“There is no reason for me to question. God is absolute. My job is to do as God wishes.”
Teru Mikami (魅上 照, Mikami Teru) is a criminal prosecutor chosen as the Hand of Kira by Light Yagami. Mikami takes ownership of Gelus's Death Note after Light falls under suspicion of being Kira again, and needs someone to act as Kira without being giving every order.
He also performs the Shinigami Eye Deal with Ryuk, granting him Shinigami Eyes. When Mikami's decisions reveal that he can follow the thoughts and ideals of the first Kira, Light wonders if Mikami will become much-needed help or a new threat.
Mikami is a young man with shoulder-length black hair, who wears glasses. His typical attire consists of a black trench coat over a business suit. Like many of the characters, he can be perceived as attractive.
Throughout most of the series, he was drawn to be kempt and similar to design in Taro Kagami, the main character in the pilot chapter of the series. When he finally sees Light, he becomes disheveled and looks more like an "insane fanatic" of Kira.
Considering Kira to be his God, Mikami is a devout Kira-worshiper. His answer to a Kira’s Kingdom question that asked what he thought of Kira was simply "God." His loyalty to Kira is exemplified when he forces himself to stop questioning Kira after he is perplexed by the task of creating and using a fake notebook. Aside from his disdain of "lazy people", Mikami shares the same view on crime as Kira, which is what made Light choose him to carry out judgments when he was put under surveillance.
Mikami has a strong sense of justice that has developed over the course of his childhood. He detests crime and similar to Light, expresses a fervent passion for punishing evil. His sense of justice, however, has developed into a rather "black and white" understanding of people and he goes as far as to label everyone he meets as either good or evil. What Mikami has learned in childhood has also caused him to become obstinate about encouraging people to improve society, resulting in his disdain for "lazy people." This is reflected in one of Kiyomi Takada's televised messages. in which Mikami has her announce that those who do not contribute to society will be killed by Kira.
While Light and Mikami have very similar ideals, the gap is evident through Mikami killing people who merely had a criminal record, even if they still do not commit crimes. Light disagrees with this because of how contradictory it is to Kira's purpose of deterring people to commit future crimes. While Light is more interested in scaring criminals in order to prevent crime, Mikami is more interested in retribution.
Much like Light, Mikami is fiercely dedicated to his goals. As such, despite having a strong conviction for justice, he is not above taking innocent lives so long as it serves a greater purpose. For instance, in the manga, he kills a photographer who tries to sneak into one of Light and Takada's meetings. Unlike Light, though, he does not hesitate to sacrifice half of his remaining lifespan to receive the Shinigami Eyes.
Mikami has a special interest in children and is interested in preparing children for becoming model citizens. The anime delves deeper into this concern, providing a scene of Mikami as an adult intervening when a group of young students bully one of their classmates.
Mikami is notable for adhering to a strict, daily schedule, a trait noticed by both Light and Near. For instance, he exercises at a gym at the same time on the same days each week, regardless of holidays, and he has been a member at this gym for years. Whenever he judges criminals in his Death Note, names are written down in straight columns in every page. He also fills up exactly one page with names each day - a feat which Light notes as "obsessive." Near and the SPK are able to take advantage of Mikami's clockwork life and find occasions to tamper with his notebook. Even after gaining improved vision following the eye trade with Ryuk, Mikami still wears his glasses, perhaps as a force of habit.
It is unclear whether he was born with emotional problems or if he was traumatized by events that transpired in his childhood. It is evident, though, that Mikami suffers from some sort of mental illness. This has resulted in him reciting "delete" (削除, sakujo) whenever he writes a name in his notebook. Although he presents himself as stoic for most of the series, he suddenly becomes crazed and unstable during the scenes in the Yellowbox Warehouse. Once he loses his faith in Kira, his madness escalates to fearful levels and he kills himself. It is speculated, however, that his death may have been a result of Near writing his name in the notebook rather than a consequence of his deteriorating mental condition.
As a child, Mikami's sense of justice developed through the over-observation of, according to the manga, "his surroundings." Even at a young age, he had already begun categorizing people as either "good" or "evil." Raised by a single mother, she is described by Mikami as his only ally and sole confidant during his youth.
His analytic behavior was indicative of his intellect which, coupled with his ambition and sense of justice, allowed him to become elected president of his class in elementary school. As class president, he defended his classmates from bullies, often leading to physical altercations.
Although Mikami was eventually successful in uniting his entire class against the bullies, he found his efforts making little headway once he began attending middle school. Constantly being bullied and beaten himself, Mikami's sense of justice became warped as he began to wish for the "deletion" of his "enemies."
Worried about his safety, his mother attempted to convince him to give up trying to help his classmates. In response, Mikami lost faith in his mother and began to hold her in contempt. His mother would eventually be killed in a car accident along with four of Mikami's "enemies." Although Mikami initially mourned his mother’s death, he was content in the knowledge that his classroom became more "peaceful" as a result of the accident. From then on, Mikami subscribed to the belief that anyone who did wrong should be punished, and he took it upon himself to enforce this belief as his hatred for evil grew "stronger and stronger."
These feelings eventually seeped into his career aspirations, and after graduating from high school with excellent grades and attending Kyodo University's Department of Law, he becomes a prosecuting attorney. Shortly after adopting his profession, Mikami learns about Kira through various media outlets. Feeling that his sense of righteousness was confirmed through Kira’s actions, Mikami begins to worship Kira. Mikami eventually becomes a member of Kira's Kingdom in hopes of being noticed by Kira through televised appearances.
After Near instills doubt in the Japanese Task Force, Light decides to elect a new proxy in order to stave off suspicion. Watching various tapings of Kira’s Kingdom, Light selects Mikami based on his intuition alone.
Mikami, feeling honored by receiving Kira's power, realizes that Kira is unable to move at the moment. Mikami takes action immediately and kills Demegawa and his men when they stray from Kira's word, after taking the Shinigami Eye Deal.
In order to let Kira know that he needs to get in touch, Mikami goes on Sakura TV, claiming that Kira worshipers should await Kira's orders, and, should they not receive word from Kira, they should act upon themselves. This was used a subtle way of letting Kira know that Mikami needs to get consent from Kira to do his killings, and, should Kira not be able to do so, Mikami will elect a new spokesperson and kill based on his own wishes. After a few days, Mikami, feeling that Kiyomi Takada is intelligent and agrees with Kira, elects her as Kira's new spokesperson.
When Takada begins questioning Kira on television and shares her own personal opinion on the matter, Mikami infers that Kira must have met up with Takada and told her to act the way she did on television. During one of Light and Takada's private meetings, Mikami calls Takada via cell phone, and after asking her some questions, tells her to hand the phone over to the person she's having a meeting with, thinking it is Kira. Light confirms that he is Kira by revealing subtle details about the Death Note. From then on, Light communicates with Mikami through Takada by passing notes to her that instruct her to send specific messages to Mikami.
Light tells Mikami to forge a fake notebook while sending Takada clippings of some of the notebook's real pages in an effort to trick Near and the SPK, with Light expecting Near to swap the notebook with a fake. Using this strategy, Near, thinking the notebook Mikami is using is real, would swap the forged notebook with another fake, while Mikami brings out the real notebook during the anticipated final confrontation between Near and Light. In public, Mikami writes down names in this fake notebook while secretly sending Takada the name and face of the victim so that Gevanni, who is tailing Mikami, would be able to confirm Mikami is X-Kira and is using the real notebook.
Light also has Mikami say that his Shinigami is not following him anymore. This way, if and when Near would come into contact with the forged notebook, when he sees no Shinigami, he would not take that as evidence the notebook is a fake. Eventually, Near does indeed swap the forged notebook with another fake and Mikami, who checks the notebook with a microscope every day, confirms the swap with Light and Takada, ensuring their victory over Near.
Unexpectedly, Mello kidnaps Takada, who successfully kills Mello. Under Light's orders, Takada asks Mikami for the names of criminals so that she would be able to kill as many as she can. However, should Takada be seen by the SPK and the Task Force, the snippet of the notebook she keeps with her would be detrimental for Kira, so Mikami, not knowing Light has already killed Takada with his piece of the notebook, writes down Takada's name using the real notebook. Unbeknownst to Mikami, Near uses this opportunity to swap the real notebook with a fake one as well.
During the final confrontation in the Yellow Box Warehouse between the Task Force and the SPK, Near and Light wait for Mikami's arrival. Near expects Mikami to have brought the fake notebook, with Mikami writing the names of everyone who would be after Kira, while Light expects Mikami to have brought the real one. However, thanks to Mello's intervention leading to Gevanni's discovery of the real notebook, the notebook Mikami brought is a fake, and Light is exposed as Kira, with Mikami having written the names of everyone attending the meeting except Light's.
In the manga, Mikami renounces Light as his god after the latter attempts to order Mikami to kill the task force and the SPK, despite having the notebook already confiscated. After being incarcerated, he mysteriously dies in prison ten days later, leading to Matsuda's theory that Near restricted Mikami's actions with the Death Note in order to convict Light.
In the final episode of the anime, Mikami commits suicide by stabbing himself in the chest with a ballpoint pen, creating a diversion for the Task Force and SPK. This gives Light the opportunity to flee the warehouse. During the ending credits, Mikami's body is last seen lying on the warehouse floor.
In other media
Mikami is similar to his manga counterpart in that he is eager to serve his "God" Kira/Light, although there are major plot changes.
Mikami is introduced in the first episode of the television drama series as the prosecutor who handled the case of Misa's murdered parents. He informs Misa that the murderer is getting parole, for which he makes no justification since he's upset himself. He later joins into anonymous message boards in support of Kira, such as writing "I support Kira and the other Kira too."
After Misa is secretly arrested by L, a rumor reaches Mikami that the police have Kira in custody. Mikami figures out that Misa has some connection to the Kira case because her sudden inactivity corresponds to the rumor. After her release, Mikami confronts her, asking if she knows Kira. He gets more pushy when she denies it, and Light intervenes, so Mikami leaves. He hires Hiroki Yudagawa to look into Misa, and he follows her when she goes to dig up the Death Note that Light had buried. Yudagawa steals the Death Note from Misa before she touches it, so Mikami unwittingly gains ownership when he pulls it from the box later. He immediately begins using the power to punish criminals. Light makes the connection between Misa's attack and Mikami. He sends Mikami apples for Ryuk and calls him, and Mikami gladly begins following Light's directive.
After making the eye deal, Mikami conducts an official raid on L's headquarters. He sees L's name and texts it to Light. He later follows Light to a warehouse where L is trying to trick Light into revealing he's Kira. Light thinks he's won when he writes L's name in the Death Note, but L reveals it was a fake notebook, and L's won after all. But Mikami writes L's name down on Death Note paper, killing him before he can inform the Task Force of the evidence against Light.
Near/Mello tries to kill Mikami along with Light and Misa. Mikami is at the final scene in the warehouse and tries to help Light by killing Near/Mello, but his Death Note was replaced with a replica and he gets apprehended by the Task Force. When the real Death Note burns in the warehouse fire, Mikami loses his memories and is confused about what's going on. His fate after that is unknown.
In Death Note: Light Up the NEW World, Mikami is first introduced as the prosecutor to the murder case of Misa's parents. It is then revealed he was appointed to be the guardian of Hikari Yagami, Light Yagami's son. Entrusted with a Death Note, he murders Light's son but is in turn killed by police officer Tsukuru Mishima, leading to Mishima taking Mikami's place as Kira. Mikami's appearance in the film is a radical departure from earlier adaptions: his hair is much shorter and he does not wear glasses.
In the novelization of the film, Mikami's role is slightly expanded on. It is revealed that he had an abnormal appreciation for Light when they were both alive. Hikari abuses Mikami during his time as the boy's caretaker, which eventually drives Mikami to kill his foster son.
The following information is from Death Note 13: How to Read.
Tsugumi Ohba: Writer
Takeshi Obata: Artist
Ohba created Mikami's backstory in order to establish Mikami and Light as "equals" and that Mikami is "special in some way." Mikami is the only character to receive a chapter dedicated to his past, and Ohba was reluctant to create the flashback because he personally does not like creating them. Though he usually did not add detail about "Kira worshippers", he decided to pay special attention to Mikami's first appearance. Ohba wanted to have Mikami be both smart and dangerous, and have a hatred for societal evil, which he transferred into Mikami's role as a prosecutor. He wanted it to be clear that Mikami was evil, but, at the same time, he did not want to focus on the aspects of right and wrong. Ohba's second favorite human character in the series was Mikami as Ohba believed that Mikami was the second "strongest" character in the series "besides Light."
Ohba had no visual preferences when he designed Mikami and therefore let Obata create the visual aspects. That is why Obata based Mikami's design on Taro Kagami. He was told that Mikami was supposed to be a "stoic character like Light" while not knowing that Mikami was a prosecutor and a follower of Kira. During the final chapters of the manga, Obata decided to draw Mikami as an "insane fanatic." Obata said that he gave Mikami glasses since "glasses are in these days." Obata added that "things were a little haphazard at this point…"
Regarding Matsuda's theory on Near's involvement on Mikami's death, Ohba and Obata have stated that they themselves aren't sure on this; in Death Note 13: How to Read, Ohba suggests that given Near knew the "burning" and "13 day" rules were fake rules, he wouldn't have feared writing in the notebook, and then burnt the notebook so as to destroy the evidence. No solid information has been given on the matter; readers are meant to draw their own conclusions.
- At one point, Mikami was planned to be colored with brown hair in the anime contradicting his usual depiction with black hair in the manga. This proposed change of hair color was ultimately denied, and Mikami was colored with black hair in the anime.
- Taro Kagami's design was reused for Mikami (stated in Death Note 13: How to Read). It is only until after Mikami is drawn as an "insane fanatic" that the resemblance began to fade.
- In his Kira's Kingdom survey, Mikami reveals that he respects Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill.
- His address is Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Skyo-ku Yoshidashinmachi [tel:1-444-1-1012 1-444-1-1012], according to what he wrote on his Kira's Kingdom survey.
- The only times Mikami didn't wear his glasses before gaining the Shinigami Eyes were when he was being interviewed on television about Kira. This could mean that Mikami either had contacts, or he mostly needed his glasses for just reading.
- In the anime, certain characters take on stylized hair colors while the viewer hears their thoughts; Mikami's color is purple.
- With that being said, Mikami's appearance changes drastically when at home, with his hair taking a blue hue, his skin becoming pale white and his Shinigami Eyes becoming prominent.
- Had Mikami been successful in killing Near, the SPK and the task force, he would have been kept alive as Light's "eyes" according to the one-hundredth chapter of the manga.
- In Death Note Relight 2: L's Successors, Mikami and Takada are the ones to kill the majority of the SPK, rather than the Mafia. He is also appointed as Kira much sooner than in the anime and manga, having already assumed the role before Near has even begun his investigation.
- Mikami was one of the Death Note characters that were made into Nendoroid figures; however, he was only made into a Nendoroid petite. Light, L, Misa, and Ryuk were the only characters made into the primary Nendoroid figures, but they were also made into Nendoroid petites.
- "Delete!" (Chapter 83)
- "I thank you for these eyes. I can now bring justice to those whose names I do not know. And those with aliases." (Chapter 83)
- "The reason I became a prosecutor is because of the frustration and helplessness I felt over all the emotional and physical abuse I witnessed as a child." (Chapter 91)
- "All the young people out into the world should have their own goals, and use their abilities to their fullest to contribute to society." (Chapter 91)
- "Why the hell do I have to see this mess with my own eyes?! You're not God… you're trash!" '(Chapter 106)'
Mikami has one theme song, "Mikami Concertino," which can be found on Death Note Original Soundtrack III.