Oh my Gosh, I was right I wanted so badly to be proven wrong by Netflix’s adaptation of Death Note being awful but I was right. Although I was wrong about L was actually the best thing about this garbage heap apart from lights dad and I really hope being a part of this does not hurt either actor’s career because it’s not their fault the script was terrible and had them both do stupid things. However since light and L being destroyed has already been discussed at length, I want to talk about misa and how she was turned in mia and as a result her whole character was just dismantled piece by piece. I know some people do prefer Mia to Misa but I’m not one of them and this is why also spoilers warning because I’m not holding back I’ll reveal everything about Mia’s character since their isn’t much to unpack.
Ok first of all I understand why Mia couldn’t be a pop idol and why they changed Misa’s name both were things strictly a part of Japanese culture. However the set up for Mia’s character was awful from the get go she’s framed in the first scene as smoking a cigarette apart of a crowd of peppy happy fellow cheerleaders, yet clearly distanced from them giving her an outsider vibe. That’s the problem cheerleaders popular people have likeable or at least social personalities. Mia is more like the weird, loner emo chick who thinks angst makes her look cool. She even has “a normal people scare me” poster on the inside of her locker. I don’t get how she’s even popular considering she goes around telling Light how she’s happy that one of the jocks got decapitated while around other people. A girl who does that shows disrespect for not only social norms and a callous disregard for human life but also disrespect for the very social order she apparently is a part of. None of which are traits that would make one popular. Now maybe if they showed Mia acting sweet towards the other popular kids and telling Light this in private it would have made sense. However, Mia doesn’t act like a girl who’s particularly social you never see her interacting with a large group of friend’s or anything. The movie establishes her as both an outsider and popular which any outsider will tell you does not happen. The frustrating part is cheerleader Mia could have worked if they kept Misa’s original personality. Misa Misa was a bubbly, social person she did have charm and could act like someone endearing despite her insanity. This was a person who could be popular even in an American setting as cute pretty girls are still loved. Mia and what they wanted to do with her character still could have worked however due to bad writing, disrespect for Misa’s character and a poor understanding of the themes of Death Note as applied directly to her made Mia Sutton the second worst Netflix Death Note character.
Which brings me to my next point the role of Mia unlike Misa makes no sense in the context of the story. Mia is what she presents as since the beginning of the story a shallow, bitter, rude person who’s obsessed with killing people. Her disturbing disregard for human life and wish to have seen the bully die, and her later urging of Light to kill his own dad because he disrespected Kira makes it not surprising she’d try and betray Light for the death note or has been double crossing him in the final act. Misa on the other hand was much like light the last person you’d suspect. She was not only a part of what was considered normal society but a successful member of it. As a Japanese idol she was the very essence of what japan thought an ideal should be on the surface. When L had evidence against her no one still ever believed someone like Misa could be the second Kira. While the idea of female purity and how it’s linked to idol culture is something American audiences wouldn’t get. Cheerleader Mia as a sweet cheerful seemingly kind girl could have still presented a message about how looks are deceiving and yeah the ditzy cheerleader could be smarter and more dangerous then she appears. The Mia presented here is the first person you’d question and would incriminate herself by telling you to F off. Misa seems like a cute innocent ditzy girl but is a dangerous murder/cult follower. Mia in contrast is a shady person, who ends the movie as confirming she is the bad guy. Therefore the whole looks are deceiving theme of death note is completely lost here.
Both Mia and Misa are evil girls are their choices lead to their own destruction however that’s where the similarities end. Misa is a bad person but she’s also a very tragic figure Misa Misa’s backstory involves her whole family being murdered. She tells Light about how their murder was allowed to walk free and how her and her parents never got justice. It’s the only time Misa breaks from her cheerful personality and looks broken. She then tells Light all she’s wanted was to find Kira to help him, because he was the one who ended her parent’s killer. In the Animie introduction itself Misa is shown looking sad and standing soak and wet Light reaches a hand out to her. This shows beneath the smiles Misa is a broken woman who latches onto Light/Kira out of a desire to fill the empty void in her life. And her character although not always well written symbolizes the moral issue of Death Note and the failures of the justice system. As well as highlights how a desire to be loved change the world often leads people to join extremist causes. Mia has no backstory, Light tells her about the Death Note and she joins him, pushing him to kill criminals. It’s revealed in the end she wants the Death Note for herself while her reason is never stated. I suspect it has to do with power since apart from trying to stop one bully, who she admits she never liked. Mia doesn’t seem to care about Justice in fact she calls those they defend ” Sheep” suggesting contempt for everyone around her. The fact she wants to have sex while writing in the Death Note suggests a power kink as well. Does Mia love Light? Who knows she seems to go back and forth between being willing to put his life in danger and making sad puppy faces. We just know she wants to become Kira. While this could of been done well, if the writers actually took Misa’s obvious need for attention based on how she treats her fans and need to be loved by Light both cannon traits of the character. It may of worked better to have Mia sell out Light for what she believes is the love of everyone in the world as Kira working in a cautionary message about going to extreme lengths for self-validation and love but no instead we got Mia wants power.
Shallow vs Deep
Which is my biggest problem with the character Mia comes across as more shallow then Misa who was a character strictly created just to add a girl to the cast of Death Note and who was supposed to be dumb and cute by the authors own admission. Even the almost similar traits Misa beats Mia, for instance in the movie when L gets on TV, daring Light to kill him. Mia tries to get Light to kill L for challenging Kira. While she tries to pass it off as fear and later does the same with Lights dad. It comes across like an ego issue, Mia can’t stand Kira being dismissed called a coward. While Misa shows no problem going further then Light by openly killing security guards which Lights berates her for, her response is ” there are casualties in war” which highlights a bigger picture idea. Mia is all about herself as Kira grabbing the notebook the minute Light turns his back. While Misa although selfish is about the cause as a whole. This is another problem with Mia despite being an apathdic character who is introduced not giving a dam; she takes up Misa’s cause which is one of passion. Yes that’s right Misa Misa’s choices actions always came from a place of deep feeling. Misa not only loved Kira or at least wanted his approval desperately. She also believed strongly in Lights cause. Misa gave up her life span so she could help him see criminal’s names not once but twice. She never revealed Kira’s name even under torture and even begged Rem to erase her memories so she wouldn’t betray Light. She later chides kira’s followers as she watches them abandon takeing down Near for light to go after money. Misa yells about how Money won’t change the world won’t bring happiness or love. These actions reveal someone who although delusional believes so strongly in a cause she’s willing to die for it and for Light. Just watch these scenes and try and tell me Mia has more depth then Misa.
It annoys me when some fans praise Mia for not being useless while proclaiming Misa useless becuse lets be honest. Misa was the most useful partner Light had, everyone else he relied on kept messing things up. She actually made a deal for the shiagami eyes which allowed her to see the names of people. Light wasn’t willing to make the deal himself she might of been a pawn but at least Misa had some pull in the relationship becuse Light wanted something from her. Light saw her as useless but yet he constantly needed Misa for his plans to work. What did Light turner need from Mia besides sex? Nothing he didn’t have to include her in his plans, Turner didn’t have to put up with her abuse. In fact Mia made things more difficult for Light overall support for Kira died becuse she went trigger happy offing FBI Agents and this allowed L to find them becuse she went aginst Lights orders when he wanted to lay low for a while. Also her murder of Watiri kept Light from getting L’s name so good job Mia you bimbo. Yeah Turner messed plenty of things on his own but this girl should of been cut out of the plan long ago. Misa constantly gets yelled at for being a follower not a leader but she’s at least a follower who’s smart enough to trust Light to get them out of the situation, instead of trying to micromanage things behind the scenes unlike Mia who just made everything worse.
Mia, Misa’s dismanteled counterpart is what happens when everything deep and interesting about Misa has been stripped away. To try and make her some edgy chick. It makes me really sad that a lot of girls love Mia becuse they claim she was smart enough to trick Light when in reality. Its Light’s lack of foresight that allows her to get away with it not any skill on her part. Mia’s attitude and the fact she couldn’t be trusted were so obvious Light turner was just to horny to see it. Mia could never hope to fill the shoes of Misa Misa, even with a better actress, she’s just too underwhelming, her goals are too simple and she lack’s Misa’s moral complexity. Even though a lot of people dislike Misa i feel she’ll be remembered far more then her American counterpart.