A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this mature Adult Swim anime series isn't intended for kids. It revolves around a high school student who becomes a serial killer. Since his victims are all criminals, he justifies the murders as a way of creating a crime-free world. Most of the deaths aren't too graphic, but they're frequent. The frightening appearance of a Japanese death god adds to the show's dark psychological nature.
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What's the story?
Light Yagami (voiced by Brad Swaile), an intelligent high school student who's become frustrated with the endless criminal activity taking place all over the world, finds a notebook that enables its owner to kill people by writing their names in it. Realizing that he possesses the means of creating a crime-free world, he becomes a serial killer who targets criminals. Light, known to the public as "Kira," meets his match when the mysterious, cunning detective known only as "L" (Alessandro Juliani) joins the police investigation. L (who only communicates with the world via computer) knows that Kira is in Japan and is committed to finding him and bringing him to justice. As each man tries to outsmart the other, they find themselves developing a better understanding of the internal struggles that drive them to do what they do.
Is it any good?
DEATH NOTE is a somewhat brainy series that explores the mind of a young man whose almost childlike vision of a new world allows him to detach himself from the immorality of his acts. It also looks at some of the ethical questions surrounding the execution of criminals (both legally or otherwise) in the name of justice. But while it lacks a lot of the blood and gore noted in other anime series, this dark psychological drama isn't intended for young anime fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cultural differences between TV shows in the United States and in other countries. What are the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese anime series? Why do you think there aren't many U.S. shows that tackle the same topics in a similar way? Families can also discuss Light's actions. Is there ever such a thing as justifiable murder? Is doing anything that you know is illegal ever OK if the target is a bad seed? Is there a point when your actions become just as reprehensible as the people and bad deeds you're targeting?