Light Yagami, the protagonist of Death Note.
|Debut||Manga: Chapter One: Boredom, Anime: Episode One: Rebirth .|
|Birthday||February 28, 1986 (1989 in the anime)|
|Deathdate||January 28, 2010 (2013 in the anime)|
|Also known as||(The First) Kira, (The Second) L|
|Age||17-18 pre-timeskip, 23 post-timeskip|
|Status at debut||Senior in high school|
|Relations||Ryuk, Soichiro Yagami (Father), Sachiko Yagami (Mother), Misa Amane (accomplice), Sayu Yagami (younger sister)|
|Voice actor||Brad Swaile|
|Will to act||8/10|
Light Yagami (夜神 月, Yagami Raito) is the protagonist and anti-hero of Death Note. At the start of the series, he discovers the Death Note and uses it to kill criminals, then becoming known to the people of Japan as Kira (based on the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "killer"). Light is characterized as an extremely intelligent yet bored young man, confident in his own sense of logic and how clever he is in regards to others. He is frustrated by the lack of justice in the world. Believing the world to be "rotten," he desires a means by which he can enact his will to purge the world of all evil. Light is unaware that he is not alone: a Shinigami (God of Death) named Ryuk is tired of the rotten Shinigami Realm. This Rogue Shinigami drastically changes Light's life and world forever.
In the year 2003 (2006 in the anime), Light Yagami discovers a mysterious notebook on the ground at his school. Written on the cover: the words "Death Note". The Death Note's instructions state 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. It is in this way that Light Yagami found his true purpose in life: to become Justice by judging and killing all criminals with the Death Note. Light feels that he is the only one fit to judge humanity, thus he decides to create a New World where he alone is "God." After meeting the previous owner of the Death Note, a Shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to control the world with Divine Rule, passing judgment on those he deems to be evil or those who get in the way of his goals.
A short time later, Light sets to work ridding the world of criminals, attracting the attention of the master detective L. Light and L encounter each other in several different battles of wit and logic throughout the first arc of the series. Once the second Kira, Misa Amane emerges, L is able to corner them both. After giving up the Death Note briefly to clear their names, Light is able to manipulate Rem into saving Misa's life. Kira's goal: to kill L, antagonist and arch-rival to Kira. When L is attempting to test the Death Note, Rem realizes that Light has trapped her. She is forced into a situation where she must choose: the life of Misa Amane, or her own existence as a Shinigami. It is only then that Rem has an epiphany: Light Yagami has surpassed all Shinigami, having the ability to even kill "immortal" Shinigami. Rem kills both L and Watari, and then dies, leaving her Death Note at Light's disposal.
With L dead, Light takes up his mantle in order to hide L's death from the world, becoming the second L while also putting him in the perfect position to continue killing criminals as Kira. He comes into contact with L's true successors, Near and Mello, who are out for revenge in the name of the true L: Mello wants Light dead, Near wants him exposed as Kira. After making a mistake in using Teru Mikami as a proxy, Near is finally able to corner Light. Having decided that it is time to end Kira's game, Ryuk decides to kill Light.
Light constantly tries to evade the suspicion of L while both maintaining his identity as "Kira"—the name derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "killer" (キラー, Kirā?)—and cleansing the world of crime. The fact that he is a genius also adds to his notion that only he is fit to judge humanity and steer it on a proper moral course.
Light Yagami, born on February 28, 1986 (1989 in the anime), is a third year high school student (12th Grade) at Daikoku Private Academy while also attending supplemental classes at Gamou Prep Academy in the beginning of the story. Light has a father, Soichiro Yagami, who is a member of the investigation team opposing Kira. In addition, Light has a mother, Sachiko Yagami, and a younger sister, Sayu Yagami.
Light, as he appears in the anime.Added by KumoriIn the Spring of 2004, Light becomes a first-year student (freshman) at To-Oh University, becoming one of two freshman representatives; L is the other freshman representative. During a tennis game with L at To-Oh, spectators reveal that Light was the junior high school tennis champion in 1999 and 2000; After his 2000 victory, Light quit tennis as he entered high school.
When L is finally able to corner him, Light puts his master plan in practice. He temporarily gives up his Death Note to Ryuk, erasing his memories about his time as Kira from his mind. Rem, under instruction by Light to give it to someone who would use it selfishly, gives it to Kyosuke Higuchi of the Yotsuba Corporation. Now unaware of the fact that he was the original Kira, Light accepts L's offer to join the investigation team to hunt down Higuchi, known as the third Kira. Light requests the alias "Light Asahi" to be used for him. When Higuchi is finally captured, Light touches his Death Note, thereby regaining his memory of when he was the original Kira. He then proceeds, exactly as planned, masterfully killing Higuchi by using the Death Note paper he put in his watch before he lost his memories; and manipulating Rem, who also dies in the process, to kill both Watari and L.
Light is later nominated by L's investigation team (who are unaware that he is Kira) to act as L, due to the fact that they cannot reveal the death of the real L to the world. Light also takes over the role of L's assistant, Watari. Now able to act as both Kira and L, Light can continue killing criminals while leading the investigation team in circles. His secret identity as L is soon discovered by the Special Provisions for Kira, President David Hoope, and Mello's gang. Light joins the Japanese Police Force's Intelligence Department in April 2009, believing that no one can stop his plans. Near and Mello eventually appear before him, trying to accomplish what L could not: to expose Kira's true identity, and bring him to justice. At this point, according to How to Read 13, Light becomes "overtaken with evil" and possessing "arrogance that came with Kira's power"; Light loses sight of his former self.
In the end, the combined efforts of Mello and Near, combined with a large miscalculation and miscommunication on the part of Mikami and Light, force Light to reveal himself as Kira. In the final clash between Near and Light at a warehouse, all is revealed and the Kira case comes to an end after six long years.
According to the manga, Light's date of death is January 28, 2010. His height and weight are 179 centimeters (the height is 5 feet and 10 inches in the VIZ How to Read) and 54 kilograms (119 pounds), respectively. His blood type is A (see Japanese blood type theory of personality).
Light constantly tries to evade the suspicion of L while both maintaining his identity as "Kira"—the name derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "killer"—and cleansing the world of crime. The fact that he is a genius also adds to his notion that only he is fit to judge humanity and steer it on a proper moral course.
The Death of Light as he appears in the animeAdded by XxChocoMelloxXIn the manga version, Light completely loses his calm and characteristic cool over the prospect of being arrested. In complete desperation, Light begs Ryuk to help him by killing everyone in the room, yet Ryuk reminds Light that he is on neither side. Ryuk fulfills his promise from the beginning: he writes "Light Yagami" in his Death Note, thus ending Light's life.
In the anime version, Light manages to flee the warehouse after Teru Mikami commits suicide. Near instructs the team that there is no reason to pursue Light given that there should be no more hidden Death Notes, and Light's wounds would prevent him from getting far. Despite this, Shuichi Aizawa, Kanzo Mogi, Hideki Ide and Touta Matsuda tried to follow Light but are unable to find him before he dies on the staircase of a nearby warehouse due to cardiac arrest: Ryuk wrote his name in the Death Note. As Light slowly closes his eyes, an image of L appears before Light, mirroring Light standing over L in episode 25 at L's death. At the end of the second one-shot special, a deleted scene is shown, in which Aizawa and Matsuda enter the warehouse Light had fled to; their expressions of shock imply that they have seen Light's body.
In the one-shot special of the anime, an Unnamed Shinigami appears in the Shinigami Realm. This new Shinigami asks the others where the Rogue Shinigami named Ryuk is. Members of the fanbase believe this Unnamed Shinigami to be the reincarnation of Light Yagami due to five pieces of evidence: his coat looks similar to Light's when he died, he walks up stairs to meet Ryuk (a subtle reference to Light's death); the way he tosses the apple to Ryuk; the fact he inexplicably knows Ryuk's love for Apples (without asking the other Shinigami) and the fact that Ryuk says "Raito" (Light's real name) after the Unnamed Shinigami leaves. This could denote that either he realized the Shinigami's identity at the end or is merely acknowledging Light as if he were there in spirit or otherwise.
Conception and DevelopmentEdit
In Death Note: How to Read 13, Ohba said that Light was "a young man who could understand the pain of others" when he first encountered the Death Note. Ohba said that if Ryuk never developed an interest in the human world, Light would have become "one of the greatest police leaders in the world" who, with L, worked against criminals. Ohba added that he believed that debating whether Light's actions were good or evil is not "very important." Ohba says that he personally sees Light as a "diabolical" character. Obata said that Light was his second favorite human character and that he was not sure whether that was because he "liked" Light or because he drew "such a diabolical character" in a magazine for children.
Tsugumi Ohba, the story writer of Death Note, said that his editor suggested the family name "Yagami" for Light. Ohba said that he did not feel "too concerned" about the meaning of the name (the kanji are "night" and "god"); he said that after he created the final scene in the manga he "liked" that the final scene created "deeper significance" in the name.
Ohba described Light's life as "ruined" once he obtained the Death Note, and that Light became a victim of the Death Note "in many ways," Ohba described Light as bearing good faith intentions and having a "very conceited" nature. Ohba also describes Light as having a "warped" "desire to be godlike," bearing love for his family, and intending to transform the world into "a better place" Death Note: How to Read 13 also states that Light, "uncompromising" when achieving his ideals, "sullied" himself by using the Death Note and that his actions "may have been the result of the purity within him" prior to obtaining the Death Note.
Takeshi Obata, the artist of Death Note, said that he had "no trouble" designing Light as the character description presented to him, "A brilliant honors student who's a little out there," was "clear and detailed." As the weekly serialization continued, Obata simplified the design by unconsciously removing "unnecessary" lines and felt that he became "better" at drawing Light. When Chapter 35 appeared and the editor informed Obata that Light lost his memories, Obata felt that he had to "forget everything he learned" and draw Light in a similar manner as he appeared in Chapter 1. Obata said that he used "a lot of effort" to design Light's wardrobe. According to Obata, he encountered difficulty imagining the clothing of "a brilliant person," so he looked through fashion magazines. Obata envisioned Light as a "smart and formal guy" who wears formal shirts. Most of Light's clothing in Death Note is "fitted" and Obata avoided jeans.
According to Ohba, Light sees Misa Amane, who he uses as an accomplice, as a "bad person" who killed people, so he acts emotionally cold towards her and manipulates her. Despite this, he keeps her alive even after her memories of being Kira have been removed for the second (and final) time.
When designing color book covers Obata assigned colors to characters to "get the atmosphere right." Obata assigned clear or "lack of a color" to Light.
When asked about which character was most similar to himself, Ohba indicated Near and "maybe Light." Regarding Light Ohba cited "because I did well in school."
Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light in the Death Note film seriesAdded by Artist of FlashIn the film, a few changes were made to Light. At the film's beginning, Light is a first-year university student studying Law, instead of still being a high school genius, as in the beginning of the manga and anime. Light's motives differ; his boredom trait does not exist, and he instead uses the Death Note out of frustration from the perceived failures of the Japanese justice system. Light, prior to his discovery of the Death Note, hacks into the government database and finds that the government secretly acknowledges that many criminals can't be prosecuted. Light discovers the Death Note in an alley during a rainy night after encountering Takuo Shibuimaru in a club and throwing a law book into the rain in a rage. Light meets Ryuk after killing Shibuimaru. Light has a girlfriend, Shiori Akino, who attends his university. Light kills Shiori at the end of the first movie to gain sympathy from L, using Naomi Misora, whom he also kills.
After Rem "kills" L and Watari, Light writes his father's name in an attempt to kill him, an attempt that ultimately fails. The endings of both the second movie and the manga are similar. In the second film, after being exposed as Kira, Light asks Ryuk to write the names of the team members in the book during the climax. The police shoot but do not kill Ryuk as he writes in the Death Note. Light laughs until Ryuk shows Light the Death Note, revealing that Light's name was written in the book. Light tries to stop Ryuk, passing through the Shinigami. Light dies in his father's arms, begging him to believe that he acted as Kira to put justice into practice. Justice, which Soichiro Yagami had taught Light since his childhood. The film concludes one year later, on Light's birthday. Sayu fetches Soichiro and says that Kira helped reduce crime rates. However, she says that she does not support Kira as Light was killed by Kira (which is what Soichiro told her). Light is portrayed by Tatsuya Fujiwara, known for his role as Shuya Nanahara of Battle Royale.
Conception and Development in the FilmEdit
Shusuke Kaneko, director of the film, intended for Light to appear sympathetic at the beginning of the film; when Light first gains the Death Note Kaneko "was careful" to have Light react in a manner "as you and I would." Kaneko changed the story involving Light gaining his first notebook as he felt that the audience "would have a hard time sympathizing" with Light if the scene remained the same as it was in the manga. Kaneko added that as he portrayed Light as "being enthralled" as he "becomes more cruel" to make the audience members feel that they could "do the terrible things he does" even if the members do not sympathize with Light.
Tatsuya Fujiwara said that he felt difficulty portraying Light in the film series because of the lack of "action" and because Light has no signature mannerisms and therefore has his feelings displayed by his face; Fujiwara added that he struggled conveying Light's "incredible amount of intelligence" and that the performance would appear "very empty or simplistic" if Light received an improper portrayal. Fujiwara explained that he wanted Light to cry in a particular scene even though Kaneko told Fujiwara "Light doesn’t cry" since Fujiwara believed that the scene would feel "more honest"; Kaneko used the take.
Kaneko designed Light's room to reflect the character's personality by making it clean and neat and filling it with legal, criminal history, foreign, and academic books. The original version of Light's room included a stereo; Kaneko replaced it with a vacuum cleaner to reflect Light's "clean-freak self."
Kenichi Matsuyama, the actor who portrayed L, said that he and Fujiwara became "so immersed" in their character portrayals that they did not talk to one another while on the set; when filming ceased they conversed and "went out for a drink or two."
Tom S. Pepirium of IGN said that he felt surprise when he learned that some viewers, while watching the series, wanted Light to emerge as the victor of the storyline; Pepirium added that his wife said that she was "kinda rooting for Light." Pepirium compared wanting Light to win to "cheering for Kevin Spacey at the end of Seven." Pepirium added that Brad Swaile, Light's English-language voice actor, "nails" the "difficult" task of making Light "both likable and hated." Jason Charpentier of The Anchor stated that Light's attributes and his role as a main character form "part of what makes Death Note interesting."
Tetsuro Araki, the director of the anime, said that he felt an urge to support and cheer for Light. Araki added that Light would have used and killed him if he was one of Light's friends, but the director still believed that Light is "that interesting" and therefore he would have felt an attraction towards Light.
Reception to film version characterEdit
Pauline Wong of OtakuZone had her opinions of the film portrayal of Light Yagami published in The Star, a Malaysian newspaper. In it, Wong says that the "very bishie-status-worthy" Fujiwara portrayed Light with "aplomb and near-perfection, right down to the evil little smile." Kitty Sensei, quoted in the same Malaysian article, says that the portrayal of Light in the film is "very faithful to the manga’s."
Tatsuya Fujiwara, the actor who portrayed Light in the films, said that he "could understand" Light's intentions to create a new world even though "Murder is a horrible thing." Matsuyama describes L and Light as having "such unique characters that they’re impossible to understand." Erika Toda, the actress who portrayed Misa Amane in the films, described Light's and Misa's actions as "criminal."