Mark Watches ‘Death Note’: Episode 19 – Matsuda

In the nineteenth episode of Death Note, I really loved this, and MATSUDA IS GREAT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note. 

This episode is break from the normal format of Death Note, and it’s SUCH A WONDERFUL STORY. Matsuda has been a running joke most of the time throughout the show, though I don’t mean to suggest he’s not important. It’s not that he’s a joke to the viewer so much as he serves a very specific purpose within the story. He’s easily excitable, and everyone around him thinks he’s immature. What does that do to a person, especially if it’s pervasive? Well, in the previous episode Matsuda took it upon himself to be a part of the narrative: he vowed to quit his job as a cop and devote himself to the investigation!

Unfortunately, we see exactly where that lands him in the opening of “Matsuda.” His only job is to follow Misa around and keep an eye on her. That’s it. Meanwhile, the Yotsuba Group’s building is within sight of Matsuda, a painful reminder that his only contribution to this case is… well, apparently pretty small. In his eyes, he’s not doing anything significant. Is his decision to seek out a clue at Yotsuba foolish? Oh, of course it is. He’s needlessly reckless here, so much so that I don’t think anyone would claim that what he did here was perfect. But he felt it was necessary in order to feel valuable, and I can’t fault him for that. That’s a valid feeling! He’s never given much of anything to do that feels serious and significant.

And thus, he bolts away from the set and sneaks his way into the Yotsuba building. Everything about this is a disaster. How will he get past any security guards? What’s he gonna do once he makes it in the building? How can he be certain that anyone suspicious will even be there? Every moment during Matsuda’s scenes in the first half of this episode is an experiment in relentless tension because THERE WAS NO WAY HE WAS GOING TO GET AWAY WITH THIS. How was he going to get in the room where the top members of Yotsuba met? How could he possibly do anything meaningful and survive? I was actually surprised that he managed to overhear them talking about Kira, but that was nothing compared to the moment WHEN THEY OPENED THE DOOR ON HIM EAVESDROPPING.

To Matsuda’s credit, he improvised a reason for being there pretty damn well. In that sense, I think that “Matsuda” works to show us that he is a valuable member of the team. Obviously, I’m not saying that he’s an expert. THIS IS ALL SO MESSY. But when faced with the intense scrutiny of the Yotsuba men, he invents a believable lie. He is able to communicate in code with L with little prompting. He brings Misa to the office to further sell his story, and he even manages to sneak into the restroom without arousing suspicion in order to call L.

I dunno, I see value in Matsuda, and that’s what I hope L and the others gets out of this fiasco. However, I suspect that it’s going to be hard – damn near impossible, really! – to send him back out into the field for the moment. The method that L devises to save Matsuda’s life is one of the more absurd things that Death Note has given us. But it works! (Well, I don’t know how the hell they could have caught him with just a mattress. That seemed silly.) Matsuda is able to escape by DYING. For the moment, the Yotsuba group believes he died after plunging from their balcony, and Misa’s cover is still safe. (It’s weird to call it a cover because… well, it’s not like she’s lying about who she is.)

It’s the perfect time for L to send in Aiber and Wedy. PERFECT. But if these two get close enough to the truth… lord, it’s going to get even more out of control. I CAN’T WAIT.

The video for “Matsuda” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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