In a video published by the YouTube channel “That Japanese Man Yuta”, channel owner Yuta explores the flood of opinions on Twitter for clues on what Japanese people thought of the westernized Death Note movie produced by Netflix. If the title of this article didn’t spoil it for you already, it seems like the majority of the Japanese people (on Twitter) didn’t quite like what was delivered. Before moving on, I warn that there will be actual story spoilers later in this piece.
Previously, we talked about how the idea of a westernized Death Note movie started out about 10 years ago, and how the rights for this movie ended up in Netflix’s hands after all these years of wait (or rather, fear?). Hopefully, you weren’t one of the people who was actually looking forward to this movie, as the general consensus seems to lean towards the negative side, not only in Japan but on the internet as a whole. At the very least, the negative opinions are the most voiced and seem to basically dominate the entire mainstream news feed online.
This is not to say the movie wasn’t entertaining, because to me, it was entertaining enough for me to keep watching, even though a lot of the scenes had me thinking, “Why?”, not in a sophisticated way, but in a condescending way. This mostly revolves around protagonist Light’s questionable behavior and lack of brain.
Although, this scene above, I can’t deny how unexpected and hilarious it was watching this!
One notable character named “L” was played by Afro-American actor Keith Stanfield, who gained a lot of attention simply because of his deviating appearance compared to L as represented in the manga/anime, a character who otherwise is portrayed as zombie-pale, rational, and a guy who sports an emo hairstyle. Despite the visual differences, Keith did an outstanding job as an actor and personally stood out to me. It was, however, too bad that Netflix’s interpretation of L’s character was way off its source material… Instead of being calm and rational, the Netflix version of L literally brought a gun to a fist fight and was also debating whether to use the Death Note to actually kill his nemesis, Light.
But what about the Japanese people? What did they think about the movie? After all, many of them seem to be inclined to give it a try after seeing the trailer. Youtuber Yuta took the liberty to explore the Twitter feed for clues on this matter, and what he found was that many Japanese people weren’t quite fond of this movie either. In summary, because of the intellectual department lacking, it leads the movie into a slippery slope.
For more details, check out Yuta’s discovery in the video below.
Glass Reflection, an anime-focused YouTube channel, gives you a little more in-depth reasoning and talks about what he thought was good and bad. He also explains how the movie was undeniably shallow for a plot that goes deeper than the rabbit hole. While he too was generally not a big fan of what Netflix had done with their adaptation, he did see some potential in how Netflix could have sidetracked the story to create a more detached spin-off, which to me, sounded a lot more intriguing.