Author: M/Translator: Takami Nieda
Based on the manga by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Having completed his life’s greatest work–the rooting out and stopping of the mass murderer, Kira–detective L (considered by many to be the world’s greatest detective) ought to be flushed with victory. Yet the L FBI agent Suruga finds at the Kira Investigation Headquarters is quite otherwise: pensive, directionless. Understandable, considering that his victory cost him his mentor, his best friend, and his own life–for the fact is that to thwart Kira’s plans, L wrote his own name in the Death Note and only has a few weeks left. When Maki, the ten-year-old daughter of L’s acquaintance, the immunologist Nikaido, comes bursting into headquarters seeking help and shelter from the bio-terrorists who have killed her father and stolen a dangerous virus, L’s interest in life is renewed, however as he begins pouring his remaining days into protecting this girl and solving one last case–and perhaps saving the world in the process.
L, Change the World is really a unique reading experience in that it’s essentially licensed fanfiction. The story is set in the world of the live action movies, and is actually a novelization of a third movie that was made, spanning the time between Kira’s defeat and L’s death. So if you’ve only read the manga (and you need to read the manga), this novel will have an alternate-universe sort of feel. It does have to scramble a bit at the beginning to explain everything that’s happened to get to the point of the current story, but overall, I think the plot develops nicely and the writing style is easy to read. Obviously, the character of L is the biggest point of the story, and as a strong L fan, I am fairly impressed. His brilliance and quirkiness are true to form (as well as his sweets obsession), yet the story builds on the known and develops the character beyond who he is in the original stories–in a completely credible way. In this story, L is in a situation where his own death is immanent and the majority of his support structures have been removed entirely. So you get to see him getting involved in all kinds of ways he might never have otherwise, and wrestling with emotions and humanity in a way that is both completely foreign and utterly natural to the great detective. I would recommend L, Change the World to die-hard Death Note fans everywhere–and particularly to L fans–but I do think that it would be a bit much (in the confusing line) for other readers. So go read the manga, watch the movies, become a fan (you know you want to), and then read this book.