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

Groups Scanlating
Aku Tenshi
Franky House

Latest Release(s)
v.2 c.8 by Jojo's Colored Adventure about 1 year ago
v.1 c.1-7 by Jojo's Colored Adventure about 1 year ago
v.1 c.1-3 by Viz about 1 year 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

20 topics, 577 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 8.7 / 10.0 (3283 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.68 / 10.0
 32% (1049 votes)
 28% (927 votes)
 22% (737 votes)
 10% (321 votes)
 4% (118 votes)
 2% (67 votes)
 1% (27 votes)
 0% (9 votes)
 0% (5 votes)
 1% (23 votes)

Last Updated
January 16th 2019, 7:29pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (13 Volumes - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #515 increased(+68)
Monthly Pos #944 increased(+87)
3 Month Pos #1283 increased(+24)
6 Month Pos #1393 increased(+61)
Year Pos #1473 increased(+119)

List Stats
On 1493 reading lists
On 773 wish lists
On 7610 completed lists
On 402 unfinished lists
On 549 custom lists

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

Forum Posts
Netflix Adaptation of Death Note Summer 2017 about 1 year ago
Live-Action Death Note Films Get 2016 Sequel by Gantz Helmer Sato over 3 years ago
Death Note Manga Gets Live-Action TV Drama over 3 years ago
Light or L:who do u like better? over 7 years ago

Click to view the forum

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User Comments [ Order by time added ]

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Breath taking   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by justadued
November 5th, 2008, 12:53pm
Death note was one of the first manga I ever read, and I can say for sure it is one of the best manga I have read so far. Story is breath taking and exciting, art work is very good. The only downside is the large amount of text, sometimes it feels more like your reading a good novel then a good manga.

Definitely worth reading!
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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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This Manga really deserves its 'Popularity'   
Rating: 9.6 / 10.0
by TheRandomChocolate
August 26th, 2009, 5:52am
What can I say? I had mixed feelings for this series which would often alter as I read on, and still I cannot put it into words. Perhaps 'Wow!' is the best way to describe it.

When I started this series, I thought it was going to seriously suck big time like some story about a Ninja in an orange suit. The first chapter proved me wrong. It was insanely awesome!

The plot was very gripping, kept you at the edge of your seats. It was exciting seeing how L and Light constantly tried to outwit each other.

Spoiler (highlight to view)
However, after Chapter 58 the plot suddenly went downhill. And no, it's because of L's death, though I love him very much. It was more like, Light didn't have the awesome-ness he had at the very beginning. And the plot more or less focused on the investigation of Kira rather than Light himself.

The characters...

Light, more or less represents human's greed and desires. I'm not sure what to think about him, though. Indeed, I got rather pissed off at him in Chapter 58 but I couldn't help not hating him... and yet I disliked him, perhaps of his personality and him being a jerk. I mean, sure he's clever and well... good-looking (not my taste though), but in my eyes, he's just a psyco, traitor and *Coughs*womanizer*Coughs*.

L, however is freakin' awesome. He has this charm which Near and Mellow phails. I can't quite understand why I'm attracted to him since I'm not so fond of 'Clever, Cute, Quiet' goody-goody guys. I guess I love his laid-back attitude and those little habits he has. I also felt extremely touched by the fact that he seems socially awkward.

As I have said Near and Mellow don't have the charm L posesses. Sure they managed to crack the case but honestly, I don't see much character developement though I understand why the author would want to 'develope their personality through action'. I guess it's because Near is a phailed clone of L... and Mellow just phails... =__=

Misa... one of the most annoying girls in the whole of Manga history. 'Nuff said.

As for the ending, I'm fine with it. It was obvious what was going to happen to him, since there was a huge clue on the first chapter. Also Light deserved what he got and... well it was amusing in some ways seeing him begging. Couldn't have ended any better. "^^

I am, however thankful that there were some unexpected turn of events. It must have been very risky for OHBA Tsugumi having to lose fans. Nevertheless, Death Note is manages to remain popular nowadays.

I forgot to mention, a huge thanks to OBATA Takeshi... Absolutely amazing artwork... ;D

... Last updated on August 26th, 2009, 5:57am
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Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by JJTang
January 19th, 2008, 2:33am
Pretty intense story. It was a really good read. Artwork was great, and the depth and detail going into explaining Light's motives, movements, and the such was amazing. It just kept going strong, though I felt it lost a lot of momentum about halfway through. The second half of the story had a few flaws that I didn't like. It seemed Light lost a lot of his touch, eh? And Mellow and Near just... I disliked them a lot. It was still a great read, and L is a great character. So much mystery surrounds him and the rivalry between him and Light/Kira is monumental.
A must read. Top of the notch for Mystery manga. I'd recommend Spiral too if the Mystery part specifically intrigues you.
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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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I honestly can't believe...   
Rating: N/A
by DigiPhantom
April 2nd, 2008, 7:24pm
...That this series has anything lower than a 9. Death Note is hands down one of the best series I have ever read. Everything about it is suspencful, masterful, and brilliant. Light (my all-time favorite character, seriously, that boy is finely-sculpted...) begins his role as a anti-hero when he finds the Death Note. A concept which is simply genius. A well-done and intresting battle between him and (supah-detective!!!1) L begins.
Art: Probably my biggest peeve, is the art. Takeshi Obata has a very preportioned and mastered style, but sometimes it just lacks luster. Something about it lacks...flow. From the deformed faces and such, to the fact that sometimes the entire series is dedicated to making Light look like an insane, wound-up Nazi. Stop laughing Light, Please!! Um, overall it's good, but sometimes it bores me, or ticks me off.
Plot: I adore Near and Mello. But I must admit the second half didn't have the excitment of the first half. The L arc was awesome. When...IT happened I laughed like a madman. And I honestly thought it would have been better if the creator actually planned things out. Maybe the ending wouldn't have sucked...guh...
Much more, add later...
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Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by meniel
May 21st, 2011, 6:53am
Death Note is one of the most original manga I've ever read. I think it's unique, and maybe it's also for this that it's so popular and known all over the world. Well... let's see its strong points! :3

1) First of all, the art style. It's particular, charming and captivating. It's the perfect art for this manga. Not shojo nor shonen... I would say no manga-like at all. Every detail is precise as it's real. That's what makes this art so beautiful.

2) Second: the plot. I bet you've never heard such a strange, original and interesting plot. Like I said, Death Note is unique! And its plot is strange and interesting, it arouses your curiosity and makes you want to read more and more. That's what I call a good plot.

3) Third, the detective style. Yeah, Death Note has got it! Together with the plot, the story goes on with a good detective style. It's like Death Note is a detective novel, but it's even more interesting, because it has drawings! Understand what I'm trying to say? ;D

4) Fourth... characters! I read that some people didn't like Light. But... wait! I think that a BAD main character is just too cool! Don't you agree with me? It's something that manga or normal stories don't have, and it gives you a different point of view. Plus, I think Light is a good character, well developed and interesting. Like L and Misa, they're all good characters. Only one thing: I would have liked it more if they elaborated more Mello's and Mat's stories. However, the characters are wonderful, talking both of personality and design.

So... why did I rate this wonderful manga 8? Why didn't I give it a 9 or a 10? It's because... this manga is too long. It should have finished in... 7 or 8 volumes. The plot is good, like I said, but they spin it out too much. For example...

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
When L dies, the manga becomes quite boring. I think L's death was a good event in the plot, even if I felt really sorry for him, but from that moment on the manga lost its main hero... and Near is not good enough to replace him. If they had created a more charismatic character, maybe the manga would have been better. So, Death Note should have ended soon after L's death.

That's what is not good in Death Note. Well, it's not perfect, but you really should read it. It's worth it!

... Last updated on March 24th, 2014, 9:20am
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It would have been a masterpiece if it had not had such a horrible ending...   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by NeoFireHawk
June 30th, 2007, 5:30pm
I considered this series one of the best I had read until I had the "misfortune" of read the last chapters. Seriously, the ending was so full of flaws, errors and inconsistencies that completely ruined the whole manga for me. And I still haven't mentioned one of the biggest issues in all this: the ultimate destiny of the protagonist at the end of the story. I don’t know why, but even though I didn’t liked that character very much I totally and absolutely disliked the way the authors portrayed him at the end. Still, I'd give it an eight out of ten since even though it had such a horrible, inferior, deficient, defective and pathetic ending it’s still a good series.
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Rating: N/A
by kamasutra69
June 24th, 2007, 4:02am
first part awesome but second part?
worst ending ever
i cant give 10 cos second part sucks.
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Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by dbzrox4ever
February 25th, 2012, 6:48am
I'm actually quite surprised by all the negative reviews here. Death Note is one of my favourite mangas of all time! Yes, it's misogynistic. Yes, Light is a huuggee asshole. Yes, it becomes lame after
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
L dies
but still! I don't think there has ever been a manga that has kept me as on edge as this one.

The battles between Light and L, not as Kira but as Light himself with him trying to prove that he's not Kira, Oh My God. It was suspenseful and damn exciting. Every time you thought "Oh so maybe this is gonna happen" BAM! Ha! Think again! Completely unpredictable. It also made you think a lot, philosophically. Light might have thought himself as God trying to bestow justice upon everyone and the world might have become a little safer thanks to him, but at what cost? . He could be described as an extremely intelligent sociopath. The sad thing is though, if he had never found the death note, he could have grown up to be a great police officer without hurting anyone.

L on the other hand is my favourite character. He represents true justice. If you look at both Light and L, they have extremely similar personalities with their manipulative nature and desire to outwit each other. I think L was the key appeal to the series, because I personally thought it became damn boring
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
after he died
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I REALLY wanted him to be the one to expose Light as Kira and not Near
. I didn't like Near very much. It seemed like he was trying too hard to be better than L, which could never happen. L's habits are also really hilarious, like the desert thing and the way he sits. I LOVE his design too, the shaggy hair and the bags under his eyes.

The series is great. It's very well planned is what I can say. I can't even imagine how the author thought of such an intricate and well balanced plot. The characters are extremely complicated and interesting.

My only problem is that Kira somehow gets things done almost too easily. The characters feel dumb when they're actually intelligent. Sometimes it made me feel dumb too. It also practically killed all the main female characters with the exception of the most annoying one. Misa Amane, ugh. I really don't get her role in the story except going "Kya! Light!".
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
The other somewhat intelligent women like Naomi and his ex-university colleague were disposed of rather easily which I thought was disappointing

My opinion, great shounen! Lots of action, brilliant plot, very interesting characters and an awesome chase. It falters a bit but do read it. I loved this one. I watched the anime and have to say they did an incredible job as well! So don't miss out on that if you don't wanna read. 37 suspenseful episodes. Ho It doesn't completely live up to the hype, but it's lovely nonetheless. biggrin

... Last updated on February 25th, 2012, 7:04am
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