With most live-action adaptations derived from anime, there are always some minor differences from the original; for example in the past, Krillin was left out of Dragon Ball Evolution. All right, that may have been a big difference, however, it is a great example of production studio’s changing the story of an anime slightly. In a recent interview with director Adam Wingard for Film, Wingard spoke of the differences that his version of Death Note will have, specifically with the rules of the Death Note.
“Our film is very much a different take on it (Death Note). The characters themselves have different backgrounds and motivations and things. Even the approach to the Death Note is very different. In the original, almost exclusively the deaths are associated with heart attacks whereas ours takes more of a Final Destination approach for the first half of the movie when it’s still kind of fun and games for Light.
The Death Note was created by the demon Ryuk, (Willem Dafoe) as were the rules put in place for the user Light Turner (Nat Wolff). However, despite Wingard admitting that there were differences in their creation in comparison to the anime and manga, there was never a time where they changed any of the rules. However, that’s not to say that there weren’t any new ones added to the story.
“Somebody actually told me today that the original films, which stick very close to the original source material, were actually contractually obligated not to change any rules. Our film, we don’t really change any rules, but we do add some rules. For instance, the rule where if you don’t use the notebook for seven days then it reverts back to Ryuk and he can do whatever he wants was one of ours. That was mainly because we wanted to make sure there was a rule in there that forced Light to have to use the Death Note regardless of if he had changed his mind or if he had grown a conscience. The stakes would always be there in terms of forcing him to go forward. There’s no turning back, in other words. There were a few little rules like that that we added just to add more complexity to the situation,” continued Wingard.
These rules were not only put in place for the user to not go on a killing rampage, they were added mostly for Ryuk’s amusement. The whole point of the rules is so that once you start using the Death Note, you can’t just stop. At the end of the day Ryuk is amused by people being murdered, so he will invest a great deal of time to make sure he enjoys himself. If the user doesn't obey the rules, there are a number of consequences.
Death Note was originally created by manga illustrator Tsugumi Ohba, with an anime, games, and number of live-action productions inspired by his works. Wingard’s Death Note will be available for streaming on Netflix on August 25th, 2017.