Light Yagami

Light Yagami is a anime/manga character in the Death Note franchise
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Light Yagami is an attractive and highly intelligent young man who hides a vicious distaste for the world around him. His life is forever changed the day he finds the Death Note outside of his high school.


Light finds the Death Note
Light finds the Death Note

The son of a police chief, Light Yagami grows up utterly disenchanted with the world and the horrific crimes its inhabitants commit. One day he comes across a notebook with Death Note written on the cover which to have the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in the book. At first he is horrified when he confirms the book's powers, but then decides to use the book for what he considers to be the greater good: he attempts to use it to kill off all of the world's criminals. Unfortunately for him, the police will not sit idly by while he murders these people. The police recruit the genius detective, L, to find this murderer who they know only as Kira. It's a battle of wits as the two geniuses attempt to obtain each other's identities. Light manages to worm his way into the Kira investigation, largely because L is interested in him -- both as an ally and as the primary suspect. Along the way, Light finds a new ally and Death Note possessor in Misa Amane, although he thinks of her as more of a tool. When L finds conclusive evidence against Misa, she erases her memory to protect Light. This gives Light a good idea for a plan to prove his innocence, which he enacts by erasing his own memory and helping track down (a new) Kira. After accomplishing that and getting his memory back, he is eventually able to have L killed. After L's death, Light takes over control of the Kira investigation. As word of L's death reaches his allies, two new opponents for Light appear -- Near and Mello. Light gladly takes on the new challenge, but meets his end as a result of choosing a Kira replacement who did not strictly follow his orders.


Light was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata for the manga series Death Note. Ohba said that Light's last name was actually suggested by his editor, but he was glad that it gained a deeper significance after the Yellow Box Warehouse scene. According to Obata, he had not trouble coming up with a design for Light. He was created as a "brilliant honors student whose a little out there". Apparently, it was also difficult for him to think of what a "fashionable" guy like Light would wear, so he had to consult fashion magazines for help.

In the anime, he was voiced by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese language track, and Brad Swaile in the English dub. In the live-action movies, he was portrayed by Tatsuya Fujiware.

Character Evolution

In the beginning of Death Note, Light truly seemed like an idealist who was simply going too far with his methods, working under the mantra "the ends justify the means". However, as the series continued he became more ruthless and calculating, eventually forgetting his own inherent values.

Obata also said that, as he continued to draw the series, he began to "remove unnecessary lines" from Light's design, thus simplifying it, and he also felt that he became more adept at drawing Light.


Light after a particularly satisfying kill
Light after a particularly satisfying kill

Light's personality is at best cocky and arrogant. He believes himself to be the best and these beliefs are only reinforced throughout the series. At the start of the series Light is a humble, reasonable and intelligent young man. Confident in his abilities with a strong sense of justice. Upon coming into contact with the Death Note, Light's strong sense of justice is unearthed as he develops a God complex and starts his escapade to rid the world of evil. But the introduction of L begins to reveal Light's competitive side. His hunger to defeat L consumed him and this is where he began to lose the better parts of his personality. His confrontation with L showed his brilliance and cunning as well as the arrogance he held. The constant strain pushed his psyche to great limits and contorted his mind thus changing his persona entirely. Light then became two people. There was the brilliant super sleuth with a heart of gold and there was the brilliant mastermind who manipulated many seeking to move closer towards his goal. Both men used their intelligence to advance towards their respective goals, yet only one succeeded.

Major Story Arcs

Finding the Death Note

Light was simply an ordinary student, albeit one with strong opinions about the world. However, when he found the Death Note on the ground, he began to use it as a tool to rid the world of criminals. His first target was Takuo Shibuimaru, used as a test subject. After that, he wrote hundreds of names before Ryuk the Shinigami appeared. He continued to write names, but had to step up his game when he learned that the great detective L was tracking him.

Then, he discovered that the FBI agent Raye Penber was following him, along with a team of other agents, and cunningly found a way to dispose of them. However, Raye's fiancee, Naomi Misora suspected something was amiss, and went to tell the Task Force. Still, Light was able to trick her into revealing her name, and forced her to commit suicide without anyone being able to find her body.

The Second Kira

After Naomi Misora's disappearance, L became suspicious of Light and infiltrated his college, prompting Light to become more defensive and paranoid. However, during this period a set of four tapes was sent to a director named Demegawa from Sakura TV, a channel that was thriving on the sensationalism caused by Kira. The tapes were sent by a second Kira, as evidenced by their sloppiness.

The police attempted to halt the showing of the tapes, since they marked out the killing of various people, but were killed once they arrived at the Sakura TV building, revealing that the Second Kira had Shinigami Eyes.

Other Media


Light's origin, motive, and storyline is kept the same, with only minor changes.

Live-action Movies

Light was included as a protagonist in two Death Note movies. His background was also changed: instead of a high school student, he was a first year law student. His ultimate fate and the way he finds the Death Note was also changed.

Death Note (2006)

Death Note: The Last Name (2006)

Video games

Light has appeared in several video games based on the series, as well as the Shonen Jump crossover games.

Jump Super Stars (2006)

Jump Ultimate Stars (2006)

Death Note Kira Game (2007)

Death Note L o Tsugumono (2007)

Internet Phenomena

Light has been the subject of MANY internet phenomena, or "memes", with some notable ones being Exactly as Planned, I'll Take A Potato Chip... And Eat It!, and the recent Zac Efron is Kira.

Blaming Kira for Celebrity Deaths- Due to the string of heart attack attributed deaths in June 2009, many anime fans proceeded to attribute the deaths to Kira, as it fits within his modus operandi.

Death Note Drinking Game- Invented to document how many times the phrase boku wa kira janai (I'm not Kira) appears in the anime.

Exactly as Planned- Light Yagami's catchphrase, used to connote his seeming ability to anticipate every situation. Originated on 4Chan.

How to Swim- A video made using the scenes of Light flailing in the final episode of the series, with captions detailing "how to swim". Originated on 4-Chan as a parody of the same scene in the manga, but was later turned into a .gif using the anime scenes.

I'll Take A Potato Chip... And Eat It!- A particularly over the top scene from the anime, usually looped or played to inappropriate music.

Kira's Laugh- A clip of Light Yagami's laughter in the final episode of the anime. Can be found in several languages.

What Would Kira Do- A slogan originating from the popular Christian phrase "What Would Jesus Do".

Zac Efron is Kira- Started due to rumors that the High School Musical star would be playing Light in the American live-action remake. Forums and individuals began to post comparisons of Efron and Light, noting the physical similarities between them and drawing the conclusion that Zac Efron is Kira.

Voiced by
Name Movies TV Shows
Mamoru Miyano
Brad Swaile
Tatsuya Fujiwara
Rank Game #1070 in Power Rank
General Information Edit
Name: Light Yagami
Name: 夜神 月
Romanji: Yagami Raito
Gender: Male
Birthday: 02/28/1986
1st manga book: Death Note #1
1st anime episode: Death Note #1
1st anime movie: Death Note
Aliases Kira
Second L
Recent Movies
L: Change the World

Change the World is a spin off to Death Note: The Last Name. It revolves around L as he tries to stop a terrorist group ...

Death Note (Hollywood Live-Action)

A Hollywood-based live-actiona daptation of Tsugumi Ohba's popular goth-suspense manga.

Director's Cut: Rewrite 2: L's Successors (OVA)

Death Note

Live-action film based on the anime/manga Death Note. Light Yagami discovers the Death Note, giving him the ability to kill those of his choosing by ...

Death Note: The Last Name


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