In addition to the 2006 anime, “Death Note” has also been turned into a live-action movie (which spawned multiple sequels and spin-offs), a 2015 TV series that ran for one season, and even several video games. While most of these adaptations were produced in Japan, American audiences did also get their own unique version of “Death Note.”
2017’s “Death Note” is a live-action film adaptation of the manga series that was directed by Adam Wingard of “You’re Next” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” fame. It stars former Nickelodeon star Nat Wolff as Light, recent Oscar nominee Lakeith Stanfield as L, and Willem Dafoe as Ryuk. Despite the talented director and stacked cast, the adaptation didn’t fare well with critics or with fans, with many criticizing the changes the film made to the source material.
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com said of the film, “it doesn’t feel like any of these alterations to the source material, and there are many of them, had true artistic or thematic purpose.” Meanwhile, Clio Chang dinged the adaptation for whitewashing the original story and ethos of the manga for American audiences in their review for The New Republic, writing, “the new Death Note does nothing to rectify [the original’s] failings, while also missing the mark on all the good stuff.”
The American adaptation is a Netflix original film, so if you’re curious to find out whether or not you agree with the critics, you can check it out after streaming the classic 2006 anime version of “Death Note.”