Death Note: Light = Hero, Kira = Villain? Two Separate People or One and the Same?

Spoiler Alert!

This article contains major spoilers for the manga and anime Death Note.
Please, don’t write our names in your Death Note if you spoil yourself.

It has been 12 years since Tsugumi Ohaba and Takeshi Obata’s manga Death Note came to an end. ‘Words Can Kill’- these three words are perfect to describe this classic manga and the 2006-2007 anime adaptation.

Light Yagami, the protagonist of Death Note, plays an important role both as Light and as his alter-ego, Kira. While many consider Light to be the villain of the series, I always wondered about his real place in Death Note. If we take an indirect approach to the two personalities, it was not Light who killed L; it was Kira. It was he who killed the prisoners to make an ideal world. I believe that Light and Kira are not the same person but two different identities. It is like Light Yagami is a completely different person when he holds the Death Note.

You can get a clearer view about this after reading this article.

Light’s Character

Light Yagami is a young man with innate intelligence.  He desires little from this world and cares very much for his family. He understands the pain of others and wants an ideal world where everyone lives peacefully. He knows killing criminals is a sin and opposes it, and in retrospect, purely opposes the ideologies of Kira. If you look closer into Episode 17, you will come to notice that when Light lost his memories of being Kira, he was opposing Kira and started working alongside L. He agrees to make a pact with L to help in the Kira investigation in order to capture Kira. When Light was Kira, L could notice and predict his actions, but when Light lost his memories, L felt something was wrong with Light and released him as he believed that Light was not Kira. This point here states that Light was a good person who disliked the ideology of creating an ideal world by sacrificing criminals. When Light lost his memories, L told Light to act as Misa’s lover and Light rejected it, saying ‘Even it helps the Kira Investigation, there is no way I can bring myself to use a girl’s emotions like that.’  He also says ‘For me, walking all over someone’s goodwill is one of the worst things you could ever do, it’s something that I cannot forgive.’

Light also claims that Kira is a mass murderer and he will not forgive him for what he has done. Even when the Deputy Chief of the NPA (National Police Agency) thought to fire everyone working with Kira’s investigation, Light promised that he would stay alongside L till he caught Kira. This all points to the fact that Light was deep down a kind person who had no intention of taking innocent lives. All he did was help L in his investigation with his intelligent skills to capture Kira. This gives a complete description of Light’s character.

Kira’s Character

Light Yagami, aided by the powers of the Shinigami’s notebook, tries to take over the world as Kira and make it a better place to live, and by becoming ‘God of the New World”. The Death Note has an odd power to bring out the purest evil from within the darkest corner of one’s psyche and Light’s thoughts of forming an ideal society became a victim to it. The moment he got this hands on the Death Note, his life was ruined. Kira is the most intelligent character till the end of the series. Kira was uncompromising when it came to achieving his ideals. Overtaken by evil, Kira even takes advantage of romantic feelings to achieve his goals. Kira fools everyone around him by fulfilling the roles of both L and Light. ‘I will reign over a new world,’ this is the line that shows how intoxicated with power he became. The arrogance that came with Kira’s power caused him to completely lose sight of who he used to be. Kira is the evil side of Light that was awakened with the power of Death Note. He would go as far as he wanted to in order to create an ideal world by sacrificing all the people who came in his way. This clearly shows how bad has Light fallen and it is as though he was turned into a completely different person. All this happened when he took hold of the Death Note which Ryuk dropped near his school garden. So, I would say that Kira is completely a different person compared to Light without the Death Note. All he thinks of is the creation of a perfect society where all could live happily and where no crime would exist.

What might have happened if Light had never found the Death Note?

We saw that when Light lost his memories of the Death Note, he became a young man who could understand the pain of others. Had Ryuk never been interested in the human world, Light may have become one of the greatest police investigators in the world and fought against criminals alongside L.

My Conclusion

I feel that this shows that both Light and Kira are completely different people. Their ways of thinking are different and they both have different personalities.  Light has a good and kind personality and he cares for others, whereas Kira has only one dream and that is to become the god of the new world by sacrificing those he deems ‘bad people’ and everyone who stands in his way. Maybe Light the hero of Death Note alongside L, with whom he worked to catch Kira. When it comes to Kira, I can’t really judge whether he was right or wrong in his actions. In the end, Light died because of the unbearable sin of taking all those innocent lives.

What do you think? Should we think of Light and Kira as two separate identities? Or do you think Kira and Light should be thought of as one and the same? Let me know in the comments.

Ajay Reddy :I’m a young writer who loves to watch anime and read manga. I like shonen, fighting, adventure, magical, ninja type anime a lot. I see and read a lot of them and get inspired. Some of my all time favourites are Death Note, One Piece, Naruto, Sword Art Online, My Hero Academia and more. My goal is to watch as many as anime I want and to present my thoughts and feelings on them to you.