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Nightmare Fuel / Death Note

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All spoilers will be unmarked ahead. You Have Been Warned!

It goes without saying, Death Note is a rather terrifying universe and here are the myriad of examples that support it.

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  • Light Yagami.
    • What he becomes during the course of the series. He starts out as an seemingly innocent idealist (as seen in the Yotsuba Arc) and slowly becomes more and more ruthless, horrifying, megalomaniacal and generally evil, until he's reached the point where he's only barely recognizable as the same person he was.
    • The worst part? Light is not all that different than other regular people in terms of moral decency when he starts out. But a combination of external and psychological factors beneath the surface pushed enough buttons to send him on his path. If he hadn't found the titular notebook, it's unlikely that he would have become Kira.
  • The Death Note itself. Once your name is written in it, you are dead. And that notebook could have ended up in the hands of anyone, anywhere.
    • Not only that, the Death Note user can decide how you die. Odds are you'll just succumb to a heart attack, but good luck if whoever's writing your name decides to get creative.
  • Shinigami on Earth are subject to By the Eyes of the Blind — a Shinigami can be seen and heard only by humans who have touched his or her individual Death Note. This is horrifying for two reasons:
    • If you pick a Death Note up while its Shinigami is nearby, prepare to Freak Out when (from your perspective) you see a monster suddenly materialize in front of you.
    • On the other hand, at least you'll know it's there. Otherwise, there could be a Shinigami standing next to you at any given moment and you'd never realize it...
  • Basically every time Light goes into crazy Kira mode, with the maniacal laugh and the red eyes.
  • Light and Misa in and of themselves... they're adorable... (in some of the early manga artwork Light kind of looks like a Disney character) and well, you know...
  • L may have looked a bit creepy with his big, baggy eyes... but Mello took this up a notch.
  • Ryuk can be this. Especially during the earlier chapters, when he's there to provide exposition on the nature of Death Notes and Shinigami. Those eyes...
  • Teru Mikami — or, how an otherwise decent person can go completely off the deep end. The part where he spins around in his chair and laughs is the worst. Good choice, Light.
  • The anime's second Title Sequence. It's pure chaos. The entire sequence is nothing but dark and twisted imagery bathed in harsh colors, (for example, a screen covered with laughing, demented Light faces). The opening song, Maximum the Hormone's "What's Up, People?!", only adds to the disturbing atmosphere, with lyrics such as "Hey! Hey! A hymn to humanity/Love has gone, People, are you worried?". (Watch it here!)
  • In the beginning, it was implied that people who haven't used a death note, go to heaven or hell after death, while users of death note have some other fate. However, as Light realizes he is about to die, he remembers that Ryuk told him that he was joking about that and that all are equal in death, going to a place called Mu (nothingness) (May be Nothing After Death or Cessation of Existence).
    • What is worse, this scene also shows that Light was aware of this since the beginning of the story, yet he still chose to murder innocent people for meager reasons.

    Light/L Arc 
  • In the very first episode, Light 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.
  • Light's voice whenever he details one of his plans. For example, the way he looks down at the dying Raye and says "Goodbye, Raye Penber." in that mocking tone.
  • Naomi's death, particularly if you hold to the theory that people under the control of the Death Note are still capable of thinking independently, effectively rendering them prisoner to their own bodies. If that is true, she walked to her own suicide completely against her own will and could do nothing to stop it.
    • The anime makes it worse. When Naomi's convinced to give her real name to Light, the scene is in blood red and Ryuk goes into a hysteric, spine-chilling laughing fit knowing that Naomi's just signed her own death warrant.
    • Then there's the extremely few, extremely gruesome ways of being able to kill oneself without a body being discovered. It'd take either the heat of a cremation chamber to reliably render all remains useless, or having the body eaten by animals. If Light was aware of these methods, it's even more frightening to think that's all he thought Naomi was in the end. The anime does imply that she merely hanged herself in a deserted room somewhere, but beyond that nothing is known.
    • Just the fact that Light's specifications for the conditions of her death were in fact the very unspecific "commits suicide in such a way that her body is never found." Nothing Is Scarier, but knowing what an intelligent person Naomi is, Light is morbidly regretful that he won't ever know just how she managed it. And she did manage it— the Death Note rules state that if the conditions of death written in the note are physically impossible, then the person will just die of a heart attack. Naomi Misora walks off into the horizon and L eventually finds out she's gone missing, but since no body turns up...
  • The Yagami family. Sayu has a brother who's perfectly willing to kill her if he thinks she's getting too close to uncovering the truth. Light even suggests, early in the series, that he's willing to write down his junior-high-school aged sister's name in the notebook if she so much as sees it.
  • Misa in custody. Imagine the mental state of the poor girl. She's taken off the street, continuously blindfolded and restrained for two months in a Hannibal Lector-esque apparatus, under constant surveillance, and she has no idea why she's there or if she'll ever be untied.

    Yotsuba Arc 
  • Light regaining his memories at the end of the arc is probably the freakiest scene in the show. Light gets his hands on his old Death Note, and all the memories of Kira start flooding back. The shock and horror at what happens causes him to scream in agony for a solid twelve seconds before finally calming down. As L looks away, we get a nice close up of Light's sneering face accompanied with the famous line...
  • L's death. The poor guy suddenly collapses from a heart attack by Rem's doing and the last thing he sees before he dies is Light staring at him while giving him a huge Slasher Smile.
    • Even worse: the manga specifies L's last thoughts: realizing he was right all along.
  • The anime has a scene invented for the first Relight movie where Light attends L's funeral. After paying his respects and making sure everybody's gone, he drops the facade and starts cackling and gloats about how perfect his victory is. His gloating soon works up to shouting and getting on his hands and knees on top of L's grave as he rubs in the fact that L failed before screaming "I WIN!" A few moments of silence later, and in a matter of seconds Light composes himself and his distorted features return to normal in a way that's even creepier than the Evil Gloating.
    • What's worse is that Ryuk is floating next to Light during all this, and even he looks somewhat disturbed by Light's insane laughter.
    • In the same scene, the deaths of three Yotsuba businessmen are shown. The original anime version is nothing compared to these. The first businessman commits suicide by jumping off a building head first. The second stands in front of a subway train. The third is a bit less gruesome in that it's an accidental car crash rather than a suicide and doesn't show the victim's body, although all three of the deaths do prominently feature the victim's blood.
  • The moment Light moves from saying "I'm going to create a perfect world" to "I've gotten rid of everything in my way." This shows he's Jumped Off The Slippery Slope into true evil and has absolutely no chance of redemption from here on out.
  • The Yotsuba Eight's situation (excluding Higuchi, of course) is pretty horrifying. Imagine being forced to partake in the murder of multiple totally innocent people, including one whom you personally know and have worked with, with the threat of death if you try to back out (practically any cause, too, so it could be as painful as the killer wants), all the while having no clue which of the other people involved were capable of killing and which you could trust.
  • Higuchi's absolutely horrifying Slasher Smile. Rem, a Shinigami, is noticeably freaked out by it.
  • Light casually killing off Wedy, Aiber, and all the Yotsuba board members—people who just have recently been his allies, or at least have been promised to not die—just to rub it in that he's back to horrific mass murdering.
    • The death of the Yotsuba businessmen is somewhat unsettling. We only see it happen to Namikawa, AKA the one they wanted to use as a mole, but his eyes turn entirely black and he starts bleeding from the mouth before collapsing.

    Mello/Near Arc 
  • Seeing what Sayu goes through and how she ends up is chilling.
  • Light's death. In the manga, it's even worse. you see his dead face on a two-page panel, with a horrifying expression, which is worse upside-down.
  • The revelation of the Death Note's last rule: "All humans, without exception, will eventually die," and, "After they die, the place they go is Mu (Nothingness)." Especially in the anime, where Light is moments away from his horrific demise and the scene simply cuts to the rules, with no music but one rather ominous church bell funeral toll. The overall effect is damn chilling.
  • Light and Mikami's facial expressions in the last two episodes. They look absolutely demented.
  • Mikami's introduction in the Relight special. He intervenes in a debate on TV about Kira by slaughtering the audience in various gruesome ways. One of them gets his neck twisted 180°.
  • What Misa Amane and Kiyomi Takada end up becoming — two women completely devoted to a manipulative sociopath and willing to kill for him.
    • Takada's fate. She ends up being burned to death by Light. And this was after her getting kidnapped and forced to strip in front of Mello. She could not have been in a more terrifying position. At least she seems to be unconscious when she dies.
    • Misa Amane wears an Elegant Gothic Lolita style dress in one instance, for when she commits suicide after Light dies. Overall, the dress combined with her depressed facial expression and her dark make-up makes her look like a life-sized porcelain doll, to an eerie effect. That scene mirrors an earlier scene where Misa, dressed the same and traveling through the same setting, sings a capella about her devotion and trust to Kira. Though the lyrics are optimistic, her tone, and doll-like dress, makes the scene still quite creepy.
  • The premise of the show is scary enough. But when people and governments start accepting Kira's rule, well, there's some extra fear to that.

    The Drama 
  • The Mello puppet. Imagine a Chuckie doll, but only it looks like him. The way its eyes seem way too human, and bulge out are what really make it creepy. As if that wasn't unsettling enough, it talks. The fact that Near seems to provide its voice occasionally, while other times he doesn't really sets up some disturbing implications.
    • As if that wasn't bad enough, it wants to help Kira get rid of L. Near is fervently against this, but then he starts making the puppet call him stupid, and then he starts laughing maniacally. It's now become clear that there is something deeply wrong with this version of Near.
  • Episode 10's ending. With Sochiro's death, Light contemplates that due to his near exposure and destruction of his recently retrieved 'Death Note' by his father, he will now assassinate anybody who tries to expose Kira, be it a loved one or a friend.
    • Not to mention afterwards, Light remembers his father asking if he ever had a soul as Kira. Now, he can only respond with the most chilling thought, and one hell of a Kubrick Stare that is frozen on the screen and binarized as the last shot. For your viewing pleasure.
    • The preview for Episode 11 as the finale, seen after the aforementioned stare. There is little footage shown for the upcoming episode, apart of a shot of Light contemplating with the 'Death Note'. But what it lacks in potentially spoilery scenes or music, it makes up for it with snippets of Light's harrowing dialogue and facial expressions from the entire drama.
      "The things you can't do... Kira can do!"
      "Exactly as planned."
      "I won."
      "I'll show you what happens to those who work against Kira."
      "I will change the world."
  • Other versions of Light have consistently gotten to die of a Ryuk-induced heart attack. No such luck here, where our Villain Protagonist burns to death in a warehouse.
    • In a more Fridge Horror example pertaining to his fate, before his death is completely confirmed, the destruction of the Death Notes was shown to make Misa and Mikami forget about their times as Kira. Light probably lived long enough to spend his last agonizing moments of burning alive having no idea what the hell had happened.

  • At the end of the first Relight, the unknown Shinigami heads off to the human world to repeat the cycle, meaning that everything that just happened, will happen again. A popular fan theory is that he is none other than LIGHT YAGAMI HIMSELF, having become a Shinigami after his death. If true, this means he can give molding the world into his idea of a paradise with him as a god another try. Considering how successful he was when he was mortal, what could he do now that he can turn invisible, walk through walls, is invulnerable to earthly harm, can see how long someone has to live, and is long-lived?
  • Some scenes from the second Relight (L's successors):
    • There's an altered version of the scene where several SPK members get killed, except this time by Mikami instead of Mello. Here they put some really creepy expressions. And one attempts to kill Near with his gun. The final shot shows Near staring silently to the screen, covered by the blood of the corpse that's right next to him.
  • Beyond Birthday; there's a reason he's on the quote page for Cruel and Unusual Death. From the first paragraph of Another Note:
    When Beyond Birthday committed his third murder, he attempted an experiment. Namely, to see if it were possible for a human being to die of internal hemorrhaging without rupturing any organs. Specifically, he drugged his victim so they fell unconscious, tied them up, and proceeded to beat their left arm thoroughly, being careful not to break the skin. He was hoping to bring about enough hemorrhaging to cause death from loss of blood, but this attempt ended, sadly, in failure. Blood congested in the arm and it turned purplish red beneath the skin, but the victim did not die. He simply shook, convulsed, and remained alive. He had been convinced the blood loss incurred was enough to kill someone, but apparently he had underestimated the matter. As far as Beyond Birthday was concerned, the actual method of murder rated fairly low on the amusement scale, and it was never more than an interesting experiment. It did not particularly matter to him whether it succeeded or not. Beyond Birthday simply shrugged, and took out a knife...
  • From the Pilot chapter, Taro's nightmare. The people he accidentally killed return as reanimated corpses to accuse him and grab at him with their skeletal hands.
  • From the One-shot, there is a Kira (or as Near calls him, C-Kira) that is only killing off the elderly who wish to die. Nothing too bad or out of the ordinary... Until we get to the re-airing of Kira's Kingdom. The room has screen panels to not let kira see the audience's face, and then they start verbally ripping into each other...and then someone questions why C-Kira only killed those over 60, and not them. Cue a mob of each and every Death Seeker there knocking over the panels and begging for C-Kira to kill them. He does just that. Made even worse by the full page of them rushing towards the camera, giving gross close-ups of their faces as they beg for death.
  • Mattpat from The Film Theorists did a video that estimated how many people died during Kira's reign of terror. Although the numbers aren't official he estimates in his calculations that all four of the characters who held the Death Note had killed a combined 280,000 people on a conservative estimate with Light contributing about 242,000 of those deaths himself. For perspective, this is equivalent to wiping out Japan's entire prison population 3.7 times over, about 60,000 more people than have died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and just shy of the number of American casualties suffered in World War I. And this a conservative estimate. In a period of a few years Light, Mikami, Higuchi, and Misa have become the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (respectively) most prolific serial killers the world has ever known. And if nobody stopped them and they died with the notebooks in their possession it could have been a death toll in the millions putting a mere four people in the same range of genocide as entire despotic regimes like the Nazis.