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    A-G 
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Misa Amane, in the anime. Doubles as an Alas, Poor Villain.
    • Kiyomi Takada's death as well. Even some who didn't care for her as a character couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for her due to how brutally she died and the cruel nature of it all.
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • "Death Note? Man, I love that anime/movie. What, there was a manga?" This is somewhat of a strange case, as originally the manga was already immensely popular in the West before the film/anime adaptations.
    • Individual scenes are subject to this as well, even amongst fans who know the manga. The infamous "potato chip" scene was understated and matter-of-fact in the manga, but bring up potato chips in reference to Death Note, and people either recall the over-the-top Japanese dialogue from the anime, or the even more ridiculous English dub of the same scene.
      • Notable examples of this are certain Narm-tastic moments such as L's reaction to the second Kira mentioning shinigami and Mikami's death. Just like in the potato chip example, the reactions of the characters were far more understated (and realistic) in the manga. And in the case of the latter, the actual death/suicide happens 10 days later and off-screen.
  • Adorkable: Considering that most of the main characters are intelligent, awkward youngsters, this trope is inevitable.
    • Light Yagami is this during the Yotsuba Arc.
    • Matsuda. He's (somewhat) dumb, but also kind hearted and determined to try and prove himself useful.
    • Despite L's obsession with justice and his gangly pale figure, he manages to do this by smiling. During the few times where he's not giving the Kira case his undivided attention, he's this.
    • Near, particularly when his shyness and social ineptitude comes into play. The fact that he's older than he looks certainly helps.
    • Minoru Tanaka as well. He shyly asks Ryuk some details about the past with a very sweet facial expression.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Always pay attention during class, don't stare out into the world.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Has its own page here.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Misa Amane is way more accepted in Japan, Europe and South America than in North America. If she could see fan reaction to her, she'd probably wish the NA Death Note fandom was more like the Batman fandom; she'd be more popular!
  • Anvilicious: The power to kill (without having to assume responsibility) is evil.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • It depends from reader to reader, but many feel this around the second arc (see Ending Fatigue) and some even as early as the first arc. This is a series that prides itself on being a "howtocatchem" Gambit Pileup war between two brilliant, strategic characters... and obviously those with low tolerance for endless mind games are going to rage.
    • Interestingly enough, the Live Action Films have also followed this sentiment, choosing to end it at the first arc. The TV adaptation is...complicated. It foregoes the Time Skip, but keeps most of the events and characters from the second arc.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Near, where he was able to pick out Mikami amongst many possible suspects as the X-Kira supporting the true Kira all because Near was currently watching Mikami give a televised speech about continuing to support Kira. Actually an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: the manga makes it clear that Near pieced together Mikami being X-Kira due to him being the only suspect that interacted with Kira's chosen spokesperson, Takada.
    • And in the TV drama's finale, Near was revealed to have faked his Mello personality taking over, all so that Light could become more careless in his deceptions. There was next to no foreshadowing regarding this plot twist, when there was so much more hidden symbolism building up to the Split-Personality Takeover being permanent.
  • Awesome Ego: Light Yagami the God of the New World. Also, more subtly L — only the world's top three greatest detectives with his own L-screensaver.
  • Awesome Music: So much that Death Note has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Is Light Yagami an entertaining, genius villain with nuanced motives or an annoyingly smug Manchild and invoked Villain Sue with no redeeming qualities who generally succeeds entirely through sheer luck? The former is supported by the fact that he puts a lot of thinking and planning into his plans, and he has some hilariously hammy moments that steer into Narm Charm territory like the potato chip scene and his evil laugh scene in the episode where he runs into L at the university. The latter is supported by the fact that the way he acts in public while trying to cover himself as Kira would make people very suspicious of him, especially the way that he was talking to Naomi Misora and trying to stop her from going to Task Force HQ.
      • It certainly doesn't help that he's incredibly short-tempered, narcissistic, and some of his acts are irrationally stupid for someone who is a "genius".
    • Near. Many view him as a Replacement Scrappy for L, and also view him as a Flat Character considering that one of the only few things that stands out about him is just being L's successor. Others view him as a worthy replacement for L considering he captures most of L's deduction skills, and they think any other replacement would be viewed as inferior considering how universally loved L is among fans of the series. Said people also give him credit for being one of the people to finally end the Kira case, and for giving Light a very cathartic Kirk Summation about how Light's actions make him nothing more and nothing less than a serial killer.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In episode 12, L is listening to a message from the second Kira, which at one point refers to shinigami. Upon hearing this word, the normally unflappable L suddenly has a ridiculously over-the-top panic attack. It's never explained why would the mention of "shinigami" upset him so much. Even more strangely, when he finally sees a shinigami, he's as unflappable as usual.
    • Misa's Villain Song comes out of nowhere, has no relevance to the overall story, and is never mentioned again. It feels particularly out of place considering that everywhere else in the story, not a single second is wasted. Furthermore, it's nowhere to be found in the manga.
    • The famous potato chip scene. In a triumphant moment when Light is taunting L for getting outsmarted by a potato bag (where Light, knowing about the surveillance, has hidden a mini-TV so he can still see the names of criminals), he suddenly takes out a potato chip and eats it in slow-mo complete with dramatic music and narration. Now, Light eating from the potato bag is important to the plot because it throws L off his trail, but there was no need for him to suddenly narrate about eating a freaking chip when he had already explained a few seconds before what he is using the chips for.
  • Broken Base:
    • The death of L in the original. The fanbase is split between it being one of the most emotionally impactful moments and a tragic loss and those who feel that the death threw a massive wrench into the character dynamics and weakened the series in a way it could never recover from. Some people even prefer the Live-action adaptations for having L win and die after the series.
    • Which ending is better, the anime or manga? Some that feel Light's send off in the Manga was more fitting he dies a pathetic whiny death to highlight how much of a worm he was. Others feel the anime was better with Light having a more emotionally resonant Alas, Poor Villain moment which some argue manages to swing the anime back up from its Seasonal Rot. The endings clearly go for different tones and radically change how one's supposed to view Light and one's opinion on him (a Base-Breaking Character if there ever was one) will probably dictate one's feelings on the ending.
    • The name changes and other cultural adaptations for the American Netflix version. Many people decry They Changed It, Now It Sucks! as expected, but others recognize them as a Pragmatic Adaptation of sorts (for example, Light's first name is unchanged and many of the other Japanese names are retained), especially with Japanese actor and fellow geek Masi Oka helping to head the series.
  • Cant Unhear It: For My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fans, many of them can't help but think of Spike when they hear Near's voice, Princess Luna when they hear Naomi Misora's voice, Star Swirl the Bearded when they hear Soichiro Yagami's voice, and Flash Sentry or Sandbar when they hear Touta Matsuda's voice. Same with the rest of the cast that have the same voice actors as the MLP characters.
  • Catharsis Factor: Light finally being exposed as Kira by Near and the SPK after years is very much this for his haters, and especially with Near ripping Light a new one with a Kirk Summation, stating that his actions aren't creating peace and justice and is nothing more than a serial killer.
  • Complete Monster: Light Yagami is a brilliant, egotistical student who finds the titular Death Note and soon embarks on a quest to become the God of a "perfect" world he will create. After killing multiple criminals with the Note, Light flies into a rage when a man denounces his public name of "Kira" on TV, gleefully murdering the man on the spot. Once FBI agents investigate, Light kills them as well, revealing himself to one to gloat and later forcing the man's fiancée into suicide. Later, to eliminate his chief pursuer and rival L Lawliet, Light pulls a Memory Gambit where he has the Death Note given to a man he knows will misuse it and pulls off a scheme that kills multiple people, including L. After L's death, Light reduces the global crime rate through sheer volume of murders, with a body count stated to be worse than any genocide. Not even lovers or family members are immune, as Light uses one of his two girlfriends as bait for another rival and forces her to burn herself to death, also eliminating any evidence along with her and contemplates murdering his own sister the moment she becomes a liability. When exposed, Light attempts to justify himself as well-intentioned, but is revealed as "nothing more than a crazy Serial Killer".
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Movie-L has a high-tech getaway car. And it's a bright pink Angel Crepe van.
    • Also Light and Mikami, with an emphasis on CRAZY.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Ryuk is this trope personified.
    • Let's just say this series has a Cast Full Of Creepy Awesome.
    • Mikami has some great moments. Killing Demegawa and his cohorts in the anime is accompanied by writing even more epic than Light's. The eagle sound effects and flashing multicolored lights aren't the things that make the scene; that smile of his, however, is.
    • Beyond Birthday, all the way.
  • Cry for the Devil: Deserving or not, Mello, Takada, Light (at least in the anime), Mikami, and Misa all had very sad deaths.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Happens to some people, due to the dark and cynical atmosphere, Black-and-Gray Morality, and the fact that Anyone Can Die and there is Cessation of Existence after death. The cast does not offer many characters one can truly root for; what few sympathetic ones there are being either killed off or ground into the dirt, if indeed they get attention at all.
  • Die for Our Ship: Misa and Takada for getting in the way of L and Light. Takada gets this from Light/Misa shippers as well, some of whom actually cheered when Light killed her, even though he was only using both of them. To a lesser degree, Halle for getting in the way of Mello and Matt or Mello and Near.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Getting away with murder and eating potato chips has never looked so cool.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Despite the fact that the anime itself emphasizes that we should not support him, Light Yagami gets a lot of this, generally from young men. While he does have some complexity, he has hordes of fans both in-universe and out who think that he's a misunderstood visionary, or a good guy underneath it all. It just ain't so. The boy is a Glory Hound and a narcissistic jerkass who casually kills people for the sake of justice, but some people like him nevertheless, possibly because of the extent to which he has charisma and enjoys being who he is. If you consult some forums about the series, some even consider him a role model. Anyway, who could blame them? Light has style, is handsome, likes to walk impeccably neat, is a perfect athlete, perfect student, a Chick Magnet, is loved by everyone around him, and certainly fits the ideal man that many young men want to be. On the other hand, this is ignoring the fact that Light is incredibly childish and irrational with things related to his ego. In other words, much of his appeal comes from his morally questionable sense of justice and the character itself, possibly coming from people who feel identified.
    • Misa Amane has also a following of devoted fanboys who seem to think that adorableness and sexiness somehow excuses near-indiscriminate mass-murder.
    • Mello gets more than his fair share of fangirls, seeing as he's an incredibly diabolical crime lord... and he's the only one of the characters who actually wears form-fitting leather.
    • Mikami also gets this due to his sympathetic backstory, in which he tried to protect his classmates from bullies even when he got beaten up and no one else would support him. This treatment ignores the fact that he's one of the most blatantly insane characters in the series, believing that "God" killed the people he wanted dead long before he or Light got Death Notes.
    • Despite arguably not being actually villainous, L fits this trope to a much larger extent than some of his fans are willing to admit. While he isn't a vicious murderer like the competition, he's not above endangering the lives of both convicts (like Lind L. Tailor) and innocents (like Hideki Ryuga) in his numerous attempts to provoke Kira. L is also perfectly willing to let the deaths of criminals and businessmen alike to continue during the investigation of Yotsuba, and orders the torture of Misa Amane. Some support L over Kira (and even believe L can do no wrong, in classic DILP fashion) simply because they find L sexier, or they find his mannerisms to be cute.
    • Beyond Birthday, that Ax-Crazy Serial Killer from Another Note. Most fans try and forget his very gruesome murders and turn him into a fuck-toy for L. Too many fics have been written where Beyond is portrayed as very out of character.
    • Matt, although he's only a bad guy in that he's working with Mello against Kira.
  • Ending Fatigue: The second arc for many. Ironic as the series was written specifically to span 108 chapters, partly as a Take That! toward Arc Fatigue which Tsugumi Ohba identifies as a Pet-Peeve Trope.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Matt. He appears in a mere sixteen panels of the manga, but is extremely popular in the fandom, to the point where if you were unfamiliar with the series you'd think he was one of the main characters, or that his relationship with Mello was canonically romantic.
    • Matsuda established himself squarely in this place when he pulled a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass moment in emptying his revolver in Light when the later attempted to kill Near. Of course before hand he was one due to his carefree attitude.
    • Soichiro Yagami certainly qualifies. In most of the abridged series of the series he is made to be this supreme badass whom no one will question or talk back to.
    • Mikami is highly revered by fans for being arguably the most over the top user of the death note and for having a genuinely sympathetic back story. It helps that he's also very pretty.
    • Beyond Birthday only appeared in the book spin off "The BB Murder Cases" and had a passing mention in the anime and manga, but became rather popular nevertheless.
    • Naomi Misora for being intriguingly mysterious, and nearly bringing the Kira case to an early end by herself... of course, "nearly" doesn't quite cut it when you're dealing with Light.
  • Escapist Character: Light is handled well enough to be this rather than an Invincible Villain.
  • Evil Is Cool: Most of the... umm, "less heroic" characters, especially Light. Ryuk, Mello and BB also qualify.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Light Yagami, Misa, Mikami and Mello.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: L/Light and Mello/Matt are the most popular ships in the fandom.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • There's when Light regains his memory and becomes Kira again; some people ignore that and everything that happened afterward, considering Light to have remained L's partner instead. Some ignore what happened shortly afterward, L's death; some accept the previous spoiler, but reject everything that occurred after it; some accept everything until the ending of the series, when Light is killed. Complicating things further, the anime (slightly) adjusts the manga's ending. Light still dies, but he dies with slightly more dignity, managing to escape but then getting killed by Ryuk, who doesn't want to be bored while Light's in prison. In the manga, he has a Freak Out prior to his death.
    • There are also fans who don't like the Foe Yay added in episode 25, to the point of pretending it never happened. A small fandom accepts it as fanservice while a bigger one hates how it made L look like he accepted defeat.
    • Many fans are displeased by and choose to ignore how Word of God interprets Light and L's relation, and such, in How To Read.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Poor Mello actually thinks he looks intimidating in that outfit.
  • Faux Symbolism: The apples. The artist assumed they were there for their religious significance, but the writer just put them there because he thought they were cool. So he claims, anyway.
    • Not to mention the first opening credits that make us think that Light is going to do something really just and noble. Heck, the first time you see him he's reciting Scripture perfectly in class. Two episodes into the series, you know better.
      • Throughout the series, there are a number of images that just happen to resemble crosses. And in the first opening credits sequence, Misora is seen holding the recently killed Raye Penber's body, looking uncannily like La Pieta art.
      • The first opening credits also shows a split-second image of Light laying on what appears to be a stained-glass window (in the second opening, this is repeated, only Light is shown more as a festering corpse).
      • Also in the opening credits is an image of Light handing Ryuk an apple, in what appears to be a crude mimicry of Michelangelo's ceiling painting of Adam and God (With Light as Adam, giving the apple more symbolism, and Ryuk as God, being flanked by Shinigami rather than cherubim). Also note how, in this image, Light has THAT chain handcuffed to his wrist, which leads off-screen. It's speculated to mean that the image may actually be larger, including L attached on the other end.
  • Foe Yay: In episode 25, Light and L both dripping wet, and L insists on drying Light's feet, then giving him a foot massage. Light gently brushes L's bangs with a towel...
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Tons of it. L seems to get this with all his enemies with Light above all others but also with Misa, and Beyond from Another Note at least on B's side. B is very obsessed with him. As for Light and L the two compliment each other's methods and skills all the time, and regard each other as worthy adversaries. L evokes feelings in Light that he feels for no one else. L is the most important person in Light's life even after he is dead. And in the anime L is the only person on Light's mind when he's dying. And of course, there's that infamous foot massage in the anime, which must be seen to be believed.
    L: It's the least I can do to atone for my sins.
    Light: ...Do as you wish.
  • Fountain of Memes: Light
  • Friendly Fandoms: You can also find many The Promised Neverland fans being fans of Death Note because they are often compared to each other.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: A certain pratfall toward the end of the first season plays very differently by the end of the second.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Misa's generally more popular within the Cosplay fandom than the rest of the anime fandom, due to how easy it is to cosplay her and how the many teenage girlsnote  in the cosplay fandom can relate to her (albeit 90%). In fact: Francesca Dani, one of the most popular cosplayers in the whole world, has Misa among her most popular cosplays.

    H-R 
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The 2020 One-Shot Special has the president, who is very obviously modeled after Donald Trump, giving 1 quadrillion yen to Minoru, and he uses it to improve Japan's economy. A few months later, the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 occurs. It causes multiple non-essential business to close down and big events to cancel, which could put a huge damper on the economy. To combat this, President Trump proposed a $1,000 Stimulus Package for every tax-paying American citizen to keep the economy stable, though it ultimately didn't actually succeed at doing anything of note to the economy.
  • He Really Can Act: Pretty much every single voice actor in the English dub is this, as not only were they all well cast for the roles, but put in such phenomenal effort that makes it no surprise why this is considered one of the best English dubs of all time.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Pick a character- any character- there's loads of Fix Fic.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Tabitha St. Germain provided the English voice for Naomi Misora in the original anime; in the Japanese live-action films, she was dubbed over by Nicole Oliver. Several years later, they would both go on to play the Royal Sister pair, Luna and Celestia respectively, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • in Volume 5 of the manga L wonders "Just how far ahead have you prepared, Light Yagami...?"
    • In Volume 2 Light declares in his mind "I can't let myself be even remotely suspected of being Kira!" Yeah, good luck with that.
    • We agree, Ryuk. Humans are fun!
    • When people found out live-action Soichiro was played by Takeshi Kaga, it started jokes about where Light got his potato chip eating skills from.
    • For Inuyasha fans, it can be quite funny to learn that L and Near in the Japanese dub share the voices of Inuyasha and Kikyo respectively, a tragic couple in said series.
    • The series was dubbed in Vancouver. Now the American live-action film is being shot in Vancouver.
    • This may or may not have been intentional, depending on when the trend picked up, but Light's name is written with the kanji 月, meaning 'moon'.. It's a kirakira name.
    • Seeing that Shinigamis are the Japanese equivalent of The Grim Reaper, Misa Amane is, in the Latin American dub of the series, the Japanese equivalent of Mandy, as both are blonde girls that have the same voice actress.
    • Higuchi's Porsche 911 suffers from Off-Model in the anime adaptation, where it has a central exit exhaust reminiscent of that found on the Boxster/Cayman models. While the 911 GT3 models for subsequent generations (997 and 991) would feature a central exit exhaust, the Type 2 refresh for the 991 generation would feature, for the first time, a central exit exhaust for a non-GT model.
  • Hollywood Homely: According to Word of God, L is supposed to be "ugly."
  • Hype Backlash: Many fans consider Death Note one of the best anime series ever made. Given the show's use of the Yagami Gambit, its dreary setting, loathable protagonist, and even some fans finding it too longwinded or getting worse, some naturally disagree.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Played With. Dozens of people die every day because of Kira, however while the Kira investigation is meant to stop this the deaths are mostly glanced over and everybody seems to be used to the number of deaths.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • When Souchiro pulled the trigger on Light, nobody believed it for a second. Light was so high on the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality that there was no way he was getting shot in the back of the car.
  • Love to Hate: Light is a delusional Knight Templar and only gets worse with time, but few can deny that he's an intriguing Chessmaster who can match wits with the world's greatest detectives.
  • Magnificent Bastard: L Lawliet is the world's best detective and the Arch-Enemy and only intellectual equal of Light Yagami aka Kira. Introducing himself by tricking Light into revealing his location by sacrificing a death row inmate, L goes on to pursue Light with unfettered ruthlessness. With only mundane resources at his disposal, L manages to constantly evade Light's supernaturally-backed attempts to kill him and becomes ever-closer to exposing Light for his crimes. Even when Light deliberately loses his memories of his work as a Serial Killer, L continues to close in on his enemy and is only finally killed when Light convinces a Shinigami to take out L by giving its own life. Having left a fail-safe to inform his successors of his passing, L's posthumous machination leaves Near and Mello the field to finally take down Light, leaving his rival to scream and plead for his life before his own death.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Raye Penber is stalking teenage boys for the F.B.I. Doesn't help that in the anime his signature makes his first name look like it's spelled "Rape." Many jokes have been made on Youtube.
    • Ryuk's permanent rape face.
    • Just LOOK at Near's creepy smiles! Also in the manga, how he wanted to keep Light.
    • Higuchi is a Dirty Old Man in canon.
    • Beyond Birthday often supplies the "hurt" part of Hurt Comfort FanFiction. There's really no good way to take his line in Another Note of "I'm an aggressive top."
    • L never misses an opportunity to install cameras in a bathroom.
    • Light for evidence, see the deleted scene of L's funeral. Not to mention his Slasher Smile as he says "Just as planned."
  • Memetic Mutation: Lots.
  • Mind Game Ship: Light with practically everyone. The most notable ones are L with Light and Near with Light.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
  • Moe:
    • Misa Amane is a walking blob of Moe. Pigtails, Gothic Lolita, Zettai Ryouiki, squealing girly voice, all topped off with a Yandere personality. She's so Moe that she even Shinigami want to protect her. Also, Sayu.
    • Light and L have their moments too. Especially L, thanks to his personality quirks and endearing smile.
  • Mondegreen: When Light goes ballistic over L's grave, many reported hearing him saying "Aishiteru" (the closest thing Japan has to a formal declaration of love).
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • Narm: See here.
  • Narm Charm: This story is about a teenager with a God complex who gets a notebook that can kill people, the quirkiest detective ever to appear in fiction, and a God of death who starts all this mess because he got bored. Plot points include said death God getting literally addicted to apples, the teenager eating a potato chip with enough ham to feed a small country, and the detective giving the teenager a foot massage. On paper, it's absolutely ridiculous. In practice, it's a fierce competitor for the title of best anime ever made.
  • Never Live It Down: Light has rather fewer moments of completely losing his shit than you'd think from talking to fans. It's just that what little we get is just that memorable. Then there is the the potato chip incident.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Quite a bit of it.
  • No Yay:
    • Ryuk/Light Oh for the love of Kira, NO! (This may have inspired a Death Note rule listed in the manga that Shinigami cannot have sex.)
    • Also Higuchi and Misa's car scene. He's 13 years her senior, has her in the car and is proposing, and looks prepared to rape her.
    • 20 year old Mello and creepy sociopathic mafia leader Rod Ross, who has to be at least twice Mello's age.
    • Near/Light. No. Just no.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • This reporter:
    • Don't forget Matt's epic scene of Noble Self-Sacrifice. 16 panels in the manga, less than 2 minutes of screentime in the anime, and yet his character is one of the most popular in the fandom.
    • Linda (the only female student seen at Wammy's house), has a fan following despite her minor role. She appears very briefly in the manga, and not at all in the original anime series.note 
  • Pandering to the Base: The anime included a great deal of Padding in the episode before the climax of the first season, virtually all of it homoerotic intimacy between L and Light that adds little to the story, ruins the pacing, and arguably works against both characterization and themes built up to that point, but was meant to delight at least one section of the audience that everyone knows were a huge factor in the series' success and did so. It also changes the ending so that Light goes out with a certain degree of dignity, and cuts out the finale chapter closing it all off, seemingly to appease the Misaimed Fandom who wanted their "hero" to get a better send off.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Your life can be ended at anytime just by having some Japanese god write your name in a notebook. Moreover, it's implied that this happens all the time. And, the only fate that awaits you or anyone, for that matter is nonexistence.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Near, along with Mello. Some fans are not fond of L's succesors. In fact, Near gets even more bashing than Mello, and even the author said that he was more and more unlikable as the story went on. In-Universe, even Light considers Near to be this, personally disliking him and regarding him as being unworthy of succeeding L.
    • K for Light in the movie-verse.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Mello gets better and better as the second half of the story progresses once he stops angsting and becomes the Crazy Awesome leader of the mafia. Not to mention his faaaaaabulous fashion sense.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Soichiro Yagami and Misa regularly in L x Light Fan Fics. Also Rem for killing L. L-centric fics frequently derail Light. Light-centric fics often give L the same treatment.
    • Ryuk is the Greater-Scope Villain of the series, but many fanfics defending Light depict him as The Corrupter who drove Light to his acts of villainy, downplaying Light's own villainy. This is plausible in regards to the TV series, where Ryuk deliberately dropped the book for Light to find, but in the original Light was left on his own for a week and came up with his plan all on his own.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A case could be made that supporting any of the series' major characters involves this trope, since the primary protagonist is a mass murderer with a God complex, and his various antagonists, while they have lines they refuse to cross, are all rather ruthless in their pursuit of him.
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    S-Z 
  • Sacred Cow: L. He's not only considered by many to be the best character in Death Note, but also one of the best anime characters of all time, and it makes sense given how much he stands out compared to the rest of the cast for his traits such as a Genius Sweet Tooth and a Great Detective who's very on the nose with his deductions. So much that his death has caused many fans to turn away from the series, Near and Mello ended up falling into Replacement Scrappy territory for being L's replacements, and many fans cheered that the live-action movie series has him win against Light.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Demegawa. Fans considered him to be a Jerkass Expy of J. Jonah Jameson who's merely concerned with increasing his own profits. He even caused one of Light's plans to fail because of his Money Fetish!. Good thing Mikami kills him.
    • Takada. Whenever fans talk about her, it's either that she was an informed intelligent fool who easily fell for Light's charms or a stuck up jerk, particularly on how she treated Misa. She even gets plenty of flak from fangirls who swore to exact their revenge on her for killing Mello - though it's hard to imagine a worse fate for her than the one that actually transpired.
    • Misa, for those who think her childish and dumb personality only makes her annoying rather than comedic.
  • Seasonal Rot: Apart from the final episode, the second part of the series, that is, everything after L's death, is considered by many to be inferior to the first. Whether this means "quite good, just not as good" or "so bad it never happened" depends on who you ask.
  • Ship Mates: Most fans ship Light/L with their Mello/Matt or Mello/Near.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: L/Light vs Light/Misa (or L/Misa). Also, the Mello/Near shippers once got into a nasty fight with the Mello/Matt ones.
  • Signature Scene: A lot of them too, primarily from the anime.
    • The first episode's montage of Light killing multiple criminals in quick succession.
    • "I'll take a potato chip... (deep breaths) AND EAT IT!" note 
    • "I'm L."
    • "Just as planned!"
    • The laughing scene. You know the one. The Italian version of this scene gets the most love, but the English one is also iconic.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: This is probably the closest we’re going to get to a Japanese adaptation of Crime and Punishment as both lead characters have very similar motivations and arcs, with the exception of Light’s tale ending without redemption.
  • Spoiled by the Format: L's appearance is purposely kept hidden until Episode 6, but once the second episode sets up his relationship with Light, it becomes obvious that L is the guy in the opening that's always staring Light down.
  • Squick: Higuchi's plans to make Misa his bride.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In-universe, crime rates drop 70% worldwide and wars come to an end as Light's work goes on. Those in dangerous or crime-ridden places might find themselves agreeing with him, or at least forgetting that he plans to move on to killing lazy and unproductive people afterward. And, of course, since he only targets people the police have actually caught, whether or not this has any basis in what would happen in reality is obviously extremely dubious.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • This is considered one of the best English anime dubs ever, though arguments still occur over which is superior.
    • The Mexican Spanish dub is not a slouch in this department either, leaving aside some minor spelling mistakes with Teru Mikami's name.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
  • Take That, Scrappy!: To his detractors, seeing Light get shot by Matsuda was very cathartic.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Misa's attitude gets like this at times, especially compared to the overall aesthetic of the series.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Naomi Misora and Matt are viewed as characters that were greatly underutilized.
    • Amongst the fanbase, Mello is considered the more interesting character between him and Near since to many, Near just comes off as an L 2.0 knockoff while Mello is portrayed as a dangerous Mafia member. Something that makes his character completely unique compared to L and Near. However, Mello ends up becoming mostly Out of Focus just to continue building up the Light vs. Near rivalry.
    • From the Drama we have the Mello puppet. Its concept was so bizarre and and mind-boggling, but somehow it was crazy enough to work. Too bad they do next to nothing with it.
      • To add to that, it's more than a bit jarring that Matt is not in it all. You'd have thought that the creators would've wanted to give one of the fan favorites a time to shine, but due to how the story was adapted, he was written out entirely.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Due to the uniqueness of the Japanese justice system (described under Values Dissonance), the idea that any of Light's victims were wrongfully convicted doesn't ever get mentioned. If it did, it would've thrown an extra layer of grey onto Light's actions.
    • Light defends his usage of the Death Note by citing how wars have ceased entirely since the rise of Kira. Aside from this one comment, the intriguing prospect of Light using the note to end global wars is never elaborated upon.
    • During his incarceration, Light theorizes that another Kira might be controlling him. This is actually a very interesting concept and would've turned the entire series on its head if it had been true.
    • The rivalry between Mello and Near is only slightly touched upon.
    • The whole idea of Mello being Near's split personality in the drama.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • L, one of the most epic, most badass heroic antagonists in Shōnen who nearly took down Kira, ends up murdered by Kira himself. For many fans, he was even cooler than Light and many of them refused to see Death Note after his death.
    • Light himself. While he was nothing more or less than a delusional Serial Killer whose comeuppance was to be expected, it’s hard to not be impressed by his extreme intelligence and manipulation skills at the very least a little, and the fact that he had to fight two matching intellectuals. Helping this matter is also that Near wasn’t as well liked as L.
    • This applies to pretty much all the characters that meet bad ends, but especially Naomi and Matt.
    • Naomi was actually an invoked case of this, as she was intended to last longer, but then Ohba realized she was so good at her job that it would strain suspension of disbelief too much that she hadn't caught Light within a few chapters.
  • Tough Act to Follow: For many readers/viewers, Near and Mello (particularly the former) are inferior follow-ups to the nearly-universally liked L. However, others feel that they're not bad characters on their own, it's just that they have the bad luck of being follow-ups to the nearly-universally liked L. Almost anybody would've come off as a disappointment after him.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Most of the shinigami. Also L — Takeshi Obata meant to make L look ugly, but he has plenty of fangirls.
    • Beyond, seeing as he's L's evil doppelganger.
  • Uncanny Valley: Misa on the Volume 4 manga cover artwork.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Whether due to Evil Is Cool, his design and dark charisma, or just some fans having warped perceptions of crime and human psychology, Light had many viewers knowingly and unironically Rooting for the Empire. The anime chose to deliberately play to this audience, including multiple scenes seemingly based around giving him qualities his sociopathic and manipulative manga counterpart did not possess, and completely reworked the finale to let him go out showing a degree of self-reflection and regret he didn't have in the manga.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Raye Penber. Ironically, showing his relationship with his fiancee shortly before he's killed was probably meant to inspire sympathy for him. For many readers/viewers the effect was just the opposite when they saw his treatment of her as controlling and misogynistic.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: L is seen as a deviant weirdo and Matsuda as a foolish and easily-manipulated putz by the other characters. Outside the source material, L was a massive Breakout Character for his off-beat design, weird charisma, and over-the-top detective style, while Matsuda is appreciated as a Cool Loser with several action hero moments under his belt, having a solid moral compass in a murky world, and for being the one who takes out Light in the end.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Many Western viewers take offense at what they perceive as Raye Penber's paternalistic and condescending attitude toward his fiancée, retired F.B.I. agent Naomi Misora — and, worse, her seemingly contented acceptance of it. Then again, that attitude gets him and his coworkers killed, so he's not exactly portrayed as being in the right. (In the DVD Commentary, her English-dub voice actress Tabitha St. Germain said that that scene was particularly difficult for her.)
    • A more pervasive one is that the Japanese legal system tends to only prosecute cases where a conviction is assured. Hence, people in countries with higher acquittal rates can find it odd that the series never once brings up the idea of wrongful conviction, with Light always assuming that people in jail really did commit those crimes.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Mello, in the manga. Rem is female but looks androgynous. Also, Near who is male but is voiced by female VAs in both the original and the English dub.
      • Interestingly, Mello's original name was Near, and vice versa, but an editing error at Shonen Jump saw their names switched around.
    • Near is even more of this in the drama, where he is actually played by a girl.
  • Wangst:
    • Light is pretty much this in general. Whether when it comes to his goals of wanting to kill criminals and create a utopia, constantly preaching about them while stating he stands above everyone else in the world, angsting and complaining whenever his plans fail, and when he whines and cries when Ryuk is about to kill him with the Death Note after the SPK have successfully proved that he was Kira. L couldn't have been even more correct when he described Kira as an individual who is very childish and hates to lose.
    • Mello: "IT'S TIME I START LIVING MY OWN LIFE!" *door slam!*
    • THAT'S IT, I'M LEAVING TO TAKE OVER THE MAFIA.
    • Aizawa's "I hate Ryuuzaki and his way of doing things!"
    • Misa often spends her time whining about Light not loving her, and at the same time, acting like a womanchild who is still a bratty daughter of her deceased parents.
  • What an Idiot!: Has its own page.
  • The Woobie:
    • Matsuda, Rem, Gelus, and especially Soichiro and Sayu. From the movie, Shiori.
    • Light and Misa, when their memories were erased and were left confined and later tricked into believing that they were going to be executed. Light qualifies in general during the Yotsuba arc, given how innocent he is and how you know his Kira persona is just waiting in the wings for him to regain his memories.
    • Poor Sachiko Yagami. Just a regular housewife who puts her family above anything, but ends up having to care for a catatonic daughter, while her husband and son both wind up dead. And she has no idea about the real reasons for all her family's misfortune.
  • Woolseyism: Death Note is a story so intricate that it leaves very little room for changes of any kind... and yet, the anime's dubbing team somehow snuck in this little gem:
    Misa: I would never dream of living in a world without Light!
    L: Yes, that would be dark.
  • Writer Cop Out: The anime changes the ending to giving Light an emotional death and then ending the series after that. After Near manages to prove Light is Kira thanks to Mello's help, the anime gives Light an emotional death where he regrets his actions, which feels totally out of place for a character who has been built up as a childish villain with a huge god complex who views his sense of justice as unquestionably accurate, that making him regret his actions out of nowhere just feels like an Ass Pull. Plus, we never get to see anything after the events of the Kira case being solved like Near mourning over Mello, or Misa committing suicide after she realizes Light died. The whole ending feels like it was rewritten to give Light, the "hero" of the story in the eyes of his fans, a more appropriate send-off that our true hero of the story deserves because he knows what peace and justice truly is unlike everyone else in the series.

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