It’s time for Halloween and that means it’s also time to dig into our favorite spooky anime series to recommend! There are a LOT of great horror and otherwise dark anime out there, but there is one in particular that stands out on the always growing list as a must watch anime and that is DEATH NOTE. We’re not talking about the live action interpretations though. The 37 episode original first season of Death Note continues to stand the test of time as one of the best animes available.
The premise is deceptively simple at first, a small notebook belonging to the Shinigami (Gods that invite humans towards death) drops from the sky into the hands of one brilliant yet bored high school student Light Yagami. With this notebook and under a very specific set of rules that must be followed, if he writes the name of a person into the notebook they shall die. It’s a wild concept, almost too wild for Light to entertain at first, but when he eventually does the story starts to spin out of control really quickly in the best way possible. As mysterious murders begin to rise, Light takes on the mantle of Kira (which translates to killer) and sets out to change the world. It’s not the most fast paced or action packed series, but after airing in 2006, I honestly haven’t come across another series that had me on the edge of my seat quite like Death Note.
The god complex that consumes Light is the core of the story even as it expands beyond his reach with the involvement of fan favorite L, an enigmatic detective, and a host of other unique characters. It plays out like a whodunit on a mass murder scale and toys with notions of empathy and the consequences of death in a startling yet engaging way. Although the series arguably becomes a bit rushed as it reaches its conclusion with characters like Near and Mello (inspired by L’s efforts to stop Light) taking the reigns, losing the tight scripting and some of the momentum established in the first half of the season, it still proves to be more than worth binging in one sitting.
For horror fans, this isn’t the most gruesome or gory anime, but it captures all of the evil elements you are looking for in the Halloween season. Light’s use of the Death Note to murder countless people will twist your stomach, but the story tempts you sometimes to even root for him and that to me, is where the horror is. The Shinigami and their depraved games with humanity, a manipulative love story and a cult inspired by Light’s representation of Kira all help to give this anime a truly dark edge and make it a worthy addition to anyone’s watch list this October. And if you just can’t get enough after 37 episodes, there are 108 chapters of the manga series that make a great addition to anyone’s collection!
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god.
Available on CRUNCHYROLL
ANIME WATCH RECOMMENDS: Death Note Season 1 on Crunchyroll
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