New human protagonist takes center stage in supernatural thriller set in a world without Kira.

Death Note has gone through a lot of different incarnations on its way to becoming one of the most successful Japanese entertainment franchises of the modern era. The anime story of precocious homicidal youths, their death god enablers, and police investigators became an international hit, inspiring live-action TV dramas and films, including an American remake, and even a stage musical.

Now Death Note is coming full circle and returning to its original format, with a brand-new manga installment, its first in 12 years. And no, this isn’t a Dragon Ball Super-like situation where they’ve found a new artist to produce a facsimile of the established visual style, as Death Note’s original creators, artist Takeshi Obata and writer Tsugumi Ohba, are once again filling those roles.

However, someone who’s not making a comeback is Kira, the series’ original human protagonist. The new manga installment is being promoted with the premise “The Death Note reappears in a world where Kira no longer exists,” and so instead Shinigami Ryuk will be serving Minoru Tanaka, a boy who for three years running has tested as the most intelligent junior high school student in Japan.

Story details other than those are scarce, but we’re guessing that Ryuk’s return isn’t just so that he can show off his cover of “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen.” Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long to find out what sort of schemes Minoru is planning, since the new Death Note installment will be appearing as a double-length one-shot story, with its 87 pages part of the March issue of monthly manga anthology Jump Square, which goes on sale February 4.

Sources: Famitsu via Otakomu, Jump Square
Top image: Jump Square
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