Saturday, May 17, 2008

Death Note 11

According to KIT, it's been four months since the events of episode seven, where Light made Ray Penbar's fiancee, Misora Naomi, kill herself offscreen. She did such a good job of carrying out Light's instructions that they still haven't found her body. Light's the only one who knows she's dead.

As we watch L and the Kira Investigation Team look befuddled, they turn on Sakura TV to see a live report from... Kira? The rough equivalent of Fox News in Japan, Sakura TV is happily held hostage by "Kira," forced into airing taped messages the same wave a dominatrix forces a submissive to accept his punishment. "Kira" proves his identity by offing a couple captive criminals, then the video airs, and newscasters start dropping. Not the ones on Sakura TV, they're Kira's buddies! The ones who've denounced Kira, though, as the evil bastard that he is, they die. L decides they have to stop the broadcast. Calling doesn't help, so Ukita takes off for the station itself.

"I hate evil and love justice," says prerecorded Kira. He calls the police his allies and pleads for an end to this silly business of trying to arrest him. Let him go about the business of creating a perfect world, free of crime. Yay! Let's all bonk evil on the head and hug the god of death. The best part is when he asks dissenters to keep it to themselves, a reaction typical of a spoiled brat. If you have nothing nice to say about your murderous overlord, don't say anything at all. Speak up and die.

Ukita gets to the TV station and, naturally, the door's locked. He pounds on it and shouts to be let in, but the security guard refuses. Just as Ukita pulls out his gun to force his way in, he suffers a lethal heart attack. What? Kira can't do that! Aizawa is pissed right off and determined to rush after Ukita, but L stops him. He doesn't want Aizawa to die, too. Aww, L's cute when he cares. "Kira" delivers an ultimatum. The police have four days to announce which side they're fighting on, or he'll... show another tape! He'll do that anyways, but there's one for "yes" and one for "no." Not much of a threat, since he obviously can't schedule killings if he thinks they might say yes. Hrm.

It's time for a badass Soichiro moment. Chief Yagami's wife goes to check on him at the hospital, where he was watching the live broadcast. Where he saw Ukita struck down. He's not there. He's crashing through the doors to Sakura TV in a commandeered bus. Hell yes! Once inside, he pops out of the bus in a hoodie, looking like the "You Gonna Get Raped" guy, and unleashes his badass voice on the security guard to ply the location of the studio from him. The scheming producer tries to worm his way out of stopping the broadcast, insisting that "Kira will kill us. Wah wah wah," so Soichiro pulls a gun. Die now or die later, but stop the broadcast. Muahahaha!

Two policemen show up to help, the poor fools. L calls the Deputy Chief, asking him to take control so a bunch of well-meaning police don't wind up dead. He's a little late, as the two on the scene drop dead while they're talking. L dramatically juggles conversations with the Chief and the Deputy Chief, adding cellphones to the list of mundane objects transformed into lively props, along with potato chips and pens. The phone bit's a touch silly, but I can't get enough of Death Note's arguably contrived dramatic scenes. L instructs Soichiro to walk right out of the station, casual-like. Instead of having him sneak out the back, or maybe take the bus back, L arranges for the entire police force to show up in riot gear, surrounding the building, shielding their faces and Soichiro's so he can, indeed, walk casually out, get in a car, and drive away safely. What'shisname from earlier, the KIT member who quit to hunt Kira as part of the regular police force? He's there, and it's all touching reunion styles. They almost hug, but they are manly men, so they don't.

One newscaster comes out in support of the police, inspired by their awesome display to... Well, commit suicide, basically. I couldn't do that. Someone's killing newscasters, and all they need is your name, your face, and a spare moment to end you? That's too much. Maybe I could do the weather instead? Partly cloudy with a chance of death from above. Fortunately, the lone newscaster's courage doesn't lead to a scene where people all over the world stand up to say their names, denouncing Kira and daring him to kill them all. It might work, but god damn would it be trite. So Kira will continue to crusade for "justice," killing many more people for the sake of our entertainment.

Soichiro returns with the Kira tapes, which L has Aizawa analyze. Then he watches them, and we learn what the "yes" and "no" tapes contained. "Yes" is full of childish demands, nothing like the chess moves Light makes. The police cooperate by feeding Kira information on criminals, he may or may not deign to punish said criminals, and L and KIT show their faces on TV. Even if you agreed with Kira, you'd have to be retarded to concede to that. "No" is basically the same thing in different words, which figures. Light hates to lose, but he's only this pathetic when he's backed into a corner. Makes you wonder what his version would've been like, had he been stupid enough to pull such a stunt.

I'm not sure why it was so vital that the original broadcast be stopped. Yes, illegal hijacking of the airwaves in a way. Yes, public executions. The police showing up to stop Kira was very inspirational, and more importantly, exciting. But doing so cause more people to die than allowing the broadcast to finish would have. You'd think the idea was to shut Kira out, to send a message to him that no, this is not OK. You don't get to air your stupid tapes. But then L gives the "no" tape back to Sakura TV and lets them air it. On it is the threat to kill either the Chief of Police, Soichiro's superior, whose identity is surely public knowledge, or L. Poor Chiefy, we hardly knew ya. Should've threatened the whole police force instead, or thrown in some politicians. One for one leaves them with a decision. Start holding phonebooks hostage and you'll smoke out L right quick.

Light is oddly happy about this turn of events. It creates confusion and might lead to L's death. Plus, everyone loves to have fans. But these lowbrow tactics besmirch the name of Kira, and he can't forgive that! He decides to find out what Kira 2 is up to by helping out with the investigation. Confusion's great and all, but this second Kira's clearly not as smart as Light, and anything the police learn from him could lead to Light's capture.

Light surmises that Kira 2 bargained for the eyes of a Death God, which is why he can kill without a name. Don't have to be a genius to figure that out, given what Light already knew. It takes more doing for L to figure out that this is a new Kira, but it's fairly obvious. His deduction would look less convenient if he didn't follow it up by asking Soichiro if Light can join KIT. It's all a bit pat the way Light and L figure things out near simultaneously and do the exact things one is hoping the other will. This one's not even a "three steps ahead" predicted move. It's just Light wanting to join KIT and L wanting him to join. Supposedly, L wants to get Light's untarnished opinion on the "Kira" tapes, so they're not telling him about L's conclusions. Why that requires pulling him officially into the investigation, I don't know. He's already met L and, of course, he knows his own father, but why endanger the rest of KIT? I suppose he figures they're not at immediate risk, since Kira only wants the supercompetent L, and Light can't kill him without incriminating himself.

We finally meet Kira 2 at the end of the episode, and he turns out to be a lovely young woman named Misa, who wants very much to meet Kira. And kill him, if it comes to that. Not too bright, this one. She's stronger, she says, because she has the eyes. That's true, but she still has to write down his name and wait forty seconds. Her advantage only lasts as long as Light doesn't know her real name. She'd be well advised to hedge her bets by carrying a gun.

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