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The life of top student, Light Yagami, changes when a bored Shinigami leaves a Death Note lying to be found. Now with the power to kill whomever he wishes, Light decides to rid the world of evil while trying to protect himself from the authorities.


 Death Note Vol. 1 JPN
 Death Note Vol. 1 JPN
The story of Light Yagami and the powers of the Death Note, which he uses to spread his own ideology across the world.

" 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 rougue 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 being 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?  "

Death Note originally ran in the Japanese magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006.  It consisted of 108 chapters.  It was then published in book form in May 2004 (in Japan) for 12 volumes. It was written by Tsugumi Ohba, and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, known for his work on Hikaru no Go.


  • Shueisha (Japan)
  • Madman Entertainment (North America)
  • Viz Media (North America)
  • Kana (France, Netherlands)
  • Glenat Espana (Spain)
  • Grupo Editorial Vid (Mexico)
  • LARP Editores S.A. (Argentina)
  • Panini Comics (Italy)
  • Tokyopop (Germany)
  • Эксмо (Russia)
  • Japonica Polonica Fantastica (Poland)
  • JBC (Portugal)
  • Mangismo Sverige (Sweden)
  • Tong Li Publishing Co., Ltd. (Taiwan, China)

Publication History

In Japan, Death Note was run weekly with the exception of minor hiatuses taken by the authors. It was first published as a one-shot by Shueisha, and featured a more typical " horror" style plotline, which was latter changed to the psychological drama of the current Death Note. However, Taro Kagami, the protagonist of the pilot chapter, had his design adapted for child Teru Mikami.
Later on, the series was published as a full serialized weekly manga of 108 chapters, running from December 2003 to May 2006. On February 2008, a one-chapter sequel to the series was released. Set two years after the ending of Death Note, it followed the adventures of a new Kira, and focuses on the reactions of various Death Note characters to this new Kira. There were also several four-panel comics released in issues of Akamaru Jump.
The first tankobon volume of Death Note was released in May 2004, with the twelfth volume being released in October 2006. On October 13, 2006, a special guidebook entitled How to Read was released to accompany the release of the final volume. It detailed behind the scenes information about the series, creator interviews, and character profiles. In it's first edition the book came with finger puppets of the characters Kira, L, Misa, Mello and Near, in a style reminiscent of the puppets used by Near himself.
In North America, the series was licensed by Madman Entertainment but distributed by VIZ Media. The first volume was released on October 10, 2005. Viz has released all twelve volumes, with the final volume being published on July 3, 2007. How to Read was printed on February 19, 2008. A hardcover version of the first volume was then released on September 16, 2008.
The series was also banned around China , for promoting the supernatural and affecting the psyche and mental health of children.


All Japanese sound effects were changed to English variants of the same.


Light Yagami
The "normal" student who first finds the Death Note. A caring and intelligent student outwardly, he harbors deep feelings of hatred for those he considers criminals, or unfit to stay within society. He plans to use the Death Note to create an ideal society, one free of crime and excess.
The shinigami who first dropped the Death Note. Bored of life in the Shinigami Realm, Ryuk dropped the Death Note in hopes of witnessing an interesting event. Usually, Ryuk is quite childish and immature; however, when speaking about Shinigami affairs, Ryuk can become increasingly frightening.
The great detective sent after Kira. L is very childish, and enjoys sweet things, but behind this unassuming exterior sits a cold, calculating mind. He is able to match Kira at every step, but seems to push others away. 
L's caretaker and general assistant in all things. When disguised, he wears a trench coat and fedora, but is revealed to be an old man. Watari is adept at many skills, including cooking and sniping targets.
Soichiro Yagami
Light's father, and head of the Kira investigation under L. Soichiro is probably the most honest character in the series, always sticking to his stoic values through thick and thin. Still, the suspicion on his son has been hard on him.
Misa Amane
The Second Kira. Misa is an ardent admirer and follower of Light Yagami. Possessing the Shinigami Eyes, she is technically more powerful than Light, but her lack of rational logic in her plans tends to make her easy to manipulate by Light. 
Misa's shinigami. Unusually for a shinigami, she cares very much for her charge, and is willing to threaten Light if it means preserving Misa's safety. 
One of L's successors, and the one who heads the Task Force. Near is quite childlike, and enjoys playing with toys. His mannerisms, behavior, and way of dressing are reminiscent of, although not exactly like, the mannerisms of L himself.
One of L's successors. He was determined to succeed on his own terms to defeat Kira and prove his worth. Like L, he has a sweet tooth, although he usually craves chocolate. He is not above resorting to underhanded tactics like kidnapping the innocent Sayu Yagami to achieve his goals.
Teru Mikami
The third Kira, with the exception of the Yotsuba Kira. Like Light, Mikami has a strong sense of justice, and believes that " God" blessed him with the ability to rid the world of evil. When he writes in his Death Note, he often repeats the word delete.

Story Arcs

Discovering the Death Note ( Volumes 1-3)
The 2nd Kira (Volumes 3-5)
Yotsuba Kira (Volumes 5-7)
L's Sucessors (Volumes 7-12)
Book # Name Rating Release Date
July 4, 2006
Kindred Spirit
May 2, 2006
Feb. 3, 2006
Dec. 2, 2005
Sept. 2, 2005
July 4, 2005
April 4, 2005
Feb. 4, 2005
Nov. 11, 2004
Hard Run
Sept. 3, 2004
July 2, 2004
Feb. 2, 2004
General Information Edit
English Name Death Note
Japanese Name: デスノート
Romaji: Desu Nōto
Publisher Viz Media
Start Year 2003
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