What is Death Note?
Death Note is an anime and manga series that was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It first aired on Japanese television on October 3rd, 2006 and ended in June, 2007 with a total of 37 episodes.
The anime is considered a cult classic due to its unique plot that quickly drew in viewers from around the world. It has received both praise and criticism for its philosophy and complex characters, but it has also been parodied in multiple shows. Shortly after the anime’s release, an additional 25 chapters of the manga were released.
Death Note first aired in the United States on Adult Swim and was eventually released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in 2009. The series was relaunched in 2016 as part of the streaming service, Netflix.
Death Note Plot
Light Yagami is a high school student who stumbles upon a notebook in the shape of a Death Note. Light soon discovers that this Death Note gives him the ability to kill any person in any place, at any time, with no one being able to trace it back to him.
With this power, Light decides to rid the world of criminals and create a better society for his family. But as he murders more and more criminals without getting caught, he realizes that there are people who want to kill him in order to get the Death Note. As Light tries to evade these people, he begins to question whether or not creating this new world is worth it when his own life is on the line.
Death Note Characters
Light Yagami: A high school student who discovers a notebook called “Death Note” which allows him to kill anyone he wishes by writing their name down while picturing their face. He uses this power to rid the world of crime by killing off criminals around the world. However, as his killings gain more attention from others around him, he begins questioning whether or not what he’s doing is right when it’s affecting his own life as well. As Light tries to evade those who want to murder him for the Death Note, he also begins to question whether or not he should continue using the Death Note.
L: A detective who works tirelessly to find out who is behind the murders committed by “Kira” (who Light calls himself while using the Death Note). He attempts to use his own investigation skills in order to catch Light, but as Light becomes more skilled at hiding his identity, L begins using more unorthodox methods in order to catch Kira.
Misa Amane: A girl who developed a crush on Light after he saved her from a stalker. She eventually decides that she wants to help Light fight crime by acting as his accomplice and kills criminals herself so that she can be with him forever. But after being put under arrest by L, Misa becomes desperate and tries to kill L so that she can be freed. Misa eventually finds herself being killed by her own Death Note and ends up becoming an angel of death herself.
Rem: A Shinigami named Ryuk’s friend who goes around Earth as well in order to pass the time. She comes across Misa when she is about to die and decides that she wants to help her stay alive. She eventually becomes Light’s accomplice and begins working with him to kill more criminals.
Matsuda: A police detective who’s in charge of the Kira case, but becomes frustrated when his co-workers are killed in a Kira attack. He eventually finds himself under arrest after attempting to kill L, but is instead killed by Misa so that she can be free from jail.
How Much Filler is in Death Note?
The Death Note series has a remarkably low filler episode rate. Arguably, there are no filler episodes in the series of the 37 episodes in total, there are a total of 4 episodes hybrid canon and filler episodes, which leaves it at 0% filler episodes.
Quick Filler & Canon Lists
Complete Filler List
|37||New World||Mostly Canon||06/26/2007|
List of hybrid filler-canon episodes for Death Note in chronological order – Learn if it is worth watching
Episode 1: Rebirth
Light Yagami goes to school and tests the Death Note. He writes down a criminal’s name on television. The criminal dies of a heart attack immediately. Light is shocked and wonders if he really just killed someone. He then realizes that he will be suspected as the murderer since he wrote the name down on television. He decides to test the Death Note again, writing down the names of criminals who have committed grave crimes in the past year on a list he made earlier, but to his surprise, they all die.
The next day, Light takes off with his notebook to investigate similar deaths that could be attributed to the Death Note. He arrives at Higuchi’s house where Higuchi is seen dead in front of her computer with a letter written in Japanese beside her body; she was killed by an old man who died of natural causes after confessing his crime of killing his family twenty years ago and leaving their corpses in front of their house’s door, which has been reported on television recently. Light then realizes that this was all according to Ryuk’s plan: having watched many criminals die due to their actions, Ryuk would find it interesting if one person tried changing things (since Ryuk knows that humans are only capable of thinking about themselves and that they do not care about things like world peace). The old man would be the first human to have used the Death Note, so Ryuk decided to give him the Death Note; however, when he saw Higuchi and her family on TV, he thought it would be interesting if she was the one using it. Light realizes this was all a test by Ryuk to see if humans can in fact change things with a Death Note.
This is the start of the main plot. There are a few scenes in this episode that may suggest that the anime will have a very dark theme, but they are quickly resolved in the next episode. The main character, Light Yagami, is introduced here and hints about his true intentions are revealed. This episode also introduces two other characters who will be important to understanding Light’s motivations and actions: Ryuk and Misa Amane. It also introduces a few of the rules of the Death Note, which are important to understanding Light’s thought process and his development as a character.
Other than that, this episode is mostly filler. It does not move the plot forward at all.
Episode 25: Silence
Episode 25, in the original Japanese release, was written by Tsugumi Ohba and directed by Tetsurō Araki. The episode is a side story that takes place in the same time as Death Note: The Last Name, but focuses on L’s past. This episode follows L’s history through flashbacks to his childhood and how he came to be who he is. The episode also shows Light Yagami’s future after the conclusion of the film.
The episode begins with a flashback of young L at an orphanage, where he has lived for most of his life. He is taken from the orphanage and brought to Wammy’s House, where he meets and befriends one of the other children, Near. They both become members of Wammy’s House and study to become detectives and solve crimes while playing games such as “Cluedo” (known as “Clue” in America). As they grow up together they become very close friends and solve many cases together along with another child named Mello.
The scene changes back to present day Japan with L sitting on a park bench watching Near playing chess with Mello, who has now become an adult detective like them. Back at Wammy’s house, L and Near are talking about the Kira case. L has come to the conclusion that the Kira can’t be killed unless they write their own name in their own Death Note.
Light Yagami, the main antagonist of the series, is shown eating in a restaurant with his fiancée, Matsuda and Aizawa. Two members of Mello’s gang are also sitting in the same restaurant, trying to figure out how to kill Light. Mello himself is shown sitting on a hotel bed with an unknown female, questioning her as she lies unconscious due to sleeping pills he slipped into her drink earlier.
Rem watches over a sleeping Naomi Misora, and asks about her past case which involved Kyosuke Higuchi’s death; she also remembers when she first met Light Yagami as a child and told him about Shinigami. She then prepares to use her notebook while thinking about L’s impending death at the hands of Mello and Near. Rem writes down L’s name on a piece of paper, but instead of killing him herself she gives it to Ryuk who writes down his own name. This causes Ryuk to die since he is Shinigami (the owner), therefore making it so that L will die.
Ryuk dies and L is shocked to see Ryuk’s death. Naomi, who was sleeping in the same room as Rem, also sees Ryuk and Rem’s deaths. Naomi wakes up and becomes distressed upon seeing Rem’s dead body and takes a gun out of her bag to shoot herself in the head. Rem’s death is then shown through a flashback of Misa Amane taking pictures at the time she wrote down her name. Misa stops singing after she hears an explosion from outside. She glances at Light Yagami, who is sitting next to her on a park bench. Light glances back at her with a bored expression on his face as if he knows what Misa has done. The episode ends with L looking directly into the camera while holding an onion, implying that he knows that his actions have led to his own death, which can be seen as an allusion to his onion-cutting theory on criminals’ identities that was discussed earlier in the episode.
The final shot of L staring directly into the camera during this scene has been interpreted by some fans as proof of L’s awareness that he will be dead by the time Light dies (L had previously stated that he did not want to live beyond Light’s death). This interpretation has been dismissed by other fans as a potential continuity error.
The plot for this episode is very similar to Episode 23, but I think it’s well placed after the death of L in order to show the difference between the real and fake rules. The reason why I think this episode is filler is because they seem to be going over the same details that were already covered in Episode 23, but from Rem’s perspective.
Episode 25 is generally viewed as a filler episode, but it does have several important scenes that give the viewer insight into L’s past, and how he came to be who he is. The episode also shows Light Yagami’s future after the conclusion of the film. It is the last episode that focuses on L, in a sense. It touches upon his feelings toward Light Yagami, who was his rival for most of the series. The opening scene where L watches Near and Mello play chess together signifies that they have grown up and become great detectives like him and Near, just as they had planned when they were younger. The final scene in the episode, where L is shown staring into the camera as he holds an onion, is a metaphor for his death, and this scene signifies that he knows he will never live longer than Light.
Episode 26: Renewal
Episode 26 is a filler episode. It occurs between episodes 17 and 27 and has no relevance to the storyline. Light is still Kira, but he is not yet aware of it. Otherwise there would be no need to have this filler episode.
Also, this episode does not even contain the name of the character whose point of view it represents. Watari’s point of view belongs to two unnamed characters who appear in this episode for less than a minute each. This fact only makes the episode more irrelevant to the storyline.
This filler episode is only a nod to one of the most popular characters in the series, Watari, who died in Episode 25: A Genius Detective Is Born . The Investigation Team decides that L will be replaced by someone else, and they agree that someone new will need their own headquarters. Soichiro volunteers to hide the Death Note and says that when L was alive he hid it in his house because he was afraid if the police knew about it, they might take advantage of it or even try to control it. The team agrees with this idea because at that time L did not want anybody else besides him knowing about its existence. The team finds Soichiro’s hiding place for the Death Note and decides that Soichiro will continue to hide it.
The reason it was added to the anime was because the producers wanted to create a sense of urgency. It is a time filler, and allows the audience to have some idea of what happens after Light loses his memories. It also adds suspense for the story.
This episode is important because it shows how Light has become more cautious about his schemes, and that he can still work from home rather than being there in person. Matsuda’s interest in throwing an inauguration party for Light replaces L shows how he had become attached to L, and he doesn’t see that Light is as intelligent as him. The fact that Soichiro hides the Death Note shows that he had become very suspicious of his son, which was a result of Mello’s death at Kira’s hand.
The first difference is who the man is that receives all the information that L and Watari worked on. In the manga he is a member of the ICPO, while in the anime he is an unnamed man. In both versions, it is made clear that he has a strong desire to catch Kira. The second major difference is that in the manga Matsuda did not attend L’s funeral, while in the anime he did. The third difference is that in this episode Soichiro tells Light to capture Kira instead of Light telling Soichiro to do it. In both cases Light says he will do it, but they are different because of how they say it.
Episode 37: New World
This episode is the first of many that present L’s death in a re-creation. This is a filler episode because it is a retelling of events that have previously taken place. It is also filler because, as viewers, we already know who Kira is, we know that L dies, and we know how it happens. The purpose of the re-creation was to explain the events in more detail to new viewers who may not have been familiar with the series beforehand.
This episode was original aired as part of episode 37. Its inclusion in this spot was likely due to the fact that Death Note had just begun its five-month hiatus before returning to broadcast on June 13, 2007.
Episode 37 is a filler episode, and it is an episode that was originally going to be a part of the main storyline. However, it was decided that episode 37 would become a stand-alone episode before it was animated. This is because this episode mainly focuses on the character of Sayu Yagami. This is an example of when the plot had to be changed due to circumstances beyond the creators’ control. This filler episode was then placed at the midway point between Kira’s introduction and L’s introduction.
This happens in both series and films. When an original idea for a film, book, or series is abandoned due to circumstances beyond the creator’s control, it becomes what is known as a filler plot, or in this case, an anime filler plot because it was made for an anime series. If this plot had been animated during its original place in the series as part of Light’s master plan for creating his new world, there would have been no need for another filler episode later on in the series because viewers would already know about Kira’s plan and Light’s plan to kill criminals in order to create his new world with no crime or injustice. The anime fillers are created so that viewers do not become confused about the main plot.