Death Note 20th Anniversary Volume 1 Is a Subtle Tribute
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Death Note 20th Anniversary Volume 1 Is a Subtle Tribute

Viz Media decided to do something special for the Death Note 20th anniversary. It honored the occasion with a convention-exclusive edition of the manga. So if you head to a special event, you might find yourself able to pick up Death Note 20th anniversary volume 1. It’s an incredibly subtle way to honor the hallmark occasion, as well as remind people of the series’ beginnings.

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First of all, I’d like to thank Viz Media for helping to dig my grave. It’s bad enough that sometimes I find myself mentioning a game on the NES, SNES, or even N64, realize a coworker or friend wasn’t even born yet when those came out, and feel myself start to crumble to dust. Seeing the Death Note 20th anniversary volume 1 proudly proclaim that across the cover just hastens my eventual desiccation.

Speaking of which, the cover is the thing that makes this edition of the Death Note manga special. The hallmark here is that it replicates the art from Shonen Jump’s January 1, 2004 issue. It features Takeshi Obata art of Light and Ryuk in monochromatic tones. In the case of Light, we see a shadow of Ryuk behind him, foreshadowing his use of the Death Note to become this god of death on earth. The text is entirely in a metallic silver print. It really stands out, with the words being as striking on the cover as they are on the spine. Not to mention, I appreciate the difference in the texture between the matte cover and the smoother lettering. That subtle difference really makes it feel a little more special.

However, from there, that’s where the differences between this entry in the manga series and any Death Note volume 1 end. The interior is identical to the original installment. The only hallmark is the fact that it’s marked as a convention exclusive and has an alternate cover. Which is fine! This is meant to be something special if you can attend an event. It’s a brief salute to what was accomplished. It doesn’t need a full retranslation or other alterations. I will admit, I would have appreciated some color pages inside as an extra bonus. Maybe an additional foreword from the creators or editor would be fun.

This means if someone isn’t a huge fan and just wants the series, there’s no penalty for skipping this special release. There’s some value to that, too. The original Death Note manga isn’t out of print, so someone could pick up volume 1 (or 2, or 3, or you get the idea). It means that the audience as a whole isn’t massively missing out if something keeps them from getting to a convention. Likewise, if someone is a huge fan, the new cover could make it worth grabbing. Especially since if it is acquired at an event, there’s no massive price mark-up. The back says $10, as usual.

It all means if you love Death Note, the Death Note 20th anniversary volume 1 is a fun keepsake. It honors the series with a detailed cover. You get to pick it up on special occasions. But if you’re a new fan or don’t need some special fanfare, the original volume 1 or Black Edition Volume 1 will be just as good.

The Death Note manga is handled outside Japan by Viz Media. The anime is on Crunchyroll. Netflix also offers a live-action adaptation.


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Author
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.