In the thirtieth episode of Death Note, Light utilizes Kira’s popularity against Near. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Death Note.
So, this episode actually answered a great deal of questions I had about the social ramifications of Light’s actions. Most of this show concerns the complicated machinations of Light, L, and now the new characters who are seeking the Death Note/Kira. I understand that focus, and it’s been riveting to experience it. Through Sakura TV, we’ve some of the public response to Kira. Initially, a lot of that was fear. But the public’s reaction has evolved, and “Justice” fills in a lot of the blank spaces.
Unsurprisingly, there are a great number of people who unabashedly support Kira. If we are to believe what Matsuda says, perhaps crime has gone down in Japan. If that’s so, then what other cost is paid for Kira’s brand of “justice”? There’s still been no examination of the idea that Kira might have killed people who were actually innocent; being convicted in court is not a guarantee of guilt. But that’s a conversation for a separate time. Here, we have acknowledgement that crime is dropping, yet there’s still a pervasive culture of terror within Japanese society. That fear might very well be preventing crimes from being committed. However, what of people who are threatening to use Kira to kill others? Is there actual peace in this society, or are people so afraid of Kira’s “justice” that they’re behaving well? How can this be considered peace if people live in fear?
It’s a complicated issue, for sure, and “Justice” explores that through the Japanese investigators and people like Demegawa. Matsuda is not so certain that Kira is “evil,” and he tries to work through his feelings on the matter. Then, there’s Demegawa, who had been used multiple times by Kira in the early half of this show. He views himself as a central player in this revenge drama, so much so that he will still do anything to benefit from the attention. Perhaps he actually believes he is a tool of god, but I wouldn’t put it past this guy to have a selfish end in mind. Demegawa represents those who uncritically worship Kira. Kira is the very definition of justice to these people. Those who break an established moral code are immediately removed from existence, and to them, that means the world is just. Never mind the countless reasons a person might commit a “crime,” or whether they were innocent. And these people don’t even consider whether or not a person deserves to die for these actions either.
It’s this specific reaction, though, that Light exploits. In order to subvert what Near is doing, he turns the President against the SPK and has him PUBLICLY DECLARE THAT THE U.S. WILL NOT PURSUE KIRA. He knows that everyone is afraid of him, so the threat against the President’s life is easy. It’s a no-brainer. But when Near gets a little too close to the truth, Light takes matters a step further, unleashing Demegawa’s dogma as a weapon. He stokes the flames of anger and resentment, and he lets this man loose on the airwaves, and A GIANT CROWD OF PEOPLE ARE BREAKING INTO SPK HEADQUARTERS TO OSTENSIBLY MURDER EVERYONE THERE AND HOW IS THIS A MORAL, PEACEFUL WORLD, LIGHT? PLEASE ANSWER THAT.
I do want to back up a bit, though. Part of the reason this is set in motion is because of the Near/Mello rivalry. Y’all, I was simply unprepared for the two of them to confront one another in “Justice.” I EXPECTED IT TO HAPPEN MUCH LATER. But their scene early in this episode cemented the game that they’re playing with one another. And I could totally be misreading this, but I loved that Near was literally playing with toys during that sequence. It’s all a game for the two of them, isn’t it? This is not like L’s pursuit of Light. I don’t think either one of them has a moral motivation to take down Kira. They just want to be better than each other. Thus, they each offer the other person something to help even the playing field. Near returns the only photo of Mello that exists, while Mello provides the SPK with information: the Shinigami are real, and one of the rules in the Death Note is fake.
Because of Light’s carelessness in recent episodes, I think that Near is much more certain that Second L is Kira. And that’s why Light sends Demegawa and his fanatics after them. He can’t kill them with the Death Note, but they’re dangerously close to putting everything together.
WHY MUST THIS BE THE LAST EPISODE OF THE WEEK. I NEED MORE.
The video for “Justice” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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