It’s ok for your kids to watch “Death Note”
On Friday, October 26th at 10pm, Death Note will premiere on YTV in Canada.
If you haven’t seen it, please read my review because I won’t be repeating the synopsis. Safe to say, it’s a rather twisted and violent homage to youthful morbidity. But more important than that, it is a new kind of morality play that challenges the viewer with moral ambiguity. And that’s a good thing.
Death Note has been banned in China because it’s “harmful to children’s psychological development” and promotes death fantasies. Apparently, a lot of kids in China were making “Death Note” notebooks and writing people’s names in them. People they didn’t like.
As disturbing as that sounds, I can’t help but be reminded of the pop culture fears of my childhood: Heavy Metal and video games. Listening to Black Sabbath was supposed to lead to homicide and devil worship. Playing Space Invaders was going to turn my generation into mindless killers. Come on. We have all learned, I hope, that individual responsibility trumps pop culture. We are not, especially young people, so gullible and naive to be completely brainwashed by a song or a story or a game.
And don’t forget that kids are kids. Death fantasies are a part of growing up, as morbid as that may sound. And instead of banning this stuff, why not focus on whether or not these kids actually have a problem? Or here’s a crazy idea for all you parents who worry about Death Note: watch the show. Read the manga. Then, sit down with your kids and talk about it.
Death Note forces you to deal with your own feelings about right and wrong, without telling you what those should be. It allows kids – and adults – to figure out for themselves what justice really means. And isn’t that exactly what all great morality plays are supposed to do?