Friday, April 26, 2013

Russian teen commits suicide, parents demand Putin bans Death Note manga

The death of a young person is never easy to endure, or even understand, but a group of Russian parents are stepping beyond the baily pale of grief following the suicide of a 15-year-old girl.

Japan Times reports that the unnamed teen left a suicide note near four volumes of the popular Death Note manga before throwing herself out of a window of her family's 13th-floor apartment.

There's no indication that Death Note actually factored into the girl's decision to commit suicide based on early reports - but since police found the Death Note manga in her apartment, a group of concerned parents assume there's a link between the two.

It's worth noting here that blaming a comic book found in the girl's apartment for her decision to kill herself makes about as much sense as blaming the girl's mouthwash, panties, and choice of facial tissue... but hey, Death Note has the word "Death" in the title.  So clearly, it's bad.

How bad, you might wonder?  Bad enough that a group of concerned parents have written a letter to Vladimir Putin demanding that he bans the manga series because it's "harmful to children".

Interestingly, Death Note was only translated into Russian last year and has been available globally in English, Japanese, and Chinese without any major ill-effects. Although school officials in the PRC once famously banned the manga in 2005 when students began making their own Death Notes and writing the names of acquaintances in them.

Admittedly, the concept of Death Note - a book taken from a god of death that has the ability to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages - is a grim subject to base an excellent story around... but if you remove the supernatural trappings a Death Note is nothing more than a tool that can kill people like a gun, knife, or Vladimir Putin.