A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The end doesn't always justify the means. Wrongdoing can't be corrected through more wrongdoing. It's important to sit with your thoughts and examine yourself before acting.
Positive Role Models
Light does not view his serial killing as wrong or evil, nor does he see himself as a criminal; he considers himself a good student who's trying to create a better world. He loves his sister and respects his parents. But, ultimately, he's responsible for many deaths and is willing to sacrifice his soul for more power.
All characters are light-skinned and voiced by Japanese actors. In the English dub, there's a bit more racial diversity: Though main characters like Light and Ryuk are voiced by White actors, Alessandro Juliani (who plays L) and Shannon Chan-Kent (Misa) have Chinese ancestry. On-screen, you won't find much diversity in body shapes or any LGBTQ+ characters. Women only seem to appear in scenes where they're bound and tortured, or harassed by men with catcalls and stalking.
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Violence & Scariness
The series centers on the serial killing of criminals. Torture takes place. Murders supernaturally set forth by the main character manifest in the real world as people suddenly dying of heart attacks; one victim is shown being hit by a truck. Brief scenes of criminal activity, including hostage-taking, as well as discussions of various violent criminal behavior. A character dies by suicide. An early episode shows an attempted sexual assault. A god of death, Ryuk, isn't violent, but his creepy image may frighten some. Women are bound and tortured, or harassed by men with catcalls and stalking.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Innuendo more than anything explicit. A woman takes a shower, and the outline of her breasts is visible. A teenager looks at women in their underwear in a magazine.
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Includes words like "damn," "bastard," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," an occasional "f--k." Language varies depending on the dubbing and subtitling.
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Products & Purchases
Based on a manga, this anime series joins the Death Note franchise, which also includes movies, video games, and even a staged musical. Merchandise is available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and drink wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Death Note is an anime series based on a popular manga and part of a franchise that includes movies, video games, and a stage musical. It revolves around a high school student who becomes a serial killer after discovering a magical notebook that can kill people. Since his victims are all criminals, he justifies the murders as a way to create a crime-free world. Most of the deaths aren't too graphic, but they're frequent. The frightening appearance of a shinigami, or Japanese death god, adds to the show's dark psychological nature. Profanity includes words like "f--k," "damn," "bastard," "ass," and "hell." Though the series has more innuendo than sexually explicit scenes, the outline of a woman's breasts is visible in one episode. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink wine. There isn't much diversity in terms of body shape or LGBTQ+ representation, and women only seem to appear in violent situations.
Is It Any Good?
This brainy series explores the mind of a young man whose simplistic vision of a new world allows him to detach himself from the immorality of his acts. Death Note looks at some of the ethical questions surrounding the execution of criminals in the name of justice. But while it lacks a lot of the blood and gore noted in other anime series, this dark psychological drama isn't intended for young anime fans.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.