Warning! Unmarked spoilers ahead!
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Voiced by: Naoya Uchida (JP), Chris Britton (EN), Juan Carlos Gustems (Spain), José Lavat (Latin America), Takeshi Kaga (films)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.
- Badass Mustache: In the manga and anime; in the live action films and TV drama, he's clean-shaven.
- By-the-Book Cop: While he admires L's skills as a detective, he's uncomfortable with some of his methods, which often involve willingly sacrificing lives to Kira. As an example, in the films, when L pulls off his scheme with Lind L. Tailor, Soichiro becomes angry that L sacrificed a prisoner for that reason.
- Car Fu: Ramming a TRUCK into a building.
- The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: He admits that he has trouble looking at the case objectively when his own son becomes the main suspect.
- Cool Old Guy: Well, sort of. He's not even as old as fifty when the story starts and barely in his mid-fifties when he dies, but he has a heart attack quite early on in the Kira investigation while his son is a suspect and never recovers fully after that point, though he is repeatedly prevented from resigning from the Task Force either by L or his own stubbornness, depending on the context. Hence, he comes to look "old" even when speaking strictly he isn't.
- He's certainly got the coolness covered, though. What do you do when the Second Kira is lurking outside killing anyone who tries to get into Sakura TV to prevent the airing of a message on the news that threatens the innocent? Smash through the studio's door with your van and threaten the producer at gunpoint, of course! And he does all of it after leaving the hospital where he had been admitted for a heart attack just days prior.
- Deadly Upgrade: Yes, that one.
- Driven to Suicide: In the TV drama, wherein he writes his own name in the book after discovering Light is Kira.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It's certainly no coincidence that the most noble character arguably gets the happiest ending. Though in-story, Ryuk says he got to die happy because he refused to use the Death Note.
- Expy: He bears a certain resemblance to Commissioner Gordon of Batman, which is compounded by his overall attitude to his work as well as his working relationship with L being not dissimilar to Gordon and Batman.
- A Father to His Men: He comes off as something of a father figure to the other task force members, or at least Matsuda.
- Good Is Not Nice: He pulls a gun on both Demegawa and Light.
- Later still he makes the trade for Shinigami Eyes and attempts to write Mello's name into the notebook, only failing to write said name in full because Mello asks him if he's ever killed a person before, leading to a moment of hesitance which proves his undoing.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: in the live action movies Soichiro lights up a cigarette while stressing out over the Kira case.
- Happily Married: To Sachiko. Not the lovey-dovey kind, but the strength of their marriage is extremely moving. Ultimately tragic when you consider what becomes of him in the end.
- Heroic Sacrifice: While he didn't know that he was going to die when he did, he knew that his days were numbered by making the eye trade. Also, he believed that he was going to die within thirteen days if he actually did manage to write Mello's full name (he failed to do it, but he was prepared to do it).
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: A rare adult version of the Trope. Moral, upstanding, and never giving sway to any temptation. In How To Read, his strongest attribute was his integrity. When given a chance to kill Mello using the Death Note, at the cost of his own life. Ryuk remarks that if he'd used the Death Note he'd have been doomed to unhappiness, and in a way, he was happy dying thinking his son wasn't Kira.
- Leeroy Jenkins: When Mello kidnaps Sayu. "Plan? There's no time for that!"
- Let Them Die Happy: He dies happily convinced that Light isn't Kira. Sadly averted in the live-action movies, where Soichiro is Spared by the Adaptation and fully aware of Light's crimes.
- Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: His reaction to the suggestion that Light may be Kira.
- Married to the Job: In the TV drama, his frequent absence from home due to work, combined with the fact that he was not present during Sachiko's death, puts a strain on his relationship with Light, which is amplified by the fact that Light must act as a father figure to Sayu.
- The McCoy: In contrast to L's Spock and Memoryless!Light's Kirk during the Yotsuba arc.
- Not a Game: Da Chief is fond of this Catch Phrase. He scolds Matsuda for his enthusiasm a few times, expresses disgust at how Kira is "playing with people's lives as if it were just a game!" and he says this word for word in the live action movie to L.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: All of the time spent with his son, Light.
- Only Sane Man: During the Yotsuba arc, in a group that includes L's utter lack of social skills, Aizawa's temper, Matsuda's kookiness, the uncertainty of Light's might-be-a-serial-killer status, Mogi's silence, and Misa's flirtatious childishness, Soichiro seems to be the only one keeping everything sane.
- Outliving One's Offspring: In the live-action films and musical, Light dies before he does.
- Overprotective Dad: You all saw his face when Matsuda asked if Sayu had a boyfriend.
- Papa Wolf: Towards Light and Sayu, all the way.
- The Paragon: He's the only truly good person in this series.
- Parental Favoritism: A minor example; while he doesn't completely dismiss the possibility that Light is Kira (and he is, though Soichiro goes to his grave never finding this out), he is adamant that Sayu couldn't possibly be Kira.
- Parents as People: He has his flaws, and expresses worry about how these may have affected his two kids.
- Prematurely Grey-Haired: He starts greying at an alarmingly fast rate from the moment he begins to work on the Kira case. Especially obvious in the first arc, where about a third of his hair turns grey in a couple of episodes, way too fast for it to be caused by simple aging. Until about episode 10, his hair is pitch black.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: When somebody suggests that Sayu and Matsuda might be getting married.
- See You in Hell: While pretending to kill Light as part of a plan by L to determine whether Light or Misa is responsible.
Soichiro: Light, my son. From one murderer to another, I'll see you in hell.
- Spared by the Adaptation
- The Live-Action Movies. Early Japanese promotional blurbs for Light Up the New World state that he had died some time later, but this is never addressed in the movie itself.
- The 2nd Relight Special. It's vaguely implied he's dead ("Whenever things get tough I just remember my father.") but his death is never shown or mentioned.
- He also gets to survive in the musical.
- Technical Pacifist: He "has never actually taken a life before" despite having risen all the way to the top of Japan's police force (Truth in Television as the NPA are the desk jockeys of Japan's police force.)
- When He Smiles: Soichiro's pretty stoic for the most part, but when he does smile, you easily forget the intensity overshadowing the entire series.
- Workaholic: He admits he doesn't see his family that much because he's always working.
Voiced by: Ryo Naitou (JP), Vincent Tong (EN), David Jenner (Spain), Alfredo Leal (Latin America), Sota Aoyama (films)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.
- Action Survivor: Survives the entire series.
- Adorkable: His incompetence is balanced out by his goofiness and boundless enthusiasm.
- 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: 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. It's 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.
- Broken Pedestal: He idolized Light, and completely fell apart upon The Reveal that Light is Kira.
- Bromantic Foil: Seems to see himself as this to Light, teasing him about all of his romantic endeavors.
- 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: He's quick to break and very emotional, but he can be surprisingly bold when the chips are down.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You gotta wait a long time for him to reveal it but it's there.
- A Day in the Limelight: He gets an episode to himself during the Yotsuba arc.
- Death by Adaptation: Is killed by Yuki Shien in Death Note: Light Up the New World.
- 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.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: He briefly sports these in the anime ending, after seeing Light's true colors, and while the rest of the Task Force tried in vain to prevent Mikami from dying. They return to normal when he spots Light trying to escape.
- 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, Brute?: 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Revenge: 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.
- Ridiculously Average Guy: While he's a bit of a space case, Matsuda is overall a completely ordinary guy who's in way over his depth in the Kira case.
- 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.
- Shipper on Deck: Gets very excited whenever Light is dating a new girl.
- Ship Tease: With Sayu, though Soichiro is quick to shoot it down when it comes up.
- 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.
- You, Get Me Coffee: According to L, this is the only way he can 'pull his weight'.
Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (JP), Trevor Devall (EN), Paco Gázquez (Spain), Carlo Vásquez (Latin America), Tatsuhito Okuda (films)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.
- 10-Minute Retirement: To spend time with his family.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 theme 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 build 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.
Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai (JP), John Murphy (EN), Luis Grau (Spain), Alejandro Mayén (Latin America), Shin Shimizu (films)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.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Enjoys himself a little too much when screwing with Yotsuba Kira.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the live-action movies.
- Death Faked for You: In the manga; Near holds him hostage and tells the Kira Taskforce that he's died of a heart attack in order to give one of the Taskforce members an incentive to come forward... it works.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Whenever he's babysitting Misa.
- Large Ham: As Mochi the Manager.
- Odd Friendship: With Aiber and Misa.
- The Quiet One: Near finds this out.
Voiced by: Hideo Ishikawa (JP), Brian Dobson (EN), Ángel de Gracia (Spain), Jorge Ornelas (Latin America)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.
- Big Damn Heroes: Along with Aizawa he gets the police organized in order to assist with the arrest of Higuchi.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He joins the Kira task force to work with Aizawa.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He leaves the Taskforce prior to meeting L in person. He comes back to help catch Higuchi and stays for the second arc.
Voiced by: Hidenobu Kiuchi (JP), Jeremy From (EN), Ramón Hernández (Spain), Miguel Ángel Leal (Latin America), Ikuji Nakamura (films)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.
- 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.
Voiced by: Kiyoshi Kobayashi (JP), French Tickner (EN), Félix Benito (Spain), Rafael Turia (Spain, movies), Carlos Del Campo (Latin America), Shunji Fujimura (films)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.
- Age Lift: Is slightly younger in the TV drama than in the manga and anime.
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: In his first appearance.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Owns/Runs a Tykebomb producing institution. It's hinted in the light novel that he experimented on children.
- Expy: Of Alfred Pennyworth. Fitting, since L bears notable similarities to Batman.
- Large Ham: In the TV drama, he behaves like a flamboyant gameshow host.
- Mysterious Past: Something about a world war and being a famous inventor?
- Nice Hat: Wears one along with his Conspicuous Trenchcoat.
- Parental Substitute: For L.
- Race Lift: A white Englishman in the manga and anime, he's Japanese in the films and TV drama. The 2017 film has him played by biracial Japanese-American actor Paul Nakauchi.
- Spared by the Adaptation: He doesn't die in the TV drama.
- Unflappable Guardian: Nothing L does seems to surprise him.
Voiced by: Miki Nagasawa (JP), Venus Terzo (EN), Graciela Molina (Spain), Nallely Solís (Latin America)A thief L hires to assist in infiltrating Yotsuba. Her real name is Mary Kenwood.
- Anti-Hero: She is a professional catburglar under the employment of L.
- Biker Babe: Weaponized by Light. In the anime version she seems to suffer a heart attack while driving her motorcycle, only crashing after dying.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Word of God say that Wedy has the "stereotypical female spy look".
- Cool Shades: She wears sunglasses.
- Highly Visible Ninja: Bright PINK!
- Ice Queen: The How to Read Volume rates her "Bitchiness" at 10/10. Although in the US translation, it's read as "Sex Appeal."
- Spell My Name with an "S": In the anime, when we see her real name written down by Light when he's killing her with the Death Note, her first name is spelled "Merrie" and not Mary.
Voiced by: Takuya Kirimoto (JP), David Orth (EN), Daniel Del Roble (Latin America)A Con Man L hires to assist in infiltrating Yotsuba.
- Affably Evil: Criminal activities aside, he's a decent guy.
- Alternate Continuity: Although Light kills him with the Death Note in both the manga and the anime, the cause of death is different in each continuity: liver cancer in the manga, a heart attack in the anime.
- Anti-Hero: A self-admitted con artist who's brought in to stop Kira.
- Boxed Crook: According to the manga, he works for L because he has enough on him to send him away for life.
- Doesn't Like Guns: But he knows how to use them if really necessary.