Chapter number in volume
February 2, 2004
October 10, 2005
No. of Pages
L (エル, Eru) is the second chapter of the Death Note manga, and focuses on Light Yagami eliminating criminals, however, the rumors of L-the best detective in the world- seem to be true. Will Light hide what L seeks?
The chapter starts with a reminder of the past scenes of Boredom (manga chapter) and Rebirth (anime episode), they are the parts where Light uses the Death Note for testing and the encounter with Ryuk, the Shinigami. The actual parts of the 2nd chapter and 2nd episode begin after that. Light is in his classroom, other teenagers talking between themselves. Light writes in the Death Note that is hiding under his school books. The teacher asks him to translate a sentence from English to Japanese, and complements him for his excellent work, calling it "a perfect answer, as expected from Yagami-kun". Light walks ahead and Ryuk calls him. In the school's yard, Light tells Ryuk not to converse with him because others can hear his voice if he speaks. Ryuk finds it boring. A classmate invites Light to something but he cuts him off, saying that he is busy. Ryuk tells Light that he isn't busy, and asks if he isn't going straight home as always. Light answers, saying that he is busy with something very important.
In his room, Light is writing names in the note with his TV on, showing the news, while Ryuk lies on the bed, eating an apple. Ryuk comments that Light is working very hard, to which he answers that he couldn't waste time, that he could only write names on the note for a limited time each day, and still has to keep up his studies to produce top results, without sleep deprivation. Just then, Light's younger sister, Sayu, knocks on the door, asking him to help her with her math homework on quadratic equations, to which Light agrees. Ryuk warns Light that if anyone touches the note they will be able to see Ryuk. Light is momentarily stunned but recovers and continues to help Sayu.
At ICPO, a briefing session was going on. 52 criminals have died from heart attacks this week and the conservative count of the total number might be around a 100. A comment was made that the criminals were on death row so it didn’t really matter, which sparked up a debate. They conclude it was murder by a large organization but had no idea of who might have done it, and decides to call upon the help of L, a mysterious genius who has solved many unsolvable cases world-wide. Watari , the only person who can contact L, then walks in to set up a laptop to connect to the people in meeting, so that they might hear what L has to say.
The scene then jumps to Light, at a secluded place, preparing a flammable liquid. He tells Ryuk that since anyone who touches the note can see Ryuk, he had to be very careful and if somebody from his household found the book, he might be forced to kill them. Then back at ICPO meeting, L says that this case is one of unprecedented scope, an atrocious crime of mass homicide that can only be solved with the help of the world’s investigation agencies, especially the Japanese police department. L has already concluded that the killer is, of a very high chance, in Japan.
Back at Light’s room, he explains to Ryuk that he has hidden the note in the drawer, beneath the false base, only leaving a normal diary on top to mislead people. Light then takes a normal ball-point pen, unscrews it and pokes the cartridge through a small hole at the bottom of the drawer, thus lifting up the false base to reveal the note. The cartridge, as well as a wedge stuck to the underside of the false base, acts as an insulator to prevent current from flowing in the wires, surrounding the note, to ignite the flammable liquid in a capsule. If someone removes the base by force, then the circuit would be triggered and the note burnt. Ryuk then tells Light that most people have trouble hiding the book and Light is the first to go this far in hiding it.
On the streets of Japan, people are praising Kira for killing criminals. Light entered one of such websites that is dedicated to Kira and showed them to Ryuk, feeling triumphant. Light tells Ryuk that even though the papers are reporting felons’ deaths as mysterious deaths, people in the world already feel that someone is passing righteous judgment on them. Light then tells Ryuk that humans are hypocrites, and if they were asked if killing criminals are fine, humans would always pretend to be good and condemn the act, but in fact they are all happy and praise it. Then an international broadcast from ICPO flashes on the TV screen.
A person by the name of Lind L. Tailor, who claims to be L, appears on screen to address and calls the mass homicide the worst crime in history and that Kira is evil. Light has expected this and coolly flips open the note to write “Lind L. Tailor” in it, and sits back to wait for 40 seconds. Tailor dies and is carted off. Then a computer-equalized voice of the real L speaks, calling Kira impressive as he can kill without touching the person. L also says that Tailor is a convict, not the real L and taunts him about trying to get him killed. L knows Kira cannot do so and gets another hint from there. L also says that the broadcast wasn’t international but only in the Kantou region and told Kira that he would send him to his execution soon. L used this to prove that Kira is in Japan and the mysterious deaths are murders. Light looks slightly fazed now. Ryuk looks amused and reiterates that humans are interesting! Light composes himself and swears to expose L's identity before killing him. L vows to bring Kira to justice by any means necessary. The episode ends with both shouting "I am Justice!".
In Death Note: How To Read 13 Ohba states that he selected "L" as the title of the second chapter because he wanted to establish L as the second main character; in addition the chapter was about L. Ohba added that this is the only chapter name consisting of a single romanized letter, "perhaps" stemming from a respect for L.