Live Action Films
Made Eye Deal With
Japanese voice actor
Shidō Nakamura (中村獅童, Nakamura Shidō)
English voice actor
Cantonese voice actor
Youwen Chen (陳幼文, Chen Yōwen)
Korean voice actor
Jong Gu Lee (이종구, I Jōng Gu)
Spanish voice actor
Jorge Varela (Barcelona, Spain dub)
Rolandeo de Castro (Latin America version)
Portuguese voice actor
Italian voice actor
French voice actor
German voice actor
Hungarian voice actor
“You've taken quite a liking to it.”
Ryuk (リューク, Ryūku) is a Shinigami who indirectly gives Light Yagami a Death Note. Ryuk was bored with the activities (or lack thereof) of the Shinigami Realm, and decided to obtain a second Death Note and dropping it in the Human World for someone to find, hoping to amuse himself from the boredom he had endured. This Death Note is found by Light, leading to his attempt to rid the world of evil, and easing Ryuk's boredom.
Ryuk has a fairly humanoid appearance. His skin is a light grey, almost blue-ish color, his limbs are abnormally long and he has large, round, yellow eyes with red irises. Ryuk has feather-like wings that come out of his back when flying, though they are retractable.
Ryuk has a great fondness for Apples, stating the addiction to be an equivalent of cigarettes and alcohol for humans (Shinigami Apples are withered and taste like sand, as he shows Misa at one point), and suffers certain symptoms of withdrawal if he goes for too long without eating them. His withdrawal symptoms involve twisting himself up like a pretzel and doing headstands. He also states that he is shy around girls, which is revealed when Misa hugs Ryuk out of excitement in seeing him. In addition to Apples, Ryuk is fond of video games, first shown in the omake eight-panel comic series, where he asks for a Silver Game Boy Advance SP, originally published in Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 4-5 (double issue) in 2005. On another occasion, Ryuk asks Light if he wants to play Mario Golf (changed to "video games" in the anime), but receives no answer since Light's bedroom is bugged with microphones and rigged with cameras.
He deliberately writes the instructions inside the front cover of the Death Note (in English, which he assumed to be the most popular language in the Human World) so people would understand its purpose. The Death Note is discovered by Light, and Ryuk follows him around for much of the series to see how Light uses it.
As Ryuk explains when he first meets Light, he will take Light's life when his time comes. In the manga, Ryuk does this after Light is shot several times by Matsuda. Light desperately begs Ryuk to write the names of the investigation team and the SPK members in the Death Note, Ryuk apparently starts writing them down, but Ryuk reveals he simply wrote Light's name instead. He was expecting Light might have thought of some way out of his situation, but seeing as he was desperate enough to go to Ryuk for help, he decided it was all over for him. Ryuk then returns to the Shinigami Realm after killing Light.
In the anime, Light does not ask for Ryuk's help and manages to escape the Warehouse thanks to Mikami's suicide distracting everyone else. However, his wounds are too severe for him to escape very far, and Ryuk, who is watching him from atop a pole, decides that following Light around during a prison sentence is not worth his time and thus writes Light's name in his Death Note. Light dies peacefully, with an apparition of L standing over him - mirroring Light standing over L on his death.
The second film ends in much the same manner as the manga, except Ryuk's silence leads Light to believe that he is willing to help. When Light learns differently, Light yells at Ryuk and jumps through him, trying in vain to stop his death before dying in his father's arms; before this, Ryuk takes this opportunity to reveal to Light that humans who have used the Death Note are unable to enter either Heaven or Hell regardless of their actions in life.
In the spin-off L: Change the WorLd Ryuk offers L the Death Note, but when L refuses and proceeds to burn it, Ryuk moans about L being boring and disappears, returning to the Shinigami realm.
Death Note Pilot Chapter
In the pilot chapter of Death Note, Ryuk is the master of two Death Notes that he dropped into the human world; Taro Kagami picks up the first one, and Ryuk talks to Taro. The other is picked up by Taro's classmate, Miura. The police burn Miura's book, not knowing of the existence of the first book. At the end of the chapter Ryuk follows an older Taro. Death Note: How to Read 13 describes the Ryuk of the pilot chapter as "really lazy" and "incompetent."
Death Note: How to Read 13 describes Ryuk in the Death Note yonkoma as, of the characters, one who "may" be the character most resembling the equivalent character in the Death Note series.
Tsugumi Ohba said that he always mentioned Apples in the thumbnails because he wished to use "the dying message that Shinigami only eat Apples." Therefore, he simply needed Ryuk to hold Apples and that "there's no other reason." Ohba also said that he specifically chose Apples because the red "goes well" with Ryuk's black body and that the apples "fit well" with Ryuk's "big" mouth. When Takeshi Obata informed Ohba that Apples held religious and psychological significance and that a person could "read a lot" into their inclusion and its symbolism. When he assumed that was the reason why Ohba included the apples, Ohba said that he did not "think about that at all" and that he merely believes that "apples are cool... that's it. (laughs)" Ohba added that he felt including aspects that could become later plot points was beneficial, and the apples were used as a point when Light asked Ryuk to search for the cameras in exchange for apples.
Obata said that he encountered difficulty in creating Ryuk. He said that his original idea of Ryuk consisted of Ryuk looking like a "young man similar to Light" with black hair and wings. Obata said that he had the idea of Shinigami looking like "attractive rock stars." Obata felt that if Ryuk appeared to be more attractive than Light he would "appear to be the main character" and "things wouldn't work as well." Obata said that he decided to erase the previous design and use the final design when his editor told him that Ryuk did not have to appear to be human. Obata said that he liked the "monster-like" appearance and added that, with his face, "you can never really tell what he is thinking." Obata said that he encountered difficulty while drawing Ryuk in the pilot chapter since he did not "have a good handle" on the "bone structure of his face." Obata said that during serialization he became "so used" to the underlying structure that he could visualize it. Obata describes Ryuk's face as appearing different between the pilot chapter and the actual Death Note series. In How to Read 13 Obata thought of an idea involving Ryuk's face being a mask, and under the mask would be an "attractive" face.
When designing Ryuk's Death Note, Obata thought about the appearance of Ryuk's handwriting. Ryuk wrote the words "Death Note" on the cover of his own notebook, and when he took possession of Sidoh's book he wrote the same words on the front cover.
Conception of Ryuk in the FilmsShūsuke Kaneko, director of the films, said that he chose to create Ryuk with computer graphics as it would make the aspect of Ryuk only appearing to people who have touched the Death Note "believable" and that the audience could "tell instinctually" that Ryuk is a shinigami with "no real presence." Kaneko added that if a human actor represented Ryuk, the appearance would have been "too realistic," the actor may have impacted Ryuk's "presence," and the audience may have "doubted he was a death god, if only for a second." Kaneko ordered the graphics team to design the graphics as if it was an actor "inside a rubber suit."
Tom S. Pepirium of IGN said that "Brian Drummond IS Ryuk." Pepirium described Drummond's voice as "excellent" and that this makes it "hilarious" to watch "Ryuk and his never-ending grin giggle at the events he put into motion."
Kitty Sensei of OtakuZone had her opinions of the film portrayal of Ryuk published in The Star, a Malaysian newspaper. In it Kitty Sensei said that Ryuk "looks a little artificial in the beginning." but she eventually became used to the portrayal and loved "Ryuk's gleeful chuckles and fish-faced grins."
The sfist describes Ryuk as the sole "(potential) cheeseball factor" of the first film and that he may be "difficult to get used to"; the article stated that Ryuk "adds" to the film if the viewers "let go enough to accept Ryuk's presence."
- (To Light) “Because I was bored, that’s why.”
- “Humans are interesting!”
- “As a rule they say humans haunted by a Shinigami have nothing but misfortune.” (Misfortune)
- “Hey, all it did was go around in a full circle.” (Inside)
- “Well see, it’s rather complicated at the moment.” (Kidnapping)
- “Shinigami trust Shinigami before they trust humans.” (Verification)
- “I can understand them, because they can exchange that money for tons of apples.” (Clean-Up)
- “You’re using the word ‘destiny’ for a woman again Light. You always use a one patterned approach for women.” (Tomorrow)
- (To Near) “Nice to meet you too, my name is Ryuk.” (Declaration)
- “Apples in the human world are worth the trip. What's the best way to describe these......juicy.”
- “The name I’m writing in the Death Note, is yours, Light.” (Curtain)
- “You have lost, Light. Didn’t I say in the beginning... when you die, the one who’ll write your name down in a notebook will be me. That is... the deal between the Shinigami... and the first human to get their hands on the note in the human world. Once you enter the prison, I don’t know when you’ll die. It’s annoying to wait... Your life is already over. You’ll die here. Well, it was good while it lasted… We killed some boredom, didn’t we? We did some various and interesting things…” (Episode 37)
- “I’m afraid that the trust of me will be the fate of you.”
- “Let’s just say this: you will feel the fear and pain known only to humans who’ve used the notebook. And when it’s your time to die, it will fall on me to write your name in my death note. Be warned any human who’s used a death note can neither go to heaven nor hell for eternity. That’s all.” * laughs *
- “I didn’t choose you. Don’t you see this is all just an accident. You actually thought you were chosen because you’re so smart or something? Don’t be so vain. It just happen to fall around here and you just happen to pick it up, and that’s all there is to it.”
- “Look at how many people you’ve killed in only five days, most are reluctant to write this much.”
- “I was the whole thing, Taro. That was some pretty smart thinking. Hyuk hyuk hyuk. So how was it… the Land of the Dead?” (Pilot Chapter)
- “Light was gonna use that thing to make himself god of the New World. Doesn't that interest you?” (L: Change the WorLd