Light Yagami is depicted as a Shinigami. Photo credit: Artist HollowCN

Most otaku will agree that Death Note is one of the best animes of all time. When Light Yagami died, many fans felt conflicted. Was Light a villain or vigilante who needed to be killed? Or was Light a hero to be commended? Even Light’s killer wondered whether or not he was doing the right thing by killing Light.

Light used the Death Note for 7 years and as a result the crime rate and also the number of hardcore criminals in the world dropped. He did change the world into a better place while “playing god.”

It is interesting to note that even after his death, the cult of Kira worshipers continued to worship Light/Kira even after he was dead. Also, the crime rates rose to pre-Kira levels after Light’s death.

Manga page featuring Kira's worshipers.
A Death Note manga page featuring Kira’s cult worshipers. Photo credit: Takeshi Obata

All in all, Light was such a complex character that fans were sad to see him leave, and when a two-hour animated TV special aired on Nippon TV in Japan at 8:00 PM on August 31, 2007, fans came in. uproar over the new scenes, which featured an unnamed Shinigami. Fans immediately started to wonder if that Shinigami was actually Light.

The special was titled Death Note Relight: Visions of a God and was a recap that began with a scene in which an unnamed Shinigami searches for Ryuk because he learned that Ryuk had been in the human world and wanted to know more. Ryuk eventually tells the story of this unnamed Shinigami Light and about his rival L.

After watching this scene, it feels like one last piece of the puzzle has been put into place and all the little hints and clues left out in the series that suggest Light’s fate was to become a Shinigami finally made sense.

1. Ryuk Calls Light a Shinigami

At the beginning of the series, during their first meeting, Ryuk told Light, “I wouldn’t worry. Even without the [Shinigami] eyes and wings, you are already one worthy Shinigami.”

Moments later, Ryuk says, “What I mean is, compared to… Thatyou become a much more impressive Shinigami.”

Light replies, “I don’t know. I mean, from what you’re telling me, it sounds like I do a lot more work than they do, but, uh, I don’t want to be compared to a Shinigami.”

2. Second Opening Shows Light in the Shinigami Realm

If you look closely at the second opening, it looks like Light is turning into a Shinigami. His eyes glow red and then suddenly Light is seen in the center of the Shinigami realm.

The second opening of Death Note. Song: Maximum The Hormone – What’s Up, Folks!

3. The meaning of where the light dies

The light went out in the middle of a staircase. If the bottom of the stairs represents hell and the top of the stairs represents heaven, what do you think the dying light in the middle of the stairs represents? That he went to a realm between heaven and hell? A place like the Shinigami Empire perhaps?

4. Heaven, Hell and the Shinigami World (MU)

One of the rules of Death Note users is that at the time of their death they go neither to heaven nor to hell. As seen on the Death Note page, the place they go is MU (Nothing) after they die.

Death certificate page.
Page in the Death Note that explains where a Death Note user goes after death. Photo credit: Takeshi Obata

Why is MU the Shinigami Empire? Because it just makes sense. Ryuk wanted to visit the human world because he claimed that the Shinigami Empire was boring. When we get to see the Shinigami Empire, it seems like a barren wasteland full of nothing.

It also makes sense that Shinigami are past users of the Death Notes, as they can neither go to Heaven nor Hell. The goal of the Shinigami Empire could be for the users to atone for their past sins by killing people. Once in the Shinigami realm, there is nothing left but to watch people’s lives – how they live and how they fall in love.

A Shinigami even has the ability to give up his own life to save another human, just like the Shinigami named Jealous when he sacrificed his life for the human he had fallen in love with. Self-sacrifice is the ultimate form of atonement for one’s sins.

5. The Appearance of the Nameless Shinigami

Why do Shinigami look the way they do? Could they perhaps reflect the way they died? And maybe even a bit like what they looked like in their previous lives? If that’s true, then the name Shinigani that appears in Death Note Relight: Visions of a God bears an uncanny resemblance to Light.

No name Shinigami
No name Shinigami that resembles Light. Photo credit: Madhouse

The Shinigami name is seen wearing a jacket, a vibrant red tie to hold back his brown hair, and a shoulder bag that all resemble items Light used to wear with his school uniform.

6. The name Shinigami doesn’t know, Ryuk likes apples

Throughout the series, we watched Light Ryuk throw those juicy apples he loved so much. Then in Death Note Relight: Visions of a God, when the nameless Shinigami is looking for Ryuk, he says Ryuk will be worth listening to and he throws him an apple.

(Poor Ryuk had to eat a very sad shriveled apple) How did this no name Shinigami know that Ryuk even likes apples? Shinigami doesn’t need to eat, so the sacrifice makes little sense unless the Shinigami had memory fragments from its previous life as Light.

7. The name Shinigami has a limp

In the movie, when the name Shinigami first appears, he asks a group of Shinigami where Ryuk is because he heard that he went to the human world. Afterwards, the name Shinigami is seen stumbling up a flight of stairs. At the time of Light’s death, he also stumbled up a flight of stairs due to his injury.

8. Ryuk calls the name Shinigami ‘Light’?

Ryuk decides to tell the story of the nameless Shinigami Light – about how a man tried to change the world and how he became a god.

Ryuk begins to say to the Shinigami, “You were not a god. You were just… already gone.’ And he laughs when he realizes that the Shinigami has already left. Perhaps because the nameless Shinigami already knows how the story ends. It would be interesting if Ryuk’s story somehow stimulated the memories of Shinigami without a name.

Ryuk keeps talking to himself: “You have to go and see. If you’re lucky, someone can pick up the note and you’ll get to see something you won’t forget for the rest of your life. Am I right, Light?”

The way this scene is directed makes it seem like Ryuk calls this unnamed Shinigami “Light.”

9. Shinigami has red eyes

Shinigami eyes are red and I think we all remember how when Light got excited with his own internal thoughts, his eyes would glow red. I think fans will especially remember the time when Light dramatically ate a potato chip.

That epic moment when Light ate a potato chip.
That epic moment when Light ate a potato chip. Photo credit: Madhouse

10. The Alternate Ending

There is also an alternate ending in the manga where Light asks Ryuk to kill him because he is tired of people killing each other all the time. When Ryuk kills Light, he ends up in the Shinigami world.

Ryuk explains to Light that his punishment will be pain and death as many times as he has killed people. Light panics and says he wants to make a deal with the Shinigami King. Light explains to Ryuk that he has time to try and find the king because he was murdered lot from people. Ryuk seems impressed, calls Light great, and he and Light begin their search for the Shinigami King.

Manga page of Death Note's alternate ending.
Manga page of Death Note’s alternate ending. Pic credit: Takeshi Obata.

It would make sense that Light indeed found the Shinigami King and managed to make some sort of deal with him, giving him the name Shinigami.

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