What They Say:
After a fierce back and forth, L is unable to find hard proof that Light is Kira… so he decides to go out and challenge him directly. Meanwhile, Misa (Hinako Sano), who has used the “shinigami eyes” she got from Rem to find out that Kira is Light, makes a move that no one could have predicted!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having lost all the FBI agents involved in the case, the Kira Countermeasures Office’s new plan of attack is to plant cameras in the houses of two major suspects: Chief Superintendent Gouda’s family, and Soichiro’s family.
While Gouda has made enough appearances in scenes in the past for viewers to know he’s Soichiro’s higher-up, the inclusion of his family in the hidden camera investigation feels like an afterthought, tacked on for the sake of making L’s suspicions on Light not come off as too narrow-minded. And considering that some of the investigation members even bring this up within the episode, it makes me question just how necessary bringing Gouda’s family into the drama was in the first place.
Regardless, the hidden cameras remain some of the more interesting plot developments so far mainly due to having all the main characters concerned about the same topic at hand for once. Early episodes would have L and co. sifting through paperwork and the like for any clues while Light would be doing something completely unrelated at school or at home and it made for some messy scene transitions. Now, both team L and team Kira are focusing on the hidden cameras, making for a more cohesive narrative as a whole. The constant jumps between what L and the investigators see versus what’s actually happening just out of camera’s view on Light’s part feels fast paced and keeps the story light on its feet, which is especially beneficial considering how dialogue-heavy the series can become. Transitions are made even more interesting by the fact that Ryuk cannot be seen by any of the investigators, leading to some of the episode’s more comical moments as Ryuk begins to help Light out for once, having him feel more like an accomplice and less of a shadowy puppeteer to Light.
The only real downside to episode 4 is its sudden shift in focus when L decides to meet Light face-to-face at school, still suspicious of Light regardless of the clear lack of solid evidence. Of the cast so far, Light’s classmates have been the least intriguing, being there solely to prove that Light does, in fact, have something of a social life that doesn’t involve killing people. Even his interactions with his classmates can be summed up in him brushing them aside as he plans his next move against L. And while L finally meeting Light in person builds foundation for their friendship, it all just felt very by-the-numbers, covering that aspect merely because it was in the manga. The added fanservice of a shower scene and dangerously low-hanging towel-wraps only adds to how ill-fitting the latter half of the episode felt.
Acting as if the entirety of that scene didn’t happen, the episode closes out with Misa surprising Light at his front door. Wasting no time, she allows Light to touch her Death Note, thus revealing her shinigami, Rem, to him.
Up until this point, the majority of Light’s crises have felt somewhat contrived, so to have Misa, a character who’s been well established and part of the series since episode one finally meet Light only to serve as more of a hindrance than aid is a breath of fresh air. Light has slowly become accustomed to having full control of any situation, so to see that confidence shatter as Misa brashly makes her way into his life adds something fresh to the table. The added inconvenience of having Misa’s introduction to Light happen all while his house is still under surveillance is a bonus.
The only slight stumble in Misa’s introduction would be her shinigami Rem. In general, the shinigami of the series have played a far more minor role than one would anticipate, considering they are the reason for the Death Notes reaching the human realm in the first place. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of budget, but the series has clearly been focusing on the human cast so much so that when Rem begins to tell her tale of Gelus, the shinigami that died as punishment for extending Misa’s lifespan, it felt like an afterthought, not even bothering to flashback to Gelus’ death or the pile of sand that he becomes once dead.
Once the drama with the cameras is soon brought to a close, L calls Light to personally invite him to the Kira Countermeasures Office HQ. Unlike the sudden and out of place meeting with L at school, Light meeting with L and the rest of the investigators at their base feels like a true step up in the plot. It makes for a rather intimate setting, as Light is now amongst a team of people all working for the sole purpose of finding and arresting him. Add to this Light finally dropping his flannel button-up in favor of his more iconic suit/shirt combo and it truly feels like the series has finally “made its debut.”
Formal introductions are finally over with, and the cast is now beginning to make some real headway in the plot with the more major players finally interacting with each other face-to-face. The series clearly makes a point of saving some characters like Near and Mikami for a later date, but for the time being, it’s comforting to know that this adaptation does know how to create a proper payoff in making certain characters finally meet, resulting in a far less disjointed style of storytelling in comparison to previous episodes.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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