Death Note featured on the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump. Death Note was first serialized by Shueisha in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006, with 108 chapters in total. The series has been published in its entirety in twelve volumes in Japan. Death Note was licensed for North American publication by Viz Media, and the first English-language volume was released on October 4, 2005. The manga has since been published in several different languages including English, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. Viz has released all twelve volumes of Death Note in English, as well as the How To Read 13 guidebook. To date, Death Note has sold around twenty million copies in Japan and was nominated for Best Manga at the 2006 American Anime Awards. On October 13, 2006, shortly after the release of the final volume, a guidebook titled Death Note 13: How to Read was published. The guidebook served as a series encyclopedia, including character files, a timeline, interviews and the like. In January 2008, the booklet L FILE No. 15 was published with two additional one-shot chapters: L: The Wammy's House and L: One Day. L: The Wammy's House begins when Watari first brings L to the orphanage as a child, and L: One Day is about L as an adult. In February 2008, a one-shot epilogue chapter was published in Weekly Shounen Jump. 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.
On October 2, 2016, the Death Note All-in-One Edition was released.
From 2010 to 2011, a set of six omnibus volumes with updated translations, titled the Black Edition, were released in English. In 2012, fully colorized, digital volumes of the entire manga series were released online. In addition to the coloring, there are minor tweaks to some of the drawings. On October 2, 2016, the Death Note All-in-One Edition was released. It is a reprint of the manga series compiled in a single omnibus volume. Sometime in April 2019, it was announced that a new one-shot chapter would be released. It was physically released on February 4, 2020, in the March edition of Jump Square magazine. It was later announced December 2020 that a new compilation volume containing this chapter and various other self-contained one-shots would release February 4, 2021 in Japan. Ohba said that he decided to create a suspense series because he did not feel that he could have created a "normal fight-style" series and that the genre had few suspense series. Ohba said that he did not derive the Death Note concept from any single source. Ohba created "thumbnails," consisting of dialogue, panel layout, and basic drawings, to be sent to Obata; the editor reviewed the thumbnails and sent them to Obata with the script set in stone and the panel layout "mostly done." Obata determined the expressions and "camera angles" and created the final artwork. According to Ohba he concentrated on the "tempo" and the amount of dialogue; he added that he had difficulty in keeping the text from being too long.
Ohba said that he tried to make the story concise and did not want too much text as he believed that "reading too much exposition" would be "tiring" and that it would negatively affect the atmosphere and "air of suspense". Ohba set the basic characteristics of his characters while he allowed for Obata to influence the actual character designs. According to Ohba he did not derive the actual plot idea from one particular source. Regarding the backgrounds and props Ohba said that he put descriptions such as "abandoned building" and let Obata wield most of the creative power regarding the backgrounds and props. Ohba said that when he decided on the plot he internally visualized the panels while "rolling around in bed," drinking tea, or walking around his house; Ohba said that he needed to feel relaxed while visualizing the panels. Ohba said that his general weekly schedule consists of five days to create and think about the creation and then use one day pencil and insert dialog into the rough drafts; according to Ohba, after this point he faxed the drafts to the editor. Obata also described his weekly schedule. He said that he usually took one day with the thumbnails, layout, and pencils and one day with additional penciling and inking. Ohba and Obata rarely met in person during the creation of the serialized manga-they met with their editor, instead. The first time they met in person was at an editorial party in January 2004. Obata said that, despite the intrigue, he did not ask his editor about Ohba's plot developments as he anticipated the new thumbnails every week.
The two did not discuss the final chapters with one another and they continued to talk with the editor. Ohba said that when he asked the editor if Obata had said anything about the story and plot the editor responded "No, nothing". Death Note 13: How to Read states that the humorous aspects of Death Note originated from Ohba's enjoyment of comedy. For each chapter the creative process began with Ohba and moved to Obata; both authors took advice from the editor. Ohba began each segment by creating a rough draft; he said that his main weakness was including too much information in each panel. Once each draft "goes through a few rounds" and the elements "are decided on" Ohba split the panels and "solidified" dialogue, monologues, and everything else. Ohba included "specific art" in thumbnails if he believed it was needed. Obata took the thumbnails and edited "camera angles" and expressions exhibited by characters. Obata used the thumbnails as models for his final panels.
When Obata decided on the content he began drawing. At this point in many cases Obata determined designs of newly introduced characters and items. After that the editor takes the pages and lettering, special effects, and other type are inserted into the pages; at that point the final drafts are finished. Ohba said that he did not have a theme that he wished to express throughout the series. Ohba said that if he had to choose one, he would select "Humans will all eventually die and never come back to life, so let's give it our all while we're alive." He said that he did not intend for Death Note to push an ideology or make a statement about good and evil. Ohba said that Near's statement in Volume 12 about deciding right and wrong is closest to his own personal belief. As a response to the interview question "So the series is meant to be all about enjoying the plot twists and psychological warfare?" Ohba responded by saying that the statement is the reason why he was "very happy" to place the story in Weekly Shonen Jump. He said that, because Death Note is at "the young" the reader can "push back ideology" and focus on "pure entertainment." Ohba said that if he at the series at an older audience he would expect "more debate over the issues" and therefore he believed that the story would have had to develop in that direction.
How to Read 13 states that debate about good and evil "sometimes" appears in the series and that the "answer" to the debate is left for the reader to decide. Light Yagami is an extremely intelligent young man who resents the crime and corruption in the world. His life undergoes a drastic change in the year 2003, when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note", lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person shall die. Light is initially skeptical of the notebook's authenticity, but after experimenting with it, Light realizes that the Death Note is real. After meeting with the previous owner of the Death Note, a Shinigami named Ryuk, Light seeks to become "the God of the New World" by passing his judgment on those he deems to be evil or who get in his way. Soon, the number of inexplicable deaths of reported criminals catches the attention of the ICPO and a mysterious detective known only as "L." L quickly learns that the murderer, dubbed by the public as Kira, is located in Japan. L also concludes that Kira can kill people without laying a finger on them. Light realizes that L will be his greatest nemesis, and a game of psychological "cat and mouse" between the two begins. The protagonist of Death Note, Light is an extremely intelligent but bored 17-year old student. When he finds the Death Note, dropped in the human world by Shinigami named Ryuk, he decides to use it to kill all criminals and earns the title Kira.
His ultimate goal is to cleanse the world of evil to create a utopia and then reign over this new world as its god. L is one of the main antagonists of the series. He is the world's best detective, tasked with tracking down and arresting Kira. As such, he is Light's arch-enemy. His disheveled appearance masks his great powers of deduction and insight. L has many quirks, such as sitting in an odd manner, snacking on sweets constantly, and holding objects in a peculiar manner. He often takes drastic strategies to confuse and force the hand of his opponents. On several occasions he has willingly disclosed several of his weaknesses to Kira at the risk of his own life in the hopes that he would lure him into a trap. A girl with an immense crush on Kira, Misa is a popular idol in Japan. She is immature and tends to refer to herself in the third person in an attempt to be cute. Mass is completely dedicated to Light, and she once said that she loved him at first sight. Light, however, only views her as an asset to his plans because of her Death Note and her Shinigami Eyes (which she obtained at the cost of half of her remaining life span, twice). Misa devotes herself to Light because he killed her parents' murderer after several trials had failed to convict him. Mello is an orphan who grew up at the Wammy's House shelter for gifted children.
39;s successor and refers to himself N during the course of his investigations.
Like Near, Mello was one of the candidates to become L's successor. Similar to L's fondness for sweets, he is often seen eating bars of chocolate. Although Mello is very intelligent, he often lets his emotions get the better of him. He also appears to be less included in terms of his friends and hobbies, and seems to be fond of biking. After leaving the orphanage, Mello joined the mafia and joined the race to bring down Kira. Near was a primary candidate to become L's successor and refers to himself N during the course of his investigations. He shares a number of similarities with L. Much like how L plays with things such as sugar cubes and forks, Near is frequently shown playing with toys or his hair. Near also sits in an unusual manner similar to L, but with some slight differences. He offered to join forces with Mello to fight Kira, but Mello turned him down. Near then gained the support of the Government of the United States and formed the Special Provision for Kira. Mikami is selected as the fourth Kira by Light, after Light decides that it is too dangerous for the Death Note to be near Misa or himself, since he and Misa are currently under surveillance by Aizawa and Mogi.
A prosecuting attorney and adamant supporter of Kira, Mikami shares many of the same ideals, thoughts, and priorities as Kira, and is ecstatic when he discovers that Kira, his God, has chosen him, proving that God is on his side and watching. He is completely devoted and loyal to Kira, believing that divine justice must be brought down upon the people. Little is known about his personal life; he appears to have no hobbies or anything else of the sort. He chants "delete" with each name he writes down in the Death Note due to events in his past when he thought God was "deleting" the evil people in his life. He, like Misa, has made the exchange of half his remaining years for Shinigami eyes. A Shinigami who dropped a Death Note into the human world, which Light would pick up. Acting out of pure boredom, Ryuk begins the story of Death Note on a whim. Ryuk is not Light's ally, and in fact declares in their first meeting that someday he (Ryuk) would write Light's name into his own Death Note. Ryuk often refuses to aid Light and instead enjoys watching him struggle for his goals.
He acts for his own interests and entertainment, and often fails to tell Light key details about the Death Note. However, Ryuk will aid Light if it serves his own goals, such as providing amusement or Obtaining apples, without which he suffers a form of withdrawal symptoms. A female Shinigami who first gives Misa her Death Note and trades her for the Shinigami eyes. Similar to Ryuk, Rem possesses two Death Notes; however, she purposely gives one of them to Misa Amane. Rem inherited her second Death Note from Gelus, another Shinigami who died when he saved Misa's life, and thought it only right to pass it on to Misa. Rem eventually inherits Gelus's love for Misa as well and is prompt to defend Misa even at the cost of her life. Rem shows this when she states that she will kill Light if Misa dies before her time. 36 included a rule stating that if the owner of the death note uses the Death Eraser to erase names in the Death Note, the victims come back to life if they have not been cremated. How to Read describes the pilot chapter as "more horror-based" and stated that it differed a lot from the Death Note series. 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 Shonen Jump Gag Special 2005 included some Death Note yonkoma in a Jump Heroes Super 4-Panel Competition.