The series was adapted into three live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, November 3, 2006, and February 2, 2008, and a television drama in 2015. A miniseries entitled Death Note: New Generation and a fourth film were released in 2016. An American film was released on Netflix on August 25, 2017.
Death Note media is licensed and released in North America by Viz Media, with the exception of the video games and soundtracks. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable from IGN, before Viz Media licensed it and it aired on YTV’s Bionix anime block in Canada and on Adult Swim in the United States with a DVD release following. The live-action films briefly played in certain North American theaters in 2008, before receiving home video releases. In 2015, the collected volumes of the Death Note manga had over 30 million copies in circulation.
The Death Note anime, directed by Tetsurō Araki and animated by Madhouse, began airing in Japan on October 3, 2006, and finished its run on June 26, 2007, totaling 37 twenty-minute episodes. It begins in the year 2006, instead of 2003. The series aired on the Nippon Television network “every Tuesday at 23:34”. The series was co-produced by Madhouse, Nippon Television, Shueisha, D.N. Dream Partners and VAP.
In North America, the series has been licensed by Viz for residents in the United States to use “Download-to-Own” and “Download-to-Rent” services while it was still airing in Japan. This move is seen as “significant because it marks the first time a well known Japanese anime property will be made legally available to domestic audiences for download to own while the title still airs on Japanese television”. The downloadable episodes contain the original Japanese audio track and English subtitles, and is available through IGN’s Windows-only Direct2Drive service. DVDs of the series have also been released, containing both an English dubbed audio track, produced by Ocean Productions, and the original Japanese audio track with optional English subtitles. Viz announced at Anime Expo 2007 that the first DVD was officially released on November 20, 2007, in both regular and special editions, and also confirmed at Comic-Con International 2007 that the first 15,000 copies of each DVD contains collectible figures.
Death Note was slated to make its North American television premiere in Canada, as part of YTV’s Bionix block, on September 7, 2007. However, the show was removed from the schedule at the last minute and the Canadian premiere was pushed back to October 26, 2007, at 10:00 p.m. The series premiered in the U.S. on October 20, 2007, at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim and ran until January 10, 2010, when its contract expired. The last episode aired on YTV, July 4, 2008, and would later air on Adult Swim two days later. The show was removed from YTV’s schedule on July 5, 2008, with its last airing being a rerun of the final episode at 1:30 a.m. ET. Soon after, Bionix became a 2-hour block on Saturday nights. The show also streamed online free on Adult Swim Video, with a new episode available every Saturday afternoon, on the day of its broadcast premiere.
A two-hour animated Death Note Relight: Visions of a God TV special aired on Nippon Television in Japan on August 31, 2007, at 8:00 p.m. It is a recap which takes place after the series end, where a Shinigami approaches Ryuk in the Shinigami realm in order to learn more about the human world. Instead, Ryuk tells him of all the events leading up to the last story arc, about Light Yagami and his rival L. Originally, this special was advertised as a retelling told from Ryuk’s point of view, but it does not give a different point of view from what was originally told. However, it contains updated dialog, as well as a few new scenes.
The Japanese broadcaster NTV aired the Death Note: Relight: L’s Successors special on August 22, 2008. Like the first special, this new compilation summarized a part of the 2006–2007 anime television series. Specifically, it recounted the final half of the suspenseful supernatural story, including the investigators Near and Mello’s confrontations with the vigilante Kira. This version features more updates than the previous one, most notably omission of the mafia plot.
Death Note was adapted into a series of live-action films in 2006. The first two films were directed by Shūsuke Kaneko and the third was by Hideo Nakata and produced by Nippon Television, CG production of all three films were done by Digital Frontier and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan. The first film, simply titled Death Note, premiered in Japan on June 17, 2006 and topped the Japanese box office for two weeks, pushing The Da Vinci Code into second place. The first movie briefly played in certain North American theaters on May 20–21, 2008 The film was broadcast in Canadian theaters for one night only on September 15, 2008. The DVD was released on September 16, 2008, one day after the Canadian showing. The sequel, Death Note: The Last Name, premiered in Japan on November 3, 2006. It was featured in U.S. theaters in October 2008. A spin-off from the films named L: Change the World was released in Japan on February 9, 2008. It is focused on the final 23 days of L’s life, as he solves one final case involving a bio-terrorist group. Two dubbed versions of the film were shown in the United States on April 29 and 30, 2009.
In August 2016, a three-part miniseries entitled Death Note: New Generation was announced as a part of the Death Note live-action film series and aired in September. It bridges the 10-year gap between the previous films and the then-upcoming 2016 film.
A fourth Japanese Death Note movie was released in 2016 and featured a cyber-terrorism setting with the inclusion of six Death Notes brought into the human world.
An American adaptation was released on Netflix on August 25, 2017. The film was directed by Adam Wingard and was written by Charles Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides and Jeremy Slater. It starred Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Paul Nakauchi, Jason Liles and Willem Dafoe.
In April 2015, it was announced that a live action television series based on Death Note manga would begin airing from July 2015 on NTV. Masataka Kubota stars as Light Yagami and Kento Yamazaki as L in the series.