“I can't help thinking what good could come from this notebook…”
Taro Kagami (鏡太郎, Kagami Tarō) is the main protagonist of the Death Note manga pilot. The chapter in which he is portrayed contains many elements that were ultimately discarded from the mainstream Death Note manga. For instance, the pilot chapter was meant to be more "horror-oriented" and also presented the possibility of Death Note victims returning to life.
Taro is young boy with cheek-length smooth black hair, and he wears a school uniform consisting of a white t-shirt and pants.
Later, when Taro is an adult, he closely resembles Teru Mikami.
Taro, at the age of thirteen, finds a Death Note, only to confuse it for being a diary, because he recognizes only the English word for "note." Treating the notebook like a journal, Taro inadvertently kills A-ta Suzuki and B-ro Tanaka, two classmates who have bullied him, by heart attack.
After hearing about the death of his classmates, only to be subsequently bullied again, Taro looks up the word "death" in the dictionary and learns the true meaning of the "Death Note." In disbelief, he continues to write in the notebook, incidentally writing the names of his new bullies. The next day at school he finds out the bullies are dead. He runs home to hide the Death Note, only to meet its original owner, Ryuk, who, similar to the mainstream manga, dropped it out of boredom. Ryuk explains the function of the Death Note and how it is certainly no ordinary notebook. Shortly after, two detectives show up at Taro's house asking questions, and Ryuk suggests that Taro memorize the names on their badges and kill the two.
The following night, Taro has nightmares of the bullies he accidentally killed. In response, Ryuk gives Taro the Death Eraser, an eraser that can revive those killed by the Death Note. Taro brings Suzuki and Tanaka back to life, and they all return to school.
At school, the same two detectives from the previous night question the resurrected boys about how they died and came back to life. However Suzuki, Tanaka, three other bullies, and the two officers all die of heart attacks. This causes the school to be temporarily shut down.
Days later, Taro finds out that Ryuk dropped his other Death Note. Taro finds his classmate Miura, who had also been bullied. Apparently, Miura found the other Death Note and killed them all. Miura attempts to kill Taro and then tries to commit suicide by writing his own name, but Taro stops him. He erases the names and visits the two officers, whom were just revived by the eraser. Taro and Miura tell the officers about the Death Note and prove its effect when Taro voluntarily offers to be temporarily killed by it. Miura then apologizes for trying to kill Taro and reasons he was in desperation.
Miura's notebook is confiscated and burned, its existence hidden away from the general public. However, Taro never reveals the existence of his Death Note, and he keeps it.
The last scene presents the Death Note seven years later as a cultural phenomenon, with its actual existence still in dispute. Ryuk is last seen with an older, 20-year-old Taro mocking a Death Note survey.
- At one point in the chapter, Taro remarks that he could potentially use the notebook to create a better world, which garners Ryuk's respect. Whether Taro goes through with this crusade like his mainstream counterpart does is open to interpretation since he does keep the Death Note.
- His appearance was later reused for Teru Mikami (stated in Death Note 13: How to Read). It is only after Mikami is drawn as an "insane fanatic" that the resemblance begins to fade.
- “I know who has the other notebook, Ryuk!”
- “If we prove that this notebook really works, will you forgive us?!”
- “Write my name in the notebook… And after my name, write 'peaceful death.' Heart attacks look painful.”
- “Wouldn't you like to know the results?”