Disclaimer: Death Note - The Visualizing God completely spoils the series, so if you have yet to see it do not watch this movie!
Without a doubt, Death Note was one of the few anime series that truly captivated me. The intensity, the drama, with which it teems is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and despite not ending the way I would have liked (I'm not bitter anymore, I swear!), it still ended quite poignantly. The events afterward, however, especially regarding Light's fate, are left rather blithe with detail, and that's where The Visualizing God comes into play. Despite being largely a recap of the Light vs. L saga of Death Note, it does throw in a few extra scenes that further develop their tenuous "relationship" with one another. Most importantly, though, it fills in the gaps the series leaves following the closure of the saga, and provides for an "Oh, so that is how it ended!" feeling. You'll probably notice I'm being purposefully vague here out of respect for my readers who have yet to see the series, but those who have seen it should know what I'm talking about.
Unlike most recap movies that tend to defile the splendor of their original storylines (Rahxephon and Escaflowne are two examples off the top of my head), The Visualizing God stays true to its source material to the tee, and completely forgoes any sort of perversion just for the sake of new viewing content. Unfortunately, out of necessity for time, its pacing does little to really capture much of the characters, and tends to jump from important scene to important scene without providing much lead-in to the scenes. Even so, for those who have seen the series it manages to be quite coherent, even if it requires pausing briefly a few times to recall certain details. If anything, think of the movie as Death Note Fast Forward, since it's pretty much like watching a movie played at three times speed.
Since The Visualizing God takes a majority of its animation directly from Death Note, I really can't fault any points here - it's truly epic. The new scenes are equally as gorgeous and riddled with flawless cinematography as their predecessors, so there are no obvious rifts between new and old. Again, as with the series, the visuals carry the emotional weight needed for a suspense-thriller such as this to truly gravitate its audience toward it - as even with the time constraints you can still feel the angst teeming from your screen. It probably doesn't hurt, either, that its use of color and lighting provide for an absolutely beautiful visual setting irrespective of its actual content; this stuff is eye candy at its finest.
Again, as with the animation, just about everything is recycled (and thus top-notch in quality.) Ryuk does narrate events quite often, though, and his seiyuu does a fabulous job, especially with his ending lines. This definitely helps at refreshing a dull memory, so I've certainly no complaints.
Character development, unfortunately, was rather stale - little more is tacked on to provide additional depth other than the alternative ending sequence. Most of the movie is simply a compilation of Light's and L's tensest moments, and thus precious little time is spent actually fleshing them out. Given that the movie expects the viewer to have already seen Death Note, however, this isn't all that bad, as it removes the fluff and gives the viewer a second dose of the best portions of the drama. Having been some nine odd months or so since I finished the series, though, it was an entertaining highlight of the characters in their finest moments and surfaced a lot of good memories regarding them.
If anything noteworthy, the last few minutes do an excellent job at providing some final closure to the epic, as though Death Note concluded quite resolutely, it just seemed to trail off into a blank at the end. Above all, Light's character is wrapped up perfectly, and for those who happened to be rooting for him, it's certainly a satisfying end.
Yeah, it's chock full of all that Death Note splendor, but The Visualizing God simply lacks sufficient new content for me to warrant it as superb as the series. Aside from the last five minutes of the movie, everything is taken directly from the series, and I was honestly hoping the "alternate ending" it promised would have been given a little more time. Even so, given that the movie picks and chooses the best moments of the series and compacts them all into an enjoyable two hours of airtime, I can't really complain too much. If you have yet to see Death Note stay the hell away from this and go watch it first, but otherwise give this movie a go a few months after you finish the series - you really can't go wrong in doing so.
Yagami Light is an unusually bright high school student who has found himself disillusioned and bored with both life and the world. When he stumbles upon a strange book entitled Death Note, however, this all changes. In an attempt to purge the world of evil, he uses the book's powers to claim the lives of criminals and establish himself as a god. Not long after his quest begins, though, he finds himself confronted by a man calling himself "L" who vows to put an end to Light's reign of tyranny before it can begin. With two genius intellects at odds, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, and with it can be only one winner - who will prevail?
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!