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This is a guide explaining the placement of various works canon to the Death Note franchise. The original canon is the manga series. Each adaptation contains minor to major differences from the original manga plot.

Manga series

  • The twelve manga volumes
The original Death Note manga series created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It can be considered the highest ranking canon source material across the entire Death Note franchise, and is the default source of information for this wiki.
A guide book to the manga that is written by series creators' Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It contains information which can be considered canon across all spectrums of the Death Note franchise, such as information about Death Notes and how they are used. Other information is canon only to the manga continuation, such as characters' death dates and blood types, as well as the specific dates of certain events.
A single one-shot chapter that is a follow up to the end of the manga. It is considered canon specifically to the manga's continuation. However, it does not contradict events in the anime's continuation.
Two manga one-shot chapters released in conjunction to L: Change the WorLd in the book L: FILE No. 15. L: The Wammy's House tells of how L met Watari and solved his first case as a child. L: One Day details the daily activities of L as an adult. Since they were printed in a book part of the film series canon, it is up to interpretation whether or not they are part of the manga series canon.

Anime series

The anime series was directed by Tetsuro Araki, and is based on the manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The anime adaptation follows close to the manga, however there are some minor plot changes. Notable are the large amount of characters' interactions, dialogues and inner monologues that take place after the time-skip in the manga, but are absent in the anime. Despite the omissions, the overall conclusion of the story remains the same.
The official guidebook for the anime series. It contains information canon for the anime series, such as the fates of some of the characters.
The two Relight specials are a heavily condensed re-telling of the original anime series. Death Note Relight 1 takes place after the series end, where a Shinigami approaches Ryuk in the Shinigami Realm in order to learn more about the Human world. Ryuk tells him about Light Yagami and his rival L. It contains updated dialogue, as well as a few new scenes, but does not outright contradict the events shown in the original anime. Death Note Relight 2 essentially rewrites everything that happened after the time-skip in the original anime, and creates a few plot holes. The story contains many small adjustments to the plot, as well as a few major ones, such as Teru Mikami and Kiyomi Takada killing the SPK (an act originally performed by the Mafia). It is told from no particular point of view, although it opens with L reviewing the events of Relight 1.

Film series

A pair of live-action films directed by Shūsuke Kaneko. The films roughly adapt the first half of the manga with a new ending.
An L-centric film directed by Hideo Nakata. It is a spin-off of the films by Shūsuke Kaneko and contains the actors from the original pair of films. It is built around the premise from Death Note: The Last Name (in which L writes his own name in the Death Note) and follows L's last days alive.
  • Matsuda Spin-off
A short spin-off film featuring Touta Matsuda coming to terms with the end of the Kira investigation. It takes place during the events of the film L: Change the WorLd and was originally going to be part of that film, but the scenes were cut and made into this separate short film.
A booklet that is part of the film series. It is portrayed as a file on L kept by Watari, and it is mainly a photography book. It also contains the oneshot chapters L: The Wammy's House and L: One Day, which could be considered part of the film series.
A mini-series prequel to the next film beginning nine years after the events of the previous films. It introduces the three new main characters and the new Kira case.
A TV movie condensing the first two films with additional footage linked to the New Generation miniseries and the Light Up the NEW World film. It was intended as a summary for viewers before seeing the new movie in theaters.
Ten years after the original Kira murders, the new Task Force and L's successor are searching for six Death Notes that have newly been brought to the human world.

Novels

The novels do not form a canon together, but are each supplementary or a unique continuity. The film has two novelizations, with the novel L: Change the WorLd being in a separate continuity from the film it's based on. Another Note is a supplemental work, telling a story that was referenced in the manga.

A novel based on the film L: Change the WorLd, written by "M" (the author's real name is unrevealed). It is considered to be in a continuation separate from the film, although it contains the overall plot and characters from it. It differs noticeably in that Near is no longer a Thai boy, but is like the Near in the manga.
Death Note: Another Note is a novel written by Nisio Isin. A passage in Death Note: How To Read 13 urges readers to read the novel to learn more information about the Los Angeles BB Murder Case. Later on in the same book, series creator Tsugumi Ohba voices his liking of the novel and positively responds to the idea of Isin writing another. Death Note: How To Read 13, page 61: "For him to be in such an influential position, he must have solved an amazing amount of cases, but I have no idea what kind of cases they were or how he solved them. But I would love for NISIOISIN, who wrote the Death Note novel, to write more stories about that [laughs]."
A novel based on the film Death Note: Light Up the NEW World. It mostly follows the same story as the film, but it expands in some areas and offers some additional information.

Stand-alone adaptations

This is the pilot chapter of the manga series, and it is separate from the manga series canon.
Death Note: The Musical is a stage musical. It's had multiple performances in Japan and South Korea beginning in 2015. Two productions of the Japanese performances were aired on Japanese television in 2015.
Death Note is live-action adaptation comprised of eleven episodes.
Death Note is a live-action film released on Netflix. It is set in Seattle, Washington, USA.
This adaptation is anticipated for release in 2018. It will have an English-language version and a German version.

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