Death Note: A Review of the Manga Series

Kyle McQuillan, Writer

Death Note is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba.  The main character we follow throughout the story is Light Yagami.  Another main character is Ryuk.  He becomes bored with the Shinigami realm and decides to take an adventure to the human world, Earth.  The author, Ohba, creates a complex character by utilizing the juxtaposition of Light’s personality in the beginning compared to the people with pure intentions around him.  

Light is shown as the ideal child.  He is a kid genius who performs very well in school and does not get into trouble.  This is juxtaposed with the personality of Kira.  Kira is Light’s alter ego.  He is the one responsible for the deaths of criminals throughout the world.  Through the use of the death note, we can see Light’s break.  At first he wants to use it responsibly and for the greater good of humanity.  Then slowly as the story progresses he begins manipulating people in order to not get caught.  He fakes a friendship with L, or Ryuzaki, in order to prove his “innocence.” 

Light also fakes a relationship with Misa.  She is a famous model who is trying to find Kira in an effort to support the cause to cleanse the world.  Misa’s parents were murdered by violent criminals when she was a little girl.  Her parents killers faced the wrath of Kira and this is when she tries to help him.  Misa has good intentions, she wants to repay Kira for the service he did to her.  Light uses this to his advantage and he wraps her up into the mess.  He gives her control of a death note and makes her do things because he “loves” her.   

Another group that falls into Light’s manipulation is the police force that is assigned to  the Kira case.  All of the people working for the police force had taken an oath to protect the public.  Light’s father, Soichiro, is the leader of the investigation.  It is apparent that Light wants to join the police force when he is done with university.  Once he gets a hold of the death note and begins to realize the power he holds, he uses the police force to his advantage.  He knows that if he clears his name as soon as possible he would be clear for the rest of the investigation.  When he begins to work with the police force he uses them even more.  Light begins to stay one step ahead of them in an effort to not get caught.  

In conclusion, Light Yagami has proven to be a very dynamic character throughout the series, “Death Note.”  When juxtaposed to people like, Light in the beginning, Misa, his father, Ryuzaki, or the rest of the police force, we can notice the drastic change.  He went from a scholar student, perfect child, to a ruthless, manipulative person with a God complex.