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.
Born-December 13, 1989 (1992 in anime)
Date of Death-January 26, 2010 (2013 in anime)
Mello is first introduced to the story as a young teenager at Wammy's House. He is shown playing outside with some other children (and hitting one in the head with a soccer ball), while Near stays indoors alone, working on a blank puzzle.
When the children go back indoors, Mello can be seen holding a smaller boy back. The manager, Roger, then asks him and Near to join him in his office where he tells them of L's death. Mello is shocked and angered by the news. He is then told that L failed to choose either him or Near as a successor.
While Mello is certainly a genius and more intelligent than most people, the concept of being only the second most intelligent person in Wammy's, behind Near, fuels the inferiority complex that defines Mello's character. Mello verges on being immoral in his obsession with being the one to take down Kira and is willing to do "whatever it takes". Tactics which include kidnapping Director of the Japanese Police's daughter (Sayu Yagami), and having a member of the mafia write down most of the SPK member's names in Sidoh's Death Note.
In the manga, after Mello has successfully stolen a Death Note, he even goes so far as to attempt to blackmail the President of the United States via telephone into giving him funds and resources to aid his hunt for Kira, threatening that if his demands are not met he will use the Death Note to force the president to launch the United States' nuclear missiles and start World War III. Arguably, Mello isn't even trying to defeat Kira out of a sense of "justice", but because capturing Kira will prove to the world that Mello is indeed the worthy successor to L as the world's greatest detective, and not simply runner-up to Near, or as Mello describes his goal in his own words, "I will be the new Number One!"
The artist of Death Note, Takeshi Obata points out in the book Death Note: How To Read 13 that Mello's envy and hatred of Near was only one-way, and that Near "honestly liked Mello". The book states that Mello isn't purely evil, citing his apology and genuine care for Matt's well-being, as well as earlier in the series when he apologizes to Soichiro Yagami. It also states that Mello has an excellent mind and that he sometimes lets his emotions get in his way. Tsugumi Ohba, the writer of Death Note, stated that Mello works hard for everything.
Similar to L's fondness for sweets, Mello often eats bars of chocolate, even when talking. In the manga, Mello is often seen licking the chocolate before eating it. Mello also has a habit of bending his right leg up while sitting, often with his left leg turned outwards. He tends to alternate between that pose and simply crossing his right leg over his left leg. Another thing about him that is very like L is his tendency to take drastic strategies to confuse and force the hand of his opponents.
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