If you can’t get enough of the Death Note franchise or want something in addition to the anime, “Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases” should be enough to tide you over. Written by Nisio Isin, author of “Bakemonogatari” and the Zaregoto series, this light novel is written from Naomi Misora’s point of view. Since I found her too smart to have been killed off so soon in the anime, it really pleased me to see her appear in this story. In the story, she is able to live up to my impression of her from the anime. My understanding of her character deepened as she becomes a proxy to L in the physical aspect of the investigation.
In addition to Naomi Misora’s point of view, you get a narrator, and not just any narrator, but Mello. He guides you through each chapter, occasionally interrupting the action to give a bit of back story on things that any Death Note fan will be wondering about. As if answering an otaku’s fan letter, he expands on concepts like Wammy’s House while giving his two cents.
The light novel is a very easy read, but that’s only if you can get around Nisio Isin’s quirky style of unusual names consisting of alliterations or just plain weird nouns put together. You either like them or you don’t. His story is still intriguing, and you’ll find yourself wondering what will happen next to the extent that you won’t care what strange moniker he’s given to his characters. Another part of Isin’s writing style is his use of manga references which is yet another way of appealing to the otaku in all of us. Some of the references you may get, some you might not, but it’s no big deal. This is, after all, a detective story. The detective will hold the reader’s hand and tell you how he came to his conclusion in solving the crime down to the last detail, going as far as explaining the clues.
I did find myself getting a little lost in the string of numbers that are mentioned, which played a significant part in the solving of the crime. There were times where the numerical clues seemed completely arbitrary even though they did have significant connections to the nature of the crime. One thing that I found a bit dissatisfying was the killer’s motive. Considering the intelligence and ego of the killer’s opponent, it does make sense, and it’s perfectly reasonable. I just felt like the motive should have had a little more substance to it. At the end, you get a nice little wrap up to the story, reminding you that this is in fact a single volume light novel.
While “Another Note” certainly doesn’t look like a light novel with its absence of illustrations and hardcover binding, it definitely plays the part. Even without the manga illustrations so characteristic of the average light novel, thanks to Isin’s descriptions, you will have no trouble picturing every scene. If you’re looking for Kira to make an appearance in this light novel, you won’t find anything more than a few mentions, but if you’re looking for a continuation of the Death Note universe, you will most likely be satisfied as Isin provides a seamless bridge between the manga and anime to the novel.