What would you do if a mysterious notebook giving power over life and death fell into your hands? This is the premise behind Death Note, a breakout manga hit from the early 2000s.
Unfamiliar with this series? Well, here’s a quick run-down of Death Note’s major players to get you up to speed:
Light Yagami is a bright, diligent student destined to follow in his father’s footsteps with a career in criminal justice. So when he finds the Death Note Light believes he can bring to justice those criminals who have managed to avoid punishment for their crimes. Light’s secretive actions have consequences as he continues down this path. Given the serial killer moniker “Kira” he must work to keep his father and the rest of the investigative team off of his trail, using any means necessary.
The Death Note in Light’s possession belongs to the shinigami Ryuk. He’s extremely bored and intrigued to see what would happen if a Death Note was in the hands of a human. After conning a second Death Note from the Shinigami King, Ryuk writes out the rules for use inside the book before dropping it where Light discovers it. You’ll often see Ryuk eating or holding a red apple as he counsels his human protege.
In the hunt to find and take down Kira, the world’s greatest detective is a young man known simply as L. Often depicted sitting knees up in a chair and eating desserts, L is quick to surmise Light’s true role in the Kira investigation but slow to gain actual proof to back up his theories. It’s hard to watch L’s scenes without getting a craving for strawberry shortcake.
The second person to obtain a Death Note, Misa Amane is a Japanese idol (singer, model, aspiring actress) who becomes obsessed with Kira after he kills the man responsible for the death of her parents. Misa’s unwaivering loyalty to Light and desire to keep his secret from being revealed have put her in some risky situations, much to the chagrin of the shinigami who accompanies her.
The shinigami Rem watches over Misa once she gives the young idol the Death Note of a shinigami killed for breaking one of their laws. Unlike Ryuk, Rem is very actively involved in Misa’s use of the book and concerned for the girl as Light’s plans put her in harm’s way. You could even say Rem is in love with Misa…