Mello (Death Note)

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Mihael Keehl
Death Note character
MellobyObata.png
Mello, as drawn by Takeshi Obata
First appearance Death Note manga chapter 59
Created by Tsugumi Ohba
Takeshi Obata
Voiced by Japanese
Nozomu Sasaki[1]
English
David Hurwitz[2]
Profile
Aliases Mello

Mihael Keehl (Japanese: ミハエル・ケール Hepburn: Mihaeru Kēru?), universally referred to by the mononym Mello (メロ Mero?), is a fictional character in the manga and anime series Death Note. Mello is introduced alongside Near as a potential substitute for L. Both Mello and Near were raised at Wammy's House, an orphanage established by Watari, L's assistant. However, Mello refuses to work with Near to capture a murderer dubbed "Kira". Over the course of Death Note, he joins the mafia, obtains a Death Note, causes the death of some people, and dies before can expose Kira's identity. Mello has also appeared in other media from the series, including video games, and light novels.

The character of Mello was created, along with Near, to break the endless cycle of confrontations between the detective L and Light Yagami, the persona behind Kira. Both Mello and Near were designed after L, and were initially envisioned as twins and sons of L. Ultimately, this idea was dropped, with their designs switched compared to the original concept. He is voiced in the Japanese series by Nozomu Sasaki and in the English adaptation by David Hurwitz. Merchandise has been created for the character, including plush dolls and action figures. Mello has received mixed commentary by manga and anime publications.

Appearances[edit]

In Death Note[edit]

Mello, whose real name is Mihael Keehl, grows up in Wammy's House, an orphanage for intellectually gifted children, and is one of two potential successors to L—the best detective in the world. When L dies, it is proposed to him to work with Near, the other potential successor, to find L's murderer, a criminal dubbed "Kira". Mello rejects the proposal, citing their bad relationship and different personalities. Then, he leaves the orphanage and joins the Mafia.[3] Aware of a Death Note—a book that allows anyone to murder individuals just by knowing their faces and names—in Japanese police's possession, Mello abducts its director; Kira, however, kills the director.[4] Then, Mello kidnaps Sayu Yagami, the daughter of the police's vice-director, Soichiro Yagami;[3] Mello succeeds in obtaining the Death Note this time.[5]

Light Yagami, the secret identity of Kira, discovers the location of Mello's hideout.[6] An indirect result of this is that Mello meets the Shinigami Sidoh, the original owner of Mello's Death Note. Sidoh reveals to him—in exchange for some of Mello's chocolate—that there are two extra fake rules (in addition to a number of real ones specified to each Death Note's owner). Mello begins to theorize that whoever Kira is, he probably used these spurious rules to fool the Japanese police into thinking he is innocent.[7] However, Light launches a SWAT team lead by Soichiro to raid on the hideout. In order to escape, Mello detonates remote-controlled explosives, after one of his Mafia accomplices fatally wounds Soichiro. Mello is left with a scar, and the failure of his Mafia scheme leaves his real name in Light's hands.[8]

Mello invades SPK—an organization that aims to catch Kira—to retrieve a photograph of himself from Near. Before he leaves SPK, Mello tells Near about Sidoh and the fake rules,[9] which sharpens Near's suspicions on Light.[10] Mello then enlists the help of his friend Matt to spy on Misa Amane, suspecting she is helping Kira.[11] After learning that Light is Kira and Near is going to attempt to apprehend him, Mello and Matt kidnap Kiyomi Takada, Kira's spokesperson. Matt pretends to attack Takada, and Mello offers to take her to safety. Takada agrees but then realizes his identity.[12] Mello forces her to strip naked to get rid of any tracking devices. However, he allows Takada to cover herself with a blanket, and she uses a hidden piece of Death Note paper to kill Mello, as Light had told her his name.[13]

In other media[edit]

Aside from the initial anime and manga, Mello appears in other media based on Death Note. He serves as the narrator of Nisio Isin's light novel Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases.[14] He is featured in two video games; in the Death Note-based Death Note: L o Tsugu Mono,[15] he can serve as Kira or Kira's accomplice,[16] and in the Weekly Shōnen Jump-based fighting game Jump Ultimate Stars, he is a support character.[17] Mello also appears in the animated special Death Note: Relight 2: L's Successors, which retells the second half of the anime. On it, his story is almost the same, the only exception is that Mello's involvement with the mafia is removed.[18]

Creation and conception[edit]

Tsugumi Ohba, Death Note's writer, introduced Near and Mello together because he felt L individually could not defeat Kira and that introducing only one character would produce a "repeat" of the struggle between Light and L. Ohba asked Takeshi Obata, artist of the series, to make both characters look "a little 'L-ish.'" Ohba "wavered" in their ages and considered making the characters the sons of L.[19] As Ohba wanted to "include a little L" in Near and Mello, Obata tried to keep "the weirdness and the panda eyes". Since L is an important character, Obata felt that he had made Near and Mello look too much like L. When first heard about Near and Mello, Obata assumed that they would join as a team and work together, so he envisioned the two as twins, describing the character designs as "a major struggle". At first, he tried to depict Mello as having "more energy than Near".[20] However, the designs for the characters became switched at the design phase; the final Mello had Near's design and vice-versa. When Obata created the designs, his editor wrote the wrong names accompanying them; when Obata received approval for the designs, it was too late to point out that the labels were incorrect. Initially, for him, Mello was "more calm and feminine", but later he felt that "it's better" that the switch occurred.[21]

Ohba did not initially develop Mello and Near's personalities as he wanted to "reveal" them through their actions.[19] He added the chocolate trait because he believed that chocolate "represented all sweets" and that the trait would fit with the story arc in the United States.[22] Obata designed Mello's clothing based on clothes he enjoys drawing, which includes "shiny" leather.[20] At first, Mello's hair was cut straight across; Obata preferred Mello's hair becoming messy, which occurred later in the story. Obata became grateful when Ohba added the scar since he felt that he could draw Mello "looking cooler".[20] Ohba added Mello's scar to the thumbnails as the trait would give him "more depth";[23] he further added Mello looks "more intense" and "more human" with the scar.[24] After drawing Mello's updated appearance with the scar, Obata "finally [felt that he could draw Mello] really well". Obata said that the fact that Ohba and Obata did not regularly meet in person was best, because if Obata had told Ohba about his satisfaction with Mello's new appearance, Ohba might not have killed Mello.[24] However, Obata felt sad when Mello died in the story shortly afterwards.[20]

Ohba considered having Mello be the character who ultimately defeats Light. According to Ohba, after the disappearance of Sidoh, the writer "struggled" with Mello's role. Ohba's idea of Mello ultimately defeating Light and Near being "the best" was strong in his mind, but once Mello had "learned too much about the Death Note" he had to kill him to "sustain the intensity of the story". As a result, Ohba did not give Mello a "large role" at the conclusion of Death Note and instead had Mello negatively affect Light "indirectly". Ohba gave Mello a "very plain" death, depicted in only one panel; he felt that if Mello had perished "dramatically" it would reveal the truth behind his death.[25]

Reception[edit]

Merchandise based on his character has been released, including action figures and plush dolls.[26][27][28] Moreover, several publications for manga and anime have commented on Mello's character. Referring to Mello and Near's introduction, Julie Rosato of Mania.com said the "focus on both makes for a clash of attitudes and rough transitions".[29] However, as they were introduced in the anime, IGN's Tom S. Pepirium criticized how it is not explained "what Mello is doing and how it differs from Near's story."[30] Writing for Active Anime, Holly Ellingwood stated they "truly represent – Light’s newest and greatest enemies",[2] while Briana Lawrence from Anime News Network said both could be "much better characters" if they were treated as individuals instead of "different halves of L".[31] Erin Finnegan from Pop Culture Shock praised Death Note: The Last Name for the absence of Mello and Near.[32]

Anime News Network's Casey Brienza stressed Mello's presence as a narrator in the light novel "makes things a bit too breathless in places and a bit too self-conscious in others".[14] A. E. Sparrow from IGN praised how the introduction of Mello, "a man of action", "spiced things up a bit" as he brought "actually" action to the series.[33][34][35] Manga News said Mello is "an interesting character" and stated he is "unpredictable" and also praised the action he brings.[36][37] As such, they criticized his almost total absence in volume 10 as he is "one of the few to bring some new blood to the series".[38] After Mello's death, Pepirium wrote "Mello deserved more."[39] On other hand, Mello is "an unhinged character that only offers unpredictability", according to Chris Beveridge of Mania.com.[40] Animeland and Manga News presented opposite opinions if whether or not Mello is charismatic character, with the former declaring he does not replace L as he lacks charisma.[41][42]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sakura-Con to Host Actor Nozomu Sasaki, Lain's ABe". Anime News Network. September 3, 2009. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Ellingwood, Holly (December 30, 2008). "Death Note Vol. 8 Deluxe Edition (Advance Review)". Active Anime. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2006). "Chapter 61". Death Note, Volume 7. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0628-9. 
  4. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2006). "Chapter 60". Death Note, Volume 7. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0628-9. 
  5. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2006). "Chapter 64". Death Note, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0629-6. 
  6. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2006). "Chapter 68". Death Note, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0629-6. 
  7. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2006). "Chapter 69". Death Note, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0629-6. 
  8. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 74". Death Note, Volume 9. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0630-2. 
  9. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 77". Death Note, Volume 9. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0630-2. 
  10. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 78". Death Note, Volume 9. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0630-2. 
  11. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 83". Death Note, Volume 10. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1155-9. 
  12. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 98". Death Note, Volume 11. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1178-8. 
  13. ^ Ohba, Tsugumi; Obata, Takeshi (2007). "Chapter 99". Death Note, Volume 12. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1327-0. 
  14. ^ a b Brienza, Casey (August 13, 2008). "Death Note: Another Note, the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "DEATH NOTE Lを継ぐ者" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ Konami (July 12, 2007). Death Note: L o Tsugu Mono (in Japanese). Nintendo DS. Nintendo. 
  17. ^ "Jump Ultimate Star - Death Note" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  18. ^ Chapman, Hoep (January 30, 2010). "Death Note Relight DVD 2 - L's Successor". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "How to Think". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 64.
  20. ^ a b c d "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 134.
  21. ^ "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 135.
  22. ^ "How to Think". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 66.
  23. ^ "How to Think". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 69.
  24. ^ a b Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 179.
  25. ^ "How to Think". Death Note 13: How to Read. Viz Media. 68.
  26. ^ "Death Note: Mello Plush Finger Puppet". Amazon. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Death Note Mini Bobble Head Plastic 3 Inch Figure- Mello". Amazon. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  28. ^ "ねんどろいどぷち デスノート Case File #02 (ノンスケールABS&PVC塗装済み可動フィギュア) BOX" (in Japanese). Amazon. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ Rosato, Julie (August 23, 2006). "Death Note Vol. #07". Mania.com. Demand Media. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  30. ^ Pepirium, Tom S. (April 28, 2008). "Death Note: "Abduction" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  31. ^ Lawrence, Briana (August 5, 2007). "Death Note GN 12". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  32. ^ Finnegan, Erin (June 23, 2007). "Manga Recon @ the Movies: Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name". Pop Culture Shock. Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ Sparrow, A. E. (October 26, 2007). "Death Note: Reader's Guide & Anime Trailer". IGN. p. 4. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  34. ^ Sparrow, A. E. (December 1, 2006). "Death Note Vol. 8 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  35. ^ Sparrow, A. E. (April 9, 2007). "Death Note Vol. 10 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Death note Vol.9 critique" (in Frenc). Manga News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Death note Vol.12 critique" (in French). Manga News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Death note Vol.11 critique" (in French). Manga News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  39. ^ Pepirium, Tom S. (June 27, 2008). "Death Note: "Malice" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  40. ^ Beveridge, Chris (January 30, 2009). "Death Note Vol. #8 (also w/Limited Edition)". Mania.com. Demand Media. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  41. ^ Penedo, Nicolas. "Death Note • Black Edition Vol.5 - La BD - Critiques". Animeland (in French). Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Death note Vol.10 critique" (in French). Manga News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.