Death Note (デスノート, Desu Nōto) is a live-action television drama that aired from July to September 2015 on NTV. It is based on the Death Note manga series but includes many notable changes. The series was announced in April 2015. Masataka Kubota stars as Light Yagami and Kento Yamazaki as L.
Light Yagami is a normal college student living with his father and sister in a society with an imperfect justice system. One night, after encountering a school bully, he finds a strange black notebook, which allows the user to kill a person simply by writing down their name. He resolves to use the Death Note to bring justice to the world by killing criminals, while the great detective L resolves to solve the case and catch him.
The series ran for 11 episodes. The episodes do not have titles.
|Episode||Original Air Date|
|1||July 5, 2015|
|Light Yagami is an average college student with friends and a part-time job. Ryuk drops the Death Note in his path, and Light writes down the name of a guy who has long been bullying his friend. The next morning, Light learns that the guy has died in an apparent motorcycle accident. Horrified, he throws the Death Note in the trash, but when his father Soichiro Yagami is taken hostage, Light does the only thing he can to save him: he retrieves the Death Note and writes down the criminal's name, saving his father. After further doubts, he resolves to use the Death Note to change the world. Meanwhile, L is looking into the case in England, and he and Watari travel to Japan to investigate further. Light kills Lind L Tailor during a TV broadcast, thinking it's L, but this was L's bait and it allows L to narrow his search. FBI agents begin tailing suspects, including Light.|
|2||July 12, 2015|
|Light runs some tests to see the limits of the Death Note, and orchestrates a bus-jacking to discover the name of the FBI agent following him. He gets Raye Penber's name and sees a picture of his fiance Cathy Cambell. Light later writes in the death note that Penber kills L. Ryuk lets slip that Misa is going to die soon. Certain that he knows who's going to kill her, Light tries to find a way to prevent her death, and befriends one of her security guards. The rest of the task force meets L. Light goes to meet with Misa's security guard, only to realize that the guard is the one who's going to threaten Misa's life, but he can't find them in time. After being knocked out from being pushed down the stairs, Misa wakes to discover her attacker is dead, and a red notebook on the ground. Rem introduces herself to Misa. L calls Light about the bus-jacking, and reveals that "Raye Penber" is an alias.|
|3||July 19, 2015|
|Light has failed to kill FBI investigator Raye with the bus hijacking incident, and now L is telling him that he thinks he might be Kira. Realizing that all of his plans have only served to increase suspicion targeted at him, Light is stunned into silence. On top of that, Ryuk has learned that Light's father Soichiro is the head of the Kira Countermeasures Office, and tells Light that he'll have to write his father's name in the Death Note if he wants to survive.|
|4||July 26, 2015|
|After a fierce back and forth, L is unable to find hard proof that Light is Kira... so he decides to go out and challenge him directly. Meanwhile, Misa, who has used the "shinigami eyes" she got from Rem to find out that Kira is Light, makes a move that no one could have predicted.|
|5||August 2, 2015|
|On learning that her savior Kira is really Light, Misa begins a reckless rampage to show her love for him. She tells Light that she acquired "shinigami eyes" to help Kira, and that she wants to use them to kill L. While struggling over whether to drag Misa into such a dangerous gamble, Light embarks on a plan to "show" L to Misa.|
|6||August 9, 2015|
|Misa is placed in holding by L on suspicion of being the Second Kira. As Misa finds herself pressured by L's interrogation, she begins to beg, "Kill me..."|
|7||August 16, 2015|
|Despite Soichiro risking his life, L is still not fully convinced of Light's innocence. In order to get L to accept it, Light joins the Kira Countermeasures Office's investigation. On hearing from Mogi that Kira might be involved with a corporation called the Yotsuba Japan Group, Light swears to L that he will do everything in his power to arrest Kira and to prove his innocence.|
|8||August 23, 2015|
|Higuchi Kyosuke dies immediately after his arrest as the Third Kira. A rule in Higuchi's black Death Note, which reads "If the person using the Note fails to consecutively write names of people to be killed within 13 days of each other, then the user will die" forces L to admit that Light must be innocent. He then asks that Light continue investigating the Kira case with him as a friend.|
|9||August 30, 2015|
|Light managed to write L's name in the Death Note, but L planned ahead to keep himself from dying. Light finally admits that he is Kira, and L encourages him to turn himself in. Just then, Soichiro and the others come running in, but suddenly, L dies after Mikami secretly writes L's name in the Death Note while hiding nearby. Having finally beaten L, Light decides to take back his Death Note.|
|10||September 6, 2015|
|In order to save Sayu, Soichiro and Light take the Death Note to the place indicated by Himura. Additionally, on the instruction of Near, Mogi and the rest of the police prepare to storm the place.|
|11||September 13, 2015|
|Light receives a call from Mello during his father's service, and they narrow in on each other. Light turns the NPA against Mello, but Mello targets Light, Misa, and Mikami. At a standoff in a warehouse, Near shows up again and has been working with Mello all along, and this is all part of their plan. But Mikami is there and sees Near/Mello's real name, Nate River, and writes the name in the Death Note, but the notebook has been replaced with a duplicate. Light prematurely claims victory, but this was secretly witnessed by the police and the task force. Cornered, Mikami causes a fire in the warehouse so Light can escape arrest, but Light's injured and can't get out, and the others can't reach him. One of the notebooks burns, and Mikami and Misa lose their memories, so Misa doesn't kill the task force as intended. Light clutches the remaining notebook as they both burn. In the final scene, at L's grave, Watari shows Near L's final video, in which L says to Light he's sorry for doubting him, although he also says there's a less than 0.1% chance the video will be shown. The final shot is of the moon over the cross of L's grave.|
There are several major changes from the manga the series is based on:
- Light's mother, Sachiko Yagami, is killed prior to the series.
- Light is an average college student with a close group of friends and little ambition, working a part-time job at a pub.
- Light likes Misa Amane, regularly attends her concerts, and intentionally looks up the name of her parents' murderer to kill him.
- Light does not want to become a police officer. As a child, he shared his canon counterpart's dream, but his father's absence after his mother's death changed this.
- Misa sings in the popular girl group Ichigo Berry. She realizes Light is Kira when she spots him at one of her concerts and cannot see his lifespan after she obtains the Shinigami Eyes.
- Unlike in the manga, where the lifespan isn't understood by humans, Misa can read a person's lifespan and knows when they're going to die.
- Misa's Death Note is red instead of black.
- Misa does not obtain the Shinigami Eyes a second time. She and Mikami are in contact.
- Ryuk chooses to give the notebook directly to Light, rather than just dropping it for anyone to find. He actively encourages Light to use it, and even brings it back to him after Light throws it off the roof of a building to discard it.
- Near is introduced early and is in regular contact with L. He has a stronger presence throughout the events of the series. The depiction of Mello suggests that Near might have Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder), although it's not explicitly stated.
- Mello is introduced early and is a puppet that Near carries around. He is given a personality and voice by Near. L and Watari treat Mello as separate from Near and shouts at him directly when he starts giving Near problems in L's presence.
- Teru Mikami is introduced early as the prosecutor handling Misa's case. He writes L's name in his Death Note after seeing it with his Shinigami Eyes.
- Raye Penber's fiance is Cathy Cambell, but she doesn't take the role of Naomi Misora, who isn't in the series.
- L wears shoes and sprawls in his chairs. Instead of frequently eating sweets, he's constantly drinking energy juice packs. He's always immaculately dressed, and instead of sitting hunched over, he puts his feet up and crosses his legs.
The series aired on NTV from July 5, 2015 to September 13, 2015.
The series was simultaneously released streaming online with English subtitles by Crunchyroll in multiple territories. The first episode was available on July 8th at 7:30 pm Pacific Time. It was available within a few days of the Japanese airing for Crunchyroll subscribers, and a week later for free for all viewers.
The series was released in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray as a box set on January 27th, 2016.
The drama was scored by Takayuki Hattori and released on the Death Note Original Soundtrack.
The song Aryarya, performed by Misa's group Ichigo Berry, prominently features in the series.
- Cathy Cambell's name is clearly written as "Cambell" onscreen in episode 2, but the official subtitles misspell it as "Campbell."
- Belle's name is written as "Belle" onscreen in episode 3, but the official subtitles misspell it as "Bell."
- At the end of the series finale, the teaser trailer for Death Note: Light Up the NEW World aired for the first time under the initial title Death Note 2016.
- Official website: ntv.co.jp/drama-deathnote/
- Official Twitter:
- Wikipedia: Death Note (2015 TV series)
- IMDB: Death Note
- Anime News Network's encyclopedia: Death Note (live-action TV)
- Crunchyroll official English-subtitled streaming episodes: Death Note Drama
- ↑ "Death Note" Live-Action TV Drama Story Details Revealed, July 02, 2015.