Character Profiles

Light Yagami
L. Lawliet
Misa Amane
Teru Mikami
Kiyomi Takada
The Investigation Team
Other Shinigami
Minor Characters

Main Characters


Light Yagami (a.k.a. Raito, Kira) is the protagonist of Death Note. When the manga starts, he is a bored, but brilliant 17-year old high school student who finds a notebook that has the power to kill a person just by having the owner write down that person’s name. Using the power of the Death Note, he assumes the identity of "Kira" (Japanese pronunciation of the word "killer") and begins to kill the world's criminals in order to build a new world utopia without crime. Because of his intelligence and logical thinking, he outsmarts the Japanese police and avoids capture. However, he meets his intellectual match in "L". Light has no qualms about manipulating people and killing anyone who gets in his way because he believes that his actions are justified. For Light, the notebook is the key ingredient that will help him build a better world.

He is extremely popular with girls, even though he has a tendency of not treating them well. Light is considered a star student and scored a 100 percent on his college entrance exam. His father is the director of the National Police Agency (the Japanese equivalent of the FBI), which he hopes to one day join as a detective. He was also a National Junior High Champion in tennis in 1999 and 2000.


L. Lawliet (a.k.a. L, Ryuzaki, Hideki Ryuga, Erald Coil, Danuve), often referred to by the alias "L", is considered the world's greatest detective at only 24 years old. He is also the most secretive since he refuses to show his face, preferring to talk to investigators through a computer screen showing only the letter "L". He takes on the "Kira"; investigation after it has stumped police around the world. However, he decides to show himself to the small band of Japanese investigators that decide to help him. In addition, he asks the investigators to refer to him as "Ryuzaki".

L has an extremely disheveled, odd appearance and is often seen barefoot and slouching. This is in contrast to Light who is always wearing neat and straight-laced attire. He prefers to crouch rather than sit because he explains that his reasoning will drop by 40 percent if he sits otherwise. L also has an undeniable sweet tooth and can always be seen eating desserts and fruits. In addition, he holds objects delicately, and puts either his thumb or his index finger in his mouth when deep in thought.

We know very little about his background except that he lived in England for five years, and he was the champion in tennis for the England Junior Cup. However, the manga suggest that, like Near and Mello, L grew up in Wammy's House, one of Watari's orphanages where his intellectual abilities were nurtured.


Ryuk is a shinigami (death god) who dropped the Death Note that Light found on the street. Shinigamis are supposed to write the names of humans in the notebook in order to extend their own lifespan. However, the shinigamis have become lethargic after spending centuries napping and gambling. According to Ryuk, the shinigami's realm is extremely boring, and he dropped the notebook into the human realm, which he considers to be amusing. He steals a Death Note from the shinigami Sidoh and gives it to Light. For most of the manga, Ryuk remains an observer, often reminding Light that he is on nobody's side. He goes along with some of Light's plans hoping that something amusing will happen. Ryuk tells Light in Volume one that the human owners of the Death Note can neither go to heaven or to hell, and that in end, he will be the one that shall write Light’s name in the Death Note when it is the end of his life. He loves eating apples and tells Light that apples to death gods are like liquor and cigarettes to humans. In fact, he had some withdrawal symptoms (like doing headstands) when he had to go a few days without apples.

Misa Amane is a girl who poses as the "second Kira" in an effort to meet the real Kira. After Kira punished the criminal that killed her parents, Misa decided to devote her life to Kira and his goals. A shinigami named Rem hands her a Death Note belonging to a shinigami named Gelus who saved her life by writing the name on the Death Note of the man who was suppose to kill her. She used the power of the Death Note and the identity of the second Kira to get close to the real Kira, or Light. Upon meeting Light, she professes her love and devotion to him, and she promises to help him in exchange for his love. In reality, though, Light uses Misa repeatedly throughout the series and takes advantage of her obsessive love by making her into his little puppet.

Misa is a famous model, actress, and singer in Japan. Although she is two years older than Light, she acts immature and often refers to herself in third person in an attempt to be cute. Even though she may not be as intelligent as Light or L, she is astute enough to figure out ways to help Light.  However, making Light happy is the most important thing in the world to her. Unlike Light, Misa does not care about justice or a crime-free utopia.


Near (a.k.a. N, Nate Rivers) is the first in line to be L's successor at Wammy's House and the leader of the investigation against Kira after L’s death. Near makes his first appearance following L's death, and several years later, he takes over the Kira investigation by convincing the President of the United States to form the Secret Provision for Kira (SPK) with selected CIA and FBI agents to help him.

Like L, he is unemotional and withdrawn, preferring to stay indoors most of the time. He sees the Kira investigation as a game; one which he could either win or lose. Near possesses impressive deductive powers and insight, being able to figure out the existence of the Death Note, and the true nature of Kira without ever meeting Light. In addition, he is always seen playing with toys and puzzles during his investigations.

Unlike L, Near is more childish and playful as he loves to taunt Light with what he knows about Kira. He tends to not second guess himself as much, often making bold assumptions with little information. Near certainly had an advantage because he was more removed from Light Yagami. This is in contrast to L who felt conflicted because he thought of Light as a “friend”.


Mello (a.k.a. Mihael Keehl) is the second in line to be L's successor at Wammy's House. Jealous of Near, Mello leaves the orphanage determined to catch Kira before Near does. He soon joins the Mafia in Los Angeles and uses them to obtain the Death Note from Light by kidnapping the Director of the Japanese Police and Light’s sister Sayu.

Personality-wise, he is the exact opposite of Near and L. He acts on his emotions rashly and usually without thinking things through. This makes him unpredictable to both Light and Near. However, he is still highly intelligent, often figuring out details about the Death Note and Kira at the same time as Near.

Like L, he loves sweets, especially chocolate, and he is often seen munching on a chocolate bar.


Teru Mikami is a fanatical follower of Kira’s Kingdom who is chosen by Light to be the owner of Misa’s Death Note after it becomes too dangerous for Misa to have it. He is first introduced in Volume ten, chapter 81 as an obsessive adherent of Kira, believing him to be a god sent to dispense justice on earth.

Mikami was a sensitive young boy with deep sense of justice who was incessantly beaten by bullies. He grows up believing that those who are evil should be "deleted" from this world. He is highly intelligent and works as a prosecuting attorney. Even though he appears calm and stoic, Mikami shows his psychological imbalance when he fervently writes in the Death Note while muttering to himself "delete."

At first, Light is alarmed at how Mikami seems to take his own initiative without Kira’s consent. However, Mikami decides to communicate to Kira through Sakura TV showing his absolute loyalty to him. Then, Light uses anchorwoman Kiyomi Takada to give orders to Mikami.


Kiyomi Takada is a successful anchorwoman of NHN whom Light seduces in order to use her as an intermediary between him and Mikami. She is briefly introduced in Volume two Chapter 31 as Light’s “girlfriend” and described as a popular, proud beauty who often plays hard to get. She then reappears as the NHN anchorwoman in Volume ten Chapter 85 who is chosen by Mikada to be Kira's spokesperson.

Astonished by the coincidence that Mikada chose his ex-girlfriend, Light takes advantage of this situation. He seduces Mikada, reveals to her that he is Kira and promises to her that he will make her his goddess when he rules the world as a god. Light gives Mikami orders through messages that he gives to Takada. In addition, he manipulates Takada to do whatever he pleases.

Investigation Team

Soichiro Yagami is Light Yagami's father and the detective superintendent of the Japanese National Police Agency. He is also the leader of the small group of investigators who are working on the Kira case under L's command. Light Yagami uses his computer to research the criminals that he will kill and to spy on what the NPA actually knows about Kira. Even though his demanding job keeps him from home, he is dedicated to his son, Light. Throughout the series, he never once believes that his son is Kira, even when L insists. He voluntarily places himself under L's arrest until Light is proven innocent.

Tota Matsudais a naive and somewhat excitable member of the investigation team. He often does bold things and says things without thinking (often asking if what Kira is doing is a good thing). He serves as a comic relief sometimes and often expresses that he genuinely likes Misa and Light. Like Soichiro, he refuses to believe that Light is Kira and is quickly convinced that he is innocent.

Kanzo Mogiis a member of the investigation team. He is often silent and not much is known about him. When he is tricked by Mello to be questioned by Near, Mogi shows his loyalty to Light and the rest of the NPA by not speaking. However, he is one of the first of the investigators to suspect that Light may be Kira.

Shuichi Aizawa is a member of the investigation team. He quits the team and remains in the police force after protesting L's methods. However, he continues to help the team as a police officer. Upon L's death, he returns to the investigation team and works under Light. However, he begins to grow increasingly suspicious of Light. He contacts Near and tells him of his suspicions.

Watari (a.k.a. Quillsh Wammy) is, at first, shown as a mysterious shadowed figure in coat who personally sets up the meetings between L and his clients. However, he is soon revealed as an aging man who is L's assistant, often providing logistics to the investigation team and back-up as a sharpshooter.
He was originally, however, an inventor who established an orphanage in England called Wammy's House for exceptionally gifted children like Mello and Near.

Other Shinigami

Rem is the female shinigami who gave Misa the Death Note. She cares very much for Misa and is willing to do anything to protect her from harm. Light uses this as an advantage in his master plan.

Gelus is a shinigami mentioned in a flashback by Rem. He fell in love with a human girl (Misa) and saved her from getting killed by a crazed stalker by writing down the name of the killer in his Death Note, thus killing him before he killed her. Since Gelus was in love with Misa and shinigami only exist to shorten life, not extend it, he died and turned to dust.

Sidoh is a shinigami whose Death Note was stolen by Ryuk and given to Light. He neglects to kill people and extend his lifetime, and it's only when the end of his lifetime approaches when he notices that his Death Note was stolen. However, the Death Note changed hands quite a bit, and Shidoh uses Light to find the Death Note for him, which is then in Mello's gang's possession. He is not particularly bright and is easily persuaded to help Mello's gang in exchange for the Death Note.

Minor Characters

The Yotsuba Group is a group of eight members in the Yotsuba Corporation. When they find out that "Kira" is among the eight of them, they conduct weekly secret meetings where they discussed who they will kill with the notebook. Before Light gave up ownership of the notebook, he gave Rem instructions to give the notebook to someone who will use it for selfish purposes. Rem chose Kyosuke Higuchi, and he not only killed criminals in order to give the illusion that Kira was still active but also helped his company gain record profits by killing for financial gain.

Naomi Misora (a.k.a. Shoko Maki) is Ray Penber’s fiancée who decides to search for Penber’s killer. She is also a former FBI agent who quit after agreeing to marry Penber. She suspects that Kira is among the people that Ray investigated and deduces that Kira can kill in ways other than a heart attack. An alarmed Light manages to make her commit suicide through the Death Note in order to prevent her from talking to L.

Ray Penber is one of 12 FBI agents who is sent to Japan to track down Kira. Penber is threatened by Kira, who is really Light, to obtain the identity of the other 11 FBI agents and kill them by inadvertently writing their names in a piece of the Death Note. Shortly afterward, Light kills him by making him have a heart attack in the middle of a subway station.

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Created by Carla Astudillo