Anyone who’s paid attention to the anime scene over the course of the last 15 years is well aware of the existence of Death Note.
“Death Note” was a phenomenon, like “Sailor Moon”, “Gundam”, and “Dragonball Z” before it, in that in managed to permeate the boundary between the anime fandom and mainstream entertainment. Everyone seemed to jump on the “Death Note” bandwagon. It was immense.
For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, “Death Note” tells the story of Light Yagami, a university student who finds a mysterious notebook left behind by a Shinigami (or “Death Spirit”) named Ryuk. The notebook (the titular “Death Note”) allows the user to take the lives of others simply by scribbling down their name and cause of death therein. Light, determined to be the “force of good” the world so desperately needs, decides to use the Death Note to kill criminals; those that are deemed the dregs of society.
Quickly, things grow out of control. Ryuk takes on the role of Light’s “mentor” of sorts, gleefully observing as Light “cleanses” the world around him; all while a mysterious detective, L, works to stop him.
It’s a quality series, equal parts animated horror and crime drama; and was remarkably effective and deserving of its positive reception.
Due to the immense popularity of “Death Note” in Japan and abroad, a trilogy of live-action films were released in Japan between 2006 and 2008.
The trilogy was well-received, and starred Tatsuya Fujiwara (of BATTLE ROYALE fame) as Light Yagami. Though the films eventually made their way over to Europe and the United States, they weren’t nearly as successful as the original manga/anime.
Reboots have been discussed several times over the last 8 years however most efforts found their way into the scrap bin or locked, seemingly forever, in development hell.
Thanks to Adam Wingard (A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE, THE GUEST, YOU’RE NEXT, BLAIR WITCH) a new American reboot is in the works and being produced by Netflix.
In an interview with Collider, Wingard discussed some of what we can expect from his DEATH NOTE film; and it is definitely NOT for the little ones:
“We can do whatever we want. That was the cool thing about it, because it’s an anime film. So, technically, it’s a cartoon that you’re bring to life. To me, the thing about anime is that it’s so adult-oriented. I remember going to Suncoast growing up and you see Akira there with the little “Not for Kids” sticker on it. That always made an impact on me. So, doing my first live-action anime thing, to me it was important that you have those adult themes. So, it’s got nudity, it’s got swearing, it’s got a ton of violence. Jason Eisener, who did Hobo with a Shotgun. I brought him on – I’m good friends with him – as second-unit director. There’s basically like three good Jason Eisner short films in there and they’re all very gory. I was able to just turn him loose sometime, and just do some crazy stuff.”
Adam Wingard has a pretty stellar reputation so it would be very surprising if DEATH NOTE were anything but fantastic.
According to reports, it’s due out sometime in 2017, and we cannot wait to see what Wingard and Netflix bring to the table.
Until then, we’ll continue providing updates on the project as and when they become available!
Follow Ian Donegan on Twitter @ianjdonegan for general absurdity and ill-founded opinions and pop-cultural musings.
Check out the trailer below