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Death Note: In L's Defense

Updated on May 27, 2017
Agathe L profile image

Agathe is a half Japanese who is currently living in Japan. She loves watching anime and reading manga.

"I am justice."

— L, Death Note


In L’s defense, since he couldn’t that by himself right now and you know why . . . for those who don’t know, I advise you to come back sometime later after you’ve read the manga or watch the anime. Anyway, I saw some comments about L and I decided to defend him. Through and through, he is still the greatest detective in the whole world, at least to me.

Death Note Sypnosis

Death Note is a popular series, available in both manga and anime forms. It’s a story about a young teenager named Light Yagami who found a Death Note on the ground. Apparently, it’s a note you can use to kill people by writing their names on it. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about the series. Some people haven’t watched it but they definitely know that Death Note is about a note . . . to kill people without actually killing people.

Anyway, I’m here to defend L’s honor. Obviously, there’s going to be spoilers. So, back off if you don’t want to see it. You’ve been warned.

L's Character Details

L is Light’s rival. If Light wants to mass murder people, L wants to put an end to it. L is the justice. He is a genius too, the greatest detective in the world. He is able to solve cases that most people have given up. Here’s the short information about him!

True Name
L Lawliet
Ryuga Hideki Ryuzaki Eraldo Coil Deneuve Suzuki L-Prime


Let’s start with the appearance! L is a tall young man with a hunched back. He is very pale with black bags underneath his eyes. Well, I’d have black bags if my brain is half as smart as him. He is also slim and he’s most often seen wearing baggy long-sleeved white shirt and long jeans. His hair’s color is black and it’s done in a messy way. He prefers to go barefoot. Though Tsugumi Ohba intended to make L unattractive in comparison to Light, I still think he is attractive. That’s my personal opinion though. Anyone thinks the same way?

Is L attractive?

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L was raised in an orphanage. It’s not just a regular orphanage. It’s an orphanage for geniuses known as Wammy’s House. He was brought in by Watari and he immediately noticed his exceptional skills. Now, the house is resided by those who will become L’s successor such as Near.

"It's not a sense of justice. Figuring out difficult cases is my hobby. If you measured good and evil deeds by current laws, I would be responsible for many crimes. The same way you all like to solve mysteries and riddles, or clear video games more quickly. For me too, it's simply prolonging something I enjoy doing. That's why I only take on cases that pique my interest. It's not justice at all."

— L, Death Note


L’s character is a paradox. He is quoted, saying, “Justice will prevail.” and “I am justice.” But sometime after, he claims that, “It's not a sense of justice. Figuring out difficult cases is my hobby. If you measured good and evil deeds by current laws, I would be responsible for many crimes. The same way you all like to solve mysteries and riddles, or clear video games more quickly. For me too, it's simply prolonging something I enjoy doing. That's why I only take on cases that pique my interest. It's not justice at all. And if it means being able to clear a case, I don't play fair, I'm a dishonest, cheating human being who hates losing.”

So, what’s up with that? Is L justice or he is just in it for the fun?

L is quite an odd fellow with high intelligence. Of course, not everyone knows the fact that he is weird since he is hidden from the world. No one knows his true identity except Watari. He uses lots of aliases and even the two greatest detectives behind L are L himself. What a way to deceive people. But aliases are needed because a reveal of his identity would be dangerous.

He has great deduction ability and is very analytical. He communicates to the world through altered voice with the capital L written in Old English MT style. He is cunning and he will go to great lengths to solve a case, no matter how unethical it is. For example, he has no qualms about snooping Yagami’s household. He often asks tricky questions to trick the suspect. Also, he is said to only solve cases that interest him. He once claimed that he hates losing. Well, he is pretty childish.

L is socially awkward. His stare seems to bore into your skull with his blank, black eyes. He doesn’t talk like normal human beings. He sits in an awkward crouching manner, claiming that his intelligence level will decrease if he didn’t. He also has unhealthy habits such as not sleeping enough and eating too much sweet. Looking at the amount of sweets he ate, if he didn’t die because of the note, I’m guessing diabetes will. But you know, he is L so he might get away with it. Also, he shows actions public consider inappropriate such as biting his thumb and a lot more. He might seem naïve at times but he is just out, trying to trick people.

Though L might not seem like it, he is good at sports. Yes, his appearance, from head to toe and his manner seems unlikely but yes, he is. Back in England, he was the tennis champion in the England Junior Cup. I guess if you were a genius, you’d naturally be good at anything. Other than sports, he is good at martial arts as well. You can see it in the episode where he and Light fight while being chained to each other. Some commented than his fighting technique is similar to capoeira.

As for his ethnicity, Tsugumi Ohba said that he has always thought of L as quarter English, a quarter Japanese, a quarter Russian, a quarter French or Italian. Hmm, pretty complicated huh?

In L's Defense

L is a loser because he died. Since he died, Light wins, right?

I heard that a lot. Even the character in the Death Note, Nate River or Near, as he preferred to be called, stated that L is a loser, sort of. This is what he says, “Unless you win the game or solve the puzzle, you’re nothing but a loser.” You can view it in the video I attached above.

True. He did die but he did solve the puzzle.

It is true that L died and thus, making him lose from his opponent. But saying ‘L is nothing but a loser’ is not true at all. Of course, this is nothing but merely an interpretation of mine but I feel like, whenever someone’s arguing about L being loser, they forgot to mention some of the facts or sometimes, they got it wrong and that’s what I don’t like. Well, he is my favorite character, after all. At least, there’s something I can contribute in late L’s defense, right?

I once came across someone who said ‘L only fought Light and he died so he is not that good’ or something like that somewhere on the Internet and I completely disagree with this. In Death Note: Another Note, it is stated that L solved 3500 cases before the Kira Case and it is no petty matters. The cases are the one polices have given up on. Of course, someday, one day, L is likely to meet his end in one of those cases. It’s a dangerous job to begin with. So, it’s not strange or anything that L died. Though, I was so surprised. I certainly didn’t see that one coming. I keep thinking throughout the show that L will somehow come back to life. Usually, that’s what other animes do. Making the most interesting character of all died is just . . . All I can say is, Rest in Peace, L. Near will avenge you in the name of justice.

While I’m sad that L died, I’m sort of glad that Death Note didn’t use the overused plot where the character comes back to life. It’s getting old. Let’s be realistic for once.

Another thing to note of is, L is fighting against someone with somewhat, the same intelligence as him plus a shinigami or Grim Reaper, a creature of otherworldly being. Let’s admit it, fighting against supernatural power is not that easy. He is a great detective to be able to deduce so much in just a short amount of time – especially coming up with the Lind L. Taylor scene. I think that’s very impressive and that’s what gets me interested in L the first time. L is walking on the thin line from the very beginning. He could get killed anytime. After all, Death Note is a tool that could kill anyone by knowing names and faces. Kira clearly has the upper hand right there.

Furthermore, L is sort of working alone. His coworkers are constantly hindering him. L comes up with most of the theories and ideas. Even then, L knows all along that Light Yagami is Kira. As for Kira, he has Misa Amane who possesses the God Eyes and a gullible grim reaper. Also, he has Death Note.

L Lawliet is not a loser.

So, what do you think? Everyone's entitled to their opinion after all.

Do you think L is a loser?

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