Death Note (デスノート Desu Nōto?) is a manga series created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. The main character is Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the “Death Note”, dropped on Earth by a god of death named Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face they know, by writing the name in the notebook while picturing their face. The series centers around Light’s attempt to create and rule a world “cleansed of evil” as “God” using the notebook and the efforts of a detective known as L, to stop him.
Death Note was first serialized in 108 chapters by Shueisha in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The series was also published in tankōbon format in Japan starting in May 2004 and ending in October 2006 with a total of twelve volumes. The series was adapted into live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, November 3, 2006, and February 2, 2008. The anime series aired in Japan from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007. Composed of 37 episodes, the anime was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsuro Araki. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was released in Japan. Additionally, various video games have been published by Konami for Nintendo DS.
Viz Media licensed the Death Note manga in North America and has published all the twelve volumes from the series, a 13th volume which serves as a “reader’s guide”, as well as the light novel. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable by IGN. Viz later licensed the anime series and it aired on Bionix. The live-action films briefly played in certain North American theaters since 2008. However, none of the video games titles have thus far been published in North America.
Several publications for manga, anime and other media have added praise and criticism on the Death Note series. The series was banned in a few Chinese cities due to piracy.
On April 30, 2009, Variety magazine announced that Warner Bros. acquired the rights for the Death Note manga to be adapted into a live-action movie in the United States. Warner Bros. has hired screenwriters Charley and Vlas Parlapanides to adapt the manga into a screenplay. Unlike the Japanese Death Note live-action movie trilogy, the US-version will be directly adapted from the material in the manga and will not follow the storyline of the Japanese movie adaptations. On January 13, 2011, it was announced that Shane Black has been hired to direct the film, with the script being written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.