I am taking a detour from my normal posts and going to discuss two pop culture icons. Dexter is a modern TV series on showtime that details the life of a serial killer that also happens to be a forensic scientist. Don't be alarmed, yes there is gore but it is part black comedy so it is hard to take the constant stream of murders very seriously. Death Note is an Manga and Anime that has a similar theme, Light Yagami is a young kid that just happens to come into contact with a 'Death Notebook'. If the owner writes down a name in the notebook, that person dies. Essentially, Dexter and Light are two 'good' characters that are following through with their own style of vigilante justice. Dexter is a smart scientist that was trained by his detective foster parent to murder other murderers. Light is an intelligent teenager that is using his magical notebook to rid the world of evil-doers.
Both series will make you question corporal punishment, the law and the death penalty. Should some third-party have the authority to kill another? Is there any justification for murder? Light is a little bit more liberal as an executioner. He has killed FBI agents and innocent women. His goal is to lay down justice but also not get caught. Dexter on the other hand, really questions his so called 'code'. In the series, he says he doesn't kill children and kills other murderers. He too doesn't want to get caught but has questioned killing the innocent in order to save his own skin. In both cases, the justification for wanting to continue playing this game at all costs is, does one mistaken murder of an innocent trump the overall mission. That mission is to rid the world/community of evil-doers. In both series, you encounter scenarios where that question gets asked.
Similarities between Death Note and Dexter
- Light and Dexter are both super intelligent and quality males. I guess this is to offset their evil character. If you are a serial killer/vigilante, I guess it makes sense for your 'good' character to be extremely good.
- Light and Dexter sort of have girl-friends to make them seem normal. And as expected, the girl-friends are clueless and don't know what is going on when Light or Dexter aren't around.
- Both Light and Dexter have a strong devotion to family. Light really cares for his father and Dexter is out to protect his sister.
Differences between Death Note and Dexter
- Death Note has a high degree of fantasy, Anime fiction. The whole concept of a Death Note stretches reality just a bit. As far as we know, Light has killed hundreds or thousands of so called villains and has not been caught. Dexter has only killed in the 40s, 50s.
- Light will kill innocent people to achieve his goal. Dexter has really tried not to break his 'code' that he learned from his father.
- Light is a teenager, Dexter is an adult. Light is amazingly intelligent but the writers still give us a sense of young idealism.