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This world is rotten, and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Even if it means sacrificing my own mind and soul, it's worth it. Because the world… can't go on like this. I wonder… what if someone else had picked up this notebook? Is there anyone out there other than me who'd be willing to eliminate the vermin from the world? If I don't do it, then who will? That's just it: there's no one. But I can do it. In fact, I'm the only one who can. I'll do it. Using the Death Note, I'll change the world.
~ Light Yagami.
If we catch Kira, he is evil. If he rules the world, he is justice.
~ Light Yagami to the Task Force.
I'm a hardworking honors student who's considered to be one of Japan's best and brightest. And I… I will become the God of this new world.
~ Light Yagami expressing his own goal.
Just according to keikaku.
~ Light Yagami's catchphrase. Note: 'keikaku' means 'plan'.

Light Yagami is the main protagonist of the manga/anime series Death Note, as well as its multiple adaptations.

In generality, Light was a Japanese high school senior who found a notebook called a Death Note. Anyone whose name is written in the notebook will die. At first skeptical of its power, Light tested its power on two criminals. After realizing the power of the notebook, Light went mad with power as he decided to use the notebook to rid the world of criminals and create a new world full of law abiding people he accepts. Light would then make himself the God of this new world.

The series charts his use of the notebook and his conflict with the Japanese police, including detectives L, Mello, and Near, as well as his associations with other notebook users, such as Misa Amane and Teru Mikami. His online followers dubbed him "Kira", a Japanese pronunciation of the word "killer" in English.

In the Death Note anime, Light was voiced by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese version. As well as Brad Swaile in the English dubbed version, who also voiced Yang Tu in Hero: 108.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • Killed the death row convict Lind L. Tailor who was pretending to be L in anger when the convict called Light evil (though Lind was indeed a criminal, Light wasn't aware of it at first, so he could've easily killed an innocent simply because he said what he was doing is wrong).
  • Murdered the FBI agents recruited to investigate the Japanese police by manipulating Raye Penber into writing the names of his colleagues on pages from the Death Note, and later murdered his fiancé to stop her from revealing how Light figured out his name.
  • Psychologically manipulated and abused Misa Amane through her undying love and loyalty towards Kira, constantly feigning affection and using her love to submit to him, even planning to have her killed once she'd outlived her usefulness since she knew his true identity. He even went out of his way to yell at her for simply questioning his orders during a mission.
  • Mockingly asked Naomi Misora if she wanted his phone number to contact him even though she'd already been sentenced to her death by the Death Note purely for pleasure.
  • Passed the notebook to an unsavory business executive to establish an alibi for being Kira, in the process tricking his amnesiac self into searching out the notebook through the executive's notebook-induced murders.
    • He then secretly killed Kyosuke Higuchi (although he deserved it) after he got his memories back as Kira by touching the Death Note and smiled at his death.
    • He also murdered the rest of the Yotsuba group, who wanted to redeem themselves after the Yotsuba Kira was arrested, as well as two ex-convicts who L recruited to help investigate Yotsuba.
  • In the manga, he killed Aiber by giving him liver cancer, resulting in him dying in a hospital surrounded by his family (though in the anime, he died simply by a heart attack in his apartment).
  • Manipulated Rem into forfeiting her own life by killing L by exploiting her love for Misa Amane.
  • Gleefully watched as L died while appearing to act shocked, and maniacally laughed when standing in front of L's grave once everyone had left, madly proclaiming his victory against his closest friend.
  • Planned to kill Demegawa, his spokesman, when he outlived his usefulness, and had Mikami not killed him, Light would have likely done this when the opportunity arose. Admittedly though, Demegawa was an incredibly vain and greedy man who often used Kira as a means to promote his own agenda, and everyone on the Kira task force believed he deserved it.
  • When Light's sister was taken hostage by Melo, Melo demanded a ransom payment in the form of the Death Note. During the ransom exchange, Light was willing to write his own sister's name in the Death Note to prevent his father from handing over the Death Note to Mello. Although Light didn't go through with it, it was revealed he didn't because killing her would've raised suspicion towards himself.
  • When his father was on the verge of death, he prioritized getting Mello's name from him over saying goodbye, and although he cried during his death, it's more than likely this was just an act. Even if it was genuine, he would later subvert it when he derided his own father as a fool in the finale.
  • Manipulated Kiyomi Takada into working with him under the guise that she would be his "queen", but when Mello kidnapped Takada, Light ordered her to write down Mello's name using a hidden piece of the Death Note. Light promised her he'd come rescue her, but in reality, he wrote her name in the Death Note by having her burn herself and the building she was in to remove any evidence without any hint of sympathy or regret.
  • He threatened to kill the President of the United States, George Sairas, over the phone while disguised as Kira if he opposes his actions.
  • Prepared to kill every member of the Task Force with whom he'd known and worked with for several years, taking sadistic pleasure in believing he'd be victorious.
  • When Light lost, he cowardly attempted to persuade Matsuda to kill the others, disgracing his father by calling him a fool, and when he refused, he tried to write down their names with a hidden piece of notebook in his watch.
  • In the manga, he pathetically begged Ryuk to kill the SPK members after being shot before Ryuk kills Light instead.
  • While there are some moments where Light showed some standards, such as being utterly disgusted at the way Misa killed several police officers (which according to the author, was the reason Light acted so cold with her), and disagreeing with Mikami's idea of punishing criminals who already served their time and had reformed or killing lazy people, Light has shown willingness to kill police officers and anyone who gets in his way and even planned to follow through with Mikami's plan of killing lazy people once all his enemies and all criminals were dead. If anything, it just makes him worse due to his absolute hypocrisy.
  • Given that Light only treated his allies as nothing but mere pawns, it can be assumed that he would eventually betray and kill Mikami sooner or later, once Mikami has outlived his usefulness.
  • Though one could argue that his actions did manage to decrease crime and that his ultimate goal was to eliminate everything rotten in the world to create a better world, this desire for justice eventually shifts into a lust for power. He gradually lost whatever redeeming qualities he once had, and his quest for justice merely became an excuse to grab power and be worshiped by everyone as Kira, the god of the new world, to the point that he actually viewed himself as a god. He viewed himself as justice, scoffing at Ryuk's suggestion that he'd be the only criminal left if Light succeeded in his goals. He was willing to sacrifice whoever it took to win while watching the deaths of his enemies with sadistic glee, and has no excuse for his later actions.
  • While his personality during his amnesiac period suggests that the Death Note has a corrupting influence over those who use it, there's no evidence that this is actually true. And even if it was, Light's behavior is still unique among Death Note users:
    • According to Ryuk, Light was not the first human to use a Death Note, but he was the first to have written as many names as he did. Though this could be due to the internet making information accessible from anywhere in the world, Light's declaration during his first meeting with Ryuk of his intention to become God of a new world paints him outside the scope of what Near considers normal human reactions to the Death Note:
    • Near believes that a truly decent person would never use the Death Note if they knew it was real, and anyone who uses a Death Note would do so for their own self interest. As evident by Light's father hesitating to write Mello's name in the Death Note, the Yotsuba Kira using the Death Note for the benefit of his company, and Misa, Takada, and Mikami using Death Notes to endear themselves to the original Kira, Near's assessment was well-founded.

Trivia

  • While unambiguously Pure Evil in the Death Note manga, the scene where the anime version flashes back to his childhood before he got the Death Note and started sobbing has led some to interpret it as that version of Light feeling remorse. However, it's also possible that Light realized that all of his hard work would be undone after his death and was upset about his efforts ultimately going to waste. No official confirmation has been given, however, and there is no actual evidence whether Light felt remorse for any of the things he's done or despair at what would happen after he died. Due to the ambiguous nature of this moment, this does not disqualify his anime counterpart.
  • Light is the only villain in the Death Note series to be Pure Evil, and, ironically, its main protagonist. In a further twist of irony, his father, Soichiro Yagami, is the only Pure Good in the Death Note series.

External links

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