Thursday, July 12, 2007

Death Note 9

It's odd how Light never gives anyone a wasting disease, and aside from episode 4, there's not much in the way of elaborate puppeteering. It's explained early on that he wants to send a message, that he wants people to know there's someone out there passing judgement on them, but that doesn't preclude more creative deaths. Of course, the show's not about how gruesome Light's next murder will be. The more he openly shows malice or takes delight in a victim's death, the less question there is as to whether he's evil or even sane, which would undermine what the show is about: can L catch Light, and do you want him to?

Light doesn't want to be caught, so he works to make up for last episode's impressive but ultimately ineffective death by potato chip scene. Since he killed minor criminals who he "didn't" see on the news, he'll kill minor criminals he did see right away, then criminals of various degrees of nastiness later on when he's away from his camera-filled home. If you don't see how this plan will put him beyond suspicion, you're not alone. Last episode, he tried to make it look like Kira had to be someone else, but killed such small-time crooks that it sent the message that Kira was being hampered by the surveillance and was therefore one of the handful of people L had his eye on. Now Light thinks he'll invite suspicion, at the same time putting forth the possibility that Kira has decided of his own accord to start punishing lesser offenses. The other part of his plan more or less picks up where the original, failed plan left off, with the exception that he kills the usual serious criminals and no longer pretends he hasn't heard of them. Honestly, I'm confused. I could be misinterpreting the whole thing. If not, then it's a pretty weak argument for the "Kira isn't Light" theory. Light's only killing criminals L knows he's seen. What good does killing them at random times do?

Well, it works. Sort of. L grows neither more nor less suspicious, and opts to remove the cameras since they appear not to be hindering Kira after all. Makes sense, I guess. If you know he knows you're watching him, and the odds are against you seeing anything incriminating, you might as well try a different tact. Maybe with his guard down, or less heightened, he'll be more likely to slip up. I'm not sure why he didn't notice that only criminals Light's seen have died, though... Unless Light's catching all the crime-related news reports. If he knows 100% of the criminals, then there's no way another possible Kira could know more, so said Kira could theoretically exist.

Apparently, Death Note is the #1 show among the Death God demographic. I can see why; Ryuk in apple withdrawal is comedy gold. Midway through the episode we get our first time jump - it won't be the last. Light aces his college entrance exams and we skip to the start of his stay at Touou University, where he reads some flowery prepared speech as the Freshman Class Co-Representative, and the sharp contrast between Light and L is flagged up in the most obvious way possible, by making L (under the alias Ryuga Hideki) the other representative. Light wears a suit and is impeccably groomed. L put shoes on. Didn't tie them, didn't comb his hair, and aren't those the same clothes he always wears? For extreme irony, one girl chides another for saying she likes L better. They beat you over the head with the whole complete opposites thing, but it's a nice enough scene. L speedreading the same introductory speech that Light gave is cute.

Besides, it's all setup for another of the series super cool dramatic moments, as L reveals his identity to Light. L is becoming more and more aggressive as the series goes on, though he remains cautious. His reasoning for telling what may be his mortal enemy who he is, all but painting a target on his heart? Light is the only one, outside of KIT, who knows. If L were to suddenly die, it could only be because Light killed him. It's a huge risk, but it actually forces a stalemate. No, it gives L the upper hand. He's practically invincible until Light can figure a way out of his trap. All he has to do is prove Light is Kira before then. Or, since he isn't certain Light's his man, he could be taking no risk at all.

Light gets home and freaks the hell out. He's in check, and he can't see a way out. He could clomp around the board forever without losing... or winning. Then it hits him. *cue insane laughter* It's a challenge! Yes, it's a game, and he will win. Next episode: a game, as in tennis. Literally. They play tennis.