The film franchise that is based on the Death Note series by Tsugumi Ohba (writer) and Takeshi Obata (illustrator).
The films included in this series are:
- Death Note (2006)
- Death Note: The Last Name (2006)
- L: change the WorLd (2008)note
- Death Note: Light Up the New World (2016)
For the American Netflix movie released in 2017, see Death Note (2017).
The films contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The first two films streamlined the series in order to fit the entire story into two movies; in doing so, they jettisoned a fair amount of the excessive plot-and-counterplot (-and-countercounterplot-and-countercountercounterplot...) that made the struggle between L and Kira look less like a series of carefully played plans and more like a Gambit Roulette. They also excised L's heirs, Near and Mello, although the former appears in L: Change the WorLd.
- An Aesop: In the climax of the second film, Soichiro delivers the ultimate message of the series: an justice systems are imperfect because they are made by imperfect people, but they are a culmination of trying to define such a concept.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Sanami for the first two movies.
- Always Save the Girl: Averted with Shiori in Death Note and Kiyomi Takada in Death Note: The Last Name.
- Anyone Can Die: Just like the source material.
- Death Note: Lind L. Tailor, Raye Iwamatsu, the other 11 FBI agents, Shiori Akino, Naomi Misora.
- Death Note: The Last Name: Detective Kanzo Mogi, Kiyomi Takada, Rem, Watari, Light Yagami, L Lawliet.
- Death Note: Light Up the New World: Sakura Aoi, Tōto Matsuda, Kuromoto, Uragami, Misa Amane, Yūki Shien, Shō Nanase, Arma, Ryuzaki.
- Arc Words: For the first two films, "devil". It's what most characters, like Ryuk, Rem and Misa, calls Light.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
- The Live-Action Adaptation features similar color coding: at the end of the first movie, as L and Light face each other in person for the first time, L is standing in a shaft of blue light, while Light is standing in orange.
- The live-action movies have another, subtle example. In the first film Light for the most part wears casual brown clothing, switching to all black in the sequel as he has fully embraced his Kira persona. He ends up wearing white once he loses his memory, then starts dressing in black again once it's back. Takada also starts wearing all black once she actively starts using the Death Note.
- Deconstruction: To both the idea of Death Note itself and the character Light Yagami. If the medium is the message, then this film series shows how terrifying it would be if people like Light Yagami exist in real life. Shusuke Kaneko, the director of first two films, admitted that this was intentional since he not only wanted to show how dangerous to undermine the corrupting influence wielding such power, but also explore the Japanese youth's desire to have such. He also compared the use of the Death Note to how users attacked one another on message boards and blogs.
- For Want of a Nail: The films shows how events would have played out if L defeated Light.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Basically everyone who has a heart attack due to the Death Note. Subverted for Watari, as he is seen silently clutching his chest before collapsing.
- It's Personal: At first, L is invested in the case because he finds it fascinating how Kira can murder remotely. Then he figures out that Light manipulated Naomi into killing herself and Light's girlfriend, and all bets are off.
- Karma Houdini: Misa in the live action movies. The fact that the police let her go is particularly bad when you consider that she killed Mogi. Of course, it does make sense, as there's no way they could convict her without revealing the existence of a magic notebook that kills people, which they instead destroy, causing Misa to lose her memories of her crimes anyway. She does kill herself at last in Death Note: Light up the New World, but only after 10 years of fame and fortune have passed for her.
- The World Is Not Ready: L burns the two notebooks that once belonged to Ryuk and Rem. He knows that man cannot handle the power, even while knowing a Shinigami could bring a new one every time.
- Twist Ending:
- Death Note: The audience thinks that Light accidentally got his girlfriend killed in the process of killing Naomi... only for him to reveal to Ryuk that no, he intended for his girlfriend to die, so that his declaration of vengeance on Kira would be believable and he'd be accepted into the task force.
- Death Note: The Last Name: Once again, the audience expects L to die just like in the manga and anime. Instead, surprise! L is alive (for 23 more days) and Light is utterly screwed, caught by the Investigation Team.