L Lawliet (エル・ローライト, Eru Rōraito), commonly referred to by his alias "L", is a fictional character in the manga and anime series Death Note. He is considered the world's greatest detective, and is the deuteragonist, of the first arc, in which he takes on Kira.
Design and conception
Tsugumi Ohba, story writer of the series, created L as a "force of justice" and a "super detective" who stands between Light and Light's goals and advances the story. Ohba believed that the story would not hold much interest if L was significantly older than Light, so Ohba created L as a young adult. Ohba said that for L's name he wanted to use a single letter with a lot of significance; according to Ohba he considered "I" and "J" but decided that they did not "feel as good" as "L" and chose "L" "after careful consideration."
Ohba said that he gave L the alias "Ryuzaki" because L is pronounced like R in Japanese.
Takeshi Obata, artist of the series, described the thumbnails of L created by Tsugumi Ohba, the writer of the series, as having no "bags" under his eyes and a "plain face with no expression." Obata said that the thumbnail design was "great, and I wish I could have used it as is." Obata drew L as an "attractive young man" until Chapter 11, when the character appeared in person. After Chapter 11 Obata decided to contrast his appearance with Light's appearance; Obata said that he and Ohba held this idea.
Ohba said that he left "everything" about L's character design to Obata. Obata asked Ohba if L could be "unattractive." Afterwards Ohba included ideas in his thumbnails, including L's manner of sitting, "he's English," and "he's listless." Ohba said that he added details regarding L's mannerisms and his "sweet tooth." Ohba credits Obata for the character designs.
Obata said that, during the development of the early manga chapters, he feared that L would appear to be "so suspicious that Light would know instantly it was L if they ever met." When Obata's editor told him that he wanted L to have a face "looking cool based on the angle," Obata added black "bags" under L's eyes. Obata cited Devilman's Akira Fudou when stating that he believed that black bags "looked cool." In addition, Obata thought of a "dead eyes" concept involving L having "mostly no eyebrows" and "all-black eyes." Obata believes that having black eyes usually makes a character "goofier," but the bags "sharpen the character's gaze." Obata believes that the design evokes "a feeling of mystery" and that the reader cannot determine L's true thoughts. In addition Obata said that the bags under L's eyes attracts speculation about L's lifestyle and past. He described the bags as "useful." Obata designed L with a "simple" white, long-sleeved shirt and jeans outfit to convey the idea that L does not put thought into choosing his clothing. In Death Note: How to Read 13, Ohba presented an initial rough draft of L and said that, with a "cool expression" and without the "bags" under his eyes the rough draft L looks like "a totally different person."
Obata stated that he believes that traits exhibited by L are best revealed "gradually." Obata added that he believes that if he drew L eating "mountains of sweets" prior to revealing L's face, L would not have "much credibility as a super detective" and people would question if L was "crazy."
Obata said that he was often told that L's fighting style is "similar" to capoeira; Obata said that he did not consider this when he drew L's fights. Obata said that he was thinking of the most effective method to kick a person while handcuffed. Obata added that if the style resembles capoeira, then this "adds another element to it" and "that makes me happy."
When designing color book covers Obata assigned colors to characters to "get the atmosphere right", Obata assigned gold to L.
Design and conception in the film versionShūsuke Kaneko, director of the films, said that L's role was the most difficult to cast; as the shooting was near and many of the "big name" actors had other projects. Kaneko cast Ken'ichi Matsuyama, "very much a newcomer." Kaneko added is that when Matsuyama told him that the actor would "live as L," Matsuyama had "clinched it."
Matsuyama felt difficulty while portraying L and worried about his performance. Matsuyama portrayed L as if he does not "quite understand other people on an emotional level" since the actor reasoned that L rarely interacted with others. Matsuyama, describing himself as "not very flexible physically," encountered difficulty in emulating L's postures. Matsuyama also ate sweets that L would eat and considered the details of L's signature gestures.
Matsuyama said that he and Fujiwara became "so immersed" in their character portrayals that they did not talk to one another while on the set; when filming ceased they conversed and "went out for a drink or two."
L is quite secretive and only communicates with the world through his assistant Watari. He never shows his face to the world, instead representing himself with a capital L in Old English Five or Cloister Black. After meeting the Kira investigation team, he requests that the task force refer to him as Ryuzaki for discretion. The Kira investigation team never learns his true name. Ohba said that L is the smartest character in the manga because "the plot requires it." Ohba also said that he personally views L as "slightly evil."
L's disheveled and languid appearance masks his great powers of deduction and insight. He tends to second-guess everything he is presented with, and is extremely meticulous and analytical. He has several quirks such as preferring to crouch rather than sit, eating only sweet foods like desserts and fruits, and holding items very delicately. L stayed in England for five years, and during that time he was the champion in tennis for the England Junior Cup. L also secretly assumes the identities of the world's second and third best detectives, (Eraldo Coil and Deneuve respectively).
L suspects early in the investigation that Light Yagami is Kira, but can not obtain any concrete evidence. In several situations, Light's seems to be proven innocent by the circumstances, but L remains skeptical. If Light were Kira, the case would be solved, and L has trouble letting go of this simple and complete solution. L can easily present his conclusions publicly at any time, and with his reputation, is taken seriously.
Because of his initial suspicions of Light, L decides to join To-Oh University, the university that Light attends, using the name of Hideki Ryuga for investigative purposes. L attends To-Oh because he feels confidence in his reasoning skills and wishes to test them. He also intends to tell Light that he can "take the offensive." L understands that his act is dangerous and since he understands Light's thought process he feels confident that Light will not kill him at that point.
After L introduces himself as Ryuga, Light does not attempt to kill him since the name is conspicuously fake. Also, he has no way to know at the time whether the person is the real L or a proxy acting under orders. Light also reasons that L would have already introduced himself to Light's father earlier, and thus that if he somehow killed L, he would be easily uncovered as Kira. Light also fears that if he writes Hideki Ryuga into the Death Note, that the face of the pop singer from which the alias was derived would enter Light's head, and Hideki Ryuga would die by accident, which would lead L to the obvious conclusion that Light is Kira.
L also uses the aliases Hideki Ryuga (流河 旱樹, Ryūga Hideki), Ryuzaki (竜崎, Ryūzaki), Eraldo Coil (エラルド＝コイル, Erarudo-Koiru), and Deneuve (ドヌーヴ, Donūvu), the latter two for which he has developed reputations as the second- and third-best detectives in the world.
Whenever L gives percentages to indicate how much he suspects a person of committing a crime, such as "five percent," in reality he means over 90 percent. Although L gives Light a low percentage indicating how much he suspects Light, in reality L is "pretty certain" that Light is Kira. Ohba said about L, "The truth is, he's a liar. [laughs]"
In Chapter 58, Light tricks Rem into killing L for his own personal gain, making her believe that she must kill him for the sake of Misa's life. L's last sight before death is Light triumphantly smiling over his defeated rival, and in his last moment L confirms to himself that Light is the first Kira. In episode 25 of the anime, prior to L's death Light and L talk to each other for one last time on the roof of the investigation building; some viewers believed that L, somehow, knew that his death was drawing near.
Death Note: How To Read 13 revealed many facts about L. His true birth name is L Lawliet. His date of birth is Halloween of 1979 (1982 in the anime), making him 25 when he dies on November 5, 2004. His height and weight are estimated to be 179 centimeters and 50 kilograms (5 feet and 10 inches and 110 pounds). His blood type is "unknown." It is implied that L was a former resident of Wammy's House, one of Watari's orphanages, as well as a safe haven and educational facility specifically for intellectually-gifted children. Therefore, similar to Near and Mello, L's abilities were discovered while living there, and he is most likely an orphan.
When asked about L's nationality, Ohba responded saying "I think of him as a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian and... maybe a quarter French or Italian? Something like that."
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%.
Ohba said that his favorite human character in the series was L as Ohba believed that L was the "strongest" character in the series "besides Light." Obata chose L as his favorite due to "appearance, personality, everything." Obata said that he could never have created L and that he enjoyed drawing L. Obata added that because of this, L is not "real" to him and therefore he likes that aspect of L. In response to the question "Who was the most fun to draw?" both Ohba and Obata answered "L."
Many fans of the series believe that L has Asperger's Syndrome, due to the fact he acts like a child at points (not wearing socks, eating lots of sweets, and seeing things somewhat like a game). This could be the author's intention, but that is for the readers to decide.
L in the Films
As there is no time delay between the first and second films, the second film begins soon before L supposedly dies. L retains many of the same characteristics seen in the original series. At the end of the first film, L eats potato chips in front of Light; Light had used a potato chip sack to hide a mini LCD television from security cameras while L filmed his room.
Unlike the manga and anime, in the second film, his original "death", caused by Rem writing his name in her Death Note, does not take effect, as L had written his own name in Misa's Death Note earlier. It is his self-sacrifice that allows himself stay alive for a longer duration (as he supposed Kira would kill him on that day), and allows the investigation team to apprehend Light. After Ryuk kills Light, Ryuk offers L the Death Note. L refuses, and Ryuk, while saying that L is boring, leaves.
Twenty-three days after writing his name in the Death Note, and after burning all the remaining Death Notes and having a conversation with Soichiro, L dies peacefully while eating a chocolate bar, with a picture of Watari lying right beside him. He is portrayed by Ken'ichi Matsuyama, who also voices Gelus in the anime.
L was also similar in the film L: Change the WorLd which takes place in the 23 days that L has left before he dies. In it, L decides to solve one last case. He is in charge of stopping a deadly virus from spreading across the world. Ryuk comes to his aid on behalf of Kira's last wishes. Hideo Nakata, the director, told The Daily Yomiuri that he wanted to exhibit L's "human side" that was not exhibited in the Death Note series.
Matsuyama said that L and Light are "extremely" alike in that they have "very strong sense of justice."
L in Death Note: Another NoteIn the novel Death Note: Another Note the reader is led to believe L under the alias Rue Ryuzaki is helping Naomi Misora solve a murder case. She was recruited for the case by L because she was on leave from the FBI. This Rue acts very much like L and shared many characteristics like crouching to sit and consuming sweets. In the end of the book the reader learns that Beyond Birthday detective name B, who was an another candidate to replace L along with Near and Mello, was not only the killer but also Rue Ryuzaki in disguise under heavy makeup. He was trying to make a case L could not solve to prove his superiority to L. In the book the only certified reference to L was the phone conversations Naomi had with him to discuss the case. In the very end of the book as Naomi was going back to work she sees a man similar to Rue, who the reader is led to believe is L (and probably is, considering that Mello earlier stated that this case was the first time that L had shown himself in public under the alias 'Ryuzaki'). This man attempts to give Naomi a hug which she counters in self-defense and sends him tumbling down a flight of stairs. She then catches up to him and asks him his name, to which he replies, "Ryuzaki."
YonkomaDeath Note: How to Read 13 describes L in the Death Note yonkoma as the "holder of the world's greatest mind" and having the "powerful ability to act like a fool." How to Read 13 adds that in the yonkoma "it's like" L was "born to be mocked."
Died on November 5th 2007
Birthdate October 31st 1982
L, do you know Shinigami love apples?
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