Death Note: The Last Name (2006)

The follow up to the live-action adaptation of the manga and anime takes a surprising twist and rousing finale that’s set to stand the test of time.

Light Yagami has been delving into killing criminals by using the Death Note. However, to cover his tracks, he becomes known as the mysterious “Kira”. L, an eccentric detective with an affixation for sweets, knows Light is Kira, but cannot prove it. When Light joins the police force, he is partnered up to work with L on the case. Things soon begin to take a major turn when model turned pop star Misa Amane has been given a second Death Note, which unveils the Shinigami Rem.

Misa is intending to find Kira so she can ally herself with him to destroy all criminals as well as kill anyone who opposed Kira as Rem uses Misa’s eyes as the point of attack. When Light reveals himself to Misa as Kira, she is overjoyed to the point she starts a relationship with him. Rem finds himself as Misa’s protector and warns Light that if he hurts her, he will make sure he dies. When L is somehow able to prove Light is Kira and has Misa’s involvement proven, a chain of events is set to destroy everything Light has worked for. Will L be able to put an end to Kira once and for all.

Based on the manga and anime by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, this sequel to the hit live-action adaptation picks up right where the original leaves off. What made the film successful are the performances of leads Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light and Kenichi Matsuyama as L. Once again, the two deliver such chemistry that in this installment, meshes a bit of the buddy action film with that of their cat and mouse in the original.

However, the big twist comes in the form of a very emotional and sometimes crazy performance by Erika Toda as Misa Amane. She becomes the recipient of the second Death Note in the film and uses it to full effect. The viewers are also introduced to a new Shinigami Rem, voiced by the singularly named Peter with Shido Nakamura returning as the voice for Light’s Shinigami, Ryuk. The chemistry between Light and Misa is an important factor in the film. While Misa is an object of obsession due to her career, she has an obsession with Light because of their connection to the Death Note books.

There is a very nice little twist midway that revolves around one of the rules of Death Note and it affects both Light and Misa. This soon leads into some shocking twists in which we see an unexpected person having their hands on the Death Note and going after an arch nemesis before finding themselves a victim. The final act of the film is perhaps the most manic, where everything gets a slow reveal, and yet it leads to some extremely shocking moments. There is an epilogue of sorts but what’s even more great is the events between the final act and epilogue will be seen in the 2008 spin-off L: Change the World.

Death Note: The Last Name is a bit misleading as we will get a new sequel a decade later in Light Up the New World. However, one cannot deny that Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kenichi Matsuyama, and Erika Toda give out amazing performances in this sequel.

WFG RATING: A

Warner Bros. Japan presents a Nippon Television Network production in association with Nikkatsu, Konami Digital Entertainment, Shochiku, and Shuseisu. Director: Shusuke Kaneko. Producers: Toyoharu Fukuda, Seiji Okuda, and Takahiro Saito. Writer: Tetsuya Oishi; based on the manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Cinematography: Kenji Takama. Editing: Yosuke Yafune.

Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kenichi Matsuyama, Erika Toda, Nana Katase, Magy, Sakura Uehara, Michiko Godai, Hikari Mitsushima, Takeshi Kaga, Shidou Nakamura (voice), Peter (voice)

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