Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (2023)

It goes without saying thatDeath Noteis widely considered to be one of the most popular anime series of all time. Madhouse has consistently been at the forefront of bringing true life to the anime medium with their larger-than-life animation that always manages to make even the most mundane things look all the more amazing, due to the sheer amount of detail put into their art.

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Of course,it's hard to deny the fact that one of the biggest draws of Death Note is also its cast of well-realized characters, all of whom add their own flavor to the mix to make for some truly engrossing viewing indeed. These character arcs play a huge role in their development over the course of the series... although there are admittedly some arcs that are better than others.

Updated July 3rd, 2021, by Kristy Ambrose: The original manga appeared in 2003, and almost two decades later there's a whole Death Note franchise that fans can enjoy. The anime series from 2006 gets the most attention and the main character, Light, is often the face of Death Note. He's always on every list that features the most compelling and evil characters in all of anime history. The Death Note characters and their arcs are what make the show fun to watch, both for the first time and for the rewatch value.


Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (1)

While the first half of Death Note is a brilliant watch, the same can't be said for the second half, which has a noticeable dip in quality. The leading reason is the main characters of Death Note aren't as interesting in the latter half.

The two characters who end up replacing L after his unfortunate demise are a great example of this, with Mello being an absolute lowlight of the series. The fact that he ends up succumbing to his demons and goes down a criminal path in order to hunt down and arrest Kira is painful to watch and makes for an extremely boring character arc.


Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (2)

While Near might also be a rather uninspired Death Note character, with his entire personality being completely ripped from his predecessor, there's no denying the fact that he's still leagues ahead of Mello. There are some places wherethe audience sees some positive development, as subtle as it is.

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The fact that Near has absolutely nothing unique associated with his persona certainly takes the quality of his character down a notch. And the exaggerated quirks he has of twirling his hair and peering suspiciously at everything is just annoying.

Naomi Misora

It's a testament to the brilliant writing in this show that a character who only appeared for one episode ended up being one of the best and most interesting Death Note characters in the entire series.

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After the death of her husband, Naomi Misora tries her hardest to contact the head of the Kira Investigation Team, only to encounter the killer himself in the form of Light Yagami. The ensuing game of cat and mouse is easily one of the highlights of the series and goes to show just how interesting Death Note really can be, and most of this is made possible due to the quick thinking of Naomi, right up until the very end when she slips up and reveals her real name to Kira.

Kiyomi Takada

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Takada is a character that appears early in the series but is deliberately kept in the background to hide her nature from everyone, even the viewer. She was involved with Light during his university years and later, as a TV news anchor, openly supported Kira and was one of the few other people that also knew his real identity. She was deliberately created to play well against Light and has a similar character arc, but hers is cut short as Kira's plans start to unravel.

When Takada appears more often in the later episodes of the series there are a lot of flashbacks and memories that suggest she was working in the background for decades to help Kira. It's a unique Death Note character arc becausefansdon't understand the scope of it until the very end.

Teru Mikami

Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (5)
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The idea of having another Kira is something that was executed with deft finesse in Death Note.Teru Mikami is a great example to illustrate the benefits of this particular angle in the story. He might not be one of the best Death Note characters but he is one of the most interesting.

The warped sense of justice that Mikami had developed as a result of a traumatic childhood made him the perfect candidate to be another Kira, with his iconic repetition of the word "delete" being one of the more memorable aspects of the character that fans still look back on fondly to this day.

Soichiro Yagami

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It's funny how the lead investigator of the Kira Investigation Team didn't even realize that the perpetrator he was looking for was none other than his own son. It was Soichiro's own optimism that would betray him, which makes his tragic arc one of the best among theDeath Notemain characters.

Regardless of what most people might feel about this course of events, there's no denying the fact that Soichiro was still a bright and intelligent man whose death was certainly quite hard-hitting. The fact that he died believing that his son wasn't Kira was the only respite he had.

Misa Amane

Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (7)

Initially coming off as nothing more than an obsessive fan of Kira who had absolutely no other motivations in life, it's incredible how Misa Amane managed to break past this barrier and establish herself as a brilliant character in her own right.

The relationship she shares with Rem and Light over the course of the series is one of the driving forces that defines her character, turning her into acompelling person whose scenes always featured a trademarkstrangeness that could've only been achieved with her unique persona.

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Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (8)

Of course, it would be impossible to talk about the best characters of Death Note without mentioning the brilliance of Ryuk— a Shinigami that ended up being one of the most compelling characters of the show.

While his whole trademark of finding humans intriguing stays stagnant throughout the entire series, it's still interesting enough to make him one of the best Death Note characters even though his arc might not be all that significant.


Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (9)

The idea of a God of Death developing feelings for a human to the point where they could be manipulated into doing their bidding is a testament to just how amazing Rem is as a Death Note character. Anything she ever says is short, honest, and often sharp to the point.

Initially coming off as nothing more than another stoic Shinigami with a personality that clashes with Ryuk, Rem's feelings for Misa end up being the catalyst for her own demise. She ends up sacrificing her own life to kill L and save Misa.

Touta Matsuda

Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (10)

A member of the Kira Investigation Team, Matsuda starts out as little more than comic relief as a main Death Note character. He's depicted as the clumsy, inept one of the group but he's also a decent shot and has a talent for undercover work. At one point, he actually expresses some sympathy with Kira only to be severely reprimanded for it by his mentor Soichiro.

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For the most part, he's cheerful and is a self-confessed weakling. Put all of this together and Kira doesn't take him seriously enough to end his life. It's also possible that Light spared Matsuda on behalf of his father, Soichiro since Matsuda was always close to him.


Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (11)

The world's greatest detective is also one of the best characters in anime history, and one need only look at L's quirky mannerisms and eccentric personality to understand why this is the case. His whole being, including his background as an orphan and his anti-social personality, is created as a foil to that of the handsome and popular Light.


However, L is more than just his analytic side. He ends up forming a genuine bond with Light and even considers him to be his one true friend, which is what makes his final moments all the more tragic.

Light Yagami

Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc (12)

The protagonist of the series also ends up being its most compelling Death Notecharacter by a mile, with the transformation of the honor student Light Yagami into the serial killer with a god-complex who goes by the moniker of Kira being a highly interesting one indeed.

However, it's the manner in which Light manipulates everyone and everything around him that makes him all the more interesting to watch. While his web of lies is ultimately unraveled by the end, the journey is still highly compelling in every sense of the word.

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Death Note: The Main Characters, Ranked From Worst To Best By Character Arc? ›

The most disliked character within Death Note is none other than Misa Amane. Like her shinigami Rem, Misa was also extremely gullible and influenced by others, especially Light.

Who is the most hated character from Death Note? ›

The most disliked character within Death Note is none other than Misa Amane. Like her shinigami Rem, Misa was also extremely gullible and influenced by others, especially Light.

Who is Light Yagami girlfriend? ›

Misa Amane
NicknameMisa Misa (ミサミサ)
OccupationModel Actress Singer (in Death Note film series, Death Note: The Musical, and Death Note (TV drama)) TV personality (in Death Note film series)
RelativesLight Yagami (fiancé)
8 more rows

Who has a crush on L Death Note? ›

English. Kyoko is a student at To-Oh University who seems to have a crush on L, whom she knows by his alias, "Hideki Ryuga."

Who most hated anime character? ›

20 Most Hated Anime Characters, Ranked
  1. 1 Boruto Uzumaki (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations)
  2. 2 Near (Death Note) ...
  3. 3 Ren Yamai (Komi Can't Communicate) ...
  4. 4 Mami Nanami (Rent-A-Girlfriend) ...
  5. 5 Spandam (One Piece) ...
  6. 6 Orihime Inoue (Bleach) ...
  7. 7 Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion) ...
  8. 8 Sugou Nobuyuki/Oberon (Sword Art Online) ...
May 4, 2023

Who was smarter L or Near? ›

Apart from L, Near is easily the smartest character in the series – smarter even than his partner, Mello. Near managed to make it to the very end, but he probably wouldn't have caught Light or made it as far as he did without the help of L and Mello.

What is the IQ of L? ›

6. L Lawliet (IQ 211) L Lawliet or 'L' in short was the only guy in the entire Death Note series who knew about the real identity of Kira. Through his keen intelligence, L succeeded in pulling Kira to a corner such that Kira was forced to play his special card to eliminate him.

Who is better L or Light Yagami? ›

L is. Yes, both characters had victories and defeats. Instances when they outwitted the other or were outwitted themselves. But there's one simple fact that is undeniable: Light has such a significant advantage that the fact that they were close indicates that L is far smarter.

Who is more powerful Ryuk or Goku? ›

Goku might be the best martial artist in the world or have supreme powers at his disposal, but none of his powers can touch Ryuk. In fact, Ryuk can only become visible to the Saiyan if he gets a chance to touch his Death Note. Even if Goku manages to see Ryuk, he won't be able to touch him.

Who is god in Death Note? ›

Shinigami (死神, Shinigami, lit. "god(s) of death" or "death god(s)") are a type of Japanese death god. They are sometimes referred to by their literal translation "god(s) of death," or by the Western equivalent "grim reaper(s)."

Who is stronger than Light Yagami? ›

The toughest opponent for Light would be Saiki Kusuo. Saiki possess psychic powers including telekinesis, telepathy, and the ability to levitate, Light would last seconds against Saiki. Saiki is a character that gets stronger the more his opponent thinks.

What is Light's real name? ›

Lights was born as Valerie Anne Poxleitner in Timmins, Ontario, to missionary parents Virginia and Eric Poxleitner on April 11, 1987. She has one older sister, Jess.

What is Misa's lifespan? ›

Known lifespans
Misa Amane15 42 30 6 (anime) 12 74 2 9 55 (TV drama, Othellonia)
Soichiro Yagami932253 (film series)
Touta Matsuda548192
20 more rows

How old is Light's sister? ›

Sayu is a 14-year old third-year student (9th grade) at Eishu Junior High School (英集中学校, Eishū Chūgakkō) at the beginning of the story.

Who kissed L in Death Note? ›

He died at the hands of the Shinigami Rem, as L was planning to put Misa Amane in harm's way to try to find evidence, something Rem wouldn't allow. So at the cost of her own life, Rem killed L and Watari to save Misa. L died immediately of a heart attack in the arms of Light Yagami.

Who is L dating in Death Note? ›

In Death Note

Kiyomi Takada first appears for a short period as Light Yagami's classmate and girlfriend; Light appeared with Takada in public to disguise the fact that he also conversed with Misa Amane. Takada is a popular girl also known as "Miss To-Oh", short for To-Oh University, or "Refined Takada".

Who is L shipped with in Death Note? ›

Tropes. LawLight is the slash ship between L Lawliet and Light Yagami from the Death Note fandom.

Who is the rudest anime character? ›

10 Anime Heroes Who Are Unapologetically Rude
  1. 1 Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)
  2. 2 Yusuke Urameshi (YuYu Hakusho) ...
  3. 3 Joseph Joestar (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) ...
  4. 4 Katsuki Bakugo (My Hero Academia) ...
  5. 5 Vegeta (Dragon Ball) ...
  6. 6 Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach) ...
  7. 7 Levi Ackerman (Attack On Titan) ...
  8. 8 Monkey D. ...
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Who is the most lazy character in anime? ›

14 Laziest Anime Characters Of All Time
  1. 1 Shinnosuke Nohara (Crayon Shin-chan)
  2. 2 Nobita Nobi (Doraemon) ...
  3. 3 Shunsui Kyoraku (Bleach) ...
  4. 4 Tanaka (Tanaka-Kun Is Always Listless) ...
  5. 5 Sloth (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) ...
  6. 6 Snorlax (Pokemon) ...
  7. 7 Coyote Starrk (Bleach) ...
  8. 8 Usopp (One Piece) ...
Dec 27, 2022

Who knew L's name? ›

Even the wiki only shows L's last name, but Light knows it, or at least, has access to it. Since Rem wrote his name, and Light has Rem's Death Note, taken from her sandy remains, he can easily flip to the page and find both of the names.

Who is the villain in Death Note? ›

Type of Villain

interesting. Ryuk. Ryuk is the deuteragonist of the Death Note franchise, though he would later become the main antagonist of the one shot special chapter, set after the events of the original series. He was the one who inadvertently gave Light Yagami the Death Note and instigated his killing spree.

Is Near L's son? ›

Near is one of L's successors but they never met in person and aren't related.

What is the average IQ for 13 year olds? ›

Between 40 and 65

How smart is 151 IQ? ›

115 to 129: Above average or bright. 130 to 144: Moderately gifted. 145 to 159: Highly gifted. 160 to 179: Exceptionally gifted.

How intelligent is 120 IQ? ›

An IQ score over 140 indicates that you're a genius or nearly a genius, while 120 - 140 is classed as "very superior intelligence". 110 - 119 is "superior intelligence", while 90 - 109 is "normal or average intelligence".

What is L's fake name? ›

L, who also uses the aliases Hideki Ryuga (流河 旱樹, Ryūga Hideki), Ryuzaki (竜崎, Ryūzaki), Eraldo Coil (エラルド=コイル, Erarudo Koiru), and Deneuve (ドヌーヴ, Donūvu), the latter two for which he has developed reputations as the second- and third-best detectives in the world, is a very discreet and secretive individual and only ...

Does Light really hate L? ›

Light (that being the Light who didn't realize he was Kira), did like L and considered him a friend. But Kira (that being, the Light who has Kira's memories) considered L his enemy.

Could L beat Light in a fight? ›

L would win. He is a trained professional in many things as we see in the manga/anime, and we also see by the brief physical confrontations he has with Light, that L can fight in a particular fighting style, which reveals he is trained to fight to start with.

Which God has Goku beat? ›

Appearances. Beerus awakens from a 39-year sleep and goes in search of a Super Saiyan God whom he saw in his dream, his search bringing him to Goku whom he easily defeats despite his opponent being in Super Saiyan 3 form.

Can Naruto see Ryuk? ›


That's because Ryuk is pretty much invisible to mere mortals (at least to those who haven't touched his Death Note). For that matter, Naruto won't even see Ryuk coming.

What race is Ryuk? ›

Ryuk (リューク, Ryūku) is a Shinigami who indirectly gives Light Yagami a Death Note after becoming bored with the Shinigami Realm.

How does Ryuk have 2 Death Notes? ›

In Death Note. Ryuk is a Shinigami bored with the activities (or lack thereof) of the Shinigami realm, so he decides to obtain a second Death Note and drop it in the human world for someone to find, hoping to relieve his boredom. He succeeds in tricking the Shinigami King out of a second Death Note.

Who will win Light Yagami or Goku? ›

Light is by far smarter than Goku and Light could just ask Goku for his name and Goku would respond, making Light take his life.

What if Goku had the Death Note? ›

The rule says "The human whose name is written in this note shall die". Put simply, Goku can't be killed with the Death Note, as its power, and the power of the Shinigami over the realm/state/process of death by extension, are only effective over human beings.

Who would win Gojo or Light Yagami? ›

Whilst Gojo's abilities far exceed that of any ordinary human, he is still human and therefore vulnerable to the abilities of Light's Death Note. It's possible Gojo can cheat death, but until he displays such an ability, Light Yagami can defeat the sorcerer.

Why does Light's eye turn red? ›

Red eye is caused by light reflecting off the retina at the back of your eyes. Generally, it happens in low light conditions when a flash is used. The bright light flashes so quickly that eyes don't have time to respond and restrict the pupil so that less light enters the eye.

Who is Light's child? ›

Hikari Yagami (夜神光, Yagami Hikari, reading unverified) is the child of Light Yagami introduced in Death Note: Light Up the NEW World. Conceived in secrecy, the child was intended to take over the mantle of Kira after Light's death.

Why is L named L? ›

From the L Wikipedia page: Tsugumi Ohba, the writer of the series [...] For L's name, he wanted to use a single letter with a lot of significance; he considered "I" and "J", but eventually chose "L" after careful consideration.

Can Ryuk see Light's lifespan? ›

Not only that, we see their lifespan as well. Light Yagami : Their name and lifespan? Ryuk : That's right. I'm able to see your name and lifespan right now.

How old can a Shinigami live? ›

Shinigami can live for much longer than Humans, with some Shinigami, such as Retsu Unohana, being 1,200 years old and Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto being at least 2,110 years old. Immortality: Shinigami who have surpassed the general lifespan of over 2,000 years can achieve immortality, unable to die or feel any loss.

What was Misa's last words? ›

Misa Amane, from the thrilling anime Death Note, telling Light Yagami her last words "That was true love... Light you chose the world instead of me... I would give anything!" in a dark backdrop.

Was Misa older than Light? ›

Misa Amane is slightly older than Light at 19 years old but is much shorter, standing at only 4'11.8″ (152 cm). This makes her appear far younger than she is, especially as she can be impulsive, acting like an infatuated child around Light and following her heart most of the time.

Is Light older than L? ›

L was born in 1979. They were 7 years apart in age. Light dies at the age of 23. L dies at the age of 25.

Does Misa have siblings? ›

Her career is also further developed with her being an actress, TV personality, and singer. In addition to her parents, she had a younger brother who was also murdered, and their murderer is named as Yoichi Tamura.

Who is bad in Death Note? ›

Light is the villain of Death Note - and a serious serial killer, at that. But there are times when we still feel sorry for him. Even people who are new to anime are well aware that Light Yagami, the main protagonist of Death Note, is not a traditional villain.

Why L is bad in Death Note? ›

Light, known by the public as Kira, was a cold-blooded murderer who took pride in actions justified by his loose sense of morality. Aided by the death note, a book that had the power to kill a person provided their names were written inside it, Light executed his malevolent plans in the most ingenious ways.

Why do people hate Misa? ›

Mainly because she openly throws herself at Light and lets him use her to no extent. She doesn't display much empathy towards others around her and can be quite bubbly and eccentric to the distaste of some. Basically many are just annoyed by her.

Why is Light Yagami hated? ›

Well mostly people hate Yagami Light , because he was all about his ideal called 'justice'. He was obsessed with the idea of a perfect world were there were no criminals. So much that he decided to take the law in his hand. His ideal wasn't something to despise but his malpractices were.

Who can't be killed by the Death Note? ›

The Death Note will not affect those less than 780 days old. You cannot kill humans who are more than 124 years of age with the Death Note. You cannot kill humans with less than 12 minutes of life left (in human calculations). You cannot set a death date longer than the victim's original lifespan.

Is L good or bad in Death Note? ›

L Lawliet, also referred to as Ryūzaki, is the main antagonist of the anime and manga series Death Note, serving as the main antagonist of the first half of the series and the posthumous overarching antagonist of the second half.

Is Light or L smarter? ›

There actually is an official answer to this question. In “Death Note 13: How to Read” stats are provided on the two characters. Light is shown to be more intelligent than L, however L takes the initiative more.

Is Light pure evil? ›

Light Yagami is used as the current image for the deletion template. While unambiguously Pure Evil in the Death Note manga, the scene where the anime version flashes back to his childhood before he got the Death Note and started sobbing has led some to interpret it as that version of Light feeling remorse.

Who is the fake L in Death Note? ›

L places Tailor on television as a decoy. The network states that the broadcast is worldwide and that Tailor's statements (made in English) are being translated into Japanese by Yoshio Anderson. After Tailor introduces himself as L, he declares that Kira is evil and he will be caught and his crimes exposed.

Did Ryuk care for Light? ›

As stated earlier, Ryuk is only following Light around for entertainment value. His little trip to Earth is basically a getaway from the boredom of the Shinigami world and a way to get a vacation from his Death God job for a while. This leads to the truth of the matter. Ryuk really doesn't care about Light.

Can everyone see Ryuk? ›

Kira tells them that he believes that they are enforcers of justice in his world, and no harm will come to them. However, he can't bear to see the notebook in the Mello's hands. Three days later, the investigation team receives the Death Note, and they can all now see Ryuk.

Is Misa Amane clingy? ›

She's seen as an annoyingly clingy nuisance without any insight as to why her character acts in this manner. In actuality, Misa watched both her parents get murdered right in front of her, and their killers went free after a long, dragged-out trial. It's no wonder that she clings to Light so intensely.

Did Light Yagami abuse Misa? ›

Its pretty clear Light doesn't have any real feelings for Misa. When she tried surprising Light with some skimpy lingerie, he didn't even look at her. Light just keeps Misa around because she's easy to control and has an added power. After Light is killed, Misa sinks into a depression and eventually kills herself.

Did Light Yagami regret killing L? ›

He would be able to prevent the deaths of Raye Penbur and Naomi Masura, both of whom he, at one point, greatly regretted killing, L, and even the FBI Agents. He at last makes his judgement, and accepts.

What disorder does Light Yagami have? ›

Yagami's aggression is clearly egosyntonic, and he develops paranoid tendencies out of fear that others will find him out. With a mix of narcissistic, antisocial, and paranoid traits, Yagami fulfills Kernberg's criteria and can be considered a malignant narcissist. Light Yagami is an iconic character in manga.

Is Light Yagami better than L? ›

Light wins this battle of wits, but that doesn't mean that L was a fool. Light had the advantage of the supernatural Death Note and Misa's Shinigami eyes, which allowed him to triumph.


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