Death Note: How Different is the Manga Ending from Anime? – (And Why it’s Actually Better)

Light Yagami's endings in anime and manga were different and the manga was hailed as superior by fans.

Death Note: How Different is the Manga Ending from Anime? - (And Why it’s Actually Better)


  • Death Note was written by Tsugumi Ohba and is one of the best anime and manga series of all time, with over 30 million copies sold.
  • Light Yagami was the main character of the series, who killed criminals through Death Note.
  • The anime ending was different from the manga, as the manga ending teared apart Light Yagami and exposed him for the psychopath he is, as compared to the anime ending, where he dies a rather peaceful death.
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Despite being a relatively short anime and manga series, Death Note is often drawn in comparison to all-time greats due to its compact yet impactful storyline. Tsugumi Ohba managed to create one of the most beloved manga and anime series ever, and the franchise has accumulated a global fanbase scattered around the world.

Death Note
Death Note

The culmination of such a masterpiece is often debatable among viewers, as anime and manga take different approaches to killing Kira. However, the manga ending was superior to the anime version, as it clearly showed how evil would always be punished. On the other hand, the anime ending somehow did less damage to Ligh Yagami’s vile personality.

Death Note endings in anime and manga were very different

Death Note is vastly prevalent among the audience and is one of the finest stories you can see as a spectator or reader.


The epicenter of the plot is Light Yagami, a prodigy who would have achieved tremendous success if he had stayed rational and evaded going on a killing rampage.

His destiny was plugged the day he stumbled upon the Death Note, which annihilated his life forever and managed to bring out his sinful side. Since he adored justice and the book gave him the power to eradicate criminals, Light Yagami took on the name Kira and started slaughtering criminals.

Somewhere along the way, he started to satisfy his appetites rather than doing the deed for righteousness, and ever since then, it has been a downward spiral for him. Although he met his inevitable end, it is often debatable which medium gave Light the send-off he deserved.


In the anime, Light gets exposed after a failed attempt to kill Near; he and Teru Mikami, the lawyer, are exposed as Kiras for all to see. Teru commits suicide to create an opening for Light, who runs away but is wounded by the bullets.

Light Yagami
Light Yagami

He stumbles upon some stairs in another building and meets his end during a cozy sunset after Ryuk decides to put his name in the book. This ending makes him look like a fallen hero rather than the mentally ill person he was.

However, the manga counterpart doesn’t hold back and yanks his character apart to show the world how evil Light is. The manga does an exceptional job of portraying the inevitable downfall of those who scum to evildoing and how they are bound to get punished for their actions.


The manga expands on Light’s mental breakdown after his plans fall apart as he starts yapping about things to justify himself as right. Luckily, he still meets his end the same way as in anime but more gruesomely while conveying a better message.

More on Death Note

The story written by Tsugumi Ohba is hailed by many as the best, and the series has sold over 30 million copies and is still considered one of the best stories introduced in anime.

A live-action adaptation of the following was released in 2017, and it managed to obliterate the reputation of such a masterwork. The live-action Death Note film that Netflix produced was a box office letdown in terms of both attendance and reviews.

Death Note
A still from the Death Note movie

The live-action altered many things from the original storyline, the characters, and the location. May fans also believed that changing the location made the adaptation even worse, as it remodeled the entire environment of the series and made it look more Western.

Many also accused it of whitewashing; overall, it was a site to forget for the audience and the actors.

Watch Death Note on Crunchyroll 


Written by Jiyad Shaikh

Articles Published: 291

Greetings! I'm a 19-year-old data science student who's deeply passionate about anime and manga. When I'm not crunching numbers, you can find me immersed in the world of AMV video editing, where I blend my love for storytelling with creativity. Join me on this exciting journey where data and anime collide!