I started watching the Death Note anime in 2008 and made it about 2/3 of the way in before giving up for a few weeks. In that span of time, I ended up buying the manga and reading it through from start to finish. Eventually, I did finish the anime too but, on the whole, found it inferior to the manga. Just to note, the music and image quality are superb, but the decision to cram about half of the manga into the space of about 12 episodes really hurt the coherence of the story and left it far less enjoyable than simply reading it and seeing the logic laid out with much greater clarity. In particular, I felt that the characters were more thoroughly fleshed out which made "replacement syndrome" less of a concern. Also, it should be noted that one of the huge advantages of the manga is that it only very rarely goes over-the-top and is thus less likely to be susceptible to ridicule. The ending is also, in my opinion, handled much better in the manga than the anime, although I actually liked the character in question a good deal. It seemed far more fitting and honest in terms of the rather dour perspective that Death Note has on humanity. In terms of the actual series, it heavily plot-driven. The characters are not necessarily the focus so much as their conflicts with each other are. Certainly, each character has an ideology, but for the most part, this isn't a story about characters progressing as human beings or learning lessons. Primarily, it is a cat-and-mouse game with the world itself as both the battleground and the stakes. Because of this, it's a highly exciting, edge-of-your seat experience that hooks you with the need to find out just how the characters will escape their latest predicament. This is not to say, however, that Death Note is without its flaws. One of the biggest, unfortunately, is that it can come across as sexist. There are quite a few "geniuses" within the show and not one of them is female. Female characters often seem to exist as accessories to the males — they are defined solely by their relationship to them. There is also the fact that plot elements tend to come up for convenience's sake more than once and the leaps of logic some characters make will strain credulity. Overall, though, Death Note is an excellent series that manages to grab and hold the readers' interest all the way through. Recommended.
In order to post comments, you need to