, known universally by the letter , is a fictional character in the manga, anime and film series Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba. In the storyline, L is considered the world's greatest detective, whose identity remains unknown before the story takes place because he has never revealed himself to the public. L takes on the Kira case in order to find the titular murderer able to kill people whose names are written in the Death Note. He meets Kira, a teenager named Light Yagami, and becomes determined to convict him. The character of L is portrayed by Kappei Yamaguchi in the anime and Ken'ichi Matsuyama in the live-action films Death Note, Death Note: The Last Name and L: Change the World. He is voiced by Alessandro Juliani in the English versions of both the anime and live action films.
Designed by Takeshi Obata, L's character was created to be the deuteragonist and Light's antagonist with his appearance contrasting Light's although during his first cameos he was intended to be a good looking man. Since his introduction in the series, L has received praise by publications from manga and anime with most of them commenting on his personality.
Tsugumi Ohba, story writer of the series, created L to represent justice and with the idea of "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 were significantly older than Light, so Ohba created L as a young adult. For L's name he wanted to use a single letter with a lot of significance; he considered "I" and "J" but decided that they were not as good as "L" and chose "L" after careful consideration. The alias of "Ryuzaki" was given to him because L is pronounced like R in Japanese.
Ohba said that he left everything about L's character design to Takeshi Obata, artist of the series. 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 added details regarding L's mannerisms and his interests in sweets. Ohba credits Obata for the character designs. Obata commented that L's thumbnails by Ohba had no bags under his eyes and that had a "plain face with no expression" and found it very useful. Obata drew L as an "attractive young man" until chapter 11, when the character appeared in person. After chapter 11 he decided to contrast his appearance with Light's appearance; Obata and Ohba held this idea.
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Official Site: Viz Media Death Note page
Links: Wiki anime news network Death Note.tv