Death Note is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who stumbles across a mysterious otherworldly notebook: the “Death Note”, which belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk, and grants its user the power to kill anyone whose name and face he knows. The series centers around Light’s subsequent attempts to use the Death Note to change the world into a utopian society without crime and the subsequent efforts of L, a reclusive international criminal profiler, to apprehend him and end his reign of terror.
Death Note was first serialized in Shueisha’s manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The 108 chapters were collected and published into 12 tankōbon volumes between May 2004 and October 2006. An anime television adaptation aired in Japan from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was also released in 2006.
The Death Note manga series was first serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump published by Shueisha in December 2003. The series has since ended in Japan with a total of 108 chapters. Later, the individual chapters were collected into twelve separate tankōbon. In April 2005, Death Note was licensed for publication in North America by Viz Media, and the first English language volume was released on October 10, 2005. In February 2008, a one-shot special was released. Set two years after the manga’s epilogue, it sees the introduction of a new Kira and the reactions of the main characters in response to the copycat’s appearance. Several Death Note yonkoma (four-panel comics) appeared in Akamaru Jump. The yonkoma were written to be humorous. The Akamaru Jump issues that printed the comics include 2004 Spring, 2004 Summer, 2005 Winter, and 2005 Spring. In addition Weekly Shōnen Jump Gag Special 2005 included some Death Note yonkoma in a Jump Heroes Super 4-Panel Competition.
In addition, a guidebook for the manga was also released on October 13, 2006. It was named Death Note 13: How to Read and contained data relating to the series, including character profiles of almost every character that is named, creator interviews, behind the scenes info for the series and the pilot chapter that preceded Death Note. It also reprinted all of the yonkoma serialized in Akamaru Jump and the Weekly Shōnen Jump Gag Special 2005. Its first edition could be purchased with a Death Note-themed diorama which includes five finger puppets inspired by Near’s toys. The five finger puppets are Kira, L, Misa, Mello, and Near. In North America, 13: How to Read was released on February 19, 2008. As of February 2011, the manga has been re-released in omnibus format, dubbed “Black Edition”. On October 4, 2016, all 12 original manga volumes and the February 2008 one-shot were released in a single All-in-One Edition, consisting of 2,400 pages in a single book. The All-in-One Edition was released in English on September 6, 2017, resulting in the February 2008 one-shot being released in English for the first time.
A light novel adaptation of the series has been written by Nisio Isin, called Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases. The novel was released by Shueisha on August 1, 2006. It serves as a prequel to the manga series, with Mello narrating the story of L’s first encounter with Naomi Misora during the Los Angeles “BB Serial Murder Case” mentioned in volume 2 of the manga. Beside Naomi’s character, the novel focuses on how L works and one of the criminals L has to chase down. Insight was given into Watari’s orphanage and how the whole system of geniuses such as L, Mello, Beyond Birthday, Matt and Near were put to work. Viz released the novel in English on February 19, 2008. The film L: Change the World was also adapted into a light novel with the same name on December 25, 2007 by “M”, While the novel is similar to the movie, there are many significant changes to the plot (for example, Near is not a Thai boy, but the same Near that appears in the manga). It also reveals more information about L and his past. Viz released it on October 20, 2009.