Why Can’t We Hate Light Yagami? Why Do We Venerate L?: An Analysis of the Main “Prantagonists” in Death Note

In this post I’m going to focus in on what I like to call, “prantagonists”. The more legitimate term is “anti-hero”, but I prefer prantagonist so that’s what I’ll be using for the remainder of the post. (On a side note, I haven’t read the manga, seen the movie(s), or read the book(s), so this post is entirely based on the anime adaptation of Death Note.) The two characters I’ll be focusing on the most are Light Yagami (Kira) and L because I think they best exemplify the concept of “prantagonists” within the show. And not to mention, I think that many people really underestimate the similarities between the two of them, even though they seem to be on two different ends of the morality spectrum.


It’s on.

Here’s a synopsis courtesy of Wikipedia for those who haven’t seen the show or need a refresher:

Light Yagami is an intelligent young adult who resents all things evil. He also wishes to end crime in the world and create a utopia in which he reigns supreme. His life undergoes a drastic change when he discovers the Death Note, a notebook that contains five written instructions:

  • The human whose name is written in this notebook shall die.
  • This notebook will not take effect unless the writer has the subject’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
  • If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the person’s name, it will happen.
  • If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.
  • After writing the cause of death, the details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

There are other rules that are revealed as the story develops, usually in the form of chapter title pages. After several experiments with the Death Note, Light realizes the notebook’s authenticity and encounters the previous owner, a shinigami called Ryuk. Light tells Ryuk of his plan of exterminating all the criminals in the world, until there are only people who he has judged to be honest and kind. Once he finishes this, he will begin his reign as the god of this new world.


For the majority of this post, I’m going to focus on Light Yagami and L, but I just wanted to point out that Death Note is FILLED with prantagonists. If you want to nitpick enough, pretty much everyone with the exception of maybe Soichiro Yagami and some minor supporting characters qualify, the Shinigami included–Ryuk has similar motives to Light and is overly compliant with his wishes. Rem is willing to kill as many people as necessary in order to protect Misa. Even the police, men who have pledged their loyalty to L and in turn Light, are quick to turn on him as soon as they are given the opportunity to cast suspicion. This is not a fantasy novel with a focus on the trope of good vs. evil. I would even go so far as to say that this entire show is one massive shade of gray (only one not 50…I couldn’t resist ;)).

In the words of Lord Voldemort:

“There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.”

True, Voldemort is the paradigmatic villain of our generation, but there is a chilling truth to his statement–one that is clearly reflected in Death Note. Point being, all the characters are flawed. There are no heroes here and at the same time no true villains.

This brings us to one of the main conflicts of the series for the viewer: why can’t we hate Light Yagami? This is the primary question I was asking myself while I watched the show. I mean when I really think about it–he’s a wretched person isn’t he? (The (original) writer, Tsugumi Ohba, even goes out of his way to give him a horribly ironic name.) Light kills people with very little discrimination and has no conscience about doing so. Throughout the show, we see him calculating and scheming of ways to eliminate all those who are a threat. His relationships with Misa and Kiyomi exemplify his manipulative tendencies. They are at Light’s beck and call simply because he knows how to be charming and how to influence them. They only commit crimes as a way to gain his feigned affection. And being the scheming bastard that he is, he goes so far as to pit them against each other, turning them into each other’s enemies as a way to avoid the blame and hatred that should be rightfully bestowed upon him. Why? Because it’s convenient. Misa is naive and far too trusting, which makes her vulnerable, and Kiyomi’s judgement is hindered by her hero-worship of Kira. Kiyomi and Misa see Light as a god and even though they have brains and can think for themselves, they are all too willing to relinquish control over their lives and actions.

Me? Evil? Where would you get an idea like that?

Me? Evil? Where would you get an idea like that?

So then why do we still root for Light to succeed? I mean I’m speaking for myself, but I feel like the common sentiment was something along the lines of “as much as I want to hate him I can’t”. We want him to win, we want him to outsmart L and N and go on to create his “utopia” even though innately we know his methods are cruel and excessive. On a superficial level it probably has something to do with his motives. Light legitimately seems–in a very megalomaniacal way–to want to eliminate all crime and evil from the world.

Here’s another theory: in all the writing classes and workshops I’ve ever taken, the instructors like to beat you over the head with the idea that a flawed character is a relatable and fascinating character. Which it true for the most part anyway. The problem is drawing the line between flawed and evil. Light was constantly jumping back and forth across the line and coming ever so close to being a true antagonist, but at the same time he managed to keep returning to the side of morality just as we could see it slipping away.  So what then? Why can’t we hate him? He is an odious person–someone who used his own father as means to an end. The scene where his father was dying struck me particularly because I had a difficult time distinguishing whether Light was distraught because his father died before he could write down Mello’s name or simply because his father died. Part of me wanted to believe that Lights still clung to his humanity to a certain extent, but at that point in the show it was difficult for me to believe that he wasn’t devoid of normal emotion.

Josh and I were actually having a conversation about this a few days ago. I asked him why he identified with Light and this was his response: Maybe it’s because Light serves as a reflection of the crazed, cold-blooded, driven, power-hungry personality we all fear is hidden just below the surface of our everyday lives. It gives us that uncertainty where we don’t know if we were put in the same situation as Light if we wouldn’t do the same, if maybe not so extremely.

Here is my final theory and possibly the most powerful: Light gets results. By the end of the show, world-wide crime rates have dropped by 70%. The world has become overwhelmingly peaceful. As much as we hate his methods, he has undeniably achieved something positive.

So then what about L? sitting_weirdly__death_note_by_clive4everlegal-d4zwdjn

He seems like an unlikely candidate for a prantagonist. Doesn’t he want to eliminate the evil that is Kira from the world? Isn’t his driving force a zealous pursuit of justice?  Sound familiar? Who else doggedly pursues justice? Who else wants to eliminate evil from the world? That’s right. Light Yagami. So then why do we venerate L as the guy who tries to get rid of a serial killer? His methods aren’t any better than L’s. If anything, we could almost classify him as worse because he hides his actions under the false guise of lawfulness. L works with the police, they never doubt or question him the way they do Light. However, as an audience, we seem all too willing to ignore the fact that while dealing with the Yotsuba Group, he wants to let people continue dying so he can figure out how Kira kills them. Also what about his brutal imprisonment of Misa? She can’t see, she is put in highly sexualized and humiliating restraints. L won’t allow her to use the bathroom unless she answers his questions. There is a fundamental lack of humanity in his treatment of others, something we also see in Light. Just because he purports to work within the legal system and he can’t outright kill people the way Light can doesn’t mean that he is a fundamentally “good” character. Another thing makes him just as bad as Light is the fact that he has also managed to completely rationalize all of his actions. Both of them have a “for the greater good” attitude. So even though both of them fundamentally understand that what they’re doing is “wrong” they feel no weight on their consciences. L knows that letting more people die to find out how the Yotsuba group kills is morally incorrect, but at the same time, he is much more interested in satisfying his own curiosity than potentially saving lives. On a superficial level L seems like an eccentric genius sitting around and stuffing his face with cake. He certainly fooled me until I really started thinking about his actions.

I recently read an article in Writer’s Digest about writing/creating anti-heroes in fiction. Obviously this is not exactly the same as in anime, but the concept is pretty universal nonetheless. One of the points that the article brought up that struck me when I was thinking about Death Note was the fact that it defines anti-heroes as protagonists who toe the line, but never go quite as far as a villain would. Light Yagami and L, however, go just as far if not further than the average villain, which is why I’m struggling so much with the fact that Light is a wildly popular character, one that many people can relate to, and L is a sympathetic character, one that people consider to be “the moral compass” of the show.

As the audience, we know in theory that crime is bad, we know that just because Light is a vigilante of “justice” it doesn’t mean that what he’s doing is right. The same goes for L. While many people would be okay with killing horrible criminals who deserved that sort of punishment (myself included) if they thought it was truly necessary, they wouldn’t also exhibit the same psychopathic lust for power. If given the power to kill people, I would try to avoid it at all cost–I don’t think personally I could handle that kind of responsibility. The guilt I would feel would be too overpowering unless it was someone who really, truly deserved to die, and even in that case who am I to judge? I believe there is a significant difference between someone who rapes and murders children versus someone who steals a pack of cigarettes. Even someone who steals something more significant like a car or someone who breaks into a house. Yes, of course these criminals deserve to be punished, but do they deserve death? According to Light Yagami: yes. According to me and probably many other people: absolutely not.But that’s just the thing. Who is Light, who is anyone to judge what is worthy of death? One can argue that some crimes are unforgivable and that some deeds require vengeance at the very least. Be that as it may, the idea of “deserving” is entirely subjective. Light sets his own standards and criteria–standards that many of us would deem too harsh.

So I’d love to get some other thoughts and opinions on the question of why it is so difficult to dislike Light. Let me know if you agree with any of my theories and if not it would be great to hear and discuss some others :).

Now to close out the post: CHIBI DEATH NOTE! I know it totally ruins the mood of the post, but I couldn't resist.

Now to close out the post: CHIBI DEATH NOTE! I know it totally ruins the mood, but I couldn’t resist.

44 responses to “Why Can’t We Hate Light Yagami? Why Do We Venerate L?: An Analysis of the Main “Prantagonists” in Death Note

  1. An amazing tribute with a wave of nostalgia. I’ll keep this bit in mind as I rewatch the series.

  2. I think your theories look pretty good :-). A random thought. Maybe another reason why people like Death Note’s prantagonists is their confidence. Sure, you see confident but baka characters in shounens all the time, but Light and L have an “intelligent confidence”. Like Lelouch from Code Geass (all those Ls!!!! Am I onto something???). Light and L both have their goals, which we can sympathise with to some extent, and the utmost confidence in their abilities to carry out these goals. Wouldn’t we all like to have that attitude towards things in our own life?
    Very interesting read, I most enjoyed it!

    • Thanks for the comment, 123! I wrote this post such a long time ago that I barely remember what I talked about XD. I’m glad you enjoyed it though and I do think you’re onto something with both Light and L having “intelligent confidence”. Also I agree, there is clearly a conspiracy with names that start with the letter “L”.

      • Don’t know if you believe this or not, but I’m kind of working with the “Kabbalah” and similar stuff and lastly read a book about the “meanings of the letters”. And you have to know, I was extremely surprised how well it fit the characters.

        “Sent from heaven; to bring help to earth.”
        Both Light and L want to bring help to earth by practicing their morals with their own methods.

        Now, there was also a Nate River aka Near. Interestingly, the letter N is similar to L, but quite different:
        “Two times the power of god from above; sent from above; – Dualism – Connection from above to below with god = Connection of materialism and the metaphysical, the true supernatural.”
        and 2nd meaning:
        “To raise – to fall – to raise”

        That’s truly very interesting. And yes, many anime characters with those letters (may be coincidence) seem to fit perfectly into the meaning. “Naruto” is another example and also the connection of plus and minus is shown extremely in the way how Naruto is gaining the Yin and Yang in his body, making him soon to the next sage of the six paths. Interesting, indeed.

  3. I don’t really agree with some of the points made within this article. Maybe it’s just my complete abhorrence of the death penalty, but I always wanted L to win, and then I supported Near after… well, that particular event has been spoiled often enough by now.

    I would compare L to Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes; ruthless and manipulative, but ultimately with a strong sense of morality.

    • I can definitely understand why some people (including you) would be more inclined to root for L. However, at the same time I don’t think that Light lacked a sense of morality, he wasn’t killing people only for the sport of it. I think that he legitimately did want to eliminate crime and injustice from the world even if that meant an insane amount of hypocrisy on his part.

  4. well in my eyes i always wanted light to win due to my ideal that once you break your moral standards of justice you’ll keep going till your stoped (like poor light :'( _) so no mater how small the crime its eventually going to escalate.

    • That’s absurd, I stole a bunch of booster packs of Yu-Gi-Oh cards when was a kid many times but never broke the law again as I grew older. By this standard, I’d have been put to death at the age of 13.

  5. I don’t think we can compare Kira to Code Geass. Code Geass, the prince is like another country trying to defeat Brittanica with wartime actions. Kira flat out kills people and can use his powers multiple times, plus he can access shinigami eyes if necessary.

  6. Inventing made up terms like “prantagonists” is stupid and childish. Light is the protagonist – he is the main focus of the story. L and Near are the antagonists, the primary characters who oppose him and form the “enemy” to him. Just because Light is evil does not make him less of a protagonist (protagonists are not universally good, and antagonists are not always on the side of evil).

    • I’m sorry that you’re angry that I coined a term, intending it to be tongue in cheek. I also don’t necessarily agree with the rest of your comment, but we will just have to agree to disagree.

      • He’s angry because the term you coined displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what the words “protagonist” and “antagonist” mean.

      • Again, I’m going to have to disagree. I know what an anti-hero is full well and can easily distinguish between and define an antagonist and protagonist. If you want to get huffy about semantics please do it somewhere else.

  7. Light was a moron, the only reason we think he’s intelligent is because the writer keeps telling us he is. His actions tell a different story.

  8. I really enjoyed your article. In the sub-par anime Chaos:Head Taki says “I trust a real God wouldn’t build a world of happiness on the foundation of people’s sadness.”

  9. First of all, I’m really glad that I’m not the only one who keeps questioning why I liked Light, so thank-you for the article :) You see, out of my friends I’m considered as the ‘compassionate, kind, moral one’ and I have to admit I’m very opinionated over what’s good or evil (not saying I am kind, but I have strong views about what is XD) It’s not a surprise then that all my favourite characters in anime, books and T.V shows are either the heroes or the downtrodden characters you can feel really sorry for. You can imagine my surprise (and identity crisis) when I found myself really looking up to Light Yagami. I know I definitely didn’t agree with his methods because I’m against the death penalty and I knew that Light’s character was evil (I know you can argue that, but personally I think he’s using his sense of justice as an excuse to give into his hunger for power and need to distinguish his boredom) so my first obvious idea was his intelligence. I highly value intelligence and found his thoughts and scheming enthralling so I stayed with that theory for a while. But then the thought hit me: ‘If I love geniuses so much, then why do I prefer Light over L, who is not only also intensely smart but who doesn’t have the big flaw of being as evil as Light?’ (Albeit similarities in morals as you’ve discussed.) I’ve figured it out that it’s his power and superiority that he has through both his intelligence and his position as Kira that makes me not hate him. (Well, I do hate him when I think about what he did to L, but overall he’s still my favourite character.) So, to sum up what my theory is, another reason why someone may like Light against their better judgement is maybe due to their inner ‘power-hungry psychopath’ reacting. Most humans naturally will love power, whether they’re using it for good or for evil, so looking up to an intelligent powerful character despite better judgement isn’t too far-fetched. I guess it depends on what you value more – kindness or intelligence. (This made me question my morality a great deal while watching this show xD) Sorry about how long this post is – while I was writing I was thinking how I could make this a lot shorter – but I’m really bad at cutting, as you can see…Anyway, thank-you for the article and I hope you don’t mind my theory :)

  10. Light is likable because his character is more relatable to the average person. He’s childish, vain, vengeful, spoiled and bored. That is not to take away from the fact that he has incredible reasoning ability which leads to why a few hate the L character because when you have this mixture of intelligence, childishness and vanity, a narcissistic asshole is the by product. Most buy into his would be brand of morality which is nothing more than I’m bored, so let me kill some people. Light’s first morality test was finding the DeathNote and the Shinigami Ryuk telling him what the result would be if he used it. Light failed. With his inflated sense of self, he thought that his judgment was beyond fault and that no one could dispense justice better than he. Sure, he mentions his frustration at how slowly the law sometimes works, but again, if his frustration is the motive behind his actions, then he cannot be said to be filled with morality nor dispensing justice, at least not when he is acting as Kira. When I first read DeathNote, I liked Light Yagami but when L came onto the scene I was glad, because by that time, it’s clear that Light is giving into something that can basically be described as a glorified hissy fit. He’s mad and so he’s going to act out. Only his acting out involves systematically writing down names of people he’s never known and killing them. I believe that killing of Penber and Penber’s fiance that is the turning point. L is not vain, but he is gluttonous, he’s not particularly vengeful or at least it doesn’t interfere with his reasoning, it could be said that he was spoiled and he does have a child like innocence in his dealing with some people. However, L’s humility is as great as Light’s need for attention. L doesn’t hate Light Yagami but he does detest Kira and what he stands for. Light however thinks that L is a moron and is completely fake towards him and waits only for the moment he can kill him. L is further likable because he is brave, he accepts the fact that he can die. As does Near as does Mello. What does Light do when faced with death? He cowers and nearly pisses his pants and can’t believe it. That, I believe is what makes him a coward and immoral and selfish and a fool. Yet, most people root for him and feel sorry for him but he makes every decision as if it’s the greatest decision ever made, he thinks killing is the answer to every one of his problems, so the question is why feel sorry for him? Did he not know that death was coming to him? The Shinigami told him that much. It was okay for him to manipulate others and abandon them and kill them, even though they were loyal to him, but it’s horrible that he should be caught and faced with death at the hand of a Shinigami? That is me speaking, however, I know that most cannot hate Light because again as I mentioned they have so many of those traits mentioned before in common. They are driven by their greed, their hurt, their want of recognition or they simply have no life and they seek adventure far outside of themselves. Then here’s L, he can be satisfied with just a tray full of strawberries and a bowl of chocolate. While it’s still outside of himself he’s not greedy to the extent that Light is, he’s not wanting of recognition to the magnitude that LIght does. Maybe that is why some have a hard time liking L because he doesn’t want as much for himself and the general feeling about such people is that they’re losers. But those same people perhaps overlook that L didn’t hesitate to die, so that he might win or that social justice might win. Social justice being the opposite of what only Kira and his compatriots want.

  11. Well, I am now having an uncomfortable feeling, realizing that how much I want to believe that Light Yagami is a ruthless, manipulative, arrogant, and selfish person, I can’t bring myself to hate him. To be honest with you, I was genuinely shocked with the ending. At a very uncomfortable level, I even pity him–seeing him dying like that is just….beyond words.

    Perhaps, it’s because I can’t get rid of the fact that Light Yagami used to be a normal high school guy, a straight A’s student, a son from honorable family with a strong sense of justice. That’s it. And when he lost his ownership (during L’s investigation) I had a chance to see who he really is. He even refuses to take advantage of Misa’s feeling–despite the fact that of course he forgot that he planned to do it when Misa encountered him for the first time–giving him her notebook and stuff. For me, it’s enough to prove that Light Yagami and Kira are completely different person. And you know what, I even have this idea on my mind that actually Light is the victim of Death Note itself. He was just a guy who wanted to get rid of the criminals, and then all of the sudden he started to kill ANYONE that attempts to stop Kira. And, if i’m not wrong, the owner of Death Note will not have a happy life. So, somehow, I feel like maybe at certain points he didn’t even do all those bad things on purpose–he simply improvised. And despite he’s being the ruthless killer, cold-blooded, or whatever he is, he was 17 years old when he picked that notebook–notebook that allows to much, that holds so much power. An almost “grown-up” who hates to loose (simply because he used to be the straight A’s student), and somehow, possessing Death Note feeds his ego and stuff. But, still, he was only 17 years old guy–playing superhero or whatever until circumstance pushed him too far. In the end of the anime, somehow I got the vibe that he realized what he has done, he even saw his 17 years old self walking calmly–total opposite of the 23 y.o self, running madly with a blooded suit.

    Well, yeah, at a certain point, i think he was just a teenager, a really bad luck one, with a super intelligent mind, with a “i-dont-want-to-loose” attitude and always being on top. Finally, the death note got the best out of him–leaving him a complete misery and pain as a human being, sadly :(

  12. Man, I think I wanted him to “win” for about the first two episodes. Then I was rabidly hoping for him to lose. I mean, I personally despise his moral outlook but I really don’t think it was ever about morality for Light. The moral component of his actions was like an excuse made in passing, something he could use to justify what he was really trying to accomplish: ascension to godhood and an escape from boredom.

    At what point in the show does he demonstrate any concern for mankind? At what point does he demonstrate a desire for people to be happy? Why would he be motivated by the idea of a perfect world when he’s clearly a sociopath without affection for even his own family? Who would benefit from his so-called perfect world? The idea that people besides him would benefit was only ideological insurance. In reality, his primary concern was only his own exaltation.

    We don’t get a lot of evidence, if you really think about it, that Light was motivated by a strong sense of “good/evil” or the suffering of others. At least with Mikami, there was evidence of a personal investment in human suffering, although this was intensely personal to his own experience. But with Light, it seemed more like he was motivated by the game of “justice”. He had helped his father solve cases in the past, but while the show could have presented us with substance that showed Light’s concern for victims of crime, it never did. His focus was always on the criminals themselves, and never really on what they had done, or why what they had done was wrong, but simply that they were criminals who Kira was “catching” and “executing”.

    Basically, I don’t think Light’s intentions were ever pure. They were dressed up in purity, but that was a translucent shroud. He never demonstrated any regard for why crime was bad, what good or evil really meant, or why he wanted a utopia at all. All he demonstrated was that he wanted to be a God, and that he wanted to win.

  13. To be honest I never saw Light as doing anything wrong watching it through. The only thing I disagreed with Light on was him calling himself a God (which I guess wouldn’t be entirely untrue if he had succeeded and had complete control)

  14. The problem with Light, is that he was willing to go the extra mile for his so-called “utopia”. In the end and if he would have won, it would have been his way or the high way no matter what everyone else said or did. If you so much as sneezed the wrong way, he’ll write your name down, no questions asked. He was even reserving plans to exterminate people for no other reason than just being lazy. That’s right, if you slacked off and relaxed, he’ll kill you. That was and still is my very reason for hating him to this day, for being willing to lower himself to such depravities that even an innocent child’s life would be inconsequential for his demented vision. Total, absolute, uncompromising, unprecedented CONTROL OF EVERYTHING. YOU. DO!

  15. I think the real reason many people rooted for Light, myself included, is because we simply liked the show so much that we didn’t want it to end and Light losing/dying would signal the end of the show.

  16. I am one of the people who wanted to see Light die horribly. Far as I’ve read his death is much more brutal in the manga than in the anime–and I found myself disappointed by that fact. Seriously by the time I was half way through the series I wanted to shoot Light myself.

    Sure he might have had a noble goal–ridding the earth of crime and evil and all that..but he completely lost it and became a tyrant and total psychopath by the end. God complex and an insane power trip. Ugh.

    I was pissed when L died and when I seen Near and Mello I was like..I don’t care which of them takes down Light as long as Light dies. Hell..I liked Mello more than Light, even. Say what you want about Mello but the guy, despite an inferiority complex and criminal history is probably more mentally stable than Light…and aside from testing the note ONE time, Mello never off’d any of his henchmen. Light killed Kiyomi simply because it was a convenient way to get rid of a loose end.

    Basically, Light is human scum..the kind of nutjob who fancies himself above the rest of the human race. You know who else thought that? Hitler.

    • Thank god someone else thinks this way! Watching deathnote it wasn’t even a question for me that Who would people see as villian. Definitely light. But the world is twisted
      L is best and things he did were justifiable

    • Anyone who hates Light is self-righteous goody-goody. I root for him because I’m sick of all the bad guys. Sometimes you have to be ruthless.

      If you ask me, humans are scum because of what they do to the world.

      • I don’t think so. I hate Light because he’s a self asorbed little- What’s baffling is that for some reason they love to avoid the fact that Light killed innocent people for his “perfect world”. But who cares right? I’m sorry but what makes him any different to those crazed people who go killing for those for their religious veiws for the ‘perfect world’? Light is a deluded fool.

      • ^ Oh shove your goody-two-shoes crap up your ass. I may not always agree with him. But I’m similar to him because my intentions are similar to his, although I don’t approve of killing innocent people.

  17. Light doesn’t kill criminals because of his “big sense of justice”. He actually has none. The thing about Light is that he wants to become the god of the new world, and he is obsessed with order (I mean, have you seen his bedroom?). In Light Yagami’s vision, order can be reached by eliminating the “bad side” of the society, and as he wants his kingdom to be perfect, he creates “Kira”. Light Yagami is just a dictator playing god. So actually, Light and “L” are both selfish childs that thing they are the personification of the truth. They only think about their own purposes. What makes we thing that Lawliet is the hero is that, unlike Light, L assumes that he is acting selfish, and he doens’t manipulate people. Light really thinks he is acting for the greater good, but he is not. He completely forgot that he wanted the clean society for many episodes. He forgot “the greater good” in the moment he met L, an oponent, someone to play “who’s the best” with him, and this proves that Light Yagami does not act for justice.

  18. Couple of reasons why I could not hate Light ( highly subjective ):

    1) Even though he may be a guy who kills people, he has been projected as the series protagonist since episode one. Most times the viewers are involuntarily inclined towards supporting the protagonist.
    Example in other anime :
    In DragonballZ, Goku gets the majority support, even though Vegeta isn’t half bad.
    Similar for Naruto vs Sasuke .
    Even if the counterpart was equally powerful / good, 8 out of 10 times the protagonist gets the support.

    2) Light did have the huge power of death note which no one from the task force ( even L ) could have guessed. But even still he operated singularly. L on the other hand has members from task force working with him.
    Even though both sides may be equal as far as power is concerned ( Light may still be strong ), I gradually got a sense of feeling that Light was being outnumbered. And usually when a person becomes an underdog he starts getting viewer’s support.

  19. There is really no need of the term prantagonist. Desu Noto has a clear protagonist in Light (that is the character driving the action) and a clear antagonist in L and later N (an equally powerful character who want’s the exact opposite of the protagonist). None of them are really an antihero since that term is usually reserved for the main character (in the case of death note Touta Matsuda, hes a normal hero tho not any kind of anti-hero) or a mirror och shadow character or any other type of a character who goes through character development (has an arc).

  20. The answer to why we can’t hate light is pretty simple: bc all of the other characters are so detestable. I agree that Bc light wishes to create a crime free utopia, that it gives him some semblance of grey, but that’s not what makes us root for him. It’s the hypocrisy of L, and arguably the godlike power of L that is so unreasonably unfair that it requires light to have supernatural powers (and help from a deity) to defeat him, and the way L is willing to use any method to prove he is correct. Not for justice, but for self satisfaction. Ppl confuse these charchters as interesteing Bc they do things that normal heroes, and even anti-heroes, won’t. In reality these characters are so hypocritical and lacking in nuisance that you root for both to lose, not for either to win. What makes the story all the more impressive is that they could create a show with not a single interesting or likable character and still have it be entirely entertaining. It’s weird to watch something where you hate everyone, get tricked into thinking you might actually like and root for them, and still wait anxiously to see what happens next. Then there’s the fans who are that stereotypical “man anything where heroes kill ppl and bad ppl win is so fake and edgy and cool.” Basically “I’m cool for liking dark stuff Bc life is hard” and whatever other dopey cliche of a goth teen populates the Internet.

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