Review: Death Note Special One Shot (spoilers)

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Death Note: Special One Shot
Story by Tsugumi Ohba
Art by Takeshi Obata

On February 3rd, 2020 Viz was kind enough to give fans of the Death Note series a special treat in the form of a free read digital copy of the new Death Note One Shot Manga. The highly anticipated return of the Death Note series comes with some notable returning characters and of course a few new ones as well. Of course the question now is does this new Death Note "change the world" of Death Note or do we get more of the same? Warning: This review will contain spoilers!!!

Our story takes place 10 years after the events of the original death note story and begins with Ryuk being bored in the Shinigami world and hungering for apples. He decides the best way to end both his boredom and hunger is go go back to the world of humans drop another note book. He sticks to what he knows best and seeks out a teenager with exceptional intelligence, in hopes to recreate that Kira/Light Yagami magic. His interest is piqued when overhearing a conversation between teachers about a young man, Minoru Tanaka, who could quite possibly be the smartest middle school student in all of Japan. Ryuk decides based on that information to just literally drop the notebook onto this kids lap and just cut right to the chase explaining all the details of the death note and even how this was the very notebook Kira used. In this interaction it is revealed that not everyone knew the method by which Kira killed. It is also revealed that Kira made it into the history and ethics books in schools where kids know him as an evil person and the worst mass murdering terrorist in history. 

Now knowing the power that he holds in his hands, Minoru thinks long and hard about what to do with it. On one hand giving the notebook to someone else will cause him to forget everything and on the other hand giving it back to Ryuk will do the same thing and of course Ryuk will just give it to someone else any way. From this you get a sense of the person Minoru is. He isn’t power hungry or has some weird sense of justice. You can argue Light that Yagami wasn’t either until he used the Death Note and saw the possibilities, but now we’re dealing with a young kid who knows what that power can do and has seen the good and bad of it growing up. So for him it becomes a dilemma of how to handle such a powerful force. So he decides weirdly to have Ryuk come back to him in 2 years time and he’ll not only have an answer but of course a supply of apples for Ryuk. Two years pass and the plan Minoru comes up with is to sell the Death Note to the highest bidder. 

Of course he is aware that selling the death note would not be as easy as putting it up on eBay and just wait to collect your money without having to worry about a seller’s dispute. The plan he uses is genius on its own. He Ryuk go to the local TV station and hold up a note on air during the news stating that the power of Kira was for sale and all you had to do was use the Twitter hash tag #powerofkira to place your bid. While making Ryuk hold up a sign on TV is funny because not everyone can see him, but it does get the attention of everyone who can see him which is exactly what he wants and needs for this to work. Near of course is following the events and understandably knows of a few ways he can figure who this new A-Kira, as he has dubbed him, is but of course Minoru isn’t clever enough to have 1) Make Ryuk do everything at the TV station instead of having him bring anything with him and 2) have Ryuk never fly out in the open and only travel by phasing underground. Now of course anyone can go on Twitter and place and bid, so the clever bit is how to weed out the real bids from the fakes.

Before all that Minoru has Ryuk go back to the TV station to reveal that a deadline of one week has been placed and that all sales were final. This brings out Matsuda trying to warn the viewers that buying that power is dangerous, but all he manages to do of course is verify that the power is real which makes plan was so clever. Minoru has to figure that someone from the task force would have shown up eventually to confirm whether or not it was a hoax just because no one would want a repeat of what happened 10 years ago. So of course the bids get more outrageous to point where it goes to billion and trillion dollar offers are being made. So this is the point Minoru stops the online bidding and demands that governments that want to buy it should just take to the media and make their offers public. It is a safer bet that governments having it would force them to not use it as it would just cause distrust among nations or even all out war. Of course the 2 super powers in the running for the Death Note are China and America. In the end America comes out on top with the winning bid of Ten Trillion American Dollars! In this day and age I’m pretty sure nobody wanted China to have that kind of power in their possession. Even though we are talking about a fictional world it still resonates with how China is viewed and it is not the best light.

Near, while seen throughout the story, has sort of refused to make a move. Since there are no clues as to who has and is selling the notebook and there was no way to intercept the notebook he simply believes himself to be outsmarted. No one dies from use of the notebook so why even bother. Plus the money wasn’t going to be handed to one singular individual. In order for the United States to receive the Death Note:


So not only does Minoru still get a nice sizeable chunk of change, so does a majority of Japan making every account holder a co-conspirator. Minoru gives up the Death Note to Ryuk to give to the President of the United States, who just happens to look like Trump, and is prepared to live a nice comfortable life. Unfortunately that is not where our story ends. As The US President is about to receive the Death Note Ryuk informs him that a new rule has been added. 

“A Human who buys or sells the Death Note in the Human World will die. The seller will die when they receive the money, and the buyer will die when they receive the Death Note”. 

Of course the loop hole would be to note take the money or the Death Note, which the US President decides to do and just announce that he has the power and refuses to use it; claiming that it would make him look like a saint. Of course Minoru is not aware of this new rule since it was implemented after he gave up possession of the Death Note during which Ryuk was called to return to the Shinigami world by the Shinigami King. Plus Ryuk made a deal with Minoru to never see him again, so one month later when Minoru is attempting to withdraw his funds he dies immediately. And in the last panel we see Minoru Tanaka’s name directly under Light Yagami’s.

This was a great one shot that added to the whole mythos of the Death Note Series. It may not have been as grandiose as the Light Yagami story, but it was a pretty clever story. To me it made sense that it wasn’t as crazy the previous story, since there are people who are aware of the Death Note & Shinigamis and going on a killing spree probably wouldn’t have gone over as well in this story’s point in time. Since Ryuk did not share the entire story of what happened with Light Yagami, it would be hard to not repeat any mistakes Light had made or not make new mistakes that would lead to capture. I wonder if Minoru had gotten the Death Note back would he still have been able to accept the money since the buyer refused to accept it. Maybe if Ryuk took it to some other part of the world he could have found the fun and apples he was seeking. If you haven’t read the one shot already I encourage you to do so. Definitely worth checking out.


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