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Death Note

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Death Note TV Poster Image
Dark psychological anime mixes sci-fi, drama.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 267 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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. But, still, he's responsible for a lot of deaths. And he's willing to sacrifice his soul to become a god. He loves his sister and respects his parents.


The series centers on the serial killing of criminals; the murders are typically depicted as people suddenly dying of heart attacks, though 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 behaviors. The police use a convicted criminal as "bait" and allow him to be killed in order to find clues. An early episode shows an attempted sexual assault. Ryuk is not violent, but his image is frightening.


Suggestions of romance appear in later episodes.


Includes words like "damn" and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature Adult Swim anime series isn't intended for kids. It revolves around a high school student who becomes a serial killer. Since his victims are all criminals, he justifies the murders as a way of creating a crime-free world. Most of the deaths aren't too graphic, but they're frequent. The frightening appearance of a Japanese death god adds to the show's dark psychological nature.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byobnoxiousm September 6, 2010

Great Moral Questions But No Answers; Watch with Less Mature Teens

Death Note, the story of a brilliant teenager who finds a notebook that can kill and decides to rid the world of evil, is pure genius but misses the mark with i... Continue reading
Adult Written byKitten830 June 25, 2011

I've watched this entire series, from begining to end.

As the "What parents need to know" says, this anime series is NOT for younger audiences. It's very dark, lots of killing and violence. For adults... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 29, 2011

A great book/anime, not as violent as it sounds

I love this, I love the story and everything about it. It's really interesting, I'm addicted to it xD For really young kids, it might be kinda intense... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDziko August 8, 2009

Amazing show, lets you decide what's right and wrong.

Death note is simply fantastic. Although the story follows Light, the high school senior who finds the death note, it never exactly promotes his behavior as... Continue reading

What's the story?

Light Yagami (voiced by Brad Swaile), an intelligent high school student who's become frustrated with the endless criminal activity taking place all over the world, finds a notebook that enables its owner to kill people by writing their names in it. Realizing that he possesses the means of creating a crime-free world, he becomes a serial killer who targets criminals. Light, known to the public as "Kira," meets his match when the mysterious, cunning detective known only as "L" (Alessandro Juliani) joins the police investigation. L (who only communicates with the world via computer) knows that Kira is in Japan and is committed to finding him and bringing him to justice. As each man tries to outsmart the other, they find themselves developing a better understanding of the internal struggles that drive them to do what they do.

Is it any good?

DEATH NOTE is a somewhat brainy series that explores the mind of a young man whose almost childlike vision of a new world allows him to detach himself from the immorality of his acts. It also looks at some of the ethical questions surrounding the execution of criminals (both legally or otherwise) 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the cultural differences between TV shows in the United States and in other countries. What are the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese anime series? Why do you think there aren't many U.S. shows that tackle the same topics in a similar way? Families can also discuss Light's actions. Is there ever such a thing as justifiable murder? Is doing anything that you know is illegal ever OK if the target is a bad seed? Is there a point when your actions become just as reprehensible as the people and bad deeds you're targeting?

TV details

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