On my flight back to China I watched a well known animation – Death Note (IMDB score 9.0). The story first came out in 2006 but I didn’t watch it as I am not a big fan of dark stories.
And it turned out that I am really not a big fan. The first 5 episodes took me 10 hours as it’s too ‘cruel’ and I have to calm myself down before and after each episode. Actually I only managed to go through the first 10 episodes and couldn’t continue. There is no bloody bodies or screaming woman (well maybe occasionally there is) but the story is way more depressing than normal thrilling movies. Even though the main characters all behave so smartly and every plot is heart catching, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a story full of cheating and manipulation and innocent people are killed.
The very intelligent highs school student Light one day picked up a Death Note, which instructed him to write any name and that person will die as he wishes. With this note Light wanted to punish the criminals and establish a ‘clean’ world. Before long this action was noticed by Japanese police. It turns out to be a game of ‘catch me if you can’ – Light (like a hidden sniper) kills everyone in his way until in the end he was caught (and died). For example, in one episode he killed the detective who were sent to investigate him. He managed to set up a plot to get the name of that detective and killed him, even though the detective trusted him later. He even killed the fiancee of that detective by telling lies to get her name.
Although I didn’t finish the whole series as I don’t like the overall tone, Death Note still raised an question for me – Light just wants to create a clean world, which sounds perfectly fine. It only starts going wrong when police trace him down and he kills anyone putting him at risk. So what if the police doesn’t trace him down? Both Light and police want to stop crimes so why do the police need to arrest him? What if the police and Light work together using Death Note to keep the world peace? Here is my script… 🙂
Q1 – what if the police doesn’t trace him down?
There is a very vague line between ‘bad guy who needs to die’, ‘bad guy who needs to be educated’ or ‘bad guy who needs to be forgiven’. If Light is left at large, that line = Light’s judgement. It’s inevitable that overtime the standard become stricter and inconsistent. People will live in panic, knowing any mistake can take their life. It’s only going to bring more chaos if Light is not stopped.
Q2 – why do the police need to arrest him?
From above it’s evident that Light needs to be stopped. Actually even his goal is not the same as police’s job. Light follow’s his own law while the police follow Japanese law. In other words, police need to stop Light not only because he kills people, but more because they need to protect their authority and ensure the country to run as the government wants it to.
Q3 – What if the police and Light work together?
It won’t happen. At very beginning of the animation Light says he wants to be God in this new world he creates. He is too smart to be submissive to police, and his egoism won’t allow him to too. Short term cooperation might still be possible (like put down the terrorist in crisis) but that give clue to the police to trace him down (and based on above 2 points police will do it). Hence Light won’t run that risk.
The amazing fact is, dark as the story is, it seems to be the only logic way for it to continue (unless Light didn’t see the Death Note in episode 1 and didn’t pick it up. Hehehe…). Maybe that’s also why I still managed to go through 10 episodes – it’s indeed a very clever story but again, a bit depressing and cruel.