Death Note is a manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It was published from December 2003 to May 2006. It was then adapted to three separate films released on June and November, 2006 and February 2008. In April 2009, WB of America acquired the rights to create a live-action version of the manga, instead of a remake of the existing Japanese film.
The anime series, comprising of 37 episodes, ran from October 2006 to June 2007. Eight months later, a stand alone anime special was released. This was set two years after the manga’s conclusion, introducing a new protagonist with the same alias – Kira.
Various video games were also released in Japan by Konami for Nintendo DS on February 2007.
This series has created problems for a few countries around the world, including China who banned it in 2005 citing protection of its innocent children, Belgium and America that had a few “copycat crimes” and in Hong Kong where a person adopted the name of Kira, published a series of private but pornographic images of a star with his conquests (other stars) in 2008.
Light Yagami is a brilliant university student with a great future ahead of him. Probably because of his family upbringing and the fact that his father is a law enforcement officer, he, however, resents the rise in crime and corruption in his world. That changes when he stumbles upon a “Death Note”, a notebook from the realm of the Death Gods, dropped by a rogue Shinigami: Ryuk – a death god/the grim reaper. In his hand, is a powerful tool for eliminating anyone whose face he has seen and whose name he knows. Just by simply writing the victim’s name in it the intended dies. He uses criminals as his experimental lab rats to unveil the book’s strengths and weakness. Having the power of the Death note, he vows for a perfect world without crime or criminals. The public even christens him “Kira” (killer in Japanese). However, when criminals start dropping like flies, the authorities dispatch the infamous detective L to track him down. With L as his nemesis, it’s a battle of wits between the two.
Misa Amane is another Death Note owner who becomes infatuated with Kira after the death of her parents’ murderer. She pledges her loyalty to him by “sharing” her Death Note and shinigami with him, but is soon nabbed by L. Unlike Kira, Misa doesn’t need to “know” the name of the intended victim to actually kill him. She can SEE it. For that, her life is shortened.
Light turns himself in for surveillance and partners L in “finding” Kira to ease L’s suspicion of him. But before that, he renounces the ownership of both Death Notes together with his memories of them and “accidentally” drops it in the hands of the yakuza. While making an arrest on the group, Light touches the Death Note and regains his memories. He forces Rem, former shinigami of Misa to kill L.
After the death of L, Light is given the position of “L” in the police force. Four years later, Near and Mello – child successors to L – are sent to hunt down Kira. Through a web of deception and the use of a former girlfriend and supporter, Mello is killed. And as Near battles it out with Kira, only one remains standing. Whatever happens, shinigami Ryuk has the last claim on his owner’s soul.