If you ever wondered how Netflix’s Death Note would fare as a romantic teen comedy, wonder no more, as a new fan-made trailer delivers exactly that. Based on the much-loved anime and manga series of the same name, Netflix’s Death Note was released in August to widespread criticism. The most notable issues seemed to be the shifting of location from Japan to the United States, characters that bore little or no resemblance to their originals, and an uninspiring overall tone.
One of the many changes made from the original Death Note was the replacement of Misa Amane with Mia Sutton. Whilst the anime portrayed Misa as an obedient tool that Light could manipulate to his own ends, Mia has a far more genuine relationship with the young man and plays a significant role in his transformation into Kira (although she remains something of a sociopath).
For many fans of the original, this alteration brings the live-action Death Note firmly into high-school teen movie territory and it is this criticism that seems to be at the center of Cinegasm‘s new fan trailer. Set to the perfectly appropriate soundtrack of “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance, the trailer splices together the Death Note movie’s more comedic moments, focusing on the Light/Mia love story and the couple’s various high-school struggles.
The trailer perfectly demonstrates how Netflix’s Death Note is essentially a teen drama with dark elements, rather than the dark thriller with moments of teen drama that many feel it should have been. Cinegasm also highlight just how far the live-action incarnation of Light Yagami strays from the original character, with a complex and intense antihero becoming a fairly generic teenage protagonist. The spoof does, however, reserve praise for the performances of Willem Dafoe and Lakeith Stanfield as Ryuk and L, respectively. Arguably, the trailer proves that a live-action Death Note teen comedy may have been preferable to the actual finished movie and almost certainly would’ve enjoyed a more positive reception.
Much of the criticism surrounding the live-action Death Note concerns alterations made from the source material. Studios often make such changes when adapting anime properties in order to create broader appeal but this technique rarely works, mostly serving to just isolate existing fans whose negative word of mouth subsequently dissuades any potential newcomers. The lesson for any directors looking to tackle an anime franchise in the future is very clear then: be faithful to the original.
Death Note is available to stream now on Netflix.
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