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Death Note  
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Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects--and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?

Note: After the series ended The Death Note One-Shot Special was published which explains what happens in the series three years after the Kira case is resolved.

Won the Eagle Award for Favourite Manga in 2008. Was nominated as Best Manga at the 2006 American Anime Awards, the 2007 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, an Official Selection at Angoulême International Comics Festival 2008 and Obata was nominated for Best Penciller/Inker at the 2008 Eisner Awards.


Related Series

Associated Names
Тетрадь смерти
مذكرة الموت
데스 노트
Bilježnica smrti
Cuaderno de la Muerte
Death Note - A halállista
Death Note – Zápisník smrti
Desu Nôto
Quyển Sổ Thiên Mệnh

Groups Scanlating
Aku Tenshi
Franky House
Ice-Master Scanlations

Latest Release(s)
v.1 c.1 by thefolenangel & Franky House (287d ago)
v.13 c.2a by mD-xD (2647d ago)
c.Special by Binktopia (2795d ago)
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
12 Volumes + 1 Extra Volume (Complete)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1, Chap 1
Ends at Vol 12, Chap 108

User Reviews
Death Note by Rune71
Death Note by torrentchan
Death Note by Rashid

19 topics, 572 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 8.7 / 10.0 (2979 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.68 / 10.0
 33% (980 votes)
 29% (856 votes)
 21% (639 votes)
 9% (280 votes)
 4% (106 votes)
 2% (60 votes)
 1% (26 votes)
 0% (7 votes)
 0% (4 votes)
 1% (21 votes)

Last Updated
September 25th 2015, 4:03am PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (13 Volumes & 6 Omnibuses - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #703 increased(+47)
Monthly Pos #936 increased(+104)
3 Month Pos #1211 increased(+79)
6 Month Pos #1230 increased(+47)

List Stats
On 1412 reading lists
On 700 wish lists
On 6900 completed lists
On 367 unfinished lists
On 461 custom lists

Note: You must be logged in to update information on this page.

Forum Posts
Live-Action Death Note Films Get 2016 Sequel by Gantz Helmer Sato 22 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes ago
AMERICAN REMAKE OF DEATH NOTE IN THE WORKS 160 days, 15 hours, 46 minutes ago
Death Note Manga Gets Live-Action TV Drama 172 days, 1 hours, 56 minutes ago
Light or L:who do u like better? 1359 days, 23 hours, 38 minutes ago
Favorite Death Note character 1415 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes ago

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Not According to Keikaku   
Rating: 4.0 / 10.0
by crazyboutcute
March 2nd, 2015, 12:50am
Edit: Removed and rewritten to a higher standard of quality!

If you’re looking to read a pulp-like detective thriller that’s only charm is that it will make you feel smarter by the end of it, look no further than Death Note. But if you're expecting a vivid social commentary with a complex plot and characters, then you'll be sorely disappointed.

I read the entire manga (a painstaking effort on my part), watched the anime, and even saw the three live action movies (the first two of which are, admittedly, the best this franchise has to offer). Still, I was unable to relieve the sensation of crushing disappointment this series left me with. The premise is great: Protagonist Light Yagami finds the eponymous Death Note, a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill any individual simply by picturing their face and writing their name within its pages. With this veritable artifact of doom, ol' Light intends to kill criminals and create a "perfect" world, and this inevitably leads to the start of a long game of cat-and-mouse with the mysterious detective known only by the letter L (for some reason). That all seems to check out for a great psych-thriller, right?

Well, maybe it would have been if the characters weren’t so utterly, detestably flat.

So our golden boy Light is introduced to us as a bored genius who really has no passion for life or anything in it. And… that’s it. This is honestly the only look at his initial personality we get before he discovers the Death Note about two pages in. I mention this because this kid legitimately does not receive any further development as a character beyond becoming (within chapters) a flat, black-and-white villain. No, that is not an exaggeration. He tests the Death Note because he’s bored, freaks out for about two panels when he realizes that it works and that he’s now effectively a murderer… and then he’s pretty okay with the whole "axing random criminals because screw the legal system" thing. (And yeah, I'd understand more if it were America, but this is coming out of Japan, which already has the notoriously high ~90% conviction rate and a history of prosecuting and punishing the innocent.)

Okay, so, Light’s a sociopath. It happens. Big whoop, right? But no, that’s not even the problem. The problem here isn’t that he’s a sociopath -- it’s that he’s not even a particularly interesting one. Light kills criminals because he thinks it’s the “just” thing to do. That’s basically all there is to that – the morality, or lack thereof, of his mindset and actions is never discussed, questioned, explored, or otherwise ruminated upon, much to the series’ detriment. The movie at least made him an aspiring LEO, disillusioned with his chosen field of study when he realizes that many criminals escape the law. But in the manga, his remains a very base, very static motive up until the stakes are raised for him – when he starts targeting innocents who threaten his security (which he readily and remorselessly does). This is the singular aforementioned development his character undergoes – and it’s passed over without so much as a, “Gee, I wonder if killing that innocent FBI agent who was just trying to do his job constitutes crossing a moral boundary or two.”

Light’s evilness grows as the series progresses, yet his dimensionality as a character, as a villain, remains grounded in the 2D. Nothing changes in him from then on out, good or bad. He doesn’t descend further into madness, he doesn’t struggle with the shattered remains of what was once a conscience. He just continues on as a pretty-faced force of evil and deceit. And it’s boring. With no redeeming traits at all and no bigger way to crash and burn than to climax the series, he does absolutely nothing for the reader as a character.

And then there’s L – the detective, the rival, the enemy, what-have-you. I can think of quite a few things to say about him, but in the interest of keeping this review as succinct as possible, let me just say this: He’s basically a carbon-copy of Light, only instead of working for Evil, he works for Good. Both boys are petty, childish, and self-righteous. They’re concerned with “winning” their (pardon the crudeness) grand-scale penis-measuring contest for the sole purpose of validating their egos and asserting themselves as the embodiments of the abstract principle of justice. Neither cares about what he has to do or who he has to step on in order to get his way because to them, the end justifies the means. Honestly, they’re like overgrown toddlers holding a turf war on the playground, but instead of throwing sand, they’re throwing around people’s lives. And neither one changes. Aside from a few (albeit rather refreshing and endearing) gimmicks on L’s part, I’m prepared and willing to argue that they’re exactly the same character, only opposite. Suffice to say, L’s quirkiness may hold your interest for a couple of chapters, but his flatness, coupled with Light’s, very soon wears thin.

I really could go on for quite some time about this manga, but there’s no point in beating a dead horse. For what it’s worth, this series really will mess with your head and strain your capacity for logical reasoning, at least until it pushes into the absurd. For example, a lot of the key points in the plot rely on L knowing that Light knows that L found out that Light discovered that L has knowledge of Light’s knowledge that L is fully aware that Light is Kira.

...On second thought, you might benefit more from playing a Phoenix Wright game. (And for an added bonus, Dahlia Hawthorne and Kristoph Gavin are actually interesting and multifaceted sociopaths.)

In the series’ favor, I will say that the art is pleasant and smoothly improves in quality over time, and some of Light’s and L’s schemes really are fun and clever. Still, pretty pictures and a couple of parlor tricks aren’t nearly enough to carry the sheer dead weight of this dismal manga, especially with the inclusion of the entire second half, which tanks even worse than the first, making it a particularly tedious chore to get through. (Thank god the director had the good sense to cut and speed through it in the anime, and the movies don't come near it with a ten-foot pole.) The ending isn’t exactly a reward for all that hard work, either, and it’s so humorlessly nihilistic that it actually made me a little sick to read. There’s no hope, no redemption, and no heart to be found at any point in this series, and because of its promising premise, it really does end up being quite the disappointing read. If you’re insatiably curious, then try the live action movies. Otherwise, leave this one on the shelves because there are so many better crafted shounen series out there that this one really doesn’t deserve the time of day.

... Last updated on April 10th, 2015, 5:40pm
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Mind Blowing   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Pacific.Mint
December 27th, 2013, 12:49am
The premise was very unique and original to me. Never would have I imagined such a plot. As opposed to some other mangas that claim to be intelligent but weren't really, this manga is actually intelligent and amazingly so. I was completely taken away by the suspense and the mind games. Stayed up till 6 am to read it lol.

In the last chapter where the manga raises the point that though Light's actions were evil crimes, he was somewhat likable. It was so interesting to me that this manga picked an anti-hero as its protagonist. In any other manga, the hero(s) would be L or N; you know, the good guys. So when some readers, including me, didn't want Light to lose even though his actions were so evil, it's a fascinating thing.

Yeah, Light was definitely an unfeeling jerk and villainous, but since he was the protagonist, I couldn't help but rooted for him, or at least didn't want him to lose. If I were put off by Light, I would have quit by the time L died if not before that. No way would I read a story where the guy I hate wins in the end. But when Light looked at the dying L with an evil face, even though I was creeped out and a little big disgusted too, I actually let out a sigh of relief because that meant Light didn't lose. Yeah, I was a little bit to frightened to realize I was on Light's side in the story. I applaud the author to be able to so successfully create an oxymoronic anti-hero with ideas that repulse me but I wanted him to succeed, had a nasty personality with a likable charm, which made me guilty for rooting for him secretly.

Given that, I was a bit sad at the ending because I honestly wanted Light to win, even though his ideal world was crazy. I think Light, L, N, and Mello were all intelligent, especially Light and L. L lost to Light didn't mean he was inferior in brain power. He started the case with nothing but rumors, fighting against the supernatural and blocked by a major lack of information. By the time N and Mello were on stage, Light's wits were already a little bit wore down by over-confidence and his victory over L; his actions were restricted by his lies and double life. So I wouldn't say N and Mello took down Light alone. The web that would eventually kill Light had to be begun with L and took 3 guys, and 2 deaths of them, to complete. Not to mention he scared the whole world and almost had everyone on earth under his palm. I would say that Light did pretty well, not that I'm advocating his ideas.

Overall, a heart-jumping and mind-gripping ride. I almost had a heart attack myself 2/3 of the way because of the intense suspense.

... Last updated on December 27th, 2013, 1:22am
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Uniquely Intelligent   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by Fantasier
September 30th, 2013, 10:08am
While considering giving a manga its score, I put my like first, then consider other factors, although those are done subtly. The point is, I'm saying Death Note scores just about 100% in all the latter factors.

Let's start talking with something readers may overlook since the story is so freaking great: the art. You know, it's Obata Takeshi and you can only expect a supreme level of drawing. Even though not at his best, the art created in this series is still almost at the top of all. I like everything, the characters, the backgrounds , the scenes--the 'mangatography'. No, you won't see any ugly picture here.

Now to the story, oops, it's Ohba Tsugumi, presumably the best buddy of Obata-sensei. He or she is wonderful as an author, unrivaled (in his or her field of story style) to almost anyone in the manga industry. The story is unique, and noticeably intelligent.

Ohba made the protagonists in Death Note, Light and L (and some more), actually intelligent. In contrast to many series which just say this guy is clever, so clever with 200+ of IQ but doesn't really do anything clever, Death Note dares readers to doubt if the characters are that good, then punches us right at the faces with the sentence 'silly, I told you they are geniuses'. The plot has some hugely twisted points and massive amount of intelligence showoffs. I should not forget to mention that it's not all about cleverness battle, but also some dramas, which make it better than other similar series. Seriously a piece written by an absolutely talented author.

What might annoy you about this series, apart from not being the story of your taste, is the 'wall of texts' style of OBATAxOHBA, which I don't mind at all and rather like it.

OBATAxOHBA is the best team, and will very likely to remain the same until the end of the world. It's a big miss if you passed Death Note and didn't pick it up.

... Last updated on September 30th, 2013, 10:14am
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One of my favourite manga!   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by mercio
September 16th, 2013, 2:08pm
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Hate the ending though. I feel like they dumb down Light character just to have the "Good triumph over evil" ending. I mean come ON! This manga does not deserve that ending.

Still, it was a great read and I recommend anyone who's interested to give it a try. smile
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A tale of three thirds   
Rating: N/A
by fahmedbd
June 3rd, 2013, 4:41am
Excellent first third. Good middle third. Disappointing final third.
When I started my mind was blown. Great artwork, awesome leads and a riveting plot. The first few volumes are seriously good material. But close to the middle of the story the plot started to plod around a bit and then the final third made things even worse. I guess you could say the final act was good but the series had lost its charm by then. I'd rate it higher but the loss of potential that this series goes through really disappointed me.
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Rating: N/A
by Cock Mongler
May 29th, 2013, 9:36am
" If you don't like this manga, I'm sorry, but you have awful taste" - What a conceited remark.

Honestly, I got bored with it, that is after I watched the anime though. I can't imagine anyone watching the anime and reading the manga and not getting bored, it just feels so slow sometimes, even when a massively important event is taking place. Not to say it's bad, but if you watched the anime, don't bother reading this, the same for if you read it first, let the anime be.
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What is there to say?   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by P_O_C_K_Y
May 14th, 2013, 6:26pm
If you haven't heard of this manga you've been living under a rock. If you don't like this manga, I'm sorry, but you have awful taste. One of the most popular psychological mangas that I second only to Liar Game, it's brilliant.

All characters whether you are on L's side, Light's side, or prefer to be like Ryuk and just watch things unfold, are likable (yes, even Misa). It was unpredictable, it was suspenseful, it was comical, it was all-around great. Haven't read it? Read it. Don't like it? The bloody hell is wrong with you!

Read it and appreciate it for the amazing piece of work it is.

... Last updated on May 14th, 2013, 6:27pm
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unfortunately for me...   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by namu76
November 21st, 2012, 5:20am
the ending isn't satisfying.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
actually, everything's great up to L's death. I loved it, especially the way he died. GENIUS. But after that, Light's personality started to crumble, and I hate it. Even more so when he died ungracefully. not for the fact that he died, but more to the way he faced his death. how uncool...

and to think that this is a manga with a dark hero....bleh
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One of the best   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by Narufan1st
July 24th, 2012, 4:29am
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
This was my favorite manga till L died.
Then I stopped reading it shortly after
It was still good but it wasn't the same without L
I loved L so much and I didn't like near as much as L even though he was cute
Even though I would still recommend this too anyone of they can take a tradegy where everyone dies at the end which I cant.
But the thing that spoiled it for me was misa.
She was irritatingly,annoying and she's the only character I'm glad that died
light annoyed me when he killed L but I didn't hate him but misa is the worse.she is so stupid and all she does is follow light blindly no wonder he used her.the manga would have been way better if the put a smarter and more interesting female lead than misa.

... Last updated on July 24th, 2012, 4:35am
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Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by NQuang17
June 19th, 2012, 5:23pm
Quote from Havenc1
TIt was pretty decent... It really kept you on edge and was interesting...But for me, I watched a few good episodes,then paused for a bit and was reluctant to go back and watch it. It probably wasn' t the right anime for me.

Man, you should better read the manga. The awesome manga is better than the anime.
and also, baka-updates is not somewhere you talk about anime. Don't watch just anime and go comment here.
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