“I know that voice. Why on earth can't I remember who it belongs to? Kira, who are you?”
Penber is a handsome man with black hair and light eyes. He is depicted with brown hair and blue eyes in the video games. He wears business attire and a long jacket when tailing Light Yagami.
Penber is American, though he has a Japanese mother. Light notices a distinct accent in Penber's voice when he speaks Japanese.
Penber is about to stop investigating Light Yagami as he appears to simply be a normal, serious high school-bound student who only goes to school and a preparatory academy. While following Light on what appears to be a date, Penber decides that after that day he will cease investigating him.
Penber boards the bus after Light and his date with a girl named Yuri takes a seat behind the couple. Soon after, a man, a criminal named Kiichiro Osoreda, boards the bus. Osoreda pulls out a gun and points it at Sasaki, the driver, taking the bus hostage. The bus driver is forced to call Space Land (the amusement park the bus is headed to) and report the situation. The bus driver explains that he is being held at gunpoint before Osoreda takes the phone. Osoreda confirms what Sasaki said into the phone and demands that the people on the other end of the phone call bring the financial reports of Space Land to the bus stop he designates. Osoreda threatens to kill everyone on the bus if the other party calls the cops or does not comply. Light shows his date a note telling her that she should not worry and that he will attack the busjacker’s hand in which he holds the gun.
Over Light's shoulder, Penber sees the note and tells Light not to take action, claiming that he will handle the situation. Light begins writing on a piece of paper, but Penber tells Light that he doesn't have to write notes because Osoreda can't hear their voices over the sound of the bus. Light crumbles the paper and puts it in his pocket, telling Penber that he can tell from his accent that he is not Japanese. Penber says that he is Japanese American, and Light replies by asking if Penber can prove that he isn't the busjacker's partner. Yuri is in disbelief, and Light explains that a tactic for criminals is to have one criminal act while the other hides and waits in secret, appearing as a bystander. Penber, thinking that if Light were Kira he would have killed the criminal by this time, decides that he has no choice. Penber takes out his FBI badge and shows it to Light to prove that he isn't Osoreda's accomplice. Light tells Penber that he believes him, but he doesn't know why the FBI is here. Light asks Penber if he has a gun, to which the agents responds yes. Light replies that he will leave the situation to him.
Penber analyzes the situation and decides that he can't use his gun until the last second. His thoughts turn toward the Kira investigation, and he wonders why the police think Kira is in Japan even though more American criminals have died than Japanese. He believes that even if the FBI was used to find the killer, the killer wouldn't be somebody in the Japanese police. Penber turns his thoughts back to the situation at hand, telling himself that saving lives right now is more important. He looks toward the busjacker and recalls that Osoreda was on the news a few days prior for robbing a bank and fleeing the scene after killing three people. Meanwhile, Light puts his hand into his pocket, then takes it back out, causing the crumpled piece of paper inside to fall onto the floor. The busjacker watches as Light tries to pick it up and yells at Light to not move. Osoreda picks up the paper and believes that the passengers are passing notes. Penber recognizes the paper as the one that Light used earlier to communicate to his date and becomes worried. Penber puts his hand into his jacket, seemingly to reach for his gun. However, the busjacker laughs and throws the paper, which the busjacker believes to be a date invitation to go to Space Land, back at Light. Osoreda warns everyone on board to not make any sudden movements.
Osoreda turns around and suddenly begins screaming in panic, asking what that "thing" is at the far back of the bus. He begins asking it when it appeared, to which Ryuk replies by asking if he is talking to him. Ryuk asks the busjacker if he can see him, and the busjacker, frightened, tells Ryuk to not move or he will shoot him. Penber says that Osoreda is hallucinating, and warns everyone on the bus to get down. Ryuk, finally understanding Light’s plan, notes that Light intended for the busjacker to pick up a piece of the Death Note. Osoreda begins shooting at Ryuk, and Ryuk says that bullets can not kill a Shinigami. As the busjacker continues to shoot, Ryuk notes that he told this to Light, and he thinks it clever that Light had constructed this situation to reveal the name of the man who has been following him. Penber sees that the busjacker has used up all of his bullets and prepares to act. However, Osoreda orders the bus to stop and flees, running into the street, where he is immediately hit by a car.
Penber stands near the door of the bus and, as Light exits, tells Light that he is on a secret mission. Light says that he understands and will not tell anyone that they met, not even Light's father, Soichiro Yagami. Penber smiles before telling Light that he is leaving because things could get complicated if he is here when the police come.
After the bus jacking, Penber returns home and he is welcomed by his fiancée Naomi Misora. While sitting down tiredly in a chair, Naomi asks him if something happened at work. Penber says that he was caught in a bus jacking and that the busjacker had robbed a bank two days prior. Naomi appears worried, asking if he was on the same bus as the busjacker; he says yes and adds that the man ran off the bus and was hit by a car. Naomi asks if the busjacker is dead, and Penber explains that he probably is, but he left the scene before the police arrived and didn't see what happened afterward. Naomi says that she wonders if it really was a coincidence, and says, "You were following someone when you got on the bus, right? And now that criminal is likely dead…" Penber states that he knows she was an outstanding FBI agent, but now she is his fiancée. He tells her to not involve herself in the investigation, since he is concerned for her well-being and because she came to Japan with him to visit her parents, not to get involved in the case. Naomi apologizes, and Penber says that she shouldn't worry about it as once they start a family, she won't have time to think about having been an agent. He jokingly says that she should think of a way for him to greet her father so that they get along and she begins to laugh.
At 3:00 PM on December 27, 2003, while wearing a hood to obscure his identity, Light as Kira holds Penber hostage in an underground section of the Shinjuku Station. Light appears behind Penber (who is unaware that it is Light) and tells him that he is Kira, then instructs him to not turn around. Light says that he will prove his identity by killing Yonegoro Nusumi, an employee at a shop labeled CAFEEL, by heart attack; Nusumi had raped women but escaped a court conviction due to a lack of evidence. As Light said, the shop employee dies. Having proved to Penber that he is Kira, Light threatens Penber by stating that non-compliance would lead to Raye's death, the death of Raye's love, and the deaths of Raye's family. Light leads Penber through a turnstile in the western entrance at 3:11 PM. As Light directs him, Penber enters a train on the Yamanote Line at 3:13. He obtains the names of the other FBI investigators and writes them on the Death Note page, unknowingly securing their deaths. Penber receives the FBI file at 3:21 PM, and he is the second FBI agent who receives the file. At 4:42 PM, Penber dies from a heart attack three seconds after he exits the train, and his last sight is of Light's face.
In other media
In the film series, he is known as Raye Iwamatsu (レイ・イワマツ, Rei Iwamatsu) and portrayed by Shigeki Hosokawa. Iwamatsu is a counterterrorism agent headquartered in Dallas, Texas. His date of death is also changed to December 27, 2006, as L's video recording in the first film shows. In the film, Iwamatsu tells Naomi Misora that he suspects Light Yagami; this allows for Misora to suspect Light and to find Shiori Akino. Iwamatsu cancels his reservations and leaves the hotel, causing a perplexed Misora to follow him. Iwamatsu boards the train at 10:40 A.M. at Asakabashi Station and encounters Kira while on the train. Iwamatsu does not see Kira, instead, he talks to him using a walkie-talkie. Light has the man sitting next to Iwamatsu, a rapist named Ozaki, killed and tells Iwamatsu to prop Ozaki's body so that it looks like he is sleeping. Light threatens to kill other passengers if Iwamatsu does not cooperate. Iwamatsu receives an e-mail containing names of the other FBI agents investigating Kira. Iwamatsu notices Ryuk as he briefly looks through a window. He then places the paper and walkie-talkie on the train, exits at Shinagawa Park and dies three seconds later; Misora witnesses his death, drops her church documents, and cries "Raye!" repeatedly as she holds Iwamatsu's dead body. Misora collapses and sobs at the end of the scene. Light kills the other FBI agents in Japan and Iwamatsu's supervisor along with Iwamatsu.
After the busjacking, Light attempts to use the death note to make him kill L, but this doesn't work because Light doesn't have his real name.
Dwellton's fiancée is Cathy Cambell, and Light uses this information to manipulate Dwellton into writing down the other agents' names in the Death Note. However, Dwellton doesn't write down his own name as instructed, which leads to Dwellton confronting Light who he now knows is Kira, and holding a gun on him. Misa Amane, already the second Kira with the Shinigami Eyes at this point, was following Light to learn about who Kira is, since they hadn't yet met. Keeping out of sight, she writes down Dwellton's name in her Death Note, allowing Light to get away.
Tsugumi Ohba said that at the beginning he thought of the idea of the FBI going after Light, and so he created Penber to fill the plot point.
Takeshi Obata said that as Penber was of mixed American and Japanese descent, he "struggled over his design" and tried to make Penber look more non-Japanese. Obata said that he wishes that he could have "drawn him a bit better."
- In the Japanese anime version, Penbar's identification card signature is firstly spelled "Ray Penbar," although it is corrected in the next episode.
- The English version corrects the signature to read "Raye Penber."
- In Death Note 13: How to Read, it is revealed that Light Yagami's words on the train while Penber dies were added by artist Obata and were absent from Ohba's original sketch of the scene. Obata said that he felt that he might have overstepped his bounds by adding the dialogue, but Ohba felt that the scene was improved with Obata's addition.
- In Death Note: The Musical, the FBI agent Light uses to kill the others is instead Haley Belle. Light isn't necessarily being tailed by an agent when he does this, as the arrival of the FBI is announced on the news and Light finds Agent Belle by searching online and Raye Penber isn't referenced at all.
- (to Naomi Misora) "But you're here now as my fiancée, and nothing else. You're not in the Bureau anymore, okay?"
- "Why can't I remember whose voice this is?" (Slots)
- Birthday shown in the first film when Raye gets the list of FBI agents' names.