Death Note is a Japanese manga series created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. The series centers on Light Yagami, a university student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a shinigami (death god) named Ryuk. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose face they have seen, by writing the victim's name in the notebook. The story follows Light's attempt to create and rule a world cleansed of evil using the notebook, and the complex conflict between him, his opponents and a mysterious detective known to the world only as L.
Death Note was first serialized in 108 chapters by Shueisha in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The series was also published in tankobon format in Japan starting in May 2004 and ending in October 2006 with a total of twelve volumes. The series was adapted into live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, on November 3, 2006, and on February 2, 2008. The anime series aired in Japan from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007. Composed of 37 episodes, the anime was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsuro Araki. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was released in Japan. Additionally, various video games have been published by Konami for Nintendo DS.
Viz Media licensed the Death Note manga in North America and has published all the twelve volumes from the series as well as the light novel. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable by IGN. Viz later licensed the anime series and it aired on Bionix. The live-actions briefly played in certain North American theaters since 2008. However, none of the video games titles have thus far been published in North America.
Several publications for manga, anime and other media have added praise and criticism on the Death Note series. The plot and violence from the story have been praised, noting it to be very entertaining. However, the series was banned in China due to various problems people had with children altering their notebooks to resemble the Death Note.