DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God – DIRECTOR’S CUT (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 26, 2009 by  

“A ‘DEATH NOTE’ special from Ryuk’s perspective.  Although focusing on the first half of the ‘DEATH NOTE’ anime series, the few minutes of extra footage included in this special plus the big reveal at the end makes ‘DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” so much worth it.  Die-hard fans of the ‘DEATH NOTE’ anime series will definitely want to pick this special up!”


Images courtesy of (C) Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, Shueisha, Madhouse.  All Rights Reserved.

TV SERIES: DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God – DIRECTOR’S CUT

COMPANY: Viz Media/Shonen Jump Home Video


RATED: T+ (for older Teen)

DURATION: 130 Minutes

Release Date: June 23, 2009

Original Story by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (Shueisha Jump Comics)

Directed by Tetsuro Araki

Series Coodinator Toshiki Inoue

Character Design by Masaru Kitao

Music by Yoshihisa Hirano, Hideki Taniuchi

Series Director: Tetsuro Araki

Animation Production: MADHOUSE

Production: Nippon Television Network/D.N. Dream Partners, VAP, Shueisha, MADHOUSE


Mamoru Miyano/Brad Swaile as Light Yagami

Kappei Yamaguchi/Alessandro Juliani as L

Shido Nakamura/Brian Drummond as Ryuk

Aya Hirano/Shannon Chan-Kent as Misia

Chris Britton, Vincent Tong, Treveor Devall and more


When rogue Shinigami Ryuk deliberately drops his Death Note in the human world of boredom, he has no idea how far the human who picks it up will take his newfound power.  With the Death Note in hand, brilliant high school student Light Yagami vows to rid the world of evil, and when criminals begin dropping dead by one, genius detective L steps in to track down the elusive killer known as Kira.  An epic battle of wits pitting one brilliant mind against another unfolds – with the very future of humanity at stake!  Ryuk’s not bored anymore…

The “DEATH NOTE” anime series was simply magnificent.

I first caught “DEATH NOTE” the animated series on television.  I’ve heard so many impressive things in regards to the storyline and also saw the series featured on NPR.  To get the critical acclaim that it has worldwide, this series must be special.

And special is what “DEATH NOTE” truly is.  From beginning to end, this series has just grabbed my attention because of its well-written cat vs. mouse storyline.

“DEATH NOTE” is a 37-episode TV series that was created by Studio Madhouse and featured on Japanese television in 2006-2007 and featured in the US in 2007-2008 (the whole series is available in two box sets from Viz Media/Shonen Jump Home video).  The series has spawned a popular manga series, a novel, three live action films and has captured the attention of anime and non-anime fans worldwide.

After the series was completed, a new special (the first of two) was released on television in August 2007 titled “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” which features the whole series condensed into a 130 minute episode.  But unlike recap specials aired in Japan, this special would be a retelling of the story in the point of view of Ryuk (Light Yagami’s Shinigami) who is telling a story of his experience on what happened when he was on Earth and a story he is explaining to another Shinigami who is bored in the underworld.

“DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” features new scenes and an ending that may or may not shock “DEATH NOTE” fans.

The series focuses on the character of a very smart high school student named Light Yagami.  Bored with his life, he comes across the “Death Note” that has special instructions that if one was to write their names on the Death Note, the person would die.  They would die of a heart attack if there were no instructions on how the person is to die.  Or die the way the person possessing the Death Note wrote down.

The Death Note is from a Shinigami (death god) named Ryuk who seems to be bored in his own world and thus starts to enjoy how a person like Light starts to use the Death Note.

For Light (who goes by the name Kira), starts out using the Death Note by writing the names of criminals.  He starts to win supporters due to his ideology of creating a new world without these criminals.  But with so many deaths occurring, the police and the International community begin to fear this serial killer.  And along the way, Light is suspected by the police as a person of interest (a person who could be “Kira”) and then Light starts to use his Death Note on those who are onto him.

Thus a mysterious detective named L is assigned to the case and the series becomes a compelling storyline of will L find a way to catch Light Yagami or will Light Yagami kill L first?


“Death Note” was a TV series and I found the animation to be quite cool as it showcased a dark, stylish feel to it.  The animation for “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” is featured in 16×9 Anamorphic Widescreen.

The anime features a good dose of that J-rockish type of style and it’s overall presentation was stylish and dark.  Studio Madhouse did a wonderful job in this series and bringing out the illustrations of Takeshi Obata and the storyline of Tsugumi Ohba to television.  The dark atmosphere really is well displayed in this anime series.

But the most appealing part of this series is the awesome voice acting.  Being the Japanese language purist that I am, I watched the series with Japanese voice acting and it was done very well.  But I have to admit that I was really impressed by the English dub voice acting.

Brad Swaile as Light Yagami, Battlestar Galactica actor (Felix Gaeta) Alesandro Juliani, Brian Drummond as Ryuk and Shannon Chan-Kent as Misa did a tremendous job.  As did the other English voice actors.   A job well done!


“DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” comes with a few special features.  Included are:

  • Death Note Rewritten with the Japanese Cast & Crew – (11:09) Interviews with Toshio Nakatani (producer) about how he wanted to do a “DEATH NOTE” episode flashback by focusing on Ryuk’s perspective.  Interview with Director Tetsuro Araki and his intrigue with the character of Light Yagami.  Also, interviews with voice actors Mamoru Miyano (voice of Light Yagami) and Kappei Yamaguchi (L) about having to redo the voices of the characters a year later after they finished the original anime series.
  • Original Japanese Promos – (3:40) Three TV promos for “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God”
  • Shonen Jump Manga Trailer
  • Shonen Jump Home Video Trailers
  • Death Note Movie Trailers

I absolute love the “DEATH NOTE” anime series but I know many of you who enjoyed the series are wondering if this DVD is worth the purchase.  Especially since “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” is the series condensed into 103 minutes but with new footage.

In Japan, there are many specials , may it be for anime or drama series that are created to bring a viewer up to speed on what has happened on a series to elongating the popularity of the series through new footage.  Popular series get a special episode that tend to get a series condensed into a two hour episode. But sometimes there is a few minutes of extra footage that makes a big difference in a series, especially for those who are fans of that series.

“DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” is one of those specials that within the 103 minutes featured on this DVD, many of those minutes are scenes which fans have seen on the animated TV series.  It all comes down to those extra few minutes of footage that are important.

I’m not quite sure of how many exact minutes of extra footage is included in “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” but I will say that those extra minutes at the end of this special was quite surprising.  And because of that, I do feel that “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God” is worth having in your collection because those few minutes from the beginning and ending of the special definitely introduces us some interesting situations and a major reveal that may open the doors for possibly a sequel?  Maybe?

A few minutes of extra footage is hard to justify for many anime fans, especially if you are on a tight budget.  But if you are a dedicated fan to this series and are quite passionate about it as much as I am, then I highly recommend “DEATH NOTE: R – Relight: Visions of a God”.


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