Death Note is a complex mind game filled with inner monologues that present viewers with a myriad of things to ponder, especially when it comes to its ending. Even though the ending is spelled out in the most detailed manner possible, doubts still manage to creep in, a result of the layers seen in the characters’ actions throughout the manga. These layers are revealed differently in the anime and the manga.
Explaining the Conclusion of Death Note
Everything unfolded as Kira had planned, except for one thing: Mikami’s actions.
Mello kidnaps Takada. This changes everything because Mikami had no idea that Kira had a means to kill her. Kira, in turn, was unaware of this slight deviation.
Mikami decides to take matters into his own hands. In an attempt to kill her, he retrieves the genuine death note from the bank.
The SPK had been tracking his movements for months leading up to this day. Normally, Mikami is a methodical person who lives by a certain routine or method. His last visit to the bank was out of the ordinary.
This helped Near determine the location of the real notebook and replace it. With the help of Giovanni, he swapped the real death note with a fake one. Mikami had two fake death notes, and Near had the real one. Kira was completely unaware of all this and declared victory out of arrogance and certainty.
Kira still had a piece of the Death Note on his watch, which he ultimately tried to use. Although he failed since Matsuda shot him. We see him crawling on the ground, begging for his life. Ryuk pays no heed to his pleas and writes his name in the death note, leading to his demise.
In this way, Near, with the help of Mello, defeated Kira.
Anime vs. Manga: Why Did Light Die the Way He Did?
The ending of the anime and the manga are not vastly different. However, there are key differences that alter our perception of Light’s character at the end.
In the manga, Light meets his end in the warehouse. His fear of death surfaces as he pleads with Ryuk not to kill him. He dies as he had killed hundreds of people in the name of justice. He dies in front of all those he had deceived from the beginning. There is no sign of remorse or regret. We see him die as a killer.
The depth that usually appears in his thought process was nowhere to be seen. He was a murderer with a severe god complex to the very end.
The anime executes his death in a way that shows his progression from a teenager who could have been many things but veered down the path of ruin. In his death, there are scenes where he sees his younger self as well as L. All of this helps us feel a tinge of empathy towards him and the sorry state he finds himself in. He dies on the stairs under the falling light.
In the manga, Ryuk says those who use death notes to kill don’t end up in heaven or hell. We see a visual representation of this in the anime, with Light not ending up at the top of the stairs nor staying at the bottom. It’s a representation of how he exists somewhere in between. There’s no place left for him anywhere.
Light’s death is a significant part of the Death Note ending. The manga kills him ruthlessly, just as he did to many others. He was no longer the brilliant teenager we met at the beginning. He died as Kira. His actions led to a cruel end. While in the anime, some parts of Light and some parts of Kira can still be seen.
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