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Characters / Death Note (2017)

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Tropes applying to the characters appearing in the 2017 American Netflix adaptation of the series.

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    Light Turner
"All the people that make life miserable, make life dangerous... what if we could change things?"
Portrayed by: Nat Wolff

Light: Look at those people.
Mia: They're a bunch of sheep.
Light: No, they're not. They're looking for someone who's not gonna let them down the ways cops do and politicians.
Mia: And that's why they have you.

The main protagonist of the movie, but not the hero.

Light Turner is a young man who comes across the Death Note, and decides to use it to kill criminals and change the world.

  • Adaptational Dye Job: Originally a brunet, he's now blonde.
  • Adaptational Heroism: By far the most sympathetic counterpart of Light. Unlike his manga counterpart, Light is seen physically shielding Mia from thugs, showing that he has actual experience in dealing with evil in the world. This is a stark difference that Light Turner has to Light Yagami, as he clearly has a more noble reason to start using the Death Note to punish evil than Yagami, who initially used it out of sheer boredom. He's also on the edge by the mid-point of the film, only using the Death Note to keep it out of the hands of someone worse, and refuses to kill anyone who's not evil, whereas in the source material, Light was happy to wantonly murder.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Zigzagged. He isn't depicted as a genius like his manga counterpart, but he does plan out a long-term manipulation of the story within a few minutes just like him. Most of the original Light's more reckless moments, such as killing Lind L. Taylor on live TV and killing Raye Penber even when he tried to close down his investigation, are omitted.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Light Turner instead of Yagami.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Japanese in the original, Euro-American here.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In the original he is completely disinterested in women and only dates Misa in order to manipulate her. In here he sincerely falls in love with Mia and is implied to have been interested in her even before he got the Death Note.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Played with. He isn't as well groomed as his manga counterpart and is portrayed with sallow skin and dirtier hair, though this is initially because he's an underdog "nerd" before he gets possession of the Death Note. He cleans up nicely once Mia comes into his life. Once things go south with Mia and the authorities (including L) cotton onto his identity as Kira, he quickly falls back into his old grooming habits due to the stress.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Light's reaction to seeing Ryuk isn't exactly his proudest moment, unlike his other counterparts who were initially startled by Ryuk's appearance but were able to compose themselves shortly afterwards. Additionally, this Light doesn't do too well when put under pressure, and tends to more luck out of situations than plan his way out of them. It's not until the end of film does Light prove to be effective at Xanatos Speed Chess, and even then he still ends up informing L of Mia's page of the Death Note while in a state of panic, which L retrieves at the end of the film, though that may also have been a gambit to clear suspicion off himself.
  • Adorkable: He invites Mia up to his room, presses her up against a wall and then...asks if he can kiss her.
  • Affably Evil: He's well-spoken and friendly in spite of his use of the Death Note.
  • Ambiguously Evil: In contrast with his original version, this Light is much less villainous.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The movie ends on an ambiguous note of whether or not L will write Light's name on the missing page of the Death Note.
  • Anti-Hero: Begins as a Type IV, as he used the Death Note to legitimately stop crime and make the world a better place. After Mia kills the FBI agents, however, he slides into Type V territory. At that point, he goes from trying to make the world a better place to keeping the Death Note from anyone worse than him.
  • Anti-Villain: A mix of Noble, Woobie, and Well-Intentioned Anti-Villain (Type I/II/III). By the time it gets to killing the FBI Agents, he inverts the previous Light's Ax-Crazy tendencies, and spares them. It's Mia who goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope this time.
  • Big Bad: The main villain who drives the plot, but also the protagonist. Subverted, as Ryuk and Mia turns out to be closer to this role.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's genuinely well-meaning and has a strong case of Adaptational Heroism, but he effortlessly manipulates Mia to die once she tries to become the new owner of the Death Note.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: While not a genius like his counterpart, he is shown to be fairly intelligent but in the beginning preferred to use his talents to do other student's school work in exchange for money.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: He's initially selective when killing criminals and is even given pause when the lives of the officials trying to catch him are threatened. But when he becomes the prime suspect for Kira's killings and Mia tries to blackmail him into giving up the Death Note by writing his name on it, he promptly plans out the entire third act of the film in such a way that she dies and he has no leads on himself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Ryuk tells Light he should use the Death Note to stop a crime:
    "I don't have a pen" (Ryuk hands him one) "It's a good thing you have a pen"
  • Decomposite Character: His slaying of the FBI Agents is carried out by Mia.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Unlike the original series, he has several standards.
    • He refuses to kill the FBI Agents, or anyone who's not a criminal, and was mortified when he found out that the FBI Agents were killed by Mia.
    • When L comes after him, he tries to find his name to kill him by manipulating Watari, with the intent of saving the latter afterwards, and was mortified when he failed to save Watari.
    • He also refuses to take reports on a disreputable pro-Kira Internet site at face value, believing they might be over personal grudges.
    • When his back's against the wall, though, he uses two people, that were criminals, in it as pawns for his final plan in the film.
    • His biggest standard is his father's safety, as shown by his anger at Mia suggesting to kill him. This is also true for his manga counterpart, but not the Japanese live-action movie or arguably the TV drama counterparts.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely cares for his father, and for Mia. Not that this saves her in the end.
  • Evil Is Petty: He sentences the mobster who killed his mother to die from a knife to the back, but he gave a much more gory death (decapitation at the jaw) to Kenny, who punched him in the face.
  • Freudian Excuse: His mother is dead in this version, as she was in the 2015 TV drama.
  • Heel Realization: At the end, when his father found out, he did admit that he was wrong and that in the end, trying to get rid of the bad guys wasn't as easy as it would seem to be.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: It's established that Light is attracted to Mia long before meeting Ryuk, but he never sees the red flag of the beautiful cheerleader that never had time for him before suddenly finding him very attractive when he reveals that he has a notebook capable of remotely killing people in his possession. See Love Makes You Dumb below.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It's Light's idea to inspire a devoted religion toward "Kira". If one of Kira's devotees hadn't knocked out L when he had Light cornered and Light was beginning to confess everything to him, L may have come to understand that Mia and Ryuk were more responsible for Watari's death. But because he gets knocked out by a Kira fanatic instead, he still ends up blaming Light, and thus has reason to write Light's name down on the Death Note page he finds at the end.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Light Yagami. He's by far less malicious and more innocent than him.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Big time. Nearly all of Light's problems throughout the film could have been avoided had just not shown Mia the Death Note in an effort to impress her. He so infatuated with Mia, he failed to see that Mia was clearly a mentally disturbed girl even before finding out about the Death Note. It takes Mia writing down Light's name in the Death Note for him to realize how truly evil she is.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being a user of the Death Note, he's pretty nice, friendly and polite. Then there's the fact that he's less villainous than his original version.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: At the end, he finally dispatches Mia, a much worse killer than him, and confesses his deeds to his father. By that time, however, he's in a hospital bed and L has a page of the Death Note, a pen, and Light's full name.
  • Nominal Hero: Becomes this after the FBI agents are killed. By then, he goes from trying to make the world a better place to keeping the Death Note from being used by people much worse than him.
  • Obviously Evil: In contrast to his manga and anime counterpart, Light has a much shadier look in this take on the franchise. Ironically this trope is somewhat played with as despite this, he is less evil when compared to said counterparts.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has had several moments throughout the film.
    • When Light first sees Ryuk.
    • When he finds out that the notebook was real.
    • When Light sees his father making his speech against Kira on TV.
    • Upon finding out that the page with Watari's name on it is stolen.
    • The ferris wheel collapsing was probably the biggest one he had.
  • Pet the Dog: He personally protects Mia from thugs and attempts to help another student from a bully.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Not as severe as Light Yagami's, but by the end of the movie he's clearly been tainted by his experiences with the Death Note. However, when his father found out that Light was Kira, he did admit his mistakes.
  • Race Against the Clock: Once Mia wrote his name on the Death Note, Light had until midnight to stop her and save himself.
  • Race Lift: His race was changed from Japanese to Euro-American for the movie.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: He lets out a rather girlish scream when he first meets Ryuk.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The first thing he says about the name "Kira" is that it's a word for "Light" in Russian and Celtic, which apparently suits their idea of a name for a "god"... and he likes how it sort-of means "killer" in Japanese, which will have investigators focusing there.
  • Too Clever by Half: Implied due to the ambiguous ending. In the end, Light manages to retrieve the Death Note, kills off Mia, and clears himself of suspicion and discredits L. He seemingly has all of his bases covered, except he forgot about the page of the Death Note Mia removed and left behind in a textbook. L retrieves it and the movie ends before revealing what exactly he plans to do with it.
    • However it can be argued that Light intentionally leaked the location of the Death Note's page as a way to incriminate Mia, and indeed, had a Kira supporter not knocked L out at their confrontation, Light would have ended up showing the page to L then and there. In fact, L being knocked out is probably the one thing that went wrong in his plan during the film's climax.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In contrast to his manga self, Light doesn't start out as a manipulative mastermind. However, after Mia blackmails him and he becomes the prime Kira suspect in the third act, he more than steps up to the plate.
  • Villain Protagonist: As is true for the original series, Light is the protagonist of the movie, but he is also the Big Bad. Until he's upstaged by Mia.
  • Uncertain Doom: He's last seen in a hospital bed when L finds a page of the Death Note and eager for revenge for Watari.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Is this when compared to Light Yagami.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Due to Light not being an Evil Genius in this adaptation (he is instead Brilliant, but Lazy), it takes his life being put into danger and Mia writing his name in the Death Note for him to up his game and make certain he comes out ahead. He manages to kill Mia and exonerate himself as Kira at the same time.

    Mia Sutton
"We could change the world."
Portrayed by: Margaret Qualley

A cheerleader who admires Kira and becomes Light's right-hand woman.

  • Adaptational Dye Job: In the original she was blonde, but her hair is black here. Incidentally, Misa was a natural brunette.
  • Adaptational Name Change: From Misa Amane to Mia Sutton.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Japanese in the original, Euro-American here.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the manga, she's a cheerful and bubbly teen model and celebrity. In this film, she's reimagined as Light's angsty and moody classmate. Her manga counterpart was also ditsy, seemingly dumb and devoted to Light all the way to the point where she would gladly die for him. Here, she's more intelligent, somewhat down-to-earth and willing to kill Light for the Death Note, which is something Misa would never do.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Misa was already evil, but less so than other villains especially due to her mental illness. Mia, on the other hand, actually uses Light to carry out her murders and crosses lines he won't, and is fully aware of the consequences of her actions and just doesn't seem to care.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies. She has a few butterfly decorations in her bedroom and locker, and during the carnival scene, a person holding a butterfly balloon briefly passes by her. Since the film uses flowers as a symbol of death (one of Light's victims is killed in front of a flower shop, and Mia herself dies after falling into a bed of flowers), butterflies represent bearers or bringers of death, something that Mia becomes over the course of the film.
  • Asshole Victim: She's a homicidal freak who used Light so she could play god, and almost everything that went wrong in the film was her fault. Ultimately, she dies when she's outplayed by Light after her plan to blackmail him into crowning her the Note's Keeper backfires. Considering all this, it's hard to feel sorry for her.
  • Big Bad: While Ryuk serves as the Greater-Scope Villain and L serves as The Rival, Mia is the hidden true main antagonist of film, wanting to take the Death Note for herself.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Mia reveals that she has been acting behind Light's back, insults him and then tries to blackmail him by writing his name in the Death Note in a bid to become the Note's new Keeper. What she fails to consider is that Light while not as kill happy as herself has taken a lot of lives with the note before, still has access to the Death Note and is now furious with her. She does not live to regret this.
  • Character Death: Killed by Light after she goes too far.
  • Composite Character: A pretty convoluted example. She's largely based on Misa Amane, but her Aloof Dark-Haired Girl design and behavior is more in line with Kiyomi Takada, where her status as Light's justice-focused schoolmate and girlfriend who is killed by him at the end of the movie is taken from Shiori of the Japanese live-action film. Her creepy behavior and sadistic tendencies does bring Sakura Aoi to mind. Moreover, her fall to madness is more in line with the manga version of Light.
  • Cop Killer: Became one after causing the deaths of undercover FBI agents, and attempted to pull this on Light's father, who is a cop.
  • Decomposite Character: While she supposedly fulfills the role of Misa Amane, Mia is actually more in-line with original Light Yagami than Light Turner is. While Turner has Light's general motivations, including his strong sense of justice, Mia has every other identifiable personality trait of Light's — his sociopathy, god complex, and bloodlust. This is only highlighted when she goes behind Light's back and kills the FBI agents and how the movie consistently depicts them as equals rather than Big Bad and minion like the source material. Even Word of God has confirmed this.
  • Disney Villain Death: She dies after falling off of the collapsing ferris wheel during the climax.
  • The Dragon: To Light, like in the original. But with an added dash of The Starscream this time around.
  • Emo Teen: A sullen cheerleader, which is a direct contrast to Misa's Perky Goth.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: It's hard to tell if she truly loved Light or was just using him to gain the powers of the Death Note. At the very least, she does seem fond of Light, and wants him to live, granted, as a subordinate once she plans to takes the Death Note from him. It really up to the viewer's Alternative Character Interpretation whether this is played straight or subverted.
  • Evil Counterpart: Surprisingly, to Light. Both are moody teenagers that want to use the Death Note to change the world for the better. However, while Light refuses to kill both family and any law enforcement officials (who's name isn't L), Mia has no such moral boundaries and will kill anyone that gets in her way, including Light.
  • Eviler Than Thou: By the film's climax, she proves she is far, far worse than Light ever was. She stole the page with Watari's name on it and made an FBI agent write the names of his fellow agents. Then she had Light's name written down on a page to ensure that the Death Note's ownership is transferred to her. Even before all this, she was the one who wanted to write James' name in the notebook, which shocked and angered Light.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Her interest in Light turns out to be less than genuine, as she's willing to kill him just so she can have the Death Note.
  • Gone Horribly Right: She wanted Light to be less selective with his killings and kill anyone that opposed Kira (including loved ones). She ended up getting what she she wanted when Light decides to kill her off after she tries to steal ownership of the Death Note from him. Mia clearly wasn't happy when she realizes that she was going to die.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Seen smoking a cigarette, a sign that she's not a good guy.
  • Hidden Villain: Neither L nor Ryuk is the antagonist of the film, it's Mia.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: It's her betrayal of Light by writing his name into the death note that dooms her to the very same fate.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Possible the main reason why she help Light in his goals to creating a better world. Mia herself even states that she hated being an ordinary cheerleader and was happy that she can be more than that once Light shows her the power of the Death Note. Also, Mia seems more focused on increasing Kira's popularity, like wanting to kill people requested by Kira's followers to gain more support, than wanting to improve the world by solely killing harden criminals, like the idealistic Light.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Uses this justification word for word to say she was protecting them when she used the death note to kill the undercover FBI agents.
  • Karmic Death: Falls to her death like the FBI agents she murdered after Light writes her name in the death note. (Like she did to him).
  • Lady Macbeth: She eagerly encourages Light to take drastic and increasingly unscrupulous measures that he declines on moral grounds, or at least opposes until she pushes hard enough. Several of Light Yagami's plots, like killing all the agents tailing Kira suspects, are Mia's brainchildren instead of Light Turner's. In the end, Mia is the one who crosses the line from killing criminals to killing innocents, knowing that Light didn't have it in him. This is a notable departure from Amane Misa, who was never anything but a pawn to Light and offered him nothing in the way of counsel or encouragement – he simply didn't need either from her, and he actually gave them to her as a way of manipulating her. If anything, it's a complete role reversal of the characters.
  • The Load: Though she firmly believes that she's only doing what's necessay, her attempts to countermand Light's decisions slowly make her more and more of a liability. Her killing of the FBI agents only further proves to L that Light might be Kira, and rallied the police, who originally had a favorable view of Kira, against him. Later she allowed Watari to die by stealing his page before Light could burn it, resulting in L's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Along with being Eviler Than Thou and The Starscream, Light realizes that she is more trouble than she is worth and kills her.
  • Moral Myopia: She is incredulous and outraged when she finds out Light wrote her name in the Death Note. After she betrayed him and did the same exact thing. How dare he.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Light's willing partner in his role as Kira. Mia eventually proves to be the more ruthless of the two, lacking Light's moral dilemmas.
  • Never My Fault: Screams a You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! variation when she realizes Light betrayed her, even though she was the one who tried to kill him first.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Makes out with Light while he's killing people.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Unlike Misa Amane, Mia Sutton isn't a famous teen model or singer, as it would've overcomplicated the film's more condensed plot. Instead, she's just another student that goes to school with Light.
  • Race Lift: Her race was changed from Japanese to Euro-American for the movie.
  • Sadist: She seems a little too interested in wanting to watch people die in horrifying ways. She is even shown watching a bloody scene from Phantasm.
  • Smug Snake: Thinks she's smarter than Light, but fatally learns that she isn't.
  • The Starscream: Plots against Light to get the Death Note from him.
  • Stupid Evil: Her bloodthirstiness often impedes her judgment. Her murder of the FBI Agents brings both L and the police force on Light, who ends up manipulating her to her death when she goes against him one time too many.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Mia underestimates how dangerous Light can be at the film's climax. She never imagined that instead of backing down and surrendering the Note in the face of her writing his name, he would hit back by writing down her name and manipulating things to escape his death.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Falls much harder much quicker than Light.
  • Yandere: Light finds out almost too late that Mia isn't his girlfriend because she likes him. She's just power hungry.

Portrayed by: Lakeith Stanfield

"The individual known as Kira, as I'm sure you're aware, has taken credit for over 400 deaths. While we don't know how he kills his victims, we do know how he chooses them. Prior to these deaths, all of the victims have had their identities released to the media. This would suggest that Kira is not some omnipotent force. He's a person, like you or me. He is also a coward. A child wielding power he does not understand, mistakenly believing that in doing so, he's at no risk to himself. He's wrong. Kira, if you're watching this, know that I am coming for you. Unless, of course, you'd like to kill me now."

The antagonist of the movie, but not the villain.

L is the world's greatest detective, and an enigmatic force set out to bring an end Kira's reign of terror.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: L is traditionally depicted as lean, disheveled, and an attempt at ugliness by his creators. This L is better built, has smooth features, and has better hygiene.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: While he still retains a cool and quiet demeanor at first, he becomes moodier and more explosive once things get out of hand. After learning about Watari's death, he loses it completely and bursts into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Adaptational Badass: Unlike most of his previous counterparts, he gets through the entire film without being killed by his enemies and (seemingly) defeats Light. Other than that, this L come off as a lot weaker than previous incarnations of L (see Adaptational Wimp below).
  • Adaptation Name Change: His real name is changed from L Lawliet to Lebensborn Atubia.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Canon L is calm and collected to the point of apathy with a tendency to rarely actually lose control of his temper. This L on the other hand, is a lot more hot blooded and emotive.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed. His Roaring Rampage of Revenge puts multiple people in danger, and he ends up with a page of the Death Note at the end of the film. What he does with it is left ambiguous, however.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Compared to the calm and composed source material L, this L is emotionally and mentally weaker. This L often lets his emotions get the better of him, and tends to quickly crack when put under pressure, even to the point of going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, something that the source material L would never do. Additionally, L from the source material is a skilled martial artist that specializes in Capoeira (something that he only get to show off during his brief physical fights with Light), while this L is noticeably physically weaker. L in the film was easily subdued by James Turner when he confronts Light about Watari's disappearance, and was knocked out by a random Kira supporter during the climax of the film with little effort on the attacker's part. He even loses his position as Light's main antagonist to Mia.
  • Angry Black Man: A lot more aggressive than L's traditional portrayal. If anything his temper makes him closer to Light Yagami, especially since a few of his actions are done more out of spite than for justice.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Despite L's earlier assertion that he doesn't like to use guns, L does this when he learns Watari has been killed.
  • Berserk Button: Goes on a rampage after Watari is killed.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While L's pursuit of Kira is one of the main driving forces of the film, Mia ended up being the bigger threat to Light. Nearly every clue that put L one step closer to tracking down Light can be traced back to Mia's involvement with Light. Mia is even responsible for L's Roaring Rampage of Revenge near the climax when she stole the Death Note page with Watari's name on it, preventing Light from burning it and sparing Watari. However, it implied that L will retake his spot as Light's biggest threat after he finds Mia's page of the Death Note at the end of the film.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. And considering that Mia is dead and he has Light at his mercy at the end, L may actually be the only human lead character to survive.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He's an African-American man living in Japan.
  • Composite Character:
    • Although he shares his name with Death Note's first Hero Antagonist, L's hot-blooded personality, black attire, and grandiose surroundings mimic those of Mello.
    • He chooses to keep the Death Note for himself, just like the manga version of Near.
    • He also resembles Ryuzaki quite a fair bit, as he's a lot more extroverted and again hot-blooded as well as ruder. Similarly, this version of the character is clad in black attire and covers his face so he can't be identified by Death Note users, plus he picks fights with people he's in relation to on a regular basis (Light Turner for this L and Tsukuru Mishima for Ryuzaki).
    • He shares some traits with Naomi Misora. Both being investigators that wanted revenge on Kira shortly after Light kills one of their loved ones. Both like to wear black clothing. Additional, the live action version of Naomi holds Light at gunpoint during the climax of the 2006 film, just like L in this movie.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While the amorality (or not) of his actions has yet to be revealed, he wears all black in this version, in contrast to the original being clad in white.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Like in the original, he prefers to go barefoot when indoors.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Drives like a Grand Theft Auto protagonist, crashing through things and obeying basically no rules of the road.
  • Great Detective: Considered the greatest detective in the world.
  • Hero Antagonist: Is one of the main antagonists of the story, but also the "most heroic" (which isn't saying much) among them.
  • Hero of Another Story: Was involved with LE agencies in Eastern Europe to bust up criminal gangs.
  • I Shall Taunt You: He spends his public speech mocking Kira, even calling him a "child", and daring Kira to try to kill him.
  • In the Hood: Wears one over him, combined with covering the lower half of his face to make him more mysterious.
  • Laughing Mad: Gives a rather... sanity questioning laugh near the end after acquiring Mia's page of the Death Note.
  • Moral Myopia: While chasing Light so he can punish him for killing objectively horrible people, L almost gets several innocent people killed with his reckless driving.
  • No Name Given: He's only referred to as L. Any possibility of finding his true identity appears to have died along with Watari, who in this version did not know it at all and was forced to track it down.
  • Race Lift: In the original, L is of Mixed Ancestry, being mostly European and partly Japanese. Here, he's African-American.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: He's wearing a red jacket over black clothing once he finds a page of the Death Note and has the chance to kill Light to avenge Watari.
  • The Rival: Light's, naturally.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one after the death of Watari.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Survives the whole film, unlike the source material and the Japanese films.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Candy and sweets, just like his manga counterpart
  • Trash of the Titans: Is much messier when eating his food than the original L, and even knocks the items off of a table scattering them to the floor in one part of the film.
  • White Hat Hacker: In addition to extrapolating from one of Light's early murders, James learns from L that he hacked into the Seattle police database himself to ensure that nobody else had done so.
    L: (taking down a folder) I infiltrated your network in order to ensure that there hadn't been a data breach. Prior to my access, the network was intact.
    James: ...did you just hand me evidence that you hacked the Seattle PD?
    L: (a little impatiently) I handed you evidence that whoever Kira is, they have access to the database from the inside.

Portrayed by: Paul Nakauchi

"Sleep is key to strong thought."

L's guardian/butler/servant that contacts the police on his behalf.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Courtesy of his Age Lift. Typically depicted as an old man, he's portrayed here as a younger and more handsome character.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Watari was an alias in the manga, but is his real name here, as shown when the Death Note's ability takes effect.
  • Adaptational Nationality: An interesting variation. Watari was an Englishman in the original, but changed to Japanese here. This was based on his appearance in the Japanese movies, which also changed him to Japanese.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: This version of Watari is more stoic and stonefaced than previous iterations. Even when he sings to L on the way home, he shows zero emotion.
  • Age Lift: He's much younger than his elderly manga counterpart.
  • Character Death: Gunned down thanks to Mia and Ryuk.
  • Heroic Willpower: Light tries to use the Death Note's powers to force him to find L's real name, but he stalls long enough to be killed.
  • His Name Is...: Is shot just before he can reveal L's true name to Light.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: He's the closest thing L has to a real father. After he's killed, L completely tumbles off the deep end.
  • Only Friend: Is L's.
  • Only One Name: Mia only writes "Watari" when using the Death Note on him, and it works. We never learn his full name.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Watari suddenly leaving without any explanation or indication of where he's going tips L off that something is wrong.
  • Race Lift: In what is essentially an inversion of the norm, he was changed from British to Japanese from the original.
  • Running Gag: Repeatedly talks about the importance of getting sleep. Even when Light is trying to manipulate him with the Death Note.
  • Sailor's Ponytail: His hair is bunched into a short ponytail at the top of his head.

    James Turner 
Portrayed by: Shea Whigham

"How does Kira get to decide who lives and dies? Who's guilty, and innocent? Is there a complaint department if I don't like one of Kira's decisions — or would complaining just get me put on Kira's list?"

Light's father and the police chief.

  • Adaptational Name Change: From Soichiro Yagami to James Turner.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Japanese in the original, American here.
  • Badass Normal: No Death Note or Shinigami powers, but he's willing to challenge Kira in public with his face and name exposed.
  • Berserk Button: The death of his wife is a touchy subject for him, one even Light isn't able to get away with bringing up.
  • Forgiveness: His approach when Light is outed as the killer. However, he does want Light to seriously re-examine his choices, as when Light repeats James' "you have to choose between the lesser of two evils" line back at him, James simply asks "Which one are you, son?"
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: While the source's Soichiro Yagami was generally a respected figure, James gets backlash in the police department for his opposition to Kira. As a result, L actually says the file he gives him is "impressive" (despite quickly finding two mistakes), since he's effectively had to investigate the case by himself.
    Watari: (indicating the mess in his office) Your fellow officers did that?
    James: Cops don't like it when you go after other cops... but apparently they hate it when you go after their god.
  • Moment of Weakness: He is a perfectly upstanding cop except for one moment, where he celebrates the death of the man responsible for his wife's death. Although he calms down and affirms that even the worst people don't deserve to be killed, Light concludes that he's done a great service and goes on his killing spree.
  • Papa Wolf: When L threatens Light, James slams L down on a table and threatens to kill him should he ever do it again.
  • Race Lift: His race was changed from Japanese to Euro-American for the movie.
  • Worthy Opponent: In his son's eyes, after he sees his father challenge him in the open.
    Light: I'm so proud of you, Dad.

"Shall we begin?"
Portrayed by: Jason Liles
Voiced by: Willem Dafoe

"Ohhh yes! A dream! I like that. Dreams are places you can have fun, right? It's all in your mind, so why not enjoy it?"

Light's Shinigami sidekick who drops the Death Note into the human world because he was bored.

  • Ax-Crazy: Ryuk is even more batshit insane here than in the manga and anime, because unlike the other two adaptations, where the death note kills its victims via heart attack, he's the one killing them and the gorier, the better.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the manga and anime, Ryuk is a more neutral figure that is usually seen as Ambiguously Evil in other Death Note adaptations (despite telling Light early on in the manga that he is only there for fun and not to assist him), as the audience is given time to learn his quirks and personality before his neutral colors show. Here, Ryuk is outright sinister and Faux Affably Evil to everyone but Light (to whom he serves as The Corrupter, goading Light into using the Death Note for the first time and telling him he can specify the cause of death) and written in the margins of the Death Note itself is a frightening warning from a previous user... "Don't trust Ryuk. He is not your pet. He is NOT your friend!"
  • Badass Boast: When Light throws a tantrum and threatens to kill Ryuk using the Death Note, Ryuk bemusedly says that Light can go ahead and try.
    Ryuk: Heh heh heh... You could try. But I warn you, there are four letters in my name. Most anyone's ever gotten were two.
  • The Corrupter: What Ryuk serves as for most of the film. He seems to get the most fun out of trying to sway Light (in this adaptation a fundamentally decent person) to embrace the power of the Death Note, succeeds in turning Mia over to his cause, and by the end of the film has both Light and L potentially willing to use the Note for less than noble purposes. It's little wonder he is so gleeful when it's all said and done.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When Light threatens to put Ryuk's name in the book, Ryuk tells him to go ahead and try but warns Light that the most anyone able to get was two, implying Ryuk kills anyone who dare to use his own book against him.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Every shot of Ryuk shown until the end of the film has his face hidden in shadow so as to add to his otherworldly quality. It also accentuates his Glowing Eyelights of Undeath, which are the only prominent parts of his face that are visible.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts as though he's friendly with Light, but he barely hides how sadistic and terrifying he is.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Like the original, he's mainly there to spectate and does little to interfere with anyone's plans. Although he does become more involved in the manipulation and much more encouraging of using the Death Note than in the original, all of the murders are ultimately committed by Light and Mia, with Mia becoming so ruthless she antagonizes Light, while Ryuk stays in the background.
  • Giggling Villain: Similar to one of Dafoe's other roles, Ryuk is portrayed as giggling and laughing in a few scenes. Good examples include his introduction to Light, the scene where Light threatens to use the Death Note against Ryuk, the Ferris wheel scene at the end, where he bursts out into a full-on Evil Laugh, and the hospital scene where he appears before Light once again. Basically, every scene with Ryuk has him bursting out at one point.
  • Guttural Growler: As voiced by Willem Dafoe.
  • The Hedonist: He keeps trying to find ways to ease his constant boredom, usually by eating apples and gruesomely killing people whose names Light writes in the Death Note.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Every time he enters a room, the lights go out. His skin absorbs an unnatural amount of light, leaving him looking like a silhouette most of the time while his eyes emit piercing light.
  • It Amused Me: As with the original, he drops the notebook in the human world because he was bored in the Shinigami realm.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: Light mispronounces his name after reading it in the Death Note, to which Ryuk quickly corrects him. Possibly a Take That! to anime adaptations that mispronounce Japanese names.
  • Mind over Matter: It's implied and outright confirmed at the climax that Ryuk is the one actively carrying out the executions written into the Death Note. The gorier and more horrific the death, the better.
  • Nightmare Face: At the very end of the film, we see Ryuk's face lit for the first time. And it is horrifying.
  • Non-Answer: Employs this with Light when he questions Ryuk over whether or not he murdered the FBI agents. While he is technically responsible since he causes the deaths, Mia is the one who orchestrated the events.
    Ryuk: Whadda think?
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Ryuk is probably the most entertaining character in the film, but a warning written in the margins of the death note by a prior user warns Light against thinking Ryuk is harmless or even on his side.
  • Red Herring: In the FBI agent killings. Light originally believes that Ryuk killed the agents in order to put L on Light's trail while making things more entertaining for himself, and Ryuk, notably, says nothing to make him think otherwise. It's later revealed that Mia was one responsible for the agents' death.
  • Serkis Folk: Played by Jason Liles in-costume on set, voiced and face-mo-capped by Willem Dafoe. Notably, in the Hilarious Outtakes/behind-the-scenes montage in the credits, there's a hole in the Ryuk costume's face, which reveals Jason Liles' own face, and is presumably where they filled in Dafoe's face.
  • Shinigami: A God of Death from another world.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Ryuk's new design forgoes the feathered look of his shoulders and hair, transforming them into spikes reminiscent of porcupine quills.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: True to the manga, he has a voracious appetite for apples.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Threatens Light with this multiple times throughout the film when Light shows reluctance with continuing on being Kira. He even throws hints that he'd prefer Mia to be the new owner of the Death Note. He eventually lets that last one through, for as long as it lasted, and laughs with glee at the prospect of Light and Mia fighting and nearly killing each other over control of the book on the Ferris wheel.

    Aaron Peltz 
Portrayed by: Chris Britton

  • Asshole Victim: Killed by Light because he's a child molester.
  • Character Death: Killed by Light.
  • Driven to Suicide: Thanks to the Death Note.
  • Expy: Of Higuchi, being a Kira-proxy with a less-than-admirable character.
  • Remake Cameo: The original voice of Soichiro Yagami in the English dub of the anime, Britton returns with a different role here.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Used as part of Light's scheme to fake his innocence.

    Dr. Norman Ludlam 
Portrayed By: Timothy Lambert

    Kenny Doyle 
Portrayed by: Jack Ettlinger

  • Adaptation Expansion: Sudou, Kenny's source material counterpart, was an extremely minor character that only appeared for one scene. Kenny has a slightly larger role than Sudou and partially contributes to Light's descent into villainy.
  • Asshole Victim: Light kills Kenny after seeing him and one of his friends bully a girl.
  • The Bully: The local bully at Light's school.
  • Composite Character: Kenny is the film's counterpart to Sudou, a bully who only briefly appears in the first chapter/episode that Light considers killing with the Death Note, but ultimately chose not to. He also shares character traits with Takuo Shibuimaru who, like Kenny, was a thug that Light kills after seeing him harass a defenseless woman.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the source material, Light considers killing Sudou due to being The Bully at his school and needing a test subject to confirm the Death Note's power. Ultimately, Light decide against it since testing the notebook out on Sudou wouldn't be worth it, in addition to the fact that Light personally knew Sudou and therefore Sudou's death could be traced back to him. In this film, Light goes through with the killing. It helps that in this version that Light was a victim of The Bully instead of being a quiet observer of the bullying like in the source material.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Light tries to invoke this to throw Mia off that he's Kira, only for Mia to say that he was a sociopath and that they shouldn't pretend his death was a tragedy.
  • Off with His Head!: Decapitated by a ladder thanks to the Death Note.
  • Starter Villain: Is this for Light, as his first kill as Kira.


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