Death Note

When and How Does L Die in Death Note?

Death Note, is notorious for its intricate plotlines, morally complex characters, and unexpected twists. Among these numerous twists, one particular moment that profoundly shook the fandom and significantly altered the course of the narrative was the death of L, the eccentric, genius detective.

This article delves into the specifics of L’s death, its impact on the storyline and characters, the fans’ reactions, and the overarching implications for the series. Let’s journey together into the intriguing world of Death Note to explore this pivotal turning point.

When and How Does L Die?

L, the enigmatic detective and a pivotal character in the Death Note series, meets his end in episode 25 of the anime, aptly titled “Silence.” The intricate sequence of events leading to his death revolves around Light Yagami, the main protagonist who is also the holder of the Death Note, and the Shinigami, Rem.

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead)

L’s death occurs during a critical juncture in the series, marking a turning point in the narrative. The circumstances surrounding his death are as dramatic as his character and resonate deeply with the overarching themes of the series.

The scene begins with Light’s plan to manipulate Rem. Misa Amane, the second Kira and the one who loves Light, is in a position where her life is in danger. As a Shinigami, Rem has developed an attachment to Misa and is committed to protecting her. Light cunningly exploits this situation, creating a scenario in which Rem feels the only way to save Misa is by writing L’s real name, L Lawliet, and his assistant Watari’s name in her Death Note.

In the dramatic scene, Rem turns into dust after writing their names, fulfilling the Death Note rule that any Shinigami who intentionally extends a human’s life by killing another human will perish. Watari, loyal to his final breath, erases all data relating to the Kira investigation, while L comes face to face with his impending demise.

In this moment of profound silence, L looks towards the rain-soaked window, sensing that his time is near. The scene is emotionally charged as he turns to Light, who ironically is the only one with him in his last moments. As he collapses, L reaches out, touching Light’s foot in a gesture that signifies a silent understanding of Light’s real identity.

Light watches as L dies, displaying a chilling calmness that starkly contrasts the chaotic turmoil that the scene represents. The moment signifies Light’s victory over his worthy adversary, marking the end of an era in the Death Note series.

In its characteristic style, Death Note does not provide a quiet, peaceful exit for L, but a death that shakes the series to its very core, bringing about a significant shift in the narrative progression. The scene is a dramatic and stark reminder of the harsh realities of the world within the Death Note, underlining the heavy price of the intense battle between Light and L.

The Impact of L’s Death on Other Characters

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead)

L’s death in the Death Note series is a seismic event that significantly alters the trajectory of the other characters’ lives and the overall narrative. Here’s a look at how his death impacts the major characters:

  1. Light Yagami: L’s death marks a significant victory for Light, who finally manages to eliminate his greatest obstacle in his path towards creating a “new world.” Light’s personality undergoes a drastic transformation post-L’s death; he grows more confident, bordering on arrogant, and his methods become even more extreme. However, without L’s constant surveillance and intellectual challenge, Light begins to make mistakes, which eventually lead to his downfall.
  2. Misa Amane: Misa, who is directly involved in the events leading to L’s death, experiences a mixture of relief and guilt. Although she was devoted to Light and desired L’s removal, she was not entirely aware of the specific circumstances surrounding his death. However, her blind loyalty to Light prevents her from questioning these events deeply.
  3. Near and Mello: L’s death profoundly impacts these two characters, who appear as successors to L’s legacy. Near and Mello, both mentees of L, were aware of the dangers of the Kira investigation. After L’s death, they’re motivated to continue his work. Mello, driven by his rivalry with Near and his need to outperform him, acts more impulsively, which often puts him at risk. Near, on the other hand, follows a more methodical approach similar to L’s.
  4. Rem: As a Shinigami, Rem’s fate is directly linked to L’s death. She is forced to kill L to save Misa, but this act against Shinigami law results in her own death, making her a tragic figure who dies for love.
  5. The Task Force: L’s death devastates the task force. They lose their leader and a brilliant detective, creating a significant void in the team. Despite their initial suspicions about L, the team members had grown to respect him. They continue the investigation in his memory, albeit with less direction and hope.

Overall, L’s death in Death Note triggers a domino effect, impacting each character in their unique ways and driving the narrative towards its inevitable conclusion. The characters evolve and the power dynamics shift, underlining the profound impact of L’s presence and his death in the series.

Fandom Reaction to L’s Death

L’s death in the Death Note series was a shock to the fandom. As one of the most popular and beloved characters in the series, his untimely demise was met with a broad spectrum of reactions:

  1. Shock and Disbelief: The immediate reaction from many fans was shock and disbelief. The series had established a tit-for-tat intellectual battle between Light and L, leading many viewers to anticipate a prolonged duel. Thus, L’s sudden death was an unexpected and jarring plot twist.
  2. Grief and Mourning: Following the initial shock, the fandom experienced collective grief. Many fans felt a deep connection to L’s quirky, enigmatic character and his unorthodox investigative methods. Online communities and forums were flooded with tributes to L, fan art, and discussions speculating alternate storylines where L survived.
  3. Criticism: Some fans felt frustrated by L’s death, viewing it as a rushed plot development. These fans believed that L’s character arc was cut short, and his death marked a decline in the series’ quality. There were criticisms around the pacing and the subsequent plot developments after L’s death.
  4. Acceptance and Curiosity: Over time, a section of the fandom accepted L’s death as an integral part of the series’ grim narrative. These fans were intrigued by the introduction of Near and Mello, viewing it as a fresh direction for the storyline. They recognized the series’ exploration of mortality, sacrifice, and the destructive potential of power.
  5. Legacy of L: Despite the varying reactions, one common thread among fans was the acknowledgment of L’s lasting impact on the series. Even after his death, L’s presence was felt strongly, reinforcing his status as an iconic character in the anime world.

L’s death in Death Note stirred powerful emotions among the fandom, leading to widespread discussions and debates. Despite the divisive reactions, it showcased the profound connection the fans had developed with the character and the series.

Plot Progression After L’s Death

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead)

L’s death in the Death Note series is a major turning point in the narrative, introducing new characters and significant plot developments.

  1. Time Jump: After L’s death, the series makes a significant leap forward in time, advancing several years into the future. This temporal shift illustrates the changes in the world under the influence of Kira.
  2. Kira’s New World: With L out of the way, Light continues to use the Death Note unchecked, and Kira’s influence grows more substantial. The world begins to change as per Light’s vision, with crime rates falling drastically due to fear of Kira’s judgement.
  3. Introduction of Near and Mello: L’s death also triggers the introduction of two pivotal characters – Near and Mello. Both are revealed as L’s potential successors, trained in the same institution that honed L’s deductive abilities. These characters take on different paths to catch Kira. Near works with a special task force, while Mello operates from the underworld, incorporating more radical methods.
  4. The Task Force and Kira Investigation: The Kira Investigation Task Force, initially disoriented by L’s death, continue their pursuit under Light’s leadership, ironically the very person they’re chasing. Light, as the new L, balances a tightrope walk between leading the investigation and leading Kira’s new world order.
  5. Rise and Fall of Kira: As Kira, Light’s reign is unchallenged for a while, achieving a godlike status. However, complacency begins to take a toll on Light’s meticulous planning. Near’s and Mello’s interventions start revealing chinks in Kira’s seemingly invincible armor, eventually leading to a climax that sees the fall of Kira.

L’s death, thus, reshapes the narrative trajectory of Death Note, leading to a host of new developments, character introductions, and finally, the closure of the Kira saga. It’s a testimony to the powerful storytelling of Death Note, where a central character’s death is used not as an endpoint, but as a catalyst to propel the narrative into its next engaging phase.

L’s Legacy in Death Note

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead)

L’s death in Death Note was a pivotal moment in the series, but his legacy extends far beyond his physical presence in the story. L’s character, actions, and values continue to shape the narrative, characters, and themes, even after his demise.

  1. Shaping the Kira Investigation: L’s ingenious methods and tenacity form the backbone of the Kira investigation. His deduction that the killer was in Japan, his strategic use of media to draw out Kira, and his suspicions about Light being Kira shape the future direction of the investigation. His conclusions, hypotheses, and systems remain in place and are utilized by the investigation team, contributing significantly to the final outcome of the series.
  2. Influence on Near and Mello: L’s legacy is carried forward by Near and Mello, his successors from Wammy’s House, an orphanage for gifted children. Near, in particular, continues L’s methodical and deductive approach, inheriting L’s title and even his habitual quirks. Mello, on the other hand, embodies L’s more radical, risk-taking side. L’s death acts as a catalyst for both characters, pushing them into action to bring Kira to justice.
  3. The Ideological Impact: L’s character symbolizes the pursuit of justice without the presumption of moral authority. His opposition to Kira’s godlike judgment reflects a fundamental ideological stance that values human life and individual judgment. This stance continues to be a central theme in the series, challenging Light’s vision of a new world order.
  4. Emotional Influence on Characters: L’s death leaves an emotional mark on the characters, most notably on the members of the Kira Investigation Task Force. His dedication to justice, despite the personal risk, earns their respect and influences their decision to continue the investigation even after his death.
  5. Fanbase Influence: From a meta perspective, L’s legacy is evident in the strong fanbase he continues to command. His character, with his unconventional mannerisms and distinctive look, has become an iconic figure in anime culture. He is celebrated in fan art, cosplays, and fanfiction, testifying to the lasting impact of his character.

In conclusion, L’s legacy in Death Note is profound and multifaceted. His death, rather than diminishing his influence, serves to amplify it, emphasizing the importance of his character within the narrative, the overarching themes of the series, and the hearts of the fandom.


  • Akira Kurosawa

    Akira Kurosawa, a seasoned manga and anime aficionado, brings his in-depth knowledge and passion to AnimeMatrix. Specializing in character analysis, plot dissection, and art styles, he offers insightful articles and reviews. A Visual Arts graduate, his interests lie in animation techniques and storytelling. Off-duty, Akira sketches and crafts his own manga narratives, believing life, like anime, to be a vibrant and unpredictable journey.

Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa, a seasoned manga and anime aficionado, brings his in-depth knowledge and passion to AnimeMatrix. Specializing in character analysis, plot dissection, and art styles, he offers insightful articles and reviews. A Visual Arts graduate, his interests lie in animation techniques and storytelling. Off-duty, Akira sketches and crafts his own manga narratives, believing life, like anime, to be a vibrant and unpredictable journey.
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