The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

January 11, 2008

Book review: Library offers several manga titles

Manga, simply described, are graphic novels that originated in Japan and are translated into English.

They are typically published in the Japanese style and are read from right to left, making the books look backward to our Western eyes. An extremely popular form of graphic novel, manga is written for all ages from young children to adults, and is voraciously read by many.

The Joplin Public Library carries several manga titles, including the two reviewed below, and has created a manga and anime club for teens (grades 6-12) that will begin meeting at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, in the library’s large meeting room. Teens interested in participating in the club should come to the Teen Department and fill out the club application.

‘Death Note’

Story by Tsugumi Ohba, art by Takeshi Obata

Light Yagami is a typical, smart 17-year-old — he’s bored. Really, really bored.

One afternoon, Light finds a notebook lying innocently on the ground. But it isn’t just any notebook. It’s the Death Note and holds the power of life and death within its pages. As Light learns from the instructions written inside, once someone’s name is written in the Death Note, that person will die.

The Death Note belonged to a Shinigami (death god or, as we call them, grim reaper) named Ryuk, who, like Light, is extremely bored. He’s tired of the monotony of writing human names in the Death Note, so he “accidentally” drops his notebook in the human world to see what happens when a human gets to power to kill anonymously.

Once he discovers that the Death Note actually has power, Light decides to rid the world of evil and writes down the names of people who have committed heinous crimes. Unfortunately, the criminals’ deaths do not go unnoticed and the governments of the world vow to stop the killer, or “Kira” as he is nicknamed. To accomplish this, they have hired the mysterious “L,” who is said to be able to solve any mystery and capture any criminal.

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