"Smart People Are Ones Who Solve Problems of the Future" (Death Note: Special Oneshot)

This post is about a Manga Panel That Compels Me to Think. [NO SPOILERS For "Death Note" Story Here]

Death Note's Special One-shot of 2020 does many clever things with the series world. But the panel that makes me think about it the most has nothing to do with the story. It's simply a panel about a kid's outlook on intelligence and what the word Smart really means. (Smart and Intelligent aren't interchangeable.)

Minoru Tanaka at this point is a middle school kid who got the top score for three years in the intelligence test. He wasn't told the results and his actual school grades were extremely bad.


Hearing about his score, Ryuk chooses Minoru to be the next person he gives the Death Note to. He confronts the boy and tells him he chose him since he's the smartest one around. Minoru couldn't believe it...

What he says in this scene is something I never thought about before reading it, and I couldn't stop thinking about it since I did:

"No. No way, first place in three years running?"

"...! I think you might be talking about an intelligence test. It's like some test of subconscious ability or something, but they don't tell us the scores. Man, I really hate that school."

"Even if I got good scores on that test... All it means is that I watch a lot of shows about IQ diagnostics and brain age, and that I waste all my time playing IQ test apps on my phone."

"The actually smart people are solving problems that pertain to the future. Any teacher who says scoring high in IQ test will make you smart is an idiot!"

As a person, I always thought of myself in the intelligent side of society, but I always felt that it doesn't matter. I never solve anyone's problem, and I don't have the motivation to do most of the things people will praise and call someone smart for.

The fact that this character says this, (and I think it's a reflection of the author's opinion too,) makes me happy and sad at the same time.

As hard as it is to admit it, I totally agree with this: You're not smart even if you're intelligent! Unless you're doing something to benefit the world, you shouldn't deserve praise for the abilities you're born with.

I love the fact that Minoru Tanaka, the protagonist of Death Note Special Oneshot is the one who says this, and despite having terrible grades, he manages to thrust the whole world into chaos! Because doing that felt like a riddle to him, which is what IQ is all about.

So, what do you think?

  • Image is taken from Death Note's Special Oneshot (2020.) Page 13.
  • This post is co-published on Read.cash.
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