Unlike this year’s Ghost in the Shell – which retained the Japanese setting of its source material, leading to whitewashing criticisms – director Adam Wingard’s has relocated the action of his upcoming manga adaptation Death Note to the United States, and speaking to IGN, the filmmaker has discussed how that forced him to make adjustments to the core concept.
“In the early stages of the film I was reading all of the manga, really just looking at how does any of this translate to the United States,” said Wingard. “Ultimately, Death Note is such a Japanese thing. You can’t just say let’s port this over and it’s all going to add up. They’re two different worlds completely. It’s one of those things where the harder I tried to stay 100% true to the source material, the more it just kind of fell apart… You’re in a different country, you’re in a different kind of environment, and you’re trying to also summarize a sprawling series into a two-hour long film. Ultimately, whenever I say it’s about America, I’m looking at it like, what are the main kind of core issues going on in America, what are the things that people chalk up to conspiracy theories? What kind of weird underground programs does the government have? How do these work in the world of Death Note?”
We’ll find out when Death Note his Netflix next month.
We suggest you obey the rules. Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone’s name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.
Death Note is set to premiere on Netflix on August 25th.