I've never before read a story with such unsympathetic main characters. I almost quit reading at ch30 and then again at ch53, but a promise is a promise, so I stuck around hoping it would get better. But not really. Well, it did get better after L's departure because Near's a lot less creepy and the action was definitely smoother, but, like, it's page after page of infodump with very little feeling. A lot of the L/Near thoughts on
I cared more about Rem and Yagami senior than I ever did about Light or either of the opposing boy geniuses. I can see the "meta" reasoning behind Light's personality, but that's the problem; it's meta. The creators took a concept and built a character based on it, but the concept only works well in meta from an outsider POV but not when you try to get inside the mind of a person; you need more than meta-reasons to explain his motivation, otherwise it rings false and the character falls flat -- which Light does, at least he does for me. L is just repulsive in how creepy and infantile he is. I seriously cringed every time he showed up on the page and tried to just read what he said and flip on past. o.O;;
Completely unrealistic real-world setups -- I mean, it's a tale about the supernatural so obviously it won't be all 100% realistic, but "supernatural" doesn't mean *everything* is supernatural. L builds a private skyscraper in Tokyo over a period significantly less than a year? Please. No amount of money can buy that in this day and age. And that's just one example. There's a lot I'm willing to overlook in fiction, but the minute you start breaking real-world rules while trying to use real-world logic and claiming your story is set in the real world, you fail as a storyteller.
Female characters defined purely through stereotype -- I realise this is to be expected, to some extent, in a manga like this, but Misa's portrayal was downright offensive. I liked Weddie's brief appearance, but of course she was always squeezed into a high-tech hacker girl outfit and doing kickass hacker-girl things with zero personal motivation given. For about three seconds I thought Mello was a girl, but no.
The only thing I liked about it was the concept of a Death Note. The plot is incredibly clever, but I felt zero connection with any of the characters, so in the end, I give it a thumbs down. SORRY EVERYBODY. >.>