Death Note is a 2008 psychological thriller anime that is widely critically acclaimed for its dramatic direction and shocking twists. It depicts the intense mind games between serial killer, Light Yagami, and the master detective, L.
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Death Note Background
The series follows the character Light Yagami’s journey after he finds the titular death note. The death note is a notebook belonging to a god of death, which is capable of ending someone’s life by having someone’s name written within it. Light uses this in a misguided attempt to become a god, asserting moral judgment onto the criminals of the world.
What follows is a thrilling series that focuses on Light’s attempts to evade suspicion from the legendary detective, L. Light delivers a warped form of justice using the notebook and becomes known as the killer “Kira” in the process.
If you’ve been enjoying anime, you are likely already familiar with Death Note. It’s a series with a unique legacy, and one that’s often considered to be a classic. The 2008 anime adapts the original manga’s chilling storyline faithfully.
If you’ve somehow avoided all discussion of the series, however, be aware that the rest of this article will spoil some of the series’ most crucial twists. Don’t read any further if you want the experience to be preserved!
What Happens to L
To give a precise response: yes, L dies in Death Note. This marks the midpoint of the series and a significant shift in the overall story.
As part of a calculated gambit against L, Light constructs a devious plan to ensure the demise of his rival. After successfully transferring the ownership of the death note to defer suspicion onto other people, L begins to focus their investigation on Misa Amane – Light’s girlfriend and partner-in-crime. At this point in the series, Misa has been acting as the “Second Kira,” using a second death note. Unfortunately, Misa becoming the spotlight of suspicion is what begins to determine L’s ultimate fate.
Each notebook in the show is associated with the ‘god of death’ that formerly owned it. In the case of Misa Amane, her notebook used to belong to Rem. Rem is a god of death who became particularly attached to Misa after watching her life from beyond the human world.
Realizing that Misa is soon to become trapped in a web of L’s suspicion, Rem decides to take action. He uses the death note to kill not only L, but also his assistant Watari via heart attack. Unfortunately, gods of death are only meant to end human lives, not extend them. Misa is saved by Rem’s actions. This means that killing L also costs Rem his own life.
For many, the cat-and-mouse game between Light and L is the core appeal of Death Note. Thus, the absence of L after this point had tremendous impact on the series. That said, the death of L certainly takes the show in some interesting directions. Afterwards, the series showcases Light’s attempts to mold society around his aspirations of becoming a god.