Wiki founding: July 31, 2007
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Fanon Wiki: Death Note Fanon Wiki
Death Note was first serialized in Shueisha's manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The 108 chapters were collected and published into 12 tankōbon volumes between May 2004 and October 2006. A television anime adaptation aired in Japan from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007. Composed of 37 episodes, the anime was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsurō Araki. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was also released in 2006. Additionally, various video games have been published by Konami for the Nintendo DS. The series was adapted into three live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, November 3, 2006, and February 2, 2008, and a television drama in 2015. A fourth film is scheduled for release in 2016.
Death Note media is licensed and released in North America by Viz Media, with the exception of the video games and soundtracks. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable from IGN, before Viz Media licensed it and it aired on YTV's Bionix anime block in Canada and on Adult Swim in the United States with a DVD release following. The live-action films briefly played in certain North American theaters in 2008, before receiving home video releases. In 2015, the collected volumes of the Death Note manga had over 30 million copies in circulation.
Light Yagami is an intelligent young man who resents what appears to be a relentless increase of crime and corruption in the world around him. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note", lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person shall die. Light is initially skeptical of the notebook's authenticity, but after experimenting with it, he realizes that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his keen judgment on those he deems to be evil or who get in his way. Soon, the number of inexplicable deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the International Police Organization and a mysterious detective known only as "L". L quickly learns that the serial killer, dubbed by the public as "Kira" (キラ?, derived from the typical Japanese pronunciation of the English word "killer"), is located in Japan. He also concludes that Kira can kill people without laying a finger on them. Light realizes that L will be his greatest nemesis, and a game of psychological cat and mouse between the two begins.
Misa Amane, another Death Note owner, finds Light. Obsessed by Kira after the death of her parents' murderer, she devotes herself to helping Light, but is captured by L. Light makes a plan involving renouncing ownership of both Death Notes, and all of his memories of them, and turns himself in to L for surveillance. Together, Light and L investigate eight people from the company "Yotsuba" who are using a Death Note for their own profit. While arresting them, Light recovers all his memories when he touches the Death Note. He remembers and continues his plan of compelling the former owner of Misa's Death Note, the shinigami Rem, into killing L and his aide Watari.
After L's death, Light is given the position of the "new L" by the Japanese Task Force. Four years later, Near and Mello - two children who were raised to be successors to L - appear, with the goal of finding Kira. In the meantime, Kira has gained much public support, and has contacts. Mello, one of L's successors, kidnaps Sayu Yagami, Light's little sister, as a bargaining chip to get the Death Note. The Japanese Task Force plans to go to Los Angeles to rescue Sayu but ends up losing the Notebook. The Task Force later attempts to retrieve it, and succeeds in doing so. However, as a result of an explosion that Mello uses to cover his escape, Light's father Soichiro Yagami dies.
Near begins to suspect the second L of being Kira thus causing some members of the Japanese task force to also openly suspect him. Realizing the risk of being caught, Light has Misa give up ownership of her Death Note. He then finds his next successor, Teru Mikami, a strong, almost crazed Kira supporter. Mikami later recruits a new spokesman for Kira, Kiyomi Takada, a newscaster and one of Light's former college girlfriends. Teru Mikami and Kiyomi Takada continue killing criminals while Light is unable to do so himself. Kiyomi is later kidnapped by Mello and is forced to kill him with a hidden piece of the Death Note. Light kills Kiyomi to avoid her implicating him after she uses the note to kill Mello. In a final confrontation between Light and Near, Near proves that Light is Kira. Ryuk then fulfills an earlier promise, made at the beginning of the series, which is to write Light's name in his Death Note, thus ending Light's life due to a heart attack.
- It has been noted that the Death Note series, the manga of which began in 2003, has a number of striking similarities with the Dexter series, the novels of which began in 2004; both were also adapted into television series (both first airing, coincidentally, around the same time in October 2006). The various striking similarities between the plot-lines and characters in both series has led to some suggestions from fans that Dexter may have taken some influence from Death Note. 
- J-DeathNote.com (Japanese)
- Viz.com/Death-Note (Viz Media - USA and Canada)
- DeathNote.com.au (Madman Entertainment - Australia)