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Tear Jerker / Death Note

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Even Matsuda can get pushed to despair.
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When you have a notebook that can kill people in 40 seconds flat, you know that there will be plenty of heart-wrenching moments in Death Note.

Entries for the Japanese live-action film series go here.


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    Main Series 

Light/L Arc

  • Episode 5: Raye Penber uses the Death Note unknowingly when Light holds him hostage and forces him to write down the names of the FBI agents investigating Kira. Penber's allies die by his own hand.
    • And to top it off: in a sense, the execution was pointless. Penber was planning to cite Light as innocent after tailing him for a bit, with the day of the busjacking being the last day. If Light hadn't enacted his plan that day, Penber would've told the others Light was clean, all the agents and Naomi would still be alive (at least, for now), and Light would be above suspicion. But since Light killed Penber and the agents, that just began his unraveling as the task force and L got even more serious and Naomi started to suspect Light.
  • The death of Naomi Misora in episode 7. She comes so close to bringing Raye's killer to justice, and this is what ends up being the death of her. The small, metaphorical scene with the noose, the music... so sad.
    • The fact that Light actually revealed to her that he was Kira makes it even sadder. If you think about it, she's basically destined to commit suicide, but for the last moments of her life, she has to live with the fact that she just gave her fiancé's killer all the information she had, trusted him and let him kill her without her knowledge. And now she knows who killed her fiancé, but she can't do anything about it because of the Death Note.
    • Not only does Light reveal he's Kira, he proceeds to mock her, asking Naomi if she wants to talk to his father now, knowing that thanks to the Death Note, she's lost all her free will and is about to commit suicide, and they both know she can't do a damn thing about it. And he does it all with a smirk on his face. Light, you utter bastard.
    • The worst thing about it? Light gives her an out. He tells her how young and beautiful she is and that she has her whole life ahead of her, and she responds that she doesn't have anything to lose anymore. She had her own life to lose, but she was too blinded by her desire for revenge to think of that.
    • Even worse, Light specifies in the notebook that she kills herself in such a way that her body is never discovered, robbing Naomi's loved ones of closure and the opportunity to lay her remains to rest. Goddamn you, Light.
  • Ukita's death in Episode 11. When Aizawa and Matsuda see his body on the TV, Aizawa tries to go after him, but L argues that it's too dangerous and that they need to think rationally. Aizawa accuses him of not caring until he notices that L is shaking and trying to keep himself calm.
    L: Please control yourself. We've lost Ukita.
  • Episode 12: Gelus is just so sad-looking and his death to save Misa's life was pretty heartwrenching. Especially for poor Rem who couldn't do anything but watch. Especially since it was basically one Stalker with a Crush sacrificing himself to save the object of his affections from another stalker.
    • This exchange, right before Gelus' Heroic Sacrifice. Rem even sounded like she felt sorry for poor Gelus.
    Rem: Today's her last day, isn't it?
    Gelus: (on the edge of tears) She looks so full of life... it's just not fair...
  • Episode 14: L calling Light his only friend. For a moment this actually seems to get to Light, given how shocked he looks, but then in the next scene he's still resolved to kill L.
    • This one appears to have been undone by Word of God. How To Read 13 says L has no friends at all and that it was just a lie he told Light, even though he knew he'd hardly believe it. Whether you take that as a Fanon Discontinuity is up to you.
      • The How To Read profiles were listed somewhat like interviews, meaning some of the definitions were altered somewhat to match the characters. So Light being L's only friend was true, and L was lying, to the audience and himself, so that he wouldn't grow attached to his only true friend. This only makes L's death and confirmation that Light was responsible for it all the more heart wrenching.
  • There's also Misa Amane's strongest scene in Episode 15. She's in restraints, begging Rem to kill her, and even tries to bite her own tongue off. Of course, she doesn't succeed, but it was a real turning point for her character. Well, it seemed so at the time...
  • Episode 16: "When I leave here, it will be with my son!" Horrible.
    • When Light loses his memories, he goes from sinisterly calm to outright desperate. Afterwards, Higuchi continues killing criminals, but L decides to lie to Light and say that no killings have happened. Not only that, he was confined for 50 days straight, he's seen on the ground and by the looks of it, he looks like he was dying of starvation. What makes it worse was when L tricked Light into believing that his father was going to kill him. Right when his father pulled the trigger and the gunshot was heard, it seemed that Light died and his father crossed the Moral Event Horizon for doing this. But then we see that it was a test to see if Light was Kira or not and gun was just a blank.

Yotsuba Arc

  • The first scene we see of Aizawa after he leaves the task force. He's sitting alone in a park and his family turns up he breaks down crying because he missed out on so much of his daughter's life made worse with her coy confusion and the questions "What's wrong dad? Mommy, why is daddy crying?"
    • There is the possibly more heartbreaking alternative reaction that he's not crying because he's missed out on being with his family, but rather out of shame that he believes himself to have been the weak link in the task force and was not strong enough to stick out the hunt for Kira with his respected friends and peers, guilty that he gets to enjoy a normal family life again while his comrades have to continue their mission without him.
  • The preview for Episode 25. Scenes of heavy rain, completely silent, except the very end, which features one word.
    L: Goodbye.
  • And Episode 25 was as tearful as its preview hinted. One of the most heart-wrenching moments of the entire series, of course, was the deaths of L and Watari at the coerced hands of Rem, who, because of the rules of the Shinigami, was also killed in the process.
    • And don't forget L died failing to bring down Kira. However, the Movie's version of this where L prevents himself from being killed by Rem by writing his own name into the note, but adding that he would die 23 days later. Sadly Watari and Rem don't make it out alive. And you see a few shots of Rem crumbling into dust. Finally, there is the scene at the end where Light's entire family mourn his death, his father only having told them that he was killed by Kira.
    • As for L's death, the scene of L's funeral goes from Tear Jerker with Soichiro promising to him that he'd make his death worth it and Matsuda crying, to rage-inducing with Light making up lies about how he'll avenge L's death by killing Kira himself. It quickly turns to terrifying with Light going absolutely berserk with his laugh and screaming at L's grave that he has won. In a deleted scene, he even humps it.

    • L and Watari looking at one another through the computer monitors and L calling Watari's name, first quietly, and then loudly just before Watari cuts the transmission and erases the datbase due to his death. Particularly sad since that episode implied that Watari was the closest thing L had to a father, and the angle and wide-eyed look he has in the monitor Watari looks at makes him look particulalry childlike. It's also the first time L's voice seems to have tender emotion and vulnerability in it.
    • Just L's death, full stop. He's just seen Watari go, and the whole scene is incredibly tense anyway. Then we see the spoon fall...
    • It's even more depressing since most people are so upset by L's death that they completely forget the fact that Watari died too. L's death wasn't as bad (though still was terribly horrible) since he was actively fighting against Kira and in the end one of those two had to die, but Watari's death wasn't necessary, and that just makes it all the more heartbreaking.
  • And then there's Rem's reaction upon realizing what Light wants her to do. And then after L's death, the camera pan to reveal that there's nothing left of her but a pile of sand is one of the most gut-wrenching shots in the show.
  • The really simple scene added in Episode 25 of the anime where you see Watari bring a child L into Wammy's House for the first time. Not just the way the scene was shot, and the haunting music playing, but the fact that it shows that L was just as human as anyone and how Watari was probably the only person who really cared about him.
  • Some of the dialogue in the added foot massage scene in Episode 25 was really subtle and moving. Specifically, in the Japanese version when L says ”寂しいですねえ。もうすぐ分かる。”, which roughly translates to, "I'm lonely. You'll understand soon." This could be read as either L implying that once he proves the 13-day rule is fake, Light will be convicted as Kira or L foreseeing his own death and implying that Light will miss him when he's gone.
    • Not to mention the soft piano music and sunlight streaming into the room during the scene.
  • In the final episode of the Yotsuba Arc, all the remaining Yotsuba members getting killed off, just when they've resolved to turn their lives around.
    • This is especially sad when you consider that at least a good few of them didn't want to be involved in any of this to begin with, and some even began to try to stop Kira (albeit too late).
    • Aiber's death in front of his family. It's a little hard to side with Kira on that one, especially when said family includes a kid who came in to see his own father slumped over and unresponsive.

Near/Mello Arc

  • Episode 29: Seeing Sayu traumatized from the events of the previous episodes to the point that she becomes depressed and immobile.
    • In a scene in the manga, where Sachiko tells Soichiro that Sayu won't come out of her room, and suggests they move to the countryside.
    • Not to mention, before she was kidnapped, we see her as a happy and confident young girl, who playfully teases Matsuda and Misa.
  • The death of Deputy Director Yagami. The saddest part about that was that thanks to Light's relinquishment of the Death Note, the Shinigami-eye-wielding Director saw Light's lifespan, so he died genuinely believing that his son wasn't Kira.
    Light: Dad! Wake up! COME ON, DAMMIT! DON'T YOU DIE ON ME, YOU IDIOT! DAAAAAAAAD!
    • In the manga, Soichiro's last words, beginning with "Light, I'm counting on you to..." are cut off by Light trying to get him to kill Mello with the notebook! Light's panicking is understandable but it's an example of how badly Light's humanity had to suffer.
      • And the moment in the hospital just after his non-Kira heart attack, when, in full knowledge that Light is a suspect, he quietly explains to him that it isn't Kira himself who's evil, but the power he's using. Utterly tragic - especially since Light, while briefly affected, is a brick wall, and because that distinction between people and their acts is something Light will never grasp.
      • Combined withe Fridge Horror: Soichiro died less than 24 hours after making the shinigami eye trade, which meant he was destined to die within two days, anyway. He had already had one heart attack, so it's possible that he was meant to die a natural death... but he had also admitted that, since giving the notebook to criminals, he had been contemplating suicide.
  • The shot of Light's mother Sachiko slumped at her table. Her son Light has all but disappeared from her life, her daughter Sayu is confined to a wheelchair and catatonic, and her husband Soichirou has just died trying to stop Kira. And Soichiro's ashes are on the table in front of her. That's what that neatly wrapped box she's contemplating is. Meanwhile, more and more people around the world are going on about how wonderful Kira is, meaning that few really appreciate Soichiro's sacrifice.
  • Seven words: "Matt... I got you killed... I'm sorry." Not just for Matt, but because it's the one time in the series that we see Mello as something other than a Hot-Blooded, Can't Catch Up Insufferable Genius.
    • Worse with Fridge Horror when you realise like L, Mello only had one friend.
    • Matt's death in general due to the way it is shot, which seems to imply he was meant to be a lot more important character, as he had such a minor role yet there is the lingering shot of his cigarette.
  • The scene where Light is running away in the anime after being shot. He sees himself before he got the Death Note and only sobs harder, clearly showing regret in the end.
    • The final music that plays in the anime version during Light Yagami starting to slowly die and when he sees an image of L looking over him.
  • Misa Amane's last scene in the anime, where she sadly stands atop of a building, dressed up in her Elegant Gothic Lolita garb, eyes closed. This comes with the very strong implication that she committed suicide just moments later. Especially with this incredibly sad music playing in place of the normal heavy-metal ending, the credits rolling over, jerking back and forth between shots of her and Woobie-ified Light... Worst part? How To Read cites her death date as Valentine's Day.
    • Consider also that this is not the 2nd Kira, Misa in full Cute and Psycho mode that dies, it's an innocent woman who has been jerked around all her life without her knowledge by the power of the Death Note. Rather than the insane, evil Kira persona being the one that died, Misa committed suicide after she'd gotten her life as a normal human back. Even without Light around to use her, she just couldn't win.
    • There's some Fridge Horror at work too: consider that she traded half her remaining life twice for Shinigami eyes, and she dies only a year after the main story — that means she would have only had four years left to live even had she not found her own Death Note. The poor girl never had even half a shot at a normal life.
    • How 'bout the fact that she's given up her memories of the Death Note by the time she dies? That means Misa doesn't remember Rem, or Rem's story about how Gelus sacrificed himself to save her. Misa has no memories of the two that loved her most.
  • Light's last conversation with Misa in the manga is just ... heartbreaking. Misa is cheerful and glad that she's gotten a chance to talk to Light, telling him happily about the hotel room. And Light is completely "Yeah, good, she's not something I need to worry about at the moment." And he hangs up — if he even bothered to say goodbye to her, the reader doesn't see it. And that's their last. Conversation. Ever. After Misa gave her life and soul to Light, suffered L's torture for him, begged Rem to kill her when she couldn't take it any longer, and let his control dominate her life completely — that was their last conversation. They were engaged to be married, for the love of God; yes, it was only a pretense on Light's part, but they had been together for years, and Misa finally had the family that she had lost when her parents died. And she kills herself after Light dies. AND THAT WAS THEIR LAST CONVERSATION.
  • At the very end. Near is surrounded by a bunch of toys, doing what he does best... and eating a bar of chocolate.
  • There's something incredibly sad in the last two rules of the Death Note: "All humans, without exception, will eventually die" and "After the user of a Death Note dies, the place they go is Mu (Nothingness)." Even if we all know that death is unavoidable, it's still a gloomy, laconic reminder of human inability to control life and death.

    The Musical 
  • "When Love Comes," sung by Rem, about Misa. Right after Misa gives up her memories. Rem is so, so heartbroken to have lost Misa forever, and the fact that she now understands love is only a small consolation.

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