My Problem With L's Character (Death Note)

My Problem With L's Character (Death Note)

L is indisputably the most popular and well-loved character in all of Death Note. Now, while I do think he’s kind of overrated, especially when compared to other characters like Mikami, Near, and Soichiro who I certainly feel deserve more love, L is still my fifth favorite character. Now I like him primarily because of his ego, his childishness, his desire to win. And I think this is all encapsulated with L's bias, him wanting Light to be Kira. However, this is where my problem lies - we don't see enough of this bias. His biases, if done well, are, I feel, just perfect; they demonstrate L’s egotistical nature and how he, as the world’s greatest detective who’s always right, doesn’t wanna accept he’s wrong, while also moving the plot forward nicely because of the fact that he’s right. Now there are other benefits, but I’ll mention those as I get into elaborating on my claim that we don’t see enough of L’s biases and how it could’ve been done better. Now while L does directly state that he wanted the light to be Kira, we still don’t see enough of this and how it affected his decisions.

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What I mean by that is, L has a very justified reason to suspect Light, with his biases not really being a factor. When L first begins to suspect Light, its when L installs surveillance cameras in the Yagami household. His rationale? He’s too perfect… It’s funny because the concrete facts, criminals dying when Light couldn’t have gained access to them, strongly point to Light not being Kira and yet L insists that Light is Kira simply because his gut told him so. In fact, the other family who they were monitoring actually did watch the same broadcasts that had the names and faces of the criminals Kirakilled. L came to the conclusion that Kira is “avoiding making mistakes”, but that’s way too vague and L can’t even figure out exactly how Kira is doing this. But, L prioritized his gut feeling over cold hard facts and decides to go for Light. One might say this is a good example of L Being complacent with his convictions, right? Except then again, L is really not sure.

He says that the logical percentage of Light being Kira is less than five percent, and while how much he suspects Light of being Kira and the logical percentage of Light being Kira might be different, you still see L considering the idea of Light being Kira, saying “could he really be…” and “is he Kira, or is he not?” In fact, even much later on when the SecondKira came into the picture, L is still using terms like if. However, this seems to stop after the SecondKira says that she’s met Kira, and since this is only a day after Light and Matsudawent to Aoyama, which is a location specified in the Second Kira’s diary, Light must be Kira, considering, well, the other option is Matsuda. One might say that this is a bit of a stretch because it’s not that hard to believe that the Second Kira found Kira in a location she specifically mentioned so it’s not really that much of a coincidence, but then again, once Kira killed the FBI agents, it was confirmed to everyone that Kira has ties with the NPA, and, well, it’s assuming too much to say Kira doesn’t have ties to the NPA anymore.

But then again, it’s also assuming too much to say “Kira just didn’t slip up when under surveillance”, but then again, they're still the fact that, as L points out, there’s still no guarantee it was in Aoyama. So, is his belief justified? Well, I suppose not, considering this evidence isn't really as convincing as Light’s alibi. But, this is still very debatable and is reliant on splitting hairs to determine whether or not this is sufficient evidence, and it doesn’t really impact as much of the plot as later on. L becomes absolutely certain, however, as he admits, when L has concrete evidence tying Misa to the Second Kira, which obviously incriminatesLight because of his connection to Misa. At this point, I can’t even blame L for suspecting Light anymore. In fact, by the end of the Yotsuba arc, L has absolutely ample reason to suspect Light and the 13-day rule.

Conveniently the moment he was imprisoned, the killings halted for fifteen days, prior to his confinement there was evidently a different Kia, Misa herself confirms that she saw Light in Aoyama and somehow learned his name (which becomes even more incriminating when L learns of the Shinigami Eyes), how conveniently the13-day rule clears Misa’s and Light’s names when everything else points to them being Kira, and how criminals started dying after fifteen days, which is conveniently exactly enough time for Light to clear his name with the 13-day rule (it was a coincidence canon that the killings happened after fifteen days, after all, but L and the TaskForce don’t know that). The Yotsuba arc is exactly when L’s biases matter the most because at this point L’s not just considering the possibility of Light being Kira and acting on it, but he’s absolutely certain that Light is Kira without question and is most definitely acting on that. How could have this been done differently? Well, maybe have no fifteen-day hiatus; perhaps have no hiatus at all.

L (Death Note) - Wikipedia

When Light’s confined, criminals still keep on dying. L withholds this knowledge from Light, of course, and the Task Force members are getting aggravated. Why does L keep Light and Misa confined? Well, because as Aizawa speculated in canon, L simply does not want to admit he’s wrong. I think this is the perfect approach. It removes a lot of what incriminated Light, with the mysterious unexplainable 15-day hiatus, and there being different Kiras before and after this hiatus. In fact, I’d also remove the scene where L questions Misa about Aoyama and such; it’s also something that largely incriminates Light, and Misa not mentioning this might actually serve as active evidence against the notion of Light being Kira, because, thanks to Misa’s disguise, L wouldn’t be able to spot Misain Aoyama. At this point, the only evidence for Light being Kira would be his connection to Misa and him being in Aoyama on the 22nd, which doesn't really go well against Light’s potato chip alibi, criminals dying when Light was in confinement, and the 13-day rule.

This even has the added benefit of justifying why the Task Force doesn’t suspect Light, besides any emotional factors, of course. However, there’s another extremely important benefit to there not being any deaths while Light’s confined, and it’s L’s own ego working against him. If L keeps Light confined long enough for the 13-day rule to clear him because he wanted to believe Light was Kira, it’d be the ultimate way of demonstrating that the characters’ egos do really work against them. After all, I don’t think L suspecting the13-day rule in canon, something which led Rem to kill L, was something tied to his ego, because he was thinking of Misa, someone who literally had physical evidence against her, as he was considering testing the 13-day rule, although, for reasons I’ve stated, L still had the perfect reason to suspect Light in canon. That all said, this of course all chalks down to personal taste. L’s biases are simply what I think is a perfect culmination of what makes me like L, his ego, so I just want his biases done well.

Please, please, please correct me if I'm wrong somewhere and tell me your thoughts on the matter, because, well, unlike L, I kinda wanna be wrong here…. Hope you enjoyed it.