*Note: Copied over from morning pages journal vol. 11, personal journal vol. 14, dated 5/5/2021

Hello and good morning.

I’m watching the 2nd opening sequence from Death Note, featuring the song “What’s Up, People?!” by the band Maximum the Hormone. If you look it up online you might think there’s something wrong with me that I’d willingly choose to watch/listen to this so early in the morning.

What do normal people listen to? Coffee shop remixes on Spotify? (Also, don’t use those Spotify Recommend lists too often without looking up the artists. Turns out a lot of them are not real, by design, to lure listening time away from real artists.)

Anyway. Death Note.

I watched this series for the first time close to 7 years ago upon recommendation from my now-wife, then-girlfriend. It astonished me that something this complex, this intricately plotted, and this deep could have slipped by me. Granted, there was a bit of an anime exodus for a few years in the late 2000s, so, yeah, missed this one at the height of its popularity.

But even amid all the cat-and-mouse chasing, murder, and the questions of what’s ethical and what’s unjust, there’s some amazing character-based interactions. Some lying, even more backstabbing, and a lot of evil monologuing.

Why do I like this opening so much?

It perfectly encapsulates the insanity of the second half of the 37-epissode series. Chaotic. Loud. Insanity brimming to the surface. Police on the run, chasing threads that may unravel before they reach the end, screaming colors to illustrate the shifting moods of the show, and a laughing demon with an apple in his hand who is having the time of his life watching people tear each other apart over a notebook.

Yet, it remains grounded in the characters. There’s a segment at the end when the main character, Light Yagami, walks through a plaza, surrounded on all sides by various characters, of them connected to him in some way. Some remain in shadows, some out in the open, some with their faces obscured. Each of them will have a role to play in the story of the Death Note. In these few second you’re given a master class in how to create a set-up wherein all the characters you’ve developed have unique, personality driven clashes without a single punch being thrown.

The show’s story might not be to your taste, which is fine. I get it. Not everyone digs murder. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. This show was THE popular anime of its time. Millions of copies of its book sold and the anime is still, to this day, being referenced in cosplay and conversation of what anime should people watch if they’ve never watched one before.

You can always learn.

Thanks for reading,

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