Death Note Wiki


Death Note Wiki
Death Note Wiki
This page is for the Japanese live-action film. For the American live-action film that was released in 2017, see Death Note (2017 film).
Main Page

Death Note is the first film in the Death Note live-action film series. It is the first half of a two-part story with the second film, Death Note: The Last Name. Along with the second film, it was directed by Shūsuke Kaneko and based on the Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.


Within the Kanto region of Japan, Light Yagami: an intelligent and distinguished yet disaffected Tokyo college student stumbles across a mysterious dark-colored notebook, with the words: "Death Note" marked on the cover, while returning home from his classes. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a person's name is written within while picturing that person's face, he or she will die. Light is initially skeptical of the Death Note's authenticity, but after experimenting with it on a convicted criminal, he realizes it is real. After experimenting with it on his second victim: an acquitted felon named Takuo Shibuimaru and meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a demonic Shinigami named Ryuk, Light begins to see the potential of the Death Note's god-like abilities and eventually decides to use the notebook to kill those whom he deems to be morally unworthy of life or impede his plans to change the world. He begins using the Death Note to kill numerous known criminals, terrorists and convicted felons around the world, becoming a near-mythical vigilante known as "Kira", which is the Japanese trans-literation of the word: killer and who is both beloved and feared by the world-wide media and public.

As the Kira killings continue, some within both the international and Japanese society come to see Kira as a righteous figure, with many even calling him a "god". Interpol launches an investigation of the murders, but months pass without any fruitful lead. The case eventually attracts the attention of L, a reclusive, highly-skilled and world-renowned criminal profiler/international private detective, who deduces that "Kira" is in Japan. Allying himself with Interpol and the Japanese police force, L manages to confront Light through a television broadcast and demonstrates his deductive skills, correctly surmising Kira's residence in the Kanto region and that he can "kill without lifting a finger", by manipulating Light to kill a decoy of his named "Lind L. Tailor", thus unwittingly giving out his location to the Japanese police force. Enraged, Light vows to find and kill L, either by hook or crook.

After Light hacks into the police database to find information on acquitted criminals, L deduces that Kira is connected to the Kira task-force in Tokyo, led by Light's father: Soichiro Yagami, the head of the National Police Agency. Around the same time, Light finds out that he is being followed by an FBI agent named Raye Iwamatsu, who was assigned by L to shadow over potential "Kira" suspects and, through a series of events, manipulates Iwamatsu's and his fellow agents' deaths. Raye's fiancé, Naomi Misora, a former FBI agent, decides to uncover Kira's identity. Considering Light as the prime suspect, she kidnaps his girlfriend Shiori Akino and demands that he confess or Shiori will die. Light adamantly insists that he is not Kira and pleads with her. When Shiori tries to escape, Naomi shoots her and abruptly commits suicide. Shiori dies in Light's arms.

Ryuk finds that Light had actually engineered Naomi's death using the Death Note, as he had already found out her identity and written a scenario whereby Naomi would commit suicide after shooting Shiori. Ryuk is confused that Light would deliberately put Shiori in danger, but Light reveals that he had written her name in the Death Note as well, much to his reluctance and remorse. Using these events to seemingly foster hatred for Kira, Light asks to join his father's task force. While Soichiro is slightly reluctant, L immediately grants his wish and it is hinted that he is still certain that Light is Kira.

As a precursor to the second movie, Misa Amane, an actress, is chased down an alley by a man wielding a knife, intent on killing her. As she screams for help, the man dies of a heart attack just like Kira's victims. A second Death Note lands beside her.


Production credits[]

Japanese staff
  • Director: Shusuke Kaneko
  • Screenplay: Tetsuya Oishi
  • Executive producers: Seiji Okuda and Toyoharu Fukuda
  • Producer: Takahiro Sato
  • Assistant Camera: Sakura Seno
  • Camera: Minoru Ishiyama
  • Chief Lighting Technician: Masamichi Uwabo
  • Cinematography: Kenji Takama
  • Film Editing: Yousuke Yafune
  • First Assistant Director: Koji Yamaguchi
  • Original Music: Kenji Kawai
Japanese companies
  • Production: Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV), Shueisha, and Warner Bros.
  • Sound Stages: Nikkatsu Studio

Release and reception[]


Death Note premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks, pushing The Da Vinci Code into second place.

Death Note (死亡筆記) was released in Hong Kong on August 10, 2006, in Taiwan on September 8, 2006, in Singapore on October 19, 2006, and in Malaysia on November 9, 2006, with English and Chinese subtitles. The world premiere was in the UA Langham Place cinema in Hong Kong on October 28, 2006, the first Japanese movie to premiere in Hong Kong. The film ended up earning US$41 million in Japan, US$1.9 million in Hong Kong. It was released in the UK on April 25, 2008.

The film had a limited theatrical release in North American on May 20 and 21, 2008. One of the theatrical versions featured subtitles, while the other was dubbed and featured the voice actors from the English dub of the anime.

DVD and Blu-ray[]

The film was released on DVD in Japan on March 14, 2007. Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name were released together the same month in a complete set that also included a bonus DVD, bonus CD, and booklet in a special box. A limited number of complete boxes were "lucky sets" that had alternate art for the bonus DVD cover, using the cover of Misa Amane's Death Note instead of the regular cover of Light's Death Note.

The two films were again re-released together in a Blu-ray box on November 23, 2011, to celebrate the film's fifth anniversary. The box included making-of footage, the menu video, and the film trailer on DVD, along with director's audio commentary and a message from actors Tatsuya Fujiwara and Erika Toda, who played Light Yagami and Misa Amane, respectively. The DVD was priced down and reissued in October 2016 to commemorate the release of Death Note: Light Up the NEW World.

The film was released on DVD in North America by Viz Media on September 16, 2008, and included both the English subtitled and English dubbed versions. Viz Media later re-released the film on Blu-ray.

Death Note was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America by Funimation on January 22, 2019. It was subtitled and bundled with The Last Name, but unlike their previous North American release, these versions are not dubbed. They were released alongside Death Note: Light Up the NEW World.[2]

Distributor Region Released Format Notes and content
VAP 2 Mar 14 2007 DVD Japanese first DVD release
A/1 Nov 23 2011 Blu-ray Japanese 5th anniversary box
Viz Pictures 1 Sep 16 2008 DVD English subtitled and dubbed
A/1 Aug 24 2010 Blu-ray English subtitled and dubbed, double release with Death Note: The Last Name
Funimation A/1 Jan 22 2019 DVD, Blu-ray English subtitled (not dubbed), double release with Death Note: The Last Name

Behind the scenes[]


Kaneko chartered an underground line to film a particular scene in the first film; this was the first time in Japanese film history that an underground line was used. Kaneko used about 500 extras throughout the first film.

Intent with the film[]

Shūsuke Kaneko, director of the film, said that the comic series "barely touches" pain felt by the Death Note's victims, so he decided to use a different focus with the film series.

Tatsuya Fujiwara, the actor who portrayed Light in the film series, compared the theme of Death Note to the theme of Crime and Punishment and viewed Death Note as a "very eccentric story" that "depicts very permanent theme."

Kaneko, in his production notes, says that people may feel that killing "bad ones" is fair but humans need to understand the power of the Death Note. Kaneko adds that the psychological fear of dying could be "more nightmarish than Kaiju (monsters) destroying cities and killing people."

Kaneko also stated that he wanted the film to "focus on psychological pain," explain how the deaths occur, and explain how younger people begin to like Kira and other people begin to like L.

Kaneko indicated mixed feelings while directing the movie; he said that he felt "a little reservation" at how the movie would perform since the film "uses 'death' to entertain the audience" and feels "morally unsettling." Kaneko theorizes that the film may have performed well because of the Internet culture of Japan. Kaneko said that use of the Death Note had similarities to how users attack one another on message boards and blogs. In addition, Kaneko said that death is "carefully" concealed to the point where "people don't even think about it."

Image gallery[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Converted using December 2006 exchange rate of 0.0085.
  2. Funimation Licenses Japanese Live-Action Death Note Films, Anime News Network, 2018 September 21.