DEATH NOTE Live-Action Film on R1 DVD
The first live action DEATH NOTE movie will be released on Region 1 DVD by VIZ Pictures on Sept. 16, 2008. The DVD will include the uncut 126 minute-long film in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original Japanese audio track, a brand-new English language dub, and removable English subtitles. Bonus features include an interview with director Shusuke Kaneko, Making of the Movie featurette, Japanese trailers, DEATH NOTE anime trailer, and Death Note manga sneak peek – Chapter 1. The suggested retail price is $24.98.
DEATH NOTE Press Notes
Directed by SHUSUKE KANEKO
Based on the Bestselling Japanese Comic by TSUGUMI OOBA and TAKESHI OBATA
TATSUYA FUJIWARA as “LIGHT”
KENICHI MATSUYAMA as “L / Ryuzaki”
2006/ Japan/ 35mm/ 1.85:1/
Dolby Digital SRD/126 min.
© 2006 Death Note Film Partners. All rights reserved.
VIZ Pictures, Inc.
DEATH NOTE is based on the bestselling supernatural action mystery manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. With over 25 million copies sold, the hit comic has finally been adapted into the live-action feature films DEATH NOTE part 1 & 2!
The live-action films were directed by Shusuke Kaneko, known from the popular monster “Gamera” film series. The first was released in 2006, becoming a smash hit in Japan, grossing over $28 million with 2.3 million tickets sold. Its sequel, DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME, was released in Japan in November 2006 and was even more successful, grossing over $52 million with 4.3 million tickets sold. Both movies stayed at #1 on the box office for weeks not only in Japan, but also in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
As a result of this success, a spin-off film directed by Hideo Nakata (director of the original Japanese version of RING) was released on February 9, 2008, titled L: CHANGE THE WORLD.
With RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS contributing the DEATH NOTE theme song, the first time they have written a theme for a feature film, and with Tatsuya Fujiwara (known from the film BATTLE ROYALE) starring in the films, DEATH NOTE is a film project of unprecedented scale in which a notebook of death generates mind-blowing suspense and excitement. Now the DEATH NOTE finally reveals its forbidden pages.
The story begins when Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects, finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and Light vows to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective “L” to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must reevaluate his once-noble goal. Both Light and L believe themselves to be on the side of justice, and the two match wits trying to show exactly which of them is “good” and which of them is “evil.”
How to use the Death Note
-The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
-This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
-If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the person’s name, it will happen.
-If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.
-After writing the cause of death, details of the death should be written in thenext 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
-This note shall become the property of the human world, once it touches the ground of (arrives in) the human world.
-The owner of the note can recognize the image and voice of its original owner, i.e. a god of death.
-The human who uses this note can neither go to Heaven nor Hell.
Characters and Cast
Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) The straight-A college student who winds up with the Death Note Ryuk drops from the sky. With his intellect and strong sense of justice, he uses the Death Note to create his own version of a better world.
Born in May 15th, 1982, Tatsuya Fujiwara made his acting debut at Barbican Theater in London. Since then he has worked in plays, films, TV programs and TV commercials. He was awarded Best Actor at the 27th Japan Academy Awards for his role in 2001’s Battle Royale (directed by Kinji Fukusaku). In 2005, he made his New York debut with the critically acclaimed play MODERN NOH PLAYS (SOTOBA KOMACHI/YOROBOSHI).
L / Ryuzaki (Kenichi Matsuyama) The mystery genius detective who solves world-level crimes. L is commissioned by Japan’s police force to solve the complicated case of “Kira, the invisible killer.” Using calculated processes of elimination and statistical analysis, he quickly narrows down the list of suspects.
Born in Aomori on March 5th, 1985, Kenichi Matsuyama made his screen debut in BRIGHT FUTYRE (2002), directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Recently he has appeared in popular films such as NANA (2006) directed by Kentaro Otani, LINDA LINDA LINDA (2005) directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita, and OTOKO-TACHI NO YAMATO (2005) directed by Junya Sato. He is one of the most promising actors in Japan.
Ryuk (voiced by Shido Nakamura) The rogue death god who, at his height of boredom, decides to drop his Death Note down to Earth to see who picks it up. To his surprise, Light, who finds the Death Note, takes to it way more than imagined. Obsessed with apples and entertained by human behavior, Ryuk hangs around Light.
Asaka Seto (Naomi Misora) Raye’s fiancé, a former FBI agent whoworked for L. Her fiancé’s suspicious behavior brings her back to the investigation.
Born in Aichi on December 12th, 1976, Aska Seto is an in-demand actress working widely for film, TV and TVCF. She made her screen debut in 1992, and has stared in numerous films including 2/2 (2006) directed by Hidehiro Ito, ONE MISSED CALL 2 (2005) directed by Renpei Tsukamoto, and TRAVAIL (2002) directed by Kentaro Otani. She also gained recognition in her leading role in the Hong Kong film BULLETS OF LOVE (2001) directed by Andrew Lau.
Shiori Akino (Yu Kashii) Light Yagami’s girlfriend. A law student that admires the passion and intelligence of her boyfriend.
Born in Kanagawa on February 16th, 1987. Yu Kashii spent her childhood in Singapore. She started her career as a model in 2001, and soon started working in TV drama and TV commercials before appearing in WATER BOYS, a TV drama that led her to her film debut with LORELEI: THE WITCH OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN in 2005. Her other films include LINDA LINDA LINDA (2005) directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita, HOLD UP DOWN (2005) directed by SABU and UNTIL NIGHT COMES BACK (2005) directed by Takashi Minamoto.
FBI agent Raye Iwamatsu (Shigeki Hosokawa) An FBI agent assigned to follow Light Yagami as a murder suspect in the Kira case.
Born in Gifu on December 16th, 1971, Shigeki Hosokawa started his career as an actor in 1992, and has been working actively in film, TV drama and TVCF. He played the lead in a feature film for the first time in KOMACHI (2005) directed by Rokuro Mochizuki.
Misa Amane (Erika Toda ) A TV personality idol who worships the way of Kira. Her whole family was murdered in cold blood, and Kira has given her the revenge that she would have otherwise never attained.
Born in Hyogo on August 17th, 1988. Erika Toda made her debut in the morning TVdrama series AUDREY (NHK) in 2001. Her performance in the TV drama ENGINE in 2005, which earned high viewer ratings, led Toda to play the large role of the protagonist’s beautiful and smart girlfriend in NOBUTA WO PRODUCE, a TV drama adapted from a bestseller novel. This drama further increased her popularity to the points that she is one of the hottest young actresses working today.
Watari (Shunji Fujimura) L’s right hand man and sole contact.
Born in Kanagawa on December 8th, 1934, Shunji Fujimura studied pantomime in Paris for one year. He started to work as a choreographer after he came back to Japan and choreographed for TV shows and TV commercials. He got a regular part in TV series as an actor for the first time in 1996. Since then, Fujimura has been working actively in various fields as TV variety shows, TV dramas, feature films, theatre and more.
Soichiro Yagami (Takeshi Kaga) A high-ranking detective assigned as Chief of the Task Force for the Kira case. He risks his life to catch the cold-blooded killer.
Born in Ishikawa on October 12th, 1950, Takeshi Kaga started his career at SHIKI theater company and made his theatrical debut with Jesus Christ Superstar. He has been working mainly in theater but also acts in films and TV shows. He is widely known by North American audiences as the flamboyant host of TV’s IRON CHEF.
Director: Shusuke Kaneko Born in Tokyo on June 8th, 1955, Kaneko graduated from Tokyo Gakugei University before he joined Nikkatsu Corporation. He directed his first film in 1984. Since he left Nikkatsu in 1985, he has directed films in various genres over the years, including the critically successful Heisei Gamera Trilogy: GAMERA GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (1995), GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION (1996) and GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS (1999). His recent credits include AZUMI 2: DEATH OR LOVE (2005) and WHEN YOU SING OF LOVE (2002).
Theme Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers In selecting a theme song for DEATH NOTE, producer Takahiro Salute sent a proposal together with an English translation of the manga to the band, which promptly gave him the “go” sign. In choosing a song from their latest album, the Peppers decided on “Dani California,” as the tune’s catchy and dynamic melodies added flamboyance to the film. In regards to this tie-in project, band leader Anthony Kiedis commented, “Don’t be afraid to check out our song, ‘Dani California.’ It’s a theme song for the movie, DEATH NOTE.” Added bassist Flea, “We are very proud to be involved and happy to be involved.” The band’s other members include John (guitar) and Chad (drums).
Tetsuya Oishi (Screenplay) Born in 1965 in Fukuoka prefecture. Oishi started his career in films in 1994 with the video Hikinige Family. In 1995, he received the 1st Yomiuri TV Scenario Award for OTOME NO MIKOKORO. Recently, he wrote for the smash hit TV drama ONE MISSED CALL (2005). This is his second work for feature films following MUSCLE HEAT (2002).
Kenji Kawai (Music) Born in Tokyo in 1957. Kawai is widely known as a composer for Mamoru Oshii’s animated feature film GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995), AVALON (2001) and INNOCENCE (2004), as well as Hideo Nakata’s RING (1998), RING 2 (1999), CHAOS (1999) and DARK WATER (2002). His work has also appeared in the famous animated TV series MAISON IKKOKU and RANMA ½, as well as live-action TV dramas.
Hiroshi Takase (Cinematography) Born in Tokyo, Takase joined the entertainment company Nikkatsu and worked on over 120 titles as Assistant Cameraman. In 1990, he made his cinematographer debut for HEAVEN AND EARTH. In 1993, he worked with Director Shusuke Kaneko for GRADUATION JOURNEY: I CAME FROM JAPAN. DEATH NOTE is their second collaboration.
Koichi Watanabe (Lighting) Born in Fukushima prefecture in 1956, Watanabe made his start as a professional engineer for TV commercials. In 2005, he was involved with major titles such as LORELEI directed by Shinji Higuchi and SHINOBI directed by Ten Shimoyama. His other credits include INOCHI (2002), PING PONG (2002), THIRTEEN STEPS (2003), GET UP! (2003), LIKE ASURA (2003) and FLY, DADDY, FLY (2005).
Hajime Oikawa (Production Design) Born in Akita in 1954, Oikawa made his debut with TV commercials, and as special effects man on TAN TAN TANUKI. His other works include the Bakayaro! series, the Gamera series, ALL’S QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1991), SCHOOL GHOST STORY 3 (1997) and PLATONIC SEX (2001). In 2003, he received the Best Art Direction Award at the Japan Academy for his work for SPY SORGE directed by Masahiro Shinoda.
Tatsuya Fujiwara (Light Yagami)
Kenichi Matsuyama (L/Ryuzaki)
Asaka Seto (Naomi Misora)
Yu Kashii (Shiori Akino)
Shigeki Hosokawa (FBI Agent Raye)
Erika Toda (Misa Amane)
Shunji Fujimura (Watari)
Takeshi Kaga (Soichiro Yagami)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Original Story: Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata
Screenplay: Tetsuya Oishi
Music: Kenji Kawai
Theme Song: RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS “Dani California” (Warner Music Japan)
Executive Producer: Seiji Okuda
Producer: Takahiro Salute / Toyoharu Fukuda / Takahiro Kobashi
Planning: Masana Takahashi / Atsushi Sato
Cinematography: Hiroshi Takase
Lighting: Koichi Watanabe
Production Designer: Hajime Oikawa
Sound Recording: Masayuki Iwakura
Editor: Yosuke Yafune
Assistant Director: Koji Yamaguchi / Shinji Ihara / Tadashi Otsu
Casting: Takefumi Yoshikawa
Line Producer: Yasuyuki Otsuka
CG Producer: Yusaku Toyoshima
CG: Digital Frontier
Original Soundtrack: VAP
Production: Nikkatsu Studio
Planning & Production: NTV
Production Companies: SHUEISHA / HORIPRO / YTV / VAP / KDE-J / SHOCHIKU / NIKKATSU
2006 DEATH NOTEFILM PARTNERS
For more information on DEATH NOTE please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- AFM /AFI FEST REPORT #3: DEATH NOTE
- Record-breaking weekend for DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME
- DEATH NOTE Anime Series Comes to DVD from VIZ Media
- VIZ Pictures Licenses Theatrical and DVD Rights to Live Action DEATH NOTE Films
- Directors to Attend Vancouver Screenings of DEATH NOTE and THE iDol