|“||If we catch Kira, he is evil. If he rules the world, he is justice.||„|
|~ Light Yagami to the Task Force.|
|“||In this world, there are very few people who actually trust each other, and it's no different for the police, you know. What's especially important is that L and the investigators don't trust each other at all. Think about it. Could you trust someone whose name and face you don't even know? When L discovers that I'm somehow getting confidential information, he'll be obligated to start investigating the police to find the source of the leak. When that happens, it'll only be a matter of time before the police start resenting him. On the surface, it will appear that L and the investigation team are working together to try to catch me, but in reality L will investigate the police and they will be investigating L. I'm not the one who's gonna find L. I can let the police do that for me; and when they do, that's when I'll eliminate him.||„|
|~ Light to Ryuk about L and the Task Force.|
Light Yagami is the main villain protagonist of the anime series Death Note. Light was a Japanese high school senior who found a notebook called a Death Note. Anyone whose name is written in the notebook will die. At first skeptical of its power, Light tested its power on two individuals. After realizing the power of the notebook, Light went mad with power, deciding to use the notebook to rid the world of criminals and create a new world full of law abiding people he accepts. Light would then make himself the god of this new world. The series charts his use of the notebook and his struggles with the Japanese police, the detectives L, Mello, and Near, as well as his associations with other notebook users, such as Misa Amane and Teru Mikami. His online followers dubbed him "Kira" in Japanese or "killer" in English.
Also, as the TV Tropes term Light is Not Good implies, his first name might be a pun on the fact that he is not a good guy, despite his name being "Light". Light's given name itself might also be considered a coincidence on the aforementioned term.
In the anime, he was voiced by Brad Swaile in the English version, and Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese version.
Light is a young man, standing at above average height with light brown hair and brown eyes. He tends to dress very neatly and formally, often seen wearing his school uniform or a suit. He is considered to be quite handsome, a trait noted by Misa Amane and Kiyomi Takada, among others.
Light is characterized as a diligent, praiseworthy, straightforward, hard-working, talented, honest, assiduous, and natural genius. Light would constantly predict all of the possible scenarios that could happen and plan a solution in advance, even in the most extemporaneous and impromptu situations. His faults include his cynical outlook on life, overconfidence in himself, and belief that he is never wrong.
He is frustrated by the lack of justice in the world. Believing the world to be "rotten", he uses his Death Note as a means by which he can enact his will to rid the world of evil people. Light's main goal is to create a new world that is free of injustice and populated only with honest and kind people, thus becoming the "God of the new world". Light is decisive and driven to achieve his ambitions, without faltering one bit in his beliefs. Despite staining his hands with the blood of the people that he has killed, this extreme action can be said as a result of his unmoving resolve.
Through use of the Death Note, Light quickly begins to develop a cold, ruthless, vituperative, uncompromising, and malevolent nature. He becomes completely devoid of love, compassion, and mercy. He views himself as the only rightful savior of mankind and that all his actions are justified, no matter how inhuman they might be. He is shown to even be willing to sacrifice his own family, if pushed to that point. The fact that he is extremely perspicacious and intelligent also adds to his notion that only he is fit to judge humanity and steer it on a proper moral course.
The notebook had been dropped to the human world by Ryuk, a Shinigami (god of death). His motivation was to alleviate the boredom of his life. People began to notice when a disproportionate number of criminals began to die of heart attacks. The urban legend of Kira was born, a savior (or mass murderer, depending on your point of view) who would rid the world of crime and injustice.
The InvestigationThe deaths of criminals eventually came to the attention of the National Police Organization. They were contacted by L the world's greatest detective. No one knows his identity or has met him face to face. He had determined that all criminals who had died were broadcast on TV. From this L determined that Kira needed a face and a name to kill. L also determined that Kira's first victim was only broadcast within the Kanto region of Japan, and that the first killing was an experiment. since the killings occurred most often at night and on holidays, L determined that Kira must be a student. Light was not worried about these developments, since his father, Soichiro Yagami, was a police chief and in charge of the NPA's Kira task force. Light could easily hack into his father's computer and copy his files in order to keep abreast of the investigation. When it became clear to L that Kira had connections to the police, he brought in a team of FBI agents to investigate the members of the Kira task force and their families. Agent Ray Penbar was assigned to tail Light. Ryuk pointed Penbar out, and Light used an ingenious scheme involving the notebook and a bus jacking to get rid of all the FBI agents in Japan. This led to Penbar's fiance, Naomi Misora, to offer evidence in the Kira case, but Light got to her first, using the notebook to make her commit suicide. The task force found out about the FBI agents, and all but five left, including Chief Yagami, Matsuda, and Aizawa. The task force was angry at L for secretly investigating them, so l decided to show himself to them, meeting at different hotel rooms each week, calling L "Ryuzaki" for security purposes. The information that Penbar's fiance committed suicide shortly after he was killed by Kira led L to investigate those who Penbar was following. As Penbar was only tailing two families, that narrowed down the suspects considerably. L paid the most attention to Light, as he was a student, in one of the suspect families, and had a strong distaste for injustice. L had cameras planted in the Yagami house, but Light sensed that something was wrong when of his devices used to tell if someone had entered his room was out of place. He then had Ryuk, whom no one else could see, search the house for cameras and microphones. Ryuk found 64 cameras in Light's room alone. Light managed to fool the cameras by getting the names of criminals from a miniature LCD TV hidden in a bag of potato chips. Not deterred, L had the cameras and mics removed. While taking the entrance exam for To-Oh university, Light noticed a strange examinee who crouched at his desk and went by the obviously fake name of Hideki Riyuga. At the entrance ceremony, Riyuga correctly revealed himself to be L, having decided the only way to advance the investigation was to have constant personal contact with Light. He even brought up the suggestion that Light join the task force, as he wanted to become a policeman after he graduated and had in fact assisted the police in previous investigations.
The Second KiraThings took a turn when Sakura TV received video tapes from someone claiming to be Kira. The voice on the tape was scrambled and the video only showed "kira" in a unique font. As several entirely innocent people died during the broadcast for no real reason, L determined that his was in fact a second Kira with similar powers to the first. Also, the incident revealed that this new Kira needed only a face to kill. Light was excepted onto the task force, in order for L to watch him more closely. The task force decided to make counter tapes, claiming to be the real Kira, begging the second one to stop killing innocent people. Light was only too glad to go along with this, as he believed this new Kira to be a nuisance. Sure enough, the second Kira sent more tapes in response, agreeing to Kira's terms and asking to meet him. He even mentioned recognizing each others' shinigami. The second Kira also said that he had the "eyes," meaning that she had made the shinigami eye deal, where he could see a person's name and lifespan just by looking at their face. He managed to communicate a meeting in Aoyama. Light and Matsuda went to investigate, but found nothing. The second Kira had recognized Light because you cannot see the lifespan of a Death Note user. Later that night, The second Kira went to Light's house, where she revealed herself to be Misa Amane, an upcoming model and minor celebrity who had been in love with Kira ever since he punished the criminals who had murdered her parents. She had been given a Death Note by Rem, a female shinigami who had fallen in love with her and only wanted Misa to be happy. Because Misa had been unable to stay away from Light, L combed over the tapes she had sent, and found physical evidence on the tapes such as her fingerprints. He then had her arrested under suspicion of being the second Kira and had her put under somewhat aggressive interrogation by his handler, Watari. Rem threatened to kill Light if he could not rescue her, so Light came up with a plan.
First, Light got Rem to convince Misa to renounce ownership of her notebook, which erased her memories of it. Then, Light accepted that one, giving his to Rem with the instructions to give it to an insanely greedy person. He then gave the notebook currently in his possession to Ryuk with orders to hide it. Light went to the task force to turn himself in. L put him in a cell under surveillance. After a few days, he renounced ownership with the words "get rid of it." Kira style killings then continued to occur, and L released Light after one last test. But L continued to suspect Light, and had him handcuffed to himself, so Light would always be under L's watch. Unaware of his past, Light assisted the investigation in earnest.
YotsubaRem had given the other notebook to Kyosuke Higuchi, an executive at the Yotsuba corporation and a member of the Yotsuba group, which ran it. He was also a self centered man who viewed people as tools to be manipulated. Higuchi continued killing criminals, but also killed those that would benefit Yotsuba. The other members of the Yotsuba group noticed this and began holding meetings to decide who should die, but they remained unaware of who was doing it, just that it was one of them. The pattern of the killings came to the attention of L and the Kira task force. L managed to have cameras and bugs placed in the group's conference room. They even had Misa sign on to be Yotsuba's spokesperson, so she could meet the members of the group and report on each one. Higuchi revealed to Rem that he planned on marrying Misa, like it or not, after he eliminated his competition and became rich. rem acted in Misa's defense, and touched her with a piece of the notebook, after which she informed Misa of her past while warning her about Higuchi. Misa then approached Higuchi and managed to get him to reveal his power, which cunningly recorded. This proved a boon to the task force, but they faced a new hurdle. The Japanese government decided it was best to leave Kira alone, and pressured the NPA to fire those who didn't quit the task force. All agreed to stay on except Aizawa, who had a wife and daughter to support. L and Light then set up a plan to capture Higuchi using other members of the Yotsuba group and a TV broadcast. The plan almost failed, but Aizawa saved the day with a well timed road block. Higuchi then revealed the existence of his notebook, and those who touched it could see Rem. It was Given to L and Light, who regained his memories when he touched it and killed Higuchi with a needle, his own blood, and a piece of the notebook hidden in his watch this whole time. L then unchained Light, but still continued to suspect him. Light retrieved his other notebook, regained contact with Ryuk, and began his plans to get rid of those who stood in his way.
Light instructed Misa to begin killing criminals again. This was designed to have her fall under L's suspicions once more. In order to save Misa, Rem killed Watari and then L with her notebook. Because she intervened, Rem died and was reduced to ashes. Her notebook was left behind, and Light was now in control of three Death Notes. Light took over as the new L, and vowed to continue the investigation, while still secretly working as Kira. However, word of L's death reached Wammy's House, the orphanage where L grew up and was training possible successors.
4 Years LaterAfter Light graduated from To-Oh university, he joined the NPA, which had accepted back the task force members, making it easier for him to act as Kira. Suddenly, a new threat reared its head. Mello, the second choice to succeed L, had joined with the Mafia and managed kidnap NPA deputy director Kitamura, asking for the captured notebook as ransom. He did this in direct competition with Near, the first choice for successor. Whoever could solve the case L could not would succeed him. Knowing he was inferior to Near, he turned to criminal methods to win. Light decided to make Kitamura kill himself, but Mello overcame this setback by kidnapping Light's sister Sayu. The task force made every preparation possible, but Mello had planned things out to well and got the notebook in exchange for Sayu. Light then had Misa use her eyes to identify which Mafia man was now owner of the notebook, and made him reveal the location of the Mafia base in LA. Light then had Ryuk deliver Rem's notebook to the task force, and his father Soichiro was given use of it, and made the eye deal. In cooperation with the US special forces, Soichiro led a planned attack on Mello's base and retrieved the notebook, but was shot down before he could write down Mello's real name. Mello then blew up his base and escaped. Soichiro died soon after. The notebook was then reclaimed by its original owner, a shinigami named Sidoh.
Battle with NearThe task force had already made contact with Near via computer, and he assisted in regaining the notebook from Mello. He also used these communications to voice his suspicions that Kira and the second L were one and the same. This caused deep suspicion to spring up in the task force. Aizawa approached Near with information that helped Near deduce that Light Yagami was the second L. After an attack staged with Kira worshipers on Near's headquarters failed, Light had Misa renounce ownership of her notebook to Teru Mikami, a prosecutor and ardent Kira follower, whom Light had seen on a TV broadcast.
Kiyomi TakadaMikami cleverly chose Kiyomi Takada, a popular news anchor and an ex-girlfriend of Light's, as Kira's spokesperson. Under the pretense of investigating her, Light set up meetings with her in hotel rooms monitored by bugs, but not cameras. They communicated by passing notes. He had Takada contact Mikami and send her a substantial number of pages from the notebook, keep his in a secure location, and carry a replica to fool Near, because his appearance on TV would put him under suspicion. At this point, Mello made an unexpected reappearance, and kidnapped Takada. She killed Mello with a piece of the notebook she had secreted on her person, after which Light made her kill herself. Unfortunately, Mikami visited his safe deposit box and wrote down Takada's name almost simultaneously. This tipped off Near's people, and they replaced his notebook with a fake.
Final ConfrontationNear agreed to meet Light face to face at a warehouse known as the Yellow Box. Light planned for Mikami to show up after both task forces (Light's and Near's) had arrived, stand outside with the door open just a crack, and write down the names of everybody but Light. Mikami did so, and when victory seemed to be within his grasp, Light all but confessed to being Kira. When it became clear the plan had failed, Near revealed his ruse with the fake notebook. Mikami ran in weeping, and calling Light "God."
As he had now lost, Light went completely mad and admitted that he was Kira. Light made a last ditch attempt to kill Near with his blood and the piece in his watch, but Matsuda furiously riddled Light with bullets before being restrained. After Mikami kills himself, Light fled the warehouse and made it a good distance before collapsing. Ryuk, who didn't want to stick around while Light served a prison term, wrote Light's name in his own notebook, killing him.
Light's Reincarnation TheoryThere is a popular theory that the unnamed Shinigami featured in the anime OVA, Death Note Relight 1, is the reincarnation of Light Yagami arguments to support the Reincarnation Theory are:
- He wears a coat that looks very similar to the one Light was wearing when he died which also looks to be stained with what could be blood.
- He sports a red tie around his head that's similar to the tie of Light's high school uniform
- He carries a messenger bag, almost identical to the one Light often carried with him when he was in high school.
- The Shinigami's mouth is shaped like Light's "Kira" smile.
- Light also stands in the Shinigami Realm during the end of the second intro sequence- a possible foreshadowing of his reincarnation.
- The Unnamed Shinigami also sports goggles, which could allude to the fact that Light never made the deal for Shinigami Eyes.
- The way he tosses the apple to Ryuk, as Light did when alive
- He walks with something of a limp, which could be related to the injuries Light sustained when shot several times by Matsuda.
- Ryuk himself has some vague dialogue that could be interpreted as him referring to the Unnamed Shinigami as Light: After looking at his own Death Note, Ryuk speaks to Light as if he were there; "You were not God. You were just...gone already?" This could mean Ryuk was addressing the unnamed Shinigami as Light.
- Ryuk also allegedly addresses the shinigami as Light when he asks "Wouldn't you agree, Light?" at the very end of the special.
- The shinigami doesn't stay to hear the end of the story, which could imply he already knows how it ends.
- Light is similar to the following villains:
- Macbeth; they are the main characters of their respective stories and start out as good guys, but as they rise to power, they become increasingly evil and insane. They get killed off in the end by their rivals, thus putting an end to their stories.
- Sweeney Todd; both are murderers, both become corrupted and insane overtime, both have two identities (Sweeney Todd and Benjamin Barker, Kira and Light Yagami), both are aided by a girl/woman who is deeply in love with them (Mrs. Lovett and Misa Amane), both accidentally kill someone close to them in their insanity, (Sweeney kills Lucy, and while Light does not kill his father directly, his role as Kira eventually leads to his death at the hands of Mello.) and both are killed by a character previously thought to be incompetent. (Toby and Matsuda)
- Light's last name, Yagami, is also the last name of Hikari in the Japanese version of Digimon, whose crest is the Crest of Light. Also, his nickname, Kira, is an anagram of Kari, which is Hikari's English name.