Death Note is one of the most popular and highly rated anime of all time. It was adapted for an anime series in October 2006 by a manga of the same name. Death Note ranks first in the popularity chart of My Anime List. It has been adapted into several live-action movies, light novels, video games, and a musical.
The story revolves around Light Yagami, a genius high schooler who finds everything around him to be extremely boring. On a random day, he saw a notebook, left behind a shinigami named Ryuk, that claims to be a Death Note. Curious about the notebook, Light took it home and read the instructions and rules of using the Death Note.
He later experiments the method on criminals and found it to be working. Light then meets Ryuk, who tells the former that he has been bored with his life and wants to have a little fun. Light finds this amusing as he shares the same feeling as the Shinigami. He also explains that he will be using the Death Note to exterminate the world of all criminals.
This is how he was involved in a series of supernatural events and mind games with the best detective in the world who goes by the name L. The series was short, consisting of only 37 episodes. However, it showed several plot twists, character versatility, and suspense.
Death Note is a psychological anime so it is no wonder that there are several characters in the series dealing with certain psychiatric disorders. However, the series never openly mentioned anything about the mental health problems the characters were going through.
Everything was left up to the analysis made by the viewers. Here, we will discuss how Death Note portrays the psychiatric disorders of the main characters.
Light is the central character of the series who is living a very happy life. His father is a respectable police chief. He also has a mother and sister at home who adore him very much. Apart from that, Light is extremely handsome and an academic genius who always ranks first in his school.
However, even his perfect life was not enough to feel him satisfied. It wasn't long after he joined a high school that Light started to get extremely bored from his regular life. After getting the powers of a Shinigami, he turned into a psychopathic mass murderer.
He showed symptoms of several mental disorders such as god complex, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar behavior, and all nine diagnostic traits of narcissistic personality disorder. By the first half of the series ended, his condition worsened to such an extent where he believed himself to be a god and that everything he hid was right.
L is one of the most popular and beloved anime characters of all time. He was the main attraction of the series, even more than the central character himself. L was said to be the greatest detective in the world and an unparalleled genius. Although he was an orphan, he became a billionaire with his intellect.
L loved to eat sweets and always sits in an eccentric way with his feet on the chair. He said that sitting like that helps him think properly and if he sat like a normal person, then his ability drops to 40%. Regardless of his intellect, L showed symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).
This disorder is characterized by extreme perfectionism, order, and neatness of the person in question. People with OCPD have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships with other people. They are also hardworking but obsessed with perfection. Additionally, they find it difficult to express their feelings. All of these symptoms were shown in L's personality.
Misa Amane is the female lead of Death Note and holds major importance in the plot's progression. She started out as a model, nothing short of a blonde bombshell. She was extremely popular among the public and one of the best models in Japan. However, she was soon revealed to have deep feelings for Kira.
Kira was responsible for the death of the murderers of Misa's parents. Since then, Misa had extreme devotion and admiration for Kira, especially after knowing he is Light Yagami. However, she soon became blinded by her obsessive love for him and ended up being manipulated. Misa would do whatever Light asked of her, even if it meant shortening her life span by half for two times.
Rem, the shinigami whose Death Note Misa was using, claims that she was suffering through severe depression after her parents' murder. That was why she poured all her remaining feelings into the one responsible for killing the murderers.
She also showed symptoms of having Borderline Personality Disorder. A person suffering from this disorder would have severe mood swings, impulsive behavior, and difficulty forming stable relationships. They also have self-destructive behavior and a higher risk of suicide.
It is no news to Death Note fans that Mikasa chose to end her own life in the ending. Her mental disorder can also be justified in that she voluntarily traded half her life span twice for shinigami eyes. This proves her self-destructive behavior.
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