Another day, another win for Netflix this year—this time around is Death Note.
Originated from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata‘s manga series of the same name, Death Note‘s arrival at Netflix brings forth the most ominous tale of the high school underdog. In the newest adaptation, which extracts from the popular Japanese series, Light Turner (originally Light Yagami, portrayed by Nat Wolff), comes to possess a notebook with “Death Note” inscribed on the cover.
The book controls the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written on the pages inside it, which our antihero Light uses to kill criminals and other miscreants to “change the world.” However, this new power becomes a harbinger of other, more perilous consequences, when Light encounters the demon and entity known as Ryuk (a.k.a. Death Note), who warns Light of the book’s reverberations.
In the preview for the film, which premiered at San Diego Comic-Con International last week (July 20), audiences witness Light and Mia, his classmate and flame, in action as the two attempt to alter the universe with this new weapon.
While on the surface the upcoming film looks to be yet another winner for the company, Netflix drew criticism back in September 2015 over accusations of whitewashing after it was revealed that Paper Towns star Nat Wolff would take on the lead as Light. A character created and instated in Japan, you can see why many Death Note fans were not here for the color blind casting, some of which have vocalized their grievances online.
Me when I saw the cast for Death Note pic.twitter.com/V8CcwTmO23
— Lauren (@Lauren_Babe98) March 22, 2017
Iron Fist (2017)
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Death Note (2017) pic.twitter.com/W1XDOmjLLz
— sᴛʏxɪᴇ ᴅᴜsᴛʟᴏᴏᴘ (@Styxiedust) March 22, 2017
Death Note was lit af but this Netflix trailer for the US adaptation sort of got me like pic.twitter.com/tl0WAcH8YG
— just spooky fátima (@fatimerz_) March 22, 2017
A plague that’s become more or less transparent in Hollywood recently (namely in anime), Netflix was under fire for its absence of a Japanese lead as the Ohba and Obata’s main character, Light Yagami, was replaced by the Jewish actor. Not to mention the Americanization of Light’s last name (Turner), no less—it’s not difficult to understand why so many admirers of the series were upset at the casting.
Producer Roy Lee addressed the controversy in an interview with Buzzfeed, with a considerably half-baked response: “…if our version of Death Note was set in Japan and [featured] characters that were Japanese-named or of Japanese ancestry.” However, Lee did concede that the aftermath was not out of left field and that he “could understand the criticism.”
In any event, however, I think the film looks promising so far.