Widely regarded as one of the most popular anime out there, Death Note follows high school boy Light Yagami who finds a strange notebook that originally belonged to a Shinigami. This Death Note can kill any human by writing the full name of that person in the notebook.
With a chance to clean up the world, Light takes justice into his own hands. However, he gets a little carried away. When detective L searches to find the answer to these mysterious killings, the series becomes a cat and mouse chase between the two geniuses. Death Note has 37 episodes, and this list breaks down the top 10 best episodes according to IMDb.
10 Episode 11: Assault – 8.4/10
Hot off the events of the Naomi Misora disappearance, "Assault" follows the Kira investigation team when they receive a broadcast from what appears to be Kira, stating his next targets. L is hesitant to send members to the broadcast station in fear that they will die. However, Light’s father, Chief Yagami, has breached the facility.
Soichiro recovers the tapes but is hesitant on how to get out without dying. L orchestrates a plan using a human shield of police officers as well as vehicles to hide Chief Yagami. By the end of the episode, L deduces that the tapes were made by a fake Kira, with viewers learning it was done by Misa.
9 Episode 5: Tactics – 8.4/10
"Tactics" starts off with Light admitting to Raye Penber that he is Kira. Light uses fear tactics to prevent Raye from turning around and seeing his face. Giving Raye instructions through an earpiece, Light instructs him to board a train and write down the names of different FBI agents working on the Kira case. Raye obliges since Light threatens to kill his fiancee and him. Leaving the names in an envelope on the train, Raye exits the train with a faint memory of Kira’s voice.
However, it is too late, as Raye collapses due to a heart attack. Laying on the ground, he looks toward the closing train doors and sees Light holding the envelope, revealing himself in Raye’s final moments. The names Raye wrote down were secretly on pages of the Death Note, killing all 12 agents on the Kira case.
8 Episode 23: Frenzy – 8.5/10
Higuchi is the third Kira that wanted to use the Death Note to raise his corporate position. Rem had originally given Higuchi the Death Note because he was greedy and selfish. Light is now on the Kira case and is watching Higuchi in his car. He is speeding to get to a broadcasting facility who is about to out him as Kira.
Matsuda is hiding behind a screen saying he knows the third Kira. Higuchi understands that he isn’t going to get Matsuda's real name and makes the deal with Rem to get the Shinigami eyes. Higuchi is confronted at the broadcasting station and flees the scene via gunfire. A police block is set up on the highway trapping Higuchi.
7 Episode 36: 1.28 – 8.5/10
Near and Light agree to meet in person in a warehouse with only one entrance. Light and Near both have plans on what they think is going to happen, as they both wait for Mikami, also known as X-Kira, to enter the warehouse and write down the names of everyone inside. Near prepared for this moment by replacing the pages of the notebook with normal paper.
Nears plan was to read the names and see whose name isn’t on the list, as that would mean they are Kira. Predicting Near's plan, Light gives the investigator a fake notebook, although the episode cuts off before the climactic moment.
6 Episode 15: Wager – 8.6/10
Light evaluates the relationship he has with Misa and decides that she’s a very valuable chess piece to him. Misa gives Light one of her phones so she can communicate with him. With L as his biggest obstacle, Light needs a way of killing him. At this point, L figures that the two Kiras are working together and states, if he were to die in the coming days, that would mean Light is Kira.
Misa shows up and realizes that L has given Light a fake name due to her Shinigami eyes. When Light tries to call Misa on the phone she gave him, L picks up as he had stolen it. He also informs Light that he thinks Misa is the second Kira and has taken her into custody. Misa forfeits the ownership of her Death Note, placing everything in Light’s hands.
5 Episode 4: Pursuit– 8.6/10
Give and take is the theme of this episode. L figures out that Kira is a student, so Light starts killing criminals that are only known by the police, forcing L to investigate the latter before students.
Both Light and L want each other to know a little bit of information without giving too much away. Light is being followed by a suspicious man and needs a way to deal with him. By using criminals as test subjects, Light learns the specifics of the Death Note. With this information, he manipulates his follower, Raye Penber, into revealing his name at a bus hijacking he scripted.
4 Episode 7: Overcast – 8.7/10
Realizing that Naomi is a threat to Kira, Light approach her to learn her name. Ryuk, knowing that Naomi is using an alias has trouble containing his laughter. Light’s first true test comes in the form of trying to get her name. While he’s out on the walk with Naomi, L distributes fake identities to those working on the Kira case. He also gives out belts with a secret way of contacting Watari.
Light comes up with the idea of lying that he’s on the task force to gain her trust. Light invites Naomi to join the task force, pretending that he sees potential in her. Naomi admits that she was using an alias and gives Light her drivers license to join the case.
3 Episode 2: Confrontation – 8.8/10
Light has just learned the effects of what the Death Note can do and wants to clean up the streets of criminals. At an Interpol meeting, the deaths of these criminals are discussed. The solution is to bring in the world’s greatest detective, L.
An unknown man, who we later learn is called Watari, shows up at the meeting stating that L has already begun his investigation. L uses an imposter to say that he will catch Kira. However, since it is fake, when Light kills the fake imposter it narrows the search.
2 Episode 24: Revival – 9.0/10
Higuchi is apprehended on the highway, but the Kira case isn’t closed yet. While confessing about how to use the Death Note, Chief Yagami touches the Death Note revealing Rem. L then touches the Death Note, followed by Light, so they all end up seeing the Shinigami. L contemplates that there must be two Death Notes, while Light gains his memories back.
We learn that Light had asked Rem to give Higuchi the Death Note before his memories disappear. This episode is huge as Light finally reveals his great plan to direct L's investigation away from himself. Light remembers that he saved a piece of the Death Note in his watch along with a pin. In his own blood, he kills Higuchi transferring ownership back to himself. Misa takes instructions from Light and regains her memories from her Death Note. Inside is a note from Light.
1 Episode 25: Silence – 9.3/10
The best episode of all of Death Note, Misa has taken over killing criminals, although she is only following Light's orders. Rem hears that Misa will die if she’s caught and realizes that Light is using her to kill L.
Rem’s feelings for Misa prove too strong, prompting the Shinigami to first kill Watari and then L. L had told Watari to erase all the data if something had ever happened to him, resetting the Kira investigation back at square one. Because Rem used her own power to save Misa, Rem turns to a pile of sand.