This drama was the topic of lots of discussions even before they started the production and the casting for L and Light was a concern for everyone especially since this is a work with a large fandom. Comparisons will always be made but surprisingly watching just the first two episodes I can say that I already like the drama more than the movies. Of course, it can’t compare to the anime or manga, but the production seems to be taken a better care of all the details to make it closer to the manga/anime in a realistic manner.
Certainly the two young actors, Kubota Masataka respectively Yamazaki Kento, can’t be compared with the much popular and polished acting talent of the actors from the movies, Matsuyama Kenichi and Fujiwara Tatsuya, but Kubota is pretty good. He does exaggerate in some scenes and he needs to cut it out at times but watching him in other dramas, it looks that exaggeration is part of his acting style however sometimes that doesn’t always fit the character he plays thus he should tone it down a little. Light needs to be a little more dramatic rather than exaggerate. Kento is still raw but I always found him to have some acting skills however this time he loses to Kubota’s character construction. Indeed, Kubota does appear more and has a wider personality palette for Light yet for some reasons Kento gives off an overall feeling of a cheap L.
Both Light and L should come off as smart individuals, even so in the drama version, for now, I see only Light to show a tactical mentality where L, well, I can’t take him seriously, or at least not for now.
Although young, I find them to be among the talented ones who are currently active. But even though we were all concerned with the casting of these two main characters, I find the lack of attention given to Misa a little disappointing, they cast a girl who can’t act. Yep, blunt from my part to say it like this but I would rather hear my teacher scratch the blackboard with her nails rather than watching this actress act.
The directing was good even since the first episode. The writing as well, it follows up close the manga and even though some small changes were made to fit more into the TV development, those changes aren’t too much into the spot light but still managed to make things interesting.
What I don’t understand is where Mello is? Mello was my favorite character, he indeed didn’t do much to the story but at the same time he was important within the development. In the second episode it was pretty obvious that Mello is a puppet or Near’s second personality. That will be interesting to see however I really wanted to see a real Mello, somehow he is being ignored a lot but I really liked this character in both the manga and the anime and it’s a shame that even in the drama he gets pushed aside.
Overall I liked the first two episodes. I personally thought that it will be a mess but eventually the first impression is good. However I’m not sure what the Death Note anime/manga radical fans will think of this production. Probably Kubota won’t be on their liking, but I find him to be good as Light. Then again, I hope people will understand that a drama won’t follow every tiny hair from an anime/manga, changes are always to be made since these fields have different structures.