“Why even bother?”
Strike (打撃, Dageki) is the thirty-eighth chapter of the Death Note manga series.
The Kira Task Force has moved to a new permanent headquarters, a large building which includes an underground parking lot, luxury apartments and a large meeting room with computers and a huge bank of monitors. There is also extensive security similar to that of an airport, such as people having to put aside all metallic objects before they can proceed into the main meeting room.
In her apartment, Misa is on a "date" with Light, but it is a tension-filled affair given the lack of privacy and the presence of L who is now permanently handcuffed to Light. Light for his part is more frustrated at the fact that L is not being very active at the moment regarding the Kira affair.
L admits to being depressed. He always suspected that Light was Kira (he still does actually, hence the handcuffs) and it is a big shock to him that this is not apparently the case. He'll now have to resume his investigation from the beginning, going all the way back to square one.
To try and explain past events, L theorizes that Kira controlled Light and Misa in order to frame them—in Light's case by getting him to hack into police computers. What does not make sense is the fact that they are still alive since people known to have been manipulated by Kira have subsequently died.
On the other hand, L remains convinced that Light was Kira before he was imprisoned, especially given the fact that criminals stopped dying the moment he was jailed. That would mean that, when the killings resumed, Kira's power had somehow been passed on to another person. One of the Kira tapes did mention that the power could be shared with others.
Once a Kira is arrested, he simply passes his power on to a third party, meaning that they'll probably just keep chasing one Kira after another. This also means putting their lives in constant danger, and L has already taken such risks, including a major gamble which he feared would lead to his death. All this has caused him to hit rock bottom.
Light gets up and suddenly gives L a huge punch, sending him to the other side of the room. He is outraged that L lacks motivation because his theory that Light was Kira is wrong and reminds him that there are others involved such as FBI agents, other policemen and newscasters who have also paid the price to Kira.
Kicking Light in the face, L explains that his real depression is over the fact that arresting Light and Misa as Kiras does not solve the case. Light counters this by saying that L will probably not be satisfied unless Light is Kira. L admits that this actually might be the case. As Light gives him another punch, L wonders if his outrage is genuine and is not Kira after all—or if he really has passed on the Kira power.
The fight is witnessed on the monitors in the meeting room. Matsuda, who is also acting as Misa's manager, then receives a call informing him that Misa has been voted top of a major magazine's popularity poll. Her mysterious two-month disappearance caused widespread speculation and increased her fame, which may get her a part in a major movie. Matsuda calls L on the phone with the news and breaks up the fight. Hanging up, L and Light put it down to typical Matsuda nonsense.
Ten days have passed and the mysterious Yotsuba company member is feverishly writing names in the Death Note. Rem is with him. Although Rem believes that the original Kira is still alive, she cannot explain why he has not resumed the killing of criminals himself and even suggests that the current Death Note owner can stop if he wants to. From a magazine, Rem can see that Misa is now free again—thus Rem's main goal has been achieved.
However, Kira decides to continue since he also intends to kill corrupt politicians and business leaders involved in shady deals. The fortnight during which there was a lull in the Kira killings also lead to a sudden increase in crime since criminals decided that they now had nothing to fear. Kira's return sent these figures down again so the world is coming round to the idea that Kira is needed; a safer world is good for business.
A month later, L and Light are in the meeting room at their HQ. L is still clearly depressed: he sits in his usual crouched position, but is facing the back of his chair and his computer monitor is switched off. Light, who is doing some work of his own, then asks him to look at something. Staring at Light's computer screen, L suddenly looks seriously interested, appearing to have regained his motivation.
The chapter's title "Strike" is about Light and L hitting each other. Ohba wondered who would "imagine" that the title referred to the action and said, "I like these kinds of titles."