I found some interesting articles on the internet that imply that Death Note may actually be a rip-off. So I thought I'll write about it and here we go!
What is Death Note?
Death Note is one of the most popular and successful anime of 2006. It was so popular that it got several movies, live action TV show, etc. Even today there are several people who love Death Note.
Death Note revolves around a young man who gets his hands on a 'death note' which can kill the people who's name is written on it.
The Miraculous Notebook
But did you know this concept already exists in another manga? In 1973, a 24 page one shot called The Miraculous Notebook or Fushigi na Techou was released which had the same theme as Death Note. That is, this manga also had a book that can kill the people who's name is written on it.
In early 2006 a Japanese blog published an article over this topic, however it was taken down due to some reasons. However the Chinese version of the article still exists.
The summary of the one-shot is as follows:
45-year-old Yamada is an ordinary person. His coworkers always make fun of him, only Old Miss treats him differently.
One day, one of Yamada's coworkers sees him donating 1,000 yen to a shrine. After Old Miss hears about the story, she goes to drink with Yamada and asks him about shrine.
Yamada tells Old Miss the while passing by the shrine one day after drinking, he found a notebook lying beside a dead person. Many names were written in the notebook, the last of which belonged to the dead person (the guy's death was reported on TV a day later). Yamada says he realized the potential of the notebook after testing it on a dog (the potential being, whoever's name is written on the notebook dies).
Yamada tells Old Miss that after that incident, he didn't have to worry about being poor, so he always donated money to the shrine. After hearing the story, Old Miss borrows the notebook from Yamada.
Soon afterwards, Yamada's coworkers begin to die one after another. Yamada realizes what's going on, and how dangerous the notebook is when it falls into the wrong hands.
Yamada takes the notebook back and uses it to kill Old Miss. Because Yamada feels bad for all the death he had caused, he decides to end his own life by writing his name in the notebook. He then burns the notebook so no one else will be able to use it again. Later Yamada is killed in an accident (around the same time the notebook is destroyed).
Did the author know?
So, the question is, did the author know about this manga? Could Death Note actually be a rip-off?
According to the author of Death Note, Tsugumi Ohba, Death Note wasn't inspired from anything. He never credited any previous work. When asked in an interview about his inspiration Ohba said, "There was nothing in particular. I started thinking of some ideas and while these ideas were still floating in the back of my mind, I got more ideas to fill up detailed plots like the rules and the god of death and so on."
So clearly, according to Ohba's claims, he didn't know about 'the miraculous notebook.'
A masterpiece nonetheless
Whether Death Note is a rip-off or not, it is still true that Ohba's story was a masterpiece. He introduced insanely amazing characters and kept us on the edge of our seats through out the entire anime.
At this point, it becomes meaningless to say Death Note is a rip-off just because it has a similar theme to another manga. Death Note is clearly a masterpiece that was well written, with an amazing plot and astounding plot twists.
It is quite common for people to get the same ideas and thoughts as another person. So it is possible that this all a big coincidence, or is it? I'll leave the conclusion to you~