Death Note, Volume 6: Give-and-Take

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Illustrator: Takeshi Obata

U.S. publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 9781421506272
Released: July 2006
Original run: 2003-2006 (Weekly Shōnen Jump)

It seems that I’ve been putting off reading Give-and-Take, the sixth book in the Death Note manga series, and I’m not entirely sure why since I’ve really liked the books. Granted, I didn’t enjoy the last book I read, Whiteout, quite as much as the ones previous. So, despite having picked up Give-and-Take soon after finishing Whiteout, it took me a while to actually get around to reading and reviewing it. But, I’m glad that I did and I still have plans to read the entire series—not that that has ever been in doubt for me.

Give-and-Take follows directly after Whiteout. Light is still chained to L and Misa is still under strict surveillance. Even though they are both considered suspects for being one of the first two Kiras, they are doing all that they can to assist the investigative team in tracking down and capturing the third Kira. So far, the investigation has been able to determine that this Kira is connected to a small group of people at the Yotsuba Corporation, but narrowing down it down even further is going to be tricky without showing their hand. It doesn’t help that the team has split into two groups over a disagreement in how to proceed. But the closer they get to Kira, the more dangerous it becomes for all involved and the team members must decide how far they are willing to go and how much, and who, they are willing to risk to capture Kira.

Takeshi Obata’s artwork is as great as ever and continues to be consistent. Light’s personality changes come across very well, but I will admit that I miss the intensity of the old Light. I also miss Ryuk; the apple-loving Shinigami is nowhere to be found in Give-and-Take. However, the other god of death, Rem, does show up and has a fairly important role at this point in the story. It does feel like a personality shift may have happened with this character as well—and I’m not sure I completely buy it yet. I know that Light’s charismatic, but he seems to have an awful lot of control over others. Given that, it should be interesting to see how his plan to regain a Death Note works out, especially as he is currently unaware of what that plan is since he has no memories of being Kira, though he is becoming more and more convinced of that possibility. L doesn’t seem nearly as strange to me as he used to. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve gotten used to him, or if he simply isn’t acting as outrageously as he once was. He still has some rather odd, and amusing, moments though.

While I didn’t enjoy Give-and-Take as much as some of the earlier books, the series is making a strong comeback. The book did start out slow, but then I was never that interested in the “evil corporation” as Kira. Fortunately, Give-and-Take explores the individuals that make up the Yotsuba group, revealing just how freaked out they are about the whole situation—sure, they’re willing to go along while it’s advantageous for them, but they also realize how dangerous it is and they’re frightened for they’re lives. This more personal approach is what gets the series back on track. And once the third Kira has been identified, the pacing is put back into full speed and the tension skyrockets as the chase begins. Of course, it all manages to end in a cliff-hanger, so I suppose that it would do to pick up the seventh book, Zero, sooner rather than later. I’m looking forward to starting the last half of the series.

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