Death Note is one of the most well-known, popular, and critically acclaimed anime series out there. The story follows Light Yagami, a genius high school student who comes across a Death Note and decides to use it to cleanse the world of evil and become the "god of the new world."
Obviously, there's a lot of death in this anime. However, since Kira mostly kills criminals, only certain deaths have made us shed a tear or, at the very least, feel sad. So, here are the ten most heartbreaking deaths in Death Note.
10 LIGHT YAGAMI
Yeah, he was a crazy serial killer. And yeah, he probably got what was coming to him, but Light's death was still pretty sad. Even if you don’t come to pity Light in the end, you can’t help but feel sad for …well, everyone else who got hurt by his actions, like his family, poor Matsuda, and the rest of the Task Force. Seeing what becoming Kira has done to Light’s loved ones is devastating in and of itself.
However, we can’t help but feel sad for Light too. It’s just so pitiful to see him in a state of such distress and desperation. His manic rant and despondent cries for someone to help him show a side of Light that we're not used to seeing, and it's just enough to make us feel sad for the person he was before he picked up the Death Note or the person he might have become if he hadn't picked it up at all.
9 KIYOMI TAKADA
Kiyomi Takada is probably one of the least liked Death Note characters. Takada made her first appearance in the fourteenth episode of the anime. introduced as Light’s college classmate and, according to her, somewhat neglected girlfriend. Kiyomi Takada would go on to become Kira’s spokeswoman at the NHN.
When Kiyomi finds out that Kira is, in fact, Light, she falls even more deeply in love with him. In turn, Light promises to make her the Queen of his new world. Of course, Light was only using her. The moment she became more of a liability than an asset, Light wrote her name in the Death Note. Kiyomi committed suicide by setting fire to everything around her and herself. While she certainly wasn't a fan-favorite, her death was still far too cruel and tragic.
When Rem told Misa the story about Gelus, the Shinigami whose Death Note Misa was using, we really should have known it was foreshadowing Rem’s own fate. Gelus died when he wrote someone’s name in the Death Note to extend the life span of a human he had fallen in love with – Misa Amane.
Light used this knowledge and Rem’s love for Misa to blackmail Rem into doing his bidding. By writing the names of Watari and L in her Death Note, Rem extended Misa’s lifespan and in turn caused her own death, just like Gelus did. While we can't forgive Rem for killing L and Watari, we do feel sad for her death because she did truly love Misa and she did everything till the very end to keep her safe, which makes Rem, a Shinigami, a much better person than most humans in this anime.
L’s most trusted friend, handler, and supplier of pretty much anything from copious amounts of strawberry cakes to entire freaking buildings, Watari is the founder of the orphanage for gifted children where L, Near, Mello, and others grew up. Watari was essential to L and the Task Force and remained committed to his duties till the very end.
When Rem wrote his name in her Death Note, in order to prevent the Task Force’s plans that would have revealed Misa to be Kira, Watari used the last of his strength to delete all the data from the Task Force headquarters, as L instructed him to do this in case something “strange” happened.
In episode 35, “Malice”, just as the long-running cat and mouse game was racing to its conclusion, Mello’s closest friend and assistant, Matt, unfortunately, raced straight to his death. While assisting Mello in the Takada kidnapping, Matt was cornered by Takada’s bodyguards. He surrendered peacefully, even making light of the situation with sarcasm.
The bodyguards didn't much care for small talk, instead, they opened fire on poor Matt, who died instantly. After the ceasefire, Matt’s body fell to the ground and one of the bodyguards commented that the only way to pay for crimes against Kira is death. While Matt didn't get much screen-time, he is still an immensely popular character due to his interesting character design, sharp style, and sarcastic personality. His senseless and brutal death broke our hearts.
Near and Mello were introduced in the twenty-sixth episode of the anime, titled “Renewal”, as L’s first and second successors respectively. Refusing to work with someone to whom he’s considered ''second," Mello went his separate way and tried to catch Kira with the help of the Mafia and his buddy Matt.
Mello played a crucial role in bringing Kira to justice, but all he got for his trouble was an unceremonious death. After kidnapping Takada, Mello is killed by his hostage when she writes his name on a small piece of the Death Note hidden in her bra. And the worst part is, he came so damn close to his goal only to die so abruptly.
4 RAYE PENBER
Raye Penber’s death is undoubtedly one of the most significant deaths in the anime. This is the moment when Light, for the first time, comes up with a convoluted plan to take out someone he perceives as a threat. This isn’t Light punishing a criminal; it’s Light killing a dozen FBI agents solely out of self-preservation.
While we have to admit that watching Light execute his brilliant plan flawlessly is nothing short of exhilarating, it in no way implies that we didn’t find Raye Penber’s death incredibly tragic. After putting on an elaborate con to trick Raye Penber into revealing his real name while convincing the agent that he is not Kira, Light coldheartedly uses Penber to write the names of his FBI colleagues on a piece of the Death Note. Penber then collapses on the floor after suffering a heart attack. The last thing he saw was Light’s face.
3 SOICHIRO YAGAMI
Soichiro Yagami’s life and death truly are depressing, which isn’t surprising since his son is a goddamn serial killer. Watching this good man struggle with himself when he starts to suspect that his own flesh and blood could be capable of killing so many people is devastating. Not even death frees Soichiro from those pestering thoughts that have haunted him for years.
In his final moments, Soichiro, with the Shinigami eyes, looks at Light, sees his lifespan, and dies satisfied, believing his son is innocent. Well, at least, he died happily but it's really messed up and heartbreaking that he needed to believe a lie to finally find some peace of mind.
2 NAOMI MISORA
As tragic as Raye Penber’s death was, the death of his fiancé, Naomi Misora, was much worse. Light spends hours trying to keep Naomi from contacting the police because she has groundbreaking information pertaining to the Kira investigation. Namely, she deduced that Kira must be able to kill by means other than a heart attack and that he was the person on the bus during the hijacking to whom her husband showed his ID.
It’s perhaps the single most disturbing episode of Death Note, as we enter the brilliant and perverted mind of Light Yagami deeper than ever before. As Light and Naomi walk around the city, Light concocts a plan to get Naomi to reveal her real name to him. Eventually, he convinces her that he's working with L in the Kira Task Force and tells her she too can become a member. Of course, one of the things he needs is valid identification. Naomi ends up falling for his ruse and the episode ends with her walking towards a hanging rope, implying she commits suicide. Her body was never found.
To say that L’s death came as a shock would be an understatement. In the turning-point episode titled “Silence”, L comes dangerously close to exposing Misa as Kira. Succumbing to her love for Misa, as Light predicted, Rem kills Watari and then L by writing their names in the Death Note. L dies of a heart attack, collapsing into Light’s arms, allowing him to see Light’s smug smirk, confirming what he knew all along – that Light was, in fact, Kira.
Not only were we shocked to see the main hero of the story die in the first half of the anime, but we were also completely disheartened by his death. L was a fan favorite character, a beloved character, someone we rooted for and saw as a symbol of justice and good, and his death rightfully stands as one of the saddest anime deaths ever.