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Film / Death Note: The Last Name

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This film contains unmarked spoilers for Death Note. You Have Been Warned!
"There are times when you have to make sacrifices."
Light Yagami

Death Note: The Last Name is the second part of a film adaptation based on the manga of the same name, which was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It was released on the 3rd of November, 2006, and it is the second in the Death Note Series. This film continues from the preceding instalment, Death Note, released five months prior to this film.

Having been accepted into the Investigation Team, Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) sets out to destroy not only L (Kenichi Matsuyama), but the other members before they expose his identity as Kira. He ends up finding those that can give him the advantage to kill his enemies. They consist of the celebrity Misa Amane (Erika Toda), who possesses another 'Death Note', and her Shinigami, Rem (Shinnosuke Ikehata). But when complications arise, Light is forced into pulling off his biggest and riskiest gambit yet. Will this help succeed in keeping his crimes hidden, and allow him to take his rightful position as the 'God of the New World'? Or will he finally lose to the one person at an intellectual footing with him?

Death Note: The Last Name contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Light's death essentially combines both of his deaths from the manga and the anime - like the manga, he watches Ryuk write his name in the notebook and dies pathetically while begging for his life, but, like the anime, he dies swearing that he had good intentions and it's played for tragedy.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Misa has more of a conscience than the original, and even comes to acknowledge Light's evil nature and her Mad Love of him that, by her own admission, she just can't quit.
  • Adapted Out: Near and Mello do not appear, as the L arc is the main focus instead.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Two of them.
    • Kiyomi was someone who only wanted to prove that she was a newscaster worthy of a true promotion to anchorwoman. However, her attempts are constantly badgered by the sexist Sakura TV director Demegawa, and the bitchy current anchorwoman, Saeko Nishiyama. Getting the 'Death Note' not only allows her to boost her already good knowledge and reporting of the locations of Kira's future kills, but it also causes her to become promoted by killing Saeko by a vehicle accident. Her eventual capture had her simply reply that all she ever did was write names in a notebook. While that line was delivered in a mocking tone, there is some truth to her words. If she refused to use the 'Death Note' at that time, she could have got the job she wanted in the right way.
    • At the end, despite the numerous criminals and obstacles he killed, Light's death is not portrayed in a victorious manner. As he writhes in severe heart pain from his impending doom, he is held in his shocked father's arms. He keeps trying to convince his dad that as Kira, he wanted to make the world a more peaceful place to live in. Not only does this follow through from the previous film's more sympathetic characterisation, it also shows that deep down, he's just a boy being robbed from letting his father see the fruits of his actions.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first shot of Sakura TV is of a short-haired news host, making manga and anime fans believe that this is Kiyomi Takada, with the same appearance from the source material. However, the host introduces herself as Saeko Nishiyama instead, and a different, long-haired worker is revealed to be the real Takada.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Investigation Team find out Light and Misa were the two Kiras, while L decides to burn the two 'Death Notes', to ensure that they are never used again. However, L had to pull a Thanatos Gambit and die peacefully of heart attack to make it happen. Light ends up suffering the same fate as L due to Ryuk and dies in his father's arms, undignified and still believing in his murderous ideals. Finally, Soichiro has to lie to his wife and daughter, claiming that Light was killed by Kira. This means that the aforementioned two will remain oblivious to Light's evil nature.
  • Book Ends:
    • The original duology, consisting of the preceding film and this one, ended with someone dying in the other's arms. The first time, Shiori passed away in his arms due to a fatal bullet wound. Now, Light ends up dying of a heart attack, with Soichiro cradling him in his last minutes.
    • L's first and last scenes involve him playing chess with himself. In the first instance, Light joined L in this game and ended up beating him. When it happens before the epilogue, Soichiro arrives but doesn't play, as he has come to thank L for his service and say his final goodbye, due to the latter's name willingly being in the 'Death Note'.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At one point, Matsuda says that although he's incompetent, he's very skilled at guns. This allow him to shoot Light's watch, which contained a piece of the 'Death Note' that he planned to write a name in, and then Light's leg, to incapacitate him during the final confrontation.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Light and L at one point.
  • Defiant to the End: After Rem realizes Light has manipulated events so that she will need to kill L and Watari to save Misa, which will result in her own death as well, she decides to go through with it but before turning to dust destroys her own Death Note, just to ensure that Light will never have ownership over it himself.
  • Driving Question: Who is the titular last name that is written in the 'Death Note'?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Although Misa is just as fanatical and Light/Kira-obsessed as in the manga, she's genuinely upset when she sees Light write Soichiro's name in the Death Note.
  • Exact Words: At the end, Light is cornered by the police, L has exposed him, he has no Death Note, and his last hope is Ryuk. While imploring Ryuk to kill every member of the Kira Taskforce, he tells him to "just write a name down in your Death Note." Ryuk does just that; said name is "Light Yagami."
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The last shot is Ryuk heading towards the screen while cackling, after having circled the Tokyo Tower.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • For Want Of A Nail: It is ultimately two small changes in events that lead to the drastically different ending for the movie than the manga, those being of L secretly continuing his surveillance of Misa after she is released from confinement, and Light omitting his instructions to Misa to re-bury the notebook and only take a few pages with her to use discretely. Thus, Misa takes the whole notebook home with her and is caught using it by L’s cameras, culminating in Light's inevitable loss.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Light, in two ways. Firstly, when wounded and running out of options in the final confrontation, he begs Ryuk to use his 'Death Note' and kill the Investigation Team and L. Instead, Ryuk writes down Light's name, calling Light out for cowardly relying on him to save his own skin. And when Light has his heart attack, screaming and writhing in extreme agony, it's divine retribution for what he did to Kiyomi: writing her name in his 'Death Note' scrap to die of a heart attack while she was bound and blindfolded.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the radically changed circumstances of the climax, Matsuda is still the one to shoot Light and incapacitate him, once again not killing him but kicking off the events that leads to Light's death.
  • Ironic Echo: Misa reminds Light that "sacrifices are necessary", after he calls her out for killing innocent policemen, despite having her family murdered by a criminal. He throws these words back at her in the third act, to justify his decision to write his father's name in the 'Death Note'.
  • Karma Houdini: Demegawa. Despite his sexist attitude and favouring of Sakura TV ratings over human lives, he gets away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, seen by his dissatisfaction when he calls Kiyomi on seemingly planning to broadcast a video to expose her as Kira, ordered by the Investigation Team.
  • Laughing Mad: Takada pulls one off after she is captured by the Investigation Team for being the third Kira, and later, Light after he rejoices in the notion that Ryuk can kill any of the Investigation Team members in a precarious situation. For the latter scenario, a Hoist by His Own Petard occurs instead, when Ryuk writes Light's name down.
  • Mythology Gag: In the climax, Light gives off a very familiar Evil Laugh - while it starts out calmer than the anime, when Ryuk begins writing it escalates to the manic laugh we all remember (especially in the English dubs, since both the film and anime share the English voice actors).
  • Not His Sled: L Lawliet's death from a heart attack appears to play out exactly like the anime and manga, where Rem wrote L's name in the second 'Death Note' to prolong Misa's life span. When he has his heart attack, he falls off his chair in slow motion and realises that Light is Kira as he dies, seemingly a pitch-perfect adaptation of the original scenes from the source material. However, the final confrontation reveals that this wasn't the case, as L had already written his name in the first 'Death Note' beforehand to ensnare Light, causing Rem's writing to have no effect.
  • Obviously Evil: By this movie, Light is sporting sinister black attire, and yet no one assumes he's actually Kira.
  • Oh, Crap!: Twice in this film.
    • After Light secretly kills Takada with a 'Death Note' scrap in his watch, L demands that Light give him the retrieved notebook. He obliges, and L flips pages in a hurry to find her name, stopping with a confused expression when he fails.
    • In the third act, Light orders Ryuk to write down the names of the Investigation Team surrounding him. But when Ryuk ends up writing down Light's name and showing it to his face, Light's joy soon turns into abject horror.
  • Pet the Dog: Light seems to be genuinely concerned about his sister provoking the second Kira. There’s nothing to suggest that he was pretending to make himself look innocent either.
  • Rewatch Bonus: When L seemingly passes away from a heart attack caused by Rem, his last words are "I've made... a mistake...". After one knows beforehand that L is faking his death at the moment, they can realise that he wasn't lying with his fake final words: he was referring to Watari's death by Rem as well, the one unexpected factor in L's plan.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In the final confrontation, when Light is waiting for Soichiro to give him the Death Note after the former has written down the latter's name, the floor he's standing on has a chessboard pattern, symbolizing how he seemingly has the upper hand over the Investigation Team. However, when everything goes pear-shaped for him and Misa due to the Investigation having heard everything he's said, L reveals himself as alive, and sits on a chair that is lying on the same checkered ground, while revealing his ultimate plan that stopped Kira. That shows that L is now the winner instead of Light. Finally, when Light tries to use his 'Death Note' scrap in his watch, and fails, he ends up outside the chessboard-styled floor. This, combined with L's white shirt and Light's black attire, resembles a black chess piece being eliminated by a white chess piece, solidifying his loss and his incoming death.
  • Shooting Superman: In the climax, everyone who can see Ryuk begins firing at him to try to get him to stop writing in the Death Note. It completely fails, bringing Light to hysterical laughter (at least until it turns out that Ryuk's writing Light's name instead).
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Demegawa, Soichiro Yagami and Misa Amane.
  • Thanatos Gambit: At the end, L writes his own name in the Death Note to die 23 days in the future to protect himself from Rem when he confronts Light. Watari still dies but Light and Misa are caught red-handed.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Just look at the Tag Line acting as the picture caption.
  • Treachery Cover Up: At the end, Light's family were led to believe that he died trying to stop Kira.
  • Villain Respect: Light's inner monologue, after he has seemingly killed L with the help of Rem.
    "So long, L. You've been a good rival to Kira, god of the new world."
  • Wham Shot: So many of them in the final minutes.
    • Firstly, due to circumstances carefully planned by Light, Rem is forced to use his 'Death Note' to extend Misa's life span by writing down names that threaten her life. He writes down a name, and it cuts to an elevator with Watari and Misa inside. The sound effect associated with the 'Death Note''s heart attacks occurs as the doors open, with Watari clutching his chest and silently falling, dead.
    • However, it turns out Rem wrote two names to save Misa. The second was none other than L, as the aforementioned sound effect appears again, along with a slow-motion shot of L and his chair falling.
    • When Light has written down in the 'Death Note' that Soichiro dies of a heart attack after handing over the suitcase supposedly having the second 'Death Note' to him, Light gives a eulogy towards Soichiro's impending death by heart attack, and demands the second 'Death Note'. Soichiro opens the suitcase, which is actually empty. This reveals that Soichiro wasn't affected by Light's writing because the notebook Light has was a fake.
    • The Investigation Team arrest Light and Misa, and a familiar voice calls out to Light. Light looks up and is completely shocked, as it's L.
  • Wham Line:
    • Light appears to have beaten L, and retrieved his original 'Death Note' from Misa. He proclaims that loose ends need to be tied... by writing his father's name to give him the second 'Death Note'.
    • L then reveals that the 'Death Note' Light has is a fake, as L holds up the real one. He then allows Light to know his real name by opening up the 'Death Note' he's holding to reveal a recent, particular entry...
    • Finally, Light orders Ryuk to write down any name to take down the Investigation Team that have finally identified him as Kira. Ryuk obliges, and lets Light see the name he wrote down.
      Light Yagami
      Ryuk: I'm sorry, kid. You might as well be dead, if you're relying on me.
  • You Didn't Ask: This is Ryuk's explanation for why he hadn't told Light why, if you have a Death Note, your lifespan is hidden from a human who has traded for Shinigami-sight (which allowed Misa to discover who he is).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Misa ends up looking at L's face, getting his name due to her Shinigami eyes. She leaves, and Light happily declares to himself that he's won, because all he has to do is call Misa for this new information. End of film, right? Wrong, as L, like the manga and anime, secretly pickpocketed Misa of her phone when the two met, and immediately has the Investigation Team arrest Misa.