Death Note (デスノート Desu Noto) is a Japanese Manga
series created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata. The series centers on Light Yagami
, a high schooL
student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the titular "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a shinigami (death god) named Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose face they have seen, by writing the victim's name in the notebook with a picture of the victim in his mind, due to that there is the possibility of several people having the same name. The story follows Light's attempt to create and rule a world cleansed of evil using the notebook, and the complex conflict between him and his opponents.
Death Note was first serialized in 108 chapters by Shueisha in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The series was also published in tankobon (paperback) format in Japan starting in May 2004 and ending in October 2006, and since then has been translated internationally. The series was adapted into live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, on November 3, 2006, and on February 2, 2008. The Anime
series aired in Japan from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007. A novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was released in Japan on August 1, 2006.
Light Yagami is an extremely intelligent young man who resents the crime and corruption in the world. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note", lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person shall die. Light is initially skeptical of the notebook's authenticity, but after experimenting with it, Light realizes that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his keen judgment on those he deems to be evil or who get in his way. A shinigami's Death Note is a notebook that can kill any human whose name is written in it. All Death Notes are governed by the same set of rules determining the extents and limitations of the Notes' powers.
Soon, the number of inexplicable deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the International Police Organization and a mysterious detective known only as "L". L quickly learns that the serial killer, dubbed by the public as "Kira" (キラ ?, derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "killer"), is located in Japan. L also concludes that Kira can kill people without laying a finger on them. Light realizes that L will be his greatest nemesis, and a game of psychological cat and mouse between the two begins.
After several murders, Misa Amane
, a possessor of another Death Note, meets Light and tries to help him to do his work but she is captured by L. Light makes a plan involving renouncing ownership of both Death Notes, and all of his memories of them, and turns himself in to L for surveillance. After losing his memories, Light and L start to investigate a criminal group named "Yotsuba" together who had Misa's Death Note. When arresting them, Light recovers all his memories while touching the Death Note, remembers his plan, and forces the former owner of Misa's Death Note, the shinigami Rem
, to kill L.
After L's death, two young men, who are also individually exceedingly capable, battle for the role of successor. These two future successors are known as "M" and "N"; M represents Mello
, and N represents Near
. Mello is intelligent, but hasty and very stubborn. Mello makes appearances occasionally in several episodes, and does not seem like a very important element, but his appearances will prove to be a pivotal element. Near, the successor of L meanwhile creates the "SPK" (Special Provision for Kira). The SPK is a small team designed to arrest Kira, otherwise known as Yagami Light.
Meanwhile, word of Kira has gone worldwide. After L's death, Light is granted the position of the "new L". Light believes that he has accomplished his initial goal of eliminating L, but he has yet another challenge. Light is challenged by Near in a battle of minds. Near automatically suspects Light to be Kira and plans different ways of attack. In the meantime, Kira has gained much of public support, and has contacts to help him continue killing criminals. Mello abducts one of these contacts, and Kira kills his own contact. Mello dies in the aftermath, but his death provided an important clue for Near about the Death Note. Near is then able to use his SPK members to find Kira's other contact, and create a fake, duplicate Death Note. This is used to trick Kira into "killing" Near and the SPK with a fake death note. Obviously, Near and the SPK remain alive and use Kira's own signed Death Note as evidence to arrest him. Kira explains that he is already the "god" of the new world, and that Near will never be able to defeat him. In the end, Light is caught by the SPK and killed by Ryuk, the shinigami who owns the Death Note.
The Death Note anime, directed by Tetsurō Araki and animated by Madhouse, began airing in Japan on October 3, 2006, and finished its run on June 26, 2007, totaling 37 twenty-minute episodes. It is set in the year 2007, instead of starting at the year 2003. The series aired on the Nippon Television network "every Tuesday at 24:56". The series was co-produced by Madhouse, Nippon Television, Shueisha, D.N. Dream Partners and VAP.
In North America, the series has been licensed by Viz for residents in the United States to use "Download-to-Own" and "Download-to-Rent" services while it was still airing in Japan. This move is seen as "significant because it marks the first time a well known Japanese anime property will be made legally available to domestic audiences for download to own while the title still airs on Japanese television". The downloadable episodes contain the original Japanese audio track and English subtitles, and is available through IGN's Windows-only Direct2Drive service. DVDs of the series are also being released, containing both an English dubbed audio track, produced by The Ocean Group, and the original Japanese audio track with optional English subtitles. Viz announced at Anime Expo 2007 that the first DVD was officially released on November 20, 2007, in both regular and special editions, and also confirmed at Comic-Con International 2007 that the first 15,000 copies of each DVD contains collectible figures.
Death Note was slated to make its North American television premiere in Canada on YTV's Bionix programming block on September 7, 2007; however, the show was removed from the schedule at the last minute. The Canadian premiere was pushed back to October 26, 2007, at 10:00 p.m., when it finally premiered. Death Note premiered in the U.S. on October 20, 2007, at 11:30 p.m. on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The last episode aired on Canada's YTV channel on July 4, 2008, with Adult Swim airing it 2 days later. YTV took away the show on July 5, 2008, with the last airing being the last episode rerun @ 1:30am ET, as part of YTV moving the Bionix block to a 2-hour only block on Saturdays. The show also streams online for free on Adult Swim Video, with a new episode uploaded every Saturday afternoon, on the day of its broadcast premiere. Death Note has also been aired by the anime television network Animax across its respective networks worldwide, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
A two-hour animated Death Note Rewrite: The Visualizing God' (DEATH NOTE リライト・幻視する神 Desu Noto Riraito: Genshisuru kami?) TV special aired on Nippon Television in Japan on August 31, 2007, at 8:03 PM. It is a recap which takes place after the series end, where a Shinigami approaches Ryuk in the Shinigami realm in order to learn more about the human world. Instead, Ryuk tells him of all the events leading up to the Mello/Near arc, about Light Yagami and his rival L. Originally, this special was advertised as a retelling told from Ryuk's point of view, but it does not give a different point of view than what was originally told. However, it contains updated dialog, as well as a few new scenes, including an alternate ending.
The Japanese broadcaster NTV has aired the Death Note: Rewrite 2: L's Successors (Death Note Rewrite 2: L o Tsugu Mono) special on August 22. Like the first special, this new compilation summarized a part of the 2006-2007 television anime series. Specifically, it recounted the final half of the supernatural suspense story, including the investigators Near and Mello's confrontations with the vigilante Kira. This version notably features more updates than the previous one, most notably omission of the mafia plot, moving Light's meetings with Mikami and Takada to earlier and having them be the ones to kill the SPK.
- From Wikipedia