First impressions are lasting, or so people like to say.  That isn’t always the case though.  Maybe you are the hardcore “team whoever” all the way or maybe you like to change your mind and switch sides every so often. In all actuality, the characters portrayed through movies, games, shows, and books aren’t always as black and white as we might assume, and oftentimes our opinions of them will change throughout the experience and occasionally long after it is over.

Take for example my recent watching of the anime Death Note. The beginning of the story slants you in the favor of Light and his shinigami Ryuk.  His new method of justice sounds like a good plan: discretely eliminate criminals as a means of creating a new order of peace throughout the world.  You cringe as the great detective, L, comes onto the case and nearly break a sweat as L and Light craftily out-wit each other at every turn knowing no bounds.  As more characters emerge some thoughts instantly come to mind about them: Misa is cute, Matsuda is an idiot, Near and Mello are just trying to copy L, Takada is a worthless waste of air…the list goes on.  However, I have come to find that my impressions of some characters changed as I watched the show and have even more so now that I have finished and let everything sink in.  (*warning: potential spoilers ahead*)

I won’t lie, I was in total support of Light and Misa and the entire Kira gig they had going on for a good while.  The ingenious twists between Light and L left me stunned at times and yet deep down I knew that I really wanted Light to be caught for sure.  When fate finally catches up with L, I am sure many people felt that the introduction of Near and Mello was ridiculous; but they are L’s successors even despite the hatred between them.  It was only as everything began to finally unravel that I realized what side I was really cheering for and that my true favorite characters of the series had significant, although much smaller, parts in the entire ordeal.

Since I alluded to it already, the character that really stood out for me in this series was one of L’s successors: Mello (a.k.a. Mihael Keehl).  Sure, he only came onto the scene for the last ten or so episodes but the stylish, arrogant, chocolate-addicted, mafia boss really had more going on then was let on.  At first he was just a replacement for L, but with his hatred of Near he swiftly went off in his own direction to stop Kira by his own means.  Now, instead of it being the Japanese police versus Kira, it became the Japanese Police versus Near versus Mello – all in a three way race to catch and destroy Kira.  His ingenious plans soon came to pass and while they seemed to only cause more trouble, without them many future actions would not have been able to take place. Where L and Near lurked in the shadows watching and waiting, Mello went in guns blazing with bold statements and actions.  His efforts, although initially meant only for his own success to conquer Near and defeat Kira first, truly aided in the completion of the investigation for all parties involved.  His closest friend, Matt, stayed by his side and aided in their final plan to unveil Kira, even though it would ultimately cost them their lives in the end.

While this change of opinion may not happen in every show, game, or whatever when it does perhaps it stands to tell us something.  First impressions make lasting impressions, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way.  🙂