10 Best Death Note Episodes, Ranked

Death Note is a spectacular anime, and if you've forgotten the brilliance of this show, maybe you should re-watch the best episodes from the series!

July 17, 2022

Based on a manga series by Tsugumi Ohba, Death Note is a remarkable story that features one of the most layered characters in anime history, Light Yagami. The complex story of Ohba’s series forces you to think about ethics and morality and makes you wonder if one could really create an ideal world without claiming innocent lives.

The anime community worships the series for its mind-boggling twists and the legendary rivalry between Light and his nemesis, L. Studio Madhouse concluded Death Note in 2007 after giving us 37 masterful episodes. Since then, several production houses have tried to cash in on the show’s popularity through live-action adaptations. The Duffer Brothers, the creators of Stranger Things, recently announced they would bring another Death Note live-action series to Netflix. So, while you wait for the new adaptation, here’s a list of the best Death Note episodes you should revisit to experience the brilliance of this anime classic.


10. Encounter (E9)

“Encounter” holds a special place in fans’ hearts because it was the episode in which L met Light Yagami for the first time. Initially, everyone thought that L enrolled in college only to watch Light from a distance. However, L decides to take an unforeseen route by revealing his identity to Light.

L was well-aware of the fact that if Light is Kira, he will not take the risk of killing the world’s greatest detective right after their meeting. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it was an incredibly bold move from L. Watching Kira and L, the opposite sides of the same coin, sitting together and predicting each other’s next move had everyone on the edge of their seats.

9. Assault (E11)

In this episode, we see an alleged audio tape from Kira broadcast on national television. In the mechanically scrambled audio, Kira claims that he will kill some prominent TV personalities with a history of scandals. As several TV anchors and personalities drop dead on live television, Hirokazu Ukita from the Task Force goes to the Sakura TV headquarters to stop the broadcast. However, Ukita, along with several other officers, dies before they can enter the building.

At this point, we learn that it wasn’t Light who killed all those people at the Sakura TV; instead, it was Misa Amane. Like Light, Misa was in possession of a Death Note and had another Shinigami by her side. Honestly, the introduction of second Kira was a twist that no one saw coming, and that’s what made “Assault” one of the best episodes of Death Note.

8. Pursuit (E4)

Light always wanted to clean the wretched world by getting rid of the criminals, and Ryuk’s Death Note allowed him to work on that dream. Light knew that there would be some people who would stand against his methods, but he never imagined that the FBI would come after him. Raye Penber, an FBI agent, starts stalking Light to confirm that the teenager is actually Kira. Light quickly realizes that he is being watched, and instead of panicking or going into hiding, he uses the power of Death Note to reveal this mysterious stalker’s identity.

“Pursuit” is a crucial episode of the Death Note series as it proves that Light is indeed the best (or worst) person to get hold of a Death Note. He can go to any lengths to achieve his ideal world, even if it costs countless innocent lives.

7. Frenzy (E23)

“Frenzy” was definitely one of the most thrilling and action-packed episodes of the entire Death Note series. After Higuchi fails to kill Matsuda, he makes a deal with Rem to get the Shinigami eyes. L also becomes confident that Higuchi is the real Kira, and since Light has no memories of being a self-centered maniac with a God-complex, he joins L to hunt down Higuchi.

L and Light existing as the ultimate brainiac duo was the highlight of the episode, and it was indeed riveting to see Light’s good and compassionate side. In fact, the episode proves that Light isn’t all that bad, and it’s the Death Note’s power that corrupted his mind.

6. Wager (E15)

Throughout the series, Light struggles to find out L’s real name, so when Misa comes in contact with L, Light sees this as a perfect opportunity to kill the detective. However, when Light calls Misa to ask L’s name, he finds out that the Task Force has arrested his girlfriend. Despite being captured, Misa decides not to betray Light, proving that she really is in love with Kira. Light, on the other hand, sees Misa as nothing more than a tool to defeat L.

Light accepts his downfall for a while, but he eventually comes up with a strategy to save Misa and kill L. Kira puts his ultimate plan into motion by asking Misa to give up the ownership of Death Note, and he also parts ways with Ryuk. Honestly, Light getting a hold of himself and turning a crisis into an opportunity makes “Wager” one of the most thrilling episodes of Death Note.

5. Overcast (E7)

“Overcast” features the final confrontation of Light and Naomi Misora, the fiancee of Raye Penber. Every second of this masterful episode kept us nervous, with nothing but a long conversation between the two characters. After learning that Naomi is using an alias, Light coaxes her into believing that he works for the Task Force. Light promises Naomi to take her to L, but only if she reveals her true identity.

Almost everyone was rooting for Naomi at this point, but Raye’s fiancee eventually falls victim to Light’s communication skills and reveals her true name. Of course, Light doesn’t waste any time and sends Naomi to her demise.

4. 1.28 (E36)

Near and Light’s confrontation in the penultimate episodes was one of the most iconic moments in the series. On one side, we have Light, who is waiting for his worshipper, Mikami, to write down all of the SPK members’ names in the notebook. Near, however, is confident that the Death Note Mikami has been using is nothing but a fake.

Light, while giving a crooked smile, awaits everyone’s death, and fans wonder who’ll come out of this situation alive. Near thinks that Mikami will write everyone’s name, except for his master, Light. But obviously, it won’t matter if everyone in the SPK is dead. Things get even more suspenseful when the episode ends with Light declaring himself the winner, confirming to everyone that he is, in fact, the God of the new world.

3. Confrontation (E2)

“Confrontation” is a remarkable episode of the Death Note series solely because of L’s introduction. The world’s greatest detective manipulates Light into killing a criminal on a live broadcast. After that, L instantly deduces that Kira is operating from Japan, which obviously, brings Light back to the ground.

L broadcasts the event in the Kanto region of Japan, narrowing down his search for Kira. Light realizes that he has an opponent who matches his intellect, and both characters think of themselves as the symbol of “Justice.” The episode is a treat for every fan because it initiates the best rivalry we’ve seen in anime history.

2. Revival (E25)

After Light gives up the ownership of Death Note, the series features the pleasing side of the protagonist. Light, who has no memories of being Kira, works alongside L to bring down Higuchi. However, when Light touches the Death Note, fans witness the grand return of Kira.

Even though the Task Force learns about the notebook’s existence, everything works out according to Light’s plan. He proves his innocence to L by capturing Higuchi and earns freedom for Misa Amani. We see Light transitioning from a pure-hearted guy to a ruthless killer within seconds, and that moment alone makes “Revival” one of the best episodes in the series.

1. Silence (E25)

“Silence,” for most fans, was the end of Death Note, as it features the death of the series’ most beloved character, L. As planned out by Kira, Misa’s Shinigami, Rem, sacrifices her life by killing Watari and L. Watching L falling off his chair was possibly one of the most heartbreaking things we’ve seen on television. Light holds L in his arms and gives a devilish smile, confirming to L that he is indeed Kira.

Fans couldn’t believe that the series’ most beloved protagonist actually died at the hands of Kira. The episode proves that Tsugumi Ohba didn’t care about fan service. No matter how many fans wanted L to win the battle, the mangaka decided to use the detective’s death as a means to complete Light’s transformation into a villain.

Shivam Gulati

Shiv (He/Him) is a video game enthusiast who loves exploring everything happening in the gaming community. He enjoys competitive games in particular, even though he loses most of the time. He is an entertainment and gaming reporter at DualShockers.

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