“That was how I reluctantly let the character go”: Even Death Note Writer Wasn’t Happy With L’s Abrupt Fate That Started the Downfall, But Claims it Was the Only Way Forward

Death Note's most sudden death was something completely inevitable for Tsugumi Ohba.

death note


  • Death Note has its fair share of demises but none as sudden as that of L.
  • Tsugumi Ohba admitted he was hesitant towards killing him but there was no option.
  • Mello and Near were instead there to replace him.
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Every hardcore anime fan has found themselves biting on their nails every time Kira picked up the Death Note. The amount of anticipation filled in every episode as the arcs went by is an instilled memory in every fan’s mind. The story was one that could grab the attention of the audience at any moment. Needless to say, anyone who watched the series was paying attention to every single detail.

Death Note
Death Note Anime | Credit: Madhouse

Out of the many characters fans found themselves attached to, the one who stood out the most was L. His presence in the anime and manga was one of a looming figure always observant and predicting the next move of his biggest foe. The way the story was formed gave the impression that the final showdown would be about Light and L. However, that was far from the case.

Death Note was Never About L but About Light

Every Death Note fan was ever so observant when watching the series. The amount of ups and downs and the intricacy of details were enough to bring the fans’ full attention to the pages and screens. Be it with Misa or Light in the frame or just a minor character. For all the fans who had been so attentive, the thing that caught everyone off guard was L’s death.

L in Death Note
L in Death Note | Credit: Madhouse

L’s death was initially just an option. It was after the story had reached the point in which Misa was captured that everyone in the editorial team felt that ‘L’s death’ was the way to go. That was how I reluctantly let the character go.

During an interview (via Gaia Online), Tsugumi Ohba, the author of the series, got candid about how L’s story was going to impact the series including his final moments. He had been this big figure from the start, mirroring Light seeing them both stand out as two sides of the same coin. However, his story wasn’t one that was supposed to make it to the end. Despite Ohba’s hesitation, he knew there was no other way.

The story isn’t L’s but Light’s. His conflicting morals, his savior complex, and the way to cleanse the world is most definitely like that of Thanos. To continue his own story forward, L had to go. Misa’s own capture became the catalyst with the entire editorial board of Ohba’s manga unanimously albeit begrudgingly agreeing to let go of the fan-favorite character.

One Person Alone Couldn’t Fit the Gaping Hole

Tsugumi Ohba admitted that L’s departure needed to be filled with another person of the same capabilities. However, for one person to replace L would just be like bringing another L. So instead, he chose to divide his personality and being into two, through Near and Mello.

Death Note
The Death Note | Credit: Madhouse

If one lone investigator was to replace L, the battle between him and Light would have little different between that of L and Light. Hence, I decided on a 3-man fight. I left all the character designing to Obata-sensei and my only request was that Near and Mello should embody the essence of what L was like.

Ohba found himself splitting his qualities into two, leaving the designing part to Takeshi Obata. Bringing just one person instead would be no different from having L continue being a part of the series. So instead of Light facing just one opponent, he was met with two who shared the wit and skill of L when combined.

The mangaka also added that while he let the illustrations be purely whatever Obata wanted to do, he made sure that Near and Mello weren’t too away from L. They had to embody him in some way.

Death Note is available to watch on Netflix.

Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1608

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley is an Assistant Anime Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1400 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment, from superheroes to anime and the occasional gacha games.