Light Yagami is an extremely intelligent young man who resents the crime and corruption in the world. His life undergoes a drastic change in the year 2003, when he discovers a mysterious notebook, known as the "Death Note", lying on the ground. The Death Note's instructions claim that if a human's name is written within it, that person shall die.
"Will you be eating that cake?...say what you want, but I will be taking thaecake."
Born-October 31, 1979 (1982 in anime)
Date of Death-November 5, 2004 (2007 in anime)
L was found by Watari as a child and was taken to the orphanage known as Wammy's House. Sometime after, Watari realized that L had incredible knowledge and later assisted him in his cases. L became a detective at an unknown age and eventually gained a reputation as the greatest detective in the world, whose opinion is highly valued.
L is quite secretive, and only communicates with the world through his assistant, Watari. He never shows his face to the world in person, instead representing himself with a capital letter L drawn in "Old English MT" or "Cloister Black" typeface. After meeting the Japanese Task Force, he requests that the task force refer to him as "Ryuuzaki" as an additional safety measure, also demanding The Task Force use fake names and IDs as well. The Task Force never learns his true name.
L is very intelligent, though his disheveled and languid appearance masks his great powers of deduction and many question his abilities upon viewing him. L tends to second-guess everything he is presented with, and is extremely meticulous and analytical. He is good at deceiving his opponents, and is willing to take drastic measures to solve a case. Some of his tactics are quite bold, such as having death row inmate Lind L. Tailor pose as himself on live TV in order to draw out Kira, while others seem bizarre to those involved, such as handcuffing himself to suspected-Kira, Light Yagami. He is also shown to have a dry sense of humor, and isn't above making sarcastic remarks to people. Although he tends to be polite, to some (such as Task Force member Shuichi Aizawa), L can seem quite rude and uncaring at times.
Using subterfuge, misinformation, disinformation and an analytical knowledge of human nature to help lure a suspected murderer into a false sense of security and possibly make him carelessly over-confident, whenever L gives percentages to indicate how much he suspects a person of committing a crime, such as "five percent" he may in fact be over ninety percent convinced of their culpability. Although L tells Light that he is among the least likely suspects with one of the lowest percentages of probability, in reality L is "pretty certain" that Light is Kira. As series writer Tsugumi Ohba said laughing, making light of L's tactics: "The truth is, he's a liar."
He also has several quirks, such as preferring to crouch rather than sit, eating only sweet foods (like desserts, candies and fruits) and holding items by using only a thumb and a finger. He is often seen arranging objects and very intently stacking, or in other ways playing with, his staple food items. L is almost always encountered while performing actions that are considered inappropriate or rude in public. These actions/habits include biting fingernails, placing feet on furniture, slouching, chewing with an open mouth, talking with his mouth full, calling out personal observations that may offend others, etc. Although he is often seen sitting and inactive, L retains a high athletic ability. L stayed in England for five years, and during that time he was the tennis champion in the England Junior Cup. He also has a knack for martial arts, which is demonstrated in his brief fight with Light. In chapter 38 of the manga, L suggests that even though he eats only sweet foods, he remains underweight because the brain uses the most calories of any organ in the body. He also says that if he sits normally, his reasoning ability would drop 40%. Interestingly in the manga, he is seen sitting on the floor in a pose similar to how one would meditate, while thinking deeply about the Kira case.
When asked about L's ethnicity, creator of the series Tsugumi Ohba responded "I think of him as a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian, a quarter French or Italian, like that". Ohba said that L is the most intelligent character in the entire Death Note series because "the plot requires it". He added that he personally views L as "slightly evil".
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