Tag Archives: netflix

Is Watching Anime Too Expensive?

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Welcome back to this series of re-uploaded columns from my work with my college newspaper. One of the topics I covered on my column was the cost of anime as a hobby. While there are certainly a lot of modern conveniences that make watching anime easier, for those who would rather not resort to illegal streaming, it can still be expensive. I hope you enjoy the read.


One of the most deceptively difficult questions to answer about anime over the last few years has actually been “where do I watch it?” Most people would reason that since media of all kinds has become significantly more accessible that anime would follow suit. While this is true generally speaking, much like any hobby that isn’t rock collecting, the dollars start to add up after a while. 

First, it is worth acknowledging again that, relative to just 15 years ago, it is definitely easier to watch anime. Before, if a show came out that someone was interested in, they would have to either buy an expensive box set or pirate the anime online in terrible quality while also risking the safety of their computer. Now, most people do not have to think twice about this.

However, the advent of movie and tv streaming has brought both solutions and also new problems. While getting a large number of shows for a set monthly price is a totally reasonable bargain, the model begins to unravel once a large number of similar services start to emerge, each carrying their own unique libraries. In fact, one might say that the problem streaming services set out to fix has been revived in a new way. 

As time has gone by and the popularity of anime has gone way up, many of these same streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, as well as anime exclusive services such as Crunchyroll, Funimation, and HiDive! are also looking for a piece of the pie. Even Amazon a few years ago wanted a share of the market and attempted to cash in with their service “Anime Strike,” which cost five dollars a month extra on top of the existing Amazon Prime fee.

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Exclusives have also become a significantly bigger part of the streaming service appeal, and the same is holding true for anime as well. Netflix made a huge effort early on to cash in on anime’s upward trend, and it does appear to be paying off, as the company owns the exclusive rights to an increasing amount of hot-topic shows within the community. 

Companies like Crunchyroll are also beginning to dip their toes into exclusives as well, with a number of Webtoon crossovers including “Tower of God” and “God of High School.” These shows have also turned out to be relatively popular among fans. Funimation, while not as focused in that area, does corner a large part of the market for English dubs for many of the most popular long-running and seasonal shows, including “Black Clover,” “One Piece” and “The Promised Neverland.”

This further division of popular shows among various streaming services means that anyone looking to keep up with what is new is going to have to pay a fairly hefty price. This has led to many figures in the community talking about a potential rise in piracy if companies begin to raise their prices too much. 

The streaming wars will probably continue to rage on for some time. Companies will continue competing for the various series which draw the most eyes in the short term. Long term, however, it may just be the case that being an anime fan, or a fan of tv and movies for that matter, continues to get even more expensive. It might be that streaming just becomes the new cable. 


How do you all feel about the cost of anime? Let me know in the comments below. Feel free to also check out the column I uploaded last week about “Tokyo Godfathers” and Satoshi Kon.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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“Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts” is a truly Wonderful Experience

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The end of “Steven Universe” and “Voltron: Legendary Defenders” left a pretty big whole in my appetite for cartoons, not because they were bad, but rather because I had been with those shows for such a long time that it felt like I would never have that same sort of connection with a show again. Whether or not this is a product of an unhealthy obsession with the series I watch has been a topic of internal debate for some time, but in the meanwhile I decided to get some skin back in the game after a friend recommended “Kipo” to me. Even after just the first few episodes, the series already has me hooked, and boy do I want to talk about it.

First of all, the characters in this show are absolutely delightful. Each of their personalities shines through the moment they appear on screen. Kipo, for example, even in just the first five minutes of the show, is established to be sheltered from the world above, having to adjust to the sunlight as soon as she makes it above ground. Her bubbly personality also comes through in the way that she explores a pretty much unknown world with zero reservations.

Wolf, on the other hand, is very reserved, at least at the start, and only focuses on finding Kipo’s home. She has seen the dangers of this new era, and thus takes a more cautious approach to living on the surface. She also wears the skin of a wolf on her back, symbolic of her backstory, which at this point has only been hinted at, and of her lone wolf attitude.

Benson just kind of…what’s the word…vibes? He, along with his bug friend Dave end their travels alone in order to assist Kipo, and act more as the brains of the operation. His eclectic music taste also occasionally joins them along the way, and adds a little bit more flavor to the soundtrack and their overall journey.

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Speaking of music, the show’s musical numbers have all been superb so far. They really lean into the weirdness of the show, sometimes even moreso than “Steven Universe” and are all the better for it. My favorite thus far is probably “Yumyan Hammerpaw,” named after the megamute of the same name, and which comes across more like an epic ballad than a number written for a kids shows. From the instrumentation to the chorus, it all comes together perfectly.

However, the softer cuts, like “What We Have is You” also felt particularly well crafted. It is clear that, even just from the few flashbacks that have been given so far, Kipo’s relationship with her dad is something she cherishes greatly, and so this number really highlights that connection.

Most of that, of course, would not be possible without epic voice work of those like Karen Fukuhara and Sterling K Brown. Not only do the two of them have excellent singing voices, truly breathing life into the song, but their voice acting in general also helps establish their relationship. That goes for the rest of the cast too, as nearly every voice actor leans into their role in a way that feels genuine and engaged with the role, and despite how odd it is, even for cartoon standards.

The one major gripe that I have with the show thus far is the character designs, as often times I think their designs, as well as the facial expressions that results from them, can be misleading as to the actual feelings. One example that stuck in my mind was during the episode “Ratland,” when Benson and Kipo are riding in a boat together. At one point, Benson’s eyes get a more anime, deadpan aesthetic, and it ruins the more romantic atmosphere the show was trying to set up between the characters. On top of that, their eyes often morph into weird shapes, and the inconsistency can be very off-putting.

Overall, I find myself very excited to diver further into the show, and despite the lackluster character designs at certain points, it still has more than enough great elements, from the characters to the voice acting and music, to keep me invested for the foreseeable future.


Have you seen “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts?” How do you feel about the show (no spoilers please)? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

OWLS April “Hope” Post: When the World is in Crisis, Why Not Laugh?

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

This month on OWLS, our theme has to do with the virus known as COVID-19 that has greatly affected the world recently: Hope

We are in the midst of a pandemic which has led people to live in fear and anxiety over the coronavirus. For this month, rather than seeing the dark side of the situation we are living in, we will be exploring anime and other pop culture mediums that bring hope for humanity and why they have such a positive impact on us.

As always, be sure to check out some of the posts from my fellow OWLS members Megan and Lita as well.

With that said, enjoy the post.


I do not think it is at all an exaggeration to say that the world is in crisis right now. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused mass panic, spurred on by a flurry of misinformation and fear of poverty and starvation. This in turn has lead to hoarding of important medical supplies and food.

What is worse, in a time when political trust in institutions is already at an all time low, our leaders have failed to provide necessary relief, and in some cases have actively impeded attempts to get said relief. The severity of the situation is beginning to rival even events such as Word War Two, and it seems like there is little to be hopeful about. All the more reason then to…*checks notes*…laugh?

In times of extreme discomfort, pain, and worry, it can be incredibly easy to give into our bleakest of feelings and spend all of our time depressed. However, it is exactly because of these feelings that people should be occupying their time by with things that make them feel good. More specifically, comedy.

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If social media apps such as Tic Tok and Twitter have made one thing clear, its that many are predisposed to responding to negative feelings like fear and awkwardness with laughter, and that makes sense. Laughter is naturally elevating process. Not only does it make the person doing it feel good, but one someone else is laughing, it makes other feel like they should be too.

Anime also has a lot of great comedy. I talked a while ago on KawaiiPaperPandas about Asobi Asobase, a comedy anime that focuses on the strange antics of a club of high school girls. Each of the girls seems innocent at first, especially in the opening for the show. However, as it turns, each of them is pretty vulgar and mean-spirited.

Normally I would say this show is not for everyone, and to be honest that still might be the case. However, given the situation the world is in right, this kind of over the top, raunchy humor might be just the thing to lift up someone’s spirits.

“Dog and Scissors” is another show in this vein, although with a much different plot. After being killed in a cafe, high school student Kazuhito is reborn as the pet dog of his favorite author, only to find out that she is pretty much a sadist. While it is not as consistently funny as a show like “Asobi Asobase,” “Dog and Scissors” does manage to knock enough absurdist jokes that make it worth watching at least the first few episodes.

Romance is another genre that often pairs well with comedy, and one of my favorite Rom-Coms, “Lovely Complex,” also happens to be incredibly funny. The show tells the story of Koizumi and Ootani, two high school students who to their friends are known as a comedy duo, but who, as it turns out, have feelings for each other.

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One might point out that a lot of the comedy in the show could come off as one dimensional, given that a lot of the jokes in the show revolve around their height, and the fact that Ootani does not realize Koizumi like him until pretty late in the series. In fairness, this is not an unreasonable criticism.

I would however argue to things. One is that I think a lot of the cliched jokes in the show are fairly justified given that both are shown to be socially unintelligent in a number of ways. Another is a point I echoed earlier. Given the situation going on right now, and a heightened sense of awareness about friends and loved ones, I think a lot of the show’s core message will resonate, and the comedy by effect will shine through.

I also know that, like myself, many people go through periods of anime burnout, where they simply do not want to watch anything anime related. In that case, stand up comedy is a great place to get a lot of good laughs. A good place to find a lot of stand up comedy right now is Netflix.

Over the past couple of years, Netflix, at least in the U.S., has built a pretty impressive library of comedy specials. A few comedians who stand out are Ally Wong, whose stories about her marriage and personally life are always incredibly funny, and Trevor Noah, whose backstory makes him incredibly interesting to listen to.

As for comedy movies, well… I got nothing there, sorry.

Whatever it is, Now more than ever is a time to be laughing. Is is not healthy, both mentally and physically, to keep those fears and worries bottled up. So, keep watching the news, and stay informed. Those are also important, but make sure to keep yourself laughing so that it does not get your health down.


Everyone reading this is awesome, and I hope all of you are staying safe. What have you guys been doing to pass the time? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Which is the Best Season of Voltron?

With the release of season six earlier this summer, Voltron has a series has had many ups and downs and intense emotional moments. It’s gone from an enemy of the week Mecha show to full-on intergalactic drama with characters like Allura at the center.

This radical change from its beginning to its most recent season has left me wondering about something: which season of Voltron is the best? For this question, I thought it would be helpful to recruit some other fans of the show in order to give a diversity of opinion on the matter.

As for myself, I would say overall season 6 is by far and away the best on a story level. Taking away the fact that the characters in season 6 have had more time to develop, the writing is absolutely incredible. Lotor as an ally of the Paladins becomes all the more believable as he and Allura become all the more close. The relationship between Pidge and her brother Max is brought to a height, and Lance’s feelings for Allura become all the more real after Lotor’s Betrayal. But what did other fellow bloggers have to say?

Sam from A Nerdy Perspective

Every season of Voltron has its own set of strengths as weaknesses. That being said season two stands out the most in terms of being the best season. While season one was a fantastic opening into the Voltron universe it still acts as a transition period for both the series and the viewer to find their feet. Seasons three through five were a messy, chaotic period where action and burning questions were appearing left, right and center. Season six resolved a lot of the plot holes but certain parts felt unsatisfactory so I continuously gravitate towards season two. It’s well balanced in my eyes. You’ve already gotten familiar with the characters and the laws of the universe and the season also manages to balance serious and light-hearted moments without swinging too far either way. The season both starts and finish on a very strong note urging the viewer to continue to see what the cliffhangers bring. It has it’s fair share of more serious moments whether it be Shiro being injured at the beginning or Keith learning more about his past. However, episodes such as Space Mall, The Depthsand Eye of the Storm balance out these more serious moments giving the serious parts of the story time to breathe and the viewer a chance to get to know the characters a little bit better and have a bonding moment with them all. It is also a season where plenty of action has taken place but as a viewer, it’s exciting to see what has yet to present itself. Season two definitely holds up as the best season for myself.

Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews

Season 6 is my favorite season of Voltron: Legendary Defenders so far. There are a few things wrong about it like how it’s paced and how it doesn’t answer some of the questions presented in its own plot, but the sixth season has had the most impact and payoffs so far. Every season of Voltron after the second season has been building to this one. The questions centered around Keith’s origins were answered in an organic way. Even if Keith’s mom didn’t feel like answering questions, they were on a mission going through some space thing that showed flashbacks of Keith’s origins. Everything seemed to appear organically as well. Then there are other things centered around what happened to Shiro after season two. Let’s not forget to mention the final unveiling of Prince Lotor’s plan and who he is behind his sophisticated façade after he snapped from insanity. In the end of season six, our Voltron crew gave up their home to keep the fabric of the universe intact, which shows how heroic they all are. If none of that counts, season six also had the show’s first legitimate robot vs robot fight which automatically sets it apart from every other season of Voltron out there. I can’t wait for season 7.

Naja of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Dreamwork’s Voltron Legendary Defender, it had me hooked from the very first episode and it’s only gotten better as the seasons progressed. Each new season builds on the groundwork laid by the previous ones creating something that is wholly unique from the existing Voltron mythos. So, singling one season out as my absolute favorite was not an easy task, each season has its merits, but, if I had to choose, I’d have to go with… Season 3! This was a season of transition for the series, Shiro is gone, Zarkon is out of commission, everyone is having to reassess everything they’ve known up until this point. The paladins have to adjust to not having their leader and their new roles within the team, especially Keith who struggles with his newfound responsibilities as a team leader. It’s not something that comes naturally to him like it does with Shiro, and he buckles under the weight of it all, definitely a Keith-centric series. But, my absolute favorite part of this season was the Voltron origins story we get in the last episode of season 3, that completely turns everything on its head, suddenly everything isn’t so cut and dry. The Galra who we’re supposed to “hate” are somewhat redeemed, they weren’t inherently evil, they became that way due to circumstances beyond their control (well, for the most part). Their intentions at the start were just as noble as the Alteans, if not more so, which makes their ultimate turn all the more tragic.


Thank you to Sam, Scott, and Naja for contributing to this post. This was actually my first ever collaboration with other bloggers and It turned out great. Voltron has become one of my favorite series, and Its great to know there are others who love it too. How do you guys feel about Voltron? If you have watched the series, which season is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

This Week in Anime: 11-2-17

Welcome everyone to the second installment of This Week in Anime, where you can catch up on important stories from the last week. This week was dominated by a lot of important announcements about anime and anime-related projects that will be coming soon, and some not so soon.

Attack on Titan Will be Adapting the Uprising Arc

Attack-on-Titan-1
Artwork from Season 2 and Season 3 of Attack on Titan. Source: Goboiano.

Season three of attack on titan was announced immediately after season two’s final episode aired, but now more details about the upcoming have been released. It is now confirmed that the show will air in Summer of 2018. The picture above shows (left half) promotional art from the third season, which will announce the “Uprising Arc” of the Manga. This arc details the true nature of the Titans as well as a coup d’etat. All of the production team will be returning for the project accept for Ayumi Yamada.

Hayao Miyazaki Announces Final Film Project

 

Kimi-tachi-wa-Dou-Ikiru-ka
Artwork from Hayao Miyazaki’s Next Film Project Kimi-Tachi wa Dou Ikiru ka. Source: Goboiano.

While at the opening of the Natsume Soseki Museum at Tokyo’s Wasada University, Hayao Miyazaki made time to talk about his next and presumed last, film. The film, titled Kimi-Tachi wa Dou Ikiru Ka(How do You Love?), is based on a book of the same name from author Genzaburo Yoshino in 1937. Miyazaki has previously praised the book as a masterpiece. The movie is going to take three to four years to complete, and the Studio Ghibli Producer Toshio Suzuki says the project is unlikely to be finished by the 2020 Olympics. As of right now, it is also true that the full-length feature film has not been officially greenlit by Studio Ghibli.

Funimation Now Officially Acquired by Sony

It was announced back in August of this year that Sony Entertainment would be purchasing a majority stake in Funimation, and now the deal has been mostly sealed. Sony valued Funimation at around 150 million U.S. Dollars and now has a majority stake in the company. Gen Fukunaga, the current CEO of Funimation, has been declared as having kept his position. The acquisition is part of Sony’s strategy to capitalize on their already strong representation in the anime market. Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks at Sony Pictures Television, said “The combined IP of ANIMAX, Kid’s Station, and Funimation will allow us to deliver the best anime to fans across all platforms.”  The deal still needs to approved by the necessary regulatory agencies, but it is unlikely they will be denied.

Live Action Erased Series to be Produced by Netflix

 

erased
Promotional Photo for a Live-Action Erased series on Netflix. Source: AnimeNewsNetwork.

After being announced earlier this year, Netflix has released a date for the live-action adaptation of the popular anime and manga series Boku Dake ga Inai Machi or Erased as its known in English. The live action drama will be released on Netflix on December 15, and the first visual (shown above) has been released. Yuya Furukawa will play the main character Satoru’s older self, and Reo Uchikawa will play Satoru’s younger self. Mio Yuuki will play Airi’s younger self.

 

 

My Thoughts on Netflix and the Anime Industry

It seems like just yesterday that anime was this niche thing that the nerds would gather around and discuss everyday, but more so everyday anime is becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon, to the point that multiple live-action adaptations have come out just this year, with more coming in the future.

This effect is being felt greatest by online streaming companies like Netflix and Crunchyroll, where their model has been more than lucrative. Netflix especially has become the poster child of investment in anime, as they announced 12 new series a few months ago, and it was released that much of their 8 billion dollar budget for next year would be going to anime project. Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos even admitted that “We’ve more than 30 original anime projects in various states of production.”‘

Certainly, as an anime fan, I’m happy. More original content, in general, is going to make a Netflix subscription even more worth having than it already is, but the fact that Netflix is making a serious investment in anime specifically, as opposed to live-action, is a sign that anime is becoming a popular and influential medium.

Many of the shows that they are getting I’m excited about. Whether it be last season’s Kakegurui, this season’s Children of the Whales or the next season of Seven Deadly Sins, the content that Netflix is bringing to their library is good.

the-seven-deadly-sins-season-2

Of course, none of this really gets at what a lot of people find objectionable about the anime industry, to begin with: how cheap it is. It has been a widely reported that many anime studios, including ones that have worked with Netflix in the past, have severely underpaid animators. Most starting animators in Japan now only make about 10,000 USD a year, with many having to live in big cities close to the studio where costs of living are much higher.

This lifestyle is largely unsustainable, with low pay and high workload, many can’t do it. According to a report that came out this year, 80 percent of animators leave the industry within just 3 years. What’s worse, the wages that animators get paid is below Japan’s minimum wage in most places, and even though the practices of animation studios is well-known, little has been down by the Japanese government to help the situation.

Netflix has been seen by many in the industry as a solution to the razor-thin profit margins that exist at many studios, with it being widely reported that the budgets for Netflix shows are significantly higher than a typical TV series.

This, however, that the industry’s long-standing problem of underpaying animators is solved. There is currently nothing that says that animators are getting paid more from these projects, and working conditions and workload have remained serious burdens on animators. If there is one thing that Netflix could do for the Anime Industry, it would be to foster an environment in which studios care about compensating their workers fairly, and that animators do not have to get paid slave wages just to do what they love.

How do you guys feel? What concerns do you have about the industry? Leave a comment and let me know.

Neo Yokio Trailer Reaction: huh?

Trailer: https://youtu.be/hwc6fTnsdBI

As has been reported before, the unprecedented growth in popularity of anime has not been lost on Netflix. They have obtained the exclusive license for a few shows over the recent years, and just this season they managed to acquire both Kakegurui and Fate/Apocrypha. They are also planning on releasing a whole host of other projects, including a remake of the original Saint Seiya and Cannon Busters, a new show directed by LeSean Thomas, who recently directed Crunchyroll’s first original IP Children of Ether.

What was not on that list of new shows was Neo Yokio, a show written and produced by Vampire Weekend’s lead singer Ezra Koenig. The show’s new trailer sets the world of Neo Yokio in a city of the same name, where main character Kaz Kaan lives his life as a wealthy playboy who hunts demons on the side.

I can safely say that even with all the interest that Netflix has taken in anime as of late, I would not have expected this. Netflix must really have a thing for passion projects as of late because of this, along with the recently released Death Note movie, is honestly a bit surreal.

The Trailer opens on Kaaz, along with his robot butler Charles, watching two women play tennis, showing us part of his wealthy lifestyle. Charles then proceeds to describe Neo Yokio as one of the most culturally and architecturally diverse places, and the envy of the world.

At this point, I’m still in shock at the names attached to this thing, like Jaden Smith of all people, but at the same time, I’m a bit in awe. The show is described on Netflix as a comedy, so I can only assume much of this ridiculous mish mash of plotlines will be played for laughs.

The voice acting doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence in me either. Based on this trailer, it seems like Jaden Smith rushed through his lines just to get his paycheck and everyone else in the trailer was ok at best.

The Music also didn’t seem that impressive, with the trailer playing what sounded like some generic backing music.

I can’t overstate my general sense of confusion. On one hand, despite its lackluster trailer, this does look like something that could be genuinely funny. On the other, it’s just amazing that something like this even exists. I do hope there is quality to be found here, but I’m honestly just not sure where to look.

Twitter Poll: What Did You Think Of Netflix’s Death Note?

Hey, guys! Just wanted to throw this up because I’m very curious on people’s opinions of the new Death Note Movie. Would appreciate a response. The poll will be up for two more days. Thanks a lot in advance!

Netflix’s Death Note: A Misunderstanding of Source Material

Netflix’s live action adaptation of the popular anime and manga series “Death Note” became highly controversial among the anime community when it was announced. Fans of the original speculated as to whether or not the project’s director Adam Wingard could bring justice to a series that to many is considered the pinnacle of animated storytelling. The trailers released several months prior to the movie’s release gave many fans hope that the movie could bring one of the most famous stories in popular culture to a live action medium, but the finished product has given fans of the original, including myself, much to criticize in the way of a good adaptation.

Adam Wingard’s vision of “Death Note” was different from the original, and that is a detriment to the film. In an interview with The Verge, Wingard admits, “I grounded it by taking this complicated story, and rooting it in this idea of a coming-of-age teenage tragic romance.” This, however, is the main problem with the movie. “Death Note” is not about a romance or a tragedy. “Death Note” is the story of a kid who gains the power to kill anyone by simply writing a name in a book and picturing a face. This power corrupts him and he slowly transitions from a hero of justice to someone who kills without hesitation. Netflix’s adaptation ignores this transformation entirely in order to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and the movie suffers because of it.

This is not to say that a different interpretation of “Death Note” would be a waste of time. In fact, it’s setting in America might actually make it a more genuinely interesting film. As an article by Rebecca Sun in The Hollywood Reporter points out, “America’s greatest storytelling strength isn’t its high production value. It’s multiculturalism – access to a wide array of backgrounds and identities, and an ability to find out what happens when they collide.” An interpretation of “Death Note” where themes of racism and racial injustice, or one with even more focus on the idea of America’s identity as the world’s policemen, as the movie briefly hints at, would have been much more interesting. Instead, Wingard chooses to focus mainly on a romance that has zero chemistry, and little relation to the original story.

Aside from Wingard’s inability to find a strong thematic direction for the film, there is plenty to like about the live action “Death Note”. The casting of the movie was generally phenomenal. Willem Dafoe’s voicing of Ryuk was the perfect choice, as he precisely captures the creepiness and looming danger that Ryuk’s presence signals for Light. Keith Stanfield’s performance as L was also an enjoyable addition to the movie. Even though L’s quirks like eating sweets and sitting on top of chairs were seen by many as not easily transferable to a live action film, Stanfield manages to bring his character to life without coming across as awkward.

The soundtrack is also worth mentioning, as it does a lot to hold up the movie. A considerable amount of thought was clearly put into the music and music placement in the film. It is especially visible during the final third when tensions between Light and Mia grow, and the two become visibly more insane. The fast and heavy music during the scenes where L confronts Light also add to the intensity during the movie’s best moments.

Unfortunately, it does not seem possible to call this movie great, and to some, it might even be a stretch to call it good. Wingard’s decision to depart from the core themes of the original while leaving nothing but a half-baked romance in its place takes away a lot from its standing as an adaptation. Wingard may have done well with casting and music choices, but trying to compare Netflix’s adaptation of the original anime series leaves a lot to be desired.