, L carefully exposits Kira's side of the past few episodes for the benefit of KIT and new viewers. It's like a recap without the recycled animation. And not entirely superfluous for regular viewers. L's breakdown invigorates the team and gains him the respect he'd more commanded than earned in anonymous voice mode. Dramatic reveal! What? Where? Ahh! Just as L and Light are thinking that one more clue would catch Kira, we jump to this episode's special guest star, Ray Penbar's fiancee. She knows a se-cret. And she's gonna tell! Or is she? Light offers to take his dad a change of clothes, claiming to have no ulterior motive. Uh huh, riiight. And conveniently retcons in the fact that he's started carrying around a page of the Death Note when he goes out, "just in case." It's all a bit pat, if not entirely unbelievable.

Light and Almost-Mrs. Penbar arrive at the police station around the same time, naturally, and we learn Light's something of an amateur detective, or was before he fell into mass murder and megalomania, one of your more demanding career paths. He plays it up in front of the quasi-widow, bragging that he's helping track Kira, too, and L better watch out or Light'll nab him first! Wouldn't that be something? Light gets so frustrated that he decides the only way to beat L is to catch himself first, so he does. Handcuffs himself, throws himself roughly into the back of a police car ("Watch your head! Hahaha!"), and beats a confession out of himself. Then at the trial... Er, right. Anyways, whatshername is so impressed by Light's braggadocio and really creepy (from the viewer's pov) cheerful act that she... gives him a fake name. Woot! Arguably the best female character in a series that's severely lacking in that area. Light leads her on, and she reveals what she plans to tell KIT. Busjacking: huge mistake. Light is... somehow... stunned that his brilliant plan to violently kill someone in front of the FBI agent who was tailing him has come back to bite him in the ass. He should've killed everyone on the bus, and everyone they know. That would've covered it up but good! Light doesn't agree, but figures one more death can't hurt, so it's time for the unformed Penbar family to be reunited. Maybe they can get married in Heaven. By a real Elvis, not one of those fakes.

Fittingly, Light plays devil's advocate, casting doubt on Miss Penbar's all-too-correct theories. Once he's smashed them, he builds them back up, all but claims them as his own, and gives widdle Miss Penbar a figurative pat on the head for making such an important contribution to the Kira case. Next episode: Light gives Miss Penbar a treat! Or kills her. One of those.

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