With over 25 million copies sold, the hit manga series has finally been adapted into two live-action feature films directed by Shusuke Kaneko, widely known for the popular, Gamera, monster film series.
DEATH NOTE was first released in Japan in July 2006, grossing over *$28 million* with 2.3 million tickets sold.
Its sequel, DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME, was released in Japan in November 2006 and was even more successful, grossing over *$52 million* with 4.3 million tickets sold.
Both movies stayed at #1 on box office for weeks not only in Japan, but also in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
As a result of this success, a spin-off film directed by Hideo Nakata (director of the original Japanese version of The Ring) will be released shortly on February 9, 2008, titled L: Change the World.
Adapted from the bestselling manga, with original characters and plot twists developed only for live-action film, the story takes unexpected turns before arriving at a shocking ending.
Ace student Light Yagami finds the Death Note, a notebook intentionally dropped by a rogue "Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies. Upset with the current justice system, Light takes matters into his own hands and vows to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of all evil, and become the God of the new world.
Soon, the number of suspicious deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the International Police Organization.
A mysterious detective known only as L quickly learns that the serial killer, nicknamed Kira by the public, is located in Japan. Light realizes that L will be his greatest enemy, and a game of psychological cat and mouse between the two begins.
*Music by RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS *
*Theme Song: DANI CALIFORNIA** *
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The first live-action feature based on the manga Death Note covers much of the same material as the first 12 episodes of the animated series. Handsome Light Yagami has just passed the bar exam, but he's repelled by the injustice of modern society. His life changes dramatically when he finds a Death Note, a notebook dropped into human space by Ryuk, a Shinigami (god of death). If anyone writes the name of a human in the book, that person will die within minutes. Under the pseudonym "Kira," Light launches a gradiose vigilante campaign to rid the world of criminals and create his vision of a perfect society. But the string of deaths attracts the attention of the police, who refer the baffling case to the eccentric but brilliant detective known only as "L." The police are reduced to pawns as the investigation becomes a high-stakes battle of wits between Light and L. Director Shusuke Kaneko and screenwriter Tetsuya Oshi add a dramatic subplot: the fiancee of one of Kira's victim deduces the killer's identity. Tatsuya Fujiwara makes Light more understandable and more likable than his animated counterpart. Kenichi Matsuyama looks properly pallid as L, but his addiction to desserts looks silly in live action and weakens the character's intensity. The hokey Ryuk never blends in with the real sets. Death Note ends inconclusively, but continues in a sequel.(Unrated: suitable for ages 16 and older: grotesque imagery, violence, violence against women, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon