Characters: Death Note Main Characters

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    Light Yagami/Kira 

Light Yagami/Kira

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (JP), Brad Swaile (EN)

The protagonist of the series, but not the hero.

Light is a genius student who has one major flaw... namely, one hell of a God complex. He has a hatred of the criminal element of the world, but for most of his life took a "what can you do" approach. Then, he finds the Death Note dropped by the Shinigami (Death God) Ryuk and his world is turned upside down. He begins using the notebook to kill criminals, believing that in doing so, he could scare the world into becoming more law-abiding.

He finds an equal and opponent in L, the elusive international detective hired to find and prove the identity of the mysterious string of murders.
Tropes associated with Light:
  • The Ace: On the surface, Light is a handsome, athletic genius with countless friends and incredible skill at getting women. His status as this mixed with his own childishness is one of the main fuels for his god complex.
  • Adaptational Heroism/Adaptational Villainy: The films actually manage to make both apply to him. In the films, his Start of Darkness involves the law being held on a Broken Pedestal, whereas the anime/manga version is a perfectionist who couldn't deal with the fact that he accidentally killed someone (thus, he reasons that it was okay, since the dude was an asshole, and that it's okay to kill criminals). On the same coin, in the films, he ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope much sooner than he did in the anime and manga, to the extent that he tried to kill his own father to prevent the Death Note from being analyzed.
    • In the TV drama, he deeply cares about his family (even if he has a strained relationship with his father), actually returns Misa's feelings and was able to save people using the Death Note (getting rid of Jerk Jock Souta and saving his father from his mother's murderer).
  • Adult Fear: In "The Last Name", he seemed genuinely concerned about Sayu provoking the second Kira.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The ending of the anime when he is defeated in the end.
    • Certainly just after Matsuda shoots him. The way he calls out to Takada and Misa, asking what he should do now that he's lost and going to die, is pretty heartwrenching.
    • Also in the manga. He lays bloody on the ground, all allies having died or abandoned him, knowing that his death is coming. As his heart gives out, Light repeats over and over how he doesn't want to die, like a helpless child. Pitiable for some.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After being shot, Light asks Ryuk to write the names of his last enemies into his Death Note. Instead, Ryuk writes Light's own name into the book and shows it to him.
  • All According to Plan: Almost everything that happens to him goes "exactly as planned".
  • Allergic to Routine: Now if Light could have found some other intellectually engaging hobby the entire plot probably would not have happened.
  • Aloof Big Brother: To Sayu.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Light's name is very unusual (as in what were his parents smoking [1]) and this is Lampshaded by several characters. It is read as Light but spelled with the kanji Tsuki or moon making it a Meaningful Name since the kanji has four strokes and Light Is Not Good. Also a bilingual pun on "moon light". Light or Raito is also a bilingual pun on Right or Righteous and Write as in writing.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Before picking up the Death Note.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Light has no interest in women, finding them useless and annoying, and only uses the assumption of sexuality to cover his criminal activities. Word of God is that Light is probably not capable of loving a woman. However, this might very well make him ambiguously asexual if anything.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: A deliberately Invoked Trope during Light's Memory Gambit. Yotsuba!Light is warm, open, kind and a Nice Guy because he doesn't remember he is Kira.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Light is a mass murderer, and his father Soichiro is the police chief trying to stop him. However, Soichiro wants to believe his son is innocent.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: He feels a profound sense of boredom, if not outright loss, when he finally defeats L, and considers L's successor Near as not worthy of taking up the mantle.
    • Initially however, Light is ecstatic to have beaten him, literally dancing on his grave in the compilation special. It's only after a several year timeskip of basically having the world in his pocket that he starts missing him.
  • Anti-Hero: A Pay Evil unto Evil type until he dives over the edge and becomes a straight up Villain Protagonist.
  • Anti-Villain: A Well-Intentioned Extremist. Again until he jumps off the slippery slope.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Kira", the Engrish pronunciation of "killer," also means "sparkling," "shining," or "glitter" in Japanese. Additionally, Kira is also a Russian name by origin and is the feminine version of Cyrus. Cyrus comes from the Greek Κυρος (Kyros) which is the Greek version of the Persian name Kürush which may mean "far sighted" or "young" — this, in and of itself, may refer to Light's grand, far-reaching dreams and his own youth and inexperience. Where it gets more interesting, however is that the name is also sometimes associated with the Greek κυριος (kyrios), meaning "lord." Indeed, the Greek word Kyrios means "lord, Lord, and Master" and in religious usage designates God, appearing 740 times in the New Testament referring to Jesus. Consider, though, that one of the songs in the Death Note soundtrack is titled "Kyrie" which is a transliteration of Greek κύριε (kyrie) and a vocative case of κύριος (kyrios). An interesting connection, even if it wasn't done intentionally.
  • Asexuality: He uses love and sexuality as a cover for his schemes, and Word of God confirms that Light is probably incapable of love.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Light" is written with the kanji for "moon" and "Yagami" is written with the kanji for "night" and "god".
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: This is his forte; quite a lot of his scenes involve a running inner dialogue where the audience hears him analyzing the scene around him, taking stock of his circumstances and options, and planning his next move. And of course after his genius plans come to fruition, he has to go over them in detail so that the audience has a chance to figure out what exactly just happened.
  • Ax-Crazy: In the very first episode, he locks himself into his darkened bedroom, pulls out his Death Note, opens it up to reveal all the pages and pages of names of the people he's killed, smiles down at it, and then breaks out into creepy, creepy laughter. That being said, he's very good at hiding it.
  • Badass: Light has an undeniable aura of audacity and sophistication about him.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Light has done this pose on occasion when chatting with L.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's the top ranked student in the country and his room is filled with books - though he's only interested in one book in particular.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He always looks professional, you've got to give him that.
  • Bad Boss: Light rules his circle of supporters, namely Misa, Ryuk, Takada, and Mikami, with an iron fist. And although he's always polite, accommodating, and courteous to the Japanese Anti-Kira Taskforce, there's really no other way to take plotting their deaths. However... in retrospect, Ryuk was free to do whatever the hell he pleased... and that includes penciling in Light's own name into the Death Note.
    • Misa quite possibly gets the shortest end of the stick. She devoted herself to serving him, gave up half her lifespan for him twice, and endured brutal torture to protect him, and Light still sees her as nothing but a pawn to be manipulated and then disposed of.
    • Justified in that Light is extremely security-conscious, and his success rests largely on the people in his command, both as Kira and the second L, not screwing up. Due to this, he kills or tries to kill almost everyone who helps him throughout the series.
  • Bad Dreams: During his first week of judgments in the manga; he also has a psychotic Nightmare Sequence in Relight 2.
  • Bastardly Speech: Gives one after L's death.
    • Following his father's death, when Matsuda is questioning whether capturing Kira is right or wrong, Light says that history will favor the victor; Kira will be seen as a criminal if he's caught, and will be seen as justice if he prevails. While this is meant to come across as a suggestion that the investigation team will be vindicated if they are successful, it also represents Light's belief that the world will soon come to accept him.
  • Batman Gambit: He's a master at manipulation. His entire period of amnesia and what followed is a clear example.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Compare Light with the notebook and Light without the notebook: Without the notebook- an honorable, highly empathic, idealistic teen who believes in the inherent goodness of man. With the notebook- a manipulative, vindictive, lying, murderer with a God complex who believes Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Berserk Button: Don't suggest what Kira is doing is wrong...
  • Big Bad: As the main Villain Protagonist and, later, Shadow Dictator.
  • Big Bad Friend: Although he kept up the act of being a friend, or at least a decent co-worker, to L, Matsuda, and the rest of the taskforce, he is the mass murderer they've all been searching for. And although he would rather not kill off the taskforce, preferring instead to manipulate and deceive them, he will not hesitate to get rid of them if he feels that he needs to.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Initially, (in fact, in the manga, this is part of his initial justification for using the Death Note) but ends up being one of the many things forgotten by the Dark Side. Poor, poor Sayu.
  • Big Man on Campus: He is very popular and has lots of friends. This is shown more in the manga than in the anime.
  • Big Sleep: In the anime, at least. When he was killed by Ryuk in front of the police in the manga, he Dies Wide Open.
  • Bishōnen: Very much so. Though his features do coarsen a bit as the series progresses as he becomes older and nastier.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the 1st live-action movie, he was reading this German book.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He acts polite, understanding, and caring towards the people around him, but in reality he's a Manipulative Bastard with a God complex. And boy, when that facade drops, can he get nasty.
  • Black and White Insanity: Falls into this more and more as the series progresses. Justified: People matching the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder use black and white thinking, called splitting, as a central defense mechanism; they separate mental concepts into good versus evil, say, as an attempt to stabilize the sense of self in order to preserve self-esteem. Throughout the series Light certainly does show clear indications of perceiving himself as purely upright or admirable and others who do not conform to his will or values as purely wicked or contemptible.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: He begins his first week as Kira by killing so many people that Ryuk, a god of death, is surprised.
  • A Boy and His X: A Boy And His Shinigami. Ryuk became Light's main ally after he discovered the Death Note.
  • Brainy Brunette: A brown-haired Evil Genius.
  • Break the Haughty: This happens a bit every time he gets Out-Gambitted by his opponents, although he's fairly good at bouncing back. And, of course, his death counts as a truly epic example.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: In the first volume of the manga it seems people think he's this-Light's teacher throws chalk in his face for spacing out in class. Justified in that he's worried that he just killed someone. Also normal high school subjects probably aren't that interesting to a super-genius who already knows the subject material.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: This is what he wears when he doesn't have a white or black shirt on.
  • Broken Ace: There are hints in the series that Light wasn't entirely stable even before finding the Death Note; being so effortlessly perfect while surrounded by a world that he considered "rotten" while having little ability to fix it left him bored and seemingly depressed. And of course, as the series progresses he uses his near-inhuman charm to cover up his true nature.
  • Broken Messiah: Invoked word for word in the first opening credits ("Doushite? Boku wa kowareta meshia?"). Light was the first victim of the Death Note - he was very nice and very pure before realizing the notebook was real - then it was only a matter of how fast and how far he would fall.
  • Brown Eyes: His character inverts the symbolism; stable, trustworthy, and normal Light is not.
  • Brutal Honesty: Although it's a contrast to his usual approach to those around him, Light uses this tactic with Misa, most notably when he is just getting to know her and is sounding her out for motivation, understanding of the situation, and so forth.
  • The Butcher: His kill-count earns him the name "Kira."
  • Byronic Hero: A villainous one. Physically attractive, cunning and intelligent, arrogant with a major God complex, prone to quiet brooding when things don't go his way, very passionate about his ideals, and absolutely convinced that what he is doing is right.
    • He could also be a deconstruction of one: While people in and out of the series think he's misunderstood, he is genuinely evil and dangerous. Of course the "misunderstood" conception changes at the end, at least in-universe.
  • The Caligula: Kira makes for a dangerously insane ruler. The God of the New World does not like it when people question the way he does things. Dissenters are likely to find their names in a certain little black book.
  • Calling Card: "L do you know..."
  • Can't Take Criticism: Suggesting what Kira is doing is wrong is a very good way to end up dead; in fact, Light's immediate reaction to the fake L badmouthing him on national television was to kill him on the spot. He also walks out on a family meeting where his father is calling Kira nothing but a murderer and later he looks visibly upset when the taskforce begins to (rightly) doubt his innocence again.
    • Played with as well, when Light decides to "support" his father's decision to pursue Kira despite the imminent danger this puts him in.
    Light: If anything happens to you...I will personally put an end to Kira.
    • And once again, when L introduces himself to Light. Light claims to have nothing but respect and admiration for someone who'd try so hard to hunt Kira down.
  • Catch Phrase: Say it with me everybody...
  • Celibate Hero: Or rather, Celibate Villain. Zigzagged: In the manga he dates as many as four women at a time to deflect suspicion, and has romantic trysts with Takada after becoming the second L in order to manipulate her into doing his bidding. However, he doesn't really care about romance or sex, so played straight in that regard.
  • The Charmer: When all else fails he switches to this tactic of manipulation in order to get someone's name or to save himself.
  • The Chessmaster: He manipulates and uses pretty much everyone he comes into contact with.
  • Chick Magnet: Let's count all of the names that pop up in the manga: Emi and Shiho (whom he mentions to Ryuk), Yuri (Spaceland Girl) and Mayu (whom Misa cites as competition), Kiyomi Takada (who begins her role in the story as the girl who asked him out in college) and of course Misa Amane herself. During college he had about five or six girlfriends.
    • Plus Shiori, his girlfriend from the films.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Light betrays, has betrayed, or plans on betraying effectively everyone who was ever close in any way to him.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: He's done this on occasion: [2]
  • High School Sweethearts: He's College Sweethearts with Kiyomi.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be red. Also wears a lot of black and white.
  • The Conscience: Memoryless!Light is ironically this for L.
  • Consummate Liar: Even L calls him out on it.
    L: "Tell me, Light. From the moment you were born, has there actually been a point in your life where you've actually told the truth?"
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment/Karmic Transformation: The first Relight special hints that after he dies, he becomes a shinigami.
  • Complexity Addiction: Something of a defining trait, as established early after he figures out that he needs to hide the Death Note.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He found the Death Note completely at random (if Ryuk is to be believed) and is heavily hinted to have been doomed from the beginning.
  • Cradling Your Kill: His rival, L, dies in his arms in "Silence".
  • Cram School: He attends one despite being WAY too smart to need it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Played with. When he starts acting as Kira, he rigs his desk to burst into flame if anyone tries to find the Death Note, has three different ways to tell if someone has been in his room - even before gaining the notebook - and is shown spending hours going over his past actions and future plans, as well as what's been reported in the news. He looks for mistakes and possible holes, and memorizes what has been reported, so L can't trip him up. Later, due to his raging god complex and his sense of complete superiority, he starts to view himself as invincible, and stops being so well-prepared. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Crazy Sane/Mask of Sanity: Light can't cope with the knowledge that he has killed two people. In order to justify his first (accidental) murders of criminals he has to convince himself that they needed to be killed. But then why stop there? So in order to make things right by his own moral code he has to kill more because it's the responsible thing to do, that he'll use this power for "good" —no matter the price. He convinces himself that the real crime would be NOT to use the Death Note to change the world. The God complex swiftly follows, no doubt accelerated by the need to look interesting to Ryuk and L's very public challenging of him. All of this happens with alarming speed, and it explains why Light during the Memory Gambit has such a different personality and is horrified by the possibility that he could be Kira. Without the memory of having killed and what affect it had on his mind, he's a completely different person.
  • Crucified Hero Shot:
    • The cover art of Volume 12 of the manga.
    • Also during the second ending theme song's animation, although if you blink you'll miss it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Though he doesn't think of it as a curse.
  • Cute and Psycho: Horror has never been so adorable. Many people have remarked that he looks a bit like Zac Efron.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In the manga Light seems to have this reaction around Ryuk who Light refers to as "cute."
    Light: Ryuk, you're so silly!
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Light manages to avoid most major villain pitfalls... until the end.
  • Dark Messiah: "The Savior, the Messenger from Hell."
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: While he starts out killing criminals with the idea of it bringing about justice, he starts to slip once the authorities get on his case, as he begins to kill innocent people for merely getting in his way. It gets worse after the Time Skip, where he has fully bought into the idea of being the God of his own new world, and he toys with the idea of also beginning to target people just for being lazy.
  • Darker and Edgier: When compared to Taro Kagami, the Kira from the pilot chapter. Though even he decided to keep his Death Note...
    • Ye gods, Light in the live-action movies! It makes his anime counterpart seem downright cuddly in comparison.
  • Death Glare: Don't screw up his plans. Just... don't.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Rem forces him, under direct threat of death, to adopt this mindset towards Misa in regards to his plans during the events that lead up to the Yotsuba arc.
    • As a more genuine example, this is Light's attitude towards his little sister, Sayu. In the manga, though, he considers murdering her at one point, and lets her live only because he opts to gamble with her life—and their father's life—in order to find and kill Mello and get the second Death Note back.
  • Deep Cover Agent: He acts as his own Manchurian Agent.
  • Desk Jockey: We rarely see him leave his desk during either the Yotsuba arc or the second arc, his "investigation" with Kiyomi Takada aside. He inherits this from L.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: In the first episode, but then he finds one.
    • After L's death in the anime, he seems to be quite listless and empty, Evil Gloating aside; he only really perks up when Mello and Near come onto the playing field.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Over time, his plans start to become more about becoming a god and less about making the world a better place. However, post-timeskip he once again begins to prominently talk about his "utopia", and thinks that eventually everyone will accept him as the ultimate arbiter of justice.
  • Determinator: "Childish and hates to lose."
    • Light as Kira is (from his perspective) on a holy crusade against Evil. He's never going to quit his mission for the sake of his friends, family, or "true love." Sorry Misa and sorry fangirls.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: For the audience, and, later, Aizawa, Mogi and Ide.
  • Devoted to You: Misa is hopelessly obsessed with him and will do anything for him. She'd rather die than live any kind of life without him.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?/Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Light manipulates Rem into killing L and Watari in order to save Misa. Because this deliberately lengthened Misa's life - a big no-no for Gods of Death - it ensures that Rem will die as well.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • He sentences a purse-snatcher to death.
    • He considers eventually killing people for laziness. "Eventually" being the operative word; when his acolyte Teru Mikami openly declares slackers fair game, Light thinks he's gone too far.
    • The utterly heinous crime of getting in his way.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He can remain perfectly calm and go about his daily routine while knowing full well that people are dying by his hand. The anime even shows a sequence, early on, that places scenes of criminals dying, sometimes violently, in-between scenes of Light walking to school, playing a game at gym, and opening a bag of chips at lunch.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: He and Misa set several of these up throughout the course of the series, sometimes on national TV, sometimes on private laptops.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: He refuses to accept a handgun for self-defense in the middle of a car chase. He has some less than pleasant experiences with guns throughout the series.
  • Domestic Abuser: Light takes his anger out on, controls, demeans, deceives, and initially plans to kill Misa. For various reasons, he doesn't go with it, and eventually chooses to erase her memories instead.
  • Don't Tell Papa: "You told my father that I'm a suspect?!"
  • Doom Magnet: Complete with Lampshade Hanging.
  • Doomed Protagonist: Kind of a given when you've picked up an Artifact of Death; there's also more Foreshadowing when Ryuk informs Light that humans who come into contact with Shinigami have nothing but misfortune. Light assures him "I'll show you the break in that pattern.". The "How To Read" caption on that picture says that "Light suffered a pathetic end. This line reveals his arrogance."
  • Double Consciousness/Secret Identity Identity: "Don't panic. I have to act like Soichiro Yagami's son Light would act." Also made obvious with the fracturing image symbolism in the second opening credits. Also Lampshaded by L when he asks Light how, as a detective, he would go about trapping Kira:
    L: Absolutely amazing. The thing is I've asked countless investigators that same question and it took them minutes to even come up with an answer. But you, Light. You immediately thought of a scenario where Kira was talking directly to the investigators. I'm impressed. You'll make a fine detective someday.
  • Drunk with Power: While it's clear that Light always was a bit of a troubled man, had he not picked up the Death Note he would have most likely gone on to live a good clean life simply due to the hold society has on him. After getting the Death Note and being forced to deal with the fact that he unwittingly murdered two people so easily, his darker ambitions take over and drive him towards his God complex.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Seen in episode 1 before finding his "purpose." Also in episode 26 when trying to adjust to a world without L in it.
  • The Dutiful Son: Probably the most horrible deconstruction of this. Light is more or less what is considered to be the perfect Japanese son, and the majority of his god complex seems to be linked to the praise he receives for it.
  • Dying Alone: Although in the anime, there is an appearance from what appears to be L's ghost. This may or may not be a Dying Dream.
  • Dying as Yourself: Possibly at the end.
  • Dynamic Character: He changes so much over the course of the series you almost have to have the Characterization Tags: pre-note!Light, early-note!Light, cackling-villainy!Light, Tennis-with-L!Light, Yotsuba!Light, post-L!Light, rapidly-losing-grip-on-remaining-sanity!Light, Shinigami!Light, etc.
  • Engineered Heroism: Well, he's perfectly happy soaking up lots of praise from the Taskforce for working to stop Kira... while being Kira.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When the taskforce begins to turn against him in Season 2, it's clear he sees it as a betrayal. Also the end of the series, "Matsuda, I thought you understood!" The manga finishes it up with Mikami screaming "YOU'RE NOT GOD!!"
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely cares about his family (not that that would ever stop him from going through with his plans.) Although "he's likely not capable of loving a woman," he does "possess love for his family and for humanity as a whole." Averted in the second live-action film, wherein he writes Soichiro's name in the Death Note, shocking even Misa to the point of tears. And just when we thought it couldn't get worse, it did: he dies in Soichiro's arms (who, by the way, survives here), begging him to believe that he acted as Kira to put justice, which Soichiro had taught him about since childhood, into effect. However, despite what he does in the live-action films, he was horrified to see his sister risk her life against the second Kira. In the original manga at least, the author does note that "Light would never kill his own father so [the author] worked hard to make the death an accident."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: 1) He is initially dismayed when Mikami's killing spree extends even to relatively innocent people guilty of such minor acts as being lazy, but later thinks to himself only that it's "too early to be making statements like that," suggesting he may agree. Explicit in the manga when he actually toys with this very idea early on in the story. 2) Light set up matters in the second arc so that he couldn't kill his little sister without incriminating himself. Though that's after he considers actually doing it. 3) In the anime, Light looks quite irritated when a second Kira appears and uses his name to kill innocent newscasters and police officers for "no good reason." 4) Light looks quite shocked when Misa offers to kill her friend who helped her distribute the Kira tapes. 5) It's also possible that he felt pain when his father died and Light would never intentionally kill his own father. 6) In general Light is disgusted by any crime (unless of course he's the one doing it; in which case it's perfectly justified.)
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In the first episode of Death Note, a surprising number of men seem to be checking out Light. At each crossing he stops at, someone is giving him a sideways glance. And then there's his slightly too agog teacher when he listens to Light translate some lines to Japanese.
    • Let's see, you've got like every background character in episode 1, Ryuk follows him around everywhere, Raye Penber The Stalker, L and his weird obsession and surveillance cameras, Misa showing up on his door step, Takada directly asking him out, Matsuda and Mikami the Fanboys, and Near with his creepy smiles and he keeps calling and hanging up... Kira is a wanted man.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Two examples:
    • When Soichiro tries to arrest Mello rather than using the Death Note on him as Light expected, despite the fact that Mello had kidnapped and traumatized Sayu, Light is unable to comprehend why.
    • After Mello kidnaps Takada and is killed in subsequent events. Light, whose first loyalty is to his own survival, cannot conceive that someone like Mello would sacrifice himself for any reason and walks right into the trap convinced that Mello was just an idiot. Although not exactly hero and villain, this is clearly a case of selfishness cannot comprehend loyalty. It's worth noting that with other characters that are more clearly good guys, Light tends to have better success predicting their behavior - Near is an example - but, perhaps because Mello demonstrates a kindred disregard for human life early on, Light simply assumes that the other is driven by greed rather than revenge.
  • Evil Counterpart: To L.
  • Evil Gloating: He practically dances on L's grave while bragging about his victory over the Great Detective. Also, when he writes Naomi Misora's name in the Death Note, he openly admits to her that he's Kira just to see the look on her face before she dies.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: His bedroom always seems to be dark, save for the light from his computer and television; as you can imagine, he has several eerie Face Framed in Shadow moments.
  • Evil Laugh: He's got some evil chuckles spread out throughout the series and the one in the Grand Finale is legendary.
    • Not to mention the one he comes out with after L pwns him for the second time, at his university entrance ceremony.
  • Evil Overlooker: A few times, such as during the opening and closing themes, symbolically and literally overseeing his New World.
  • Evil Plan: Motive Decay changes it from the well-intentioned 'eliminate crime' to the insane 'become god of a new world'.
  • Evil Redhead: Light's hair is stylistically colored blood-red when he's feeling particularly vile, along with his eyes, but even when that's not the case, his hair is closer to auburn than brown and the reddest in the cast.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: As part of his Memory Gambit, Light makes sure that L reads the rules of the Death Note so that his own fake rules, in the context of the other real rules, come across as legitimate.
  • Expressive Hair: Whenever he freaks out, his normally tidily combed hair becomes wild and messy.
  • The Extremist Was Right: During his Motive Rant, Light says that wars have stopped and crime has dropped 70% because of Kira. He succeeded in scaring the shit out of most of the world as an anonymous "God" and walking deterrent.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Defied; at the very end, he goes out whining, cursing, and pathetically begging for mercy.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: He's pretty good-looking for an evil mastermind.
  • Fallen Hero: He was a Nice Guy and Amateur Sleuth before becoming a Serial Killer.
  • False Friend: A mutual example with L. Their supposed friendship is completely insincere on both sides.
    • Also to Matsuda. Aizawa, Ide, and Mogi never seemed closer to Light than "co-worker," but Matsuda considered him a friend, probably because the two had Soichiro, who was Light's father and Matsuda's mentor, in common.
      • His relationship with Matsuda is probably closer then any of the other detectives since he believes that Matsuda is a Black Shirt who believes in Kira's justice. He was wrong. And of course, Light didn't hesitate to have Matsuda killed along with the other detectives.
  • Family Values Villain: Light doesn't approve of any crime. He is also a firm believer of that credo "respect the police and pressure them into murdering your enemies."
  • Fatal Flaw: His bloated ego and god complex.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He puts up a cool, polite, and friendly act, but in reality, he looks down on everyone around him.
    • A particular example is when he's just written Misora's name in the Death Note. The moment she realizes that he is Kira and the Death Note takes effect, he asks her what the matter is and casually turns his phone back on, telling Naomi she can speak to his father now.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Light tends to panic when things don't go according to plan.
  • Fluffy Tamer: "You shinigami are so cute!" (Parodied in this doujinshi.)
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sayu and Light, though subverted once Light becomes Kira.
  • Freak Out: One of the most famous in all of anime.
    • He has several smaller ones whenever it looks like his plans might fail.
  • Freudian Excuse: In the TV drama, his mother dies when he is young, and due to his father's absence he is forced to act as Sayu's parental figure.
  • Friendless Background: Though he's very popular Light doesn't seem to be particularly close to anyone. This varies somewhat from the manga to the anime. In the manga, Light is seen casually joking while walking home with friends, while in the anime, Light is shown pointedly declining an invitation to hang out and eating lunch alone. He had many friends though, and he was able to get a large group together when going out looking for the Second Kira.
  • Gadget Watches: Light hides a piece of his Death Note inside his watch, meaning he can kill anyone at any time as long as he's not being watched carefully.
  • Gambit Roulette: A number of his plans rely more on luck and coincidence than genuine planning; so much that this trope was once called the Yagami Gambit. The most famous of his plans being, of course, is the Memory Gambit.
  • Genius Bruiser: While he's not a fighter, Light is also the best Athlete at his school, along with the best student.
  • Giggling Villain: He does this a lot, especially in his inner monologues. And when he does, your guts will squirm.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Such pretty red eyes.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: He and L do this throughout the first arc.
  • A God Am I: After picking up the Death Note, Light sets out to become the God of the New World.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Before he jumps off the deep end and when he gives up his memories and becomes truly innocent, his eyes are wide. When he is acting as Kira, contemplating and executing murder plots and plans for godhood, his eyes are noticeably narrower.
  • Gut Feeling: Among other situations, if Light hadn't felt this about Naomi Misora, the story would have had a very different ending.
  • Hannibal Lecture/Motive Rant: Light delivers one after he's cornered and exposed as Kira. As noted below, Near responds with a Kirk Summation.
  • Harmful to Minors: Death Note: Keep Out of Reach of Anyone.
  • Hates Being Touched: Misa never catches on.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ryuk. Also fakes being this with both L and Matsuda whenever he benefits from it. It's mutual with L, but Matsuda genuinely believes them to be best friends.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It arguably takes only one chapter for him to become a monster (i.e. killing Lind L. Taylor).
    • And he keeps on going from there. As the crusader against criminals, Light becomes the worst of them all.
  • Heel-Face Brainwashing: Which he pulls on himself via supernatural notebook.
  • Heel-Face Turn: See above. It doesn't last, though.
  • Helpless Good Side: Yotsuba!Light is a Technical Pacifist who believes he's not even capable of killing and won't even accept a handgun for self-defense.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Turned Up to Eleven when he becomes the new L. It's one thing to string along a group of detectives for years while pretending to chase the mass-murderer you secretly are. It's another thing to get a paycheck for it.
  • Holier Than Thou: He thinks himself superior to everyone else around him.
  • Hollywood Hacking: How he is shown getting information from various sources over the course of the series.
  • Holy Halo: On the manga cover art. Also gets Holy Backlight in the first episode when he first declares he's going to become the God of the New World.
  • Horror Struck: There's a brief but powerful image at the very beginning of the manga when Light is coming to grips with the power of the Death Note. He's shown huddled in bed, wrapped in a blanket, with this stricken look on his face.
  • Hot Guys Are Bastards: Undoubtedly.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Light being Light, he proceeds more intelligently than most.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am Justice!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Light clings to this belief throughout the series. See the spoiler in Motive Rant for more.
  • I Have Many Names: Light Yagami, Kira (the Saviour, the Messenger from Hell, etc.), Light Asahi, "Mr. A an office worker", L (number two), God.
  • I Meant to Do That: Whenever L one-ups or humiliates him Light quickly recovers with "This is perfect. It's all according to plan." [3]
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: "Ryuuzaki, let me see it!"
  • Ignore the Fanservice: In one scene in the second arc, Light walks into a room containing both Misa Amane dressed in lacy knee-highs, a corset, and very little else, and a computer with information on it. Guess which one he immediately focuses on and which one he completely ignores?
    • In an earlier scene Misa comes into a room with the entire task force in it wearing a skimpy nightdress. Matsuda, Ide, Mogi, and Aizawa are clearly affected by it, but Light doesn't even look at her.
    • When Light first meets Misa, she is dressed in black lace, a very short skirt, and a tight black corset. His reaction? "Everything she does is ridiculous."
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the very beginning. He is completely overcome when he realizes that the Death Note does indeed work and that he's just murdered two people - dry heaving, shaking, even a hint of tears. Then he starts thinking that this is exactly the opportunity he's been waiting for. "This world is rotting, and those who are making it rot deserve to die!"
  • Improbable Age: He's only 17 at the start of the series yet manages to be an even match for the world's greatest detective.
  • Implausible Deniability: Justified. As the Real Life section notes on the trope's page, clinical psychopaths have a tendency to never admit guilt even when faced with undeniable proof of their actions.
  • Incriminating Indifference: Although he tries to avert this.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Light seems to be living his life under the assumption that he has to be perfect. Perfect student, perfect son... and then he kills two people by accident just to satisfy his curiosity and his boredom. That ruins everything. It makes him a murderer, evil. The only way to become "perfect" again is to become Justice, to become God. In his own words "If Kira is caught, then Kira is evil. If he wins and rules the world Kira is justice." He gets caught. Also as per the trope at times he comes off as desperate to prove himself - especially in his interactions with L, where he seems to get overly-excited even when he gets simple answers right. And "feeling better about themselves by putting others down"... does the whole world count?
  • The Insomniac: though he's easily overshadowed by L in this department Light often pulls all-nighters to keep his plans running smoothly.
  • Insufferable Genius
  • It Gets Easier: Early in the manga, Light is shown wrapped up in a blanket, wide-eyed and trembling, wondering if he has the guts to go through with his plan, after killing just two people. Days later, he's proudly showing off his pages of written names to Ryuk.
  • It's All About Me: Although he begins his career wanting to be the god of the "new world", he switches his emphasis to being the god of the new world to accomodate his steadily growing narcissism.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Light's reaction during the Yotsuba arc when thinking about how the ideals of the original Kira are disturbingly close to his own.
  • I've Come Too Far: He says this nearly word-for-word at one point.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: When he gives up the notebook and his Kira memories he goes from being a complete jerk to being the nicest guy you could ever know. Then, of course, he regains his memories and goes back to being evil again. But the change is so extreme, some fans consider Light and Kira to be two different entities.
    • Some may even see the notebook as pure evil and Light as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, seeing that it's possible that Light was taken over by Kira and is now unable to control his action. It's possible that the notebook possessed him the moment he picked it up.
      • Or, it's just a more subtle thing. Light with amnesia is a Light who had to mature and accept various flaws of the worlds and ended up a healthier person. Kira is a genius teenager (how many of those have you met who think they understand the world completely) who was handed a magic murder book. Nothing corrupts morality and hard truths like power.
  • Jerkass: While he's very good at hiding it, Light is nevertheless a narcissistic bastard who treats most of his followers/subordinates like tools.
  • Jerkass Dissonance: He's had his fair share of fans throughout the run of the series, even after the credits rolled and he was decisively defeated..
    • In-universe, this is Light's relationship with Misa. He is generally cold, commanding, and stern towards her (except when he wants something), and offhandedly orders her to go to bed, to be quiet, to go back to work, etc. And despite one or two quiet "You're so mean, darling," comments, she adores him until the end.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He genuinely cares about his family... and hopes he doesn't have to kill them.
  • Jumped at the Call: Once Light finds the Death Note, it doesn't take him long to use it to start changing the world.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He begins using the Death Note to rid society of criminals, but soon his black list expands to include anyone who stands in his way for any reason, starting with the FBI. Along the way, he coolly manipulates the feelings of both people and shinigami. Repeatedly stating that he plans to become the god of the new world he is trying to create doesn't help matters, either.
  • Just a Kid: In the live action movie, it's outright stated that his dad doesn't want him working on cases yet for this reason.
  • Karmic Death: When he dies in the final episode, "New World".
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Light and his family.
  • The Kira Becomes the Killed: See Karmic Death.
  • Knight Templar: He's firmly convinced that killing people is the right thing to do to change the world.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: He really does love his little sister, Sayu, and is quite protective of her. When L and he are profiling Kira, and L suggests that Sayu is the one who best fits the profile, Light briefly loses it.
  • Kubrick Stare: He does this quite a few times.
  • Large Ham: "I will be the god of the new world!!!"
  • Lean and Mean: The official stats list him as 5'8, 119 lbs, leading to some fan speculation that he might have some sort of eating disorder, though when compared to the stats of the other characters they're all pretty lightweight. He also mentions in passing that during his first week as Kira that he's lost 10 lbs on top of not sleeping.
    • There's a scene in the first volume of the manga, actually, where he announces that he's finished eating, and his sister says, "What, already?"
      • This is even worse when you realise the official stats are mistranslated, and Light is meant to be 5'10! The "I'm not eating with the family", though, seems as if it's underscoring that he's bolting his food to get away from them.
  • Lighter and Softer: In the television drama, the pre-Kira Light is much more extroverted and friendly (opposed to his reserved and somewhat brooding animated/manga counterpart), is so disgusted with himself over the first murders that he nearly commits suicide over them, spreads out the subsequent deaths at a much slower pace, and genuinely cares enough about Misa to deliberately target the man who killed her family.
  • Light Is Not Good: No pun intended.
  • Limp and Livid: After getting shot by Matsuda in the finale.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Misa.
  • Living with the Villain: Soichiro, Sayu, and Sachiko all live with Light in the first season (which makes for some really awkward family discussions).
  • Lonely at the Top: Sure, lots of people worship him from a distance. But he either screws over or emotionally distances himself from pretty much everyone he knows.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Light believes this. In the manga when Light meets Misa who is madly infatuated with him he thinks "I can't develop feelings for her. That's how idiots get caught."
  • Made of Iron: Rather impressively, especially for such a thin guy, Light both stood up and managed to run for quite a distance after being shot 5 times. Not that it saved him from the grip of the Death Note shortly thereafter, though.
  • Magnetic Villain: His cult of personality is so strong that he gets three other people (four if we count Higuchi) to commit mass murder on his behalf. He gains Rem's loyalty as well even though she hates him (because his motives are more pure than Higuchi's).
  • The Man Behind the Man: In manipulating both Misa and Higuchi; Mikami and Takada both count, too. He is the original Kira, functioning through a series of proxies and decoys throughout the series.
  • Mangst: He does feel emotional pain for his sister's kidnapping and his father's death. And maybe even for betraying his "good friend" L, it's just very subtle and well-hidden.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Whoo boy. Deceit and manipulation pretty much define all of Light's relationships. The crowning moment of his manipulations is when he manages to get Rem to kill L in order to save Misa's life, thereby ending her life as well.
  • Mask of Sanity: The Trope Codifier, no less. Light seems to be a calm, stable, ace, but in reality, possibly even before the series started, he has some serious mental problems.
  • Master Actor: According to the guidebook, his acting skills are 10/10.
  • Memory Gambit: He allays suspicion by exploiting the rule that anyone who relinquishes the ownership of a Death Note also loses all memory of owning it unless that person later touches the same Death Note later, even counting on his amnesiac self to genuinely join the side of good in tracking down the new owner of the Death Note. This leads to the popular phrase "Just as Planned," eight episodes after putting his plan in motion.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Mamoru Miyano is nowhere as cruel, blackhearted and cynical as Light becomes.
  • Meaningful Name: Done ironically seeing as Light is (probably) not good. Also Yagami (夜神) means "Night god" or "Dark god", so his name is "Light Dark God". But the important thing is the god part.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: If you think Light can keep his grasp on his sanity once he gets a hold of the Death Note, you haven't been watching the series nearly as close enough as you should.
  • Mirror Scare: The sinister Kira reflection at the end of Relight in the Taskforce HQ's Hall of Mirrors.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Light deliberately invokes this trope to conceal the fact he's killing people with a magical notebook.
  • Mole in Charge: During the Time Skip, he is in charge of the task force investigating his murder spree.
  • Moral Myopia: He applies very high standards of morality to his mother, sister, father, and absolutely no one else. Also, when Ryuk told him that if/when he succeeds in killing all of the evil people in the world, he'll be the only evil person left, Light brushes him off, incapable of seeing his actions as evil.
  • Moral Sociopathy: Kira's justice. He definitely has a moral code and he doesn't care who he has to kill to uphold it.
  • Mr. Fanservice: As Near points out, "Light Yagami is a lady-killer."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: He's not the title page character for this trope for nothing. The potato chip scene is an epic example of this.
    • Light and Misa share an epic hug in the anime, including views from several different angles, creepy music, and a shaft of light.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: If someone becomes a nuisance he first thinks something along the lines of "I have to kill him!"
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Night god, anyone? Also his first name is a name that real parents in Japan would never give to their child because the character for moon is written with four strokes meaning his adult life would be dominated by death.
  • Narcissist: Light grows completely divorced from humanity, and eventually percieves himself as a god, valuing other people according to their usefulness to him (like Misa, Takada, and Mikami) or his personal interest in them (like his family).
  • Necessarily Evil: Starts out this way, determined to sacrifice himself for the greater good. However, less than a week later he's squeeing over his promotion to Godhood. It doesn't keep him from occasionally toying with the concept of himself as selfless and self-sacrificing though, and in his climactic Motive Rant, he claims that his ascent to Godhood and becoming Kira was a purely selfless and altruistic act on his part.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Initially.
    • He seems to think of himself that way, though.
  • Nice Guy: Not very much after he picked up the Death Note, but when his memories are wiped during the Yotsuba arc, he reverts to the way he was/would have been before picking up the Notebook.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Light has referred to Shinigami as "cute," finds all that Ryuk will tell him about Shinigami quite fascinating, makes jokes about how being a shinigami might be interesting, and his fascination with the Death Note is a little... eerie.
  • Non-Action Guy: Well, he only writes people's names in the Death Note, and has never done physical harm.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: This is his game plan. When his ego starts to balloon out too far, he forgets this was how he saved his own self time and time again. Inevitably, Light steps out into the open... and makes the worst mistakes of his life.
  • No Sense of Humor: Other than making a "joke" about wanting to trade away half of his life for shinigami wings, he lacks any sort of sense of humor.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: "If Kira is caught, then Kira is evil. If he wins and rules the world, Kira is justice."
  • Not So Different: Frequently lampshaded. Both he and L are genius Chessmasters that hold vast power by remaining anonymous- L solves criminal cases behind his computer screen, Light judges humanity from the comfort of his bedroom. They're two sides of the same coin: Light has great ideals and no integrity. L has great integrity and no ideals.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: "Looks like I win."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "What's that, Rem? I don't understand... could you explain to me the rules of ownership again?"
  • Obliviously Evil: He consistently views himself as a Dark Messiah Well-Intentioned Extremist whose actions are justified and necessary. When Ryuk remarks that he'll be the only evil person in the world left should his plans succeed, Light outright says he has no clue what Ryuk means.
  • Odd Name Out: Light is the only Yagami not to have a name that starts with "S" (Sochiro, Sachiko, Sayu)
  • Offered the Crown: L unexpectedly offers Light his title as the "Great Detective L" should he die. Light (who no longer remembers that he is Kira and at the moment genuinely likes L) refuses for as comrades chained together by a common destiny they would die together anyway, but then he realizes it was just another test.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Light somehow has the funds that he can 1) trash a mini LCD TV without remorse and 2) drop out and then resume his college studies. Also it's never addressed how Souichiro can afford to gift him with an Omega Speedmaster on a policeman's salary.
  • Omniscient Morality License: When he kills a criminal as Kira, he's never wrong about his victim. Ever.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Both the anime and the manga introduce Light at school; he notices the Death Note fall because he's staring out the window, bored.
    • Not quite ordinary since he's The Ace at the start.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Near at the end thanks to Mikami's screw up.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Light wears a hoodie and beanie when manipulating Raye Penber, which renders him unrecognizable to both Raye and the investigators that view the surveillance cameras.
    • Though Raye never sees him until it's too late, and the chances are he doesn't recognise Light's voice because he's already under the effects of the Death Note.
    • And L does note that Kira likely examined the subway beforehand and made use of the blindspots of the cameras.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Under Kira, any crime is punishable by death.
  • Peaceful in Death: In the anime, he dies in peace, seeing an apparition of L. Contrasted with his manga counterpart, who dies of a rather brutal heart attack, and we're then treated to a close-up of his body, a look of horror still on his face.
  • The Perfectionist: Of course taken to extremes and applied to the entire world.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He kills hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
  • Pet the Dog: He often helped Sayu with her homework, but this was partially done to throw suspicion off him.
    • His possibly genuine love for family might count. This changes later with he didn't seem to care about his father's death and thought killing his sister would put more suspicion on him. He never seemed interested in hurting his mother, however.
    • When his memory is erased and he's helping with the investigation, he notes that Kira never killed anybody who had already served their sentences, displayed genuine remorse, or had seemingly justifiable reasons for their crimes.
  • Playing with Puppets: When testing the extent to which he can control victims with the Death Note.
  • The Power of Acting: According to the guidebook, his acting skills are 10/10.
  • The Chief's Kid: The irony is that Kira is actually a detective's son.
  • Pride
  • Principles Zealot: Falls under this trope during the Yotsuba arc. The entire Kira-mission falls under this as well.
  • Promotion to Parent: In the TV Drama he is forced to take up this role after Sachiko's death, especially since his father is rarely home.
  • Properly Paranoid: After all, they ARE all out to get him.
  • Prophetic Names: Light Yagami = Light Night/Dark God.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He qualifies as Type C (flirting with D). When L details the psychology of Kira to the police, one of them suggests that they could stop him by no longer publishing the name of convicts in the news, as he clearly was getting the names of his victims from the media. L states that won't work because Kira will then simply start killing people he thinks are guilty and will further blame the police for any innocent people he kills, and L specifically identifies his childlike personality as the reason for this. Sure enough, Light does display lots of childlike evil throughout the series, such as killing the fake L for insulting him on national television and his need to gloat to L and Near when he thinks he's beaten them. His Villainous Breakdown at the end takes the form of a blatant childish fit.
  • Psychotic Smirk
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: When L offers to share his cake. "Er... no thanks." In the manga during the second arc Takada remarks that Light takes his coffee black but will take one sugar cube in his tea.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Light does wear a pink shirt when hanging with Matsuda in Aoyama. Also, fear the God of the New World's mad sewing skills! [4]. Light also wears a pink butterfly belt-buckle in the anime opening, as seen here [5]. Also in the manga at one point Light wears a corset in order to hide the Death Note... [6]
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: After he gains the Death Note, the anime makes a point of catching his eyes so that they have a red cast to them. This is made even more obvious when he is contemplating something particularly nasty, and the anime colors his eyes, metaphorically, bright red.
  • Red Right Hand: By the end of the first Relight special (everything after the funeral scene) Light seems to be sporting fangs in addition to perpetually glowing red eyes.
  • Regularly Scheduled Evil: Early in the series it is explained that Light had set aside specific time slots in which to kill criminals, in order to provide himself with a healthy balance of sleep, homework, and death.
  • Religion of Evil: His cult worships him, a ruthless mass murderer, as a god.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Light believes this during the Yotsuba arc, when he lost his memories of the Death Note and being Kira, which caused him to revert to the state he was before finding the Death Note (though we aren't given any insight into his thoughts at that point). He whole-heartedly argued that the members of the Yotsuba group other than the 3rd Kira shouldn't be prosecuted since no doubt Kira was coercing them into cooperating. In other words they aren't evil-circumstances pushed them into being evil and once the evil is removed, i.e. arrested, they will live good lives. Doesn't stop him from killing them all after his memory returns though.
  • Rules Lawyer: Light uses the rules of the Death Note in ways even Ryuk had never thought of before.
    • He has a hard time coping with the Near-and-Mello situation because Near and Mello aren't particularly inclined to play by the rules.
  • Sadist: As he gets in the habit of killing, he starts to really enjoy it and often smiles and laughs as he slaughters people by the score. He also appears to get off on being a Manipulative Bastard, and can't resist the urge to gloat to his enemies that he's literally signed their death warrant, or take cruel pleasure in discarding and betraying his own allies, even girlfriends. Some of his deaths are needlessly nasty as well (eg. said girlfriend, he has her set herself on fire) and on several occasions he takes a moment to watch his victims die. And of course, like many sadists, he absolutely believes that his victims had it coming, and that he himself is blameless.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: An evil version.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy Guy to Misa's Energetic Girl, and although Light's family and co-workers seem to think that there's No Accounting for Taste, a few people do comment on their unlikely relationship.
  • Sanity Slippage: He gets crazier with every passing episode barring the time he loses memory of the Death Note.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: This is essentially what he's trying to pull on the entire world. As it turns out, with a supernatural, godlike entity willing to kill you if you commit a crime, people are much less likely to commit crimes. The rate drops accordingly.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Light knows that Ryuk is only here because he's bored and he can kill him at any time. Ryuk wants to be entertained and if he gets too bored, he'll just kill Light and go home. Light constantly reminds Ryuk how entertaining he can be. It works for six years.
  • The Scourge of God: Light's mission statement though he also will kill anyone who comes after him i.e. defies Kira's will.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Light knows that his father's position is what is protecting him from being seriously considered as a suspect by the normal police.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Yotsuba!Light is a variation on this with the twist that Kira!Light did it to himself.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Light is in denial about quite a few things:
    Ryuk: But if you did that, you'd be the only bad person left.
    Light: Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about, Ryuk.
  • Self-Restraint: Light is the king of this trope. Until he makes a tiny screwup near the end.
  • Serial Killer Kira
  • Shadow Dictator: He becomes this in the second arc.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: On rare occasions, which tend to define him in the eyes of the fandom.
  • Sissy Villain: He's sharp, effeminate, and a genocidal megalomaniac.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Light does this a couple times, symbolically overlooking his "New World."
  • Slasher Smile: Definitely. It's the last thing L sees.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Light's actions earlier on in the series could be considered a combination of exceedingly ruthless schemes and Pet the Dog moments. Then, as the series goes on, he finds new allies, who are almost sycophantic in their devotion to him, and whom he treats as inferior and expendable, becomes ever-more consumed by his God Complex as the world slowly falls under his grip, and resorts to increasingly extreme and cold-blooded means to cover his ass and maintain his reign on the world.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: While calling him a small name is going too far, Light immediately believes himself to be the only person worthy of purging the world of evil simply because he's the Big Man on Campus at his high school.
  • Smug Smiler: The God of the New World takes to showing an insufferably superior expression when no one but the audience is looking.
  • Smug Snake: Unlike many Smug Snakes, Light is very bright, but his massive god complex, childish Freak Outs ("he got me!"), borderline sociopathy, and tendency towards kicking dogs can and do cost him the sympathy of many, while his sheer ego, and tendency towards underestimating his opponents (and the incompetence of his own allies) can sometimes derail his plans and ultimately do get him killed. Light is incredibly smart, but his arrogance gets in the way of him giving some of his opponents as much credit as he should.
  • Social Darwinist: Averted in that he begins as protecting the weak by paying evil unto evil before jumping off the slippery slope. Ironically, given his god complex, he would consider it divine natural selection.

    L 

L Lawliet

Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi (JP), Alessandro Juliani (EN)

The main antagonist of the series, but not the villain.

L is the greatest detective in the Death Note world, able to control and work through the police force worldwide and notorious for uncovering seemingly unsolvable crimes, he's called in to work on the Kira (as Light is known) case. Since Kira needs a face and name to be able to kill people and L does not make public appearances and hides behind aliases (L being the most famous) he is the ideal opponent for Kira since neither knows the identity of the other. He establishes Kira's location by tricking him into killing an unknown deathrow inmate announcing himself as "L" on a live TV broadcast filmed only in the Kanto region of Japan and deduces his age soon afterwards by observing his simplistic, somewhat immature concept of justice and out-of-school-hours killings. Having established which members of the Japanese police department he can trust (which include Light's father) he names Light as a suspect for Kira and with a simple combination of remorseless logic, barely legal methods and sugar in-take, he places obstacles for him—and eventually Misa—to prove his theory, leaving them barely able to stay two steps ahead of him.

He is the opposing Deuteragonist of the series. His real name, revealed in an encyclopedia of the series (How To Read 13), is L Lawliet.
Tropes associated with L:
  • 20% More Awesome: He occasionally gives statistics about how right he is. The official guide claims that he makes these up to sound more credible, while another claims that whenever he mentions a statistic at all, he's always 99% sure. So all that "5%" or "47%" or whatever meant he was almost totally sure every time, a claim that seems dubious when you consider that L frequently uses these statistics in his inner monologues.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the films, wherein he's played by Kenichi Matsuyama, who is quite handsome in real life. Many fangirls seemed to think L in the movie was more attractive than the actor who played Light.
    • Granted, despite his odd appearance in the anime, he wasn't exactly ugly (though he was designed to be that way.)
  • Adaptational Badass: He takes down Light in the films.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the original manga and the anime L is a rather ruthless Anti-Hero who explicitly described by Word of God as "slightly evil." In his movie L: Change The World, L is a lonely, misunderstood Woobie Action Hero guy who cares for sick orphans.
  • Admiring the Abomination: L only takes on cases that interest him and though understated he finds Kira/Light quite fascinating and regards him as a Worthy Opponent. L gets very annoyed at the appearance of a Second Kira because it's not his Kira and not playing by the same rules. In the live action movies he's clearly entertained by watching Light manipulate Naomi Misora on the monitors.
    Souichiro Yagami: We have to stop this!
    L: We're just getting to the good part.
  • Adorkable: During the few times where he's not giving the Kira case his undivided attention, he's this.
  • Allergic to Routine: Very easily bored, and even prolongs the Kira case just for the rush.
  • Alliterative Name: His full name is L Lawliet. This is only alliterative spelling-wise, though.
  • Alternate Continuity: In the movies, L outlives Light
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Has very poor social skills and odd mannerisms.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Seems to have a thing for both Light and Misa.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: L in his Alternate Continuity movie (L: change the WorLd) seems to miss Light just as Light seemed to miss L back in canon. He too experiences a bizarre sense of loss with the death of his adversary. This is hinted at in the way he kept Light's watch. He’s also very protective of Light's potato chips.
  • Anti-Hero: Not exactly your ideal type of hero. While he does try to capture Kira because he's a murderer, his main motivation is because he sees Kira as a challenge and willfully prolongs the case, endangering countless lives in the process, simply to have more fun with him. Regardless, L only reserves his justice for people he sees as evil, and to be fair, his accusations are always correct (Light, Misa). Moreover, while L does order the deaths of a few criminals to help further the investigation, these criminals were on death row anyway.
  • Awesome McCoolname: The gothic font helps.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: In the second episode, L is able to deduce several different things about Kira from one televised broadcast. Throughout the show, L is also shown assessing situations, analyzing happenings and their effects, and planning his next move.
  • Back for the Finale: Anime-only. In the final episode, he appears before a dying Light. Whether his ghost is actually there or whether he's just a hallucination is never made clear.
  • Badass: Absolutely.
  • Badass Boast: When first revealing himself to Kira after Light took his bait:
    "But I assure you - L is real. I do exist. Now - try to kill me!"
  • Badass Bookworm: He's a genius skilled in Capoeira. Also in his movie, he can throw hammers with exceptional accuracy.
  • Batman Gambit: The Do Not Adjust Your Set one being only his first in the series. He was counting on Kira's ego being bigger than his reason.
  • Becoming the Mask: Popular interpretation on the "Light is my first ever friend" line, which was actually a lie. This statment comes from How to Read, yet a different section of How to Read says that L establishes an Odd Friendship with Light, even while fighting him as an enemy, and notes that they make a good team during the Yotsuba arc.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite his poor social skills, L is pretty good with kids, especially at Wammy's House.
  • Big Eater: L is always eating sweets.
  • Big Good: He fulfills this role as the one heading the taskforce, despite being a rather ruthless Anti-Hero.
  • Bishōnen: His TV drama counterpart is considerably cuter than his anime/manga counterpart. He doesn't even have bags under his eyes.
  • Big Sleep: When he dies in the episode "Silence".
  • Blood Knight: More interested in interesting cases than in "right" or "wrong."
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Sometimes
  • Bullying a Dragon: L's main tactic to reveal Light as Kira seems to be to just keep annoying him. Justified in that there really is no evidence other than to test Light's reactions.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Give L a bowl of candy, and he'll work for two nights straight. Three, if he has to.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He's "...a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian and... maybe a quarter French or Italian..." So he's a gaijin, but he had to come up with a reason he speaks Japanese fluently.
  • Capoeira: He knows it, which proves useful during his Chained Heat scenes with Light.
  • Catch Phrase: "I am justice!" (Both he and Light have this catchphrase.)
  • The Chains of Commanding: As L, he lives under constant threat of death, has to contend with people dying on his watch, mistrust from the police and from the public and avoiding choosing a successor. Oh, and no social life.
  • The Chessmaster: See "Awesomeness By Analysis"
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Very much so.
  • Collector of the Strange: L collects criminals, which is all well and good for a detective, but his way is a bit... creepy. Along with Aiber and Wedy, in the manga, L has an army of peepers at his disposal who do his bidding and help him set up surveillance cameras everywhere. Also in Another Note there's the implication that he steals the names of his vanquished rivals and uses them as his detective aliases.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be blue. According to Obata, his assigned color is gold. Grey also seems to be a recurring color.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: Despite his Foe Yay with Light, he is canonically of the Married to the Job variety as opposed to Armored Closet Gay. Regardless, he shows no interest in romance.
  • Consummate Liar: To the point where no one can be sure if L is telling the truth, or lying.
  • Cool Car: In the live action movies, L uses a modified pink angel crepe van as his personal batmobile.
  • Covert Pervert: Subverted, perhaps, because he may have grabbed Misa's magnificent ass, but only to steal her phone.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Has money and resources set aside for every scenario imaginable...and some not!
  • Creepy Good: For a certain definition of "good."
  • Creepy Monotone: The English anime, at least, puts this to good use.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Has these as a result of being The Insomniac which has earned him the Fan Nickname of "Panda".
  • Dance Battler: Knows some capoeira.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: L is an orphan who has been raised to be the world's best detective. He doesn't consider anyone a friend, his lies to Light and Misa aside.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Particularly in the anime.
    Misa: I couldn't live in a world without Light!
    L: Yes, that would be dark.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In Another Note it's strongly implied that L takes the names or aliases of his vanquished rivals as trophies: "Ryuuzaki" is from the LABB murder case and "Eraldo Coil" and "Deneuve" came out of "detective wars". If things had gone differently in the Kira case, L might have taken to calling himself "Light Yagami".
  • Defective Detective: See "Hurting Hero"
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Allows himself to be punched in the face before kicking Light hard.
  • Determinator: "I am also childish and hate to lose."
  • Deuteragonist: He is the second viewpoint character after Light, who is the protagonist.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: How he's introduced. He basically goes on television and tells Kira through his stand-in Lind L. Tailor where he can put his justice. Kira, of course, kills Tailor immediately, thinking that it's L. Then, L keeps on taunting him anyway.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: He passes away in Light's arms.
  • Ditzy Genius: Quirky, but very smart.
  • Disc One Final Boss: In season 2 of the anime. Near, Mello and Matsuda take over the role to bring down Light.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: He sets up the initial one of the series, identifying himself as Kira's sworn enemy.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: L goes barefoot except when outdoors, due to his knack for crouching. Even when he wears shoes, they're ratty sneakers left untied to slip back off at a moment's notice.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: L, unsurprisingly, polishes off a whole box by himself.
    • In the live-action adaptation, he creates a donut kebab by placing several on a skewer.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: "You can call me whatever you like, but I'm taking your cake."
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He realizes that Light, the person he is working alongside with, is Kira, moments before his death.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He only takes on cases that he's interested in, but expresses an apparently sincere belief that he finds Kira thinking of himself as a god and killing people he doesn't approve of unacceptable.
  • Evil Twin: Has one in the form of Beyond Birthday in Another Note, although it's unclear if BB is literally L's twin or not.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: See Creepy Shadowed Undereyes above.
  • The Exotic Detective: L is the only member of the taskforce that isn't Japanese; he was raised in England.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Soichiro Yagami and the other detectives are visibly surprised when they meet L.
  • Expy: Of Sherlock Holmes according to Obata.
  • Extreme Doormat: Despite being one of the most powerful and influential people on Earth, he acts like one. It might (in part) be an act of some sort to lure Kira out as it's also been seen that he can be just as stubborn as Light. In Another Note it's teased that he was raised as some sort of Tykebomb which would go far to explaining this behavior.
  • Extremity Extremist: On the rare occasions he fights physically, he mainly uses kicks.
  • Flashback Nightmare: The opening of episode 25.
  • Friendless Background: L has no friends.
  • Friend to All Children: As mentioned in Big Brother Instinct, L is great with children.
  • The Gadfly: L will often say things he doesn't mean just to get a reaction.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: He's a genius and he always has something sweet nearby.
  • Good Counterpart: To Light and BB.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's on the trail of a dangerous Serial Killer, but he's also a sugar junkie with practically No Social Skills and a very low opinion of most other people, who only takes up cases that interest him in order to fend off boredom. A frequently lampshaded fact is that he and Light are Not So Different.
    • Also, L is not above using torture.
  • Great Detective: The top three, actually.
  • Guile Hero: Relies on his keen intellect
  • Gut Feeling: He is suspicious of Light from the moment he meets him. Guess what, L, you were right.
  • Hates Being Touched: Implied, though never outright stated.
  • The Hedonist: Does what he wants, when he wants. Also only takes on cases he's interested in.
  • Hero Antagonist: With Light as the Villain Protagonist.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Alternate Continuity, Death Note: The Last Name. He writes his name in the Death Note with the longest possible time until his death, and is able to survive and catch Light before he dies.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The public and the police don't trust L because he hides behind a computer screen.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: A completely falsified version with Light. They attend the same college, are constantly hanging out and later on begin living together, with L calling Light the only real friend he's had in his entire life. In reality, all of this is a sham and both are simply playing mind games with the other to further raise the stakes of their battle.
  • Hikikomori: Subverted in the "L: One Day" mini-manga, where it's shown that he goes to amusement parks, concerts, and out for walks in his free time.
  • His Name Really Is Barkeep: In The Last Name, it's revealed that his first name is actually L.
  • Honor Before Reason: He's almost certain it's Light from the very beginning but instead of say nabbing him in the middle of the night or just shooting him, he insists on waiting until he has 100% proof before making an arrest. Of course, killing him without evidence that he's right would pretty easily turn the police against him, especially since the police chief is Light's father.
  • Hurricane Kick: Ow, Light, that looked like it hurt.
  • Hurting Hero: Not so much in the manga or anime, but the two light novels Another Note and L: change the WorLd suggest that he is this. An excerpt from the latter:
    It was a hurt that L. Lawliet had suppressed, that he had to suppress in order to continue his existence as the peerless Detective L. How had the world's top detective been described with regard to facets of his personality other than his ability as a detective? He had been called a kinky detective who relished bizarre murders, a human computer capable only of measuring mass numbers in terms of cold numbers, a reclusive sociopath. What L thought of such estimations of his personality only L could know. But no one could truly understand L. How L did not and could not forget the faces of thousands of victims. Who could comprehend the man who had lived his life, and had to live confronting all the lives ended prematurely, the tears of the grief stricken survivors, the devaluing of life as a daily reality? How was it possible to measure the pain of such a man? Was it a strain so heavy that L's back curved under all its weight? Was it an agony so terrible as to leave the indelible dark circles around his eyes? Was it a feeling so bitter that every bite he took needed to be coated in sugar? The chronically rounded shoulders, the inevitable dark circles, the eccentric tastes-L suppressed the pain of being a champion of justice, but the evidence of the pain was molded into his very body.
  • I Am a Monster: Says this almost word for word in a flashback in Relight 2 when one of the children at Wammy's asks him what he's afraid of.
    "Lying monsters are a real nuisance. They are much more cunning than other monsters. (...) If I were to encounter such a monster, I would likely be eaten by it. Because in truth, I am that monster."
  • I Am the Noun: "I am Justice!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Many times
  • I Have Many Names: Besides L, he's also known as Ryuzaki, Eraldo Coil, Deneuve, and Hideki Ryuga. In Another Note, Mello estimated the amount of aliases that L possessed to be in the three digit range, and wonders which one of them finally killed him (not knowing that it was none of them), or if L himself even knew.
  • The Insomniac:
    Aizawa: So, when does Ryuzaki sleep?
    Matsuda: I once saw him sleeping in a chair in that position ... No, really!
  • Insufferable Genius: He seems confident enough in his abilities that he thinks he can keep a supernatural killer an arm's length close to him.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: To the point where very few people have actually seen him in person; most of his interaction is done via a computer screen and a voice changer.
  • Interpol Special Agent: Interpol agrees to bring in L for the Kira case.
  • It Amused Me: Some versions hold that L doesn't really care about justice and that he just solves cases for fun.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the films. He was more of a jerk in the first film. Near the end of the second film, however, he developed into this, sacrificing his life to stop Light/Kira. And if that weren't enough, L: change the WorLd pretty much shows how much of a nicer guy he can be.
  • Limited Wardrobe: L is almost never, if ever, seen wearing anything but that pyjama-top-and-jeans ensemble. He even shows up at To-Oh University's Opening Ceremony to give a speech dressed that way!
  • Loners Are Freaks: Unnerves a lot of people with his appearance and habits
  • Looks Like Cesare: Probably because he's The Insomniac.
  • Man in White: In the TV drama.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Undeniably. L has no problem using people to get the job done. Light of all people calls him out on it when he loses his memories and refuses to go along with L's plan to manipulate Misa.
  • Married to the Job: Has no canonical relationships, because his line of work (and lack of charisma) makes it difficult.
  • Meaningful Name: His last name Lawliet, which is pronounced "low-light."
  • Tautological Templar: His methods, including violations of privacy, unlawful imprisonment/kidnapping, and physical and psychological torture, seem to be justified, both in-universe and out, because he's the one doing it.
    • In the case of Misa's imprisonment given that he knows she can kill with just a person's face, but does NOT know that she has to have the Death Note to do so, you could say that it is a case of Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
    • To be fair, for all of L's questionable methods, he never really used them to harm an innocent person. Two of the people that he did use them on, Light and Misa, were far from innocent.
  • Teen Genius: He's several years past his teens by the time of the series, though you have to assume he started that way.
  • Thanatos Gambit: He ensures that his successors, Near and Mello, would succeed him after his death.
  • That's What I Would Do: He tries to think of Kira's next move using this reasoning.
  • Thinking Tic: He often bites his nails, particularly the nails on his thumb.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: When he first addresses the ICPO he calls Light's spree "an atrocious murder case I will never forgive!"
  • Together in Death: With Light, at the end. In the anime, he is the last thing Light sees before dying.
    L: Let's explore the World of Nothingness together!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cake and really sweets of any kind.
  • Tragic Bromance: With Light during the Yotsuba arc.
  • Trash of the Titans: L in his movie. Justified in that he's only got 23 days to live and he's not going to waste his remaining time cleaning.
  • Troll: Does several things completely unnecessary to the case just to screw with Light, like claiming him to be the best friend he's ever had and pretending not to hear him in the rain. Since he knew he was Kira pretty much immediately, it's a given.
  • TV Genius: He often seems to deduce things almost out of thin air. As a general rule, he's never wrong about anything.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: L is his alias, while L Lawliet is his real name.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the films, especially in L: change the WorLd.
  • Tyke Bomb: Was trained as this, and started out as such.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: L is the strange-looking hero to Light's handsome villain.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Uses some questionable methods, and is not above lying and manipulating others.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: To everyone at first, until Light forces him into a situation where he needs to come out into the open to Light himself and the Kira taskforce members.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Taskforce yells at him from time to time. Such as for his treatment of the Kira suspects during confinement. Also for wanting to wait around for more people to die (and thus have a more solid case) before making a move against the Yotsuba Group.
  • When He Smiles: The normally stoic L gets one of these moments when he tells the taskforce "Justice will prevail no matter what."
  • Workaholic: He spends all his time solving cases and eating candy. He rarely sleeps.
  • Worthy Opponent: Light views L this way, and L views Light this way.
    • This is in direct contrast to Near and Light's relationship, where Near viewed Light as "just a crazy mass murderer" and Light resented Near as being "far below L."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: He's a master of it, as shown when he saves Matsuda from being discovered by the Yotsuba group by having him fake his own death.
  • Young and in Charge: He's 24 at the beginning and the world's greatest detective with control over the world's police forces. It's suggested he's been this for several years, back into his teens and possibly even his childhood. In-series, the middle-aged cops of the taskforce answer to him.

    Ryuk 
Ryuk
Voiced by: Shidou Nakamura (JP), Jun Fukuyama (Japanese, TV drama), Brian Drummond (EN)

Light's Shinigami sidekick, and the one who dropped Light's Death Note on Earth in the first place. Despite his terrifying appearance, he's mostly harmless (unless he gets bored), and has a fondness for apples. He tells Light about various rules of the Shinigami Realm, sometimes at extremely inconvenient times.

In the end, he's the one who kills Light, due to Light being finally beaten by Near, meaning that things won't be fun anymore. Appears briefly in the one-shot, where he is indirectly responsible for creating C-Kira by revealing to all the other Shinigami that they can go into the human world under certain circumstances and eat apples.
Tropes associated with Ryuk;
  • Adaptational Villainy: While his manga and anime incarnation could hardly be called heroic, he's much worse in the TV series. See The Corrupter below for details.
  • Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil: Is a bit of both, as he can be genuinely nice to Light and Misa, but fits the latter in his malicious way of curing boredom. Of course, it's worth noting that Shinigami are not hard-wired toward compassion for humans to begin with, so from Ryuk's standpoint, his actions do not seem immoral.
  • Alien Catnip: Apples
  • All-Powerful Bystander: He could end the duel between Light and L at any time if he really wanted to, just by writing one of their names in his notebook. But that would be too boring for him.
  • Audience Surrogate: He starts the whole story simply because he was bored, and mostly hangs out on the sidelines treating Light's antics like his own personal soap opera, not really caring who wins as long as it's entertaining.
  • Ax-Crazy: Even for a Shinigami, his idea of fun back in the Shinigami World is attempting to kill his "friends".
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Moreso in the manga and the movies than in the anime.
  • Bigger Bad: He was the one who gave Light the Death Note in the first place. It's all downhill from there.
  • Bishōnen: Was this in his original design which was going to be of "an attractive rockstar," before the creators decided that him looking more interesting than Light could cause the fandom to ignore Light's character.
  • Catch Phrase: To use the manga translation, "Humans are fun!"
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: His face is frozen like that so he has one all the time.
  • The Corrupter: In the TV drama, he intentionally drops the Death Note near Light, and goads him into using it more when Light hesitates, effectively making him the one responsible for Light becoming Kira.
  • Death Takes a Holiday: Downplayed. He maintains his function as a Shinigami and shortens more than one person's lifespan throughout the series, but his leaving the Shinigami realm to go to the human world is a holiday of sorts.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ryuk is an apple junkie. He has withdrawal symptoms and everything.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ryuk tells Light at least once that he's even more evil than a shinigami, and generally, when Light does something particularly nasty, laughs mockingly in the background.
  • Evil Laugh: A raspy cackle in the English Dub.
  • Fish Eyes: Depending on the angle of the scene. The rest of the time it's just a bulging stare.
  • Ironic Echo: Y'know that thing Ryuk warned Light about at the very beginning of this whole mess? Guess what!
  • It Amused Me/For the Evulz: Ryuk drops his Death Note into the human world, setting off all the chaos that follows, just because he's bored.
  • Japanese Pronouns: Addresses himself as "ore" and almost everyone else as "omae," and talks in masculine slang a lot.
  • Jerkass Gods: He's only here for laughs. He makes no secret of the fact that he is on neither Light's side nor L's and doesn't much care who wins. He just enjoys watching the show. He watches L die and ultimately makes Light die without shedding a single tear.
  • Jump Scare: Frequently the one to make it happen.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite being the one responsible for the events of the story, nothing bad happens to him.
  • Kid with the Leash: Inverted; Ryuk, and by extent, the rules of the Death Note, are often the only thing restraining Light from killing his opponents directly. Not that that stops him from getting around the rules.
  • Kill You Last: To Light.
    "You know, you haven't been very nice to me. I might just write your name in my Death Note and kill you, just like that! ...I wouldn't laugh if I were you."
    • Which he does when realizing that Near's beaten him.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murder of Light at the end of the series.
  • Large Ham
    "The symptoms are STAAAAAAARTING!"
  • Man Behind the Man: He gave Light the Death Note, or rather, he arranged for someone to pick it up.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: When he finally kills Light.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ryuk conceals his knowledge of the rules of the notebook from Light in order to amuse himself.
  • One of Us: Ryuk pesters Light to play Mario Golf with him in the manga. On top of that, an omake has him ask Light for a silver Game Boy Advance XP. invoked
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apples.
  • Troll: He seems to enjoy messing with Light just for the sake of amusing himself.
  • Video Game Culture: In the manga Ryuk pesters Light about wanting to play Mario Golf, and Ryuk begs Light to get him a silver Game Boy Advance XP for Christmas in an omake.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Light, of the Evil Vitriolic Best Buds variety.
    Ryuk (sounding excited and happy): He's not the least bit daunted by the fact that I'm a Shinigami! He doesn’t suck up to me, and he seems to have no problem giving me a hard time. (Grins, AWESOME!!)
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Okay, so he's not that villainous, but still...
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    "Hey Light, want to play some video games?"
  • The Watson: Occasionally.
  • Wild Card: He makes it clear that he's not on Light's side or L's; he's on no one's side but his own.
  • You Bastard: Fridge Logic: he's the Audience Surrogate.
  • You Can See Me?: He can only be seen by the current owner of the Death Note or by people who touch it. Asks this word for word, when one of Light's plans involves a criminal picking up a note written on paper of the Death Note and then freaks out upon seeing him.
  • You Didn't Ask: Ryuk amuses himself by explaining certain rules of the Death Note to Light at the worst moments. He even invokes this trope word-for-word in the movie.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He doesn't kill Light because he's Entertainment Value. This is what he plans to do to Light when the latter no longer provides him entertainment. He does so in the end when Near beats Light.

    Misa Amane/2nd Kira 

Misa Amane/Kira

Voiced by: Aya Hirano (JP), Shannon Chan-Kent (EN)

The second Kira, an internationally famous model and pop star who started out as Light's Stalker with a Crush since, as Kira, he killed the burglar that murdered her parents when she was a little girl, thus making her feel indebted to him. She has one hell of a messed up lifespan due to multiple shinigami sacrificing their lives for her and her multiple exchanges for the Shinigami Eyes. She and her shinigami, Rem, helped Light, but not before dragging him through a series of events, both good and bad, started by her carelessness.
  • A Boy and His X: In this case, A Girl And Her Shinigami.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Her eyes are apparently naturally brown in the manga but blue in the anime.
    • She's blonde in both manga and anime but a brunette in the movies and the TV drama.
    • Her eyes switch between brown and blue in the anime depending on whether she's on the job as an Idol Singer. It's probably color contacts.
  • Affably Evil: She'll kill you without hesitation if you get in her way or cause trouble for Light, but other than that, she's a genuinely sweet girl.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She was rather fascinated with Light, once she learns that the same boy is none other than someone who killed the same burglar that robbed her house and murdered her parents.
  • Aloof Big Sister: She either has one or is one. The manga mentions that Misa has a sister still living in Kansai as a plot point but she doesn't even get Nominal Importance and after that it's never mentioned again. Though this could also be seen as part of her cover story, worked out with Aiber and L, to infiltrate Yotsuba; Aiber uses "your sister said that you said x about Kira" to introduce the information that Misa is connected to L to the Yotsuba group. It's never made clear if the sister actually exists or not.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: When Rem tells Misa the story of how Gelus died and she got a second notebook.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After meeting Light and having him doubt and question her, Misa begins to cry, falls off of her chair and tells Light that she "just had to meet him."
  • Ax-Crazy: When her Berserk Button is pushed.
  • Badass Adorable: Despite being a childish, energetic, squeaky-voiced Genki Girl, Misa does have her moments. She takes Sakura TV hostage, refuses to give up Light under L's torture, and executes her plot to ditch L's surveillance and get Higuchi to confess to her. She is also the resident cutie.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Several times, and not always just for Light.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Takada's Veronica for Light's Archie.
  • Berserk Button: If anyone screws around with Light behind her back... even Light isn't safe from her wrath if this happens. As she tells Light, "If I see you with another girl, then I'll kill her!".
  • Beware the Silly Ones: After they actually meet her in person, no one - not Light, not Near, not Mello, not L or Aizawa or Mogi - takes her seriously. At all. In fact nearly every character dismisses her as a legitimate threat; in the few instances that Aizawa, Mogi, L, Near, and Mello feel that she may be trouble, it is as an agent of Light rather than in her own right. Light, knowing that Misa has said that she will kill her competition, sees other women anyway; and L, after Misa escapes from Mogi, pretty much shrugs the whole thing off. This is all despite the fact that Misa is dangerous: she is in charge of Light's killings from time to time, she threatens and controls news stations in both seasons, and she outs Higuchi as a Kira to L.
  • Blatant Lies: "Misa never betrays her friends!"
  • Blessed with Suck: Her Death Note and shinigami eyes absolutely ruined her life. Thanks, Rem.
  • Blondes Are Evil: She is the Second Kira, after all.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: Misa is introduced as the supernatural killer who takes Sakura TV hostage, killing off innocent people and criminals alike to convince the world of her powers and then killing off the cops who race down there to stop her. During this, she threatens to kill yet more people. And she does it all solely to get Light's attention, because she must meet him, to tell him him how grateful she is that he killed her parents' murderer.
  • Bound and Gagged: In the episode, "Wager", courtesy of L.
  • Break the Cutie: She is the end-product of a cutie who's been broken too much. It fatally breaks her when Light dies.
  • Broken Bird: Under the childish behavior and cute looks, there's one hell of a mentally and emotionally broken young woman.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: To Light. Although she's smart enough to find Light, dodge Mogi and manipulate Higuchi, her mistakes do cost them both.
  • Caught in the Rain: During the opening sequence of the first season, Light offers Misa his hand as she walks through the rain towards him.
  • Cleavage Window: In the shape of a heart, no less.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Light is hers. Woe to any woman who tries to come between them.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Misa certainly does not live in the same world as most other people.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Her official color seems to be light blue.
    • Also, in the first arc, she's shown primarily wearing black while acting as the second Kira, and in the second arc she wears plenty of black and red.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: She tries this with Light; it ends with him ordering her out of bed and back to work.
  • Cool Pet: Rem. Also in the second arc she keeps a pair of lovebirds.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses:
    • She wears them in the manga and live action film series.
    • The collector's figure included with volume 5 of the DVD series retains the cross.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She really is a lot smarter than she usually acts.
  • Cry Cute: She begins to cry in the scene when Light first meets her and she tells him that she'll work hard to make him love her.
  • Cuteness Equals Forgiveness: To an extent, both in-universe and out. Despite being portrayed as viciously selfish and quite, quite mad, Misa never earns the same type of villain cred as, say, Light - whose eviler counterpart she was introduced as. Additionally, the characters in-universe definitely treat Misa far more gently than Light when both come under suspicion in the second season - compare Aizawa's grim, suspicious surveillance of Light with Mogi going shopping with Misa. Why is this? Misa is a small, sweet, cheerful, and cute woman, and that registers more immediately to both much of the audience and most of the characters than "ruthless serial killer."
  • The Cutie/The Fake Cutie: Subverted; She's a villainous example. Don't let her appearance fool you; her adorableness is to hide her villainy.
  • The Dark Chick: On Team Kira.
  • Dark Is Evil: She dresses primarily in black. And her bedroom is decked to the nines in creepiness.
  • Dark Mistress: Misa starts out as a second Kira who takes Sakura TV hostage and murders several cops and criminals to get Kira's attention. Later, she tracks down Kira, discovers that Kira is Light Yagami, and falls in love with him. She demands that Light take her on as his girlfriend; because she was already a villain in her own right, their joining forces would qualify for Unholy Matrimony status, but as she becomes immediately subservient to him and her role becomes simply "Light's Love Martyr" as the story progresses, she develops into the Dark Mistress role.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Twice, for that matter. She serves as Light's deadly upgrade: with the second Kira on his side and completely devoted to him, he gains the use of her shinigami eyes.
  • Death by Despair: According to Ohba says that this is her ultimate fate, via being Driven to Suicide.
  • Death Seeker: Some of the material in the series seems to point to the fact that Misa isn't exactly concerned with her own life. Misa deliberately seeks out dangerous situations: for one example, she walks home alone, at night, on a deserted street, and for another she begins the entire attack on Sakura TV while being across the street in person. She then shows up on the mass-murderer Kira's doorstep and volunteers to be his girlfriend while knowing full well that he could kill her. She in fact explicitly offers Light the option of killing her if she gets to be a burden. Also, she begs Rem to kill her when she feels that she has a good justification to ask that of Rem, and, mind you, when Soichiro informs Misa that both she and Light are to be executed, it is Light's life that she begs for. And of course when Light dies, she kills herself soon after.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulu?: There is a vengeful, godlike entity out there who can kill with just a name and a face. Obviously the best way to handle the situation is to offer to be his girlfriend.
  • Dissonant Laughter: When Rem agrees to murder L at Light's request, Misa's reaction is to laugh and clap her hands. In the anime, she even hugs Rem.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Comes with the job of being the second Kira. When she regains her Death Note and finds Light's note asking her to kill L, she gladly, even triumphantly, considers it. Her distress comes only when she realizes that she can't remember his name.
  • The Dragon: She becomes this for Light, until Light has her Death Note given to Mikami.
  • Driven to Suicide: What finally happens to her. She wasn't kidding when she said she couldn't dream of living in a world without Light.
  • Dumb Blonde: Then again, next to L or Light, pretty much anyone would look dumb by proxy.
  • Dye Hard: In a flashback, her hair is black. May be justified on the grounds of her being an Idol Singer. invoked
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita. She dresses like this when she becomes more famous - and in the anime, when she's about to jump off to her death after Light dies.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She genuinely loves Light and she genuinely loved her dead parents.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The film version of Misa was visibly horrified when Light planned to kill his own father to prevent the notebook from being analyzed. Makes sense when you remember that she lost her own parents to a murderer.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Light at first, lampshaded when Light and L are building a profile of the Second Kira.
    Light: ...this Kira isn't idealistic.
    L: Yes. I really don't like the way he operates. It's not like Kira.
  • Evil Diva: Along with her other traits and hobbies, Misa is a singer as well as an actress and model; in the second arc, she gets hired to open a New Year's show with a song.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: She doesn't intend to do this, but her videos provide L with a lot of clues. Before she and Light officially team up, she eagerly hands out information to him.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Misa starts out wearing her hair in either Girlish Pigtails or Baby Spice pigtails (as pictured above), to go with her Elegant Gothic Lolita clothes and her job as a cutesy Japanese actress/model/Idol Singer. After six years as Light's live-in girlfriend and the second Kira, her acting career is becoming more serious (she gets a part in a Hollywood movie), so she starts dressing in tamer, preppier clothes and wearing her hair straight and loose, in order to look older and more mature. However, after she gives up ownership of her Death Note and all memories related to it and quits her job in anticipation of marrying Light, with her now Locked Out of the Loop while he does his thing, she becomes increasingly lonely and bored, and eventually goes back to the way she looked when she first met Light, like nothing ever changed.
  • Expy: Shares quite a few similarities with Harley Quinn.
  • Extreme Doormat: Misa would do anything for Light.
  • The Fashionista: Justified because she's an idol; Misa is often shown shopping, reading magazines, applying make-up, and so on.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Misa is heavily implied to be the one who cooks and cleans after the timeskip, when Light and Misa move in together; a strip from the omake extras released in the thirteenth volume explicitly shows her doing some fancy cooking while Light reads a newspaper.
  • Femme Fatale: In the Yotsuba arc.
  • First Name Basis: With pretty much everyone.
  • Foot Focus: There's a shot of her striped-stocking feet during Light and L's sparring match when she accidentally steps into a cake she was eating.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her family was murdered right in front of her! And she's lived either alone or with only Rem for company in the year since their deaths. No wonder she takes Light up on his offer to have her move in with him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Debatable, but in the last few legs of the first season and then for the whole of the second season, Misa is associated with the Kira Taskforce and tolerated by them only because of her connection to Light. Aizawa, Ide, Soichiro, and Mogi never voice their opinion about the situation, but they never do seem quite happy with the idea of Misa following them around everywhere they go.
  • Genius Ditz: She has enough smarts to channelize her child-like charm into her very successful model and Idol Singer career. Also, she figures out how to expose Higuchi as the Yotsuba Kira to the police without revealing Rem's presence. She's actually quite clever, she's just more energetic and not as smart as the downright superhuman Light and L. If she didn't ogle Light so much, she could get her head in the game.
    • Some would argue that Misa has very good instincts. She taps right into Light's desire to control and use people from the very first time they meet, and her submissiveness gains her exactly what she wants (i.e. for Light to be her boyfriend). With just a little help from Rem Misa blackmails the most dangerous man on the planet into getting what she wants. Successfully.
    • Misa follows the situation more closely than she seems to. For example, there's a scene in the manga after the timeskip where, after Misa points out something Light hadn't gotten to yet and Light tells her to go to bed, Light thinks to himself that Misa was right.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She loses them in the second arc, as a sign of her maturation from a giggly idol to a serious actress. Notably, when she gives up her memories of being the second Kira (and, therefore, a significant portion of the last four years of her life), she stops wearing preppy, classic clothes and her hair loose, and goes back to the Baby Spice pigtails and Elegant Gothic Lolita costumes.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Subverted. Her character fits the Blondes Are Evil archetype, but it can be argued that her blonde hair is supposed to give her the appearance of innocence. In reality, she's just blissfully ignoring the consequences of her actions- even halving her natural lifespan.
    • Interestingly, when we see her nearly killed and then saved by Gelus in Rem's flashback, she has black hair (considering that she's Japanese, this is probably her normal color). When she makes her appearance as the second Kira and later as The Dragon / Dark Mistress for Light, she's blonde.
  • Happiness in Slavery: She willingly volunteers herself to do anything for Light, and seems to never have a problem with it. Even after Light overwhelms her with work for him and yells at her in anger, she still beams when he walks into the room.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: She is shown drinking a few times in the second arc.
  • Harmful to Minors: Her parents were murdered right in front of her. She breaks down in tears when she tells Light about it.
  • Hello, Nurse!: In addition to being very popular with the boys, Misa wears a nurse's outfit once, as a disguise.
  • Hero Secret Service:
    Misa: (swooning) I would gladly die if it were for you, Light!
    Light: (sweat-dropping) We just met.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Towards Light.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Even during those times when she claims she understands that Light doesn't give a damn about her, she still swoons for him.
  • Housewife: What she really wants, more than anything, is to be Light's wife. When he tells her to quit her job, she immediately asks if it's so they can get married.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: She's from Kansai.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: She wears color contacts to work (and, curiously, when she first confronts Light), but her eyes are naturally brown.
  • Interrupted Suicide: When Misa is Bound and Gagged she tries to kill herself by biting her own tongue when Rem refuses to kill her at her request, and L has Watari gag her to keep her from doing so. Sadly the next time she tries suicide at the end of the story she succeeds, according to the mangaka.
  • Jack the Ripoff: She claims to be Kira to get Light's attention, killing off several people in precisely the same manner. However unlike Light, who tries to be subtle in his methods. Misa's way too bombastic in her approach and leaves too many clues for L to rightfully suspect her. If Light hadn't agreed to take her on and orchestrated to make her look innocent, she would've been locked away permanently the first time she was caught.
  • Karma Houdini: In the live action movies. However, this has a brilliant explanation: the police couldn't convict her without exposing the existence of the Death Note. Plus with the Note's destruction, she won't remember having ever been Kira, or having used the notebook.
  • Kawaiiko: Yes, although in most of her appearances it only serves to add to her sheer creepiness.
  • Kill the Cutie: By way of Driven to Suicide after Light's death.
  • Kitsch Collection: Misa's room which is filled with candles, religious memorabilia, and creepy dolls and things that look like they came out of Hot Topic.
  • Knight Templar: Misa is as willing as Light and Mikami to fight evil for a New World.
  • Ms. Fanservice: That wardrobe of hers. Many viewers wish they were Light, if only for the sake of Misa.
  • Mysterious Woman: Misa shows up out of the blue on Light's doorstep, in a little black dress with a killer notebook and a god of death, and simply introduces herself, saying that she came because she thought that he might be worried that she would go to the police instead. Light looks wary and rather unnerved, but - and without knowing anything else about her (besides the fact that she is responsible for Ukita's deaths, among others) - he invites her in.
  • Namedar: Misa has the eyes.
  • The Nicknamer: She is shown nicknaming Light (much to his horror and annoyance) as her Knight in shining armor or Raito-Naito, Matsuda (Matsu), Mogi (Mochi), and Aizawa (Monchichi); by the second arc, the last three all appear to treat it as normal.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: "What a beautiful way to kill!"
  • No Accounting for Taste: A number of characters express slight skepticism on Misa's relationship with Light. However, the members of the Task Force, who witness the decidedly one-way, unhealthy relationship on a daily basis, never seem to actually notice just how unlikely it is, or question its genuineness until several years down the line.
    • Perhaps they were assuming that Opposites Attract, or simply keeping out of Light's business out of respect. There is a scene in the first season where Misa, returning triumphantly from tricking the hell out of Higuchi, sits on Light's lap, and although no one actually says anything, Soichiro looks over from the background at them with a very amusing expression on his face.
  • No Place for Me There: Asked in the ending of "Misa no Uta" ("Misa's Song).
  • No Sense of Personal Space: She hugs and clings to Light, Ryuk, Rem, and Mogi.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: She spends much of her time in the first arc going about her job, teasing Light and L, reading magazines, playing with her make-up and hair, and being grudgingly tolerated by the taskforce. No one takes her seriously: Aizawa forcefully throws her out of the room solely because she's being annoying, L mocks her, and the others tend to just ignore her. And then Light's master plan comes full circle and Misa finds herself being appointed as the criminal-killer for the time being. Thrilled to be of service, she dresses up in a beautiful black dress and goes for a walk, singing sweetly ... while murdering the guilty. And some of those deaths are pretty gruesome.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes. She's at least smarter than she acts most of the time.
    • In the Yotsuba arc, at least in the manga, when she's in the car with Higuchi and later talking to Light and L, you can see her calculating her actions and reactions quite calmly in her mind.
  • Obliviously Evil: She seems to genuinely believe that she's a good person doing the right thing. Or at least the justified, necessary thing in the service of the person she loves the most.
  • The Obstructive Love Interest: Especially early on. "You're my boyfriend now! Squee! I have the following demands..."
  • Odd Friendship: Most obviously with L, though the extent to which theirs is a "friendship" is negotiable. However, by she second arc, she's actually won over Mogi, a man her polar opposite, and the two seem quite close.
    • Mello even says that she appears to be his girlfriend.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: She wears one to try to get Light's attention; unfortunately for her, it doesn't work.
  • Older Than They Look: She's 19 at the start of the series though she looks younger than the 17 year old Light. Lampshaded when a character (in the second arc, no less) believes her to be a teenage girl between 14 and 20 years old. She happens to be in her twenties at that particular point.
  • The Ophelia: Cute? Check. Insane? check. Puts on pretty dresses and murders people? Definitely.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Her parents were killed right in front of her.
  • Overt Operative: Misa is famous and so her face is everywhere. If anyone else has the Shinigami eyes she'd be the first to be discovered. That's why Light has her suddenly quit the movie in the second arc when the mafia gets a hold of the notebook and the eyes.
  • Panty Shot: Lampshaded by Light's little sister, of all people.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her Freudian Excuse, as explained above.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: "I wanted that man to pay for what he did!"
  • Perky Female Minion: She's been seen giggling and clapping her hands while Light plots.
  • Perky Goth: Her attire, especially earlier in the series.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Don't let her sweetness and good cheer, however genuine, fool you. She's just as dangerous as any other Kira.
  • Pillow Pistol: She keeps her Death Note hidden under her mattress.
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: In some scenes (when you can hear her thoughts), she comes across as quite calculating. In others, she comes across as downright ditzy. Also, she seems to bounce between being thoughtful and solemn when contemplating her role as the second Kira (the best example would be the scene in which she sings "Misa no Uta" and pauses to look sadly out over the horizon) to being cheerful and enthusiastic about it all.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: She serves as the humorous element in some of the darker scenes, albeit not to the same extent as Ryuk.
  • Poisonous Friend: She cheers Light on in his quest, and supports him wholeheartedly. This does not help Light's problems in the least.
  • Psycho for Hire: Basically how Light uses her throughout the series. Even better, since she loves him, she's a Psycho for Hire who works for free.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Type D. She acts like a sweet and perky child, despite her madness.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Depicted with this sometimes, such as on the Volume 4 manga cover, although most of the time her hair is medium-length.
  • Samus is a Girl: Light and the investigators assume the Second Kira to be male. L also refers to the Second Kira as a "he" (though L might have known sooner considering he is L and had access to physical evidence; he could have just decided not to reveal the gender so as not to give Light any clues.)
  • Satellite Love Interest: An interesting illustration of this trope. It's certainly possible to picture her without Light — we see her before they meet, and she's clever and dangerous. But after they meet, she'd rather die than live any kind of life without him.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic Girl to Light's Savvy Guy.
  • Secret Keeper: Even while under L's Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Selective Obliviousness: To the nth degree. There is a major disconnect between Misa's personality and her actions, and it's safe to say that the full impact of what she does is something that she simply does not understand. (The anime at least gives her one sequence of contemplation, but it's implied at best.) There is another major disconnect between how she views those around her and what their actions are; the best example would be her adoration of Light, which continues in spite of all that Light does, but her friendship with L, who had her tortured in an earlier episode, is another.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest: Immediately after meeting Light, Misa declares herself to be "his girlfriend."
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Misa evokes quite a lot of sympathy from Kira's pursuers, considering all she has done.
    • She gains sympathy from the audience, too. Very few people will understand wanting to reign as a God over a New World, which costs Light points on the popularity front. Far more of those watching will identify with Misa's grief over losing her family and her heartfelt desire to support and help the person she loves, which is essentially what she is trying to accomplish during the story.
  • Terms of Endangerment: After just meeting Light she starts calling him cutesy nicknames like "Light-darling" or "Raito-Naito."
    • Note that this takes place right after Light thinks to himself that Misa could kill him if he refuses her.
  • The Beard: Becomes Light's official girlfriend (and in the manga, fiance), but he keeps her around only to make him look "normal" enough to not be Kira. She knows this, too, and hopes she can make him actually love her.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Played for terrible tragedy.
  • Third-Person Person: Mercifully, this was omitted for the most part in the English translation of the manga, and completely eliminated in the English dub of the anime.
  • Together in Death: Misa kills herself not very long after Light dies. In the anime, shots of Misa committing suicide are shown alongside shots of Light dying.
  • Unequal Pairing: She swears complete devotion to Light, assuring him that he can use her as he wishes and that he can kill her if he sees fit. Light, of course, with that raging god complex of his, views her merely as a pawn; although he has a few moments when he seems almost fond of her (usually when she's just been extremely useful), they don't last long and he quite coldly contemplates killing her throughout the series.
    • Interestingly enough, though, this also gets played back the opposite way early on. Misa forces Light to make her his girlfriend; he has little to no choice in the matter, because Rem will kill him if he attempts to off her, and he needs Misa close and controlled to protect his identity of Kira; and he also considers that Misa could kill him otherwise.
  • The Unfettered: Her goal is to help Light. She will do anything to further that goal.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Light; they are engaged in the second arc.
  • Unkempt Beauty: After she was released from captivity, she spent her next scene in white pj's, without makeup and with her hair down (more or less like this). More than one viewer thought she looked quite nice like that.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Had her parents not been killed one year prior to the series, she would've possibly grown into the same cheerful and sweet Idol Singer she is... only without the Ax-Crazy Yandereness.
  • Villainous BSOD: Suffers this in The Last Name after Sayu calls her a murderer.
  • Villain Song: "Misa no Uta", sung while she's killing people, no less.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Besides literally going shopping with Mogi, Misa is shown having tea with Light's family, scolding Ryuk to stay and help her with the cleaning, and going about her daily job as a model and actress.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Misa is eager to kill for Light's sake. "So just take me to where L is and I'll write his name down!"
  • Walking Techbane: In the manga Misa is no good with computers or technology and L mocks the poor quality of the Second Kira tapes. In the anime Misa is shown purchasing Light's personal information online.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the manga, Misa has a cat, which is shown briefly curled up next to her while she looks up Light on the internet. This cat is neither seen nor mentioned again.
    • She also mentioned once that she duped a friend of hers into touching the videos she would later send out to the task force to throw them off her trail and have her friend arrested instead. She also suggested killing said friend if Light felt it necessary to tie up loose ends. One wonders if said friend was caught or not.
    • The manga mentions that Misa has a sister still living in Kansai as a plot point but she doesn't even get Nominal Importance and after that it's never mentioned again. It's unclear if the sister actually exists or not.
    • She herself is last seen in her new hotel room when Light calls her (for the last time while he's alive) and doesn't appear in the epilogue of the manga. Ohba admitted in How to Read that he couldn't find a way to include her in the final chapter and confirmed that she dies about a year after Light's death, most likely by suicide.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Used to avoid attracting attention while tracking down Light and later Higuchi.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Her parents were taken away from her. Her mind completely broke. You know what happened next.
  • Yandere: Misa loves Light obsessively, and has shown herself to be ready and willing to kill her competition.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: The Second Kira's standard uniform.