Watch the first teaser trailer for Netflix’s Death Note live-action adaptation

5 min read

As I write this, I’ve just come from seeing Ghost In the Shell. Thanks to those pesky embargoes, you will have to wait a while till we can talk about it fully, but for now I can just say much that it does a solid job in adapting the anime world of the original. Of course Ghost In the Shell’s colourful, cyberpunk narrative and world just seems like a perfect fit for a big budget film, but the same doesn’t hold true for all anime. Some are bit weirder and out of left field, relying on odd concepts and extended arcs rather than flashy spectacle. That doesn’t always translate well to the language of feature film. Netflix and director Adam Wingard are still going to give it a try though.

The world’s biggest streaming service and the filmmaker behind such distinct breakout indie hits as You’re Next and The Guest have teamed up to tackle an English-language Hollywood feature film adaptation of popular Japanese manga/anime series Death Note (it’s already had four previous live-action Japanese adaptations). We haven’t seen much of this latest adaptation thus far, but last night the first teaser trailer finally got released and it looks great!

It’s not too explanatory though, so for those of you who aren’t familiar with the original – and you really should remedy that because it’s phenomenal – the story follows Paper Towns’ Nat Wolff as Light Turner (originally named Light Yagami), a high school student who stumbles across a mysterious and powerful notebook. As Light discovers, any person whose name you write in the book dies – and in exactly the manner you describe if you go into detail. Light is not the nicest person though and so quickly becomes intoxicated with this godlike power, and starts to kill people he judges and finds guilty of various offences, setting off a chain of events with massive repercussions. Oh and there’s a very creepy looking death god who has a fondness for apples.

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Check out the teaser trailer below.

Like I said, not very explanatory. As far as visuals go though, this looks fantastic with Wingard’s now signature use of neon colours and *cough* light in full effect. We only get a shadowy glimpse of the “shinigami” aka death god Ryuk, but we can clearly hear Willem Dafoe’s voice for him and I think it sounds perfect. We also only get the very briefest of glimpses – and a hooded one, at that -around the 0:20 mark of Keith Stanfield as L, the weird and enigmatic genius detective that attempts to track down the perpetrator of all these mysterious killings.

In a Reddit AMA last year, Wingard explained how he was approaching the adaptation:

I think Anime are due for the same treatment that comics got when Nolan did Batman. I think the key is straying away from overt Anime style like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball and instead try to ground the stories in more relatable ways. With Death Note I tried to give it a gritty lived in look. With that said DEATH NOTE is going to be my most insane movie yet. It makes the Guest look conventional.

I really loved The Guest, so I can’t wait for this!

Death Note also stars Margaret Qualley, Paul Nakauchi, and Shea Whigham. It will premiere on Netflix on 25 August. Here’s the full official synopsis:

Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone’s name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.


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Last Updated: March 23, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Alessandro Barbosa

    Having not seen the original series, I’m quite excited by this trailer. But I saw fans ripping it to pieces given that the original isn’t action-orientated in any way.

  • Umar

    This is one of those cases where a love for the the anime and manga will most definitely play a role in one’s enjoyment/excitement for the adaptation. I don’t know, it’s too early to have an opinion and I guess it’s best to keep an open mind, but maaaaaaan, Nat just looks so angsty and moody which is a far cry from the Yagami I know and love. VEEEEEERY curious to see who they cast as L

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      “Keith Stanfield as L”

      Shame on you, not reading all of Kervyn’s words!

      • Umar

        Whoops lol

  • I have seen the anime twice and the live adaption made from it years ago. But live action will never for me personally give that same awesome entertainment an anime can. It is the very reason why I watch anime and not a Marvel series drama or the newest Hollywood remake/reboot.

    • Umar

      The live-action adaption was utter trash lol The anime has a certain over the top style that really hooks you in.

      • Indeed. The first live action made was pretty hard to watch xD

        And that over the top style is something you can only capture thanks to the artists who drew it. RL movies and anime should not mix, but if people enjoy stuff like the Ghost in the Shell adaption then all good. I might not watch it but if it creates more people around the country that I can talk anime to rather than some silly sport then I am all for it.

        • Umar

          I think like Kervyn mentioned, not all anime really translates well over to a movie, but I’ll be interested to see what’s their take on the show. My personal hope is that they don’t screw up Light. He’s a really complex and fascinating character and the cat and mouse chase between him and L was really what held the show together.

          But like you said, if it gets people talking about the anime, then I’ll be happy.

    • “It is the very reason why I watch anime ”

      Let’s be honest, just as there are plenty of average/crappy series, so too are there just as many average/crappy anime shows.

      EDIT: I’ll admit, it’s harder to produce crappy anime, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It does, and there is plenty of it

    • Captain JJ

      Never watched the anime, only read the manga myself, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Captain JJ

    Pity I can’t watch the trailer, but it does look interesting.

  • Original Heretic

    Tentatively optimistic: I look forward to seeing a review of this once it’s out, it could be good.

  • HairyEwok

    The intro to Death Note’s anime always got me amped up to watch it.

    • Umar

      Both intros, even that weird death metal 2nd intro

  • Captain JJ

    People are already ripping this apart without having seen anything about it. How typical. I say give it a chance. I only read the manga myself, never bothering with the anime, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and welcome a live-action take on the story even if it’s not 100% to the point similar.

  • konfab

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