“Listen for the voice of God then follow it, and know that in time you will find your salvation.”
Rebirth (新生, Shinsei) is the first episode of the Death Note anime.
In the Shinigami Realm, a Shinigami named Ryuk seems preoccupied with something while the other Shinigami continue to relax and gamble. Meanwhile, high school student Light Yagami translates a sentence from English to Japanese upon the request of his teacher. The other students do not seem to pay the teacher any mind, though, as they play with their handheld games and talk amongst themselves.
On the way home, Light listens to the news via a public television, as various crimes are being broadcast. With these horrible deaths in his mind, Light thinks how rotten the world has become. Ryuk has the same thoughts about his own world, the Shinigami Realm.
The next day, Light is in a class where the teacher is discussing the extinction of certain species due to them not being fit for their surroundings. Looking outside the window, Light sees a notebook falling to the ground. Curious, he retrieves the notebook after school. Apparently, no one else has paid any mind to the notebook. Light opens the notebook and reads the first line inside it: "The human whose name is written in this notebook shall die." Believing the notebook is a sick joke, he puts it back on the floor. However, it seems as if the notebook is calling out to him, since Light comes back for it anyways, saying that he "must be warped, too."
At home, Light goes over the rules written in the notebook, observing that you can make someone suffer or die peacefully. Still thinking the notebook is a juvenile prank, Light lies on his bed with the notebook laying on his desk. With the notebook, again seeming to call out to him, he walks over to the notebook and is about to write a name down when a thought occurs to him: "If someone actually dies, would that make me a murderer?". But he immediately shakes that thought off, saying that the notebook would never work anyways.
Watching the news, Light decides to write down Kurou Otoharada's (a criminal who has held a group of children hostage) name into the notebook as a test. After 40 seconds pass, nothing happens to Kurou. But right when Light is about to turn the television off, the criminal's hostages run out of the building. Kurou has apparently died of a heart attack. In the middle of Light's astonishment, Light's mother calls out for him. Light is almost late for his prep course.
Still not completely convinced, Light decides to test the notebook a second time, already deciding that the next person must also be a criminal on the chance that the notebook is real. For a moment, Light considers killing Sudou, a bully in his school, but eventually decides against it, thinking he should avoid anyone he actually knows… not that it makes a difference to him, personally. On the way home from his prep course, Light sees a motorcycle gang abusing a young lady. Hearing that the leader's name is Takuo Shibuimaru, Light walks into a shop and writes Takuo's name in a number of variations, to make sure he spells his name correctly. To further test the notebook, Light writes in the cause of death to be a traffic accident. A while later, Takuo is struck by a passing truck—"The Death Note… is real!".
Back in the Shinigami Realm, 5 days have passed as Ryuk decides to leave. The other Shinigami, assuming he is going somewhere else in the realm, mention that everywhere he goes is a barren wasteland anyway. But Ryuk corrects them, saying that he dropped his Death Note. The other Shinigami ask him where he dropped it. Ryuk answers, "the human world" as he walks down a series of steps, sprouts wings, and flies into the door to the Human World.
Light arrives home earlier than usual and gives his eager mother the results of the National Practice Exam; as usual, Light placed first. Seeming to have something else on his mind, Light goes up to his room, telling his mother that he will be studying, so she should not bother him. On the way up, his mother asks if he wants anything. But Light says he does not, saying in his mind that he "already has what he wants."
Light takes the Death Note out of his locked cabinet and opens it up. Apparently, he has written down a number of people's names into the notebook since last time. Pleased with his work, he starts laughing until Ryuk appears out his window, saying that he "seems to like it." Surprised, Light screams and falls out of his chair onto the floor. Ryuk introduces himself and mentions that he is the Shinigami who dropped the notebook. Collecting himself, Light calmly tells the Shinigami that he really is not surprised to see him at all. In fact, he has been waiting to see him.
Now it is Ryuk's turn to be surprised. He has heard stories of Death Notes falling into the human realm before, but never has he heard of a human to write down so many names in merely 5 days, saying that most humans would be too scared to. Now completely confident, Light tells Ryuk that he knew that there must be some kind of consequence to using the notebook and assumes that his soul will be taken. Ryuk replies that now that Light has picked up the notebook, it belongs to him now and that if he no longer desires it, he can simply pass it down to another human; the only consequences to using the Death Note will be that the user will experience terrors that only Death Note owners can experience. Ryuk (being the previous owner), then say that when it's time for Light to die, he will be writing Light's name down in his second Death Note (which he "tricked the old man into getting") and that any human user can neither go heaven nor hell for eternity, but instead to nothingness.
Just then, Light's mother knocks on the door. Ryuk assures Light that he can open the door without her seeing him. Hiding the Death Note under his bed, Light opens the door. His mother has brought him some apples from their neighbors. As his mother complains about how dark his room is, Light realizes that she cannot see Ryuk. After she leaves, Ryuk explains that since he has written in the notebook, he is the only one that can see or hear him. As Ryuk helps himself to the apples, Light asks him why he was chosen to have the notebook. Ryuk answers that he was not chosen based on anything. It was all a mere coincidence, which is why he wrote the Death Note's instructions in English—the most popular language in the human world. Not believing that he wrote the instructions on a mere whim, he asks for the real reason why he dropped the notebook. Ryuk simply answers that he was bored.
The Shinigami then explains how boring the Shinigami realm has become. All the other Shinigami spend their time either sleeping or gambling, and if they see someone writing names into their notebook, they ask why they are working so hard. The way Ryuk sees it, it is more fun to be in the human world. He then asks why Light only specified the cause of death for the motorcyclist. Light explains that if the most vicious criminals begin dying of a heart attack, that even the most simple-minded people will notice that someone is passing righteous judgment upon them. Ryuk then asks why he wants to pass righteous judgment in the first place. Light simply answers that he was bored, too.
Light then flashbacks to after he has killed Takuo. In an internal monologue, he struggles with the concept of righteous judgment. But he soon comes to the conclusion that someone must take it upon themselves to do it, "even if it means sacrificing one's own life." Back at school, as the first signs of the sunlight appear on Light's desk, he convinces himself that no one else would be able to do such a thing and that only he can cleanse the world. This flashback is then followed by a series of criminals dying via the Death Note. Light then adds that while the most vicious criminals are being killed off, everyone else will begin conforming to good. Even the most minor criminals will be killed.
As he finishes explaining this to Ryuk, the Shinigami replies that if he were to do this, then the only bad-hearted person will be Light, himself. Light merely brushes this comment aside, saying that he is a serious straight-A student who will reign over a New World as God.
Ryuk closes the episode, believing that humans are indeed interesting.
Death Note Rules RevealedEdit
- The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
- This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person's face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
- If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the person's name, it will happen.
- If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.
- After writing the cause of death, details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
- This note shall become the property of the human world, once it touches the ground of (arrives in) the human world.
- The human who uses this note can neither go to Heaven nor Hell.
- The owner of the note can recognize the image and voice of its original owner, i.e. a god of death.
- In the English dub of the episode, Light reads the first rule of using the Death Note as "The human whose name is written in this notebook shall die".