Death note Rotten World

(Death Note anime analysis)


Matsuda looks at Kira. Death Note

It’s not without a reason that Matsuda supports Kira’s ways and notices how much good they do to society. But let’s start from the beginning: how Light has come to this choice to think like Kira and act like one? 

It all is hidden within the world, that rotten and boring world that both Light and Ryuk despise. 

School Scene

The first episode makes a clear vision to us, what the world looks like to Light. 

We start with the scene where Light is sitting in the English class. 

The whole class is talking: the girls to the right of Light, the guy in front of him. When the teacher is shown, you can see people at the front desk speaking about some magazine just in front of him. The teacher asks Light if he pays attention to the lesson. In order to check on that, he gives him a task — partially as a slight punishment for dropping a quick gaze at the girls and being distracted. 

Light signs and completes the task. The teacher says nothing and proceeds. 

Is everything normal?

At first glance, this scene looks like an average one. The teacher is trying to maintain some discipline in class and Light just happened to catch his attention first. But here are a few facts that we’re missing out. 

1. A fact to notice, Light is the number one student in Japan, meaning that he passes a national exam each year and compete with hundreds of thousands of students who also take the exam. Research Centers (one of which probably was Light’s cram school) then provide results compared to other students, who have taken the exam.

Death Note episode 1. Light is being watched from the perspective of the teacher.

So there’s no doubt that taking the first place in a national exam requires fighting among all genius students from all states and regions of Japan. So when people say that Light is a genius, that’s not an invented fact. 

His mother receives the exams and cries: “Number one again!”, meaning it’s not the first year that Light gets this honored reward. 

In other words, among all other talking students in the class, the teacher should be at least worried about Light Yagami, who’s quite possible to be even more proficient in English than the teacher himself, considering his painful to observe reading skills, which we see at the moment of Death Note falling. 

So it’s the hypocrisy of that teacher that leads him to give such task to Light. His whole class totally lacks discipline, and he doesn’t notice. He watches Light instead and the moment he drops a look on the girls whose talking distracts him, that teacher doesn’t let it slip. 

But how do we know, that teacher was purposely targeting Light, and not anyone else? 

That’s where we have to notice Light’s sigh when he gets up. But you can say to me:

“Tina! Anyone can sigh in school because lessons are often so boring! And Light even admits that he’s bored many times in the first episode!”

And you’re right. However, there’s a detail in the nature of this particular sigh, since it’s a hidden sigh — in other words, a mark of annoyance. On my set of articles “Detroit: Become Human”, dedicated to Kamski, I explain how his sign of hidden annoyance reveals Kamski’s position in the current war, that he conceals so diligently. 

But once again, maybe Light just hiding the fact that he’s bored with school, or his life? That’s why I called it a particular sigh because it doesn’t happen again in so many places that it should have. For example, Light has been called out once more to answer in the same episode. But he didn’t sigh, just answered. In the cram school study, he also doesn’t sigh, though he’s clearly bored, and doesn’t even follow the teacher’s speech. He’s studying at home many times or on the exam. That boredom isn’t being expressed with any sighing. 

In other words, what is a sigh? It’s a subconscious reaction to some event when a person inhales some air in order to say something, to start a conversation. However, being a part of society, that person realizes that they cannot speak what they want all the time. And in this particular moment, it’s better to hold in your emotions rather than get yourself in some bigger trouble. And that why a person exhales loudly makes a sigh. They were about to speak loudly, with emotion (happy or in our case — angry), that’s why so much air was automatically taken into their lungs. And that’s why exhaling makes a sigh — there’s too much air to let go of. 

Light knows that this particular teacher just found another opportunity to lower Light’s grade (if he fails at least a little at the task) and get on his nerves. It’s not the first time. Light is annoyed but he hides that fact. 

Why does it happen?

There will be more facts about this rotten world, that Light lives in. Another question there’s to answer about this scene: Why is that the teacher can’t calm down all the other kids and leave Light alone? Why is that he absolutely has to target Light and bother him with his tasks? 

Now, this teacher has very interesting psychology, that was formed from his life, his way of living. But how do we know about how he lived? We know that because of the current state this teacher is in. Let’s take a look at his class. This teacher is shown to us three times in the first episode. 

If we look closely, first he read some English literature, and the second time it’s some biology science facts. Considering that in average Japanese people in schools can barely read in English, this level of text is clearly too complicated for the students to be engaged in. So we can bet that barely a few people in the class understand the text, and obviously no one (even Light and the teacher) — are interested in it.  

“Another noticeable consequence”
“…is the extinction of many species on the planet.”
“Species are now becoming extinct at a faster rate…”

Interestingly enough, on the next day after picking Death Note, Light is on that class again. And guess what? That teacher is reading the same text again! We can clearly see his “Another is the extinction of many species on the planet” text opened in Light’s study book. The same words he read the day before. (the last paragraph) 

Death Note Episode 1. English text Light is reading
Death Note Episode 1. Boredom in class

In comparison to Koro-Sensei from “Assassination Classroom”, this guy is the opposite of the definition of a good teacher. It may be natural that kids are distracted, but it’s up to the teacher to be strict or funny and use any means necessary to get those kids to succeed in a subject (in this case that’s English). Even if teachers often fail to give an interesting program, they still make sure that class at least pretends to study, for the sake of the discipline and order. Imagine a principle suddenly walking in. What would he or she say?

Koro Sensei from Assassination Classroom

The teacher doesn’t even try to do his job. That we see from the state of his class. But that also leads to a certain personality. He thinks that it’s fine, the way his life is, and that it’s not necessary to change. Slowly but surely, that teacher convinces himself, that any struggle for a change won’t bring him anything good anyway. It’s just not worth it. In the middle of that inner comfort and happiness, there’s a stone of discomfort. Who might that be? No, not the guys and girls in his class, who are constantly slacking off and following on the same path. But the one who struggles to get the best results and get appreciation. 

Jealousy and envy — is a solemn source of that teacher’s behavior. That is why he’s totally fine with all the other kids.  But Light for him is like an eyesore that’s ruining the whole picture. One cannot help but be annoyed with that constant example of success before your own eyes. 

Death Note Episode 1. Light under the teacher’s concealed surveillance.

The teacher lives with constant reminders and asks himself: Is that he was born a loser and that kid — a genius? And how come he doesn’t have the same discipline to fight for his future like this teenager does? What defines one to be worthy of dreams come true and what doesn’t? 

Not being able or not wanting to answer and think about all those questions, this teacher is leaving himself no choice but to secretly hate Light. 

Light sees that and is being annoyed by the unfairness and biased hypocrisy of his teacher, but prefers to wait for it though since the school is almost over. And getting into a scandal will only get this teacher an opportunity to start ruining Light’s grades on purpose. 

The second episode also starts with the same English class that’s about to end. Once again, he’s being asked to proceed from now on. Light doesn’t sigh this time — he was quickly writing names before in the Death Note, so now he feels no emotion towards the teacher wasting his time. He only makes sure to play out the role of a student. We already the first signs of Kira’s behavior, a strategist, who thinks beyond, concentrated on a purpose.


The teacher then praises Light for a good answer and ends the lessons immediately.

That act happened to be some sort of proof that his students know his subject well. Thought it’s without a doubt, that the gap between Light’s level of English and the other students is huge. In other words, he was the worst choice of a student to pick in an attempt to see a student’s average English level. 

But what was he good for? For making a good impression of the English class, as if it was bringing some good result. 


What is the rotten world that Light is living in?

It’s in those kinds of people that Light sees every day, hating him for their failures, and acting with inequity. 

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