The Macs of “Death Note”

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Published by Shueisha in Japan (and by Viz Media in the US) “Death Note” is a thriller manga about a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook granting the ability to kill anyone, knowing his/her name and face.


Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, “Death Note” was first serialized in Shueisha’s japanese manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006 and then the 108 chapters were collected into 12 tankōbon volumes between May 2004 and October 2006.


Why are you reading about a manga on Stories of Apple? Because the illustrator, Obata, has chosen to prominently feature a number of Apple products throughout the [comic] book. Many of the characters, among which are the genius detectives known as “L” and “N”, use Macintosh computers* in their research, monitoring and communication work.

Here’s a list of Apple products appearing in “Death Note”, chapter by chapter, with technical notes and (edited and enhanced) pictures.

Chapter 1: Boredom

At the end of chapter 1 we see “L” for the first time. He is sitting on the floor of an unfurnished room, in front of a Power Macintosh G4 and a matching Apple Studio/Cinema Display, probably a 20″ or 23″, plus one of the Harman/Kardon-designed round external Apple Pro Speakers.


Chapter 2: L

During an Interpol meeting, the mysterious emissary Watari shows up and “L” speaks, the first of many times, through a PowerBook G4 Titanium laptop. It’s probably one of the last Titanium models, before the switch to the aluminium design, which occurred in 2003, the year Death Note began its serialization.


Chapter 3: Family

We see that the PowerMac G4 at L’s home is a MDD, Mirrored Drive Doors, introduced in August 2002, or a FW 800, from january 2003, which share the same design.


In Chapter 3 we also see the PowerBook again and, in a closeup, the artists adds two small but significant details: the white border around the top case, typical of the Titanium models and absent in the aluminium ones, and the speaker grille on the side of the keyboard.


Chapter 4: Electric current

We see once again the PowerMac G4 in L’s apartment. In one of the panels it has the unmistakable front design of the Mirrored Drive Doors/FW 800 with the speaker on the top and four ventilation holes in the lower part.


Chapter 6: Control

This time we see the mouse L is using with the PowerMac G4, which is an Apple Pro Mouse or Apple Mouse. It’s a wired mouse (so no 2003 Wireless Mouse) but it-s not clear if it’s the original 2000 black transparent model or the later, more opaque, white 2002 one.
In the same image we can also see the front of the Apple Pro Speakers. The last time we will see this setup will be in Chapter 59: Zero.


Chapter 10: Junction

The laptop is still the Titanium PowerBook G4 but, puzzingly, the artist chose to show an application window which has the look of a Windows program. From the rest of the interface, though, we see the laptop is running a Japanese version of Mac OS 9.


Chapter 38: Strike

The new headquarters are in a building designed by L, where “the computer equipment inside is also something that you don’t see everyday”. There, the monitors look a lot like aluminium Cinema Displays from June 2004 onwards. They are used with Apple Keyboards, the white plastic ones sold between 2003 and 2007, possibly wireless ones since no cable is shown.


Chapter 62: The decision

In the headquarters of the second L, under the table, there’s hardware which looks a lot like a mix of multiple Apple’s Xserve G5s from January 2005, and some of the 14-drive module Xserve RAIDs, which were introduced in 2004. The two vents on the front of the Xserve are also present in the first Intel-powered models, but they were introduced in November 2006, when the serialization of Death Note was already completed, so it’s almost certain it’s Xserve G5s.


Chapter 89: Focal Point and Chapter 90: Advance Notice

Near’s headquarters also have a combination of Xserve G5s and Xserve RAIDs.



* Note: while “good guys” use mostly Macs, the evil protagonist of the manga, when alone, uses nondescript PC/Windows laptops.

All Death Note pictures are copyright by the authors and Shueisha.

Wednesday 21 January 2015, 3:00 pm
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1 comment

1 Comment »

  1. Funny, L strikes me as more of a Linux guy.

    Comment by Near — November 24, 2016 @ 6:36 pm

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