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Manga: Death Note

"The human whose name is written in this note shall die."
Rule #1 of the Death Note

In the land of the dead, a bored Shinigami named Ryuk decides to create some entertainment for himself by dropping a Death Note (the notebook of a death god; "note" is simply what the Japanese call notebooks) into the human world.

Light Yagami, a brilliant but disillusioned Japanese student, picks up the notebook. On a whim, he tries out the instructions held within its pages — and discovers that he can kill whomever he wants, however he wants, by writing their name and (if he so wishes) their cause of death into the Note.

While initially horrified at his actions, Light begins to think about how he could use the Death Note as a force for good — by purging the rotten criminal element of the world and punishing those beyond the reach of the law. A cult following soon arises around the mysterious assassin who kills off criminals across the country; his "fans" end up christening him "Kira"note . Kira's actions attract the attention of the international police community (who have grave concerns about the vigilante killings) and the world's greatest detective, an enigma known only as "L".

L becomes determined to solve the mystery behind Kira's identity and killing method; Light, on the other hand, soon slides further down the slippery slope when he becomes consumed by his egomaniacal "Kira" persona and his desperate need to stay one step ahead of L's investigation.

A Psychological Thriller manga with supernatural elements, Death Note (written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata) received an anime adaptation (now available on Hulu and streaming on Neon Alley) and inspired a series of Alternate Continuity live-action films (all based on, but slightly different from, the original manga).

This series has a set of character sheets and an extensive set of Headscratcher pages. Also a recap page.

These spin offs of the main series now have their own pages:

Warning: Spoilers are below.

Death Note contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Abridged Series: A pretty popular subject for them. In fact, we at TVTropes have NINE different Death Note Abridged pages (click for the index).
  • Abandoned Warehouse: The finale takes place in one.
  • Accidental Truth: In the manga, when the killings started, various tabloids put forward the Crackpot Theory that L was Kira, so it was harder for the SPK to seriously put this theory forward when it became true.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: This is an audience reaction to Ryuk, and while he didn't force Light to kill criminals he did start the plot by dropping the book in the human world.
  • Action Girl: Wedy. Naomi Misora in Another Note. Also, Hal Lidner of the SPK.
  • Actually, I Am Him: L does this when he introduces himself to Light. Light also pulls this a few times, most notably, and with the worst sense of timing, at the end.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Live-Action Adaptation streamlined the series in order to fit the entire story into two movies, and in doing so jettisoned a fair amount of the excessive plot-and-counterplot (-and-countercounterplot-and-countercountercounterplot...) that made the struggle between L and Kira look less like a series of carefully played plans and more like Gambit Roulette. It also removed the matter of L's heirs Near and Mello.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Misa has black hair in the live-action movies, while Naomi Misora goes from having black hair to brown hair.
    • Then there's Matt, whose hair came out dark greenish brown in the anime, green in some trading card art, was never established in the manga, was blue in the official game, and is bright red in most fanart.
    • Mello's eyes were pitch black in the manga (to match L and Near), but changed to blue for the anime.
    • The mafia boss Rod Ross has light skin in the manga and anime, but is dark-skinned in the DS game.
    • The "Shinigami Eyes" in the manga cause the user's eyes to become gold, with red pupils and light yellow sclerae. In the live-action version, the irises simply change to gold, while the anime depiction has the irises glow a bright red.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The series is based on a short story about a schoolboy who finds a Death Note and mistakes it for a diary. As a result, he accidentally kills his friends, until Ryuk helpfully gives him the "Death Eraser", which grants him the power to bring people back from the dead. Somewhere along the road to adapting it into a full series, the schoolboy became a mega genius with a god complex, the boring Film Noirish detective became a freakish mega genius with a sweet tooth, and the Deus ex Machina ending was replaced with plans by the bucketload, and the rest is history. The short story, however, appears as the prologue to the manga it sprouted.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: The anime omits several scenes from the manga which, while usually not problematic, have lead to plotholes. In the manga, it's explained that SPK member Ill Ratt is a spy for Mello, which is how the mafia learned the SPK's names and were able to kill them. This is not explained in the anime, but in the Relight 2 special, the mafia are cut, and Light blackmails the president to send their names to Kiyomi Takada. In this version, Light's meetings with her and Teru Mikami are moved to earlier than occurred in the anime, and they kill the SPK.
    • However, while fixing one plothole, said special creates another: as the mafia are cut, Soichiro making the trade for Shinigami Eyes and his subsequent death is omitted in the process, leaving plotholes regarding Soichiro's absence as well as how Light was able to acquire Mello's true name.
  • Adrenaline Time: During intense mental battles.
  • Adult Fear: The series pretty much runs on it.
    • Look at the way Light exploits the public mood. All along, he plays on a reactionary tendency in public opinion — people don't like crime, people don't like criminals, and so if someone's killing off the worst ones, who's really going to disapprove? Then he pushes the envelope, making his brand of vigilante justice more and more mainstream. Five years on, the whole world is rapidly moving towards a police state under one man's control, and it's driven from the beginning by corrupting people's need for safety and justice. That's scary, because that mechanism plays out in less extreme form in the news every day.
    • Powerful rich people like those of the Yotsuba corporation using the Death Note to kill off rivals for no other reason than personal gain.
    • Light finds the dangerous notebook in the schoolyard. The guy who left it lying around so that someone - here, Light - would find it? He followed Light home.
    • Another one for the parents: imagine having to seriously sit and consider that all the evidence indicates that your teenage son is the terrifyingly merciless mass-murderer you've been hunting all along, and that he will get the death penalty if sentenced. Now imagine thinking about having to go home and explain this to your wife and daughter.
    • The revelation that people who use the Death Note can neither go to heaven nor hell. At the end of the manga series, a flashback to Light and Ryuk's first meeting reveals that all people go to "mu" (nothingness) when they die, and that after death nothing can be done to bring someone back to life. In the anime, this is only shown in one of the eyecatches revealing the rules of the Death Note.
    • Everyone who uses the Death Note tends to have their personal worst fears become true. Misa ends up completely alone without anyone loving her, Mikami realizes he became what he hates so much, the vain Takada burns to death naked, Higuchi is humiliated in public and then dies like a dog and "god of the new world" Light has his philosophy coldly rejected by Near while the latter squashes an ugly doll of him, before he dies without his dignity or a shred of respect.
  • Light's philosophy is rejected by the last true friend he has left, Matsuda. He turns against Light completely in his hour of need. He is then pumped with five bullets. After he dies, everything he worked for becomes meaningless and he sees the monster he became.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Sanabi in the live-action movie.
  • A God Am I: Said by Light in the first episode no less, when talking to Ryuk about how he plans on being "the God of the new world".
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even though the villains go into He Who Fights Monsters territory, and cross the Moral Event Horizon, their tragic downfalls and deaths still feel like this trope.
    • Misa when she kills herself at the end of the anime.
    • Light in the anime. 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, when he's running away, he sees a younger version of himself (before he became Kira). Heel Realization anyone? 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.
    • Takada. Her death was really, really ugly. And even if you didn't like her (since she was an arrogant bitch), you can't help feeling a bit sorry for her due to the cruel nature of it all.
  • All According to Plan: Light's catchphrase. The most notable instance comes when he regains his memories at the end of the Yotsuba arc.
  • All Are Equal in Death: Ryuk literally says, in the English translation anyway, "Death is equal." Everyone is treated exactly the same upon death in that universe, because they all go to Mu - nothingness.
  • All Crimes Are Equal:
    • Light starts by punishing the worst criminals but later stoops to culling purse snatchers.
    • Both L and Near direct this principle towards Kira himself and refuse to acknowledge him as a hero. Justified given the above.
    • Mikami plans to start killing people for "crimes" such as laziness and being disrespectful. How Japanese of him.
  • All Deaths Final: "How to Use" states that once someone is dead, there is no bringing them back.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Played 100% straight with Sayu, Misa and Light, and later with Kiyomi Takada and Light.
    • Averted by Raye Penber and Naomi Misora, who did genuinely love each other.
    • Also Soichiro and Sachiko, and Aizawa and his wife Eriko.
  • All There in the Manual: In the manga, you have no idea what happens to Misa Amane unless you read the supplementary book, "How To Read". Averted in the movies and in the anime.
  • Alone with the Psycho:
    • Happens to Naomi Misora in the manga/anime AND in the prequel novel.
    • Towards the end of the series, Aizawa gets this feeling when he drives Light to Takada's hotel.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Kira, L, Light, Mello, Near ...
  • Alternate Character Reading: The kanji for Light's name is "tsuki", meaning "Moon", but his parents opted for it to be read as "Light" instead. Misa thinks it's cool. This is used by Light as a mechanism to attempt to gain the real name of Detective Raye Penber's girlfriend.
  • Always Save the Girl:
    • Played straight with Sayu. Light would rather give up a Note than kill her.
    • Rem forces Light to do this for Misa because doing so would kill her and get her off Light's back.
    • Averted with Takada and with Shiori in the live-action movie.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: L and his similarly brilliant/socially awkward/obsessive-compulsive/emotionally immature brethren, especially Near.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Averted in Light's Memory Gambit in the anime. In relinquishing the Death Note, he loses all memory of ever being Kira and turns genuinely upstanding and moral; apart from, you know, not mass murdering criminals, he also refuses to manipulate Misa, in contrast to his Kira self where his manipulation defined their relationship. Upon regaining his memories as Kira, however, there's no moral conflict between his "good/evil" personas, and he simply picks up right where he left off pre-amnesia.
  • Amnesiac Liar: Before the Memory Gambit, both Light and Misa are liars. After this, they are very confused by what L tells them about the situation.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Light himself when his memories of the Death Note are removed.
  • Amoral Attorney: Downplayed with Mikami Teru. He's very moral, technically, he's just an Knight Templar.
  • Animation Bump: Various episodes, notably episode 25 and episode 37.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: In the anime, Light goes so far as to hallucinate his rival, L, sitting next to him and talking to him.
  • Answers to the Name of God: When Mikami speaks to Light on the phone.
    Mikami: God!
    Light: Yes?
  • Anyone Can Die: All bets are off.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips:
    • Misa kisses L on the cheek.
    • Averted when Light does kiss Misa on the lips.
  • Apathetic Citizens: In the anime, Light's second victim was about to rape a woman in full view of a crowded street, and no one else did anything about it. Other instances include a man dying in a subway station and a woman being harassed on a train.
  • Appeal To Audacity: When Mello tells Near about the killing notebook and the Shinigami, the SPK asks Near if he could really believe such a story. He says that if Mello were lying to them, he wouldn't tell such a ridiculous story, so it must be true.
  • Appeal to Force: This is why Light thinks he has the right to be the God of the New World. He's got the Death Note, a tool of the Gods; therefore, he's got the power, and so he thinks it's his chosen duty to steer the world in the right direction.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Various characters initially refuse to accept the existence of Shinigami even after accepting the existence of a magic notebook that kills people. Before discovering the notebook, you would think people would be a lot more open-minded after it's been established that the killer can remotely induce heart attacks simply by learning the target's name and face.
    • Ryuk thinks of the fact that Light thought he came to collect his soul as "some fantasy", despite his nature being considered a fantastic concept from a human point of view.
  • Arc Number: Four Is Death. The manga has 108 chapters. Thirteen chapters in Another Note. The numbering theme in the manga was - according to Word of God - completely intentional.
  • Arch-Enemy: L is this for Light originally; later on Mello and Near take over the role.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • "Tell me, Light, from the moment you were born, has there ever been a time where you've actually told the truth?"
    • In the live-action movie, as Light calmly explains how he got Naomi to kill Shiori, Ryuk throws one at him that actually gets Light to ponder his dark actions.
    Ryuk: Well, Light... you are far more ruthless than even a Shinigami. Shiori loved you. You had her heart, but you... didn't you love her at all?
    Light: I don't know...
  • Art Evolution: In How To Read Obata discusses how he got better at drawing Light as an evil bastard during the series' progression, but then had to forget everything he'd learned during the Yotsuba Arc.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Earlier in the show, Light booby trapped his desk in order to hide the Death Note by using an electric current, and gasoline in a plastic bag. In real life however, the gasoline would dissolve the bag as it is made up of organic compounds and the gasoline contains non polar solvents.
  • Artifact of Death / Artifact of Doom: The Death Notes.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: See Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names below.
    • The FBI Agents all have names that few Americans would have. Raye Penber is the one that is the most arguably normal, and even that tends to raise eyebrows. In Death Note #13 (which is an encyclopedia about the series), the creator says this was intentional, as she wanted to use names that sounded realistic, but wouldn't actually exist. Apparently, she doesn't know that the names s/he picked don't sound realistic in the least...
    • This is even worse in the prequel novel, where it broke the tension in the worst way possible, especially when Misora had to double-check whether anyone shared the name. In fact, the only realistic name in the novel is Blackberry Brown — considering names such as Believe Bridesmaid, Backyard Bottomslash, Quarter Queen and Blues-harp Babysplit (that's S-P-L-I-T, which makes even less sense), "Blackberry Brown" really does sound normal in comparison.
  • Asshole Victim: All of Light's earliest victims are anviliciously so. (The Attempted Rape in clear view on a crowded street comes to mind. Keep in mind that the guy holding a preschool hostage was stated to be small fry compared to most of the people Light was killing that first week.) However, the bar drops quickly.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Light on the manga cover art.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Light's second kill was a member of a scooter gang who was attempting to rape a bystander (in the anime; in the manga, they just harass her).
    • Mikami Takada kills a man who is harassing a woman on a subway as a crucial part of Light's plan.
  • Attention Whore: Demegawa goes from merely praising Kira to actively using Kira to promote his own career. To no one's surprise, and to the joy of everyone both in and out of universe, Kira (in the form of Mikami) eventually gets sick of this and kills him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Almost all of the main cast does this due to the nature of the series. We have detectives, geniuses and other very smart people trying to Out Gambit each other.
  • Awful Truth: Light is Kira, and no one who finds out takes it well. Especially not Matsuda.
  • Ax-Crazy: All the Kiras qualify when they're at their worst, but especially Mikami when he gets into "sakujo" mode.
  • Backhanded Apology: Even after Light's Memory Gambit, L seemed to know that he is Kira, and "atones" with a painful foot massage.
  • Badass Mustache: Soichiro Yagami. (Except in the movie.)
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Misa and Mikami believe this. Misa once scolds Demegawa with something along the lines of, "You can't buy peace and love with money, you know!" when he falls for Near's trick with the money.
    • Matsuda struggles with this idea a bit.
    • Sochiro begins to believe this from the third volume onwards. L's response underlines it very well.
    L: If Kira is an ordinary human being who somehow gained the power, he is a very unfortunate being.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: L and the investigation team definitely believe this; even if he only targets the worst of the worst, murder is still murder and Kira is still a criminal.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: The mock execution is a Secret Test of Character.
  • Barred from the Afterlife:
    • This is stated to be the fate of any Death Note user. An ending flashback reveals the truth - there is no Heaven or Hell, just Cessation of Existence.
    • The Relight special of the anime makes this more ambiguous. At the beginning of the special, Ryuk is talking to another Shinigami. Said Shinigami bears striking similarities to that of Light (though not in appearance since the Shinigami is a walking skeleton) leading to theories that the two are one and the same. However, it's never been officially stated if this is true or not.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Light and L do this constantly, especially early on. Many of their most clever moves against each other rely on the other party being smart enough to figure out clues that the average person wouldn't even consider, then acting accordingly.
    • When Light is incarcerated and loses his memory. He made plans that had to work correctly despite him not being able to make any adjustments for two or three months, or even make sure he carried out his part. In this, it's more impressive than a standard Batman Gambit, since he wasn't able to actively manipulate anyone during that period. It doesn't count as a Xanatos Gambit because, while the plan was flexible, several aspects relied on people acting predictably.
  • Battle Butler: Watari is L's caretaker and sometimes that involves using a sniper rifle.
  • Battle of Wits: The appeal of this series is bored honor student Light vs eccentric master detective L.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Compare Light without the Death Note and Light with it. The former is an honorable, highly empathic, very idealistic teen, who believes in the inherent goodness of man. The latter is a manipulative, vindictive murderer with a God complex who believes that Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Being Watched:
  • Berserk Button:
    • Ties into Beware the Nice Ones below: do not insult Soichiro Yagami's memory in front of Matsuda.
    • It's also not a good idea to ever suggest that what Light/Kira is doing may be wrong. Look at how big he writes Lind L. Tailor's name!
    • Light learns what Misa's Berserk Button is when he outlines his plan to date other girls to throw off suspicion. "NO WAY!" indeed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: On learning that Light is Kira and seeing him try to write down Near's name, Matsuda, who was by far the softest policeman in the series, flies a rage and shoots Light. Not once, not twice, but five times.
    • Misa herself. That cute, cheerful girl over there? Don't mess with her.
  • Beware the Superman: Light gains the power to destroy the life of anyone whose name and face he knows. This transforms him into a Knight Templar that 99% of the world fears.
  • Big Bad: Light is a serial killer; he has an Evil Plan and minions. It just so happens that he is the protagonist.
    • Big Bad Friend: At one point, L says he would be disappointed if Light turned out to be Kira, because Light is one of the only friends he's ever had. Word of God says he was lying.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: "It is important to teach our children that Kira is good."
  • Big Damn Villains: B.B. is one of Kira's judgments.
  • Big Eater: L is constantly eating candy and sweets and stays in a state of gaunt sickly malnourishment. In the manga, he explains that his overactive brain uses up all the calories, while in the anime he claims that "if you do it right" you can eat whatever you want, effectively outsmarting his food. Also Mello, who gobbles down chocolate bars and stays rakishly thin.
  • Big Fancy House: The Wammy's House is large enough for many, many orphans.
  • Bishōnen:
    • Light. There's also Mikami (who even has long hair), Mello, Matsuda, Raye Penber, Gevanni, Near, Namikawa, and Midou.
    • L was designed to be the opposite of this, but don't tell that to his fangirls.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending is one of these because Light's defeat costs the lives of most of the people investigating him. While one serial killer is caught, the absence of his death penalty means crime rises.
  • Black and White Morality: How Light and his supporters view the world; they are good and criminals (which includes those working against them) are evil.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Fanasonic."
    • The anime also gives us the search engine "Gentle".
    • The array of computer hardware that was very close to perfect reproductions of contemporary Apple hardware... except for the logo.
    • Averted with Smith & Wesson, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and others.
    • The East West Pop Music Festival is actually a stand in for the real life Red White Music Competition which is held every New Year's Eve.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands:
    • Downplayed as Matsuda shoots his hand rather than the object; his target is also bleeding profusely.
    • Also Watari when he shoots a pistol out of Higuchi's hand to keep him from killing himself.
  • Blatant Lies: "I am not Kira!"
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Mello, mafia terrorist extraordinaire in his debut, described as having brought in the head of a mob boss to join the group, all while he was still in his teens.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In the anime, Namikawa, during the Yotsuba Group's mass heart attack.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Whoever wrote out the rules that the Shinigami live by believed that killing a human out of necessity, boredom or malice was 100% acceptable, but to kill a human to extend another human's life out of love for that human was the ultimate offense and worthy of death.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Light did this with Kyomi Takada. They were having one conversation for the benefit of the Task Force listening in, while secretly writing notes to each other containing the real conversation.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: L tries this frequently with Light; later, L, Light, Misa, and the task force do this to Higuchi.
  • Board to Death
  • Bond Creatures: The Shinigami in the sense that they grant humans powers and may reject (i.e. kill) a human if they don't like them.
  • Book and Switch
  • Bowdlerise: In the anime, Misa's cross necklace is replaced with a fleur de lis, and all crosses worn by Mello are removed. Interestingly, the cross is retained on the Misa collector's figure included with volume 5 of the DVD series, and she is also depicted with it in the first anime opening.
  • A Boy and His X: A Boy and his Shinigami.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Poor Sayu. She's kidnapped by a mob and held for ransom.
    • This is part of the backstories of both Misa and Mikami; the former by the death of her parents and the latter by years and years of bullying.
    • Matsuda is a nice and naïve person who has his self esteem and ideals destroyed over the course of the series.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Light, can't you keep it together for two more damned seconds? The instant classic: "I'm going to...die?...No!! I DON'T WANNA DIEEE!!!!"
    • Also, Kiyomi Takada in her final moments, which she spends crying and terrified.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the manga, Ryuk: "It's like living in a sitcom!"
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: The busjacking where Light is present. "If he were Kira he could just kill this guy with a heart attack." Specifically, Light is exploiting this trope to deflect suspicion and to learn the name of the man tailing him. He's good.
  • Bully Hunter: Teru Mikami, as a kid, would fight bullies to protect his classmates. If his flashbacks are to be believed, he created a bully hunting army.
  • Bullying a Dragon: L is very aggressive in his pursuit of a criminal who could kill him remotely with a notebook.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: L writ large: he is the world's greatest detective (in fact, he's also the second and third best under different names), despite being a twen who almost never sleeps, constantly eats sweets, and will only "sit" by crouching on the balls of his feet. Later, Near is just as bad, equaling L's deductive abilities while spending all his on-screen time sitting on the floor and playing with toys.
  • Butt Monkey: Matsuda is bullied, pushed around, ignored and otherwise the omega male of the investigation.
  • Bystander Syndrome: As pointed out in Death Note Abridged "in this footage you can see various pedestrians who clearly don't give a shit that somebody near them just collapsed and died."
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: Only those who have touched the Notes can see the Shinigami.
  • Cape Busters: The anti-Kira Taskforce; they fight the superpowered death dealing criminals.
  • Captain Obvious: Of the Admiral Akbar kind. "Trap! This is a trap!"
    Ryuk: The F.B.I agents aren't criminals.
    • This isn't so much being obvious as it an actually rare instance of morality in Ryuk, warning Light that he is crossing his own line, something of a What The Hell, Villain?.
  • Cast from Lifespan: The Shinigami Eyes trade, which gives a human the power to see anyone's name and lifespan, at the cost of half of their own time left.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Ryuk's "Humans are... interesting!" ("Ningen-to omoshiro!"), appears at least twice in every version of the story — the manga, the film adaptations, the TV series.
    • Also, variations on "I am Justice" crop up a lot.
    • Teru Mikami also says "sakujo!" ("Delete!") constantly while he is using the Death Note. He seems to get very excited while writing in the Death Note. Fans have called this a "sakujo-gasm".
    • Rem makes a variant on Ryuk's statement later on. Instead of "Humans are... interesting!" she decides that "Humans are ... such ugly creatures."
    • Light's:
      • "I will be the God of this new world!" ("Boku wa Shin-sekai no Kami da!")
      • "Just as planned." and conversely, (with a screenshot of him smiling upside down) "Not as planned".
  • Cavalier Consumption: Zig Zagged. L seems like he's doing this, but he says it's necessary to maintain his energy and intelligence. Except that L lies. L is a liar. He just likes sugar!
  • Central Theme: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  • Cessation of Existence: "Don't think that anyone who uses the Death Note can go to Heaven or Hell." In the manga, Light figures out this means there is no afterlife for anyone and all humans are equal in death. In the anime, this is only revealed in a short Eye Catch image in the last episode.
  • Chained Heat: Light and L are handcuffed together for several episodes because L doesn't trust Light yet.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Justified. Light needs the names of criminals to kill them, so he's always killing characters who have names. But even ignoring the redshirts, lots of important characters get offed. Several times, they'll have a few chapters of focus, then they'll die...at which point we find out they were being controlled by the Death Note that entire time.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • Chekhov's Skill: During the raid of Mello's hideout, Matsuda shoots the Notebook out of the hand of the one of Mello's men holding it. In the climax, he repeats this skill by shooting the pen out of Light's hand when he attempts to write down Near's real name.
  • Chewbacca Defense:
    • In the early interactions between Light, L and the Taskforce, Light deliberately stumbles on L's name: "Ryuuga, I’m sorry I mean Ryuuzaki" to broadcast that L's using an alias, he's an outsider and therefore not trustworthy, but Light as the Chief's son and popular golden boy is. Therefore you lose.
    • Later Light and Near when Light says to the Taskforce " Near really seems against us, doesn't he?" Light also points out how Near associates with a known criminal and he's rude. This strategy works in discrediting his opponent - even when the Taskforce is at their most suspicious of Light they still don't trust Near.
  • Child Hater: Roger the Director of Wammy's House, according to the manual.
  • Children Raise You: Maki and "Boy" do this for L in L: Change the WorLd although he doesn't get to find true love. At the end of the movie, L names the boy Near.
  • The Chosen One: Light thinks he's this in the first episode until Ryuk bursts his bubble. "You think you're special? ....You just happened to pick it up." Depending on how honest he was in his Motive Rant, Light might still think he was chosen to rid the world of evil—-just not by Ryuk.
    • Lampshaded in the first chapter
    • Light also attributes his luck concerning Penber's fiancée to this.
  • El Cid Ploy: After killing L Light convinces others that he is L.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Misa's hyper energy and strange priorities give this impression.
    • L has his moments when he's in Man Child mode instead of World's Greatest Detective mode.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the anime, whenever L or Light are internally monologuing, they are dyed with blue or red light respectively. Matsuda turns out to be yellow, Mogi is a different shade of red, Aizawa is green, Misa is light blue, Naomi Misora is dark blue, and Mikami is purple. In the final couple of episodes, Near's hair turns a light blue, probably in emulation of his precursor, the deceased L.
    • The Live-Action Adaptation features similar color coding: at the end of the first movie, as L and Light face each other in person for the first time, L is standing in a shaft of blue light, while Light is standing in orange.
    • The live action movies have another, subtle example. In the first film Light for the most part wears casual brown clothing, switching to all black in the sequel as he has fully embraced his Kira persona. He goes back to wearing brown once he loses his memory, then starts dressing in black again once it's back. Takada also starts wearing all black once she actively starts using the Death Note.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: In the first episode Light has an interesting moral dilemma. What's worse? To use the evil dark power to kill people or refuse the call and let the Bus Full of Innocents get killed when he has the power to stop it? He goes with the former but instead of becoming the The Cowl he becomes a Knight Templar well on his way to becoming the person that threatens the bus full of innocents in the first place.
  • Comforting Comforter: In the live action movie, Soichiro tucks a blanket around L's shoulders when he encounters him sleeping upright on a sofa, despite the fact that L has been bending all his efforts to try to implicate his son for murder. The paternal gesture doubly speaks to Soichiro's character seeing as L had dozed off in front of panel of television monitors he was using to spy on Soichiro's family.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The first part the anime simply cuts out a lot of the Wall of Text dialogues, since the manga has an habit of explaining every last detail about the protagonists' plans, and that wouldn't do in anime. In the post-Time Skip episodes however, entire chapters are removed. To give you an idea, the two parts are almost equal in length in the manga; in the anime, the first part is covered in 25 episodes, the second in 11.
  • Conspicuous CG: Cars in the Yotsuba arc and Shinigami in the live action films.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Quite a few examples.
    • If Naomi Misora hadn't happened to go to the police station during the ONE instant that the entire Kira task force had left to meet L, and if Light hadn't been asked to deliver a package to his father at that same exact instant, and just happened to overhear what she was there for, or if Aizawa walked slightly slower, or faster, or didn't have an umbrella for the rain that came out of nowhere, or if Misora had another alias, the manga would have ended at 2 volumes, with Light soundly defeated. When he discovers this coincidence, Light acknowledges how "another God" is on his side. Since Word of God and the manga universe have bent over backwards to say that there were no gods in the Death Note universe this means that it's just conjecture on Light's part, and the events fall in his favor by simple, improbable coincidence. (In Volume 13, Naomi is consequently stated to have the lowest possible score in the "luck" attribute.) By another way of seeing it, if Raye Penber hadn't been assigned to investigate Light, hadn't decided to bring his fiancée to Japan while on assignment or hadn't mentioned the bus hijacking to her then a lot of events later on would never have happened and Light would have avoided suspicion. This is only one egregious example; others abound throughout the series, especially in the first half.
    • Much later on, Near and his allies learn a great deal because Teru Mikami just happens to hear something that makes him wonder if it's Ryuk and goes on to speak out loud about several points that they didn't know about. If he hadn't done this Near's investigation would have at least been slowed down. Light via Takada told Mikami to do this on purpose, in order to throw Near onto Mikami and off Light and Takada.
    • If it is indeed coincidence and not, as Matsuda theorizes, the result of Near writing in the Death Note to verify it was real and enable Light's conviction, Mikami happening to bring a fake notebook without checking to verify, then dying ten days after Light's defeat would also qualify. The anime doesn't include Matsuda's theory and Mikami instead commits suicide on the spot, implying no such influence, making it seem even more contrived.
  • Consummate Liar: Light strings Misa and Takada along with false promises of love, keeps his secret from his family, and even stops the World's Greatest Detective from pinning him down.
    • L is also quite the liar. "Light-kun is my first ever friend." Word of God was needed for that one.
  • Contemptible Cover:
    • The novelization of L: Change The WorLd. If you wouldn't be caught dead with that book in public, you're not alone.
    • Or the tankobons if you don't want people to get the wrong idea of why you're reading a book with a huge cross on it.
    • Also the seventh volume of the Japanese DVD series' cover, which features Light standing triumphantly over a dead L.
  • Continuity Nod: To Another Note. Beyond is also mentioned in L: Change The World.
    • Also (only in the anime) after Misora is killed by Light L mentions that they worked together on the LA BB Murder cases.
    • The manga notes "She arrested the perpetrator of the 'Los Angeles BB Serial Killings'"
  • Cool Guns: All of the firearms shown in the manga exist and yes, they are cool.
  • Cool Old Guy: Here, we get two: Soichiro Yagami and Watari. Both ultimately die (though only Watari in the movie).
  • Cop Killer: Light is only too happy to kill any law enforcement officers who get too close, starting with FBI Agent Raye Penber.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Yotsuba Group — specifically, Higuchi who uses Kira's power to bump off rivals.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Light ends up in possession of a Death Note because Ryuk was bored and dropped a Note into the mortal world just to see what would happen. He kills Light the moment he loses his entertainment value.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Light writes Higuchi's name in blood at the culmination of his Memory Gambit. At the end, he gets shot during an attempt to repeat himself for Near. And when Light was testing the powers of the Note he makes prisoners write messages in their own blood.
  • Crapsack World: Light certainly thinks the world is one and thus he feels that he needs to clean it up. One criminal at a time... Misa and Mikami believe it, too, willingly joining Light to "make the world a better place".
  • Crazy Consumption: L's sweets, Mello's chocolate, Ryuk's apples, and Light's potato chips. In the manga there are *pages* of shots of Sayu eating chips. Light has ... one, albeit a damn good one.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Light and L in the live action movie.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Light's three different ways to tell if someone was in his room, not to mention his Porn Stash just in case someone happens to be watching. This was before he found the Death Note. At that point he rigged his desk to catch fire, destroying the Death Note, if anyone but him opened a secret drawer.
    • Near kept millions of dollars ready to be dropped from the top of a skyscraper at the press of a button, just in case a Torches and Pitchforks mob attacks his secret hideout. Fridge Brilliance in that the SPK are a proscribed terrorist organisation by that point, so their bank accounts would have been frozen.
  • Creepy Child: Near gets extra points for being able to pull off Creepy Child despite not being one.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses:
    • Misa's necklace and earrings, Mello's crucifix. The anime adaptation of the series, however, changed Misa's crosses to Fleur de Lis symbols while Mello's crucifix became a nondescript red stick, and the crosses on the knees of his pants were taken out.
    • There is a distinct cross motif on the covers of the manga volumes as well, and the cross is retained on the Misa collector's figure included with volume 5 of the DVD series.
  • Crime After Crime: The cover-up killings of an agent and his wife narrowed L's attention on Light even more. It was after this that L decided to reveal himself just to keep him closer.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: L and Near have enough cash for a Cool HQ and distraction from an angry mob. Wammy's House must be loaded.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The messages are solely to trick/irritate L. On the other hand, Kira tends to take risks when flaunting his superiority to a defeated opponent.
  • Crippling the Competition: In the anime, Matsuda, upon finding out that Light is the guy behind all of the Death Note incidents, shoots Light's hands to prevent him from ever writing into a Death Note again. Not that it matters much, as Light dies shortly afterwards.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Misa, who can be quite devious when she isn't fawning over Light.
    • Matsuda. Compare his inane comments early on with the time he blows Light's hand away and then riddles him with bullets.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: "All humans, without exception, eventually die. When they die, they go to Mu (Nothingness). Once dead, they can never come back to life."
  • Cry for the Devil: Deserving or not, Mello, Takada, Light, Mikami, and Misa all had very sad deaths.
  • Cue the Sun: In the first episode, it is stormy and raining when Ryuk first confronts Light. By the time Light has finished outlining his master plan and declared that he will be the god of the new world, the sun has come out and he has a halo of light at his back. It all comes around back in the last two episodes - it's raining all throughout episode 36, but the sun breaks through the clouds in the beginning of episode 37 the very moments after Light dooms himself by declaring his victory prematurely.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Light just wanted to see if the notebook would work. The same thing presumably happened to Misa.
  • Daddy Didn't Raise No Criminal: Soichiro's reaction to L's suggestion that Light or Sayu could be Kira.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sayu was kidnapped by Mello.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Light anticipates and avoids just about every common villain pitfall. He doesn't have an obsession with revenge, doesn't tell anyone his Evil Plan before finishing it, he kills who he thinks will be his arch-rival L (Lind Taylor) immediately instead of playing games with him, etc.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than most Shōnen series, some even confusing it with Seinen.
  • Dark Messiah: Light Yagami means to save the world by cleansing it with blood ...
  • The Dark Side: Averted. There is nothing corrupting about the Note itself but the person using it.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Light pretty much completely abandoned his ideals over the course of the series.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode 19 is titled "Matsuda". Guess who it's about.
    • Misa gets one, too when she persuades Higuichi into admitting he's the Third Kira.
    • As does Mikami, though it isn't quite an entire episode.
  • Deadline News: A number of media networks that get involved with Kira involve death, sometimes the Host.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Literal in that the Shinigami can give a Death Note's wielder the power to see people's names and lifespans — at the cost of half the wielder's remaining lifespan.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Shinigami Eyes deal; see Deadly Upgrade.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mogi dies in Ukita's place in the Live-Action Adaptation, and Takada's death is hastened (granted, because the plot itself is hastened). L's death sort of counts as it's by his own hands instead of Rem's.
  • Death by Irony: Demigawa, can you say "SAKUJO"?
  • Death Is Cheap: Intentionally averted by Ohba who felt that this trope had been overused in other manga but played straight in the pilot chapter with the addition of the death eraser.
  • Death's Hourglass: Everyone has a time at which they are destined to die. It's only visible to those with a Shinigami's eyes. However, using a death note allows you to kill people before their time and indirectly extend lives.
  • Death Wail: Light fakes one when L dies. Good actor, that one.
  • Debate and Switch: The series avoids answering the morality of Kira's actions by making Light leap off the slippery slope.
  • Demoted To Comic Relief: Misa for most of the second arc.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: In the manga during confinement the Taskforce comment on how Misa being denied water for three days was too much for a young girl to take.
  • Deuteragonist: L, Near and/or Mello are the opposing deuteragonists to protagonist Light.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: What do you do, if a unruly shinigami is bugging you? Backhand him, according to Light.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: It's established that if a Shinigami uses its notebook to deliberately prolong a human's life by killing someone else (i.e. the human's murderer,) that Shinigami will die. Knowing this, Light manipulates events so that Misa is about to be caught by L, forcing Rem to write L's true name in the Death Note along with Watari's in order to save her. This is lampshaded by Rem just before she writes their names in the Death Note and she curses Light for it.
  • Didn't See That Coming: How Light met his end. Played with in the manga (but not in the anime) with how Near came very close to being killed by Light. Near looks completely shocked when Light pulls a hidden piece of the Death Note out of his watch. Light was only one letter away from taking Near down with him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • With Kira as judge, jury and executioner, all crimes - even purse-snatching and embezzlement - qualify for the death penalty, for the good of the new world.
    • Lind L. Tailor while posing as L, tells Light over broadcast television "Kira, I think I have a pretty good idea of why you're doing this. But what you're doing is evil!" Not the nicest thing to say, but at least he gives Light credit for trying to improve the world. Light's response is to kill him.
  • Doesn't Like Guns
    • Light and his father: "Guns aren't allowed in Japan."
    • Matt: "Since when are the Japanese allowed to carry such nice guns?"
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Getting away with murder and eating potato chips has never looked so cool.
  • Does Not Like Women: Light doesn't like anyone, but he explicitly doesn't like women because he thinks they're overemotional and weak.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Putting aside the religious and biblical context of it, the dialogue and the actions during the foot massage scene between Light and L sound awfully kinky (and only existed in the anime).
    • The Fantastic Racism against the Shinigami Played for Laughs:
    L: Hey, you Shinigami, the white thing over there...
    Matsuda: Er.. Ryuuzaki, should you really go around calling someone a white thing?
  • Don't Tell Mama:
    • Light is trying to keep his secret of being Kira from his parents and sister.
    • Soichiro explicitly tells Light not to tell either Sachiko or Sayu where he's going when he agrees to help with the investigation.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Mello's gang before they realize that touching the notebook is required for seeing the Shinigami.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Years later legions of followers still mourn the loss of Kira.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Misa kills herself soon after Light's death. However, this isn't shown in the manga.
    • This was also the method of disposing of Naomi, although L had doubts that it was done willingly. Some of the criminals killed when Kira was testing the Death Note's powers also committed "suicide."
  • Drunk on the Dark Side and Power: Light, Misa, Takada, Mikami, Higuchi become obsessed with the Death Note's power, become arrogant to the point of godhood and very hammy when using it.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • The deleted scene of L's funeral.
    • In the second arc, the taskforce decides to take on the task of capturing Mello in honor of Soichiro Yagami, who died in their first attempt.
  • The Dying Walk: In the anime, after being mortally wounded, Light runs out of the warehouse where he had his final confrontation with Near and the police, but only manages to get to a nearby building before Ryuk decides that Light's time is up and writes his name in the Death Note.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Wammy's House, though it's hard to find a character who doesn't have some sort of obvious mental disorder or traits thereof.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Takeda, Mikami, Near, and Mello showed up in the 2nd openings even though it would be quite a few episodes (plus a timeskip) before their arc started.
  • Easily Forgiven: During the Yotsuba arc L confines Light for over fifty days and then fakes having his father shoot him in the head. In the manga Light forgives L in the very next panel.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation: Again during the Yotsuba arc, Matsuda learns about the "secret meetings" because two of the conspirators are talking about it as they wait for the elevator.
  • Eat the Evidence: In the manga it's explained that Light swallows the Death Note scrap he used to kill Higuchi.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: At one point in the anime, the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye are used as visual shorthand for Paris and London.
    • ...and the World Trade Center for New York City, despite both the manga and anime taking place post-9/11.
  • Empathic Environment: The aptly titled episode "Overcast" features a brilliant and chilling example. The year's first snowflake floats into frame and past Naomi Misora's drivers license a split-second after she lets it go, handing it to Light, thereby sealing her fate. Light reads the license and jots down her name in his Death Note. Less than a minute later, when Light reveals to Naomi that he's Kira — and thus that she's about to die — the snowfall is already heavy.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Used by L.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Many examples contain snow with death. There's also light when Light is doing a god complex speech.
  • Episode Title Card
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Mello's mafia. It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you remember that Kira is purging criminals and it would make sense that the remaining criminals would band together for protection into a "super-gang."
  • Eureka Moment: Naomi Misora gets a lot of these in the BB Murder Cases. They were planted by Ryuzaki.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Ryuk, an absolutely pitiless Death God, is still sometimes astonished by the depths Light will sink to; it's remarked several times that Light is worse than any Shinigami, something that amuses Ryuk to no end.
    • In the second live action film, Misa stops her terrorist broadcast when Sayu calls her out for being a murderer (though she goes right back to killing once she meets Light. Toward the end of the film, she's horrified and begins to cry when Light writes Soichiro's name in the Death Note.
    • Light is also dismayed when Mikami's killing spree extends to even elderly and sometimes innocent people.
      • Not so much dismayed for who Mikami was doing it to, but the way he was doing it. Light himself admitted very early that he'd be using disease and accidents to eliminate non-criminals he felt were unfit for his ideal society and thus people would believe Kira would only target criminals and would be seen in a more positive light rather then a heavy handed dictator who wanted perfect human beings. Mikami was killing them by heart attacks and making it blatant that Kira was responsible.
    • The Death Note doesn't work on people younger than 780 days old, on people 124 years old or older, or on people who have less than 12 minutes to live.
    • Rem is apparently fine with Light and Misa killing people so long as it makes Misa happy, but she's disgusted by Kyosuke Higuchi.
    • Light zig-zags the trope in a rather complicated fashion: He objected strenuously to Misa murdering an innocent police officer who was only doing his job, but he had no problem doing the same thing to a bunch of FBI agents, Though technically Raye Penbar was the one who killed them and himself, Light used the Death Note to force him to do so, but that at least gives Light the ability to say he wasn't the one writing the names. He also killed Lind L. Taylor early on for no other reason than the fact that Taylor had offended him (he was unaware of Taylor's convict status at the time).
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Misa Amane.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Sparkle chips!
  • Evil Gloating: Light does this a lot. And well.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The jokes of the Yotsuba group are pretty bad.
  • Evil Is Hammy: A lot of Light's evil gloating is pretty over the top. Ditto for Hitoshi Demegawa.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Light has a few evil chuckles scattered throughout the series, but there is a full-blown evil laughin the final episode, (at which point he's pretty much gone off the deep end) that is extremely psychotic and creepy.
    • Ryuk is no slouch in the evil laugh department.
    • Misa gets in a few giggles.
    • Beyond too, for like half a page...
    • Not to mention Higuchi's, which is enough to scare Shinigami.
  • Evil Plan: When Light discovers the poetential of the Death Note he decides to rid the world of crime and become a god while he's at it.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The secret headquarters that L has built that towers over everything around it.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Mello going after the Death Note under Light's control.
  • Expy:
    • L's character is largely based on Batman and Watari on Alfred Pennyworth - making Yagami Light a typical supervillain in the story.
    • Soichiro Yagami's character is very much like that of Commissioner Gordon from Batman.
  • The Extremist Was Right: The news reports as the series progresses make it very clear the knowledge of Kira's existence dramatically reduces the worldwide crime rate, but there are severe costs entailed when world justice is dictated by one still-human person and it only worked in the short-run. When Kira went inactive or was gotten rid of for good, crime returned to its previous rate. Near says as much in the anime version.
  • Extremity Extremist: Among L's many curious habits is holding things only with his thumb and forefinger, letting them hang by his fingertips. Food, utensils, pens, phones, whatever. When he fights, he does it exclusively with his bare feet.
  • Eyedscreen
  • Eyes Never Lie: Invoked Trope.
    Light: Look into my eyes, I'm telling you the truth! Are these the eyes of someone who is lying?!
  • Face Death with Dignity: Whether a character can do this depends on their moral fiber. Soichiro, the most moral figure in the series, goes out with the most, while L and Watari, who are noticeably greyer though still recognizably good, each die with some, and the Villain Protagonist, Light, dies crying, whining, and cursing in a puddle of his own blood.
    • Though Light probably had the hardest thing to face with dignity. Heart attack or a Rasputinian Death, which takes longer and gives more time for a breakdown?
    • Light's death is a little more dignified in the anime. He runs away from the scene as Ryuk writes his name down in his Death Note. In the end, he dies apparently at peace.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Light gets many of these moments.
  • False Innocence Trick: Exploited when Light asks to be confined, gives up his memories, begs to be let out and then the Taskforce gets mad at L for imprisoning him.
  • Faux Action Girl: Halle Lidner doesn't get much action for a special crime unit member.
  • Filk Song:
  • Fleur de Lis: In the anime, Misa has her cross motif changed to this ... but it's upside down.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: L's death.
  • For Great Justice: Both Light and L believe this.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Live Action Movies shows how events would have played out if L defeated Light.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In The Los Angeles BB Cases, the mysterious stranger who follows Naomi is obviously L because we've read the manga or watched the anime. Except it isn't. In one of the best subversions of this trope ever, its not L but BB, the murderer suspected of the killings.
  • Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer: At Higuchi's arrest.
  • Four Is Death:
    • The Death Note kills in 40 seconds, and if a cause of death is written, the user has 400 seconds to add details.
    • Mikami, whose screw-up finishes Light, is the fourth Kira.
      • The hidden piece of paper from the Death Note in Light's wristwatch can be accessed by Light pressing the dial nub four times
  • Freak Out: Light at L's grave in the Director's Cut. Also Light and Mikami in the finale.
  • Friend to All Children: L and Watari are examples.
  • Friendless Background: Word of God says L has no friends. Light too, despite being very popular, is often seen eating his lunch alone. Word of God says he thinks he's above most people.
  • Friendly Enemy: Light and L. L calls Light his first ever friend and Light tells L he really missed seeing him at school. However Word of God suggests that they're both faking.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Light and Mikami; an honors student and a moral lawyer who become evil serial killers.
    • To a lesser extent, Higuchi, from Corrupt Corporate Executive to serial killer.
  • Functional Genre Savvy: Strange how when people living in the same conditions all started suffering heart attacks, everybody started thinking "supernatural serial killer"...
  • The Fun in Funeral: In a scene added for the Relight special, Light certainly looks like he's enjoying himself (spoilers) [1]
  • Funny Afro: Aizawa; the series may well have the least comical scene in which a guy with an afro falls on his butt.
  • Gaining The Will To Kill: Light's first two kills serve as this. The first guy Light kills is a serious headcase who had taken a school full of kids hostage. Light writes the guy's name into the title notebook as a means of figuring out whether or not it was real or just a sick prank. When the criminal in question dies of a heart attack 40 seconds after Light wrote the name in, Light still isn't completely convinced that the Death Note is real, so after school, he decides to test out the notebook a second time, taking out the leader of a motorcycle gang and stopping his Attempted Rape of a young woman by sending him and his bike into the path of an oncoming semi. After wrestling with the implications of passing judgement upon people like this, Light makes the decision to become Kira and "change the world" by killing off its criminals and evil people, which sets him on the path to developing his infamous god-complex and becoming the Villain Protagonist of the series.
  • Gambit Pileup: The entire plot of the series is basically a sequence of overlapping gambits from Light, L and (for a while) Misa.
  • Gambit Roulette: You have two (sometimes three) chess masters trying to out smart the other two; the I Know You Know I Know by itself gets complicated.
  • Gay Moment: The foot massage.
  • Genghis Gambit: The final episode revealed that Near and Mello, who were individually trying to succeed where L failed, finally agreed to work together to defeat Kira. It works.
    • The explanation is a bit different in the manga: when Near credits Mello for creating the situation that allowed him to defeat Light, Lidner suggests that Mello realized the flaw in Near's plan (namely, that the notebook could have been fake) and kidnapped Takada purposefully to expose it. Near disagrees, saying that Mello believed he could surpass Near and L. Near continues that he always knew he wasn't capable of surpassing L alone, and neither was Mello—it was only by a combination of their two plans that they could win.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Mello is always eating chocolate, and L with any kind of sweet. It's a wonder how they stay so thin.
    • L claims that he stays thin by burning calories by using his brain.
  • Genki Girl: Misa in spades.
  • Genre Savvy: Light: "I'll be killing her eventually. I can't develop feelings. That's how most idiots screw up." Sort of inverted since he screwed up anyway. The genre-savvy knowledge did him no good.
  • Geodesic Cast: Several patterns keep cropping up:
  • Ghost Planet: The Shinigami World.
  • GIFT: In-story, Kira becomes an instant sensation on the Internet and ordinary citizens start making hit lists. (Like that sweet-looking little girl texting "Kira, please kill them all.")
    • This applies to Light as well with the anonymous power of both the Internet and the Death Note.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    L: ...And most importantly, we must ensure that the Yotsuba Group doesn't discover that we are investigating them.
    * cut to Matsuda getting caught by the Yotsuba Group*
    L: Please, just forget everything I said. We need to rethink our plan. Matsuda you idiot!
  • Girlish Pigtails: Misa wears them, mostly in the first arc when she is at her most childist.
  • The Glomp: Not only the below quote, Misa does this to Ryuk.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Light gets these when he's contemplating something particularly evil.
  • A God Am I: Light wants to use the Death Note to create a new world, with himself as... you guessed it.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: If a shinigami uses the Death Note to extend the natural life span of a human (for example, stop an attacker), the shinigami dies.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: The Shinigami from Relight.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: L and Light throughout the first arc.
  • Go Seduce My Archnemesis: During the Yotsuba arc L asks Misa to do this. Misa's response is fairly reasonable- she objects rather loudly and pulls on his hair.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Used deliberately in the manga.
  • Good Is Not Nice: One of the story's main themes, as whether anyone in the series can truly be called good is open to interpretation. Quick examples? #1: L, who is quite scheming and manipulative. #3: Near; who is the same.
  • Gorn:
    • Not in the original manga, but present in the anime's series finale. Mikami attempts some kind of poor man's seppuku, either out of despair or to distract the police so that Light can escape. Unfortunately for the audience, it works a little too well. Then again, if gore is your thing...
    • In the Director's cut, the deaths of three Yotsuba Group members, featuring a Gross-Up Close-Up of Midou lying on the sidewalk after falling or jumping from a tall building
  • Grail in the Garbage: Light finds the Death Note in the school yard.
  • Gratuitous English: The Japanese title "Desu Noto" (Death Note), and "Kira" (Killer).
  • Great Gazoo: The Shinigami, who can only be seen or heard by people who have touched their respective Death Notes.
  • Hobbes Was Right: When Kira has his grip on the world, all wars stop and crime rates plummet. After Light (and Kira) dies, people start fighting and committing crimes again, according to Word of God
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Once Light figures out imaginative new ways to use it, the The Death Note can do more than just kill people.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Light and his supporters have a very good purpose, but won't stop at doing anything to achieve them. While his antagonists (except Mello) use less questionable means, their goals are more morally ambiguous.
  • The Grim Reaper: Ryuk and many other shinigami are an aversion. While they kill people they are not doing it as a duty or public service or natural order thing.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Matsuda sneaks right by the Yotsuba security guard.
  • Gullible Lemmings: The followers of "Kira's Kingdom" are easy to lead and/or mislead.
  • Hacker Cave: Averted; Light uses his Dad's office.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat:
    • Light and Mikami's shouting match in the Grand Finale.
    • In the second episode / first manga, L's and Light's shouting match (directed, in both cases, to electronic screens) concerning Justice.
  • Harassing Phone Call: A certain anonymous individual Near keeps calling up this one guy Kira in the middle of the night promising that he has a very unpleasant fate in store for him. Alas there is no caller I.D.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Light asks these exact words of Raye Penbar's fiancée Naomi, who is investigating Kira. Unsurprisingly, she doesn't live much longer after answering no.
  • Hearing Voices: Anyone "possessed of a God of Death".
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Expected in a series where many people die of heart attacks.
  • Here We Go Again:
    • The end of Relight has a bored Shinigami (that is possibly Light) headed down to the human world to alleviate his boredom for a while...
    • Matsuda and the taskforce when L deduces that there are other notebooks and other Kiras out in the world, after Higuchi's death.
  • Hero Antagonist: L and Near to some degree and the police for sure because they are law enforcement tracking a serial killer.
  • The Hero Dies: By the end of the anime, both L and Light themselves were killed in the end.
  • Heroic Albino: Possibly Near, although you'd have to use the term heroic very, VERY loosely!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rem dies in order to save Misa's life.
  • Hero's First Rescue: A skeptical Light tests the titular notebook on a criminal holding the children in a nursery school hostage.
  • He's Back: Light Yagami, after spending several episodes on the side of good due to his Memory Gambit, proves to be back on form the second he touches his Death Note again.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Kiras themselves in general, especially Light and Mikami.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: When L is complaining that he's depressed and unmotivated with the Kira case now that it looks like Light isn't Kira. The following Ensues: Light gets L's attention, L turns around, Light punches him hard in the face.
    L: "Huh?"
    Light: *PUNCH*
  • Hidden Eyes: Light, frequently to show his secret sinsister side.
  • High-Pressure Blood: In the last episode of the anime, a fairly simple stabbing (with a pen) initiates a fire-hose like blood jet.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Both main characters accomplish this. Light manages to land himself a spot on the anti-Kira task force and spends the majority of the series hunting himself, though not without being suspected by L and later Near. L pulls it off when The Yotsuba group hires Erald Coil to uncover L's identity, not knowing that they're the same person.
  • Hollywood Hacking: They way Light hacks his father's computer to spy on the police.
  • Hollywood Personality Disorders: Most of the main characters have a Flanderized one. Light is narcissistic, L and Near are autistic, Mikami is borderline and Misa is dependent.
  • Hook Hand: Zellogi, One of the minor Shinigami, has one.
  • Hope Spot: The entire Yotsuba arc is one for Light. Without the Death Note, Light reverts to being genuinely good, to the point that he thinks he's not even capable of killing. He establishes a genuine alliance with L as they work to hunt down the new Kira, and even comes off as more moral than L at times. Even though you know from the start that Kira!Light planned for this to happen, the arc still gets your hopes up that Light might somehow find a way to stay good... And then it all goes to hell when he gets the Death Note back.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Light frequently evokes this reaction from the Shinigami who say he's "more of a demon than a Shinigami" and that he's "surpassed the Shinigami." Then Rem finds Higuchi so disgusting and vile that she becomes more sympathetic to Light. There's also the instance where Mello freaks out Sidoh but then Sidoh is kind of a wuss. On a lighter note there's also Misa's original manager, Yoshi. Misa, the second Kira, is afraid of her and even L and Kira seem a bit unnerved.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: One of these is used to begin the second major arc of the story.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Light when his father dies.
  • How Do You Like Them Apples?: Ryuk has an addiction to them and together with all the apple imagery with Light in the openers they evoke the classic Forbidden Fruit symbolism.
  • How Unscientific!: When L finds out shinigami are real, he has an uncharacteristically loud freakout.
    • In the manga this was just him falling out of his chair. Word of God says that he was startled because of the way things came together, and that the manga-ka wanted to see L fall over.
  • Humanity Is Insane: As viewed by Ryuk's perspective.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: "What's up people?!" When you start judging where exactly do you draw the line?
  • Humans Kill Wantonly: This is why Ryuk decides humans are fun and Light most of all. When meeting him, he says Light has killed more people in less time than any other death note owner.
  • Hypocrite: Most characters, at some point. However, a notable example is when Light berates Misa for killing innocent people. In the manga, she meekly points out that: "To defeat evil, sacrifices have to be made. That's what you've done, right? I was only doing the same..."
  • Hypocritical Humor: Any scene like this:
    Light (shaking fist): Damn, damn you Kira! You bastard!
    • Also: "I'm evil? I'll KILL YOU!"
    L: I hate it when people's cellphones go off when I'm talking. I find it very distracting... * ring* Excuse me, I have to get this.
    Light: I can't take it anymore! How do you think it feels to be accused of being Kira!
    L: It was the worst feeling ever. (Light suggested that L might be Kira earlier in the episode...)
    • Leave it to Light to explain it:
    Light: Remember what I told you [Ryuk]? Humans are foolish, two-faced creatures.
    Misa: Light is way more affectionate than he looks, at least with me! In fact he starts clinging to me when I come in the door every night!
  • I Am the Noun: "I AM JUSTICE!!!"
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin:
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Not one of the detectives, including L, could figure out that the last two rules were fake. Despite the fact that unlike the other rules, they sound like they were written from a human's point of view.. Understandable considering they have no idea how the Death Note works and further justified by L's desire to apply the scientific method. This triggered Rem to kill him to save Misa.
    • Naomi Misora, who has been consistently shown to be intelligent, competent, meticulous, and above all, careful, foolishly tells Light her real name after giving him a pseudonym, when she has no more reason to trust him than before. The result of the writer painting himself into a corner: had she not made this fatal mistake, the story would have been over very quickly.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Misa for Light; she adores him and he doesn't care.
  • I've Come Too Far: Light sincerely believes this; he has a Heroic BSOD after his second killing before coming to realization. It's what drives him at that point.
  • I Have the High Ground: The battle of wills between L and Light is often symbolically represented by them staring at each other on very, very thin skyscrapers.
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • Light successfully bluffs this to Raye Penber in order to ensure his cooperation.
    • Mello does for real this when he kidnaps Sayu.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Light and L rarely tell each other how much they know the other knows they know, because they don't want to give away how much they know what the other knows, or at least think they know but can't be sure of. Yes, there is a lot of internal monologuing in this series.
  • I Know Your True Name: If you write someone's true name into a Death Note, they die.
  • I Was Just Joking: When Light says he'd consider giving up half his lifespan if the deal was for wings instead of eyes. Ryuk points out he'd stand out if he sprouted wings and flew around.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
  • I'm Standing Right Here
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan:
    • Misa is Light's. She follows it up with 'I want to be your girlfriend.'
    • Matsuda is Misa's biggest fan, which is why he could not be trusted to keep an eye on her.
  • Inaction Sequence: The anime; see Walls of Text below.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: In the live action film version the investigation team leaves a truly enormous one in Takada's apartment. However, Takada was meant to find it so she'd believe they really had evidence on her. There were many other bugs that she didn't notice at all.
  • Infant Immortality: One of the rules is "The DEATH NOTE shall not affect those under 780 days old.
  • Infraction Distraction: Light's porn stash is a cover for the death note.
  • Inner Monologue: Yup. Light and L are the worst offenders.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Aizawa and the rest of the police.
  • Interim Villain: The Yotsuba executives. Explanation can be found on the trope itself.
  • Interrogated for Nothing: When Light and Misa are cleared and released from surveillance towards the end of the first arc, the scene seems like this to the police. The audience, of course, knows better.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Rem (Shinigami) and Misa (human). Rem develops a platonic love for Misa and is even willing to die for her. Light (human) and Ryuk (Shinigami) also fall under this having a few Villains Out Shopping moments together, though they are of a more vitriolic type.
  • Interspecies Romance: If a shinigami loves a human enough, they will disregard the no-extending-life rule and save them at the cost of their own lives. Presumably, any of the Four Loves would work.
  • Ironic Echo: Used in the Grand Finale (twice in the anime. One from Ryuk and one from Aizawa to Near.)
  • Irony:
If Light had taken the deal that cut his life in half, Light probably would have lived a lot longer than he did.
Desk clerk: Hi Light, remember me?
Light: Er... sorry. I'm really bad with names and faces.
  • And (from the Director's cut):
Light: I swear right here and now— I will send Kira to his execution!]

  • I Take Offense to That Last One: in the live action movie:
    Lind L. Tailor: Kira you yourself are a hypocritical, vile, and immature criminal.
    Light: Immature?
  • It Amused Me: Ryuk set off the entire plot For the Lulz. More information on the trope page.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: L orders Watari to do this to Misa. We don't see what he does, but whatever it is lasts three days and leaves her begging Rem for death. When physical torture fails to get her to talk (because of a Memory Gambit that ensures she really doesn't know anything), he instead leaves her in full-body restraints, sensory deprivation earphones, and a blindfold for weeks on end. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!
  • Jerkass Gods: Ryuk is downplayed on two levels; for one he is less a 'god' then a 'supernatural creature' and for two he's more into watching Reality TV Black Comedy then actively causing suffering.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: L cares more about 'interesting crimes' than 'catching criminals'.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Light (he really cares for his family... and really hopes he doesn't have to kill them).
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: "I AM JUSTICE!" All of the Kiras take this role.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Any debate about the morality of Light's actions is aborted when in the second chapter he kills a man he sees on tv merely for calling him a murderer and declaring his intention to stop him.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In the second arc between the Japanese Kira task force and the SPK.
  • Just Between You and Me:
    • Subverted — Whenever Light reveals his identity to a rival, he is very sure they are already in their death throes or otherwise under the effect of the Death Note.
    • Used by L to mock Light in his introduction. For being so "helpful", L lets light in on a "secret", and proceeds to mock Light's arrogance in front of the entire Kanto region of Japan on live television.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Discussed in the second arc. No matter who wins, Kira or the Task Force, 'justice' will prevail because the winning side will claim it.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: When Light and L confront each other, they glow red and blue, respectively. Sometimes this happens to their bodies, other times just to their hair and eyes.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The 13 Day Test 1) L knows Light is plotting to kill him and he suspects Light is plotting with Misa to do it. 2) L thinks he can prove that both Light and Misa are Kira by testing the 13 Day Rule. 3) Neither Light nor Misa are going to kill him. Rem is going to kill him.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Ryuk returns to the Shinigami world no worse for wear and there's nothing to stop him from doing what he can to create another Kira and generally mess around on Earth.
    • Misa in the live action movies. The fact that the police let her go is a particular bad when you consider that she killed Mogi. Of course, it does make sense, as there's no way they could convict her without revealing the existence of a magic notebook that kills people, which they instead destroy, causing Misa to lose her memories of her crimes anyway.
    • Demegawa in the live action movie.
    • Near, who used underhanded tricks and lies to turn the task force against Light, then later talked down to Aizawa, continues living as the third L and even commands the task force on occasion (although the alliance may be shaky). Especially bad if you believe Matsuda's theory of Near controlling Mikami with the notebook.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: L's primary tactic at one point is to actually keep Light handcuffed to him so he can't act as Kira.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Light kills Lind L. Taylor for for the crime of opposing him. This makes his villain status clear to the audience.
    • L gets a turn when he has Misa cold-bloodedly tortured, up to the point where she tries to kill herself to avoid revealing Kira's identity.
    • In episode seven, Light tells Naomi that he is Kira, just as the Death Note takes effect, and she goes off to commit suicide. He opens his phone and offers her the chance to call his father with the information that would put Light away, but she's forced to carry out the Note's instructions, so that really comes off as putting salt in the wound.
  • Kid with the Leash: Anyone possessing a Death Note and thus a shinigami qualifies
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: L during a deduction due to heart attaack and Matt due to Kira supporting police.
  • Kill 'em All: How many major characters in a cast of around 20 survive? Three of the original police task force, plus Misa, Ide, and Near. The companion book How To Read 13 reveals that Misa dies a year later from suicide.
  • The Kira In Me: Light bluffs this in order to convince the taskforce that he needs to be confined (for the sake of his Gambit Roulette.) "Another me could be killing while I sleep!!!"
  • Kirk Summation: Near does this in the manga's final chapter to refute Kira's Motive Rant.
  • Knight Templar: Any of the series' protagonists and the Kiras in general are visonary villains that believe themselves wholly good.
  • Laughing Mad: Light, when he is cornered by Near and revealed to be Kira.
  • Lawful Stupid: Team Kira's philosophy is "You broke the law-DIE!" Light himself tries to stick to serious crimes (and those who interfere), but will often kill for lesser crimes if it fits his plans, and gets worse as he goes.
  • Letter Motif: L, M, and N.
  • Life Drinker: When a Shinigami kills a human, that human's lifespan is added to the Shinigami's. Shinigami who don't kill regularly will eventually die. Conversely, a Shinigami who uses their Death Note to save a human loses what's left of their own life to extend that human's time.
  • Light Is Not Good: He's not and he's often accompanied by lights, especially in the openers.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Even Rem agrees that while Light may be a bastard he isn't as bad as Higuchi.
  • Likable Villain: Light Yagami, Misa Amane, Teru Mikami, and Kiyomi Takada all have their fans, both in-universe and out.
  • Line in the Sand: Souichiro Yagami draws one of these. Most of the police do not stay on his side.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Two main movies, and one spin-off, to be precise.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Light to Misa, whether he wants to be or not. (It varies depending on how useful it is at the moment.)
  • Living with the Villain: Light and L not only go to the same college, but also work together on the team to catch Kira and spend quite a while chained together.
    • Also Light and his father... makes for some awkward dinner conversations.
  • Locard's Theory: This is the challenge of the Kira case; he can kill at great distance by writing a name in a notebook. Once physical contact begins, Kira loses ground.
  • Lonely at the Top
  • Loners Are Freaks: Subverted and played straight.
  • Look Behind You: In the manga Light walks out on a family meeting by railroading the conversation to:
    Light: Is that all the help you needed on your homework, Sayu?
    Souichiro: Was your brother helping you with your homework again?
    Sayu: Gee, Light! Thanks for blabbing!
  • Looks Like Cesare: L; pasty skin, dark hair, gaunt eyes, yep. It's because he works all the time and eats nothing but sweets.
  • Loony Fan:
    • The Stalker with a Crush that tries to kill Misa.
    • To a lesser degree, Matsuda acts like this towards L and Light.
    • Also both Misa and Mikami, towards Light.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Inverted. Misa is noticeably less "airheaded" when around Light, especially when she tries to manipulate things so that she can be with him. From tricking the third Kira to trying to find the first Kira.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
  • Love Triangle:
    • (type 3 Triang Relations): Takada and Amane are both after Light. Light is just using both of them. Pointed out by Near in episode 33, who deduces that Light "has" a love triangle. That is, a love triangle is among the things he happens to possess. "Near, please be more serious."
    • Also type 11, Misa is in love with and is obsessed with Light, Light is obsessed with L. L is obsessed with both Light and Misa..., Misa teases (flirts?) with L.
    • Another type 11 crops up later: Takada is seeing both Light and Mikami, but Mikami is VERY loyal to Light...
  • Ludicrous Precision: L and his constant revisions of the probability Light is Kira. In How to Read it states that whenever he gives a percentage, he's lying; he actually suspects Light with a 90 to 100 percent certainty.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Souichiro 1) rams a truck through a building while still recovering from a near fatal heart attack. 2) Shot in the shoulder while pursuing Higuchi.
    • Then there's Light's Rasputinian Death. It's implied he would have survived if Ryuk hadn't written his name...
  • Madness Makeover: Light and Mikami in the finale.
  • Madness Montage: Light, Misa, and Mikami all get one.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The Death Note's rules apply strictly, although Light finds ways to stretch them to their limits in every storyline. He then exploits this by creating fake rules to divert suspicion from himself.
  • Make Room For The New Plot: How the Mello issue is resolved near the end of the story.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Yeah, that shot was definitely of a hidden sheet of the Death Note, not Taki's breast.
    • Misa's introductory shots feature an image of her breasts and waist on exhibit while she walks, before showing her face. This is definitely to show off her cutesy gothic clothing and therefore to establish her childlike-but-evil character. Definitely.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Rem to Misa; she threatens to write Light's name in her notebook if Misa comes to harm, and in the end gives her life to save her, even while knowing she's acting accordingly to Light's plan.
    • Sachiko to Sayu: "no way in hell!" is Sayu marrying a cop.
  • Man Child: L and Near, to varying degrees because of their sugar obession and toy fixation respectively.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Light, who treats all those around him as tools for him to use, therefore making manipulation the dominating characteristic of every one of his relationships.
    • L, mind you, also has no problems manipulating, or asking others to manipulate, people.
    • Misa is also willing to manipulate people to get what she wants; her childlike charm is particularly useful for this.
  • Masquerading As The Unseen:
    • At the beginning, L is so secretive that no one knows what he looks like, interacting with others through Watari and his laptop. This fact is used against Light, when he is tricked into believing Lind L. Taylor is the real L and kills him.
    • The other Kiras do this as well. Only with a thorough analysis can one determine if it's Light-as-Kira using the Death Note or someone else.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The taskforce members when Light is outed as Kira in the finale. This is not helped when Light takes the opportunity to pack all the sheer, psychotic creepiness of the moment into one absolutely epic Evil Laugh.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In the manga's final chapter, it's noted that Mikami mysteriously died in prison ten days after Light's defeat, leading Matsuda to theorize that Near wrote in the Death Note so as to restrict Mikami's actions, enabling Light's conviction. The anime includes no such speculation from Matsuda, and Mikami instead commits suicide on the spot, casting doubt on a supernatural interpretation.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Done three times and ironically every time. Mello is a complete loose cannon, Near spends most of his time in another country from the protagonist, and Light is not good.
    • According to Death Note: How To Read 13, the graphic encyclopedia, Mello and Near were originally going to have regular Meaningful Names; Mello was going to be Near, since he was always close to but not at the other's level; and Near was going to be Mello because he was calmer. Ohba got the characters mixed up, so....
    • Also Bilingual Bonus Light's worldwide alias "Kira" Engrish for 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 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 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). It's an interesting connection, even if it wasn't done intentionally.
    • Yagami (夜神) means "Night god" or "Dark god", so his name is "Light Dark God". The important thing is the god part.
    • One for the Shinigami- "Res", in Latin, is a feminine noun meaning 'thing' (well, 'thing' in this case means quite a lot, including exploit and advantage, but it'll get confusing). An accusative is when something is happening to it. The accusative for Res? Rem.
    • Misa comes from "Kuromisa", meaning "black Mass" (fitting with her cross motif), and Teru Mikami's name means "illuminated."
  • Memory Gambit: The "Exactly As Planned" Gambit Roulette. Light allowed himself to be incarcerated and gave up his memories of the Death Note to make the act convincing. After proving his 'innocence' Amensia!Light earnestly worked with L and the Task Force to catch the Third Kira, who was chosen by Rem at the behest of Light. Once this was accomplished and Light came into physical contact with his old notebook, all his memories returned.
  • Messy Hair: L and Near always look like they just rolled out of bed. This is because, unlike Light, they dont' care about appearences.
  • Metal Scream: The second opening begins with one of these.
  • Might Makes Right: Possessing the power to kill remotely and effortlessly makes all the Kiras believe themselves to have god-like authority to judge others.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Once Light goes all Machiavelli on everyone's ass, there's no turning back. [2]
  • Mind Rape:
    • Light does this to himself if The Scream when he's regaining his memories is anything to go by. Then there's the ending of the manga when Near exposes him as Kira, knocking him off his pedestal and forcing him to face up to what he's done and what he's become; he is drawn as (symbolically) naked and traumatized.
    • This could also be seen as what Light did to Naomi. A bright woman driven to solve her husband's death - and in fact, uncovers information that could have stopped Light in the second chapter - has her mind force-shifted to suicide by the Death Note. Her abrupt change in speech from decisive and sharp to a Creepy Monotone drives this home.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Relight features a scene where Light is walking along solemnly through a Hall of Mirrors, pretending to grieve for L while his reflection is smirking evilly.
  • Mondegreen: The second anime opening. They're not really singing "Hey, hey, ningen sucker, ah ningen ningen fucker", as most subs would have you believe.
  • Money to Throw Away: Near throws money out of the top floor of the SPK HQ to stop people from rioting.
  • Morality Chain: Two deaths mark a visible decline to Light's remaining ethics and sanity. The first is after he killed L ; the second is after his father dies.
  • Moral Myopia: "Crime is out of the question, even if it's done on Kira's request. Now isn't that convenient."
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: The setting of this whole series. Lampshaded at the end by Near.
    "Nobody can tell what is right and what is wrong, what is righteous and what is evil. Even if there is a god and I had his teachings before me, I would think it through and decide if that was right or wrong myself."
  • Morton's Fork: An interesting case: When L accompanies Light to college, Light feels that all of his interactions with him will only confirm his suspicions about Light. Every decision Light makes boils down to him deciding how to react. His thoughts are like this: If I react one way, L would think I'm Kira because of X. If I react another way, L will think I'm Kira because of X. Funny thing is that he is RIGHT about these assumptions because no matter what he does nor how he reacts, L never drops his suspicion of Light as Kira and often has the same thoughts about whatever situation he's in with Light.
  • The Movie: Two Japanese live-action movies based on the original comic (with "Dani California" as the theme song) and one L spin-off. Warner Bros. bought the rights to remake the Live Action movie in America...
  • Multitasked Conversation:
    • Shinigami can't be seen by anyone other than the humans who have touched their Death Note. So when Light is under surveillance by the police, he uses his homework as a cover-of-sorts to carry on a conversation with Ryuk by saying things ostensibly to himself, like "I got this question right!" to indicate a "yes" answer.
    • When the Yotsuba group catch Matsuda, he takes cues from L over the phone to let them know he's in trouble while making it sound to his captors like he's just turning down an offer to hang out with his friend.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Murder Makes You Crazy:
    • Light Yagami, in the anime only. He's an ordinary school student until he write the first name. After that, he develops delusions of grandeur and wants to cleanse the world of evil (leaving himself as the only evil person, as Ryuuk points out). In the manga, this first target is skipped over, showing instead Ryuuk showing up after he's already killed numerous targets.
    • His girlfriend Misa; she was pretty normal before she got the book.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Light believes that the best way to remove crime is to remove criminals.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: L planned for Kira's capture even after his death by informing Wammy's house and alerting his successors of his death.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Matsuda: Er ... I can't help but notice you forgot to mention my name.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: The rest of the Yagami family is not keen on Matsuda's interest in Sayu. Also there's an incident in the manga where Light screams when L suggests that Sayu could be Kira.
  • Mythology Gag: In the last few chapters/final episode, Near says that anyone who was truly just would have been horrified at what happened when he used the note even once, and would get rid of it or destroy it. This is precisely what Taro tries to do in the pilot; eventually, the notebook is destroyed.
    • Also at one point Light introduces Matsuda as "his cousin Taro" which also may be a Shout-Out to the pilot chapter.
    • A plot point in the pilot was that Taro used the notebook by accident because he didn't know English. Light's talent is demonstrated in an English class before he finds the Death Note.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Light's alias Kira is "Killer" made to fit into Japanese phonetics. His last name, Yagami, is written with the symbols for "night" and "god." Additionally, Misa's name comes from "kuromisa", meaning "black Mass."
  • National Stereotypes: Parodied, in L, Change the WorLd, Suruga attempts to disperse a crowd surrounding the truck he's driving by showing his F.B.I. badge, but everyone thinks its fake because he's Japanese.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Light will only kill unrepentant criminals... unless you get in his way. Then you're fair game.
  • Never Suicide: L is suspicious of Naomi's death because he knew her personally and believes she is too strong willed for suicide.
    • Subverted in Another Note. The first three victims are killed in ways that are obviously not suicide (strangulation from behind, beating, etc), and the doors are locked. This is so that, when the murderer does commit suicide inside a locked room for the final crime, it is thought to be another murder, and the case goes unsolved. Luckily, Naomi realized this just in time.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Post Time Skip.
  • No Body Left Behind: Shinigami dissolve into "something neither sand nor rust" when they die.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • If a shinigami uses a Death Note to save the life of a human, the shinigami will die and the shinigami's remaining lifespan will be added to that of the human they saved.
    • Because Light can't bring himself to kill his sister, Mello and Near learn about the fake rules.
    • When Mello kidnaps Takada and orders her to strip, he offers her a blanket to preserve her modesty. This, of course, gives her enough leeway to hide pieces of Death Note and a writing utensil. Guess what happens next.
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Light, when submitting himself for imprisonment as part of his memory gambit. L is more than happy to oblige.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Matt's death involves No Nonsense Mooks.
  • No Place for Me There: Defied by Light when Ryuk asks how he'd fit into the Utopia he envisions - Light plans on running the place, not barring himself from it.
  • Noodle Incident: According to Another Note, L claimed the names Eraldo Coil and Deneuve after winning "detective wars" against their original holders. We are never told what a detective war entails or how those two played out.
  • No Sense of Humor: Light can't make a good joke but he loves to laugh.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Most of the times Misa is wearing something skimpy on-screen, it has no impact on Light.
  • Not Me This Time: Three instances of people having sudden heart attacks that do not involve Kira:
  • Not So Different: One of the series' main themes — Light and L are both Well Intentioned Extremists who believe that the ends justify the means. This is semi-lampshaded by Naomi, who points out that Light reminds her of L.
    L: "Kira is childish and hates to lose."
    Taskforce Member: How do you know this?"
    L: "I am also childish and hate to lose."
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: In episode 19, Matsuda has to fake his own death by falling from a building. He instead lands on a mattress conveniently placed some floors below by his fellow members of the investigation team.
  • Not Worth Killing: The Taskforce for most of the second arc.
  • Nothing but Skulls: On the manga coverart.
  • No, You: When L calls Kira "evil", his response is essentially "You're the one who's evil!"
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The interactions between Light and his father. If you read the manga leading up to Soichiro's death there are plenty of hints that it works.
  • Obviously Evil: Light in the live action movie.
  • Odd Couple: Light and L; the entrance ceremony speech depicts them as a 'pampered honor student' and the 'grungy prodigy'.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Kira Task force is composed less than ten people. This is justified as the rest of the police force was too scared to investigate someone who can kill them remotely by knowing their name and face; both of which are on their ID badge.
  • Offing the Offspring: Soichiro puts a gun to Light's head as part of L's Secret Test of Character.
  • Off Model: In one scene in the anime when Misa appears in a Stripperiffic lacy pink dress the cops' faces disappear when they enter her apartment.
  • Oh, Crap: A common reaction whenever a character's opponent gains the upper hand. Light does this in absolutely epic style when he's exposed as Kira and killed.
    • Naomi Misora the moment she realizes Light is Kira and the Death Note takes effect.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • Uttered by Matsuda after the arrest / death of Higuchi and Light and Misa have been cleared of suspicion, leading the Taskforce to believe they are dealing with yet another Kira.
    • Also, Soichiro says this when the handcuffed Light and L begin their second fist fight.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Chief Yagami and Matsuda were first introduced like this, but were developed differently, especially since Matsuda became a mere Comic Relief character.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: L is about seven years older than Light. Also Team Kira may garner a certain amount of sympathy from certain casual viewers who just see the pretty teenagers being imprisoned by the middle-aged cops.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Dies Irae being the most prominent.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: All over the place in L's tower, and Near's HQ seems to be wallpapered with them.
  • One Curse Limit: In the films, a Death Note can't control someone whose name has already been written down.
  • Only Friend: L tells Light "I feel as though you're the first friend I've ever had" though Word of God says it's a lie, that L has no friends. This hasn't stopped the fandom.
  • Ordinary High-School Student:
    • Light until it's derailed by the fact that he's both incredibly smart and megalomaniacally insane.
    • Sayu id in junior high in the first arc and college in the second.
  • Outlaw Couple: Light and Misa, much to Light's chagrin.
  • Out-Gambitted: In the second episode, when L uses a body double to draw Kira/Light into striking in order to confirm his suspicion that Kira can kill in such a manner. And he did the broadcast region-by-region in order to narrow down where Kira might be based, getting it on the first try.
    Ryuk: Hehehe, he got you there.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: To hear the fans talk, Misa is stupid. People seem to forget that she's only stupid from L and Light's perspective and outmaneuvers both Light and Higuchi easily when she sets her mind to it. In any other anime, Misa Misa could have been the iconic Genius Ditz.
  • Overt Rendezvous:
    • Misa is trying to find Light so she sends a diary page to the task force saying that they should "show off their notebooks in Aoyama" on a certain day. On that day, Light goes to Aoyama with Matsuda and meets friends whom he hangs out with expecting to perform this trope. Misa, however, finds him first and leaves before he can see her.
    • L first reveals himself to his Kira suspect at the Entrance Ceremony and L frequently meets with Light to discuss the Kira Case in public places on the university campus.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Light wears a hoodie and bennie when manipulating Raye Penber, which renders him unrecognizable to both Raye and the investigators that view the surveillance cameras.
  • Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death: The episode appropriate titled "Overcast" comes to mind.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat:
    • Light and L are masters at this; see Politeness Judo for L's example.
    • Misa and Kiyomi's dinner conversation would sound civil if they were not yangdere after the same guy.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Kira's ideology holds that those who have committed crimes — originally murder and actions equally as horrible — must be killed.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: Light commits mass murder with a pen.
  • Perky Goth: Misa dresses in black, wears crosses, etc but always cheerful and excited.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The Kiras. ("The ability to commit mass murder at the wave of a hand?" Check.)
  • Pet the Dog:
    • L: Change the WorLd has many of these for L.
    • Light takes a break from committing mass murder to help his little sister with her homework. He also volunteers to run an errand for her, compliments his mother in the first arc, and attempts to talk his father out of resigning from the police in the second arc.
  • Phosphor-Essence: A subtle example which crosses with Red Oni, Blue Oni: when Light and L confront each other, or meet each other on the street, Light shines a deep, blood-like red, and L a naval blue. Sometimes it appears as a tiny aura around their bodies, other times their hair and eyes glow that color.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Matsuda, you idiot!"
  • Pietà Plagiarism:
    • Naomi with Raye, in the first anime intro.
    • Light with Ryuzaki/L
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: In many scenes with the Taskforce HQ in the second arc, Light is the only one even pretending to work... So is it any wonder the Kira case stalled?
  • Playing Drunk: Matsuda, after being caught by Yotsuba, pretends to be drunk so he can fake his death via falling.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Light Yagami who was willing to kill tens of thousands of criminals and other undesirables to further his ambition but he doesn't approve when his Bumbling Sidekick Teru Mikami announced that Kira was going to kill lazy people as well. Light doesn't object to killing the lazy, he just hasn't decided yet if it's an effective method of imposing his reign.
  • Poisonous Friend: Although he doesn't actually work with Light in person until the very end, Mikami is VERY fanatically devoted to him.
  • Police Are Useless: The public believes this more and more when Kira emerges and takes over. Which is ironic because without the police investigating crimes and arresting suspects (or at least coming up with them), Kira wouldn't have any names or faces to use with the Death Note.
  • Politeness Judo: So, so much. "Let’s do X, is that alright, Light-kun?" and of course Light has to agree or he'll look like he's avoiding L, which makes him look like Kira.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Light himself is usually soft-spoken, courteous, and reserved, and to an extent Misa, Mikami, and Takada all share this. L and Near, however, are brutally honest and openly manipulative; Near in particular earned quite a lot of annoyance from Mogi and Aizawa for the way he treated them. Compare some of Light's and Near's conversations, where Light is accommodating and non-confrontational while Near says exactly what's on his mind in the most blunt manner possible.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Part of Light's downfall is that Mikami was told not to make a move before the showdown with Near. When Takada was kidnapped by Mello, he decided to be assertive and write her name down two minutes before Light did. It comes back to bite both of them in the ass later, to say the least.
  • Pop the Tires: This happens when they are trying to stop Higuchi from driving away with the Death Note.
  • Porn Stash: Light, in order to provide an explanation why he locks his door all the time, gets a porn stash for his father (and the detective team) to discover. He finds the stuff incredibly boring.
  • Power Walk:
    • One each in the second intro and outro.
    • Also Light does one with the Taskforce in the finale (looking like The Sopranos in their business suits).
  • Powers in the First Episode: Light picks up the Death Note in the first episode
  • The Pratfall: When discovering about the true nature of Kira, L is so surprised he falls out of his chair. Word of God confesses that this scene was drawn just for the visual image of L flat on his ass.
  • Product Placement: The manga is crawling with it. L uses a Mac, Ryuk loves to play Mario Golf, Misa walks past a vey conspicous Tabasco clothing store and mentions in her fake diary that the PS2 will soon be released, Aizawa and Ide drink Pepsi.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Light is the protagonist who turns into a villain because the Death Note's power warps his ideals from heroic to villainous.
  • Psychological Horror: This series thrives on suspensense and mind games with a serial killer that has magic powers.
  • Psycho Supporter: Misa Amane, Kiyomi Takada, and Teru Mikami.
  • Public Secret Message: Misa is a Kira-fangirl, but doesn't know who he is. So she uses her own death note to kill people and force the news to send messages. Light is annoyed, since while people who don't know about the notes won't be able to figure out what they're talking about, it is still far too public for his taste.
  • Punch Clock Villain: This applies to most of the Shinigami. Ryuk says they only kill humans so they won't die themselves and they only truly qualify as "evil" insofar as the occasional decision to kill a human earlier than intended - and doing so to save another is an offense for which death is punishment.
  • Punched Across the Room: Light does this to L, who promptly returns the favor.
  • The Purge: Light's main method of creating a utopia.
  • The Quisling: George Sairas (President Chicken-Maggot).
  • Ransacked Room: Light has an elaborate series of tests set up to see if someone has been in his room. He leaves the door handle (which normally retuns to a horizontal position when used) five milimeters lower and sets a piece of paper in the door (obvious tells) and a pencil lead in the door frame (a not so obvious tell) to see if someone has been in his room so when he finds the pencil lead broken and the paper back in the door it suggests someone has been in, searched, and bugged his room.
  • Rasputinian Death: Light himself at the end.
  • Reality-Writing Book: Writing someone's death in the Notebook causes that death to happen in reality.
  • Recap Episode: The first half of "Renewal".
  • Redemption in the Rain: Inverted. At the beginning, Light is heavily rained on as he resolves to save the world, er, turn to evil.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Shinigami Eyes. (Incidentally, Ryuk has red pupils.)
    • The anime makes a hobby out of catching Light's eyes just right so that they look red (despite him never even considering the Shinigami Eyes deal), and the opening and closing sequences make it even stronger as part of the red/blue motif.
  • Red Filter of Doom
  • Red Herring: Many of the How To Use rules from the Eye Catch are never used.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Light (megalomaniac and L (low key).
    • Mello and Near fit the trope pretty well, except there it's Orange Oni Teal Oni.
  • Red Right Hand: By the end of Relight (everything after the funeral scene) Light seems to be sporting fangs in addition to perpetually glowing red eyes.
  • Red Shirt: Most of the minor victim characters with the most notable being Naomi Misora, who originally was considered to have a bigger role before it was decided to kill her off quickly to prevent the story from becoming more complicated or way too short). Matt, the third-in-line to succeed L, was given no backstory whatsoever and introduced solely to give Mello someone to interact with before the author killed him off after his sporadic appearances in 12 panels. Despite this, both characters have a large fan following.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In episode 9, when L simply approaches Light and actually tells him he's L, this is Light's assessment of the tactic, as he has no effective way to counter it.
  • Refused The Call: Ide doesn't join L's taskforce because he doesn't trust L. He later joins after L is killed and Light takes over.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: In Aoyama Light introduces Matsuda to his friends as his "cousin Taro."
  • Replacement Love Interest: After Misa Amane transfers her Notebook to Teru Mikami, Kiyomi Takada comes onto the scene as Kira's spokesperson and Light's new girlfriend while Misa just kind of fades out of focus. Like Misa, Kiyomi is a Kira-worshiper completely devoted to Light and willing to kill for him.
  • Repressive But Efficient: It's mentioned a couple times that Kira succeeds in dramatically reducing crime rates. An interesting example considering that it's only his method of killing that is supernatural; he relies on news reports to identify criminals, meaning that he kills mostly those that have already been apprehended by police. So it is ONLY the rampant use of the death penalty as a deterrent that achieves this effect, not any increase in efficiency of actually catching criminals. (Note that studies have shown that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent in Real Life.)
  • Retcon:
    • While How to Read 13 states that the SPK disbanded and returned to their old jobs after Kira's defeat, in the one-shot manga special released two years later, Lidner, Gevanni and Rester are shown to still work with Near.
    • If the strongly implied rule that a shinigami must follow the owner of the Death Note was observed throughout the series, nothing after the Yotsuba arc could have happened.
  • Retirony
  • Revealing Coverup:
    • When Light kills Raye Penber and Naomi Misora, it comes to L's attention to focus the investigation on the people Raye Penber was tailing.
    • Also when Yotsuba Corp buys off the police and key government officials to stop chasing Kira.
    • Also comes into play at the end. The immediate cause of Light's downfall was Mikami going to write Takada's name in the Death Note. He only did that to prevent information from leaking, either to Mello (by Takada telling him) or Near (if SPK got ahold of her, Death Note pages and all.
  • Revealing Hug: There are a few scenes where Light and Misa embrace; Misa's expression is either lovestruck or tearful, while Light's is ... not.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: The audience knows full well who Kira is. The fun is to see if L can figure it out, too.
  • Right Behind Me: When Aizawa and Ide are discussing putting Light back under surveillance, guess who should walk in at that very moment?
  • Rooting for the Empire: Light's followers and fans, both in-universe and out, count, especially considering the amount of antipathy some of the fanbase holds for Near.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Played straight with Light, who reverts to an apparently genuinely good person on losing his memories. Averted with Misa, who jumps at the chance to be useful to Light in any way, even if it results in someone's death.
  • Rule of Empathy: Kira would be a generic shadowy villain if he wasn't The Protagonist.
  • Rules Lawyer: Light bends and manipulates the Death Note's rules like silly putty.
  • Running Gag: in Another Note L makes Naomi destroy her computer every time he contacts her.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Unintentionally done during Light's Memory Gambit:
    Light: ...to be L and have control of the police while being Kira in secret. It's ideal.
    L: Well, it would be pretty stupid of you to do that after you told everyone your plan.
  • The Scapegoat:
    Near: Actually "L," I'll let you have full authority on this...
  • Scare Chord: Light's psychotic daydream sequence in Relight 2.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Soichiro's glasses often function this way.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Ryuk is bored, he 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.
  • Schmuck Bait: What causes Light to pick up the notebook and cause the series to happen. His thought process goes like this: 'Notebook of Death? It has to be a prank but what if...."
  • Scholarship Student: Referenced and inverted. When L and Light both give the entrance ceremony speech, Light is said to look like a normal private school student, "pampered and brilliant." L is said to look like a "crazy genius," though one of the conclusions (based on L's physical appearance) is that he's a poor scholarship student. It's an inversion, because L is rich from all of the cases he's solved and received money for.
  • School For Scheming: Wammy's House exists in order to find a successor to L.
  • Science Cannot Comprehend Phlebotinum:
    • In episode 24, L and Light capture the Death Note. Light suggests analyzing it. L replies that the Death Note is the kind of thing that can't be analyzed, and is later confirmed when they do try to analyze it and are unable to determine what it is made of.
    • It is stated in the rules at the end of a manga chapter that no scientific or clinical analysis can reveal if someone posseses Shinigami Eyes.
    • Averted when Light uses his brain as opposed to gizmos to analyze the Death Note and determines what it can or cannot do. Ryuk wasn't aware of some of these things.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl:
    • L. "Shinigami? Am I supposed to believe that they really exist?"
    • Light is no slouch in the girly scream department either.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Those who possess the Death Note will always consider themselves above the law.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Unlike most examples, this one is used by villains to justify their serial killing because they're only killing criminals. This logic falls apart when they go after honest cops tracking a serial killer.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Cult of Kira
  • See You in Hell: Used effectively in the episode "Execution" in the English dub when Soichiro pretends to shot Light.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • Misa never seems to get a clue that Light hates her guts and just pretends to love her in order to use her. At one point, she even says she won't kill the girls Light has dated in the past because she knows "he was just using them and didn't really love them." Er, Misa...?
    • "My son is not capable of being Kira!"
    • and
    Ryuk: ...then you'd be the only bastard left.
    Light: I have no idea what you're talking about Ryuk...
  • Self-Destructing Security: Light goes to great lengths to protect the Death Note. Not only is it hidden in his locked bedroom in a secret panel of his desk drawer, but opening the panel without first deactivating the failsafe will incinerate the notebook before it can be found. After all, if someone else takes it he's unlikely to get it back, and it links him to hundreds of murders.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Naomi and Halle dress sensibly whereas Misa is Ms. Fanservice.
  • Serial Killer Kira
  • Setting Update: All versions of the series are initially set in The Present Day, this means Light finds the Death Note in 2003 in the manga and 2006 in the live action films and anime.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Sayu after the Time Skip is so attractive Matsudo hits on her, paraphrasing this trope in the process.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: This is Light's position early on in regards to Misa. Much to her delight, he later inverts it.
  • Shōnen: You would expect a crime story with a Villain Protagonist to be Seinen fare, but not here. It was published in Shonen Jump.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Light is killed by Ryuk, having been exposed as Kira, after so many people have been pointlessly killed. The world is rotten again, and nothing's been accomplished.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: One of the turning points in the first arc, which leads to Misa's capture and Light's Memory Gambit to save them both.
  • Shout-Out: They have their own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Near's rebuttal to Light's Motive Rant at the end.
    • This is also Matsuda's reaction to the same speech.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Light: "Now be a good girl and go home." Misa didn't mind.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Light and Sayu. Megalomanic older brother and sweet little sister.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: Light was saved many times due to help from Misa or Rem or Ryuk.
  • Side Story Bonus Art: The Omake in the manga includes a day at the beach and a Christmas Special.
  • Sinister Scythe: Light on the cover art of the manga and as a Shinigami in the Relight movie.
  • Sinister Subway: This is the location for one of Light's mass killings. Specifically, all of America's underover agents.
  • Sleuth Dates Cop:
    • Raye Penber, an FBI agent sent to Japan to aid in the investigation of the Kira case, does not want his fiance, ex-FBI agent Naomi Misora, to get involved in the Kira case. Unfortunately for him, she was the better detective between the two. If he had let her get involved, the series would be one and a half volumes long, and both of them would still be alive.
    • Averted when Matsuda has an obviously crush on Sayu, Light's sister, after She's All Grown Up. Her parents Soichiro, who's Matsuda's superior, and Sachiko forbid her to marry a policeman beforehand. That's hypocritical, considering that Soichiro is a police officer himself.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: There should be no doubt in that this series is firmly on the cynical side because it involves a serial killer successfully shrinking the crime rate by killing criminals, most of the people trying to stop this person are Anti Heroes and states that shortly after Light died, the crime rate returned to normal. Also, there's no after life.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: L and Near are the slobs, dressed in rumpled jeans or pajamas, and Light and his allies all are usually impeccably dressed and groomed. This was highlighted when L and Light stood on stage together: Light was the 'groomed overachiever' and L was the 'eccentric prodigy'.
  • Slouch of Villainy:
    • Mello in his gang HQ.
    • Light does this a few times, very early on. He seems to grow out of it.
  • The Slow Walk: The opening theme song of the second arc comes to mind.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • L. See the main page's Hypocritical Humor entry to get an example.
    • Light has a tremendous ego for an otherwise normal high school student.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Light and L in the live action movies. In the anime, they play tennis.
  • Smug Snake: Light has a tendency to shift into this when he's got the upper hand, but especially when he's all-but taunting Near for having his location discovered in episode 30.
  • Snow Means Death: Naomi Misora is accompanied to her hanging by snow.
  • Social Engineering: Most of the main cast are Social Engineering masters-Light, L, Mello, and Near. Aiber as well.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Light Yagami, with Misa Amane as his sidekick.
  • Someone Has to Do It: An Invoked Trope when Light first picks up the notebook and he considers how he might use it.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Several passages in the first opening is nigh-unintelligible, even in the Japanese.
  • Someone's Touching My Butt: In classic L fashion, he was pretending to cover up for touching Misa's butt by saying it was an outrage, when in touching her butt was a cover so she wouldn't notice him taking her phone.
  • Spoiler Opening: Both the anime opening and the cover of the second volume reveals L's appearance before he's introduced in-universe.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Higuchi after having been cornered as the current Kira, does this to keep himself from being caught. At some point he realizes it is hopeless and tries to pull the trigger. Watari snipes it out of his hands.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Teru Mikami ruins Light's plan to destroy his enemies with his well meaning but misguided action.
      • By extension, Mello, by kidnapping Takada, which leads to Mikami committing said mistake.
    • Misa's introduction as the second Kira made Light's Evil Plan much more complicated.
    • Shidoh comes down from the Shinigami world to fetch his notebook and tells Mello that Light's made up rules are fake.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In the Live-Action Adaptation, Ukita lives (with Mogi dying instead), Misa lives (without her memories of the Death Note), and Soichiro lives (and holds Light in his arms while Light dies).
    • Also in the second Rewrite special, Soichiro's death is not shown or even mentioned...leading to plotholes regarding his absence as well as how Light was able to acquire Mello's true name.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Putting so many "L" and "Th" sounds in a Japanese series was just asking for trouble.
    • Light / Raito, L / Eru, Death Note / Desu Noto, Mello / Mero, and so forth.
  • Spy Speak: L and Matsuda during the Yotsuba arc. Light and Ryuk get a moment early on in Light's conefinement.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • The obsessed fan that tries to kill Misa - and, ironically, the Shinigami who killed him to prevent Misa's death.
    • Misa herself pursuing Kira/Light
  • Stalking Is Love: Misa believes stalking Light will endear her to him.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Raye tells Naomi to focus on domestic things instead of crime things. This gets both of them killed because she's the better detective between them
  • Stealth Pun: In the English dub, when Misa says she can't imagine a world without Light, L agrees, stating that it would be dark.
  • Stepford Smiler: Light- a calm smile over a dangerously crazy self.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: Who has what Death Note is a shock to someone and that someone is soon dead.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • Light and L tend to finish each other's thoughts / inner monologues between cutaways.
    • Light and Mikami: They both had the idea of Takada's suicide and written it in the Death Note at the same time.
  • Strawman News Media: Type IV. You'd think that after the emergence of Kira that there would be a massive clampdown on broadcasting suspect's names... WRONG! Trial by media becomes execution by media: Here's the names and faces of people our viewers want to die in a fire. Let's hope they die on live TV! This is especially exemplified with Demegawa and Takada. The cops consider a media clampdown as soon as L points out that Kira is killing by reading names of criminals out of the newspaper; however, L shoots the idea down, on the grounds that he reads Kira as a Psychopathic Manchild who would just start killing anyone he thinks is guilty, and blaming any innocent deaths on the police for instigated a media clampdown.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: One of these might be something to fear if it's out on the Internet and Kira agrees with the writer. In a way, Light and Mikami used the Death Note as this.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Light's experiments with the Death Note teach him the fine details about how it works. Soon, he knows more about than Ryuk!
  • The Summation: Most versions of the story end with an inversion.
  • Surprisingly Good English: In The Movie, an actual American played Lind L. Tailor ( L's decoy). The news broadcast had a Japanese voiceover, but his Dixie accent was still clearly audible.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Both L and Light feel this way from time to time but the most often target is Matsuda.
    Light/L: Matsuda you idiot.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Deconstructed. Light's bedroom is bugged so when he wants L to see something he does his work there. Otherwise he goes somewhere else.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Near is a candy loving man child prodigy and L's successor..
    • Mikami physically resemble Light and his name is Light's backwards. He also has a similar god complex.
  • Take That:
  • Tailor-Made Prison: L has a couple of custom holding cells for confining Kira and the more dangerous Second Kira.
  • Talking to the Dead: Light does this at L's funeral, complete with loads of Trash Talk and Evil Gloating.
  • Talk to the Fist: In one scene the arguement between Light and L became so heated they exchanged blows.
  • Tautological Templar: BOTH team L and team Kira.
  • Tame His Anger: Soichiro Yagami and Aizawa do this to put up with Misa Amane's Kira support.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Light and Misa are serial killers but with their faces, you'd never even suspect at first without being like L.
  • Teen Genius: The most intelligent characters in the series are all very young.
    • Light and L were both adults for a great deal of the series, but it's pretty obvious that they were both very smart way before that. Light was consistently at the top of his class throughout his entire life and heck, L was pretty much solving cases from the time he was still under custody of Wammy's House.
    • Speaking of Wammy's House, Near, Mello, Matt, and pretty much all the kids there.
    • Considering the fact that we're dealing with a bunch of smart kids here, it is implied that every single one of them had been a Child Prodigy at some point in their lives before the series started.
  • Tempting Apple: Ohba, the writer, apparently requested apples just because he thinks they look cool. In continuity, however, Ryuk finds them addictive, and they're one of the things he enjoys about Earth - next to mass murder and Criminal Mind Games, which are also among the chief draws of the series for the audience. He receives all three from Light in exchange for power, which ultimately leads to Light's death.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • Light's rival L pulls one of these off when he uses a dead-man's drop on his computer to send a message to Wammy's house, telling them of his death, if for some reason he doesn't check in every day or so. He knows this will set Near and Mello to task with catching Kira, and he probably knew that they would race each other to catch Kira and that Near especially was almost but not quite as smart as he was.
    • At the end of the live-action movie, L writes his own name in the Death Note to die 23 days in the future to protect himself from Rem when he confronts Light. Watari still dies but Light and Misa are caught red-handed.
  • That's What I Would Do: Light explains this to L regarding a theory of his about Kira and the second Kira. Soichiro is a bit freaked out.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Misa and Matsuda both have the first ending song as their mobile phone ringtones, and the 2nd ending theme is used in the Director's Cut of the car chase in episodes 22 & 23.
  • There Are No Therapists: Grief counseling for Misa could have solved a lot of things. Also, Light comes across in that first episode as depressed.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Matt is shot by a police squadron and Light is shot and Death Noted. Justified in the second case since it had been established at the beginning that when it was time for Light to die, Ryuk would have to write his name in his Death Note. The shots could injure and incapacitate him, but no amount of bullets could actually kill him.
  • The Thirty-Six Stratagems
  • This Cannot Be!: What Light says about his lethal OutGambitting.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Matsuda has had enough of Light at the time of the final confrontation with Near. The results are quick, well-deserved, and quite scary. Ryuk almost couldn't keep up with him.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Happens to Light, Misa, and Mikami, and to a lesser extent Takada and Higuchi. The differences between their non-Kira selves and their Kira selves are striking.
  • Threesome Subtext: First arc: Misa-Light-L and Second arc: Misa-Light-Takada / Light-Takada-Mikami and in the prequel novel Another Note Raye Penber-Naomi Misora-Ryuuzaki
  • Time Skip: Several years pass between L's death and the arrival of his successors.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Kinda... sorta.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Raye, Naomi's finance. If only if he hadn't told her to Stay in the Kitchen and let her work alongside him...
    • Naomi, the former F.B.I. detective who figures out crucial information on the Kira case and then decides to trust Light after he's been acting creepy, following her around, and asking "Have You Told Anyone Else?" As mentioned below and according to Word of God, she's less stupid than about as lucky as Near is socially skilled — i.e., not at all. note 
    • Demegawa. Someone who uses the name of Kira to pad his own pockets, knowing that Kira is a vengeful god of justice without much sense of mercy. Demegawa? Can you say "SAKUJO"?
    • Mello. Oh sure, tell a woman to strip naked in order to make sure she doesn't have any Death Note pages, cell phones, tracking devices, or what have you, but give her a blanket to cover herself with before she removes her undergarments. Yep, nothing bad can come from that at all. Of course, this show being what it is, it turns out to be a Thanatos Gambit in disguise.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Matsuda. Starts out as comic relief, ends up riddling Light with revolver bullets in the finale.
  • Tragedy: The story could be interpreted as such depending on how the audience looks into the essentials. In the classical sense, a tragedy meant 'The Protagonist dies'.
  • Tragic Hero: Light fits into the Shakespearian mould for a tragic hero. For example compare him to the classic tragic hero character of Macbeth: a noble person tempted by the supernatural and ambition to commit one act of evil after another until it catches up with him.
  • Treachery Cover Up: At the end of the second movie, Light's family were led to believe that he died trying to stop Kira.
  • Trope Overdosed: Look at this page; it's huge.
  • Trouser Space:
  • Tsundere: It's mentioned in Another Note that Naomi tries not to be seen as one during her time in the FBI. The definition given in-text matches up with Type A.
  • Twist Ending: The second Death Note movie, where the audience expects L to die just like in the manga and anime. Instead, surprise! L is alive (for 23 more days) and Light is utterly screwed.
  • Tyke Bomb: The Wammy's kids are raised from a young age to be brilliant detectives.
  • Übermensch:
    • Light is a textbook case: a charismatic person who challenges conventional morality (in this case, about justice and the merits of the death penality) and gathers like minded followers. L, his candy loving and amusement seeking Last Man, sees him as a sociopath with a god complex.
    • In the first Live Action Movie he's seen reading Nietzsche's 'Beyond Good and Evil' shortly before being approched by Naomi Misora for the first time. In German even!
  • Unflappable Guardian: Nothing fazes Watari; death notes and death gods mean he brings out the sniper rifle.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Light and Misa, whether Light likes it or not. They were both villains in their own right before joining forces.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Light OutGambits Near by fooling him into stealing a fake Death Note. However, because of Mello's own unrelated failed Indy Ploy to kidnap Takada, Near realizes the note is fake and is alerted to the location of the real Death Note, which he also steals and replaces with his own fake, allowing him to outwit Light.
  • Unmoving Plaid:
    • In the manga, some very noticeable shortcuts were taken when depicting plaid or striped clothes. Sayu's pajamas come to mind.
    • Soichiro's suits are especially this.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Mello tells the story in Another Note.
    • In the anime, Mikami narrates the flashbacks to his youth, as opposed to the ominiscient narrator in the manga. He thus has an unfavorable view of his mother's advice to stop fighting against the bullies, whereas the manga's narrator noted that she was motivated by genuine concern for his welfare that was largely lost on him.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Usually we don't see Light writing his more complex death plans into his diary before they happen.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Misa does this twice, to the severe detriment of both sides. Once, it's as a Poisonous Friend to Kira, giving L physical evidence in the case of her sending the tapes, and the other time, it's out of Mad Love to same, endangering her own life to the point that her shinigami has to intervene. For a fervent Kira supporter, she's really a loose cannon: she never fully appreciates her role in either disaster.
    • Sachiko asks her children to bring their father a change of clothes, and Sayu is reluctant to take the task. When Light volunteers, he ends up running into Naomi, learning about how close she is to figuring out an important part of how he kills people, and silencing her before she can reach L.
    • Aizawa opens up his umbrella when it begins to snow and so just misses seeing Light and Naomi Misora together.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Higuchi, both to L's plan and to Light's master plan.
  • Urban Fantasy: 21st century Japan has death gods and magical notebooks.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Light's motivation.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Takada kills Mello with pages of the Death Note hidden in her bra. Shouldn't have let her have that blanket, huh?
  • The Villain Makes the Plot: Light is a genius; the top of his class. This is why he can play exciting Gambit Speed Chess with the World's Greatest Detective.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Light's is certainly one of the more famous ones, and has become somewhat of a Memetic Mutation in its own right.
    • Even worse in the Italian dub: he starts to sob... and then he laughs.
  • Villainous Friendship:
    • Light and Misa begin as Type III, though seeing as Light never does get around to killing her, it is possible that they moved to Type I territory.
    • Misa and Rem are Type III; Rem cares deeply for Misa, but Misa doesn't really care about Rem.
    • Mello and Matt are Type I, seeing how Matt is the only person Mello shows remorse for having gotten killed.
    • Mikami and Takada are Type I, but Mikami kills her anyway because his loyalty to his "God" trumps any feelings he has for her.
    • Light and Takada are very much Type III. Takada loves and admires Light, but when Takada has failed him by getting kidnapped, he makes her kill herself by Self-Immolation.
    • Light and Mikami at first appear to be Type I but a diagram in the databook actually implies that Light and Mikami are more of a Type III: Mikami is honestly loyal to Light, but Light views both Mikami and Takada as murderers who aren't that much better than other criminals. He does, however, think that Mikami is useful. Mikami swears absolute devotion to Light when Light entrusts him with the Death Note and in turn he was the only one Light was planning on keeping around after he won. However, in the anime at the very end it turns into Type III. When his plan to kill Near and others fails, Light tries to save himself by sacrificing Mikami, claiming that he doesn't know him; Mikami, while broken by this rejection, remains loyal to Light and responds to his call for help by killing himself, creating a distraction that allows Light to escape. In the manga they are not friends at all as not only Light abandons Mikami, but also Mikami responds to Light's call for help by yelling at him that he's not a god.
    • Light and Ryuk are type IV, the evil Vitriolic Best Buds variety, Light sees Ryuk as a buddy to brag to, and Ryuk likes playing with Light, but in the end, Light only wants to use Ryuk as much as he allows it (e.g. making him find hidden cameras installed in his room or add fake rules to the Death Note as a part of his Memory Gambit), while Ryuk sees Light as a shiny new toy to be disposed of as soon as he gets bored.
    • Light and Rem are type IV, at first Rem hates Light for the way he manipulates Misa but later after spending time with Higuchi, Rem comes to sympathize with Light and his cause, finding Light to be "as pure as Misa."
  • Villain Protagonist: In another series, Light would be the shadowy villain that the heroic Master Detective had to capture before someone else was killed.
  • Villain Song: Misa sings one when Light chooses her to act as Kira in his place. "Ki wo tsukete, Kami-sama wa miteru..." ("Watch your back, [because] God can see you...")
  • Villain World: During the second arc, crime has dropped to zero, many countries have declared their support for Kira, and he's got multiple TV spokesmen.
  • Visionary Villain: Light envisions a world without crime that is ruled by a god-like human with the power of death.
  • Voodoo Shark: See Adaptation Induced Plothole above for the second Rewrite special.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Justified, as the creator didn’t want anyone to be embarrassed by sharing a name with a character in such a grim story. The Japanese names are very outlandish as well. See here for more.
  • Wall Slump: Light, at the end.
  • Walls of Text: The manga, partially because of the very nature of the story and partially because Ohba made sure it had 108 chapters.
  • Weird Moon: It seems any time Light goes out walking at night the moon is always full.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Light starts out by killing prominent murderers, but then jumps off the slippery slope by the second chapter and kills anyone who gets in his way — whether or not they qualify as "immoral", "criminal", or anything else. After the time skip, he makes plans to eventually target lazy people.
    • This also applies to Kiras X- (a lawyer who not only kills criminals, but extends his punishment to people who have atoned for their crimes and "those who do not use their potential" — that is, lazy people) and C-, (the unseen Death Note writer in the manga sequel who kills adults over the age of 70 [which he later drops to 60] in order to unburden the youth of Japan).
    • While L serves as The Leader of the good guys while he's alive, he does some morally dubious things during his quest to stop Kira.
    • Mello, who wants to be L's successor, ends up joining the Mafia, kidnapping Sayu, and indirectly getting Soichiro killed; his actions are so ruthless that he's not much better than Light.
    • Then you have the debate over whether Near controlled Mikami with the Death Note or not, based off of Matsuda's theory in the final chapter. Series artist Takeshi Obata also states that Near is a "cheater" and less innocent than he seems compared to Mello. He treats detective work as a game, and will try to "win" the game by any means necessary; he has no emotional attachments or morals to distract him.
  • We Need to Get Proof: Both L and Near end up suspecting Light almost right off the bat; though they'd both play fast and loose with ethics to solve a case, Near says ex post facto justification (like killing Light and seeing if the murders stop) is intolerable for either of them.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: The Death Note kills people. Light quickly finds ways to make it do... more.
  • Who's Laughing Now?:
    • This is Mikami's Freudian Excuse; he was bullied and now he has the power to kill bullies.
    • In The Grand Finale Matsuda is done with being the Butt Monkey...
    • Some food for thought- Light was seriously considering the school bully for his second kill despite how it might implicate him to kill someone he knows.
    • And Taro Kagomi from the pilot chapter.
    • Kiyomi Takada in the live-action movie.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The Death Note's rules invoke this trope. If a victim's description of death has them writing "death gods love apples" before dying, they'll just die of a heart attack without fulfilling the description, because the victim would have no way of knowing that. What they can do is write an ordinary suicide note that just happens to spell "death gods love apples" if you take the first letter of each line.
  • With Due Respect: Aizawa says this to L when convinced of Light and Misa's innocence.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: First it was curousity then it was 'kill the scum of the earth' and then full on god complex.
  • World of Ham: Despite the strong pessimistic viewpoint, there is no doubt that the series is full of ham, most of it coming from one character.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Light toward L. Particularly after L dies, since his successors don't compare in his eyes. Light's inner resentment of Near wearing a mask of L is genuine.
    • Subverted in the oneshot chapter set after the manga, when Near drives cKira to suicide by telling cKira that he isn't worth Near's time.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Kira prefers the term "Justice."
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Not a specific character, but the Death Notes themselves. One of their How to Use rules states that a Death Note cannot affect anyone under the age of 780 days (two years and 50 days).
  • Written by the Winners: A discussed trope.
    Light: If we catch Kira, then Kira is evil. If Kira takes control of the world, then Kira is Justice.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The series is a game of such chess between L and Light. They make their play and quickly improvise to the other's until one of them says 'checkmate'.
  • Yandere: Let's have Misa explain it: "If I see you with another girl, then I'll kill her!" Quintessential yandere. Even Ryuk, the shinigami, claims to find that scary.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to Light himself every now and then and every time he falls for his enemies' plan.
  • You Are Already Dead: "The human whose name is written in this note shall die." No takebacks.
  • You Are What You Hate:
    • As Lampshaded by Ryuk when he first meets Light, no matter how many criminals Light kills, there will always be one bastard left.
    • Misa, who fears stalkers, becomes a stalker herself.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Shinigami King, so says the manual.
  • You Didn't Ask:
    • In the live action movie, this is Ryuk's explanation for why he hadn't told Light why, if you have a Death Note, your lifespan is hidden from a human who has traded for Shinigami-sight (which allowed Misa to discover who he is).
    • This is his explanation in the manga as well. In addition, one of the rules of the Death Note as presented in "How to Use" is that the Shinigami is not obligated to tell the holder of the Death Note anything, even if the holder asks.
  • You Fool!: Light says it a couple of times in the English dub and usually to Matsuda or Misa.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: L pulls this on Matsuda when the latter asks how he can better pull his weight.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Light does this all the time, as does Mello. Ryuk returns the favor to Light at the very end.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Light invokes this word for word during his Memory Gambit. When Light reverts to his "innocent" self and knows he's not Kira, he has no memory of his time as Kira, and something strange is going on here. Naturally, no one believes him.
  • You Just Told Me: Light of all people falls for this and accidentally outs Higuchi as Kira to Namikawa. Made even funnier by the fact that he's using L's name at the time.
    Misa: "Wow! Namikawa is really smart to have figured that out!"
    L: "No, that's just because Light messed up."
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Killing the owner of a Death Note is one way to obtain ownership.
    • A human that causes a shinigami's death inherits their life span.
  • You Meddling Kids: Light would have gotten away with it too (or a realistic chance to argue his innocence)...if he had waited two freaking seconds!!!
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Light makes his life worse by not giving up — when he kills FBI Agent Raye Penber, he ends up casting suspicion upon himself, not long after Penber judges Light free of suspicion of being Kira. If he had simply done nothing, L would not have managed to narrow the suspects down to him.
  • Young Conqueror: All of the four main characters have the mental qualifications to be this, but only Light is idealistic enough to follow this route. He plans to take over the world.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Lind L. Tailor is not the real L.
  • Your Seconds Are Numbered: Once someone has their name written in the Death Note, that person will die no matter what they or anyone else does.


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alternative title(s): Death Note; Death Note
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