YMMV / Death Note

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Misa Amane, in the anime. Doubles as an Alas, Poor Villain.
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • "Death Note? Man, I love that anime/movie. What, there was a manga?" This is somewhat of a strange case, as originally the manga was already immensely popular in the West before the film/anime adaptations.
    • Individual scenes are subject to this as well, even amongst fans who know the manga. The infamous "potato chip" scene was understated and matter-of-fact in the manga, but bring up potato chips in reference to Death Note, and people either recall the over-the-top Japanese dialogue from the anime, or the even more ridiculous English dub of the same scene.
      • Notable examples of this are certain Narm-tastic moments such as L's reaction to the second Kira mentioning shinigami and Mikami's death. Just like in the potato chip example, the reactions of the characters were far more understated (and realistic) in the manga. And in the case of the latter, the actual death/suicide happens 10 days later and off-screen.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Has its own here.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Italians Hate Light Yagami.
    • Misa Amane is way more accepted in Japan, Europe and South America than in North America. If she could see fan reaction to her, she'd probably wish the NA Death Note fandom was more like the Batman fandom; she'd be more popular then!
  • Anvilicious: The power to kill (without having to assume responsibility) is evil.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • It depends from reader to reader, but many feel this around the second arc (see Ending Fatigue) and some even as early as the first arc. This is a series that prides itself on being a "howtocatchem" Gambit Pileup war between two Magnificent Bastard characters... and obviously those with low tolerance for endless mind games are going to rage.
    • Interestingly enough, the Live Action Films have also followed this sentiment, choosing to end it at the first arc. The TV adaptation is...complicated. It foregoes the Time Skip, but keeps most of the events and characters from the second arc.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Mello and Near also come almost out of the blue, in contrast to the usual pains the story takes to show the plans in action from start to finish.
      • While we'er on the subject of Near, him somehow replacing the Death Note with a fake is viewed as one. Especially the fact that Light didn't notice.
      • Another on the subject of Near happens in the anime where he was able to pick out Mikami amongst many possible suspects as the X-Kira supporting the true Kira all because Near was currently watching Mikami give a televised speech about continuing to support Kira. However, unlike the anime, the manga makes it clear that Near pieced together Mikami being X-Kira due to being the only suspect that interacted with Kira's chosen spokesperson, Takada.
  • Awesome Ego: Light Yagami the God of the New World. Also more subtly L-only the world's top three greatest detectives with his own L-screensaver.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Mello is either loved and hated by the fandom since he was a villain.
    • Matsuda is an Ensemble Darkhorse, but he's also hated for being an idiot.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Misa's Villain Song comes out of nowhere, has no relevance to the overall story, and is never mentioned again. It feels particularly out of place considering that everywhere else in the story, not a single second is wasted. Furthermore, it's nowhere to be found in the manga.
  • Broken Base:
    • The death of L in the original. The fanbase is split between it being one of the most emotionally impactful moments and a tragic loss and those who feel that the death threw a massive wrench into the character dynamics and weakened the series in a way it could never recover from. Some people even prefer the Live-action adaptations for having L win and die after the series.
    • Which ending is better, the anime or manga? Some that feel Light's send off in the Manga was more fitting he dies a pathetic whiny death to highlight how much of a worm he was. Others feel the anime was better with Light having a more emotionally resonant Alas, Poor Villain moment which some argue manages to swing the anime back up from its Seasonal Rot. The endings clearly go for different tones and radically change how one's supposed to view Light and one's opinion on him (a Base-Breaking Character if there ever was one) will probably dictate one's feelings on the ending.
    • The name changes and other cultural adaptations for the American Netflix version. Many people decry They Changed It, Now It Sucks as expected, but others recognize them as a Pragmatic Adaptation of sorts (for example, Light's first name is unchanged and many of the other Japanese names are retained), especially with Japanese actor and fellow geek Masi Oka helping to head the series.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Manga: Light Yagami is a brilliant, egotistical student who finds the titular Death Note and soon embarks on a quest to become the God of a "perfect" world he will create. After killing multiple criminals with the Note, the narcissistic Light flies into a rage when a man denounces his public name of "Kira" ("Killer") on TV and gleefully murders him on the spot. Once FBI agents investigate, Light kills them as well, revealing himself to one to gloat and later forcing the man's fiancee into suicide. Later, to eliminate his chief pursuer and rival L, Light pulls a Memory Gambit where he has the Death Note given to a man he knows will misuse it and pulls off a scheme that kills multiple people, including L. Light contemplates killing his own sister when she becomes a liability and only relents because of the scrutiny it will draw. Not even lovers are immune, as he uses one of his two lovers as bait for another rival and forces her to burn herself to death, also eliminating any evidence along with her. When exposed, Light attempts to justify himself as well-intentioned, but is revealed as "nothing more than a crazy Serial Killer."
    • Film: Once a college student frustrated at the perceived failures of the Japanese justice system, Light Yagami proves that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Upon getting his hands on the titular Death Note, the narcissistic Light quickly declares his designs of becoming the god of a new world. While he starts off by simply killing criminals, he eventually expands his targets to include the FBI investigators attempting to catch him, and anyone else he sees as a hindrance to his ascension. Light kills his girlfriend Shiori Akino at the end of the first movie to gain sympathy from L, using Naomi Misora, whom he also kills. His disinterest in the fate of anyone other than himself is shown most clearly when he gives the note to someone who he knew for certain would use it for selfish and evil purposes just so that he can throw the authorities off his trail and kill his rival.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Many have noticed Ryuk's physical resemblance to another humorous death god.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Movie-L has a high-tech getaway car. And it's a bright pink Angel Crepe van.
    • Also Light and Mikami emphasis on CRAZY.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Ryuk is this trope personified.
    • Let's just say this series has a Cast Full Of Creepy Awesome.
    • Mikami has some great moments. Killing Demegawa and his cohorts in the anime is accompanied by writing even more epic than Light's. The eagle sound effects and flashing multicolored lights aren't the things that make the scene; that smile of his, however, is.
    • Beyond Birthday, all the way.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: So much that Death Note has its own page.
  • Cry for the Devil: Deserving or not, Mello, Takada, Light, Mikami, and Misa all had very sad deaths.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Happens to some people, due to the dark and cynical atmosphere, Black and Gray Morality, and the fact that Anyone Can Die and there is Cessation of Existence after death. The cast does not offer many characters one can truly root for; what few sympathetic ones there are either killed off or ground into the dirt, if indeed they get attention at all.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Getting away with murder and eating potato chips has never looked so cool.
  • Die for Our Ship: Misa and Takada for getting in the way of L and Light. Takada gets this from Light/Misa shippers as well, some of whom actually cheered when Light killed her, even though he was only using both of them. To a lesser degree, Halle for getting in the way of Mello and Matt or Mello and Near.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Light gets an in-universe example.
  • Ear Worm: From The Musical: They're only human!/They don't see/Who they are is who they'll always be!
  • Ending Fatigue: The second arc for many. Ironic as the series was written specifically to span 108 chapters, partly as a Take That! toward Arc Fatigue which Tsugumi Ohba identifies as a Pet-Peeve Trope.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Matt. He appears in a mere sixteen panels of the manga, but is extremely popular in the fandom, to the point where if you were unfamiliar with the series you'd think he was one of the main characters, or that his relationship with Mello was canonically romantic.
    • Matsuda established himself squarely in this place when he pulled a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass moment in emptying his revolver in Light when the later attempted to kill Near. Of course before hand he was one due to his carefree attitude.
    • Soichiro Yagami certainly qualifies. In most of the abridged series of the series he is made to be this supreme badass whom no one will question or talk back to.
    • Mikami is highly revered by fans for being arguably the most over the top user of the death note and for having a genuinely sympathetic back story. It helps that he's also very pretty.
    • Beyond Birthday only appeared in the book spin off "The BB Murder Cases" and had a passing mention in the anime and manga, but became rather popular nevertheless.
    • Naomi Misora for being intriguingly mysterious, and nearly bringing the Kira case to an early end by herself... of course, "nearly" doesn't quite cut it when you're dealing with Light.
  • Escapist Character: Light is handled well enough to be this rather than an Invincible Villain.
  • Evil Is Cool: Most of the... umm, "less heroic" characters, especially Light. Ryuk, Mello and BB also qualify.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Light Yagami, Misa, Mikami and Mello.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There's when Light regains his memory and becomes Kira again; some people ignore that and everything that happened afterward, considering Light to have remained L's partner instead. Some ignore what happened shortly afterward, L's death; some accept the previous spoiler, but reject everything that occurred after it; some accept everything until the ending of the series, when Light is killed. Complicating things further, the anime (slightly) adjusts the manga's ending. Light still dies, but he dies with slightly more dignity, managing to escape but then getting killed by Ryuk, who doesn't want to be bored while Light's in prison. In the manga, he has a Freak-Out prior to his death.
    • There are also fans who don't like the Foe Yay added in episode 25, to the point of pretending it never happened.
      • A small fandom accepts it as fanservice while a bigger one hates how it made L look like he accepted defeat.
    • Many fans are displeased by and choose to ignore how Word of God interprets Light and L's relation, and such, in How To Read.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: L/Light and Mello/Matt are the most popular ships in the fandom.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Poor Mello actually thinks he looks intimidating in that outfit.
  • Faux Symbolism: The apples. The artist assumed they were there for their religious significance, but the writer just put them there because he thought they were cool. So he claims, anyway.
    • Not to mention the first opening credits that make us think that Light is going to do something really just and noble. Heck, the first time you see him he's reciting Scripture perfectly in class. Two episodes into the series, you know better.
      • Throughout the series, there are a number of images that just happen to resemble crosses. And in the first opening credits sequence, Misora is seen holding the recently killed Raye Penber's body, looking uncannily like La Pieta art.
      • The first opening credits also shows a split-second image of Light laying on what appears to be a stained-glass window (in the second opening, this is repeated, only Light is shown more as a festering corpse).
      • Also in the opening credits is an image of Light handing Ryuk an apple, in what appears to be a crude mimicry of Michelangelo's ceiling painting of Adam and God (With Light as Adam, giving the apple more symbolism, and Ryuk as God, being flanked by Shinigami rather than cherubim). Also note how, in this image, Light has THAT chain handcuffed to his wrist, which leads off-screen. Is speculated to mean that the image may actually be larger, including L attached on the other end.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Tons of it. L seems to get this with all his enemies with Light above all others but also with Misa, and Beyond from Another Note at least on B's side. B is very obsessed with him. As for Light and L the two compliment each other's methods and skills all the time, and regard each other as worthy adversaries. L evokes feelings in Light that he feels for no one else. L is the most important person in Light's life even after he is dead. And in the anime L is the only person on Light's mind when he's dying. And of course, there's that infamous foot massage in the anime, which must be seen to be believed.
    L: It's the least I can do to atone for my sins.
    Light: ...Do as you wish.
  • Foe Yay / Ho Yay: In episode 25, Light and L both dripping wet, and L insists on drying Light's feet, then giving him a foot massage. Light gently brushes L's bangs with a towel...
  • Fountain of Memes: Light
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: A certain pratfall toward the end of the first season plays very differently by the end of the second.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Misa's generally more popular within the Cosplay fandom than the rest of the anime fandom, due to how easy it is to cosplay her and how the many teenage girlsnote  in the cosplay fandom can relate to her (albeit not completely). In fact: Francesca Dani, one of the most popular cosplayers in the whole world, has Misa among her most popular cosplays.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Watch the first episode after watching the series and think just how different Light's life (and the entire world) would have been if he hadn't been looking through that window.
  • He's Just Hiding: Pick a character- any character- there's loads of Fix Fic.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • in Volume 5 of the manga L wonders "Just how far ahead have you prepared, Light Yagami...?"
    • In Volume 2 Light declares in his mind "I can't let myself be even remotely suspected of being Kira!" Yeah, good luck with that.
    • We agree, Ryuk. Humans are fun!
    • When people found out live-action Soichiro was played by Takeshi Kaga, it started jokes about where Light got his potato chip eating skills from.
    • For Inuyasha fans, it can be quite funny to learn that L and Near in the Japanese dub share the voices of Inuyasha and Kikyo respectively, a tragic couple in said series.
    • The series was dubbed in Vancouver. Now the American live-action film is being shot in Vancouver.
    • This may or may not have been intentional, depending on when the trend picked up, but Light's name is written with the kanji 月, meaning 'moon'.. It's a kirakira name.
    • Seeing that Shinigamis are the japanese equivalent of The Grim Reaper, Misa Amane is, in the latin american dub of the series, the japanese equivalent of Mandy, as both are blonde girls that have the same voice actress.
  • Hollywood Homely: According to Word of God, L is supposed to be "ugly."
  • Ho Yay/Les Yay: See here.
  • Internet Backdraft: L's death, which is arguably the riskiest move by Ohba, caused a great deal of the fans to simply stop following the series altogether.
  • Iron Woobie: Soichiro Yagami. He's the most decent man in the series, but he has to suffer due to his son's and L's actions.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Depending on your view and how much sympathy do you retain for them, despite them doing many bad things, Light, Misa, Mikami, Mello, Beyond, and even Takada could qualify.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Ohba was a master of subverting the trope. Doesn't stop the fans' perspectives, though.
    • On the other hand, when Souchiro pulled the trigger on Light, nobody believed it for a second. Light was so high on the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality that there was no way he was getting shot in the back of the car.
  • Love to Hate: Light is a delusional Knight Templar and only gets worse with time, but few can deny that he's an intriguing Chessmaster who can match wits with the world's greatest detectives.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Light is practically the manga poster boy for this trope. L actually fits some of the requirements even better than Light. Mello might have become one with his final actions, if you choose to believe he had it all planned.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Raye Penber is stalking teenage boys for the F.B.I. Doesn't help that in the anime his signature makes his first name look like it's spelled "Rape." Many jokes have been made on Youtube.
    • Ryuk's permanent rape face.
    • Just LOOK at Near's creepy smiles! Also in the manga, how he wanted to keep Light.
    • Higuchi is a Dirty Old Man in canon.
    • Beyond Birthday often supplies the "hurt" part of Hurt Comfort FanFiction. There's really no good way to take his line in Another Note of "I'm an aggressive top."
    • L never misses an opportunity to install cameras in a bathroom.
    • Light for evidence, see the deleted scene of L's funeral. Not to mention his Slasher Smile as he says "Just as planned."
  • Memetic Mutation: Lots.
  • Mind Game Ship: Light with practically everyone. The most notable ones are L with Light and Near with Light.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
  • Moe:
    • Misa Amane is a walking blob of Moe. Pigtails, Gothic Lolita, Zettai Ryouiki, squealing girly voice, all topped off with a Yandere personality. She's so Moe that she even Shinigami want to protect her. Also, Sayu.
    • Light and L have their moments too. Especially L, thanks to his personality quirks and endearing smile.
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • Narm: See here.
  • Narm Charm: How many people interpret the anime.
  • Never Live It Down: Light has rather fewer moments of completely losing his shit than you'd think from talking to fans. It's just that what little we get is just that memorable.
    • Also the potato chip incident.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Quite a bit of it.
  • No Yay:
    • Ryuk/Light Oh for the love of Kira, NO! (This may have inspired a Death Note rule listed in the manga that Shinigami cannot have sex.)
    • Also Higuchi and Misa's car scene. He's 13 years her senior, has her in the car and is proposing, and looks prepared to rape her.
    • 20 year old Mello and creepy sociopathic mafia leader Rod Ross, who has to be at least twice Mello's age.
    • Near/Light. No. Just no.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • This reporter:
    • Don't forget Matt's epic scene of Noble Self-Sacrifice. 16 panels in the manga, less than 2 minutes of screentime in the anime, and yet his character is one of the most popular in the fandom.
    • Linda (the only female student seen at Wammy's house), has a fan following despite her minor role. She appears very briefly in the manga, and not at all in the original anime series.note 
  • Pandering to the Base: The films change the ending so that L wins. It allows Soichiro to actually learn his son is Kira; many considered his dying without ever knowing to be a copout. It also counts as a Pragmatic Adaptation, as it eliminated the entire Near story arc and the need to introduce a cast-load of additional characters. The movie format doesn't lend itself well to adding the Time Skip and a new storyline from scratch. However, since the Near/Mello arc has been subject to a lot of criticism, this too is often seen as part of the pandering.
    • The anime changes the ending so that Light goes out with a certain degree of dignity, and cuts out the finale chapter closing it all off, for no better reason than to appease the fans who wanted their "hero" to get a better send off.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Your life can be ended at anytime just by having some Japanese god write your name in a notebook. Moreover, it's implied that this happens all the time. And, the only fate that awaits you or anyone, for that matter is nonexistence.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Near, along with Mello. Some fans are not fond of L's succesors. In fact, Near gets even more bashing than Mello, and even the author said that he was more and more unlikable as the story went on. In-Universe, even Light considers Near to be this, personally disliking him and regarding him as being unworthy of succeeding L.
    • K for Light in the movie-verse.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Mello gets better and better as the second half of the story progresses once he stops angsting and becomes the Crazy Awesome leader of the mafia. Not to mention his faaaaaabulous fashion sense. On the other hand, Near, his rival, falls farther and farther into Replacement Scrappydom for L.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Soichiro Yagami and Misa regularly in L x Light Fan Fics. Also Rem for killing L. L-centric fics frequently derail Light. Light-centric fics often give L the same treatment.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A case could be made that supporting any of the series' major characters involves this trope, since the primary protagonist is a mass murderer with a God complex, and his various antagonists, while they have lines they refuse to cross, are all rather ruthless in their pursuit of him.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Near has earned a Scrappy status from many fans who viewed him as a poor knock-off of L. Even the creator bashed him.
    • Demegawa. Fans considered him to be a Jerkass Expy of J. Jonah Jameson who's merely concerned with increasing his own profits. He even caused one of Light's plans to fail because of his Money Fetish!. Good thing Mikami kills him.
    • And of course, Misa Amane whom many found annoying, stupid, unlikable (you know among such likable characters), and...basically just being a heterosexual woman in a series that has a following among Yaoi Fangirls.
    • Takada. Whenever fans talk about her, it's either that she was a informed intelligent fool who easily fell for Light's charms or a stuck up jerk, particularly on how she treated Misa. She even gets plenty of flak from fangirls who swore to exact their revenge on her for killing Mello - though it's hard to imagine a worse fate for her than the one that actually transpired.
  • Seasonal Rot: Apart from the final episode, the second part of the series, that is, everything after L's death, is considered by many to be inferior to the first. Whether this means "quite good, just not as good" or "so bad it never happened" depends on who you ask.
  • Ship Mates: Most fans ship Light/L with their Mello/Matt or Mello/Near.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: L/Light vs Light/Misa (or L/Misa). Also, the Mello/Near shippers once got into a nasty fight with the Mello/Matt ones.
  • Signature Scene: A lot of them too, primarily from the anime.
    • The first episode's montage of Light killing multiple criminals in quick succession.
    • "I'll take a potato chip... (deep breaths) AND EAT IT!" note 
    • "I'm L."
    • "Just as planned!"
    • The laughing scene. You know the one.
  • Squick: Higuchi's plans to make Misa his bride.
  • Stoic Woobie: L, Near, Mello, Matt, Beyond Birthday, A, and every kid from Wammy's House can qualify. Sure, they're stoic, almost emotionless boys, but they are orphans with a Dark and Troubled Past. As for L's case, well, he's an orphan who has been raised to be the world's best detective, and for some reason, doesn't consider anyone a friend, his lies to Light and Misa aside. As for L's succesors and many more (Near, Mello, Matt, Beyond Birthday and A), they were groomed from an extremely young age (likely being confronted with very graphic crime scene evidence during the process) to succeed the world's greatest detective, and actively being pushed to compete with their peers no matter the cost to their mental health. Of course, they din't deserve that.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In-universe, crime rates drop 70% worldwide and wars come to an end as Light's work goes on. Those in dangerous or crime-ridden places might find themselves agreeing with him, or at least forgetting that he plans to move on to killing lazy and unproductive people afterward.
  • Superlative Dubbing: This is considered one of the best anime dubs ever, though arguments still occur over which is superior.
    • The Mexican Spanish dub is not a slouch in this department either, leaving aside some minor spelling mistakes with Teru Mikami's name.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The tune that plays when Aiber and Wedy are introduced sounds suspiciously similar to the Mission: Impossible theme tune.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Misa's attitude gets like this at times, especially compared to the overall aesthetic of the series.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Naomi Misora and Matt are viewed as characters that were greatly underutilized.
    • Amongst the fanbase, Mello is considered the more interesting character between him and Near since to many, Near just comes off as a L 2.0 knockoff while Mello is portrayed as a dangerous Mafia member. Something that makes his character completely unique compared to L and Near. However, Mello ends up becoming mostly Out of Focus just to continue building up the Light vs. Near rivalry.
    • Subverted with Matsuda, who was slated to die in Soichiro's place. He was already an Ensemble Darkhorse by this point, so he was spared at the last minute.
    • From the Drama we have the Mello puppet. Its concept was so bizarre and and mind-boggling, but somehow it was crazy enough to work. Too bad they do next to nothing with it.
      • To add to that, it's more than a bit jarring that Matt is not in it all. You'd have thought that the creators would've wanted to give one of the fan favorites a time to shine, but due to how the story was adapted, he was written out entirely.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Light defends his usage of the Death Note by citing how wars have ceased entirely since the rise of Kira. Aside from this one comment, the intriguing prospect of Light using the note to end global wars is never elaborated upon.
    • During his incarceration, Light theorizes that another Kira might be controlling him. This is actually a very interesting concept and would've turned the entire series on its head if it had been true.
    • The rivalry between Mello and Near is only slightly touched upon.
    • The whole idea of Mello being Near's split personality in drama.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • L, one of the most epic, most badass heroic antagonists in shonen who nearly took down Kira, ends up murdered by Kira himself. For many fans, he was even cooler than Light and many of them refused to see Death Note after his death.
    • This applies to pretty much all the characters that meet bad ends, but especially Naomi and Matt.
    • Naomi was actually an invoked case of this, as she was intended to last longer, but then Ohba realized she was so good at her job that it would strain suspension of disbelief too much that she hadn't caught Light within a few chapters.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Most of the shinigami. Also L-Takeshi Obata meant to make L look ugly, but he has plenty of fangirls.
    • Beyond, seeing as he's L's evil doppelganger.
  • Uncanny Valley: Misa on the Volume 4 manga cover artwork.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Light is this in spades. He was villainous from the moment he picked up the Death Note, and only on very rare occasions can he be called anything close to an Anti-Hero, yet that doesn't stop his arguably Misaimed Fandom from rationalizing his actions and Rooting for the Empire. The fact that he dies pathetically begging for his life and scared shitless doesn't help either, and can be very hard to watch for some people, no matter how well-deserved one may think it is.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Raye Penber. Ironically, showing his relationship with his fiancee shortly before he's killed was probably meant to inspire sympathy for him. For many readers/viewers the effect was just the opposite when they saw his treatment of her as controlling and misogynistic.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: L and Matsuda.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Many Western viewers take offense at what they perceive as Raye Penber's paternalistic and condescending attitude toward his fiancée, retired F.B.I. agent Naomi Misora — and, worse, her seemingly contented acceptance of it. Then again, that attitude gets him and his coworkers killed, so he's not exactly portrayed as being in the right. (In the DVD Commentary, her English-dub voice actress Tabitha St. Germain said that that scene was particularly difficult for her.)
    • A more pervasive one is that the Japanese legal system tends to only prosecute cases where a conviction is assured. Hence, people in countries with higher acquittal rates can find it odd that the series never once brings up the idea of wrongful conviction, with Light always assuming that people in jail really did commit those crimes.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Mello, in the manga. Rem is female but looks androgynous. Also, Near who is male but is voiced by female VAs in both the original and the English dub.
    • Interestingly, Mello's original name was Near, and vice versa, but an editing error at Shonen Jump saw their names switched around.
    • Near is even more of this in the drama, where he is actually played by a girl.
  • Wangst:
    • Mello: "IT'S TIME I START LIVING MY OWN LIFE!" *door slam!*
    • THAT'S IT, I'M LEAVING TO TAKE OVER THE MAFIA.
    • Aizawa's "I hate Ryuuzaki and his way of doing things!"
    • Misa often spends her time whining about Light not loving her, and at the same time, acting like a womanchild who is still a bratty daughter of her deceased parents.
  • What an Idiot: Naomi Misora giving Light her real name. In the manga, Mikami gets noticed by the SPK when he is asking Kira for orders... on national TV. Also, Higuchi.
    • On a similar note, Raye Penber showing his FBI ID to his current target, a potential suspect of being the mass-murdering Kira.
    • The police when L asks them how they would prove someone was Kira. Each one answers that they would somehow set Kira up so that he was videotaped using his powers. Apparently it takes a genius on the level of L and Light to think of simply tricking Kira into revealing hidden information about the case... even though that's a common police tactic in real life.
      • To say nothing of L himself - who decides to flat out explain to Kira how he has just narrowed his nationality and location down to Kanto on live television. Had he simply kept the information to himself, he could have caught Light before Near and Mello were even needed.
  • The Woobie: Matsuda, Rem, Gelus, and especially Soichiro and Sayu. From the movie, Shiori.
    • Light and Misa, when their memories were erased and were left confined and later tricked into believing that they were going to be executed. Light qualifies in general during the Yotsuba arc, given how innocent he is and how you know his Kira persona is just waiting in the wings for him to regain his memories.
    • Poor Sachiko Yagami. Just a regular housewife who puts her family above anything, but ends up having to care for a catatonic daughter, while her husband and son both wind up dead. And she has no idea about the real reasons for all her family's misfortune.
  • Woolseyism: Death Note is a story so intricate that it leaves very little room for changes of any kind... and yet, the anime's dubbing team somehow snuck in this little gem:
    Misa: I would never dream of living in a world without Light!
    L: Yes, that would be dark.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/DeathNote