[Manga] Death Note Special One Shot


Jan 26, 2009
Trait Points
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General Info:
Series Name : Death Note Special One Shot​
Publishing Year : Released on Feb 3, 2020.​
Writer : Tsugumi Ohba​
Artist : Takeshi Obata​
Genre : Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller, Shounen​
Current Status : One shot (87 pages), currently available for free on manga on Viz and mangaplus.shueisha.co.jp .​

Series Summary:
It's been a while since death of Light Yagami. A bored Ryuk misses his apples and makes another round in human world to get someone who will provide him the fruit again. This time he has picked Minoru Tanaka, a middle school student who loves quizzes and solving puzzles. Minoru's plan for the death note is quite different than the infamous Kira, but Ryuk gets to watch another game.​
Critical Review:
(Contains spoilers)

The basic premise of the plot revolves around Death Note, which is basically a shinsigami's notebook. A shinigami(death god), can kill any person by writing his victim's name in his death note. Humans can use it if they get one somehow. There is a set of rules and conditions that user of a death note must follow. e.g. owner/user of Death note, must have seen the face of someone and know his or her exact name, before he can write it down. However, not all rules are written down. Shinigamies are not obligated to share information nor they know them all themselves. Thus trial and error method maybe the only way to find it out. It's also shown that shinigami or king may set new conditions and limits. And some of these rules even maybe fake as last time Ryuk added two of them on Light Yagami's demand.​
Original Death Note series is a cult classic by now. In this universe, Shinigami's have their own world and don't need to enter Human world to kill them. But, it's relatively sedentary place. One day, Ryuk, tired of the shinigami lifestyle, drops a Death Note into the human realm to see how they would use it. Light Yagami starts as a self righteous killer, Kira, but it doesn't take much for him to go down the spiral and turning in to a murderer and manipulating people, friends and foes alike. Ryuk is entertained watching a cat and mouse game between him and the detectives while it lasts.​
One shot picks up after a decade of Light Yagami's death. Another shinigami returns the spare death note he had borrowed from Ryuk. Ryuk misses tastes of apples and decides that it's time for him to make another trip in the Human world. He picks another smart student hoping chosen user can find some innovative uses for death note, like Yagami before him and provide another entertaining show. However, series is self-contained, short story and stands on it own.​
Near is back, predicting the next moves and profiling this new guys as A- Kira or Auction Kira. Some of the cops from the original series show up as well. However, they do not play much significant role, this time. Once Near concludes this A-kira is not killing people, he isn't interested in finding out who he is.​
I liked Minoru Tanaka as the protagonist a lot better than Light. He is handsome, smart for his age, but more reserved and without any narcissistic superiority complex, unlike Light Yagami. This is the second time Ryuk lured an intelligent but fairly young human to accept his spare death note. Maybe because giving such a weapon in hands of an inexperience but imaginative youth has more potential for chaos and entertainment for him. And he certainly prefers them Japanese. :p There is a time gap between the time he thinks of making another visit, 2013, and when he appears before Minorou in May, 2019, supposedly after 2 years of meeting him the first time. Meaning Ryuk took 4 years before selecting him.​
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Back to our protagonist. The events of this Death Note one shot, are set in 2019. The manga opens with Ryuk manifesting in front of Minoru, exactly after 2 years from the day, they first met. We learn that Minroru had refused to take ownership of the notebook for the time being. He told the shinigami that he would accept it in two years. Ryuk didn't like that he wwould have to wait for that long his apples. Still when Minoru suggested to choose another owner, the Shinigami accepted this proposition.​
Minoru shows certain level of thoughtfulness and restraint and doesn't rush in to the game. Modern day setting is established quickly. It's pointed out and acknowledged that current day surveillance level is much higher than it was a decade ago. That some of the things Light Yagami did, were not possible to pull of now. We learn that Kira's case is now taught in Ethics and History classes in schools. Minoru informs Ryuk that while morally Light is seen as a mass murderer and evil, he has his supporters.​
Minoru doesn't want to use death note to kill anyone. However, he cannot bring himself to refuse death note completely, either. He rationalizes that refusing it will make Ryuk look for another person who may misuse it anyway.​
After mulling over his options for a while, Minoru decides to auction the death note online. He has planned it perfectly, minimizing the chances to be found out. Auctions are invited on the Twitter, till it becomes so big that nations get involved directly. Instead of taking money only for himself, he gets it distributed to all the account holders below 60 in his bank. This makes it difficult to track it to any individual back.​
Obviously, every country wants such a weapon in it's possession. United States of America is most likely to get it's hand on it, and does. Since the real world timeline and setting is established, Trump and Jinping get to play cameo roles in this story. Ryuk personally hands over the Death Note to Trump in his Oval office.​
By now, however, Shinigami King is angry at this innovative use of Death Note and rightly so. He made a brand new rule to discourage the buyer and user from gaining any benefits by such transaction. For the sake of Ryuk fans, let's hope he doesn't make the king too mad. Changed condition made Trump refuse the DN, and put a wrench in to Minoru's perfect plan. I believe Light earned his name being written down. But, this time seeing Minoru's name right below his, was ironic and rather sad.​
Though short and different enough, story keeps the old antihero vs. antivillain debate about Kira, alive. Last time Kira succeeded in lowering crimes rate and stopped a war, despite the evil route, he took. The new Kira sold Death Note to highest bidder but many people and the whole Japanese economy, in general, benefited from the transaction. Once again he has done something that many cheer for.​
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