Characters: Death Note Supporting Characters
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The youngest and most inexperienced member of the Japanese Task Force, Matsuda was Soichiro Yagami's protege before the series started and is the only member of the force to both consistently believe in Light's innocence and even show some sympathy towards Kira's cause. Unlike his teammates, he prefers not to do things 'by the book', instead taking risks -which is often heavily criticized by his colleagues.
Along with Mogi, he is the only member of the Japanese Task Force to see the Kira case through from start to finish, with no breaks: Light joined late; Ukita, Soichiro, L, Watari, Wedy and Aiber die; and Ide and Aizawa both quit briefly
.Besides Near and a few of the other task force members, Matsuda is one of the few characters that survives the events of the anime/manga. The manga epilogue shows that he continues to work as a member of the police, but he still does not wish to believe that Light was Kira, and suspects that Near was involved in Mikami's death.
Tropes associated with Matsuda:
- Action Survivor: Survives the entire series.
- Ascended Extra: One of many police officers starting out and becomes more important in the second arc.
- Audience Surrogate: He's the character most unsure about Kira's morality. Less centrally, in several scenes he is also the one to express annoyance or confusion over things such as L's odd behavior (the cell phone scene comes to mind) and L's and Light's rather obscure back-and-forths.
- Badass in Distress: When he gets caught infiltrating Yotsuba, he handles the situation with a surprising level of competence. He comes up with a believable reason for being there, manages to Xanatos Speed Chess his way into a situation where he can get in contact with L, and successfully fakes his own death to avoid being killed.
- Berserk Button: Insulting Soichiro, as Light finds out:
(To Light) "What about your dad, what the hell did he die for?!"
- Berserker Tears: He weeps openly as he shoots Light up.
- Beware the Honest Ones: Note to megalomanical serial killers, honest cops do not like it when you sneer at their idealism.
- Beware the Nice Ones/Beware the Silly Ones: He's the one that stops Light from writing Near's name by shooting his hand, followed by shooting the rest of him, and would have killed Light had the others not intervened. And to think he was the only one that sympathized with Kira.
- Bishōnen: While not nearly on the level of Light or Mikami, Matsuda remains boyishly handsome in his thirties. Unlike the other two, who are meant to be attractive, Matsuda's looks are meant to emphasize his childishness and naivety.
- Black Shirt: Interestingly, Light sees him this way. When he shoots Light to keep him from killing Near, Light is flabbergasted. Out of everyone, he expected Matsuda to side with him.
- Probably helped by the fact that Light didn't tell Mikami to spare Matsuda during the final confrontation. Major over sight there, Light.
- Break the Cutie: He might be kinda dumb, but is more or less a nice person who tries his best even if it doesn't work. Then, the poor guy has his idealism, mentors, and self-esteem slowly demolished throughout the series. The biggest example is in the final episode, where his idolising of Light is torn apart with the final confirmation that he is Kira. He actually shoots Light in the most heart-wrenching scene in the anime.
- Brown Eyes: He's honest and hardworking but dim.
- Butt Monkey: The other characters - Aizawa, L, Light - tend to make disparaging comments about Matsuda.
- Captain Obvious: The most egregious moment being during his interview with Sakura TV, right after Higuchi writes down the alias planted at Yoshida Productions.
Matsuda: Kira is a cold-blooded murderer. I can't forgive him for what he's done.
- Character Development: Begins the series honestly believing that Kira may be right to kill all of the evil people in the world. In the finale, after barely restraining his Berserker Rage, he acknowledges that killing Light wouldn't make the world any better and attempts to put him to justice, living up to Soichiro's refusal to kill and ultimately shining a brighter light on whether or not true goodness can actually prevail.
- Chekhov's Gun: The ending isn't the only time he pulls a gun - he's a pretty good shot. Of the task force members, he's the most likely to do so.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be yellow.
- Cowardly Lion
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You gotta wait a long time for him to reveal it but it's there.
- A Day In The Lime Light: He gets an episode to himself during the Yotsuba arc.
- Distress Ball: During the Yotsuba arc when he jepordizes the investigation.
- The Ditz: Matsuda is a normal guy, if a little goofy and impressionable; his contrast with the likes of L and Light is very obvious.
- Dumbass Has a Point: His theory in the manga epilogue chapter. He suggests that Near used the notebook to control Mikami to make sure Mikami and Light would make no changes to the plan at the Warehouse. In short, Near cheated. While we never learn for sure if he's right, and Ide is not convinced, the fact that "Near cheats" and is the "more dishonest" of him and Mello is confirmed by Word of God.
- Et Tu, Light? Fits his reaction to Light revealed as Kira. He trusted Light.
- The reverse is true as well. Light figured no one in the Task Force would join him, except maybe Matsuda. He is stunned when Matsuda puts five bullet holes in him.
- Exact Eavesdropping: When he's investigating Yotsuba. This is justified because he knew what time period the Yotsuba Kira was active.
- Faking the Dead: In order to continue the investigation against the Yotsuba Kira.
- Fanboy: Towards L, Light, Misa, and, from afar, Kiyomi.
- Fearless Fool: Matsuda just kind of assumes that things will work out well.
- Foil: To Light and L.
- Good Is Not Soft: This Nice Guy will shoot you if you cross the line.
- Greek Chorus
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Believes himself to be this with Light, who plays along when it suits him. Considering his relationship with Soichiro, they've most likely known each other for quite some time.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He adores Misa and, later, Kiyomi, and supports Light completely, even when the rest of the task force begins to turn against him. The only one that he believes is innocent is Light, and that's mostly rooted in three things: the fact that they're similar, the fact that they're friends, and Soichiro Yagami being like a father to him. Like Aizawa said, it's not that it was impossible, but that they didn't want to believe it when they thought of the Chief. It was even worse with Matsuda because they were even closer friends.
- I Am Spartacus: In the manga, Mello demands to know the identity of the second L so that he can kill him if the trade for the notebook goes south, threatening to kill Sayu if they don't comply. Matsuda saves Light and his dad from that dilemma by hijacking the keyboard and telling Mello that he's a stand in for L.
- Idiot Hero: He certainly fits this, having the lowest intelligence-related scores of the investigative team.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He's shown more than once over the course of the series to be something of a crack shot
- Just Trying to Help: The poor guy...
- Leeroy Jenkins: During the Yotsuba arc L warns the others, "Be sure not to act impulsively out of panic or haste." Matsuda didn't get the memo. His "unpredictability" rating is 10/10.
- Let's Get Dangerous: During the Yotsuba arc, Sayu's kidnapping, and the task force's raid on Mello's hideout, Matsuda demonstrates an ability to get down to business. He closes the series by shooting and fatally wounding Light .
- The Matchmaker: He always seemed to want Misa and Light to be together; later, when Light "investigates" Kiyomi Takada, he's enthusiastic about it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Done in understatement at the end of Relight 2, after finding Light's body.
- Nepotism: The manga explains that this is why he has a job despite being more or less incompetent at it.
- Nice Guy: When Mr. and Mrs. Yagami say he can't start a relationship with Sayu it's because he's a cop and not because of any moral failing.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gives one to Light at the end of the series.
- Not So Different: Among the most honest characters, in that he admits that he "can think like Kira, too."
- Phrase Catcher: "Matsuda, you idiot!"
- Plucky Comic Relief: Matsuda is one of the characters who eagerly engages in joking and teasing.
- When Near offers to write Mello's name in the notebook, he's the only one who says to go for it, since Mello indirectly killed Soichiro.
- He didn't shoot Light for being Kira. He did it because Light insulted and mocked Soichiro, who had been Matsuda's hero.
- Self-Deprecation: In the I Am Spartacus above, he tells Mello that he's kind of an idiot, even if he's standing in for L.
- Ship Tease: With Sayu. Also for some reason he gets really excited about Light dating Misa and Takada.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: After shooting Light, he demands to ask what Soichiro died for. Light says he's trying to create a world in which people like his father won't die as fools, but Matsuda angrily objects to how he views his father
- The Slacker: "All you ever do is watch TV." The thirteenth volume explains that he dislikes slow and steady work.
- Suicidal Gotcha: He falls off of a building for L's plan.
- True Companions: To the Yagami family. He's a family friend and Souichiro has him over at their house before the events of the Kira case. Souichiro is his Mentor, he crushes on Sayu, and he is enthusiastic (almost to an unhealthy degree) about everything Light does explaining his rampage when learning that Light is Kira.
- Unstoppable Rage: At the end. Considering the living hell Light Yagami put the poor guy through, some would rate this as Matsuda's finest moment.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Aizawa, who's always yelling at him.
- The Watson: He asks the questions which contributes to everyone thinking he's an idiot.
- Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: During the Yotsuba arc when L mentions that they need someone who Kira will think he can kill easily.
- Who's Laughing Now?: He's done with being the Butt Monkey and ends up shooting Light.
- You, Get Me Coffee: According to L, this is the only way he can 'pull his weight'.
Light's father and the police chief initially in charge of the Kira investigation team operating under L. When L begins to suspect Light of being Kira, Soichiro is unwilling to believe his son would be capable of such a thing. He was originally envisioned as an "honest police officer with a strong sense of justice" so that the reader "would have to feel sorry for everything he has to go through", and according to Word of God
, he is the only truly "pure" character. Over the course of the series, he changes visibly by losing weight and aging poorly, particularly during his and Light's confinement. After L's death, he is sent to retrieve the Death Note stolen by Mello by obtaining Shinigami Eyes and infiltrating Mello's hideout. He retrieves the notebook and learns Mello's real name by looking at him face to face through the Eyes, but is unable to kill him, and as he argues with Mello he is repeatedly shot by one of Mello's men that he assumed was dead, and is afterwards buried in rubble from an explosion set off by Mello. Because Light had given up ownership of his Death Note, making his lifespan visible above his head, Soichiro dies believing that Light is not Kira, thus maintaining the Shinigami proverb that humans possessed by Shinigami meet misfortune but- as observed by Ryuk- subverting the other one that maintains they die in misery. However, in the movie he is alive and present when Light is revealed as Kira - even holding him in his arms as he dies - but keeps his identity secret from his family.
Tropes associated with Soichiro Yagami:
L's guardian/butler/servant that contacts the police organizations of the world on his behalf. He is killed along with L by Rem.
Real name is Quillsh Wammy
Tropes associated with Watari:
Another member of the Japanese task force and eventually head of the NPA.
He quits for a while when he wants to put his family first, but he eventually comes back. He's basically the smartest of the non-geniuses (Light, L, Near, Mello, etc.) and after L's death, he takes up the charge as the member of the Task Force most suspicious of Light.
Tropes associated with Aizawa:
- 10-Minute Retirement: To spend time with his family.
- Action Survivor
- Ascended Extra
- Audience Surrogate: By virtue of not being a super genius yet also being smart enough to realize Light's Kira, he's the character who comes closest to being in the audience's position.
- Badass Longcoat: Begins wearing one in the second half.
- Big Damn Heroes: Along with Ide he gets the police organized in order to assist with the arrest of Higuchi.
- The Bus Came Back: He leaves the task force for a while during the Yotsuba Arc because he doesn't feel like he can bring himself to quit the police force in order to continue with the Kira investigation, and is then absent for several episodes. His triumphant return comes when he's the leader of the cop car blockade that helps stop Higuchi.
- Changed My Mind, Kid
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be green.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Aizawa comes into work one day with a bandaged head. When asked about it, he says he and his wife were in a fight, and the other men barely register that he's been physically injured by his wife.
- Failed a Spot Check: JUST misses seeing Light and Naomi Misora together.
- Fan Nickname: AfroCop
- A Father to His Men: This dynamic is seen in the way he scolds Matsuda, the loyalty he inspires with rest of the police force, and in Relight 2 he shows an almost fatherly concern for Light after Souichiro dies.
- Funny Afro
- Greek Chorus
- Hair-Trigger Temper: And rather highly strung.
- I Have a Family: He does honestly care about catching Kira, but ultimately puts the well-being of his family first.
- Important Haircut: He loses the afro in the second arc.
- Inspector Lestrade
- My God, What Have I Done?: Done in understatement at the end of Relight 2 after finding Light's body.
- Red Herring Shirt: While both he and Matsuda are Ascended Extras, Matsuda can immediately be recognized as a Foil to both Light and L, thus giving him a large amount of significance in the overall moral of the show. Aizawa, on the other hand, with his plain face and suspicion of Light, seems like an obvious candidate to get killed off to billed up suspense. He is one of the only characters to survive the entire series.
- Tame His Anger: To deal with Misa Amane. It didn't work.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Because Aizawa opens up his umbrella when it begins to snow on his way back to the NPA headquarters, he just misses seeing Light and Naomi Misora together.
- Unwitting Pawn: To both L and Light's plans.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Matsuda.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He's the one willing to call out and walk out on L's extreme methods, unlike Soichiro, who whilst objecting always stays for the sake of defeating Kira.
- You Are Grounded: He sends Misa to her room, much to the relief of everyone in the show. (And a good part of the audience.)
A member of the Kira Taskforce. He and Matsuda are the only two task force members who see the case through to the end with no breaks, and is one of the few survivors in the series.
Tropes associated with Mogi:
Another member of the Kira Taskforce. He leaves early on and later returns for the third major story arc. Along with a few other people he survives the events of the series.
Tropes associated with Ide:
Another member of the Kira Taskforce. He rushes headfirst
into battle during the second Kira's stunt at Sakura TV, where he is suddenly killed outside the station. This leads L and the task force to suspect that there's another Kira who can kill with just a face.
Tropes associated with Ukita:
- Leeroy Jenkins: Drawing a gun and pointing it at the security officer at Sakura TV with the Second Kira in the area. Misa didn't kill him until he pulled the gun.
- Mauve Shirt: His character is built up in the first story arc, but despite that, he dies relatively early on into the story.
- Plucky Comic Relief: In the manga.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the Live Action movies.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: His death comes reasonably early into the series, in Episode 11, to be exact.