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Death Note Volume 4 (eps 25-28) [DVD]
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With his memory recovered and Higuchi of the Yotsuba Group out of the way, Light can put his master plan into motion and march humanity closer to his perfect world. Then a new investigative force steps forward to challenge Kira - the SPK, headed by boy genius Near. Near's first plan of action: get his hands on a Death Note. And when Light's sister Sayu is kidnapped, it just might get him closer to his goal!
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As well have having half the number of episodes, they are weaker than those we've enjoyed until now. Having said that though, volume 4 brings with it the biggest change in the series so far - it's a crucial set of events.
It'd be easy to give away a major spoiler so I won't go into too much detail - but suffice to say that a character exits the series early on. It's something which took me by surprise and I wasn't expecting it.
The first half of episode 26 consists of a rundown of the series so far. It's a retrospective of events and the main characters. Many are unhappy that this took up so much of an episode - but I actually enjoyed it. Death Note is such an involved series with twists to the plot occurring on a regular basis that it was good to summarise what had happened, and it was nostalgic revisiting the very first plot elements which eventually escalated into a complex web of events. This is probably most welcome to those who have watched this in a fragmented way - maybe across a few months rather than having a 'session' of episodes. Also, given the death of a popular character, looking back added poignancy to the loss and it was actually quite emotional when you realise that the character is now no longer a part of the story - he/she (I don't want to give anything away) was a dominant personality in the series.
The series also takes on a more epic feel when we advance a few years into the future, an expansion of characters and geographic scope makes it seem almost unfamiliar. Amongst the new cast is a young genius and childhood peer of L called Near - or "N". If you thought that the competition between L and Light was fierce at times then you'll not believe the level of rivalry we get to see by the time this volume ends.
In a nutshell: A complex but tightly knit series is blown wide open, you'd expect the series to feel as though be nearing some natural conclusion - but the opposite occurs in Volume 4. By the end of these four episodes we lose a character and gain a few more, the series takes a different tangent and although it almost appears to be losing cohesion - I have faith in the series and trust that it will tie everything up neatly and grip me as it always has. I was going to give this 3 stars, but the level of animation and the use of dramatic music still keeps Death Note way above 'average' anime.
The story in the four episodes themselves is actually quite important though as it is these episodes that see the end of the series first story arc and the beginning of the second with some characters leaving the story, new characters introduced and moving the action forward to 2012. Despite the lack of episodes on this volume the series is still fascinating with a great plot with many a twist, good animation and good voice acting. This series is great but it would probably be better to wait until the entire series is released together rather than get these individual volumes.
While this volume of Death Note is enjoyable, it is evident that the series has lost some of it's original sparkle. This collection of episodes represent the weaker chapters of the original manga and this becomes very evident at times as the plot is sometimes found dragging it's feet in parts. And with a certain character killed off at this point, some of the shows spark has faded. That's not to say this volume is awful, but there is definetly a dip in quality. In my opinion, this volume is merely a build up of things to come as it bridges to the two story arcs. If this is the case then the 5th and final volume should be something special.
This disc contains a further 4 episodes (25 - 28) of the series as well as an audio commentary for the memorable episode 25 and some cast and crew interviews along with the usual manga trailers of Bleach, Naruto, Mar etc.
The music remains very good with the J-rock band 'Maximum the hormone' providing the excellent opening and ending theme songs, and as usual the animation is spot on with some nice use of colour tones to create a dark and gothic feel to the show.
If you're new to the series then you should definetly pick up the first volume and start from there. These later episodes in the show do have some flaws but overall, death note is a fantastic anime series that will be enjoyed by many people; anime fan or not. Ever since volume 1 was released all the way back in April last year, each following volume has seen the pace decrease ever so slightly and Volume 4 is definetly the weakest yet so lets hope that volume 5 breaks the pattern and ends this great series on a high note.
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