Death Note, the first film in the series.

Death Note (デスノート, Desu Nōto) is a series of four live-action Japanese films based on the Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The series also includes a short film and a miniseries.

The first and second films, titled Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name, were both released in 2006. The two films adapt the main manga storyline but keep the battle between Light Yagami and L. As with the manga, the story centers around university student Light who decides to rid the world of evil with the help of a supernatural notebook, called a Death Note, that kills anyone whose name is written in it. The two films were directed by Shūsuke Kaneko, produced by Nippon Television, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan.

A spin-off film directed by Hideo Nakata by the name of L: Change the WorLd was released on February 9, 2008. A short film focusing on Matsuda, titled Matsuda Spin-Off, was aired on television prior to the film's release and was later released as a DVD extra.

A fourth film, titled Death Note: Light Up the NEW World, was release on October 29, 2016. A three-episode prequel miniseries bridging the 10-year gap, titled Death Note: New Generation, premiered September 16, 2016 on Hulu Japan.


Death Note and Death Note: The Last NameEdit

Death Note.. The Last Name

Death Note: The Last Name, the second film in the series.

LchangetheWorLd theatrical poster

L: Change the WorLd, the spin-off third film in the series.

Main articles: Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name.

Light Yagami is a To-Oh University student who resents the crime and corruption in the world. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note," lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person will be killed. Light is initially skeptical of the Death Note's authenticity, believing it is just a prank. However, after experimenting with it and killing two criminals, Light is forced to admit that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a Shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his judgment on criminals.

Soon, the number of inexplicable deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the International Police Organization and a mysterious detective known only as "L." L quickly learns that the serial killer, dubbed by the public as "Kira" (derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "Killer"), is located in Japan. L also concludes that Kira can kill people without laying a finger on them. Light realizes that L will be his greatest nemesis, and a race to prove mental superiority between the two begins.

L: Change the WorLdEdit

Main article: L: Change the WorLd.

With only a few days left before he dies, L continues solving cases. When a small village in Thailand experiences a deadly virus outbreak, F sends Watari a message along with a boy who is immune to the virus. L must figure out who's behind the creation of the virus and stop them before it's released globally.

Death Note: Light Up the NEW WorldEdit

Death Note Light Up the NEW World

Death Note: Light Up the NEW World, the upcoming forth film in the series.

Main article: Death Note: Light Up the NEW World.

It's been ten years since the confrontation between L and Light. Once again, shinigami bring Death Notes to the ground, and the human world falls to chaos.

Following in the late Soichiro Yagami's footsteps, Tsukuru Mishima leads the Death Note Task Force. Ryuzaki, who is the true successor of L, is also investigating. Yuki Shien is a cyber-terrorist and Kira supporter. A three-way battle ensues between these men over the notebooks.


English dub voice castEdit

  • Brad Swaile as Light Yagami
  • Alessandro Juliani as L. Lawliet
  • Shannon Chan-Kent as Misa Amane
  • Ashleigh Ball as Shiori Akino
  • Chris Britton as Soichiro Yagami
  • Vincent Tong as Tota Matsuda, Takeshi Maruo
  • Trevor Devall as Shuichi Aizawa
  • John Murphy as Kanzo Mogi
  • Jeremy From as Hirokazu Ukita
  • Janyse Jaud as Sanami
  • Ron Halder as Watari, Matsubara
  • Kristie Marsden as Sayu Yagami
  • Saffron Henderson as Sachiko Yagami
  • Michael Donovan as Ryotaro Sakajo, Takuo's friend
  • Brian Drummond as Ryuk
  • Michael Dobson as Rem
  • Ted Cole as Lind L. Tailor, additional voices
  • Michael Adamthwaite as Raye Iwamatsu
  • Nicole Oliver as Naomi Misora
  • Brian Dobson as Kiichiro Osoreda, Katsuya Seta
  • Bill Switzer as Sasaki
  • Louis Chirillo as Takuo Shibuimaru, Yusuke Hibisawa
  • David Kaye as Koreyoshi Kitamura

Intent with the filmsEdit

Shusuke Kaneko, in his production notes, says that people may feel that killing "bad ones" is fair but humans need to understand the power of the Death Note. Kaneko adds that the psychological fear of dying could be "more nightmarish than Kaiju (monsters) destroying cities and killing people."

Kaneko also stated that he wanted the film to "focus on psychological pain," explain how the deaths occur, and explain how younger people begin to like Kira and other people begin to like L.


Kaneko chartered an underground line to film a particular scene; this was the first time in Japanese filming history that an underground line was used. Kaneko used about 500 extras throughout the film. Also don't forget that a special message from Kira was established that day.


The first film, simply known as Death Note, premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks, pushing The Da Vinci Code into second place. It is mostly faithful to the manga, starting in medias res with Light in university and flashing back a month earlier to when he received the Death Note. It ends with his first meeting with L.

The second movie, Death Note: The Last Name, premiered on November 3, 2006, and instantly topped the Japanese box office, remaining at number one for four straight weeks, and grossed 5.5 billion yen in Japan by the end of the year, making it one of the year's highest grossing Japanese films. It combines elements from the rest of the storyline creating an outcome similar to the manga, but with a few key differences.

Both films star Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light.

There is a spin-off, featuring L as the protagonist, entitled L: Change the WorLd, directed by Ring director Hideo Nakata and set in the United States, which was released in 2008.

The first Death Note film was released in Hong Kong on August 10, 2006, Taiwan on September 8, 2006, Singapore on October 19, 2006, Malaysia on November 9, 2006 (with English and Chinese subtitles), and in the Unite Kingdom on April 25, 2008,. The sequel was released in Hong Kong on November 3, 2006, in Taiwan on November 24, 2006, in Singapore on December 28, 2006, and in Malaysia on January 25, 2007, with English and Chinese subtitles. The world premiere was shown in UA Langham Place cinema in Hong Kong on October 28 2006, and this film is the first Japanese movie to have its world premiere in Hong Kong. It is also available in American specialty stores. Although the dialogue is still only in Japanese, the Hong Kong release of the DVD has English subtitles (the Japanese release only has Japanese subtitles).

The first movie will briefly play in certain North American theaters on May 20th and 21st. The theatrical version will feature the actors from the English dub of the anime voicing over their respective characters. A DVD release is scheduled for September 16th, 2008, with The Last Name arriving soon after.

Production creditsEdit

Japanese staffEdit

Director: Shusuke Kaneko

Screenplay: Tetsuya Oishi

Executive producers: Seiji Okuda and Toyoharu Fukuda

Producer: Takahiro Sato

Assistant Camera: Sakura Seno

Camera: Minoru Ishiyama

Chief Lighting Technician: Masamichi Uwabo

Cinematography: Kenji Takama

Film Editing: Yousuke Yafune

First Assistant Director: Koji Yamaguchi

Original Music: Kenji Kawai

Theme songsEdit

"Manatsu no Yoru no Yume" by Shikao Suga

"Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Snow ((Hey Oh))" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Japanese castEdit

Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L

Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami

Erika Toda as Misa Amane

Shidou Nakamura as Ryuk (voice)

Shunji Fujiwara as Watari

Takeshi Kaga as Souichirou Yagami

Asaka Seto as Naomi Misora

Nana Katase as Kiyomi Takada

Shigeki Hosokawa as Raye Iwamatsu

Shin Shimizu as Shuichi Aizawa

Sota Aoyama as Touta Matsuda

Yuu Kashii as Shiori Akino

Japanese companiesEdit

Production: Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV), Shueisha, and Warner Bros.

Sound Stages: Nikkatsu Studio


Currently these film DVDs have been released in Japan:

Reception to Death NoteEdit

A press release stated that 80% of viewers in one theater described satisfaction with the film. The film earned $41 million United States dollars in Japan, $1.9 million USD in Hong Kong, and $1.6 million USD in the Republic of China. Some fans also enjoyed the Different story preferring L to win in the end and stay alive until the end of the film. In 2007 The Star (Malaysia) article states that more than ten film companies in the United States expressed interest in creating a remake.

Review of the Death Note filmsEdit

Shusuke Kaneko indicated mixed feelings while directing the movie; he said that he felt "a little reservation" at how the movie would perform since the film "uses 'death' to entertain the audience" and feels "morally unsettling." Kaneko theorizes that the film may have performed well because of the Internet culture of Japan. Kaneko said that use of the Death Note had similarities to how users attack one another on message boards and blogs. In addition Kaneko said that death is "carefully" concealed to the point where "people don't even think about it."

Christy Lee S.W. of The Star reviewed Death Note: The Last Name. According to Lee, Kaneko "did a good job" pacifing the film; she added that the increase in pacing towards the end gave her difficulty in understanding some of the content. She said that Tetsuya Oishi, the screenwriter, "well fleshed out" the characters and therefore the viewer will easily empathize with them.

North American remakeEdit

Main article: Death Note (American film)

Talk about an American remake began in 2007, when the Malaysian paper The Star reported that more than ten film companies in the United States had expressed interest in the Death Note franchise.[1] The planned production has since shifted multiple production companies, directors, screenwriters, and producers. Vertigo Entertainment was originally set to develop the remake in 2008,[2] which then moved to Warner Brothers to 2009,[3] and then to Netflix in 2016.[4] Shane Black was attached as the director in 2011,[5] but he had to leave the project and was replaced by Gus Van Sant in 2014,[6] and later Adam Wingard was announced as the director in 2015.[7]

Most recent reports indicate that Netflix is developing the film, which will be written by Jeremy Slater, directed by Adam Wingard, and star Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley. A release date has not yet been announced and they are awaiting the official greenlight, but they have a cast in place and they plan to begin filming in 2016. Keith Stanfield might also join the cast, although an official offer has not yet been made.

The adaptation is planned for release on August 25, 2017.[8]


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