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Film / Death Note Series
aka: Death Note

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"Hear this. The 'Death Note' changes our destinies in the most natural way."
"I am justice! I am the god of the new world, saving it from evil and ridding it of fear. Those who betray God are the evil ones."
Light Yagami, Death Note

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:

A three part Mini Series Death Note New Generation was released to bridge the 10-year gap between the previous films and Light Up the New World.

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.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Just barely on the part of Light, Misa, and Kiyomi Takada. Light’s vigilance for eliminating criminals is made clearer by his disillusionment with the justice system after it fails to capture a man who later threatens him directly. Misa, meanwhile, is functionally similar to her manga role, but expresses hesitance and horror when she sees Light writing his father’s name in the Notebook, whereas her original counterpart never expressed concern with the morality of Light’s actions or the wellbeing of others outside of her “boyfriend”. For her part, Takada still takes part in the murders, but, at the very least, acknowledges that her indulgence makes her more evil than any criminal she’s killed, which no Kira has done in any adaptation.
  • 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.
  • Adapted Out: Multiple characters from the anime and manga are removed and sometimes replaced with Expys in the films. Groups and organizations such as the Yotsuba Group or SPK are notably absent from all films. Individuals like Matt and Mello are omitted, though Mello is mentioned briefly by Near in Death Note New Generation. Many Shinigami's from the manga and anime are also removed.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance:
  • Adaptational Mundanity: Due to the films being live action and taking place in (for the most part) a more grounded setting, exaggerated aspects from the anime and manga are of course removed or watered down. Most notably, the potato chip scene in Death Note is less intense and over the top.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Ryuk is seen in most promotional material and advertising for L: change the WorLd, most prominently being featured on posters for the film. Despite this however, he only appears in one scene.
    • The new human Death Note user, Sakura Aoi, as well as the Shinigami Bepo, are seen and hyped up in promotional material such as stills or posters for Death Note: Light Up the New World. Ironically enough however, Sakura is killled off in the film's first act whereas Bepo is seen in only one scene.
  • 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.
  • Expy: Due to many characters being removed from the films, many other characters take their place:
    • In Death Note: The Last Name Kiyomi Takada serves the same role as the Yotsuba Group in the manga / anime.
    • Also in the same film, L replaces Near's role as the one to finally capture and corner Kira. Though Near does appear in L: change the WorLd so an Expy Coexistence is at play.
    • In Death Note: Light Up the New World, Ryuzaki heavily borrows traits from Beyond Birthday, though the LABB murders are mentioned to have occurred in the film continuity so another Expy Coexistence is at works
    • Also from the same film, the Shinigami Arma, is essentially a Gender Flipped version of Sidoh from the original series. Bepo, another shinigami in the film, is also an expy of Armonia from the manga and anime.
  • 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.

The human who uses the notebook can neither go to Heaven nor Hell.

Alternative Title(s): Death Note