Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Death Note Light Yagami

Go To

Main Character Index | Main Characters | Light Yagami | L Lawliet | Near | Task Force | Shinigami | Side Characters | Novel, Pilot, and Movies | Death Note (2017)

Light Yagami (夜神 月, yagami raito)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lightyagamiimage.jpg

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (JP), Brad Swaile (EN), Sergio Zamora (Spain), Manuel Campuzano (Latin America), Alexis Tomassian (FR), Tatsuya Fujiwara (films)

"This world is rotten, and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Someone has to do it, so why not me? Even if it means sacrificing my own mind and soul, it's worth it. Because the world can't go on like this."
Advertisement:

Character subpage for Light. Warning! Unmarked spoilers ahead!

The Protagonist of the series, but not the hero.

Light is a genius student who has one major flaw... namely, one hell of a God complex. He has a hatred of the criminal element of the world, but for most of his life took a "what can you do" approach. Then, he finds the Death Note dropped by the Shinigami (Death God) Ryuk and his world is turned upside down. He begins using the notebook to kill criminals, believing that in doing so, he could scare the world into becoming more law-abiding.

He finds an equal and opposite in L, the elusive international detective hired to find and prove the identity of the person behind the mysterious string of murders.


    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:

    A-F 
  • Academic Athlete: Light is also the best athlete at his school, along with being the best student.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: As if the narcissistic traits he already displays weren't enough, his God complex only gets fed more and more as the series goes on with each and every one of his many successes. Eventually, his ego gets so overinflated that he ends up making uncharacteristically incompetent mistakes that only serve to bring his downfall.
  • The Ace: Subverted. On the surface, Light is a handsome, athletic genius and incredible skill at getting women. His status as this mixed with his own childishness is one of the main fuels for his god complex. However, at the end of the series, he has become so pathetic, unsophisticated and ditzy that he is no longer magnificent.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Although not necessarily heroism, the anime changes his ending a bit, most notably him showing some level of regret over his actions. He also doesn't desperately try to get Ryuk to kill the SPK members after he gets shot.
    • The films actually manage to make both this and Adaptational Villainy apply to him. In the films, his Protagonist Journey to Villain involves the law being held on a Broken Pedestal, whereas the anime/manga version is a perfectionist. On the same coin, in the films, he ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope much sooner than he did in the anime and manga, to the extent that he tried to kill his own father to prevent the Death Note from being analyzed.
    • In the TV drama, he deeply cares about his family (even if he has a strained relationship with his father), actually returns Misa's feelings and was able to save people using the Death Note (getting rid of Jerk Jock Souta and saving his father from his mother's murderer).
    • The version of him in the American Netflix movie is by far his most sympathetic counterpart. While he still kills people, he makes sure to only target criminals. He never takes the initiative in killing the FBI agents who are tailing him, his partner Mia does so behind his back, and he is outraged when Mia voices her desire to kill his father for publicly declaring Kira the enemy. At one point, he is a little apprehensive about using a Kira fansite to find more people to kill since there is a chance that someone might want a person dead for a petty reason such as sleeping with their boyfriend/girlfriend. Even when he writes Watari's name in the Death Note in an effort to get L's real name, he intends to destroy the page with Watari's name on it, which would have prevented the effects of the notebook taking effect. However, since Mia stashed the page in a calculus book, he is unable to save him in time.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The films actually manage to make this and Adaptational Heroism apply to him. In the films, he ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope much sooner than he did in the anime and manga, to the extent that he tried to kill his own father to prevent the Death Note from being analyzed. On the same coin, in the films, his Protagonist Journey to Villain involves the law being held on a Broken Pedestal, whereas the anime/manga version is a perfectionist who couldn't deal with the fact that he accidentally killed someone (thus, he reasons that it was okay, since the dude was an asshole, and that it's okay to kill criminals).
  • Adorkable: Light Yagami's usual charm can sometimes come across as this.
  • Adult Fear: In "The Last Name", he seems genuinely concerned about Sayu provoking the second Kira.
  • Age Lift: Every adaptation of the series initially starts off in The Present Day, and thus, in the films, manga, and anime, Light is a child of The '80s. By the TV drama, airing in 2015, his birth year is shifted to as late as 1995.
  • All for Nothing: He sets out to be Kira in order to, at least at first, create a better, more just world. By the end, after several years, all he accomplishes is getting himself and his father killed, and virtually everyone else in his personal life either dead or broken. And the crime rate, which had been reduced by 70%? Shoots right back up after he's dead and gone.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In the manga ending, after being shot, Light asks Ryuk to write the names of his last enemies into his Death Note. Instead, Ryuk writes Light's own name into the book and shows it to him.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • In the anime, when he is finally defeated. 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. The anime even flashes back briefly to when Light was just an Ordinary High-School Student to drive the point home.
    • Averted in the manga. He dies pathetically, without any kind of sympathy.
  • All According to Plan: Almost everything that happens to him goes "exactly as planned".
  • Allergic to Routine: Now if Light could have found some other intellectually engaging hobby the entire plot probably would not have happened.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Light's name is very unusual (as in what were his parents smoking [1]) and this is Lampshaded by several characters. It is read as Light but spelled with the kanji Tsuki or moon making it a Meaningful Name since the kanji has four strokes and Light Is Not Good. Also a bilingual pun on "moonlight". Light or Raito is also a bilingual pun on Right or Righteous and Write as in writing.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Before picking up the Death Note.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He's undeniably insane, but it's never clarified where exactly it comes from. Between his monstrous god complex, inability to cope with any perceived evil, and constant manic laughter, there's definitely something wrong with him; that's all without even discussing the fact that he picks up mass-murder like a new, exciting hobby. For the record, the writer states that the reason Light went off the deep end was because he was a perfectionist and couldn't reconcile that with the fact that he had unintentionally murdered someone except through Insane Troll Logic. Given all of this, it's very likely he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and even Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  • Ambiguously Gay: He makes it very clear that he is not attracted to women, as well as thinking them useless and annoying. A very blatant example of this is ignoring the sexy girl in lingerie to use the computer behind her. He has massive amounts of Foe Yay with L, such as being chained to him for 50 days and the infamous foot massage scene in the anime. He's often very well-dressed and at one point he wears a pink shirt when hanging with Matsuda in Aoyama when he's trying to meet the second Kira (who he and the investigators assumed was male). When hiding pieces of the notebook Ryuk remarks on Light's sewing skills. He wears a pink butterfly belt-buckle in the anime opening, and in the manga at one point he wears a corset in order to hide the Death Note (while in the anime he just shoves it down his pants). The writer also says that Light is "probably not capable of loving a woman," and also that his acting skills are 10/10.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Averted; he gives up his memories of being Kira, then his mind-wiped self tries to clear his name by joining a task force devoted to capturing Kira. Although he still keeps his intelligence and says that his thought patterns are similar to Kira's, his personality changes to that of a decent person rather than the self-righteous, prideful Well-Intentioned Extremist/Knight Templar he was before that would be willing to use the Death Note (the most jarring is the difference in how he treats Misa: while he was perfectly happy to seduce and manipulate her when they first met, memory-less Light vigorously opposes L's efforts to do the same). Even if he doesn't sympathize with Kira because he wants to clear his name, the personality change was the series' only notable headache. But when he gets his memories back, there's no dissonance - just a Psychotic Smirk. Everything that happened went "Exactly as planned."
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: A deliberately Invoked Trope during Light's Memory Gambit. Yotsuba!Light is warm, open, kind and a Nice Guy because he doesn't remember he is Kira.
  • And Show It to You: On the receiving end in the manga ending, but in a not-immediately-Fatal way. After being shot and left to bleed to death, Light pleads with Ryuk to write the names of his enemies into the Death Note so he could get away. Instead Ryuk says that he's finally gotten bored of Light and doesn't want to stay in a prison with him, so he writes down Light's name and shows it to him as a final kick in the teeth to him.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Light is a mass murderer, and his father Soichiro is the police chief trying to stop him. However, Soichiro wants to believe his son is innocent.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: While he's initially ecstatic over beating L, to the point of dancing on his grave while gloating over beating him, when he has to deal with L's successors Near and Mello, Light contemptuously regards them as inferior to L, and is actually enraged when he finally meets Near and finds him wearing a mask of L's face.
  • Anti-Hero: Started as this. Before he started killing innocent people, his first victims were total scumbags, one of them being an outright rapist.
    • The TV Drama puts him here during the first few episodes as an Unscrupulous Hero, as he used the Death Note to protect others at that time.
  • Anti-Villain: Subverted in most mediums except the TV Dramanote . At first glance he seems like a Well-Intentioned Extremist but his words and actions make it clear that he just cares about being worshipped and that cleansing crime is just a means to attain this. Although he seems to buy into his own propaganda, he's quick to kill off anyone who questions him or tries to track him down, deciding that those actions make them just as guilty as criminals for going against him.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Kira", the Engrish pronunciation of "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, however 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, though, 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). An interesting connection, even if it wasn't done intentionally.
  • Asexuality: He uses love and sexuality as a cover for his schemes, and the writer confirms that Light is probably incapable of love. He also, while using a Porn Stash as a cover story while being watched, finds the porn to be incredibly boring.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of Light's victims, which make his crimes more palatable. However, this gradually changes over time, since afterwards he starts killing innocent people.
    • Applies to Light himself in the end. After everything he's done throughout the story, it's hard to feel bad during his extensive Humiliation Conga.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: "Light" is written with the kanji for "moon" and "Yagami" is written with the kanji for "night" and "god".
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: This is his forte; quite a lot of his scenes involve a running inner dialogue where the audience hears him analyzing the scene around him, taking stock of his circumstances and options, and planning his next move. And of course after his genius plans come to fruition, he has to go over them in detail so that the audience has a chance to figure out what exactly just happened.
  • Ax-Crazy: In the very first episode, he locks himself into his darkened bedroom, pulls out his Death Note, opens it up to reveal all the pages and pages of names of the people he's killed, smiles down at it, and then breaks out into creepy, creepy laughter. That being said, he's very good at hiding it. However, it really shows once he's exposed as Kira.
  • Bad Boss: Light rules his circle of supporters, namely Misa, Ryuk, Takada, and Mikami, with an iron fist. And although he's always polite, accommodating, and courteous to the Japanese Anti-Kira Taskforce, there's really no other way to take plotting their deaths. However... in retrospect, Ryuk was free to do whatever the hell he pleased... and that includes penciling in Light's own name into the Death Note.
    • Misa quite possibly gets the shortest end of the stick. She devoted herself to serving him, gave up half her lifespan for him twice, and endured brutal torture to protect him, and Light still sees her as nothing but a pawn to be manipulated and then disposed of.
    • Justified in that Light is extremely security-conscious, and his success rests largely on the people in his command, both as Kira and the second L, not screwing up. Due to this, he kills or tries to kill almost everyone who helps him throughout the series.
  • Bad Dreams: During his first week of judgments in the manga; he also has a psychotic Nightmare Sequence in Relight 2.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Light has done this pose on occasion when chatting with L.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's the top ranked student in the country and his room is filled with books - though he's only interested in one book in particular.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He always looks professional, you've got to give him that.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Light was said by Ryuk to be preemptively banned from entering Heaven or even Hell from the moment he finished scribbling the first name in his Death Note. Of course, it turns out there is no Heaven or Hell in the first place, so go figure.
  • Bastardly Speech:
    • Gives one after L's death.
    • Following his father's death, when Matsuda is questioning whether capturing Kira is right or wrong, Light says that history will favor the victor; Kira will be seen as a criminal if he's caught, and will be seen as justice if he prevails. While this is meant to come across as a suggestion that the investigation team will be vindicated if they are successful, it also represents Light's belief that the world will soon come to accept him.
  • Batman Gambit: He's a master at manipulation. His entire period of amnesia and what followed is a clear example.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Undoubtedly. He's a handsome and charming Villain Protagonist facing unsocial and somewhat wild-looking Hero Antagonist L. Interestingly, though, whenever Light is being particularly evil, his face tends to twist into asymmetrical grins and other bizarre expressions that utterly break his boyish handsomeness.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: When both he and his father and imprisoned for weeks on end during L's attempt to prove he is not Kira, he never begins to look any worse for it. While Soichiro grow a beard and his hair rapidly turns grey, Light remains clean shaven and his hair becomes only slightly disheveled, as any true Bishōnen would.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Compare Light with the notebook and Light without the notebook: Without the notebook- an honorable, highly empathic, idealistic teen who believes in the inherent goodness of man. With the notebook- a petty, egotistical, manipulative, vindictive, lying murderer with a God complex who believes Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Berserk Button: Don't suggest what Kira is doing is wrong. You'll end up dead of a heart attack.
  • Big Bad: Of the whole story. While he is the protagonist of the series, his use of the Death Note quickly turns him into a power-hungry maniac whose murders become the all-encompassing threat to L and the Japanese Task Force and the hunt for him proves the challenge of the work.
  • Big Bad Friend: To L and Matsuda. L, who suspected Light as Kira from the very beginning, says he would be disappointed if Light turned out to be Kira because Light's the best friend he's ever had (though the writer states that L was probably lying), whereas Matsuda, who idolized Light and liked him, has a complete breakdown when he finds out during the finale, shooting Light five times while screaming and crying. It's especially heartbreaking because the audience has known from the beginning that Light is indeed Kira.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Initially, (in fact, in the manga, this is part of his initial justification for using the Death Note) but ends up being one of the many things forgotten by the Dark Side. Poor, poor Sayu.
  • Big Man on Campus: He is very popular and has lots of friends. This is shown more in the manga than in the anime.
  • Big Sleep: In the anime, at least. When he was killed by Ryuk in front of the police in the manga, he Dies Wide Open.
  • Bishōnen: Very much so. Though his features do coarsen a bit as the series progresses as he becomes older and nastier.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the 1st live-action movie, he was reading this German book.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He acts polite, understanding, and caring towards the people around him, but in reality he's a Manipulative Bastard with a God complex. And boy, when that facade drops, can he get nasty.
  • Black and White Insanity: Falls into this more and more as the series progresses. Justified: People matching the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder use black and white thinking, called splitting, as a central defense mechanism; they separate mental concepts into good versus evil, say, as an attempt to stabilize the sense of self in order to preserve self-esteem. Throughout the series Light certainly does show clear indications of perceiving himself as purely upright or admirable and others who do not conform to his will or values as purely wicked or contemptible.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: He begins his first week as Kira by killing so many people that Ryuk, a god of death, is surprised.
  • Brainy Brunette: A brown-haired Evil Genius.
  • Break the Haughty: This happens a bit every time he gets Out-Gambitted by his opponents, although he's fairly good at bouncing back. And, of course, his death counts as a truly epic example.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: In the first volume of the manga it seems people think he's this-Light's teacher throws chalk in his face for spacing out in class. Justified in that he's worried that he just killed someone. Also normal high school subjects probably aren't that interesting to a super-genius who already knows the subject material.
  • Broken Ace: There are hints in the series that Light wasn't entirely stable even before finding the Death Note; being so effortlessly perfect while surrounded by a world that he considered "rotten" while having little ability to fix it left him bored and seemingly depressed. And of course, as the series progresses he uses his near-inhuman charm to cover up his true nature.
  • Broken Messiah: Invoked word for word in the first opening credits ("Doushite? Boku wa kowareta meshia?"). Light was the first victim of the Death Note - he was very nice and very pure before realizing the notebook was real - then it was only a matter of how fast and how far he would fall.
  • Brutal Honesty: Although it's a contrast to his usual approach to those around him, Light uses this tactic with Misa, most notably when he is just getting to know her and is sounding her out for motivation, understanding of the situation, and so forth.
  • Broken Pedestal: In the live-action films, he holds the law itself as such; he begins acting as Kira out of disgust and frustration that the Japanese legal system is constantly abused by those with connections.
  • The Butcher: His kill-count earns him the name "Kira," an Engrish pronunciation of "killer."
  • Byronic Hero: A villainous one. Physically attractive, cunning and intelligent, arrogant with a major God complex, prone to quiet brooding when things don't go his way, very passionate about his ideals, and absolutely convinced that what he is doing is right.
    • He could also be a deconstruction of one: While people in and out of the series think he's misunderstood, he is genuinely evil and dangerous. Of course the "misunderstood" conception changes at the end, at least in-universe.
  • The Caligula: Kira makes for a dangerously ruthless ruler. The God of the New World does not like it when people question the way he does things. Dissenters are likely to find their names in a certain little black book.
  • Calling Card: "L do you know..."
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: At the end of the series, Light addresses his late father by his full name while declaring that in a world so rotten, idealists like Soichiro who fight for justice and died trying to stop Kira will always be made out to be fools unless Light can continue to rule.
    Matsuda: What was it all for then? What about your dad? What the hell did he did for?!
    Light: My dad? You mean Soichiro Yagami? That's right, Matsuda! In this world, all those earnest people like him who fight for justice... they always lose! You want a world where people like that are made to be fools?!
  • Can't Take Criticism: His biggest flaw (springing directly from his overwhelming Pride). Suggesting or outright stating that what he is doing as Kira is wrong or evil is a very good way to end up dead. He also walks out on a family meeting where his father is calling Kira nothing but a murderer and later he looks visibly upset when the Kira Taskforce begins to (rightly) doubt his innocence again. In fact, when Lind L. Tailor insulted him on national television, calling what he was doing evil, Light's immediate response was to use the Death Note to kill him on the spot, writing his name extra big in there!
    • Played with as well, when Light decides to "support" his father's decision to pursue Kira despite the imminent danger this puts him in.
      Light: If anything happens to you... I will personally put an end to Kira.
    • And once again, when L introduces himself to Light. Light claims to have nothing but respect and admiration for someone who'd try so hard to hunt Kira down.
  • Catchphrase: Say it with me everybody...
  • Celibate Hero: Or rather, Celibate Villain. Zigzagged: In the manga he dates as many as four women at a time to deflect suspicion, and has romantic trysts with Takada after becoming the second L in order to manipulate her into doing his bidding. However, he doesn't really care about romance or sex, so played straight in that regard.
  • Character Development: The whole point. He changes so much over the course of the series you almost have to have the Characterization Tags: pre-note Light, early-note Light, cackling-villainy Light, Tennis-with-L Light, Yotsuba Light, post-L Light, rapidly-losing-grip-on-remaining-sanity Light, etc.
  • The Charmer: When all else fails he switches to this tactic of manipulation in order to get someone's name or to save himself.
  • The Chessmaster: He manipulates and uses pretty much everyone he comes into contact with.
  • Chick Magnet: Let's count all of the names that pop up in the manga: Emi and Shiho (whom he mentions to Ryuk), Yuri (Spaceland Girl) and Mayu (whom Misa cites as competition), Kiyomi Takada (who begins her role in the story as the girl who asked him out in college) and of course Misa Amane herself. During college he had about five or six girlfriends. Plus Shiori, his girlfriend from the films.
  • The Chosen One: Subverted. When Ryuk appears, Light asks him why he gave Light the Death Note. Ryuk laughs in his face and tells him he dropped the notebook so anyone could find it. It's the reason the instructions are written in English, the most popular language in the world.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Light betrays, has betrayed, or plans on betraying effectively everyone who was ever close in any way to him.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: He's done this on occasion: [2]
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be red. Also wears a lot of black and white.
  • Complexity Addiction: Something of a defining trait, as established early after he figures out that he needs to hide the Death Note.
  • Composite Character: In the live action series, he is burned alive like Takada was in the manga and anime.
  • The Conscience: Memoryless Light is ironically this for L.
  • Consummate Liar: L asks Light if he seriously considers himself to be the polar opposite of this while the audience understands that Light is actually this:
    L: Tell me, Light. From the moment you were born, can you honestly say you've never lied?
  • The Corruptible: He starts out as this, though he doesn't manage to hold out through the first episode. Granted, the episode took place over two weeks... but still, he was overwhelmed by the power of the Death Note almost instantaneously. This is implied to be the byproduct of a nasty combination of boredom, solitude, and purposelessness.
  • Conveniently Seated: Light gets the symbolic window seat, and it also gives him a great view to the yard where the Death Note gets dropped.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He found the Death Note completely at random (if Ryuk is to be believed) and is heavily hinted to have been doomed from the beginning.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen:
    • He writes Higuchi's name in his own blood, justified as he had to write it secretly on the Death Note page hidden in his watch.
    • After Matsuda shoots his pen out of his hand when he tries to write Near's name down, Light attempts to finish writing the name using his own blood. Matsuda doesn't let him.
  • Cradling Your Kill: His rival, L, dies in his arms in "Silence". Of course, he did it with a Slasher Smile.
  • Cram School: He attends one despite being WAY too smart to need it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Played with. When he starts acting as Kira, he rigs his desk to burst into flame if anyone tries to find the Death Note, has three different ways to tell if someone has been in his room - even before gaining the notebook - and is shown spending hours going over his past actions and future plans, as well as what's been reported in the news. He looks for mistakes and possible holes, and memorizes what has been reported, so L can't trip him up. Later, due to his raging god complex and his sense of complete superiority, he starts to view himself as invincible, and stops being so well-prepared. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Crazy Sane: Light can't cope with the knowledge that he has killed two people. In order to justify his first (accidental) murders of criminals he has to convince himself that they needed to be killed. But then why stop there? So in order to make things right by his own moral code he has to kill more because it's the responsible thing to do, that he'll use this power for "good" —no matter the price. He convinces himself that the real crime would be NOT to use the Death Note to change the world. The God complex swiftly follows, no doubt accelerated by the need to look interesting to Ryuk and L's very public challenging of him. All of this happens with alarming speed, and it explains why Light during the Memory Gambit has such a different personality and is horrified by the possibility that he could be Kira. Without the memory of having killed and what effect it had on his mind, he's a completely different person.
  • Crucified Hero Shot:
    • The cover art of Volume 12 of the manga.
    • Also during the second ending theme song's animation, although if you blink you'll miss it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Though he doesn't think of it as a curse.
  • Cute and Psycho: Horror has never been so adorable. Many people have remarked that he looks a bit like Zac Efron.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In the manga Light seems to have this reaction around Ryuk who Light refers to as "cute."
    Light: Ryuk, you're so silly!
  • Dark Messiah: Of course he is. The worst part is afterwards where despite all the vile evil he has done, Light is worshiped by the world as the Messiah, even going as far as to declare their support for him, with only a handful of people knowing his true nature.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: While he starts out killing criminals with the idea of it bringing about justice, he starts to slip once the authorities get on his case, as he begins to kill the people investigating him whenever they get to close to the truth simply for trying to stop him; in order words, killing perfectly innocent people simply because they are trying to do their jobs. It gets worse after the Time Skip, where he has fully bought into the idea of being the God of his own new world, and he toys with the idea of also beginning to target people just for being "unproductive".
  • Darker and Edgier: When compared to Taro Kagami, the Death Note user from the pilot chapter. Though even he decided to keep his Death Note...
    • Ye gods, Light in the live-action movies! It makes his anime counterpart seem downright cuddly in comparison.
  • Death Glare: Don't screw up his plans. Just... don't.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Rem forces him, under direct threat of death, to adopt this mindset towards Misa in regards to his plans during the events that lead up to the Yotsuba arc.
    • As a more genuine example, this is Light's attitude towards his little sister, Sayu. In the manga, though, he considers murdering her at one point, and lets her live only because he opts to gamble with her life—and their father's life—in order to find and kill Mello and get the second Death Note back.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Of the shonen hero: a young, justice-loving Chaste Hero (a narcissistic Knight Templar with delusions of godhood) who discovers magical powers (a notebook that can be used to instantly murder anybody) and gains a Spirit Buddy (an amoral embodiment of death), makes a Worthy Opponent rival (a detective trying to apprehend him for his crimes) and picks up a persistent Genki Girl love interest (a vapid pop idol who's fanatically obsessed with him and, despite barely knowing him, is instantly willing to kill for, die for and marry him).
    • He very quickly ends up being one of the Vigilante Man archetype, showing just how narcissistic and self-serving one would have to be to delude themselves into thinking that breaking the law and killing people, criminals or not, is both moral and beneficial for society. While he sets out to only kill criminals initially, a combination of wounded pride and self-preservation drives him to start murdering innocents and police officers who take exception to his methods and try to bring him to justice, showing how inevitably close these sort of people are to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • Deep Cover Agent: He acts as his own Manchurian Agent.
  • Desk Jockey: We rarely see him leave his desk during either the Yotsuba arc or the second arc, his "investigation" with Kiyomi Takada aside. He inherits this from L.
  • Desecrating the Dead: In the compilation special, he dances on L's grave while bragging about having beaten him.
    Light: What do you think of that, L?! This is my perfect victory! That's right! I WIN!!!
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: His state of being as the story begins. He despises the state of the world, finds no challenge or meaning in anything, has no hobbies, views his highest ambitions as a matter of the course of time, and yet always does everything perfectly, like laughing at jokes that aren't funny told by people he may even loathe because good, clean-cut students socialize, and studying for exams he could pass in his sleep. He shows symptoms of a clinically depressed possible psychopath, with reputation-defense and control issues to beat the band. And his egomaniacal tendencies begin to dominate his personality after he finds his purpose in conquering the world by fear and murder once he gets his hands on the Death Note.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Over time, his plans start to become more about becoming a god and less about making the world a better place. However, post-timeskip he once again begins to prominently talk about his "utopia", and thinks that eventually everyone will accept him as the ultimate arbiter of justice.
  • Determinator: "Childish and hates to lose."
    • Light as Kira is (from his perspective) on a holy crusade against Evil. He's never going to quit his mission for the sake of his friends, family, or "true love." Sorry Misa and sorry fangirls.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: For the audience, and, later, Aizawa, Mogi and Ide.
  • Devoted to You: Misa is hopelessly obsessed with him and will do anything for him. She'd rather die than live any kind of life without him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Light's machinations cause Rem to kill L and Watari to save Misa's life. Because deliberately lengthening a human's life is a big no-no for Gods of Death, it ensures that Rem will die as well.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Light manipulates Rem, a god of death, into killing L and Watari in order to save Misa.
  • Dies Wide Open: In the manga, after a bad bout of Ain't Too Proud to Beg and Inelegant Blubbering.
  • Dirty Coward: Played straight in the manga and downplayed in the anime. In the manga when faced with his own death, he frantically begs Ryuk to save him and at the end he dies screaming and crying for his life. In the anime, when he is faced with his own mortality, he is also absolutely terrified and start to begs for someone to save him, but ultimately accepts his fate and embraces death at the end.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His forte.
    • He sentences a purse-snatcher to death.
    • He considers eventually killing people for laziness. "Eventually" being the operative word; when his acolyte Teru Mikami openly declares slackers fair game, Light thinks he's gone too far.
    • The utterly heinous crime of getting in his way.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He can remain perfectly calm and go about his daily routine while knowing full well that people are dying by his hand. The anime even shows a sequence, early on, that places scenes of criminals dying, sometimes violently, in-between scenes of Light walking to school, playing a game at gym, and opening a bag of chips at lunch.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: He and Misa set several of these up throughout the course of the series, sometimes on national TV, sometimes on private laptops.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: He refuses to accept a handgun for self-defense in the middle of a car chase. He has some less than pleasant experiences with guns throughout the series.
  • Domestic Abuser: Light takes his anger out on, controls, demeans, deceives, and initially plans to kill Misa. For various reasons, he doesn't go with it, and eventually chooses to erase her memories instead.
  • Don't Tell Mama: "You told my father that I'm a suspect?!"
  • Doom Magnet: Complete with Lampshade Hanging.
  • Doomed Protagonist: Kind of a given when you've picked up an Artifact of Death; there's also more Foreshadowing when Ryuk informs Light that humans who come into contact with Shinigami have nothing but misfortune. Light assures him "I'll show you the break in that pattern.". The "How To Read" caption on that picture says that "Light suffered a pathetic end. This line reveals his arrogance."
  • Double Consciousness: "Don't panic. I have to act like Soichiro Yagami's son Light would act." Also made obvious with the fracturing image symbolism in the second opening credits. Also Lampshaded by L when he asks Light how, as a detective, he would go about trapping Kira:
    L: Absolutely amazing. The thing is I've asked countless investigators that same question and it took them minutes to even come up with an answer. But you, Light. You immediately thought of a scenario where Kira was talking directly to the investigators. I'm impressed. You'll make a fine detective someday.
  • Dramatic Irony: His very character thrives on this. Very few knew the true depths of his crude, childish greed and excessive Pride. Following the Time Skip, while he's seen throughout the world as a Messianic Archetype set to bring the world's salvation, every single good thing he's done is simply for the sake of PR and he sees the whole of the world as merely a means to reach greater heights.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: He gets this treatment both in-story and out. invoked
  • The Dreaded: By the second half of the series, Kira has become such a terrifying entity that merely the presence of Kira has changed the world on a global scale. Wars have stopped and crime rates have dropped significantly, simply out of the fear of being murdered by a judge outside of the legal system. When Near corners Light at the end of the series, he even notes that he's not the judge of good and evil, and that Kira may have changed the world for the better with fear.
  • Drunk with Power: While it's clear that Light always was a bit of a troubled man, had he not picked up the Death Note he would have most likely gone on to live a good clean life simply due to the hold society has on him. After getting the Death Note and being forced to deal with the fact that he unwittingly murdered two people so easily, his darker ambitions take over and drive him towards his God complex.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Seen in episode 1 before finding his "purpose." Also in episode 26 when trying to adjust to a world without L in it.
  • The Dutiful Son: Probably the most horrible deconstruction of this. Light is more or less what is considered to be the perfect Japanese son, and the majority of his god complex seems to be linked to the praise he receives for it.
  • Dying Alone:
    • Although in the anime, there is an appearance from what appears to be L's ghost. This may or may not be a Dying Dream.
    • Averted in the manga and film.
  • Dying as Yourself: Possibly at the end of the anime. Now that he's finally undone, the weight of everything he's done seems to finally hit him... a little too late.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Zig-Zagged across the various adaptations; in the manga it's distinctly averted as he dies begging all of his dead or abandoned allies to kill his enemies while Ryuk writes his name down in the Death Note, in the anime he gets a slightly more dignified death in a shaft of light after running out of the warehouse, and in the movies he dies in his father's arms. Whichever death is the most warranted or fitting is ultimately the reader's judgement.
  • Engineered Heroism: Well, he's perfectly happy soaking up lots of praise from the Taskforce for working to stop Kira... while being Kira.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When the taskforce begins to turn against him in Season 2, it's clear he sees it as a betrayal. Also the end of the series, "Matsuda, I thought you understood!" The manga finishes it up with Mikami screaming "YOU'RE NOT GOD!!"
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Downplayed in that Light sheds away his initial care for his family after his descent in morality. When his father died, he was just frustrated that he failed to deliver Mello's real name but otherwise never mourned him. When his sister was kidnapped by Mello, he seriously considered to kill her with the Death Note and only relented because it would frame him as Kira. On top of that he threatened his girlfriend Misa to kill her and had his other girlfriend Takada burn herself to death. That being said, he never wants to kill any of his family, and likely would've let them live had he been in control of everything.
    • Averted in the film The Last Name, in which he writes his father's name into the Death Note in order to stop it being analyzed. It doesn't work - and what's worse, Soichiro gets to watch while he does it. Even Misa was horrified at that and broke down in tears. Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, it did: Light ultimately dies in his father's arms, begging him to believe that he acted as Kira to put justice into effect.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Light looks quite shocked when Misa offers to kill her friend who helped her distribute the Kira tapes.
    • It's also possible that he felt pain when his father died and Light would never intentionally kill his own father.
    • In general Light is disgusted by any crime (unless of course he's the one doing it; in which case it's perfectly justified).
    • In the TV Drama, he wasn't feeling comfortable with killing Raye Penber (or so he thought was his name) because he had a fiancee. It took Ryuk's goading to write his name down.
    • Genuinely thought Teru went too far when he killed ex-criminals who already served their time. Even Light knew that's pointless and counterproductive.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • In the first episode of Death Note, a surprising number of men seem to be checking out Light. At each crossing he stops at, someone is giving him a sideways glance. And then there's his slightly too agog teacher when he listens to Light translate some lines to Japanese.
    • Let's see, you've got like every background character in episode 1, Ryuk follows him around everywhere, Raye Penber the Stalker, L and his weird obsession and surveillance cameras, Matsuda and Mikami the Fanboys, and Near with his creepy smiles and he keeps calling and hanging up... Kira is a wanted man.
  • Evil All Along: Although he kept up the act of being a friend, or at least a decent co-worker, to L, Matsuda, and the rest of the taskforce, he is the mass murderer they've all been searching for. And although he would rather not kill off the taskforce, preferring instead to manipulate and deceive them, he will not hesitate to get rid of them if he feels that he needs to.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • When Sochiro tries to negotiate with Mello, despite the fact that Mello had kidnapped and traumatized Sayu, Light is flabbergasted and confused as to why he won't just write his name in the Death Note and be done with it.
    • During the finale, he expects Matsuda to side with him and demands he help and shoot the other members of the Task Force. While Matsuda did sympathize with Kira at first, he's more furious that Light not only led his own father, who Matsuda idolized, to his death at Mello's hands, but had the gall to disrespect his memory and call him a fool, and shoots Light five times in a rage.
  • Evil Counterpart: To L — Both are extremely intelligent young men who can play others like a fiddle, but while Light uses his smarts to commit crimes he believes are for the greater good, L uses his genius to prevent them and/or catch the criminal(s) responsible.
  • Evil Genius: Unquestionably genius. How and if he is evil depends on the point in the story; he starts off rather anti-heroic, but definitely is evil by the story's conclusion.
  • Evil Gloating: He practically dances on L's grave while bragging about his victory over the Great Detective. Also, when he writes Naomi Misora's name in the Death Note, he openly admits to her that he's Kira just to see the look on her face before she dies. This winds up backfiring when he finally meets Near face to face and puts his endgame into action, only to realize he was outwitted with him being told straight up that by declaring "I win," he pretty much implicated himself. Even then, he openly gloats to the police about his God complex, merely as a matter of pride to show how confident he was that he had successfully tied up all remaining loose ends.
  • Evil Hero: He has good publicity and has influenced hundreds of people who sincerely believe in his justice. Unfortunately, he is also a narcissistic sociopath with a Hair-Trigger Temper who would be more than willing to kill innocents, FBI agents, lovers and even relatives.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He is such a ham that he'll "take a potato chip... and EAT IT!"
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ryuk dropped a Death Note close by for Light to pick up, basically giving him a chance to kill people by the stroke of a pen. And for the majority of the series, Ryuk more appears like a Harmless Villain, looks creepy, but ultimately spends his time watching Light's antics, eating apples or playing Mario Golf. It isn't until the end, when Light has been exposed as Kira and has "become boring" that Ryuk proves that he's still a Shinigami and writes Light's name into his own Death Note, just as Ryuk told him he eventually would.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: His bedroom always seems to be dark, save for the light from his computer and television; as you can imagine, he has several eerie Face Framed in Shadow moments.
  • Evil Is Petty: He has shades of this. Case in point: he kills Lind L. Taylor on national television simply because he was pissed at Taylor for telling him that what he was doing was evil.
  • Evil Laugh: He's got some evil chuckles spread out throughout the series and the one in the Grand Finale is legendary.
    • English version.
    • Not to mention the one he comes out with after L bests him for the second time, at his university entrance ceremony.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: A Bishōnen whose facial expressions become noticeably twisted whenever he's angry or excited. This certainly gets worse over time. His features do coarsen a bit the older and nastier he becomes.
  • Evil Overlooker: A few times, such as during the opening and closing themes, symbolically and literally overseeing his New World.
  • Evil Plan: Motive Decay changes it from the well-intentioned 'eliminate crime' to the insane 'become god of a new world'.
  • Evil Redhead: Light's hair is stylistically colored blood-red when he's feeling particularly vile, along with his eyes, but even when that's not the case, his hair is closer to auburn than brown and the reddest in the cast.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: As part of his Memory Gambit, Light makes sure that L reads the rules of the Death Note so that his own fake rules, in the context of the other real rules, come across as legitimate.
  • Expressive Hair: Whenever he freaks out, his normally tidily combed hair becomes wild and messy.
  • The Extremist Was Right: During his Motive Rant, Light says that wars have stopped and crime has dropped 70% because of Kira. He succeeded in scaring the shit out of most of the world as an anonymous "God" and walking deterrent.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: He's pretty good-looking for an evil mastermind.
  • Fallen Hero: He was a Nice Guy and Amateur Sleuth before becoming a Serial Killer.
  • False Friend:
    • A mutual example with L. Their supposed friendship is completely insincere on both sides.
      • His relationship with Matsuda is probably closer then any of the other detectives since he believes that Matsuda is a Black Shirt who believes in Kira's justice. He was wrong. And of course, Light didn't hesitate to have Matsuda killed along with the other detectives.
  • Family Values Villain: Light doesn't approve of any crime. He is also a firm believer of that credo "respect the police and pressure them into murdering your enemies."
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • His overwhelming pride, which reaches God complex levels at its worst and blinds him to the point where he refuses to even consider the possibility that he could ever lose.
    • Even as early as the second episode Light's ego starts hurting him when he kills Lind L Tailor, instantly narrowing L's search from worldwide to a region in Japan.
    • Also his propensity for Evil Gloating when he's about to kill an enemy, because he has to make sure they know he beat them. He got away with telling Naomi that he was Kira right before the Death Note kicked in and compelled her to walk off and kill herself. He got away with sneering down at L as he died in Light's arms. But when he smugly told Near "I win" just before Mikami's (fake) Death Note conclusively failed to kill all his enemies, he threw away any possible chance of salvaging the situation for himself, sealing his fate.
  • Fate Worse than Death: In the manga, Near expresses what kind of fate he has planned for Light: imprisoned for the rest of his life in a room without sound or sight as he is made aware of the world going back to normal. Ryuk decides to skip this process for him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He puts up a cool, polite, and friendly act, but in reality, he looks down on everyone around him. A particular example is when he's just written Misora's name in the Death Note. The moment she realizes that he is Kira and the Death Note takes effect, he asks her what the matter is and casually turns his phone back on, telling Naomi she can speak to his father now.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Light tends to panic when things don't go according to plan.
  • Fluffy Tamer: "You shinigami are so cute!" (Parodied in this doujinshi.)
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sayu and Light, though subverted once Light becomes Kira.
  • For the Evulz: A very subtle example, or at least in the manga/anime. Unlike other villains who are Well-Intentioned Extremists, his malice and sadism is not the product of a Freudian Excuse or a tragedy that happened in his life. He comes from a functional family that always cared for him, with an entire army of people praising him and bowing to his whims, and he has nothing even resembling real problems. Furthermore, as a hardworking, talented genius, Light was very popular among peers and adored by his family members. He was always a boy who was always given everything and never had to suffer anything. Even Mikami has a stronger excuse than Light ever had.
    • His murder of Naomi Misora is a stand out example, being just cruelty for cruelty's sake. He tells her that he's Kira the moment before the Death Note takes effect, just to see the look of horror on her face as she realizes what's about to happen, and taunts her with offers to get her in touch with the Task Force, knowing that she can't do anything about it.
  • Freak Out!: One of the most famous in all of anime.
    • He has several smaller ones whenever it looks like his plans might fail.
  • Freudian Excuse: In the TV drama, his mother dies when he is young, and due to his father's absence he is forced to act as Sayu's parental figure.
  • Friendless Background: Though he's very popular, Light doesn't seem to be particularly close to anyone. This varies somewhat from the manga to the anime. In the manga, Light is seen casually joking while walking home with friends, while in the anime, Light is shown pointedly declining an invitation to hang out and eating lunch alone. He had many friends though, and he was able to get a large group together when going out looking for the Second Kira.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was just a brilliant, yet disaffected, Ordinary High-School Student before he found the Death Note. With it, he became a notorious mass murder who's mere presence has stopped wars and vastly dropped the global crime rate within six years.

    G-L 
  • Gadget Watches: Light hides a piece of his Death Note inside his watch, meaning he can kill anyone at any time as long as he's not being watched carefully.
  • Gambit Roulette: A number of his plans rely more on luck and coincidence than genuine planning; so much that this trope was once called the Yagami Gambit. The most famous of his plans being, of course, is the Memory Gambit.
  • Giggling Villain: He does this a lot, especially in his inner monologues. And when he does, your guts will squirm.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Such pretty red eyes.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: He and L do this throughout the first arc.
  • A God Am I: After picking up the Death Note, Light sets out to become the God of the New World. Eventually, he declares himself to be God, at least in his own mind. By the final few chapters, Light has become so convinced of his own superiority to everyone else that he can't even comprehend the idea that he might fail. Even after he's caught, he outright declares himself God to the police.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the manga and live action films, he hits it during the final confrontation after being shot by Matsuda. Having run out of plans and been exposed as Kira, Light begs Ryuk to help him by writing the names of Near and the task force in his Death Note. Instead, Ryuk writes Light's own name in the Death Note, outright saying that since Light was desperate enough to turn to him for help instead of having a backup plan, then it was all over for him.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Before he jumps off the deep end and when he gives up his memories and becomes truly innocent, his eyes are wide. When he is acting as Kira, contemplating and executing murder plots and plans for godhood, his eyes are noticeably narrower.
  • Gut Feeling: Among other situations, if Light hadn't felt this about Naomi Misora, the story would have had a very different ending.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He is very aggressive with things related to his ego. In fact, messing with his ego is probably the most dangerous thing you can do.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Light delivers one, Motive Rant style, after he's cornered and exposed as Kira. Near responds with a Kirk Summation.
  • Harmful to Minors: Death Note: Keep Out of Reach of Anyone.
  • Hates Being Touched: Misa never catches on.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ryuk. Also fakes being this with both L and Matsuda whenever he benefits from it. It's mutual with L, but Matsuda genuinely believes them to be best friends.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It arguably takes only one chapter for him to become a monster (i.e. killing Lind L. Taylor), and he keeps on going from there. As the crusader against criminals, Light becomes the worst of them all. Ryuk even lampshades it, remarking that Light will most likely eventually be the only evil person left in the world once his plan succeeds.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Which he pulls on himself via supernatural notebook.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He gets rid of his memories and becomes far nicer. It doesn't last, though.
  • Helpless Good Side: Yotsuba!Light is a Technical Pacifist who believes he's not even capable of killing and won't even accept a handgun for self-defense.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Hates women, believing them to be an annoyance or a distraction. And, while Misa isn't very intelligent, he believes this even after meeting Takada, his mother, and sister, who are quite intelligent.
  • The Hero Dies: For a very loose value of hero, anyway. He's the main protagonist of the series, which ends upon his death.
  • High-School Sweethearts: He's college sweethearts with Kiyomi.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Turned Up to Eleven when he becomes the new L. It's one thing to string along a group of detectives for years while pretending to chase the mass-murderer you secretly are. It's another thing to get a paycheck for it.
  • Holier Than Thou: He thinks himself morally superior to everyone else around him.
  • Hollywood Hacking: How he is shown getting information from various sources over the course of the series.
  • Holy Halo: On the manga cover art. Also gets Holy Backlight in the first episode when he first declares he's going to become the God of the New World.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: At the end of the series, he assumes that Matsuda is going to support him against the task force. Matsuda swiftly corrects this delusion. Five times. With bullets.
  • Horror Struck: There's a brief but powerful image at the very beginning of the manga when Light is coming to grips with the power of the Death Note. He's shown huddled in bed, wrapped in a blanket, with this stricken look on his face.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Light being Light, proceeds more intelligently than most.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The ending leaves Light broken both physically and mentally, with all his sycophants either dead or not having a clue who he is. The anime scene with him running sobbing from the warehouse to be killed by a heart attack a few minutes later is the nice version of his death, and within a few years, the world's gone back to normal. In the original manga, he's killed while writhing in agony and whining that he doesn't want to die.
  • Humanoid Abomination: If he really does end up becoming The Unnamed Shinigami.
  • Humiliation Conga: Most explicit in the manga: Light is outwitted by Near and given a thorough verbal beatdown. After nearly killing Near in a desperate move, he's shot up and nearly killed by Matsuda, a man he has only ever looked down upon as retarded. Begging Mikami to come to his aid, Mikami instead angrily screams Light is no god and has completely ruined his life. Drowning in a pool of blood and facing arrest, Light begs Ryuk to write the names of his enemies down. When Ryuk instead writes Light's name down, surmising his life is already finished, Light goes out screaming and cursing he doesn't want to die.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He considers all killings to be crimes, even if he carries them out himself or they're done on his orders...though he still thinks he shouldn't be punished for killing people himself. Especially since his victims include plenty of innocent people, killed to tie up loose ends, because they were trying to stop him, or in one case when they used the Death Note to kill people for profit - even though he gave it to them and expected them to do exactly that.
    • When Misa is introduced, she's killing innocent newscasters and police officers for simply speaking out against Kira; Light is anything but pleased with her for doing so, but he himself did much the same by killing FBI agents. Misa even lampshades it, defending herself and retorting, "Isn't that what you did?"
    • He also killed Naomi (an innocent woman) in an unnecessarily cruel manner and was more than willing to kill his own sister when she becomes a liability and only relents because of the scrutiny it will draw. And he is supposed to be a man of "justice".
    • He has no qualms against killing thousands of people, criminal or otherwise, for the sake of his plans, but at the end of the manga, when he's been outed as Kira and faced with his own death, he absolutely freaks out and begs for at least someone to save him.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am Justice!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When he's outed as Kira near the end of the series, Light attempts to justify his actions with this, claiming that the world had to be fixed and that no one else would have the guts to keep going as long as he did. Neither the SPK nor the Japanese task force buy it, and Near categorically dismisses Light's justifications, claiming that he is just another petty Serial Killer. This just pushes Light even further into his Villainous Breakdown.
  • I Have Many Names: Light Yagami, Kira (the Saviour, the Messenger from Hell, etc.), Light Asahi, "Mr. A an office worker", L (number two), God.
  • I Meant to Do That: Whenever L one-ups or humiliates him Light quickly recovers with "This is perfect. It's all according to plan." [3]
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: "Ryuuzaki, let me see it!"
  • Ignore The Fanservice: In one scene in the second arc, Light walks into a room containing both Misa Amane dressed in lacy knee-highs, a corset, and very little else, and a computer with information on it. Guess which one he immediately focuses on and which one he completely ignores?
    • In an earlier scene Misa comes into a room with the entire task force in it wearing a skimpy nightdress. Matsuda, Ide, Mogi, and Aizawa are clearly affected by it, but Light doesn't even look at her.
    • When Light first meets Misa, she is dressed in black lace, a very short skirt, and a tight black corset. His reaction? "Everything she does is ridiculous."
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the very beginning. He is completely overcome when he realizes that the Death Note does indeed work and that he's just murdered two people - dry heaving, shaking, even a hint of tears. Then he starts thinking that this is exactly the opportunity he's been waiting for. "This world is rotting, and those who are making it rot deserve to die!"
  • Improbable Age: He's only 17 at the start of the series yet manages to be an even match for the world's greatest detective.
  • Implausible Deniability: At the end of the series, after irrefutable evidence to his being Kira was presented, his first answer was insistence that he was framed and it was all a set up, to which Aizawa told him to give it up. Understandably, given that this evidence consisted of Light shouting "I win!", and his name being the only one of the people besides Mikami's not being in the notebook. Justified; as the Real Life section notes on the trope's page, clinical psychopaths have a tendency to never admit guilt even when faced with undeniable proof of their actions.
  • Incriminating Indifference: Although he tries to avert this.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Light seems to be living his life under the assumption that he has to be perfect. Perfect student, perfect son... and then he kills two people by accident just to satisfy his curiosity and his boredom. That ruins everything. It makes him a murderer, evil. The only way to become "perfect" again is to become Justice, to become God. In his own words "If Kira is caught, then Kira is evil. If he wins and rules the world Kira is justice." He gets caught. Also as per the trope at times he comes off as desperate to prove himself - especially in his interactions with L, where he seems to get overly-excited even when he gets simple answers right. And "feeling better about themselves by putting others down"... does the whole world count?
  • The Insomniac: though he's easily overshadowed by L in this department Light often pulls all-nighters to keep his plans running smoothly.
  • Insufferable Genius: It's mostly well-hidden, but Light is not only well aware of his brilliance, but considers himself to be superior to most people because of it. We mostly only hear about it internal monologue, but every now and then, it slips through the cracks and is shown briefly to the other characters, too. It gets more prominent just before Light dies.
  • Irony: He largely favored Mikami over Misa and Takada. Mikami's screw up at the end of the series leads directly to Light's ultimate downfall.
  • It Gets Easier: Early in the manga, Light is shown wrapped up in a blanket, wide-eyed and trembling, wondering if he has the guts to go through with his plan, after killing just two people. Days later, he's proudly showing off his pages of written names to Ryuk.
  • It's All About Me: This is why he's ultimately a villain. Even if you agree with him that criminals should be exterminated, as far as he's concerned, even Kira supporters are just tools to be manipulated and discarded if they end up outliving their usefulness. Especially since before long, he seems just as focused on stroking his own ego as he does on building his "utopia".
  • It's Probably Nothing: Light's reaction during the Yotsuba arc when thinking about how the ideals of the original Kira are disturbingly close to his own.
  • I've Come Too Far: He says this nearly word-for-word at one point.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: When he gives up the notebook and his Kira memories he goes from being a complete jerk to being the nicest guy you could ever know. Then, of course, he regains his memories and goes back to being evil again. But the change is so extreme, some fans consider Light and Kira to be two different entities.
  • Jerkass: While he's very good at hiding it, Light is nevertheless a narcissistic bastard who treats most of his followers/subordinates like tools.
  • Jerkass Dissonance: He's had his fair share of fans throughout the run of the series, even after the credits rolled and he was decisively defeated. In-universe, this is Light's relationship with Misa. He is generally cold, commanding, and stern towards her (except when he wants something), and offhandedly orders her to go to bed, to be quiet, to go back to work, etc. And despite one or two quiet "You're so mean, darling," comments, she adores him until the end.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In general, whenever Light shows a softer side or does a "good" deed, it's nothing more than a cover-up for his own selfish purposes or murder plots. He even goes so far as to think to himself he's willing to kill his own sister or father if it will assist him in his plans.
  • Jumped at the Call: Once Light finds the Death Note, it doesn't take him long to use it to start changing the world.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He begins using the Death Note to rid society of criminals, but soon his black list expands to include anyone who stands in his way for any reason, starting with the FBI. Along the way, he coolly manipulates the feelings of both people and shinigami. Repeatedly stating that he plans to become the god of the new world he is trying to create doesn't help matters, either.
  • Just a Kid: In the live action movie, it's outright stated that his dad doesn't want him working on cases yet for this reason.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After having killed his rival L and getting away with the murder of innocent people, he finally meets his fate in the final episode.
  • Karmic Transformation: The first Relight special hints that after he dies, he becomes a shinigami.
  • Kick the Dog: Once he picks up the Death Note, he starts doing this at least 3 times out of 4. Some noteworthy examples include him cruelly taunting Naomi Misora as she dies, having Kiyomi Takada set herself on fire after she called him tearfully begging for help, and murdering Lind L. Tailor simply because he insulted him and told him what he's doing was evil.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: He was more than willing to kill his own sister when she becomes a liability and only relents because of the scrutiny it will draw.
  • Kill Him Already!: His reaction when Soichiro hesitates to write Mello's name in the Death Note:
    Light: What are you doing, hurry up and write his name down!... Now's the time to kill him! Kill him right now!!
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: At the end of the story.
  • Knight Templar: He claims to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist but all he's doing is forcing the world to submit under his reign as an omnipotent dictator. He shows this early on when he immediately kills Lind L. Tailor just for questioning what he's doing.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: He really does love his little sister, Sayu, and is quite protective of her. When L and he are profiling Kira, and L suggests that Sayu is the one who best fits the profile, Light briefly loses it.
  • Kubrick Stare: He does this quite a few times.
  • Lack of Empathy: After picking up the Death Note, Light casts away his empathy for anyone but himself; to him, everyone else is either pawns to be manipulated and then rid of, enemies, people to kill to instigate plots to mess with the authorities, or some combination of the three.
  • Large Ham: "I will be the god of the new world!!!"
  • Lean and Mean: The official stats list him as 5'8, 119 lbs, leading to some fan speculation that he might have some sort of eating disorder, though when compared to the stats of the other characters they're all pretty lightweight. He also mentions in passing that during his first week as Kira that he's lost 10 lbs on top of not sleeping.
    • There's a scene in the first volume of the manga, actually, where he announces that he's finished eating, and his sister says, "What, already?"
      • This is even worse when you realize the official stats are mistranslated, and Light is meant to be 5'10! The "I'm not eating with the family", though, seems as if it's underscoring that he's bolting his food to get away from them.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • In the television drama, the pre-Kira Light is much more extroverted and friendly (opposed to his reserved and somewhat brooding anime/manga counterpart), is so disgusted with himself over the first murders that he nearly commits suicide over them, spreads out the subsequent deaths at a much slower pace, and genuinely cares enough about Misa to deliberately target the man who killed her family.
    • Played straight in the American Netflix movie.
  • Light Is Not Good: He wears lots of white, his name is Light, but he's a psychopath and without question the single most prolific murderer in human history.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: As lampshaded by Rem, while Light is certainly no saint, he's still better than Kyosuke Higuchi. Not that it excuses any of his depravity.
  • Limp and Livid: After getting shot by Matsuda in the finale.
  • Living with the Villain: Soichiro, Sayu, and Sachiko all live with Light in the first season (which makes for some really awkward family discussions).
  • Lonely at the Top: Sure, lots of people worship him from a distance. But he either screws over or emotionally distances himself from pretty much everyone he knows.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Light believes this. In the manga when Light meets Misa who is madly infatuated with him he thinks "I can't develop feelings for her. That's how idiots get caught."

    M-R 
  • Made of Iron: Rather impressively, especially for such a thin guy, Light both stood up and managed to run for quite a distance after being shot 5 times. Not that it saved him from the grip of the Death Note shortly thereafter, though.
  • Magnetic Hero: His cult of personality is so strong that he gets three other people (four if we count Higuchi) to commit mass murder on his behalf. He gains Rem's loyalty as well even though she hates him (because his motives are more pure than Higuchi's).
  • The Man Behind the Man: In manipulating both Misa and Higuchi; Mikami and Takada both count, too. He is the original Kira, functioning through a series of proxies and decoys throughout the series.
  • Mangst: He does feel emotional pain for his sister's kidnapping and his father's death. And maybe even for betraying his "good friend" L, it's just very subtle and well-hidden.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Whoo boy. Deceit and manipulation pretty much define all of Light's relationships. The crowning moment of his manipulations is when he manages to get Rem to kill L in order to save Misa's life, thereby ending her life as well.
  • Mask of Sanity: The Trope Codifier, no less. Light seems to be a calm, stable, ace, but in reality, possibly even before the series started, he has some serious mental problems.
  • Master Actor: According to the guidebook, his acting skills are 10/10.
  • Memory Gambit: He allays suspicion by exploiting the rule that anyone who relinquishes the ownership of a Death Note also loses all memory of owning it unless that person later touches the same Death Note later, even counting on his amnesiac self to genuinely join the side of good in tracking down the new owner of the Death Note. This leads to the popular phrase "Just as Planned," eight episodes after putting his plan in motion.
  • Meaningful Name: Done ironically seeing as Light is (probably) not good. Also Yagami (夜神) means "Night god" or "Dark god", so his name is "Light Dark God". But the important thing is the god part.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: If you think Light can keep his grasp on his sanity once he gets a hold of the Death Note, you haven't been watching the series nearly as close enough as you should.
  • Mind Rape: Does it to himself as a result of his Memory Gambit.
  • Mirror Scare: The sinister Kira reflection at the end of Relight in the Taskforce HQ's Hall of Mirrors.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: An interesting variation of this trope. As a narcissistic perfectionist who believes he is superior and a better person than all humans, he believes that the world must be perfect and in his image and likeness, completely unable to realize that all humans have flaws.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Light deliberately invokes this trope to conceal the fact he's killing people with a magical notebook.
  • Mole in Charge: During the Time Skip, he is in charge of the task force investigating his murder spree.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • He claims that L is evil because he used another human being as a scapegoat in Episode 2... despite the fact that the man in question was on death row and scheduled for execution the next day, as well as the fact that Light himself was the one who killed him, as well as countless others.
    • In general, Light is a perfect example of this trope, at least in the beginning, as he endeavors to kill all the criminals and bad people on the planet but sees nothing wrong with killing thousands upon thousands of people, because he's a good guy. When Ryuk mentions at one point that Light will be the only evil person left on the planet should he succeed, Light has no clue what he means.
    • The amount Light objects to the morality of an act, apart from the part in which he loses his memories of the Death Note and is not acting as Kira, tends to depend on how much it affects his plans. Even his disapproval of Mikami killing people he didn't think necessarily deserved to die yet is largely based on how it makes Kira look.
  • Moral Sociopathy: He has a moral code based upon perfectionism. He gets perfect grades in school? That's good. He's athletic, intelligent and charismatic? That's good. He just murdered a man using an Artifact of Doom? That's... it's... It is good. It has to be good. He has to be good. He has to be perfect, and if the only way to ensure that he is perfect is to establish himself as God by forcing his brand of justice upon the world, in the process murdering everyone who is imperfect and bad according to him, then so be it. When one of his followers starts killing people for the "crime" of being unproductive to society, Light's reaction is that it is wrong. Why? Because there are are still criminals to take care of; it's still too early to kill off people just for being unproductive.
  • Motive Decay: Invoked throughout the series. His megalomania causes him to completely lose sight of his original goal (to improve the world by removing its criminal element) and degrade into using the Death Note to become "The God of the New World" and destroy his enemies, as well as clean up any undesirables; by the final chapters, he's starting to seriously entertain the idea of killing people simply for being "unproductive". He also turns from a Manipulative Bastard who carefully plans everything out into a Smug Snake who is so sure of his own success that the very concept of his own failure seems to confuse him. Many a character points out that Light is just another Serial Killer by the end, but Light's so blinded by his pride that it takes his impending death for him to catch on. This is more apparent in the live action films, where his Well-Intentioned Extremist side is played up in the beginning, only for him to attempt to kill his own father, the person who inspired him to seek justice.
  • Mr. Fanservice: As Near points out, "Light Yagami is a lady-killer."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: He's not the title page character for this trope for nothing. The potato chip scene is an epic example of this.
    • Light and Misa share an epic hug in the anime, including views from several different angles, creepy music, and a shaft of light.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: If someone becomes a nuisance he first thinks something along the lines of "I have to kill him!" Admittedly, it's the only hammer the man has, but he treats everyone from mass murderers to interfering politicians like nails.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: He's an Ordinary High-School Student until he writes 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, the reader first sees how Light has already killed numerous targets before flashing back to his first kill for maximum shock value and to show how far he has already fallen in such a short time.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
  • Narcissist: Light is always about Light, with everyone around him he sees as little more than extensions of his will. As the series progresses, he devolves into full-on sociopathy and becomes wholeheartedly devoted to dog-kicking.
  • Necessarily Evil: Starts out this way, determined to sacrifice himself for the greater good. However, less than a week later he's squeeing over his promotion to Godhood. It doesn't keep him from occasionally toying with the concept of himself as selfless and self-sacrificing though, and in his climactic Motive Rant, he claims that his ascent to Godhood and becoming Kira was a purely selfless and altruistic act on his part.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: He thinks of himself as this; his stated intention is to kill all the criminals in the world to make it safe for innocents. But he's really bad at that in practice. As soon as he hears that L plans to stop him, he shifts right into "all who oppose me must die" mode.
    • He manages it alright during the Yotsuba Arc, where it's shown (as if we weren't already aware) that his morals when he doesn't own a Death Note are an almost direct lift from his father — which brings them both into conflict with L.
  • Nice Guy: Not very much before or after he picked up the Death Note, but when his memories are wiped during the Yotsuba arc, he reverts to the way he would have been before had he not pick up the Notebook.
  • Nightmare Face: He makes the mother of all these in the manga when it appears Ryuk is writing the names of his enemies down.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Light has referred to Shinigami as "cute," finds all that Ryuk will tell him about Shinigami quite fascinating, makes jokes about how being a shinigami might be interesting, and his fascination with the Death Note is a little... eerie.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: If Light didn't effortlessly coast through life on his perfect grades, athletics, intelligence, or good looks, he probably would not have been bored or dissatisfied enough to fall so quickly and wholeheartedly for the power and purpose the Death Note offered.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: This is his game plan. When his ego starts to balloon out too far, he forgets this was how he saved himself time and time again. Inevitably, Light steps out into the open... and makes the worst mistakes of his life.
  • Non-Action Guy: Well, he only writes people's names in the Death Note, and has never done physical harm.
  • Noodle Incident: Death Note: Light Up the New World reveals that he had a child in the film continuity. Who the child's mother was, and their whereabouts in the movie, is never addressed, even in the novelization.
  • No Place for Me There: Played with. Ryuk asks Light if he believes in this philosophy. When Light rejects this in favor of becoming the god of his new world, it's the audience's first hint he isn't just a Well-Intentioned Extremist. On the other hand, How To Read reveals that he does think there's no place for Takada or Mikami, who have used the Death Note on his orders.
  • No Sense of Humor: Other than making a "joke" about wanting to trade away half of his life for shinigami wings, he lacks any sort of sense of humor.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: "If Kira is caught, then Kira is evil. If he wins and rules the world, Kira is justice."
  • Not So Different: Frequently lampshaded. Both he and L are genius Chessmasters that hold vast power by remaining anonymous- L solves criminal cases behind his computer screen, Light judges humanity from the comfort of his bedroom. They're two sides of the same coin: Light has great ideals and no integrity. L has great integrity and no ideals.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Even before his Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, Light is fascinated with becoming the god of the new world he plans to create. As time goes on, it becomes clear he just wants to be worshipped and cleansing the world of crime is just his means of attaining it. It's not helped that he also readily kills or tries to off anyone who questions him or tries to stop his plans on the grounds that he's justice and thus anyone who opposes him is evil for going against him.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: "Looks like I win."
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: He has a small piece of the Death Note concealed in his wristwatch, and desperately tries to use this to kill Near in the finale.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "What's that, Rem? I don't understand... could you explain to me the rules of ownership again?"
  • Obliviously Evil: He consistently views himself as a Dark Messiah Well-Intentioned Extremist whose actions are justified and necessary. When Ryuk remarks that he'll be the only evil person in the world left should his plans succeed, Light is perplexed and states outright that he has no idea what Ryuk is talking about. This does not make him sympathetic or tragic.
  • Odd Name Out: Light is the only Yagami not to have a name that starts with "S" (Sochiro, Sachiko, Sayu)
  • Offered the Crown: L unexpectedly offers Light his title as the "Great Detective L" should he die. Light (who no longer remembers that he is Kira and at the moment genuinely likes L) refuses for as comrades chained together by a common destiny they would die together anyway, but then he realizes it was just another test.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Light somehow has the funds that he can 1) trash a mini LCD TV without remorse and 2) drop out and then resume his college studies. Also it's never addressed how Souichiro can afford to gift him with an Omega Speedmaster on a policeman's salary.
  • Omniscient Morality License: When he kills a criminal as Kira, he's never wrong about his victim. Ever.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Done in epic fashion when L asks Light how, as a detective, he would go about trapping Kira, Light's secret Serial Killer alter-ego. Once Light has given L his answer, L "praises" him by pointing out that while it usually takes professional investigators several minutes to even come up with an answer to that question, Light immediately responded with an answer that a serial killer talking directly to the investigators would give.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Both the anime and the manga introduce Light at school; he notices the Death Note fall because he's staring out the window, bored.
    • Not quite ordinary since he's The Ace at the start.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Near at the end thanks to Mikami's screw up.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: An off-screen example, from Light Up the New World. Knowing his views regarding women, it's quite surprising to learn that he had a child, especially since the mother's identity is never hinted at.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Light wears a hoodie and beanie when manipulating Raye Penber, which renders him unrecognizable to both Raye and the investigators that view the surveillance cameras.
    • Though Raye never sees him until it's too late, and the chances are he doesn't recognise Light's voice because he's already under the effects of the Death Note.
    • And L does note that Kira likely examined the subway beforehand and made use of the blindspots of the cameras.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Under Kira, any crime is punishable by death.
  • Peaceful in Death: In the anime, he dies in peace, seeing an apparition of L. Contrasted with his manga counterpart, who dies of a rather brutal heart attack, and we're then treated to a close-up of his body, a look of horror still on his face.
  • Perfection Is Impossible:
  • The Perfectionist: Of course taken to extremes and applied to the entire world.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He kills hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He often helped Sayu with her homework, but this was partially done to throw suspicion off him.
    • His possibly genuine love for family might count. This changes later with he didn't seem to care about his father's death and thought killing his sister would put more suspicion on him. He never seemed interested in hurting his mother, however.
    • When he kills the attempted rapist in Episode 1, the framing of the shot makes it seem that he genuinely did so to help the victim, not just to confirm that the Death Note was real.
    • When his memory is erased and he's helping with the investigation, he notes that Kira never killed anybody who had already served their sentences, displayed genuine remorse, or had seemingly justifiable reasons for their crimes.
    • In the manga, he objects to Mikami's intent to kill reformed criminals, saying that those who have turned their lives around don't deserve punishment.
  • Playing with Puppets: When testing the extent to which he can control victims with the Death Note.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Light may be a cold and manipulative mass murderer with a huge god complex, but he's still almost always polite and well-mannered. By contrast, L, the detective trying to stop him and bring him to justice, is usually very blunt and has little regard for others' feelings.
  • The Power of Acting: According to the guidebook, his acting skills are 10/10.
  • Precision F-Strike: His language, for the most part, consists a lot of "damn", "hell" and "bastard". However, a few times in the series (or at least the original Japanese), he has uttered the word "fuck" once or twice, especially in the finale.
  • Pretender Diss: He looks down on L's successors, Near and Mello, contemptuously regarding them as inferior to L and unworthy of the mantle. He's especially enraged to see Near wearing a mask of L's face.
  • Pride:
    • Light shows an utter lack of ability to rise above any insults and slights against his ego. While he certainly has the capacity to be patient and wait for the right moment to strike, he cannot simply let go of his grudges and almost pathologically feels that he needs to avenge himself against anyone who dares to challenge him, and while he is usually smooth and calm, bruising his ego is a surefire to get his temper to flare up and get the better of him. It is how L reveals that Kira is indeed real and living in Japan in the first place; when L's stand-in during a press conference directly accuses Kira of being evil, Light becomes furious and kills him, thereby tipping his hand to L.
    • As the story progresses, Light quickly loses sight of his original goal as he begins to buy into his own hype of being an important godlike figure whom the world needs.
  • Principles Zealot: Falls under this trope during the Yotsuba arc. The entire Kira-mission falls under this as well.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The series chronicles Light's life as he goes from a relatively well-intentioned person who seeks to change the world for the better to a manipulative, sadistic lunatic who kills to fuel his raging god complex.
  • Promotion to Parent: In the TV Drama he is forced to take up this role after Sachiko's death, especially since his father is rarely home.
  • Properly Paranoid: After all, they are all out to get him.
  • Prophetic Names: Light Yagami = Light Night/Dark God.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He qualifies as Type C (flirting with D). When L details the psychology of Kira to the police, one of them suggests that they could stop him by no longer publishing the name of convicts in the news, as he clearly was getting the names of his victims from the media. L states that won't work because Kira will then simply start killing people he thinks are guilty and will further blame the police for any innocent people he kills, specifically identifying his childlike personality as the reason for this. Sure enough, Light does display lots of childlike evil throughout the series, such as killing the fake L for insulting him on national television and his need to gloat to L and Near when he thinks he's beaten them. His Villainous Breakdown at the end takes the form of a blatant childish fit.
  • Psychotic Smirk: He's very fond of giving these when things go according to plan.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: When L offers to share his cake. "Er... no thanks." In the manga during the second arc Takada remarks that Light takes his coffee black but will take one sugar cube in his tea.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Light does wear a pink shirt when hanging with Matsuda in Aoyama. Also, fear the God of the New World's mad sewing skills! [4]. Light also wears a pink butterfly belt-buckle in the anime opening, as seen here [5]. Also in the manga at one point Light wears a corset in order to hide the Death Note... [6]
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: After he gains the Death Note, the anime makes a point of catching his eyes so that they have a red cast to them — despite Light outright rejecting the Shinigami Eye deal. This is made even more obvious when he is contemplating something particularly nasty, and the anime colors his eyes, metaphorically, bright red.
  • Red Right Hand: By the end of the first Relight special (everything after the funeral scene) Light seems to be sporting fangs in addition to perpetually glowing red eyes.
  • Regularly Scheduled Evil: Early in the series it is explained that Light had set aside specific time slots in which to kill criminals, in order to provide himself with a healthy balance of sleep, homework, and death.
  • Religion of Evil: His cult worships him, a ruthless mass murderer, as a god.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: At the end of the series, it's revealed that Light's actions as Kira have put an end to all wars and dropped the global crime rate by 70% within six years, because everyone's terrified of being killed by him. Near, despite making it clear that he views Light as nothing but a crazed Serial Killer, admits he's not the ultimate judge of good and evil and that Light may very well have changed the world for the better with fear.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Light believes this during the Yotsuba arc, when he lost his memories of the Death Note and being Kira, which caused him to revert to the state he was before finding the Death Note (though we aren't given any insight into his thoughts at that point). He whole-heartedly argued that the members of the Yotsuba group other than the 3rd Kira shouldn't be prosecuted since no doubt Kira was coercing them into cooperating. In other words they aren't evil-circumstances pushed them into being evil and once the evil is removed, i.e. arrested, they will live good lives. Doesn't stop him from killing them all after his memory returns though.
  • Rules Lawyer: Light uses the rules of the Death Note in ways even Ryuk had never thought of before.
    • He has a hard time coping with the Near-and-Mello situation because Near and Mello aren't particularly inclined to play by the rules.

    S-Y 
  • Sadist: As he gets in the habit of killing, he starts to really enjoy it and often smiles and laughs as he slaughters people by the score. He also appears to get off on being a Manipulative Bastard, and can't resist the urge to gloat to his enemies that he's literally signed their death warrant, or take cruel pleasure in discarding and betraying his own allies, even girlfriends. Some of his kills are needlessly nasty as well (eg. said girlfriend was forced by the Death Note to set herself on fire), and on several occasions, he takes a moment to watch his victims die; for example, when he writes Naomi Misora's name in the Death Note, he reveals himself as Kira to her just because he wanted to see the look on her face.
  • Sanity Slippage: He gets crazier with every passing episode barring the time he loses memory of the Death Note.
  • Satanic Archetype: This is what Light really is. Spurred by his own Pride and selfish desires, he sacrifices all notions of goodness in his heart and consigns himself to evil. A Villain with Good Publicity, he is seen as The Messiah by fanatical supporters; a light in the dark world Death Note takes place in. This is exactly what Satan is all about in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Revelation: an "angel of light" which the world will worship in sheer awe of.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy Guy to Misa's Energetic Girl, and although Light's family and co-workers seem to think that there's No Accounting for Taste, a few people do comment on their unlikely relationship.
  • Scare 'em Straight: This is essentially what he's trying to pull on the entire world. As it turns out, with a supernatural, godlike entity willing to kill you if you commit a crime, people are much less likely to commit crimes. The rate drops accordingly.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Light knows that Ryuk is only here because he's bored and he can kill him at any time. Ryuk 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.
  • The Scourge of God: Light's mission statement though he also will kill anyone who comes after him i.e. defies Kira's will.
  • The Scream: Lets out a huge one when he gets his memories back.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Light knows that his father's position is what is protecting him from being seriously considered as a suspect by the normal police.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: When he becomes fully aware of Ryuk and the Death Note again, and remembers that he asked Ryuk to put a couple of fake rules on the Death Note (which L must then assume to be real), he goes into a little mental rant about how he is basically a god because he can change the rules like that. It's no longer clear how fully he recognizes that he didn't change the rules.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Yotsuba!Light is a variation on this with the twist that Kira!Light did it to himself.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Light is in denial about quite a few things:
    Ryuk: But if you did that, you'd be the only bad person left.
    Light: Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about, Ryuk.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: Kira only kills awful criminals like serial killers. At least, that's what the general public thinks. The rest of the cast knows better.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: While Light's pride is the most obvious, Light's personality manages to be a nasty combination of all seven.
    • Cares only to get as much power as he can and him alone, and betrays and backstabs anyone who has enabled him once they're done (Greed)
    • Flies into numerous fits of murderous rage whenever someone criticizes him or throws a wrench into his plans (Wrath)
    • Is a sadistic Serial Killer who is far too addicted to murdering people (Lust)
    • Has his men do his dirty work for him and uses his Death Note whenever he murders his victims as using it requires no effort (Sloth)
    • Has made the rule of Kira consume much of the world and has it snub out any possible opposition (Gluttony)
    • Loves watching and causing people misfortune, as shown with the murder of Naomi Misora (Envy)
  • Shadow Archetype: L and Light have a whole reciprocal shadow thing going. Light is the social one, who not only understands but really cares about proper socialization and not being indecorous, but as Kira he's also the one who's the most prolific serial killer in history. L is antisocial and willfully unsocialized, and he doesn't really care about a little thing like illegal detainment, mock executions, and torture, but he's the one trying to enforce the fact that you don't go around killing people, and he means it. Enough to be unwilling to test the Death Note. They're certainly both liars. The primary difference between L and Light - two childish geniuses who hide behind their claims of justice and have no idea how to be wrong - is that L is capable of accepting and coping with his own and the world's flaws, something that Light absolutely refuses to do.
    Light: The world was too rotten, with too many rotten people... Somebody had to do this! The world had to be fixed!
  • Shadow Dictator: He becomes this in the second arc.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: On rare occasions, which tend to define him in the eyes of the fandom.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Light does this a couple times, symbolically overlooking his "New World."
  • Slasher Smile: Definitely. It's the last thing L sees.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Light's actions earlier on in the series could be considered a combination of exceedingly ruthless schemes and Pet the Dog moments. Then, as the series goes on, he finds new allies, who are almost sycophantic in their devotion to him, and whom he treats as inferior and expendable, becomes ever-more consumed by his God Complex as the world slowly falls under his grip, and resorts to increasingly extreme and cold-blooded means to cover his ass and maintain his reign on the world.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: While calling him a small name is going too far, Light immediately believes himself to be the only person worthy of purging the world of evil simply because he's the Big Man on Campus at his high school.
  • Smug Smiler: The God of the New World takes to showing an insufferably superior expression when no one but the audience is looking.
  • Smug Snake: Unlike many Smug Snakes, Light is (supposedly) intelligent, but his massive god complex, pathetic Freak Outs ("he got me!"), borderline sociopathy, and tendency towards kicking dogs can and do cost him the sympathy of many, while his sheer ego, and tendency towards underestimating his opponents (and the incompetence of his own allies) can sometimes derail his plans and ultimately do get him killed. His arrogance gets in the way of him giving some of his opponents as much credit as he should.
  • Social Darwinist: Averted in that he begins as protecting the weak by paying evil unto evil before jumping off the slippery slope. Ironically, given his god complex, he would consider it divine natural selection.
  • Softspoken Sadist: Among other examples, Light's voice is chillingly calm and pleasant even when taunting Naomi Misora after revealing himself as Kira. "My father's phone is back on, didn't you want to talk to him?"
  • Someone Has to Do It: Part of his motivation for being Kira. He even quotes the trope word for word.
    Light: This world is rotten, and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Someone has to do it, so why not me? Even if it means sacrificing my own mind and soul, it's worth it. Because the world can't go on like this.
  • Sore Loser: Light pitches a fit after L directly confronts him at college. He also dies weeping and screaming like a madman (in the manga) after Near thwarts his plan to do away with the Kira task force and the SPK.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: At the end, he tries justifying his actions by claiming that in a world so rotten, idealists like his own father, who died trying to stop Kira, will always be made out to be fools unless Light can continue to rule. He says this right in front of Matsuda, who idolized Soichiro, and gets shot five times for it.
    Matsuda: You led your own father to his death, and now that he's gone, you call him a fool?!
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Light or Raito? Also odd is his name is written with the kanji for moon (月) rather than the kanji for light (光).
  • Start X to Stop X: He commits mass homicide to put an end to all crime.
  • Stepford Smiler: He presents himself as positive, thoughtful, and cheerful to the world, but at the beginning of the series he's so bored and empty inside that a quest for a new world and godhood seems like a great idea; and of course, as the series goes on, that smile hides an increasingly unstable and cruel personality.
  • Stock Shōnen Hero: Inverted deliberately. He's a Villain Protagonist; he's a TV Genius, instead of being Book Dumb; he doesn't have to go through Training from Hell to unlock his true potential, he just finds a magic notebook randomly, his strong sense of justice leads to him turning into a monster; he's cool and calculated instead of being Hot-Blooded; where most Shonen protagonists are proponents of The Power of Friendship, Light is almost completely sociopathic and rather than having a To Be a Master plotline he instead has a quest to get himself worshipped as a god via a prolonged spree of mass murder.
  • The Stoic: Whatever else you may say about him, Light has a great poker face. This serves to give his Not So Stoic moments even more of an impact.
    • Lampshaded by L. He kills criminals without even changing his expression.
  • Straight Edge Evil: He's never shown drinking, doing drugs or smoking, unlike Misa, the mafia and Matt, respectively.
    • Subverted with the Netflix movie where his American live-action counterpart is seen smoking.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: With L, and Mikami.
    • With Misa, as well, considering their opinions on how to go about creating a New World. "To defeat evil, there must be sacrifices, right?"
    • Also with Ryuk in the first episode when they both contemplate how rotten their respective worlds are.
  • Straw Misogynist: While Light thinks everybody is below him, he seems to have a particular distaste in women, frequently going on about how they're nuisances who waste his time talking about pointless things. Of all three of his minions he seems to favor Mikami over both Misa and Takada, despite him being arguably the least competent of the three.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Light survives the events of the Netflix adaptation, manipulating events to kill off his increasingly unstable partner Mia as well as throw suspicion off himself. However, L does go on to discover a page of the Death Note in Light's home, and what he does with it is left ambiguous.
  • Super Intelligence: In the How To Read 13, Light is described as abnormally intelligent in the character quiz.
  • Super OCD: His room is immaculately tidy for a teenager, so don't try to steal anything - least of all killer notebooks - from it. And definitely don't catch him by surprise.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of his Catch Phrases is "I'm not Kira."
  • Take Over the World: Well, he wants to becomes its God, and that's pretty much the same thing.
  • Taking You with Me: In his first week as Kira, Light was expecting some sort of punishment for using the notebook but decided it's Worth It if he can make the world a better place by taking out as many bad guys as possible before he's killed or his soul is dragged off to Hell. Then Ryuk informs him there is no punishment, he wasn't Chosen or anything, and it's all a joke. Light does not take it well — in the Manga Light has his first crazy laugh of the series after that particular revelation.
  • Talking Your Way Out: With a high success rate. Near dares him to do this in the finale.
  • Tareme Eyes: Flip flops between these or Tsurime Eyes depending on his mood, especially in the beginning before Art Evolution kicked in and when his memories are wiped.
  • Tautological Templar: He's firmly convinced that everything he does, up to and including mass murder, is justified and that he himself is justice, and refuses to see otherwise. This contrasts him with L, who freely admits when he engages in Dirty Business.
    Light: "Me? Evil? I am justice! Those who oppose me — they're the evil ones!"
  • Teen Genius: He's the top scoring student in all of Japan. Not to mention that he manages to stay on L's level and focus on school-work.
  • Terror Hero: He sees himself as one (Type 3).
  • That's What I Would Do: He freaks out his father pretty badly when he voices this to L.
  • These Hands Have Killed: In the manga. "I-I've killed two people..."
    • In the last episode, while he's arguing his side, the camera pans up from a shot of his open hands.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Light being being the smart, charming, supposedly kindhearted honor-student son of the Chief of Police makes it difficult for many of the characters to take L's accusations seriously. L seems to be the only one who really believes that Light is Kira until very close to the series' end.
  • Third Act Stupidity: He starts out being Crazy-Prepared and doing everything possible to preserve his secret, but as he starts buying into his own hype, he starts viewing himself as invincible and stops being so careful, allowing Near and Mello to expose him and take him down.
  • Too Clever by Half: He's impossibly clever, charming and manipulative. But for all his great plans, he ends up falling victim to his own pride too often. By the end of the series, Light is so blinded by his own ego that he can't even consider the possibility that he'll fail.
  • Together in Death: With L, at the end.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass:
    • After the Time Skip. Light goes from erasing his own memory, trusting in the brilliance of his planning to ensure L's death while cementing his own complete innocence... to hiding the Death Note in storage and really hoping no one finds it while he's not looking.
    • The whole Mello and Near arc has Light nerfed down hard, making great mistakes apparently to balance the odds of the two kids-nemesis. He loses the note, he loses Sayu, he loses his father... and one of his "best" responses is to confirm to Near he's Kira by sending a mass of stupid people at the exact location (and only there) of Near's anti-Kira organization with the great expectations that they'll lynch someone of L's level. An extended period of complacency between arcs with no intellectual rival, and belief in his own hype likely have something to do with it, as does the fact that Near and Mello have far more information to work with than L did.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Believe it or not, he Used to Be a Sweet Kid before finding a killer notebook and it just keeps getting harsher from there as he shifts his focus away from his vision of "a perfect world" to "not getting caught." After the time skip his standards have slipped considerably.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: When he relinquishes his Death Note memories during the Yotsuba arc. It doesn't last.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: He wants to create a New World where only kind, good people will live.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Potato chips. Barbecue to be exact. He exploits this by hiding a mini LCD TV in a bag of barbecue chips because he's the only one who eats that flavor.
  • Tragic Hero: All he wants to do is create a perfect world. Unfortunately, his Lack of Empathy and overwhelming god complex get him killed in the end.
  • Tranquil Fury: Kira's default mood.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Unlike any of the other Kiras who all had a Shinigami pop up to explain the notebook Light was literally trapped into becoming a murderer by confirming the notebook is real.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Light works alongside L and the task force despite being Kira, and is often the only one whose intellect and deductive abilities are of use to L's investigation.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Flip flops between these and Tareme Eyes depending on his mood, and shown when he's feeling particularly murderous or devious.
  • TV Genius:
    • His cleverness at times reaches beyond the plausible. (Not as extreme as L's, though.)
    • Averted when it comes to social skills since he's The Social Expert.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: By the second arc, he's playing the role of both L and Kira.
  • Übermensch: One interpretation of his character. He certainly sets up his laws by which he lives.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Light is the handsome villain to L's more... unique looking hero.
  • The Unchosen One: He found the Death Note purely by accident.
  • Undignified Death: At the very end, he goes out whining, cursing, and pathetically begging for mercy in a puddle of his own blood.
  • The Unfavorite: Mr. Yagami is absolutely certain that Sayu can't be Kira but isn't so certain about his son. Even though it's true it does hint at Parental Favoritism.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Misa.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Averted. Light knows exactly that Ryuk sees him as an entertainment, therefore he keeps providing it while working on his own goals.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Light consistently and sincerely believes that he can bring about an ideal new world free of evil. Even when, post-timeskip, the world is slowly becoming a totalitarian place ruled by propagandistic TV channels and secret executioners, he's very happy about it because he thinks people are finally starting to come around to his vision. Throughout the series, when he's trying to stay ahead those fighting against him, he says he's doing so to protect "his utopia".
  • The Vamp: How he gets Misa and Takada to serve him. Or rather continue serving him, given that they were Kira loyalists from the outset.
  • Victory Is Boring: When Near and Mello appear on the scene, Light, after first being enraged and frustrated, remarks that "Things are getting interesting again!"
  • Vigilante Man: Death is the only punishment he can dish out. Early on, he states that he's going to create a world filled with only good-hearted people he approves of. He's simply going to start with the criminals... and he quickly crosses over into "bad" vigilante man territory, when in the fifth episode he leaps off the slippery slope and begins to target and kill all those who oppose Kira, including law-enforcement officials.
  • Villain Ball: He does this a disproportionately high amount of times.
    • He kills Lind L. Taylor out of spite for calling him a criminal, allowing the real L to significantly narrow down where he might be. Though it would have been tough to see such a gambit coming, given that Light was unaware of L's existence prior to his televised appearance.
    • He kills the FBI agent Raye Penber, thinking that Penber would only come after him harder in the future if he wasn't disposed of quickly. He neglected to check whether his wife may have been an FBI agent herself...
    • He admits he is Kira to Misora, when he's written down her name in the notebook in front of her, in broad daylight on a city street. Had Aizawa been paying slightly more attention before he walked out of earshot, or had he not been using an umbrella due to the providencial snow, Light would've been caught.
    • The final time leads to his downfall: when he believes that the SPK task force are about to die because Mikami has written their names in his notebook, he gloats that he's won... except, unfortunately for him, they don't.
  • Villain Protagonist: To L's Hero Antagonist.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • As Kira, Light gradually gains more and more public support. In spite of being a mass murdering vigilante, he is admired by many for reducing crime rates through fear and power as if he were some deity smiting the wicked (which happens to be exactly how he sees himself). During the Time Skip, entire nations announce that they endorse Kira.
    • Light, as Light, is actually a straighter example; he's a popular, intelligent, charming ace son of the police chief, who's revered and admired by the people around him... who also happens to be a crazy Serial Killer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Has a few, his end being the most notable.
  • Villain Song: Nearly all of his numbers in the stage musical qualify as one, but the most notable ones are "Where is the Justice?" and "Death Note". note 
  • Villains Want Mercy: Upon his defeat at the end of the series, Light freaks out and desperately begs for someone, anyone to save him, because despite having killed thousands of people, he's scared shitless at the thought of dying himself.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: When Soichiro chooses to try to arrest Mello rather than kill him with the Death Note as Light expected him to do, despite the fact that Mello had kidnapped and traumatized Sayu, Light is annoyed and openly declares it an act of stupidity. Light's way of thinking comes back to bite him hard when, after being exposed as Kira, he mocks Soichiro and his way of thinking as foolish right in front of Matsuda, who promptly loses his temper and shoots him five times.
  • Visionary Villain: He really believes in that new world of his.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Light and Ryuk, arguably both types 1 (i.e. laughing it off whenever Ryuk reminds him that he's a Death God and that he's going to kill him one day.) and 2 (insulting each other in equal measure).
    • Also with L during the Yotsuba arc.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: As the second L.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: He doesn't "save" the world, more like wants to control it with his own brand of justice.
  • We Have Become Complacent: After defeating L, Light spends the next several years comfortably dispensing his brand of justice without any intellectual opposition, feeding his god complex to the point he becomes reckless and prideful enough to believe he'll never lose. This likely factored into why Near and Mello were able to bring about his downfall.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Light has daddy issues. His father is always out working to catch the bad guys and hardly ever sees his family. It's been speculated that this might be the ''real'' reason he hates criminals with such a passion - they stole his father away from him. Also how he walks out on the family meeting where his dad is talking about catching "that evil bastard Kira." Also it's well established that Light is the top-ranked student in the country but his father is still surprised that he can keep up with L. Later that instance of his father pretending to shoot him in the head on L's orders might have added to the dysfunction as well.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: During the Yotsuba arc, with L ("I think I wanted you to be Kira").
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Light has very pretty long-lashed Bishōnen eyes and the anime pays them special focus being kind of a tell in letting the audience know what he's really thinking and having them change color from brown, to goldish/amber, to red.
  • What If God Was One of Us?: It would end badly. Textbook example of The Prince, though he imagines himself as The Shepherd.
  • What Is Evil?: Light eliminates evil... by using a magic notebook that causes anyone whose name is written in it to die. He ultimately wants to turn the world into a crime-free utopia and believes anything he does is justified by his noble goal. The main antagonist is a world-famous detective determined to get to the bottom of a suspicious rash of unexplained deaths, and he realizes it's all the work of a supernaturally prolific serial killer who must be stopped at all costs. Both claim to be motivated by a strong sense of justice. Though the writer says L is actually not motivated by justice at all, he is nonetheless the more heroic of the two, because Kira is hanging out in the deep end of the Knight Templar pool.
    • Ryuk points out early on that when Light achieves his goal, the only evil person left will be himself. Light has no idea what Ryuk is talking about, being completely incapable of seeing anything he does, including mass murder, as evil.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: All his obstacles look like nails that are in need of being hammered down.
  • White Shirt of Death: He ends up having blood on his white shirt underneath his coat when Matsuda shoots him.
  • Wicked Cultured: He can sometimes come across this way, as a sharply-dressed, well-educated Person of Mass Destruction, with a tongue so silver it convinced a god of death to kill herself and evil so faux-affable it sucked good folks into his madness. Another character even comments that Light looks and acts "like he's been groomed for success his whole life", but this mature and intellectual exterior actually masks a childish genius who wants to watch heads roll and doesn't know what it means to be wrong.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: This happens to him quite frequently. This first examples being once he discovers the notebook's powers are real and when he laughs manically after killing Lind L. Taylor.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: There are hints that Light wasn't entirely sane even before he gained the power to kill anyone in the world at any time, but his sanity certainly heads downwards from the minute he gets the Death Note.
  • Workaholic: During the first arc, Light devotes all of the time that he's not working on work for school or cram school to killing criminals as Kira; in the anime, he turns down offers to hang out with other students, something Ryuk comments on. And let's give the kid some credit: keeping up four girls at once isn't exactly easy, even if it is for a relatively brief period of time.
    • And in the second arc, when he's balancing his jobs as L and Kira, he often goes without sleep to keep his schemes running smoothly. At one point, Matsuda calls Light's ability to work endlessly "amazing."
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Mostly played straight, though he has no problem with writing women's names down. In episode 14 he says "this is the first time in my entire life I've seriously wanted to hit a girl" after being glomped by Misa.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Similar to how Misa seems to be under the impression she's living in a Romance Novel, Light seems to think he's living in a Shonen Manga which, while technically true, he's an idealist living in a cynical world. Light sees himself as The Hero and The Chosen One - through the sheer power of determination and his genius plans that are always right he will make this world a better place. He thinks of the Death Note as just a tool, no different then a gun. Heroes can use guns on bad guys and still be considered the heroes. So why would people ever think what he's doing was wrong?
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: He's a master of this.
  • You Are What You Hate: Ryuk points out in the first episode when Light explains his plan to get rid of all the bad people that there will always be one bastard left.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: What he does to Raye Penber and Kiyomi Takada. Also what he would have done to Misa were it not for Rem. In the end, he himself is subject to this by Ryuk, who writes his name in his own Death Note at the end of the series, as Light no longer proves entertaining.
  • You Just Told Me: Happens to Raye Penber and (in the manga) the President of the United States.
  • You Will Be Spared: Provided someone is useful to him and/or doesn't get in his way. i.e Misa and Mikami. Also the Taskforce for most of season 2.
  • Young and in Charge: He is 18 when he assumes L's name and control of the Japanese Taskforce after L's death, and even at twenty-three in the second season he remains both its youngest member and leader.
  • Young Conqueror: His is youthful idealism at its darkest.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback