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  • Death Note and Shonen Anime by Nick Nicely

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Shonen anime and manga is probably the most popular genre in Japan and worldwide. Currently what is referred to as "the big three", the three biggest most highly grossing anime/manga series One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto are all of the Shonen style. Traditionally Shonen anime is directed at young boys but more recently it seems these series have been able to gain a lot of adult interests by adding more serious elements such as extreme moral dilemmas and more mature characters. Of the anime I have seen I think Death Note is probably the best example of this. In this Paper I will attemt to explain why it succeeds as a shonen anime but also has the ability to interest an older audience.


As far as the aspects of the show that make it appeal to an older audience I think the major one is the fact that it is very grey as to who is good and who is evil in this series. Most viewers probably side with Light Yagami because it is his perspective the story is told from but you could just as easily root for L. to come out on top. Light commits murder with the intent to cleanse the world of evil people by either killing them or making them to afraid to act for fear of being killed. To side with Light you have to decide if murder is justified when you are intending to save good people or if it is evil no matter what. L. is the character who decided that what Light "kira" is doing is immoral form the start and fights to figure out his identity and bring him in. I think this This situation makes the series very interesting psychologically. You are forced to except that what Light is doing might be right but you also have a character who is taking a stance and saying it isn't and you can't really disprove him.  

I think the The other major thing that makes this series appeal to an older audience is the character design and , art style, and setting. Although Light is only a High school student you are able to forget this because he is so tall and intelligent that he seems like he could be in college and this gives him a bit more credibility with Older audiences. He also rarely appears in a school environment past the first episode. He is more often found in a setting amongst adults. As far as the art style in this anime, it is very dark. A grey scale color pallet pervades every scene of the anime and the characters really only were black white or grey. I think this This dark color scheme separates this anime from other shonen anime with extremely bright happy colors everywhere and allows it to seem more serious. Thus appealing to an older audience.