Light Yagami is an extremely intelligent young man who resents the crime and corruption in the world. 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, Light 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. A shinigami’s Death Note is a notebook that can kill any human whose name is written in it. All Death Notes are governed by the same set of rules determining the extents and limitations of the Notes’ powers.
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, known by the public as “Kira”, is located in Japan. L 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.
Light Yagami is an extremely intelligent but bored 17-year old student. When he finds the Death Note, dropped in the human world by the shinigami Ryuk, he decides to use it to kill all criminals and earns the title Kira. His ultimate goal is to cleanse the world of evil to create a world without criminals and then reign over this new world as its “god.”
L is the world’s top-rated detective and tasked with tracking down and arresting Kira. As such, he is Light’s arch-enemy. He often takes drastic strategies to confuse and force the hand of his opponents, and his disheveled appearance disguises his brilliance. He enjoys sugar, and in nearly every scene including him, he is found eating cake or confectionery and drinking highly sweetened tea. His real name is L Lawliet.
Misa Amane is a girl with an immense crush on Kira, Misa is a popular Japanese idol. She is immature and tends to refer to herself in the third person in an attempt to be cute. She is completely devoted to Light, saying that she loved him at first sight, although the feeling is hardly mutual- since Light merely views her as a rather annoying asset.
Ryuk is the main Shinigami of the Death Note series. Bored with the activities, or lack thereof, of the Shinigami realm, Ryuk obtains a second Death Note and drops it in the human realm for someone to find, hoping to amuse himself. He deliberately writes the instructions on the front page, in English, which he assumed to be the most popular language in the human realm. So, people would understand its purpose. The Death Note is discovered by Light Yagami, and Ryuk follows him around for much of the series to see how Light uses it. Ryuk has a fairly humanoid appearance.