Death Note (film): Wikis


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Death Note
Deathnote lastnamecast.jpg
A promotional poster for Death Note: The Last Name
(Desu Nōto)
Genre Detective fiction, comedy-drama, fantasy, mystery, psychological thriller, supernatural
Live-action film
Director Shūsuke Kaneko
Producer Toyoharu Fukuda
Takahiro Kohashi
Takahiro Satō
Composer Kenji Kawai
Studio NTV, Warner Bros.[1]
Licensor VIZ Pictures, Warner Bros.
Released Japan:
June 17, 2006
September 27, 2007
United Kingdom:
April 25, 2008[2]
United States:
May 20, 2008
September 15, 2008
Runtime 125 minutes
Live-action film
Death Note: The Last Name
Director Shūsuke Kaneko
Producer Toyoharu Fukuda
Seiji Okuda
Takahiro Satō
Composer Kenji Kawai
Studio NTV, Warner Bros.[1]
Licensor VIZ Pictures
Released Hong Kong:
October 28, 2006
November 3, 2006
September 27, 2007
United States:
October 15, 2008
December 3, 2008
United Kingdom:
March 7, 2009 (TV premiere)
Runtime 140 minutes
Anime and Manga Portal

Death Note (デスノート Desu Nōto?) is a series of two live-action Japanese films released in 2006 and based on the Death Note manga and anime series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The films primarily center on a university student who decides to rid the world of evil with the help of a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it. The two films were directed by Shūsuke Kaneko, produced by Nippon Television, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan.

A spin-off film directed by Hideo Nakata, titled L: Change the World, was released on February 9, 2008.



The series is about Light Yagami, a young man. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note", lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a person's name is written within it while picturing that person's face, that person shall die. Light is initially skeptical of the notebook's authenticity, but after experimenting with it, he realizes that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his judgment on those he deems to be evil or who get in his way.

After months of killing criminals, Light is dubbed Kira by the public and some believe him to be righteous about killing criminals. Interpol is no closer to catch him, and is going to pass the case on to the Ministry of Health as some disease, until "L" steps on the scene. Known as the best detective in the world, L has solved many cases with his assistant Watari. Working with them, L manages to confront Light, live on TV, and deduces he is in the Kanto region of Japan and he can "kill without lifting a finger". The race begins between L and Light to discover each other's identity, and a game of cat and mouse ensues between the two geniuses.



English dub voice cast



In his production notes, director Shūsuke Kaneko explained his desire to convince audiences that, while the killing of bad humans may seem to be fair, it underestimates the corrupting influence of wielding such power (the manga series follows a very similar viewpoint). Kaneko also commented that the psychological fear of dying could be "more nightmarish than Kaiju (monsters) destroying cities and killing people".[3]

Kaneko also stated that he wanted the film to "focus on psychological pain", explain how the deaths occur, and explain how younger people would begin to like Kira.[4] He also removed many of the interior monologues prominent in the manga and anime to allow audiences to develop their own ideas about the characters' thoughts and beliefs, while allowing "dramatic tension".[5]

Kaneko said that the most difficult portion of the manga to film was the scene when the investigation begins and the authorities conclude that a person is responsible for the killing of criminals. He chose to add a scene in which L explains his logic via his laptop in order to make the film "more believable" and "excite people" for the coming struggle between L and Light.[5]

Kaneko indicated mixed feelings while directing the movie. He said that he felt "a little reservation" at how the movie would perform, since the film "uses 'death' to entertain the audience" and feels "morally unsettling". Kaneko theorized that the film may have performed well because of the Internet culture of Japan, saying that the use of the Death Note had similarities to how users attacked one another on message boards and blogs. In addition, Kaneko noted that death is "carefully" concealed, to the point where "people don't even think about it".[6]


Kaneko chartered an underground line to film a particular scene in the first film; the first time in Japanese film history that an underground line was used. Kaneko used about 500 extras throughout the first film.[4]


Theme songs

Death Note

Death Note: The Last Name

L: Change the World

Release and reception

Death Note

The first film, simply titled as Death Note, premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks, pushing The Da Vinci Code into second place.[7]

Death Note (死亡筆記) was released in Hong Kong on August 10, 2006, in Taiwan on September 8, 2006, in Singapore on October 19, 2006, and in Malaysia on November 9, 2006 with English and Chinese subtitles. The world premiere was in the UA Langham Place cinema in Hong Kong on October 28, 2006, the first Japanese movie to premiere in Hong Kong. The film ended up earning US$41 million in Japan, $1.9 million in Hong Kong. The film was released in the UK on April 25, 2008.

Death Note: The Last Name

The second movie, Death Note: The Last Name, premiered on November 3, 2006, and instantly topped the Japanese box office,[8] remaining at number one for four straight weeks,[9] and grossed 5.5 billion yen in Japan by the end of the year, making it one of the year's highest grossing Japanese films.[10]

The sequel was released in Hong Kong on November 3, 2006, in Taiwan on November 24, 2006, in Singapore on December 28, 2006, and in Malaysia on January 25, 2007, with English and Chinese subtitles.

Christy Lee S.W. of The Star, in her review of the second film, stated that Kaneko "did a good job" in pacing the film, adding that the increased pacing towards the end made some of the content difficult to understand. She also said that screenwriter Tetsuya Oishi made sure the characters were "well fleshed out" and easily empathized with.[11]

North American release

The first movie briefly played in certain North American theaters on May 20–21, 2008[12] The theatrical version featured actors from the English dub of the anime voicing over their respective characters (with a few notable recasts, and the exception of John Murphy (Lind L. Tailor's English dub actor) due to Lind L. Tailor already being played by American actor Matt Lagan - in the dub, Tailor's voice is instead dubbed by Ted Cole). The film was broadcasted in Canadian theaters for one night only on September 15, 2008. The DVD was released on September 16, 2008, one day after the Canadian showing.[13]

Death Note: The Last Name was given similar treatment. The film was dubbed into English and released in American theaters for two nights only, October 15 and 16. The film was released in Canada on December 3, the DVD was released on February 10, 2009.

L: Change the World was released in the United States on April 29–30 of 2009

UK release

Death Note, Death Note: The Last Name, and L: Change the World were all licensed for UK release by 4Digital Asia, a sublabel of 4Digital Media, formerly Ilc Entertainment.[14][15][16][17] The first title was the inaugural release in this new sublabel, launched in 2008 to fill the gap in the UK for "Asia Extreme" titles created by the demise of Tartan. All have received limited theatrical screenings at arthouse venues around the UK, such as the ICA Cinema in central London. All three have received DVD releases in limited editions, featuring two discs in hardback-book-like packaging, mimicking the item of the title. Regular single-disc editions are replacing the limited ones for long-term release. A dedicated website focused on the franchise was also created for public use.[18] Both films were also broadcast on Film4.

North American Remake

In 2007, the Malaysian paper The Star stated that more than ten film companies in the United States had expressed interest in the Death Note franchise.[6] The American production company Vertigo Entertainment was originally set to develop the remake, with Charley and Vlas Parlapanides as screenwriters and Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Dan Lin, and Brian Witten as producers.[19] On April 30, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros., the distributors for the original Japanese live-action films, had acquired the American rights for the remake, with the original screenwriters and producers still attached.[20] The release date is tentatively set for the year 2011.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Official Death Note live-action movie website" (in Japanese). Warner Bros.. Retrieved 2006-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Death Note Live Action Movie - BBFC Rating". BBFC. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  3. ^ Tai, Elizabeth. "... And justice for all?". The Star.
  4. ^ a b "The making". The Star.
  5. ^ a b Shōnen Jump. Volume 6, Issue 6. June 2008. VIZ Media. 8.
  6. ^ a b "Here're a few hints of the second and concluding part of Death Note the movie, The Last Name.". The Star.
  7. ^ "Death Note Tops Box Office Again". Anime News Network. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  8. ^ "Death Note Wins Japanese Box Office Weekend". Anime News Network. 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  9. ^ "Death Note Notches Fourth Week at #1". Anime News Network. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  10. ^ "Japan's Top 10 Box Office Hits in 2006". Anime News Network. 2007-01-08.'s-top-10-box-office-hits-in-2006. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  11. ^ "A Name to Remember." The Star.
  12. ^ "1st Death Note Film to Run in 300+ U.S. Theaters in May". Anime News Network. 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  13. ^ "Death Note Live-Action!! Trailer". Viz Media. 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  14. ^ UK release details:
  15. ^ UK release details here:
  16. ^ UK release details here:
  17. ^ Company website:
  18. ^ Franchise site:
  19. ^ "Warner Brothers Acquire Live-Action Death Note Rights". Anime News Network. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  20. ^ "Warner brings 'Death' to bigscreen". Variety. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  21. ^ "Death Note (2010)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-05-27. (retrieved March 7, 2009)

External links


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