All member reviews for Death Note

Common Sense Media says

Dark psychological anime mixes sci-fi, drama.

Users say

(out of 229 reviews)
age 12+
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Parent Written byobnoxiousm September 6, 2010

Great Moral Questions But No Answers; Watch with Less Mature Teens

Death Note, the story of a brilliant teenager who finds a notebook that can kill and decides to rid the world of evil, is pure genius but misses the mark with its "shounen" or young male audience. Because Light is the main character, it's easy to assume he's the "good guy." If you do that, you miss the message entirely... which is what many kids who watch this show do. I'm a big Death Note fan, but I was 21 when I first found it. I was able to look at Light go from innocent but bitter teenager to delusional world conqueror and go, "OK, power corrupts." I was able to look away from him as a role model and identify moral, upstanding, kind-hearted Soichiro, Light's Father and the only good character in the piece according to its author, as someone I'd like to be more like. Many teenagers and even tweens can pick up on this, but some can't. Watch a little with your kid before you let them at it themselves, just in case they're one of the naive youngsters who feel that "Light Was Right." If you're worried about specific content, there's a lot of violence. Most of the deaths are bloodless heart attacks, but there is at least one particularly bloody shooting and some lesser ones. Also, Misa's clothing is downright scandalous and Light treats women like excrement. And the language! Even the second opening has the F-word in it! Still, all this is in the service of creating a gritty, realistic world that shows the best and worst that humanity has to offer. Death Note is wonderfully complex and poses great moral questions... but it refuses to answers them. If you don't know for sure that your child can find their own answers, you need to watch it with them. Even if not, it can't hurt--they'll appreciate having someone to try out their interpretation with and you can probably provide that better than their friends.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old January 29, 2011

A great book/anime, not as violent as it sounds

I love this, I love the story and everything about it. It's really interesting, I'm addicted to it xD For really young kids, it might be kinda intense but I'd say if your 11 or 12 and in the 6th grade you can go ahead and watch it. It has slight language like "hell" but that's no big deal, definitely no reason not to watch it. Death note is really not that bad. People who haven't seen it don't let their kids watch/read it because it SOUNDS violent, but it really isn't that bad! My nine year old brother watches it with me sometimes.
Teen, 14 years old Written byDziko August 8, 2009

Amazing show, lets you decide what's right and wrong.

Death note is simply fantastic. Although the story follows Light, the high school senior who finds the death note, it never exactly promotes his behavior as "good". Also, L (the other main character who many fans find more lovable although stranger) highly opposes Light's ideals and strives to catch him before there's any more killings. So, it's not as if everyone's supporting the serial killer. Death Note is not exactly a classic battle of good vs. evil, but that's why it's so wonderfully unique and interesting. The plot is extremely intelligent (like the characters), so it's never boring. And Ryuk, the apple-loving shinigami, also keeps it entertaining. But perhaps the best part of the whole show is that it never tells you who’s right and who’s wrong. People get to decide for themselves, which always sparks engaging conversations. And it’s NOT just for hardcore anime fans. I had never watched anything anime before I watched DN, and I absolutely loved it. I also forced my anime-hater friends to watch it, and they are now completely obsessed. Everyone that I’ve made watch it loves it (and they’re all 14, like I am). Perhaps the only problem with the show is that the characters are a little too lovable, no matter how bad they are. As an example, one of my favorite characters (who makes his entrance later in the series) is the teenage mafia leader with anger issues, who kidnaps at least three people and probably kills much more than that. Another one is a teenage chain smoker (although he’s only in the anime for a good 30 seconds). Anyway, although kind of violent (most of the deaths are heart attacks; I don’t believe that there’s a whole lot of blood until the end, where there’s a shooting) and cruel, it’s also clever and thought-provoking. I recommend it for any teen or highly mature tween.
Adult Written byKitten830 June 25, 2011

I've watched this entire series, from begining to end.

As the "What parents need to know" says, this anime series is NOT for younger audiences. It's very dark, lots of killing and violence. For adults only! I have no idea who these people are saying it's for 10-14 year olds, but that is definitely not the case.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byHalfBloodPrincess April 27, 2012

Hours of Entertainment. I Highly recommend it!

This is my all-time favourite anime and I highly recoomend that any anime fan 12+ watch it. That being said, there is some violence. Light kills hundreds of people, however most of them simply die of heart attacks, so it's not at all gruesome. There is one man who is hit by a car, and *SPOILER ALERT* Light is shot in the last episode and bleeds quite a bit *END OF SPOILER* but the blood is not really too graphic. It's implied that two people commit suicide (one because of Light) but it's not shown. There are a few swear words throughout the series like "h0ll" and "d0mn", but nothing too bad. There are some innuendos and Misa wears some skimpy outfits, but sex isn't really an issue in this series. Although Light and Misa live together without getting married, so this might be an issue for some people, depending on your personal beliefs. There are a few characters that may be frightening to some viewers, namely the Shinigamis, Rem and Ryuk, but they're not violent or malicious, just a bit scary-looking. I don't think anyone over 12 is going to have much of a problem with them. Although Light is obviously a psychopath, there are several characters in the series who are good role models, for example, L. He is incredibly smart and resourceful and has a strong sense of justice. He risks everything in order to catch Kira (Light) and is honestly one of the best characters I've seen in an anime. Virtually any of the characters fighting on the good side can be considered a good role model and in the end, evil characters get what they deserve.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byKaterinaP. May 20, 2012

For mature minded kids 12+

I as a parent think this show is incredible, I really like it and I let my teenage daughter watch it, though she is 12 years old she has a very mature mind, she's really intellegent and as well understand situations kids her age don't understand as well. This show is on for kids 10+ if they are mature enough. Parents need to understand that sometimes the show has strong vocabulary and some romantic scenes. I really recommend this show as a parent and as a fan of this show.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byRIPsquishy August 10, 2010
Teen, 17 years old Written byRandom Flapdoodle April 9, 2008

For Older Fans...

Just a few things to clarify: 1. Light DOES NOT limit himself to killing only criminals. Within ten episodes, he goes on to kill FBI agents and other innocent people without so much as batting an eyelash. It's not just evildoers; anyone who gets in his way is a target. 2. To cite his love for his family as a "positive social message" is really stretching it. I mean, the kid has no qualms about manipulation, hacking into police files, deception, and murder…yet it's OK because he loves his sister? They're picking one good twig out of a veritable forest of corruption. If anything, his ability to act like a loving person just accentuates how incredibly conniving he is. 3. Some of the deaths in the series are extremely bloody or otherwise frightening. The scene where the man on the motorcycle is smashed by a large tractor-trailer bothered me a little bit. With all of this and some harsher language, this is definitely a 14+ series. Oh, and this is nothing like Bleach. The person who said that obviously has never seen the series. There are Shinigami in both, but that's where the similarities end.
Kid, 10 years old April 21, 2011

great anime,not for little kids.

this is a amazing,gothic,and dark anime(sadly,only 39 episodes).It is about Light Yagami,who one day finds a book that has the words "death note".He then learns it used to belong to a shinigami(death god).Light and the death god then use the notebook to kill people,but he is not counted for his actions.Though this is an amazing anime,it may give a bad messaage since Light freely kills people
Teen, 15 years old Written bybioniclecomeback56 May 22, 2014

A smart and thrilling show.

Even if anime isn't really your thing this is a great series. Overall it's content is PG-13. CSM originally rated this an "iffy for 14+", but it seems they recently rated it "16+". I find this new rating to be ridiculous. Yes, this show is dark and mature and not meant for young kids. But 16+ is very harsh seeing, that there are movies with more violence, sex, and language that you give a 13+ rating. The violence rarely has any blood at all, and it's still not super detailed. There aren't any sex scenes, the worst that happens is when a group of men ATTEMPT to sexually assault a woman, but are then killed before they can do anything sexual. Language is limited to "damn", "hell", and "bastard", these words are NOT said constantly. This shows is tamer than most of what currently airs on television, anyone who says different is overreacting a bit or just some bigot who thinks all anime is pornographic and violent. Don't listen to any of this trash. A must watch for mature 13 year olds and up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 10 year old Written byMommacat13 April 12, 2014

Excellent psychological crime thriller for teens

As a parent who loves horror and sci-fi, I enjoyed this series immensely. The animation is beautiful and the story compelling. This show is NOT gory and any violence is implied and rather tame compared to some 'super-hero' shows geared for younger watchers. I would definitely recommend using your judgement based on YOUR child and their tastes and comfort level. While my daughter (10) would find this show scary, her friend who's 11 would really enjoy it. With ANY anime, it's always best to watch a few episode yourself to gauge the content and vibe, then decide if it's something your child would be able to contextualize and enjoy.
Teen, 13 years old Written byThatSmartPerson June 2, 2015

Very dark but not offensive

if you do not like heavy Gothic themes, lots of people dying, and long episodes of exposition, then I would not recommend this. This anime follows the path of a once-normal-turned-mass-murderer Light Yagami, who we slowly see turn insane by the end of the series. This would turn off most parents at the very mention, however, Death Note feeds this to you in a way that can only make you root for the detectives fighting against Light. And yes, those detectives DO win, in a way. There is another factor that plays a great role in this anime; and that is the shinigami. For those who do not like gods, death gods, or the mention of gods whether capital or lowercase, you still may like this anime for the way to portrays them. This anime I wholeheartedly enjoyed, and endured till the end, and it was worth it. However, should you watch it in dubbed version, make note that there is a lot of swearing.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Adult Written byhelsingmusique November 5, 2014

The Creativity Shines

There is violence in this show, it is built on violence, however it is not violence that is there for the sake of violence, it serves a purpose. This purpose is due to showing the criminal justice system and what would happen if someone had the ability to kill with a name and a face, it takes a topic, an idea and turns it into something incredibly beautiful. This tale is dark, it's a tragedy, it shows real live scenarios and makes you know that just because there are two forces on opposite sides with one being considered good and the other evil does not mean this is your every day story where it is obvious what is going to happen. This story is very realistic despite it being fiction, it may have Shinigamis in it which are mythical creatures, however the human emotion, the fear, the want, the desire, the need for control, the need for safety, the media propaganda is all human and we have seen it done repeatedly in society, especially now. And probably the most interesting part about the series is that the main antagonist is the main character which is another thing not common in any kind of story telling because humans like their heroes, but we often get bored by knowing these heroes and watching them without fear that something will happen which makes Death Note so much more interesting there is that fear that someone we like could die, there is that fear that their world could go into darkness, that Kira's vision could become reality and we feel with these characters, we experience their ride, we see Light at his highest and at his lowest. We see characters we adore suffer, we see characters we hate prosper, and it shows that this is reality in a way, we see evil people getting away with things they should be punished for and we see bad things happen to good people. All in all I highly recommend it because it is something that hasn't been done before and it cannot be replicated to fit our fairytales or what we consider the perfect life and that is refreshing to see another take on a different story.
Adult Written bysweetestangel20 April 9, 2008

I love it!

At first when they started showing it on Adult Swim I wasnt too sure but it has grown on me and I love it. Yes it has some violence in it and some mild language but then again so does most of the anime on Adult Swim. I read the manga and Im glad that it was made into an anime. It isnt for little children to watch which is why it comes on so late at night.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLeviRavioli August 1, 2015

Violent Dark and not for little kids.

Death Note is by far one of the greatest animes I've seen with a thrilling storyline. However it's not meant for little kids. The storyline is to dark and mature for children it can be confusing. Violence: there's quite a bit and the last few episodes have tons of blood ( the man cuffed shoots blood out of his body as a diversion) ( a man gets shot multiple times) and the idea of killing with a notebook is violent. Sex: Misa Amane is a model she dresses in gothic skimpy clothing. In the 2nd ep a woman is surrounded and the man is told to strip her she he then grabs her belt buckle.The woman holds it though and then the scene ends. Near the end of the series a woman is kidnapped and told to take off her clothes and put them in a box she is given a blanket to cover nothing is shown except some cleavage they continue showing her in the blanket. A man pins down a woman nothing happens though. Characters a called perverts. In one episode men sit around with women nothing happens. They show a woman in the shower but nothing is shown. Language: D*am* Shi* Hell. Things that can be disturbing: The Shinigami or Gods of death can come of as scary to some people and the fact that they are gods of death is also scary. Drugs: Smoking and drinking is seen throughout the series. I think mature minded 13-14 year olds who like anime can handle this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byXxDragonWhisperxX August 29, 2014

Not for the faint of heart

This anime is SUPER good. But just to warn you, it has blood and some characters who die of heart attacks will slam into a car or suddenly fall. The main character, Light, is trying to rid the world of criminals and near the end of the anime, he gets too crazy. After L/Ryuzaki dies, Light's girlfriend moves in with him and her outfits can be a bit sexual at times but nothing happens. In the first episode, a man gets hit by a truck and another girl goes to hang herself. In a scene, you see a girl in the shower and a little of her breast is shown. Also, there is a lot of "damn" and "hell" used. Do not watch if you are offended easily. Also, the shinigamis can be a bit shocking if you see them for the first time. Again, DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE OFFENDED OR ARE FAINT OF HEART. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byPakistanPEGI December 20, 2014

13 and up

Dark anime only for teens and adults. Real Violence Sexual Themes Bad Language(damn,hell)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old September 23, 2009

Don't Watch It? You're Missing out!

I have to say, despite it's obvious lack of good role models, I find this series to be beautiful in it's own special way. It takes a deep look into the human condition, such as the way humans keep appearances in public and only reveal true thoughts anonymously, etc. It has a dark, noir vibe but manages to be lighthearted and thought- provoking at other times. The storyline revolves around three protagonists, Light, L (also known as Ryuzaki) and Misa. *SPOILER* all of whom die tragically at different points in the series. L was killed by Light, Light was killed by Ryuk the Death God, and Misa, after realizing that the two people she cared about most had died, comitted sucide. The story had a very tragic end that left me crying for days, but it truly is a beautiful piece. The motto seems to be "Death is eternal, life is only once" a message that is delivered clearly and coldly with the deaths of all three protagonists. Despite all the death and suffering, this story manages to be philosophical as well, asking the reader weather or not the evils of murder are conditional, and letting the viewers choose what is good and what is evil (there is a strong "Team Light" and "Team L" vibe among certain fans. I happen to be part of the latter team. lol) ...Now, this wouldn't be much of a review if I didn't state the negatives of the series... Firstly, the series is quite violent, showing dramatized heart attacks and other, bloodier deaths on a constant. Secondly, though the english version seems to have had it's mouth washed out with soap, the Japanese version boasts quite a lot more swearing, including infamously dropping the "F bomb" during the show's opening song several times. The role models are obviously rather negative, but not overly so. As for sex...well, there's no actual "doing of the deed" so to speak, but there is a significant amount of sexual references. These references include an implied (note IMPLIED being the keyword) almost-rape scene near the beginning of the series, L's sometimes voyeuristic tendencies, and Misa's generally inapproriate behavior (including telling Light that he "can use her any way he wants") and revealing outfits. ..And yes, I know this is an extremely long review, but I had a point to drive accross. WATCH THE SERIES, THE MESSAGES OF GOOD AND EVIL ARE PRICELESS!! LOL
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byluna2211 June 7, 2015

Can be a little disturbing in some places, but not as bad as everyone thinks.

I was first introduced to this anime by a really close friend who told me how amazing she thought it was and how her favorite character was the detective L (now that I've watched it, I agree with her. L IS AWESOME). The premise of the show is an A+ student who finds a notebook with the power to kill people by writing their names in it. He uses this notebook to kill criminals and anyone who comes clause to discovering his secret. The police believe him to be a serial killer. The team investigating him is actually lead by his father (shocking I know). Anyway, this show rarely has any kind of graphic violence. The only things that could be considered so are when they actually show people dying, and they usually die from heart attacks. There is very little swearing, and the only 'sexual content' is in the first episode after Light gets the Death Note. He witnesses a gang of bikers attempt to rape a young woman and kills them all with his Death Note before they can succeed. This show has a heavy emphasis on morality, right versus wrong, and corruption based on power. As Light begins to feel more and more powerful, he starts to lose his mind more and more. Overall this is a great show with interesting characters and a compelling story. I highly recommend it.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Cool...

Death Note is the best anime show ever. It is iffy for it is not intended for younger viewers for reasons like killing and some sexual themes older kids may get. I say if you let your child play Final Fantasy then let them watch Death Note.

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