Was Light Really Evil?

Ohba certainly likes making things difficult for us readers.

Why is it so hard for readers to make up their minds about whether Light is a good guy or a bad guy? There are no clear answers because this manga isn’t like other stories where there are clearly defined divisions between the good guys and the bad guys. This is why there is so much debate in the fandom about whether Light is a hero who tried to usher in a better world or if he was a cold-blooded murderer with a god complex. I’ll try to explore both sides.

Light was a hero

Every beauty pageant contestant will tell you that their utmost wish is world peace. However, wishes mean nothing if you don’t take action. Light was given a powerful weapon, and he was determined to use it for the good of mankind. Most people would be afraid of such power, but Light was brilliant enough to use it for more than five years without being caught.

If Kira kills the criminals that brought so much suffering to so many people, then aren’t their deaths justifiable? An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Then, when would-be criminals see the retribution that criminals suffer, they will stop committing crimes, and the world will be a safer place.

Is Light really any different than Spider-man, Batman and all of the other superheroes? They also have powers, and they kill criminals. In fact, they save millions of lives by doing so. Yet, they are celebrated as noble heroes. Just because Light doesn’t wear a fancy costume, doesn’t mean that what he is doing is less noble.

Of course, murder is wrong, and Light could have ended up in jail if he was caught. However, his goal is to make Kira’s retribution acceptable in society so that one day, Kira will be celebrated as a hero rather than a villain. Like Light said in Chapter 75, “If we catch Kira, then Kira is evil. If Kira rules the world, then Kira is good.”

Sometimes, innocent people are a necessary sacrifice. However, it is not Kira’s intention to kill the innocent. In addition, it is not Kira’s intention to kill anyone who stands in his way like L, but he has to out of survival.

Kira’s goals are noble. Ultimately, the ends will justify the means.

Light was a murderer

 To put it simply, Light had delusions of grandeur. Just because he found the Death Note, it doesn’t give him the right to play god. Who does he think he is in believing that he has the divine right to judge who is good and who is evil? What makes him the best judge to say who deserves to live and who deserves to die? Like L said in Chapter 18, “This isn’t divine judgment. It’s the work of some childish killer who’s playing at divine retribution.”

He was no god. The last few chapters made that perfectly clear. He was a human, scared of death and begging for his life. He went to the place where all other humans go after they die. Despite his perceived superiority, he was really no one special.

How can anyone justify fighting crime with crime? Murder is still wrong, no matter who the victim is. The criminals were people too. They had families, and they suffered immensely too. However, Light has very little regard for human life and judges people without batting an eye. He uses them for his experiments and disposes of them easily. No human being deserves such a death.

Any “peaceful utopia” created by Kira would just be a world ruled by fear. People would be afraid to anger Kira in any way. It’s almost as if they were bullied into being good citizens. It reminds me of a dictatorship where a false god decides what is good and what is evil. In addition, Light suggest that he has future plans to kill the lazy and unproductive. So, when does it exactly stop? Where is Kira going to establish the line between who deserves to live and who deserves to die?

In addition, he manipulates all of the people who truly care for him like Misa and his father among others. He doesn’t truly care for them and thinks they’re expendable when it comes to his goals as Kira. Soichiro died for his son’s delusional dream, and Misa has given up half of her lifespan twice for Light.

He is a heartless murdering sociopath with a dangerous weapon and false feelings of superiority.

So which ones the right answer?

In my opinion, I fall somewhere in between these two viewpoints, although I leaned more towards the “Light is evil” side. Light’s goals are noble, indeed. However, murder is wrong, and he has no right to play god.

Plus, he killed my favorite character, L. Thumbs down.

However, Light is a complex person, and I don’t think it’s fair to judge him so simply. Don't get me wrong. I really loved Light as a character, and there were many times I was rooting for him. However, Ohba made Light’s intentions purposely morally ambiguous, and it’s up to the reader to decide if he was evil or not.

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Created by Carla Astudillo