Light Yagami, a high school student discovers a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that was dropped on Earth by a Shinigami (a god of death) named Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face they know. All you have to do is write the name of the person you want dead in the book while visualising their face. Pretty dark, right?
The series revolves around Light’s attempt to use the notebook to create and rule a world “cleansed of evil”, with his cast as a type of ‘god’, and the efforts of a detective known as L to stop him. In the first few episodes, criminals start dying one by one and fear falls in the criminal world like a dark rain. People become too afraid to commit a crime, rumours float around about Kira, a name for this unseen murderer of criminals. Light decides to adopt this name to sow his seeds of fear.
Throughout this the Shinigami Ryuk watches with amusement as Light plans and executes these criminal deaths by writing them in the notebook, playing a cat and mouse game with the authorities and L, staying a step ahead of them as they try to catch “Kira”.
Death Note manga first ran serialized in Shueisha’s manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. Our anime challenge series adaptation aired in Japan from October 2006 to June 2007 and was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsurō Araki. The seres were also adapted into video games and light novel series, three Japanese live-action films released in Japan in June 2006, November 2006, and February 2008, and a television drama in 2015. A miniseries entitled Death Note: New Generation and a fourth film were released in 2016. An American film adaptation was released exclusively on Netflix in August 2017 and a sequel is apparently in the works.