5 out of 5
Now I’m addicted, and starting to get my hopes up. Some elements hinted at the tail end of volume 9 had me worried – suicide addict Shuji Nakaumi, and Minamikawa lying about being a god candidate – but instead of the former being lazily rolled in to being another adversary, Shuji picks right up on the candidate-teamup as the right decision, speaking with dialed-in Ohba logical dialogue; and instead of the latter becoming some eye-rolling trope that would drag on until some random point, the dude is caught in his gaffe quickly, and sets the record straight. It’s fun, it all makes sense – in context – and it’s a great bit of plotting, that actually sets us up for something, instead of just foisting cheesy, one-ish dimensioned “good guys” and “bad guys” on us, which is how the first several volumes kicked off.
Working with police agents Hoshi and Yumiki, and successfully getting other god candidate Temari to join up, adds to the “getting the band together” good vibes, and allows for Ohba and Obata to execute some classic misdirectional mischief, engineering Temari’s escape from custody. Once everyone is gathered, the conversation that ensues is appreciably on point – there are finally enough dynamic personalities spread around for Ohba’s intelligence to shine through, offering up challenging, countering points of view – and the careful sprinkling in of further angel / god info is perfect, giving us just enough sense that something is off.
We conclude by checking in with the final god candidate, which is a fantastic bit of character design – Obata’s work on the angels, especially, is quite awesome throughout, now that we’ve gotten more understanding of each of their “specialties” – and the tone really sinks in to the juggling of clever ridiculousness and incisiveness that was present in Death Note’s best moments, leaving me salivating for the next volume…