Death Note Black Edition, Vol. 1 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2010/12/28
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Killer 2-for-1 value on the hit thriller Death Note!
Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for audiences T+. Contains Volumes 1 and 2 of Death Note!
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects--and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. Will Light's noble goal succeed, or will the Death Note turn him into the very thing he fights against?
Born in Tokyo, Tsugumi Ohba is the author of the hit series Death Note. His current series Bakuman., is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump.
Takeshi Obata was born in 1969 Nigata, Japan, and is the artist of the widly popular SHONEN JUMP title Hikaru no Go, which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei "New Hope" and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga award. Obata is also the artist of Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp, Ayasturi Sakon, Cyborg Jichan G., and the smash hit manga Death Note. His current series Bakuman is serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump.
The Black Editions appear just as they should, they feature a basic cover with a headshot of one of the major characters unique to each book (Light, Ryuk, L, Misa, Mello, and Near in that order), and eschew the original spine design which each featured a different shinigami that most often did not play a role in the story (exceptions being 1 Ryuk, 4 Gelus, 5 Rem, and 9 Sidoh). The books are stripped of their extraneous content including ads, Shonen Jump subscription cards, "Last Time on Death Note...", and "In The Next Volume..." pages leaving only Death Note to keep your attention. The overall design is nothing but appropriately ominous leaving sparce white text on a black field reminicent of the Death Notes themselves, even the edges of the pages are black, easily setting the books apart from anything else on your shelf.
The primary feature is that the Black Editions serve as two-packs, each of the 6 containing two of the original 12 books of content. The books are also about 1 inch taller and 3/4ths of an inch deeper, this means the original pages are printed larger and in higher quality. The opening pages that were inked in color for Shonen Jump are back in color now, having been grayscaled in the original release. A couple art pages have been added, however these come at the cost of the original books' front cover art which do not make reappearances, even as art pages. The art on the original back covers do make reappearances, having always been art pages to bookend each chapter, however these are not in color.
The higher quality paper is nothing to write home about as the difference is slight, however it's worth noting that the quality is significantly better than some similar rereleases such as Naruto's 3-in-1 omnbuses which cram 3 books together with very thin paper. The biggest drawback to this rerelease is surely it's cover material. The covers feature the same matte finish that appeared on the original books (unlike the glossy covers on Naruto) and consequently fingerprints and nail scratches are much more visible, especially considering the covers predominantly black. In addition to this, it's obvious that the inking process that was used to render the edges of the pages black was done with the cover on. Because of this, ink stains are visible all along the outer edges of the front and back cover. These may not be immediately noticeable at a glance, but if there is a silver lining to this, it's that the books should handle age very well. The page edges will not appear to yellow under a layer of black ink and inevitable damage to the cover will blend in with the ink stains. If the end result is a great book that resembles a battered old tome, the venture will have been a success. Ultimately however, the choice to ink the page edges was poor. It looks more like a block than a Death Note, and it would qualify no less for the title of "Black Edition" without it.
All things considered, the Black Editions present a streamlined and convenient re-packaging of the original books, and lose little in the process. I would have liked to see the original cover art reappear as pages and the all of the originally colored art pages return in full color, but the larger pages and two-in-one format are more than fair compensation. The inked page edges is a sticking point, but it certainly warrants the unqiue title of "Black Edition" and if nothing else will certainly provoke more than one "What are you reading?" questions, to which you will always have a good answer.
I was apprehensive about purchasing this versus the normal volumes. This price is definitely a plus, you get 2 volumes in each black edition (7-8ish each, but 10-12 for B.E.). The Black Edition has a matte black cover and the page edges are also black. Simply put, its a sexy lookin book. Other reviewers complained about the matte finish capturing any and all fingerprints thus leaving this better suited for a collector, never to leave a shelf. Mine did suffer some finger prints. However in a moment of sheer bravery I took a washcloth that was damp (when I say damp, I mean to say that i wringed as much water out as possible, leaving it nearly dry) and gently wiped the cover and then immediately dried it with a dry washcloth. Left the cover looking like new. I would suggest being extremely careful if you try this, as it would be very easy to accidentally wet the edge of the pages, which would not be so fixable.
As a series it is dark and suspenseful thriller. I definitely do not want to spoil it for anyone but it is worth a try.