Death Note/Characters/Main Characters

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Light Yagami

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Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (JP), Brad Swaile (EN)


The protagonist of the series... at least, in his damnable view of himself and the world.

Light is a genius student who has one major flaw... namely, one hell of a God complex. He has a hatred of the criminal element of the world, but for most of his life took a "what can you do" approach. Then, he finds the Death Note dropped by the Shinigami (Death God) Ryuk and his world is turned upside down. He begins using the notebook to kill criminals, believing that in doing so, he could scare the world into becoming more law-abiding.

He finds an equal and opponent in L, the elusive international detective hired to find and prove the identity of the mysterious string of murders. He eventually bests him, killing L through the shinigami Rem- another obstacle in his life- who dies in the process. This later attracts the attention of L's successors Mello and Near, the latter of whom properly corners him... and whose men are savvy enough to open fire when Light pulls out his book. Shot up and trapped like a rat, Light reaches downright satanic levels of insanity, coming inches within jotting Near's real name down on a last resort scrap of the Death Note- with his own blood used as ink. This only gets him pumped full of more lead by his associates. Through a stroke of luck, Light shakes off his pursuers and limps off into a warehouse complex bleeding profusely, but finally collapses from his wounds on a stairwell, where the ghost of L confronts him. In the end, Ryuk, pitying his twisted human acquaintance, cements the final fate of Light Yagami- by writing his name in the Death Note.

Known aliases: Kira, the second L.

  • Allergic to Routine: Now if Light could have found some other intellectually engaging hobby the entire plot probably would not have happened.
  • Aloof Big Brother: To Sayu.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Light's name is very unusual (as in what were his parents smoking [1]) and this is Lampshaded by several characters. It is read as Light but spelled with the kanji Tsuki or moon making it a Meaningful Name since the kanji has four strokes and Light Is Not Good. Also a bilingual pun on "moon light". Light or Raito is also a bilingual pun on Right or Righteous and Write as in writing.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Before picking up the Death Note.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: a deliberately Invoked Trope during Light's Memory Gambit.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Despite the Psychotic Smirk after having L killed, there are several hints suggesting that he misses him afterwards.
  • Anti-Hero: Type IV. Until he dives over the edge and becomes a straight up Villain Protagonist.
  • Anti-Villain: Type III. Again until he jumps off the slippery slope.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Kira", the Engrish pronunciation of "killer."
  • Asexual: Quite possibly, but see Ambiguously Invisible to Gaydar for another interpretation. Let's just say it's a subject of speculation.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Light" is written with the kanji for "moon" and "Yagami" is written with the kanji for "night" and "god".
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: This is his forte; quite a lot of his scenes involve a running inner dialogue where the audience hears him analyzing the scene around him, taking stock of his circumstances and options, and planning his next move. And of course after his genius plans come to fruition, he has to go over them in detail so that the audience has a chance to figure out what exactly just happened.
  • Axe Crazy: And very much so. In the very first episode, he 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.
  • Badass: Light has an undeniable aura of audacity and sophistication about him.
  • Bad Boss: Light rules his circle of supporters, namely Misa, Ryuk, Takada, and Mikami, with an iron fist. And although he's always polite, accommodating, and courteous to the Japanese Anti-Kira Taskforce, there's really no other way to take plotting their deaths. However... in retrospect, Ryuk was free to do whatever the hell he pleased... and that includes penciling in Light's own name into the Death Note.
    • Justified in that Light is extremely security-conscious, and his success rests largely on the people in his command, both as Kira and the second L, not screwing up. Due to this, he kills or tries to kill almost everyone who helps him throughout the series.
  • Bad Dreams: During his first week of judgements in the manga; he also has a psychotic Nightmare Sequence in Relight 2 (complete with "holy shit" Scare Chord).
  • Bastardly Speech: Yes indeed; the one after L's death is a particularly infuriating example of damage control.
    • Following his father's death, when Matsuda is questioning whether capturing Kira is right or wrong, Light says that history will favor the victor; Kira will be seen as a criminal if he's caught, and will be seen as justice if he prevails. While this is meant to come across as a suggestion that the investigation team will be vindicated if they are successful, it also represents Light's belief that the world will soon come to accept him.
  • Batman Gambit: He's a master at manipulation.
  • Berserk Button: Don't suggest what Kira is doing is wrong...
  • Big Bad: As the main Villain Protagonist and, later, Shadow Dictator.
  • Big Bad Friend: Although he kept up the act of being a friend, or at least a decent co-worker, to L, Matsuda, and the rest of the taskforce, he is the mass murderer they've all been searching for. And although he would rather not kill off the taskforce, preferring instead to manipulate and deceive them, he will not hesitate to get rid of them if he feels that he needs to.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Initially, (in fact in the manga this is part of his initial justification for using the Death Note) but ends up being one of the many things forgotten by the Dark Side. Poor, poor Sayu.
  • Big Sleep: In the anime at least. When he was killed by Ryuk in front of the police in the manga, he Dies Wide Open.
  • Bishonen: Very much so. Though his features do coarsen a bit as the series progresses as he becomes older and nastier.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He acts polite, understanding, and caring towards the people around him, but in reality he's a Manipulative Bastard with a God complex. And boy when that facade drops, can he get nasty.
  • Black and White Insanity: Falls into this more and more as the series progresses.
    • Justified: People matching the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder use black and white thinking, called splitting, as a central defense mechanism; they separate mental concepts into good versus evil, say, as an attempt to stabilize the sense of self in order to preserve self-esteem. Throughout the series Light certainly does show clear indications of perceiving himself as purely upright or admirable and others who do not conform to his will or values as purely wicked or contemptible.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: He begins his first week as Kira by killing so many people that Ryuk, a god of death, is surprised.
  • A Boy And His Shinigami
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Break the Cutie: The power of the Death Note, and the revelation that there is nothing after death, do this to Light in the very beginning.
  • Break the Haughty: This happens a bit every time he gets Out-Gambitted by his opponents, although he's fairly good at bouncing back. And, of course, his death counts as a truly epic example.
  • Broken Ace: There are hints in the series that Light wasn't entirely stable even before finding the Death Note; being so effortlessly perfect while surrounded by a world that he considered "rotten" while having little ability to fix it left him bored and seemingly depressed. And of course, as the series progresses he uses his near-inhuman charm to cover up his true nature.
  • Broken Messiah: invoked word for word in the first opening credits ("Doushite? Boku wa kowareta meshia?"). Word of God suggests that Light was the first victim of the Death Note-he was very nice and very pure before realizing the notebook was real-then it was only a matter of how fast and how far he would fall.
  • Brown Eyes: Although his character subverts the symbolism completely. Stable, trustworthy, and normal Light is not.
  • Brutal Honesty: Although it's a contrast to his usual approach to those around him, Light uses this tactic with Misa, most notably when he is just getting to know her and is sounding her out for motivation, understanding of the situation, and so forth.
  • The Butcher: His kill-count earns him the name "Kira."
  • Calling Card: "L do you know..."
  • Catch Phrase: Say it with me everybody...
  • Celibate Villain: Zigzagged: In the manga he dates as many as four women at a time to deflect suspicion, and has romantic trysts with Takada after becoming the second L in order to manipulate her into doing his bidding. However, he doesn't really care about romance or sex, so played straight in that regard.
  • The Charmer: When all else fails he switches to this tactic of manipulation in order to get someone's name or to save himself.
  • The Chessmaster: He manipulates and uses pretty much everyone he comes into contact with.
  • Chick Magnet: Let's count all of the names that pop up in the manga: Emi and Shiho (whom he mentions to Ryuk), Yuri (Spaceland Girl) and Mayu (whom Misa cites as competition), Kiyomi Takada (who begins her role in the story as the girl who asked him out in college) and of course Misa Amane herself. Word of God says that "during college he had about five or six girlfriends."
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Light betrays, has betrayed, or plans on betraying effectively everyone who was ever close in any way to him.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: All the time.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Official color seems to be red. Also wears a lot of black and white.
  • The Conscience: Memoryless!Light is ironically this for L.
  • Consummate Liar: Even L calls him out on it.

L: "Tell me Light, from the moment you were born, has there actually been a point in your life where you've actually told the truth?"


L: Absolutely amazing. The thing is I've asked countless investigators that same question and it took them minutes to even come up with an answer. But you, Light. You immediately thought of a scenario where Kira was talking directly to the investigators. I'm impressed. You'll make a fine detective someday.



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Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi (JP), Alessandro Juliani (EN)


The main antagonist of the series. However, he's the real good guy of this saga.

L is the most intelligent character in the Death Note series, as stated by the Word of God. He is the greatest detective in the Death Note world (the three greatest detectives, actually), able to control and work through the police force worldwide and notorious for uncovering seemingly unsolvable crimes, he's called in to work on the Kira (as Light is known) case. Since Kira needs a face and name to be able to kill people and L does not make public appearances and hides behind aliases (L being the most famous) he is the ideal opponent for Kira since neither knows the identity of the other. He establishes Kira's location by tricking him into killing an unknown deathrow inmate announcing himself as "L" on a live TV broadcast filmed only in the Kanto region of Japan and deduces his age soon afterwards by observing his simplistic, somewhat immature concept of justice and out-of-school-hours killings. Having established which members of the Japanese police department he can trust (which include Light's father) he names Light as a suspect for Kira and with a simple combination of remorseless logic, barely legal methods and sugar in-take, he places obstacles for him- and eventually Misa- to prove his theory, leaving them barely able to stay two steps ahead of him.

He is the opposing Deuteragonist of the series until he dies at the hands of Rem, but he had created a deadman switch, which resulted in his fellow oddball Near taking over the Kira case. His real name, revealed in an encyclopedia of the series (How To Read 13), is L Lawliet.

  • 20% More Awesome: He occasionally gives statistics about how right he is. The official guide claims that he makes these up to sound more credible, while another Word of God claims that whenever he mentions a statistic at all, he's always 99% sure. So all that "5%" or "47%" or whatever meant he was almost totally sure every time.
  • Admiring the Abomination: L only takes on cases that interest him and though understated he finds Kira/Light quite fascinating and regards him as a Worthy Opponent. L gets very annoyed at the appearance of a Second Kira because it's not HIS Kira and not playing by the same rules. In the live action movies he has a clear Pass the Popcorn moment when watching Light manipulate Naomi Misora on the monitors.

Souichiro Yagami: We have to stop this!
L: We're just getting to the good part.


Misa: I couldn't live in a world without Light!
L: Yes, that would be dark.


Aizawa: So, when does Ryuzaki sleep?
Matsuda: I once saw him sleeping in a chair in that position ... No, really!


Misa Amane

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Voiced by: Aya Hirano (JP), Shannon Chan-Kent (EN)


The second Kira, an internationally famous model and pop star who started out as Light's Stalker with a Crush since, as Kira, he killed the burglar that murdered her parents when she was a little girl, thus making her feel in debt to him. She has one hell of a messed up lifespan due to multiple shinigami sacrificing their lives for her and her multiple exchanges for the Shinigami Eyes. She and her shinigami, Rem, helped Light finally outmaneuver and kill L, but not before dragging him through a series of events, both good and bad, started by her carelessness.

In the manga, Misa is stated to have committed suicide a year after Light dies. In the anime, it is implied that she does the same: the last scene of her in the series has her on the other side of the railing at the edge of a building. In the movies, she survives; due to the Death Notes being destroyed, she has lost her memory of being the second Kira, as well as Light being Kira. She remembers Light himself, and that she loves him, but knows that there is something missing that she cannot recall.

  • A Girl And Her Shinigami
  • Acceptable Feminine Goals: Misa is a model, actress, and singer. When Light tells her to quit her job because he's going to marry her, she cheers.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Her eyes are apparently naturally brown in the manga but blue in the anime.
    • Not to mention she's blonde in both manga and anime but a brunette in the movies.
    • Her eyes switch between brown and blue in the anime depending on whether she's on the job as an Idol Singer. It's probably color contacts.
  • Affably Evil: She'll kill you without hesitation if you get in her way or cause trouble for Light, but other than that, she's a genuinely sweet girl.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Her childlike manner makes her choice of clothing seem far too old for her.
  • All Women Are Lustful: A mild example. Misa does not harass Light for attention as often as some would have you think (in fact, in most scenes she seems content to simply be quietly in the background if Light happens to be nearby). But she does make a few bids for sexual attention from him, such as sitting in his lap, dressing in a corset, and asking him to come to bed with her. Keep in mind, though, that in all of these post-timeskip scenes Misa and Light have been together for at least four years; it's not unreasonable at all for her to try to get his attention from time to time. It would be less frustrating if the writers showed her trying to engage him emotionally and intellectually, however. Needless to say, they don't.
  • Aloof Big Sister: She either HAS one or IS one. The manga mentions that Misa has a sister still living in Kansai as a plot point but she doesn't even get Nominal Importance and after that it's never mentioned again. Though this could also be seen as part of her cover story, worked out with Aiber and L, to infiltrate Yotsuba; Aiber uses "your sister said that you said x about Kira" to introduce the information that Misa is connected to L to the Yotsuba group. It's never made clear if the sister actually exists or not.
  • And That Little Girl Was Me: When Rem tells Misa the story of how Gelus died and she got a second notebook.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After meeting Light and having him doubt and question her, Misa begins to cry, falls off of her chair and tells Light that she "just had to meet him."
  • Ax Crazy: When her Berserk Button is pushed.
  • Badass Adorable: Despite being a childish, energetic, squeaky-voiced Genki Girl, Misa does have her moments. She takes Sakura TV hostage, refuses to give up Light under L's torture, and executes her plot to ditch L's surveillance and get Higuchi to confess to her. She is also the resident cutie.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Several times, and not always just for Light.
  • The Beard: Light continues to see her, and later gets engaged to her, as a convenient cover for their Team Kira activities. Also, if you subscribe to the Asexual and Ambiguously Gay theories about Light, this trope can apply in a slightly different way.
  • Berserk Button: If anyone screws around with Light behind her back... even Light isn't safe from her wrath if this happens. As she tells Light, "If I see you with another girl, then I'll kill her!".
  • Beware the Silly Ones: After they actually meet her in person, no one - not Light, not Near, not Mello, not L or Aizawa or Mogi - takes her seriously. At all. In fact nearly every character dismisses her as a legitimate threat; in the few instances that Aizawa, Mogi, L, Near, and Mello feel that she may be trouble, it is as an agent of Light rather than in her own right. Light, knowing that Misa has said that she will kill her competition, sees other women anyway; and L, after Misa escapes from Mogi, pretty much shrugs the whole thing off. This is all despite the fact that Misa is dangerous: she is in charge of Light's killings from time to time, she threatens and controls news stations in both seasons, and she outs Higuchi as a Kira to L.
  • Black Bra and Panties: She wears this when trying to get Light's attention.
  • Blessed with Suck: Her Death Note and shinigami eyes absolutely ruined her life. Thanks, Rem.
  • Blondes Are Evil
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: Misa is introduced as the supernatural killer who takes Sakura TV hostage, killing off innocent people and criminals alike to convince the world of her powers and then killing off the cops who race down there to stop her. During this, she threatens to kill yet more people. And she does it all solely to get Light's attention, because she must meet him, to tell him him how grateful she is that he killed her parents' murderer.
  • Blue Eyes or Eyes of Gold: She wears color contacts to work (and, curiously, when she first confronts Light), but her eyes are naturally brown, and the anime likes to catch them so that they look gold.
  • Bottle Fairy: She is shown drinking a few times in the second arc.
  • Bound and Gagged: Courtesy of L.
  • Broken Bird
  • Bumbling Sidekick: To Light. Although she's smart enough to find Light, dodge Mogi and manipulate Higuchi, her mistakes do cost them both.
  • Caught in the Rain: During the opening sequence of the first season, Light offers Misa his hand as she walks through the rain towards him.
  • Cleavage Window: In the shape of a heart, no less.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Light is hers. Woe to any woman who tries to come between them.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Misa certainly does not live in the same world as most other people.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Her official color seems to be light blue.
    • Also, in the first arc, she's shown primarily wearing black while acting as the second Kira, and in the second arc she wears plenty of black and red.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: She tries this with Light; it ends with him ordering her out of bed and back to work.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: She wears them in the manga and live action film series, though the anime eliminated them. They can be seen in her early turnaround designs though and the first opening, which suggests the change came later in production.
    • The collector's figure included with volume 5 of the DVD series retains the cross.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She really is a lot smarter than she usually acts.
  • Cry Cute: She begins to cry in the scene when Light first meets her and she tells him that she'll work hard to make him love her.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her brown eyes are often caught so that they appear gold, fitting with her blond hair.
  • Cute and Psycho: Yes and yes.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: There must be at least one shrill, squeaky-voiced character in the cast. It's like a rule of anime.
  • Cute Is Evil: Played very, very straight with her. Cute enough to earn the protective instincts of two shinigami and the sympathy of the Taskforce when they hold her captive, evil enough to kill many people with her Death Note (and offer to kill L) just to gain Light's love.
  • Cuteness Equals Forgiveness: To an extent, both in-universe and out. Despite being portrayed as viciously selfish and quite, quite mad, Misa never earns the same type of villain cred as, say, Light - whose eviler counterpart she was introduced as. Additionally, the characters in-universe definitely treat Misa far more gently than Light when both come under suspicion in the second season - compare Aizawa's grim, suspicious surveillance of Light with Mogi going shopping with Misa. Why is this? Misa is a small, sweet, cheerful, and cute woman, and that registers more immediately to both much of the audience and most of the characters than "ruthless serial killer."
  • The Cutie: She was designed to be adorable.
  • The Dark Chick: On Team Kira.
  • Dark Is Evil: She dresses primarily in black. And her bedroom is decked to the nines in creepiness.
  • Dark Mistress: Misa starts out as a second Kira who takes Sakura TV hostage and murders several cops and criminals to get Kira's attention. Later, she tracks down Kira, discovers that Kira is actually Light Yagami, and falls in love with him. She demands that Light take her on as his girlfriend; because she was already a villain in her own right, their joining forces would qualify for Unholy Matrimony status, but as she becomes immediately subservient to him and her role becomes simply "Light's devoted Love Martyr" as the story progresses, she develops into the Dark Mistress role.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Twice, for that matter.
    • She serves as Light's deadly upgrade: with the second Kira on his side and completely devoted to him, he gains the use of her shinigami eyes.
  • Death Seeker: Some of the material in the series seems to point to the fact that Misa isn't exactly concerned with her own life.
    • Misa deliberately seeks out dangerous situations: for one example, she walks home alone, at night, on a deserted street, and for another she begins the entire attack on Sakura TV while being across the street in person. She then shows up on the mass-murderer Kira's doorstep and volunteers to be his girlfriend while knowing full well that he could kill her. She in fact explicitly offers Light the option of killing her if she gets to be a burden. She begs Rem to kill her when she feels that she has a good justification to ask that of Rem, and, mind you, when Soichiro informs Misa that both she and Light are to be executed, it is Light's life that she begs for. And of course when Light dies, she kills herself soon after.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulu?: There is a vengeful, godlike entity out there who can kill with just a name and a face. Obviously the best way to handle the situation is to offer to be his girlfriend.
  • Dissonant Laughter: When Rem agrees to murder L at Light's request, Misa's reaction is to laugh and clap her hands. In the anime, she even hugs Rem.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Comes with the job of being the second Kira. When she regains her Death Note and finds Light's note asking her to kill L, she gladly, even triumphantly, considers it. Her distress comes only when she realizes that she can't remember his name.
  • Double Standard Abuse (Female on Male): Light and Misa have a very unhealthy "relationship" if it can be called that at all. Misa stalks Light and forces a relationship with him. It is shown time and again that he appears to have no sexual interest in her and only tolerates her presence because he needs her for her powers and to keep her close to keep her from spilling his secrets. If he refuses her she could kill him. However after her initial appearance enraged Misa isn't taken seriously despite the fact that she could just as easily kill him as he could kill her. The "men are Made of Iron and women are Made of Plasticine" idea doesn't matter much when you can kill someone by writing on a piece of paper. Her slapping him around is Played for Laughs and is seen as allegedly "deserving" of being hit when he admits he doesn't feel the same way about her. She only gets away with her pushy and sometimes violent behavior because of the male characters' chivalry.
    • To be fair, this seems to be for a few reasons. Firstly, it doesn't seem too outrageous to think that Misa is just so childish and airheaded that she doesn't realize that that's not how a healthy relationship is supposed to work (if she knew how a healthy relationship was supposed to work, she probably wouldn't have stuck with Light). She is also fairly smart despite her airheadedness and may realize that Light doesn't really like her that much and would probably kill her if she didn't keep wrapped around her finger like that. We'll just say their "relationship" is really screwed up.
    • And to be fair, Misa is 5' and 79 lbs, and not muscled or trained. Light is 5'10. He's slender, true, but he's also fully grown and has been proven to be athletic. This is a pretty significant difference in physical mass. Violence in a relationship is never right, but Misa striking Light is a different situation, physically speaking, than Light striking Misa.
  • The Dragon: She becomes this for Light, until Light has her Death Note given to Mikami.
  • Driven to Suicide: What finally happens to her. She wasn't kidding when she said she couldn't dream of living in a world without Light.
  • Dumb Blonde: Then again, next to L or Light, pretty much anyone would look dumb by proxy.
    • Mind you, this doesn't stop her from outmaneuvering both Light and Higuchi with only a little help from Rem. If she'd wanted Light dead instead of being able to serve him, this would have been a much shorter series.
    • How To Read 13 ranks her as being 3/10 in knowledge, so she's about average intelligence. Supposedly.
    • She may be lacking in cold smarts (for example, until Light told her otherwise it never occurred to her that the Kira videos answering her own were fakes from the police), but she's cunning and well-versed in social skills and in recognizing and using other people's emotions. She wasn't capable of really understanding how some of her actions could negatively affect Light, for instance, but she was capable of playing Higuchi like a piano.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita. She dresses like this when she becomes more famous - and in the anime, when she's about to jump off to her death after Light dies.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She genuinely loves Light, and she genuinely loved her parents.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In story. Rem is in love with her, and Light's sister Sayu pretty much drools over her when they meet. Too bad she's Light-sexual, huh.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Light at first, Lampshaded when Light and L are building a profile of the Second Kira.

Light: ...this Kira isn't idealistic.
L: Yes. I really don't like the way he operates. It's not like Kira.

  • Evil Diva: Along with her other traits and hobbies, Misa is a singer as well as an actress and model; in the second arc, she gets hired to open a New Year's show with a song.
  • Evil Eye: Just look at her when Light tells her that he'll be dating other girls to keep up his image.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: She doesn't intend to do this, but her videos provide L with a lot of clues. And before she and Light officially team up, she eagerly hands out information to him.
  • Expy: Shares quite a few similarities with Harley Quinn.
  • Extreme Doormat: Misa-Misa would do ANYTHING for Light.
  • The Fashionista: Justified because she is an idol; Misa is often shown shopping, reading magazines, applying make-up, and so on.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Misa is heavily implied to be the one who cooks and cleans after the timeskip, when Light and Misa move in together; a strip from the omake extras released in the thirteenth volume explicitly shows her doing some fancy cooking while Light reads a newspaper.
  • Femme Fatale: In the Yotsuba arc.
  • First-Name Basis: With pretty much everyone.
  • Foot Focus: Barefoot whenever she's cozied up in her own home, and barefoot when incarcerated for two months straight. Considering that second one, being able to wiggle her toes may have been relieving- it was one of the few degrees of freedom her body had left.
    • Theres also a shot of her stripped stocking feet during Light and L's sparring match when she accidently steps into a cake she was eating.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her family was murdered right in front of her!
    • And she's lived either alone or with only Rem for company in the year since their deaths. No wonder she takes Light up on his offer to have her move in with him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Debatable, but in the last few legs of the first season and then for the whole of the second season, Misa is associated with the Kira Taskforce and tolerated by them only because of her connection to Light. Aizawa, Ide, Soichiro, and Mogi never voice their opinion about the situation, but they never do seem quite happy with the idea of Misa following them around everywhere they go.
  • Genius Ditz: She has enough smarts to channelize her child-like charm into her very successful model and Idol Singer career. Also, she figures out how to expose Higuchi as the Yotsuba Kira to the police without revealing Rem's presence. She's actually quite clever, she's just more energetic and not as smart as the downright superhuman Light and L. If she didn't oggle Light so much, she could get her head in the game.
    • Some would argue that Misa has very good instincts. She taps right into Light's desire to control and use people from the very first time they meet, and her submissiveness gains her exactly what she wants (i.e. for Light to be her boyfriend).
    • Misa follows the situation more closely than she seems to. For example, there's a scene in the manga after the timeskip where, after Misa points out something Light hadn't gotten to yet and Light tells her to go to bed, Light thinks to himself that Misa was right.
  • Genki Girl: She is bouncy, expressive, and energetic.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She loses them in the second arc, supposedly as a sign of maturity.
  • Hair Colors
  • Hair of Gold: Subverted. Her character fits the Blondes Are Evil archetype, but it can be argued that her blonde hair is supposed to give her the appearance of innocence. In reality, she's just blissfully ignoring the consequences of her actions- even halving her natural lifespan.
    • Interestingly, when we see her nearly killed and then saved by Gelus in Rem's flashback, she has black hair (considering that she's Japanese, this is probably her normal color). When she makes her appearance as the second Kira and later as The Dragon / Dark Mistress for Light, she's blonde.
  • Happiness in Slavery: She willingly volunteers herself to do anything for Light, and seems to never have a problem with it. Even after Light overwhelms her with work for him and yells at her in anger, she still beams when he walks into the room.
  • Harmful to Minors: Her parents were murdered right in front of her. She breaks down in tears when she tells Light about it.
  • Hello, Nurse!: In addition to being very popular with the boys (and the girls), Misa wears a nurse's outfit once, as a disguise.
  • Hero Worshipper: Towards Light.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Even during those times when she claims she understands that Light doesn't give a damn about her, she still swoons for him.
    • And the classic:

Misa: Light would never kill Misa!

  • The Idiot From Osaka: She's from Kansai.
  • Jack the Ripoff: She claims to be Kira to get Light's attention, killing off several people in precisely the same manner. However unlike Light, who tries to be subtle in his methods. Misa's way too bombastic in her approach and leaves too many clues for L to rightfully suspect her. If Light hadn't agreed to take her on and orchestrated to make her look innocent, she would've been locked away permanently the first time she was caught.
  • Karma Houdini: In the live action movies.
    • However, this has a brilliant explanation: the police couldn't convict her without exposing the existence of the Death Note. Plus with the Note's destruction, she won't remember having ever been Kira, or having used the notebook.
  • Kawaiiko: Yes, although in most of her appearances it only serves to add to her sheer creepiness.
  • Kitsch Collection: Misa's room which is filled with candles, religious memorabilia, and creepy dolls and things that look like they came out of Hot Topic.
  • Knight Templar: Misa is as willing as Light and Mikami to fight evil for a New World.
  • Lack of Empathy: If your name isn't Light Yagami, you might as well be a person-shaped cardboard cutout.
  • Lady Macbeth
  • Large Ham: She even overacts in-universe!
    • Justified: During her plot to get proof that Higuchi is acting as Kira, the audience can hear her quite calmly calculating just how much cuteness, charm, and energy to use in her responses.
  • Lean and Mean: She is 5' and 79 lbs. Justified, as she is a model.
  • Loony Fan: Towards Light.
  • Love At First Sight: Towards Light, again. (Light actually looks physically pained when she later asks him if he believes in this.)
  • Love Makes You Crazy and Love Makes You Evil: Subverted a bit, because she was already crazy and evil before falling in love with Light. Her devotion to him, however, only led her further and further down that dark path.
    • Considering that she loved her parents and that their murders, which happened right in front of her, and the possibility that their murderer might get off scott-free were the things that drove her to sympathize with Kira's ideology to begin with, this might be played 100% straight.
  • Love Martyr: She'll do anything for Light, and the tragedy of it all comes across strong and clear.
  • Luminescent Blush: While daydreaming about Light.
  • Mad Love: Her relationship with Light is not healthy.
  • Meaningful Name: From How To Read, it says her name comes from Kuromisa meaning "Black Mass."
  • Ms. Fanservice: That wardrobe of hers. Many viewers wish they were Light, if only for the sake of Misa.
  • Mysterious Woman: Misa shows up out of the blue on Light's doorstep, in a little black dress with a killer notebook and a god of death, and simply introduces herself, saying that she came because she thought that he might be worried that she would go to the police instead. Light looks wary and rather unnerved, but - and without knowing anything else about her (besides the fact that she is responsible for Ukita's deaths, among others) - he invites her in.
  • NameDar: Misa has the eyes.
  • The Nicknamer: She is shown nicknaming Light (much to his horror and annoyance) as her Knight in shining armor or Raito-Naito, Matsuda (Matsu), Mogi (Mochi), and Aizawa (Monchichi); by the second arc, the last three all appear to treat it as normal.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: "What a beautiful way to kill!"
  • No Accounting for Taste: A number of characters express slight skepticism on Misa's relationship with Light. However, the members of the Task Force, who witness the decidedly one-way, unhealthy relationship on a daily basis, never seem to actually notice just how unlikely it is, or question its genuineness until several years down the line.
    • Perhaps they were assuming that Opposites Attract, or simply keeping out of Light's business out of respect. There is a scene in the first season where Misa, returning triumphantly from tricking the hell out of Higuchi, sits in Light's lap ... and although no one actually says anything, Soichiro looks over from the background at them with a very amusing expression on his face.
  • No Place for Me There: Asked in the ending of "Misa no Uta" ("Misa's Song).
  • No Sense of Personal Space: She hugs and clings to Light, Ryuk, Rem, and Mogi.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: She spends much of her time in the first arc going about her job, teasing Light and L, reading magazines, playing with her make-up and hair, and being grudgingly tolerated by the taskforce. No one takes her seriously: Aizawa forcefully throws her out of the room solely because she's being annoying, L mocks her, and the others tend to just ignore her. And then Light's master plan comes full circle and Misa finds herself being appointed as the criminal-killer for the time being. Thrilled to be of service, she dresses up in a beautiful black dress and goes for a walk, singing sweetly ... while murdering the guilty. And some of those deaths are pretty gruesome.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes. She's at least smarter than she acts most of the time.
    • In the Yotsuba arc, at least in the manga, when she's in the car with Higuchi and later talking to Light and L, you can see her calculating her actions and reactions quite calmly in her mind.
  • Obliviously Evil: She seems to genuinely believe that she's a good person doing the right thing. Or at least the justified, necessary thing in the service of the person she loves the most.
  • The Obstructive Love Interest: Especially early on. "You're my boyfriend now! Squee! I have the following demands..."
  • Odd Friendship: Most obviously with L, though the extent to which theirs is a "friendship" is negotiable. However, by she second arc, she's actually won over Mogi, a man her polar opposite, and the two seem quite close.
    • Mello even says that she appears to be his girlfriend.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: She wears one to try to get Light's attention; unfortunately for her, it doesn't work.
  • Older Than They Look: She's 19 at the start of the series though she looks younger than the 17 year old Light. Lampshaded when a character (in the second arc, no less) believes her to be a teenage girl between 14 and 20 years old. She happens to be in her twenties at that particular point.
  • The Ophelia: Cute? check. Insane? check. Puts on pretty dresses and murders people? Definitely.
  • Overt Operative: Misa is famous and so her face is everywhere. If anyone else has the Shinigami eyes she'd be the first to be discovered. That's why Light has her suddenly quit the movie in the second arc when the mafia gets a hold of the notebook and the eyes.
  • Panty Shot: Lampshaded by Light's little sister, of all people.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her Freudian Excuse, as explained above.
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: "I wanted that man to pay for what he did!"
  • Perky Female Minion: She's been seen giggling and clapping her hands while Light plots.
  • Perky Goth: Her attire, especially earlier in the series.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Don't let her sweetness and good cheer, however genuine, fool you. She kills people. She's just as dangerous as any other Kira.
  • Pillow Pistol: She keeps her Death Note hidden under her mattress.
  • Ping-Pong Naivete: In some scenes (when you can hear her thoughts), she comes across as quite calculating. In others, she comes across as downright ditzy. Also, she seems to bounce between being thoughtful and solemn when contemplating her role as the second Kira (the best example would be the scene in which she sings "Misa no Uta" and pauses to look sadly out over the horizon) to being cheerful and enthusiastic about it all.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: She serves as the humorous element in some of the darker scenes, albeit not to the same extent as Ryuk.
  • Poisonous Friend: She cheers Light on in his quest, and supports him wholeheartedly. This does not help Light's problems in the least.
  • Protagonist Secret Service:

Misa: (swooning) I would gladly die if it were for you, Light!
Light: (sweat-dropping) We just met.


Misa: Kira is everything ... Kira is everything to me!

  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Type D, Acts like a sweet and perky child, despite her madness.
  • Quickly-Demoted Woman: Before Light and Misa meet, they are both legitimately threatening agents in their own right, and Misa is, by and large, the one in control of the situation. It is made very clear, however, that Misa handles the job of being Kira badly: she kills more indiscriminately than Light, misunderstands Light's goals, and in general is a pain for Light while giving L some valuable information. As soon as she meets Light she offers to subordinate herself to him, and after she and he discuss some of her mistakes she points out that if she does what he tells her to do from now on, she'll be safe. She then remains Light's subordinate - despite a few shows of legitimate competence, such as when she discovers the Yotsuba Kira - until the end of the second arc, where he has her give up her memories and Death Note, makes no real effort to get her back from Near after Near kidnaps her, and effectively abandons her.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Depicted with this sometimes, such as on the Volume 4 manga cover, although most of the time her hair is medium-length.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • The Renfield
  • Samus Is a Girl: Light and the investigators assume that the Second Kira to be male. L also refers to the Second Kira as a "he" (though L might have known sooner considering he is L and had access to physical evidence; he could have just decided not to reveal the gender so as not to give Light any clues.)
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Light and Misa.
  • Secret Keeper: Even while under L's Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Selective Obliviousness: To the nth degree. There is a major disconnect between Misa's personality and her actions, and it's safe to say that the full impact of what she does is something that she simply does not understand. (The anime at least gives her one sequence of contemplation, but it's implied at best.) There is another major disconnect between how she views those around her and what their actions are; the best example would be her adoration of Light, which continues in spite of all that Light does, but her friendship with L, who had her tortured in an earlier episode, is another.
  • Serial Killer Kira
  • Significant Birth Date: Christmas
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Although not the only instance, she most notably uses one as a rather clever part of her manipulation of Higuchi.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Towards Light. She wouldn't even kiss another guy while acting.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: She blushes over Light after she spies on him and looks him up on the internet, and it only gets worse from there. At twenty-six she's still completely infatuated with him. Enough to kill herself rather than live in a world without him.
  • Sociopathic Hero
    • The Sociopath: Calmly contemplates killing Rem because it would be more convenient.
  • Spanner in the Works: For both Light and L.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The live action films.
    • This actually becomes an important plot point in the novelization of the spinoff film, L: Change the World.
    • Her survival is left ambiguous in the anime, which does not show or mention her suicide. The Japanese anime guidebook states that her deathdate is unknown.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Towards Light again.
  • Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male
  • Stepford Smiler: She acts happy and cheerful but Beneath the Mask she is psychologically traumatized, uncaring, self-destructive, manipulative and genuinely believes that criminals should die. She has more in common with her "boyfriend" than you might think.
  • Stocking Filler: Misa's outfits always showcase her legs.
  • Strawberry Shorthand: It's something she and L have in common.
  • Street Smart: While Misa is by no means a genius like Light or L she does have very good instincts. When meeting Light for the first time she seems to instinctively know how to appeal to Light's God Complex and during the Yotsuba arc with just a little help from Rem she successfully outmaneuvered and controlled Higuchi to "solve" the Kira case.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Misa evokes quite a lot of sympathy from Kira's pursuers, considering all she has done.
    • She gains sympathy from the audience, too. Very few people will understand wanting to reign as a God over a New World, which costs Light points on the popularity front. Far more of those watching will identify with Misa's grief over losing her family and her heartfelt desire to support and help the person she loves, which is essentially what she is trying to accomplish during the story.
  • Terms of Endangerment: After just meeting Light she starts calling him cutesy nicknames like "Light-darling" or "Raito-Naito."
    • Note that this takes place right after Light thinks to himself that Misa could kill him if he refuses her.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: She's the heroine and Light is her knight in shining armor. Needless to say she's very Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Third Person Person: Mercifully, this was omitted for the most part in the English translation of the manga, and completely eliminated in the English dub of the anime.
  • Together in Death: Misa kills herself not very long after Light dies. In the anime, shots of Misa committing suicide are shown alongside shots of Light dying.
  • Unequal Pairing: She swears complete devotion to Light, assuring him that he can use her as he wishes and that he can kill her if he sees fit. Light, of course, with that raging god complex of his, views her merely as a pawn; although he has a few moments when he seems almost fond of her (usually when she's just been extremely useful), they don't last long and he quite coldly contemplates killing her throughout the series.
    • Interestingly enough, though, this also gets played back the opposite way early on. Misa forces Light to make her his girlfriend; he has little to no choice in the matter, because Rem will kill him if he attempts to off her, and he needs Misa close and controlled to protect his identity of Kira; and he also considers that Misa could kill him otherwise.
  • The Unfettered: Her goal is to help Light. She will do anything to further that goal.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Light; they are engaged in the second arc.
  • Unkempt Beauty: After she was released from captivity, she spent her next scene in pj's, without makeup and with her hair down (more or less like this). More than one viewer thought she looked quite nice like that.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Had her parents not been killed when she was a little girl, she would've possibly grown into the same Idol Singer... without the Ax Crazy Yandereness.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Villain Song: "Misa no Uta", sung while she's killing people, no less.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Besides literally going shopping with Mogi, Misa is shown having tea with Light's family, scolding Ryuk to stay and help her with the cleaning, and going about her daily job as a model and actress.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Misa is eager to kill for Light's sake. "So just take me to where L is and I'll write his name down!"
  • Walking Techbane: In the manga Misa is no good with computers or technology and L mocks the poor quality of the Second Kira tapes. In the anime Misa is shown purchasing Light's personal information online.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the manga, Misa has a cat, which is shown briefly curled up next to her while she looks up Light on the internet. This cat is neither seen nor mentioned again.
    • She also mentioned once that she duped a friend of hers into touching the videos she would later send out to the task force to throw them off her trail and have her friend arrested instead. One wonders if said friend was caught or not.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Used to avoid attracting attention while tracking down Light and later Higuchi.
  • Woman in Black
  • Yandere: Misa loves Light obsessively, and has shown herself to be ready and willing to kill her competition.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: The Second Kira's standard uniform.



Voiced by: Nozomu Sasaki (JP), David Hurwitz (EN)


One of L's two potential successors, a handsome but dangerous young man with a massive inferiority complex whose real name is Mihael Keehl. Briefly after the timeskip, having resigned himself to the fact that he cannot work with Near, he sets up a gang of Mafia members even Kira hasn't noticed who abduct the head of the Japanese police department from whom- following a spot of torture- he deduces that there are two Death Notes within the human world and vows to acquire both of them to stop Kira once and for all before Near does. When Kira kills his first hostage, he masterminds the kidnap of Light's little sister, Sayu, in hopes of forcing the Task Force (which Light's father is on) to hand over one of the Death Notes. In the manga he then uses his possession of this to blackmail the President of the United States into supplying his gang with explosives and weaponry to further assist them in their plans and even intimidates a Shinigami into standing guard outside his secret lair to protect him against military retaliation (not shown in anime). Although his mob are able to kill off said invading soldiers with the Death Note, the Task Force lead their own raid on his hideout and take the notebook from him. However, he indirectly kills Light's father.

As the raid concludes, he sets off a bomb in the warehouse where he and his gang are hiding, burying his attackers in rubble and escaping but giving him a huge scar across his face (not that it deters his fangirls). He and Matt (the third most-likely successor to L) kidnap Kiyomi Takada, which leads to Mikami's screw-up and Light's downfall. Both of them die in the process.

Besides being in the manga and anime, Mello also appears in the spin-off prequel novel, Another Note, where he acts as the Narrator.

In stark contrast to Near and L (the latter of which he worships), Mello is extremely dynamic, a ruthless mob boss, but just as brilliant as Near. Also, he likes chocolate- possibly as hearkening back to L's own sweet tooth to show that side of his personality (ruthlessness aside) as continuing in him.


DEATH NOTE - 37 - Large 25 3809.jpg

Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (JP), Cathy Weseluck (EN)


L's true successor, named Nate River, and the one who truly takes down Kira in the end. Characterized by the contrast of his mature conversation with his childlike playing with toys, he runs the SPK, a force from the USA specially designed to unmask Kira on reasoning that the new "L" Light Yagami, is incompetent. Like his predecessor, he also suspects Light to be Kira and periodically makes life difficult for him both unwittingly and wittingly- the former by reminding Light of L through the style of his speech and analytical skills and the latter by sowing seeds of doubt amongst the Task Force to make some of them suspect Light as well. He soon comes to suspect Mikami and Takada to have something to do with Kira as well. Despite having every right to do so, he refuses to incarcerate Light and Mikami and use the lack of deaths following as evidence.

The closest thing that the one-shot comic three years later has to a main character, he drives C-Kira to suicide with words alone. It's worth noting, however, that the one-shot's canon status is debatable, as it appears to have had no involvement from Ohba or Obata.


"Nobody can tell what is right and what is wrong, what is righteous and what is evil. Even if there is a God and I had His teachings in front of me I would think it through and decide if it was right and wrong myself. I'm no different to you. I believe in what I think is right, and believe that to be righteous. You are no god. And I find the whole idea of you setting the path for all the people to follow is neither peaceful nor righteous. And anybody who claims to be a god and kills people from left to right is neither peaceful nor righteous."