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Listen for the voice of God then follow it, and know that in time you will find your salvation.

English teacher

Rebirth (新生, Shinsei) is the first episode of the Death Note anime.


In the Shinigami Realm, a Shinigami named Ryuk seems preoccupied with something while the other Shinigami relax and gamble. Meanwhile, Light Yagami, in his high school English class, observes his classmates playing games and whispering, ignoring the lesson. On the way home, various crimes are being reported via public television. Ryuk and Light in their respective worlds think about how rotten the world has become.

The next day in class, Light sees a notebook fall to the ground. He retrieves the notebook after school. At home, he doubtfully goes over the rules written inside the notebook and decides to test it by writing down the name of a criminal involved in a hostage situation on live TV. After 40 seconds, as he is about to turn the TV off, the hostages run out of the building unharmed. The criminal dropped dead of a heart attack, and Light is astonished.

Still not completely convinced it was not a coincidence, Light decides to test the notebook a second time. He decides against killing Sudou, a bully at his school, to avoid killing anyone he actually knows. On his way home from cram school, he sees a motorcycle gang abusing a young woman. Hearing that the leader's name is Takuo Shibuimaru, Light walks into a shop and writes Takuo's name in a number of variations, to make sure he spells his name correctly. To further test the notebook, Light writes in the cause of death to be a traffic accident. 40 seconds later, Takuo is struck by a passing truck. Realizing that he has killed two people, Light is violently sick.

In the Shinigami Realm, the other Shinigami laugh at Ryuk for dropping his Death Note in the human world. Expressionlessly, he sprouts wings and flies through the portal.

Light arrives home from school and gives his mother the results of the National Practice Exam. He waves off any offers a reward for placing first and goes to his room to be alone. Opening up the Death Note, several pages of the notebook are filled with names. Ryuk appears, and Light screams and falls out of his chair in surprise. Ryuk introduces himself as the Shinigami who dropped the notebook. Collecting himself, Light informs Ryuk that he has been waiting for him. Ryuk is impressed with the number of times Light has used the Death Note in just 5 days and supplies Light with more information about the notebook.

Light explains that he has been killing criminals with heart attacks expecting people to begin realizing that someone is passing judgment on them. He has tasked himself with cleansing the world of evil and expects that once people realize someone is watching them and killing evil-doers, everyone else will conform to good. While Ryuk wonders if this will make Light the only evil person left, Light brushes this aside and claims that he is one of Japan's top students who will reign over a New World as God. Ryuk appears satisfied that he has found something so interesting in the Human World.

Death Note Rules Revealed[]

  • How to Use It: I
    • The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
    • This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person's face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
    • If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the person's name, it will happen.
    • If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.
    • After writing the cause of death, details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • How to Use It: II
    • This note shall become the property of the human world, once it touches the ground of (arrives in) the human world.
    • The owner of the note can recognize the image and voice of its original owner, i.e. a god of death.
    • The human who uses this note can neither go to Heaven nor Hell.


  • In the English dub of the episode, Light reads the first rule of using the Death Note as "The human whose name is written in this notebook shall die."
  • According the anime guidebook, a short, anime-exclusive scene of Light putting the notebook back on the ground when he first picks it up but later changing his mind to pick it back up again was meant to imply that the Death Note could have had a "magical power" that compelled him to possess it.[1] However, none of the Death Note rules in manga or anime canon indicates that the notebook emits such a power.

Episode Guide[]

  1. Death Note /A Official Analysis Guide of the Animation, pg. 13