In Tokyo, a hardworking and intelligent high-school student named Light Yagami finds the Death Note. The Death Note is a mysterious black notebook that can kill anyone as long as the user knows both the target's name and face. Initially terrified of its power, Light considers the good he could do with the Death Note and kills high-profile criminals. Light is visited by Ryuk, a Shinigami and the Death Note's previous owner. Ryuk, invisible to anyone who has not touched the notebook, reveals that he dropped the notebook into the human world out of boredom and is amused by Light's actions.
As criminals around the world die from inexplicable accidents and heart attacks, the global media suggest that a single mastermind is responsible for the mysterious murders and name him Kira. Hoping to apprehend Kira, Interpol requests the assistance of world-renowned detective, known as L, to assist their investigation. L tricks Light into revealing that he is in the Kanto region of Japan by manipulating him to kill a decoy. Furious, Light vows to kill L, whom he views as obstructing his plans to rid the world of criminals. L deduces that Kira has inside knowledge of the investigation, led by Light's father, Soichiro Yagami. L monitors the families of those connected with the investigation and learns enough to designate Light as his primary suspect. Around this time, Light graduates from high school and is recruited by L to join the Kira Task Force, each trying to get the other to reveal crucial information.
Death Note Characters
Light Yagami is a hardworking and naturally smart high-school student who is popular amongst peers and adored by his family. Constant praise and his high intelligence combine to create a high level of hubris, which intensifies after obtaining the Death Note. Like his father Soichiro, Light has a strong sense of justice, but this warps quickly after he becomes tainted by the notebook’s power. Believing the world to be "rotten," he uses his Death Note to pursue his goal of creating a new world that is free of injustice by ridding the world of evil people and earns the name Kira from media and authorities. Light considers his actions the ultimate “sacrifice” to help the world and quickly develops a cold and ruthless nature.
Ryuk is a Shinigami who drops a Death Note into the Human World for someone to find after growing bored with the Shinigami Realm. The notebook is discovered by Light, who uses it to cleanse the world of evil and injustice, satisfying Ryuk's need for entertainment. Ryuk finds Light "interesting," specifically the experiments and the loopholes Light discovers regarding the Death Note's rules, some even Ryuk did not know existed. Though he finds Light interesting, Ryuk does not care whether Light lives or dies and only assists him when there is entertainment to gain from it. Ryuk has a great fondness for apples, comparing his love of them to various human world addictions.
L from Death Note is a world-renowned detective who is recruited by the Japanese Task Force to catch the mass murderer known as Kira. He is quite secretive and only communicates with the world through his assistant, Watari. L never shows his face to the world and his real name is never revealed, only using a drawn capital "L." These safety measures prevent him from being added to the Death Note. Despite his quirks and inappropriate behavior, he is considered the world's greatest detective due to his extraordinary deduction abilities and intelligence. This creates a sensitive pride, like Light, who L suspects is Kira and makes it his mission to prove it. The two of them play mind games as each try to get the other to reveal crucial information.
Misa Amane is an up-and-coming model and actress who is quite popular due to her career and aesthetic. Misa witnessed the murder of her family during an attempted home robbery. After a lengthy trial, the murderer was acquitted of the crime. He was later killed by Kira, prompting her to become loyal Kira supporter. Misa was met by an obsessed stalker, but a Shinigami named Gelus, who had been watching Misa from the Shinigami Realm, killed him and saved her life. Since Shinigami are meant to shorten human lifespans, Gelus died and left behind his Death Note. Another Shinigami, Rem, witnessed the sacrifice and decided that his notebook should belong to Misa. In the hopes of thanking Kira for avenging her parents, Misa made the Eye Deal with Rem and uses the ability to track down Light.