With remaking anime into live-action films becoming a trend, it seems that Netflix is looking to continue it with their adaptation of Death Note. We were treated to a teaser trailer showing off the new reimagined cast and all the thrills that are sure to come. What was most exciting about the teaser is the shadowy figure seen at the end — none other than the fan-favorite character Ryuk.
If you've never seen #DeathNote then you're unaware of the creepy hilarity that this character delivers throughout the entire #anime and manga. His design is so disturbing that even people who've never heard of Death Note will more than likely have seen a picture of Ryuk in a meme (or their nightmares).
I personally was never even interested in watching the anime until seeing a picture of Ryuk from the Japanese live-action adaptation.
In the series, he is always present, following the actions of Light Yagami and allowing him to discover new ways of using the Death Note.
With the movie drawing closer, I think it would be helpful to give a brief summary of Ryuk and his character in order to help some of those unfamiliar with Death Note to understand what this haunting God of Death will do for the live-action film. Here's everything you #needtoknow about Ryuk!
Willem Dafoe Is Set To Star As Ryuk In The Film
One of the best and creepiest actors to take on the role of Ryuk will be the legendary Willem Dafoe, whose role as the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man haunted my dreams as a child. While he will only be providing the voice for the CGI character, it is still perfect casting.
Dafoe's voice has the perfect mix of creepy undertones, and his spine-shivering growl is exactly what Ryuk sounded like in the English dub of the film (voiced by Brian Drummond).
Ryuk Is A Shinigami
Shinigami, or God of Death, are beings who live in the Shinigami realm that use their own Death Notes to kill off humans. How it works is they use their Death Notes to end a human's life prematurely in order to extend their own lives. Each human has a certain number of years they will live, so if a Shinigami kills someone five years prior to their natural death, those five years will be added to the Shinigami's lifespan.
While Shinigami are not immortal, they have evolved past the point of eating and sleeping, as their anatomy is completely different then a human. They all live in the Shinigami realm which, according to Ryuk, is incredibly boring and causes some more adventurous Shinigami (like Ryuk) to travel to the human world for excitement.
Ryuk Is The One Who Writes Instructions In The Death Note
A Death Note is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used for evil if put into the wrong hands (as seen in the entire anime and manga). If you're ignorant to the rules of the Death Note, then you can end up making a handful of mistakes. Ryuk knew that his fun would be short lived if no human knew how to use the notebook.
He wrote specific instructions for the Death Note in the first pages in order to allow a human to properly use it. This is just an example of how far Ryuk will go to amuse himself. He also wrote the instructions in English, thinking that it was the most popular language in the human world. This is why the instructions are in English no matter what dub of the anime you watch.
He's Addicted To Human Apples Like Drugs
You know how people can become addicted to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs? That's exactly the kind of affinity Ryuk has for apples from the human world. He claims the apples from the Shinigami world are squishy and taste like sand, so he uses any excuse he can to go to the human world for apples. He will also go through withdrawals if he goes too long without them.
His fondness for apples is so strong that Light uses them to motivate him or get him to do his bidding. Light uses this vulnerability quite often in the series. It'll be fun to see how it's implemented into the Netflix movie.
Ryuk Has No Loyalties
Don't get this character twisted. While he follows Light everywhere he goes, he's not his companion. Ryuk's main purpose in the entire story of Death Note is for pure entertainment. He finds humans interesting and wants to follow Light around to cure his own boredom.
While he does occasionally help Light out from time to time, it is only to either receive apples or out of curiosity as to what Light will do next. He even tells Light on multiple occasions how little he cares of whether Light lives, dies, becomes a God or just stays a regular man — it's all about the entertainment value to him. Sometimes he even withholds information about the Death Note in order to watch Light struggle.
Ryuk Is Not Significant In The Shinigami World
In the Shinigami world there is a ranking system in which The King of Death rules over all. While the exact specifics of the rankings are never stated, we do know that Ryuk holds no significance in the world. In fact, some Shinigami even consider Ryuk to be quite odd by their standards.
The only noticeable difference between Ryuk and other Shinigami is his obvious disdain for the boredom within this realm. While others are used to it and find ways to occupy their time, Ryuk actively looks for ways to add some spice to his life, like throwing a Death Note into the human world so he can leave the realm of the dead.
So, while we see Ryuk as this extremely important character and possibly even one of the most powerful Shinigami in the anime and manga, the truth is he's no different then any other Shinigami.
Death Note is set to be streamed on Netflix on August 25th, 2017. Are you guys excited to see a live-action Ryuk? Tell me what you think in the comments!