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Review: L: Change the WorLd

My review of Death Note (manga)

My review of the 2006 film.

My review of Death Note 2: The Last Name

(I recommend reading my reviews of the 2006 film and Death Note 2 before reading this).

Review: L: Change the WorLd by M.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been seven months since I first was introduced to the Death Note franchise and I have to say, I am more than thrilled to have entered this fandom!

One of the books I picked up related to it is L: Change the WorLd by M. and I feel that the story is definitely interesting! Let’s take a look!

Source: Amazon

Summary

In this alternate reality of Death Note, L. has defeated Light Yagami/Kira, but he only has days left to live as a result. When L. is informed that a group of terrorists are looking to unleash a virus that will wipe out the majority of humanity, L. finds himself in a race against time to stop them.

Will L. be able to change the fate of the world before his time runs out?

Thoughts

What can I say? I have a soft spot for these Death Note-related stories.

It was great to see L. again in this story. I always enjoy seeing him put all his hard work into something in order to solve a case.

Seeing his interactions with the scientist’s daughter Maki (the scientist who worked with the virus before it was stolen by the antagonists) were very sweet and I love seeing this more human side to L.

Not to mention, the plot is gripping! The ticking time bomb established with L.’s last days and Maki’s illness is amazing to see! I love how they both bond over each having limited time left and it’s just very bittersweet.

Characters

L.

I always enjoy seeing L. again, even if it’s for a limited amount of time. Seeing him so dedicated to the case with Maki is incredible, especially seeing the lengths he’ll go to to protect her.

Kenichi Matsuyama reprises his role as L. in the 2008 film L: Change the WorLd
Source: Notre Cinema

One thing that is a small, but (I felt) really heart-wrenching detail was L. wearing Light Yagami’s shattered watch throughout the case. It brought me back to the moment Light/Kira was defeated in the 2006 films and broke me!

L. calling out to Light toward the end of the story also tugged at my heartstrings. Seeing L. finally somewhat understand Light’s original position as Kira left me speechless!

Other than that, seeing L. just being the unpredictable detective he is was really nice. It’s clear to me that M. did his/her research when rewriting this character and that’s never a bad thing!

Without spoiling too much, I also want to quickly give mention to the ending. It was very touching to see L. play chess during the scene…

Maki

Source: IMDB
Mayuko Fukuda as Maki in the film

I really found myself liking Maki, the scientist’s daughter that L. takes care of. She’s a sweet little girl who just wants to do right by her father and will work with L. up until the very end.

Seeing her injected with the virus shocked and saddened me. I do love how L. becomes more protective of her as a result and it’s nice to see that she cares about him, too, but the circumstances surrounding them were tragic.

I also felt bad about her relationship with Kujo. Seeing Kujo believe that death is the best thing for Maki really concerned me, and I think it’s terrible that this little girl’s hopeful view of the world is overshadowed by Kujo’s viewpoint.

Kujo

Kujo as she appears in the film. Portrayed by Youki Kudoh.
Source: Death Note News

Kujo herself was easy to get behind. I like that her motivations for this are clear, even if what she’s doing is bad. I think M. tried to make it kind of like the Kira case, where we understood the villain’s motivations but (hopefully) still opposed him/her.

However, seeing Kujo use the virus the way she did shocked me and left me hoping that L. and Maki would defeat her. I like that she had people that backed her so she was a more credible threat, even if L. was several steps ahead of them in the beginning.

She still managed to be competent enough that I was extremely worried for Maki and L. toward the end. I love that L.’s not always two steps ahead of her, as she is extremely smart and knows how he is.

Structure

The story uses the 2006 Japanese films’ stories to tell this narrative, but you don’t necessarily have to know that to get behind it. It just makes some moments easier to comprehend (i.e. L. wearing Light Yagami’s shattered watch or his admiration of Misa Amane).

The omniscient narrator used really helped me get into the minds of all the important characters, something that couldn’t be done if it dealt with only L.’s perspective alone. I liked getting to see the main antagonists’ viewpoints as well. It really made the story hard to put down!

This Story related to the Death Note Canon

I love that M. takes the 2006 duology’s plotline to tell this story. It makes sense in the context of the films and works well with the plot presented.

Like I said, I love that we see more of L., but he’s pretty much the only character we see from the films from start to finish. Light is mentioned, but only briefly, Soichiro Yagami only shows up once in the beginning, and Misa Amane is seen for about two seconds while L. and Maki are trying to leave one of her concerts.

I like that M. decided to place this story in the interim between the Kira case and L.’s demise. It required that a few minor corners were cut to get to the ultimate conclusion, but not much is changed from the movies.

One little quick detail I actually found funny was how, when L. saw that Maki had spoken to Misa Amane before one of her concerts, he actually wanted a souvenir from the venue! It was a cute detail that left me chuckling.

Moving on, I was a little confused, however, when I learned that L. had a Death Note and – while that is eventually explained and we get a satisfying answer as to why – I didn’t make the connection between one of the first scenes that would have explained why he had it, and it makes one of the scenes where he threatens to use it perplexing, because he shouldn’t have it.

That said, that may very well just be the result of me not reading closely enough, so it doesn’t completely bother me.

Conclusion

I actually enjoyed this story more than I did the novel on the Los Angeles BB Murder case. While that story is great in its own right, I really enjoyed seeing L. in the spotlight along with Maki in this one more so than the Beyond Birthday case.

If you’re a fan of Death Note and you’ve seen the 2006 film adaptations, I highly recommend giving this story a shot. It’s a lot of fun seeing L. solve one final case and the relationships that he forms with others blossom along the way.

It’s a story that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you breathless until the very end!

By Amber Rizzi

I am a literature geek working toward my Bachelor's in English with a concentration in writing. I love to read, and I'm always itching to write, especially creatively. I started "The Writer's Library" about three years ago, previously working with a Blogger platform before moving over to Wordpress. While I mainly post reviews of books, occasionally I will go ahead and review works in other media forms as well, such as music and certain television shows. No matter what I'm doing on here, I love to share with anyone who is willing to listen, and I'm excited to finally be on Wordpress!