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Death Note Black Edition – Volume 1 Review


Death Note Black Edition - Volume 1 Review 1Name: Death Note Black Edition – Volume 1
Alternative Title: デスノート
Story By: Tsugumi Ohba
Art Design By: Takeshi Obata
Published By: Viz Media (US)
Distributed By: Madman Entertainment (Australia and New Zealand)
Language: English
Pages: 392
Cost: $19.95
Classification: Teen+
Previous Reviews: This is the first volume in the series.
Blurb: “After having a normal release and a collectors set being released, don’t think the series is done and dusted yet! The new black edition of the series boasts two volumes in one book, bigger page sizes and the black appearance. The series itself is still the same, however collectors or people new to the series will no doubt appreciate this new re-release!”
Special Thanks: Special thanks goes to the team at Madman Entertainment for providing me with a review sample of this title.

Yesterday morning, I was awakened to find out that I had received an oddly timed package from Madman. Since the titles for this month wern’t supposed to be out yet, I got curious and hastily opened. In the box was this black book, the first volume of Death Note Black Edition, which previously was seemingly out of stock from the day of release.

This set of the series is different for three reasons. The first reason is that the books cover and pages (Well, the ends of the pages) are entirely black giving the book a much more mysterious and epic appearance to it. The second difference is that there are only six books in this series, meaning that every book will have two volumes in one. The third, and for those who enjoy the actual content will notice, the page size has had a nice increase, putting the book size at around the same as most normal Yen Press releases.

Anyway, read on for my review of Death Note Black Edition – Volume 1, released by Viz Media and Madman Entertainment.

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. Will Light’s noble goal succeed, or will the Death Note turn him into the very thing he fights against?

For those of you who have not read this series before, the series is based on the interpretation of Justice and whether one who has the right to pass ultimate judgment on those who do crimes or is infact, one of those who are criminals themselves. Light Yagami is one of the top students in Japan, and happens to be the one in many billion people that pick up the Death Note dropped by a Shinigami Ryuk.

Whilst most people will cower with fear at the prospect of holding so much power, he instead uses it to punish criminals who harrass the general public, or those who in turn, hunt him down. However, his (so far deemed) paranormal activities have become noticed by those in Interpol, worldwide police organizations (Including the one his father belongs to) and L, and unknown consult who takes cases that interest him, and are usually the strangest and more impossible ones, such as this. This story is a battle between L and Light… where if either makes a mistake, they will perish.

The storyline for the first two volumes work well together and are appropriate for a single volume, however the ending of volume 2, which is the end of this book, doesn’t really leave much of a cliffhanger, which I would have liked. The storyline doesn’t really slow down for filler content, instead it pumps out continuously, new trials for both Light and L to overcome, with the outcome not being biased towards either person. This series hasn’t maintained such a strong fan-base with disappointing storyline, and this storyline would be up there in the greatest mystery (??) series of all time…. If you could call it a mystery since you know the culprit before the detective.

Character development is strong in the first volume, evidently trying to build up the wealth of information of Light, the police force who will be another key part of the storyline and including information of a certain target of Light that has a storyline spanning over the end of Volume 1 and continuing to Volume 2 (In terms of the old voluming system). Information on L is kept sparse, for the sake of the storyline and his information such as name, age and almost everything else is hidden from the characters and reader.

In terms of visuals, they remain more or less the same as the other releases however with a bigger page size, making the text easier to read and I do think it makes everything look better detailed, however it might just be me. So thumbs up for the actual manga part of the book. The cover is not something I usually cover in a review, however I do think the cover for this book, whilst simplistic, works very well with the black motif with the pure black and white theme. In my opinion, much better then the rather well detailed original cover art.

In terms of extra content, there is a moderate amount. What is included is:

  • The first couple of pages in the Shinigami realm are now in colour which I believe is a new addition. Whilst I think the colour could have been better used in other parts of the book, it is still a nice touch.
  • Death Note – How to Use It segments detailing the complex rules behind the use of the Death Note. This is not the complete list and will be covered in its entirety, over all the books.
  • The chapter title pages have some nice cover art.
  • A small doodle from Takeshi Obata involving the drawing of a shinigami.
  • A double page spread credits page involving art of Light and Ryuk
  • Two 4Koma’s involving Ryuk’s wish for a Christmas present.

Personally, I think if you haven’t read or watched Death Note yet, then you would be crazy not to give this series a shot, especially at this new price of $20 for two volumes of the original, in this special edition. I wouldn’t call this a must buy for those who already have it, however from my perspective, the series has an addictive storyline that is forever changing, is intense in every moment and has enough content to warrant a re-read a short time down the track.

Final Score

Storyline: A
Design Quality:
Personal Opinion:

Overall Score: A

Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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