The supernatural crime thriller anime known as Death Note has dazzled audiences for years, with its battle-of-wits plot and its challenging moral ambiguity. When brilliant high school student Light Yagami gets his hands on a killer notebook, he resolves to rid the world of crime with it, drawing the attention (and ire) of L, the world's top detective.
Even after L falls to Kira, Mello and Near continue the battle, and the entire time, these murderous notebooks prove themselves useful in all sorts of ways. Light certainly slaughters criminals with them, but the Death Note is capable of more. Let's take a look at some of the cleverest uses of the notebooks (by Light and other parties) in this hit anime series.
10 Tricking a criminal into seeing Ryuk
Light soon realizes that a mysterious man is tailing him, and he'd rather be rid of that nuisance. So, Light picks out a vicious criminal to control with the notebook, then gets on board a bus found for an amusement park (which the mystery man boards too). By Light's notebook directions, the bus jacker soon touches a notebook page, sees Ryuk, and fires at him.
Meanwhile, Light urged the mystery man to show ID to prove that he's not the bus-jacker's accomplice, and Light discovers that the FBI itself is investigating him! This man in particular is Raye Penber, assigned to tail the Yagami and Kitamura families. To wrap all this up, Light ensures that the bus-jacker dies in an auto accident.
9 Misa proves herself on TV
Misa gets her hands on a notebook too, and she's dying to meet the original Kira and join him no matter what. To do this, Misa sends chilling tapes to Sakura TV to air, and she proves her credentials by writing down deaths and predicting them on the cassettes.
In this way, she convinces the world that she is Kira, and the real Kira, Light, knows that he's facing the real deal. After a few back and forths like this, Misa indeed meets her hero.
8 Mello threatens nuclear war
Full disclosure: despite Mello's threats, a notebook cannot indirectly kill people. It only kills those whose names are written in it. Still, neither Mello nor the President understood that, so Mello makes good use of the notebook's imagined capabilities.
Mello wants to become all-powerful on his quest to destroy Kira, and he calls the President directly, demanding money and all sorts of supplies. If the President refuses, Mello threatens to use the notebook to control whoever can launch nuclear missiles and start a war! There's no way to do that, but it's an interesting (and terrifying) idea all the same.
7 Using Kal Snydar
Here's another use of the notebook that involves Mello, but this time, the notebook is being used against him. With the help of Misa, Light determines that a certain Kal Snyder (calling himself Jack Neylon) is the current Death Note owner among Mello's minions.
Light arranges for Mr. Snydar to write down his current hideout's address, mail it to Misa at her hotel, and then die of a heart attack without alerting anyone else to what he'd done. Not even Near could figure out how in the world Light found Mello's base so easily.
6 Kiyomi's hidden notebook scrap
Earlier in the first part of Death Note, Light hid a piece of notebook paper in his watch for emergencies. Later on, Kiyomi Takada did something similar, hiding a piece of Death Note paper in her bra where no one would think to look.
Even after Mello kidnapped her and removed her clothes, Kiyomi was not unarmed! Knowing Mello's real name to be Mihael Keehl, she wrote down his name and made sure he dropped dead.
5 The two fake rules
All notebooks use the same rules (which have inspired a meme or two), and Light's in particular had the rules written on the front and back covers for the user's convenience. At some point, Light's plans called for L's team to obtain a notebook, and thus they would see the rules. For his plans to work, Light asked Ryuk to write in two false rules to mislead L's investigation.
One false rule ensure that no-one would try to destroy the notebook, and the other gave the impression that the user must write a name into it every thirteen days or perish. In this way, Light and Misa's confinement "proved" their innocence.
4 Pass it along
Misa was arrested and in confinement, and things were looking grim for Light. So, to save Misa and escape his own predicament, he passed around the notebook a few times. First, he handed it off to Rem to give it to a greedy human, and then turned himself in.
Later, Kyosuke Higuchi of Yotsuba used it, and once he was captured, Light got back the notebook and all his memories right on time. With that, and the paper in his watch, he killed Higuchi and prepared for L to die next.
3 Kill off the FBI agents
Here is another notebook trick that involved Raye Penber. Light wasn't satisfied to discover Raye's name; he wanted all FBI agents in Japan dead, so he prepared to orchestrate their deaths. He wrote a number of template deaths into the Death Note that were missing the names, and put these papers inside slotted paper to hide their purpose.
Then, Light wrote down Raye's name and followed him in a subway, tricking Raye into writing down all FBI agent names on the notebook paper. Thus, they all died, and Raye soon joined them. Light never even had to learn the FBI agents' names himself, nor see their faces!
2 Yotsuba kills the rivals
As per Light's plans, the Death Note ended up in the hands of a third Kira, who used it for business. The Yotsuba company had Kira on its payroll, Kyosuke Higuchi, who recruited seven allies to help him. At these meetings, the eight of them (Kira remained anonymous) figured out how to use that notebook's power and make their company grow.
They slowly but surely killed off major figures at rival companies, and the nature and pacing of those deaths made them look natural. The police missed it, but a memory-wiped Light caught on. Still, it was a fine trick.
1 Misa as a lure
Near the end of the battle against L, Misa is totally freed from all surveillance and suspicion, but her role in the story is not done yet. She dug up a buried notebook and found Light's instructions with it.
Now, to help Light, Misa resumed operations as Kira at once, drawing L's attention right away. This was the plan, since that put Misa in a dangerous situation. As Light hoped, Rem acted in Misa's defense and killed both L and Watari.