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The Simpsons Altered Many Rules In Their Death Note Parody

"Death Note" is an anime based on a manga of the same name. It follows Kira Yagami, a brooding young man who finds a book that permits him to change the world around him with magical murder. He is guided and caged by a demon who'd just as easily watch him burn as succeed. All versions of the story (except, perhaps, for the whitewashed Netflix adaptation ... and maybe the musical, too) are broadly considered masterpieces in their respective fields of media, as they combine aspects of a psychological thriller with that of the occult and wrap the whole thing in a dense cloud of mystery. It's gory, it's sinister, and it's often sexual, so, naturally, "The Simpsons" parodied it. 

For context, "The Simpsons" is an American animated sitcom that refuses to end. It's been going on so long that Gen Z probably thinks it wears skinny jeans. Broadly, it follows the titular Simpsons, a family of four who spends most of their time making each other miserable but, like, in a funny way. With that in mind, it's not really a natural pairing for "Death Note," is it? For the two to work in tandem, a few things would have to change. And they did — "The Simpsons" made a couple of core changes to the magical rules of The Death Note, or as the parody names it, The Death Tome. 

A simple change for the sake of comedy

Without diving TOO deep into the lore of "Death Note," it's important to know that the titular notebook works on a strict set of unwavering rules. We'll only cover the most relevant ones here. First, "the human whose name is written in this note shall die." Third (yes, we skipped the second one), "if the cause of death is written within the next 40 seconds of writing the person's name, it will happen." Fourth, "if the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack." Again, there are more, but these are the important ones for today. 

These are not the rules that "The Simpsons" used. In its "Death Note" parody, the following commandments are the rules that are used. Some of them are obvious changes, others more subtle. First, "Any person whose name is written in this DEATH TOME will meet their death ... and be DEAD." Second, "you must specify how the victim will die, and you may NOT kill the same way twice." Notice the switch from "human" to "person?" Lisa Simpson, the daughter of the family and the proxy for Kira Yagami, uses that subtle change to assassinate her demon when she realizes that maybe the evil floating creature doesn't have her best interests at heart. 

The second rule, which "The Simpsons" made up whole cloth, is basically the core of the parody. There's a montage in which an increasingly tired Lisa comes up with new and bizarre ways to murder the board of directors for a company set of fast tracking global warming. It gets a little graphic, but then again, one dude gets eaten by a ravenous lion jumping out of a toilet, so it strikes a good balance.