Transcript taken from and interview with Tsugumi Ohba (Creator of Death Note)

Where did the inspiration for Death Note come from?
There was nothing in particular. I started thinking of some ideas and while these ideas were still floating in the back of my mind, I got more ideas to fill up detailed plots like the rules and the god of death and so on. Eventually, I thought there was enough material for a good story to tell.

Why did you choose to portray L in such a quirky way?
I wanted L to be an extremely unorthodox character to contrast with Light, who is supposed to be a brilliant and outstanding student.

What is your stance on justice? Do people have the right to take another life in the name of justice?
I did not put much deep thought into subjects like “life and death” or “justice and evil”.
I wrote the story hoping that it would be good entertainment.

What is the meaning of Light’s last words, “There will be nowhere to go after death”?
One of my personal underlying theses in Death Note is that dead people cannot be resurrected and that there is nothing after Death.

Were there any ideas that you specifically wanted to express through this project?
No, there was nothing that I strongly wished to express.
The basic underlying idea was that “Humans are not immortals and once they are dead, they do not come back alive again”. This is to indirectly say that we should all treasure the present and live our lives to the fullest. I never thought it was important to define Light as either good or evil. To me, Light is evil, L is slightly evil and only Soichiro is totally righteous.

What were your considerations for the ending?
I did not want a plot told of Light’s failure because of his own mistake. I had to think extremely hard for a plot that relieved Light of most of the blame for his own failure. Hence, we had Mikami make the fatal error.

Why was Sayu on a wheel chair on page 71?
She could not recover from the shock of the kidnapping incident. She became highly paranoid.

The adult Sayu.
I thought about this for a long while before I went ahead to reveal an adult Sayu on page 97. This last image of her does not tell of she had recovered. It is up to the readers to decide (laughs).

The character details of the SPK members.
I first decided that Rester was an elite soldier and I moved on based on that. Halle was a lady full of revenge and enthusiasm for capturing Kira.

The outlook of the SPK.
I only decided them as commandos and spies, I left the rest to Obata-sensei.

Takada came into the scene after Mikami. Was that planned from the beginning?
I entertained the idea of introducing Takada when the “Near and Mello” arc started. .. But as Near and Mello got into the thick of things, there was a period in time I forgot all about her (laughs). Fortunately, that idea returned and that was how Takada came into the story after Mikami. Letting her enter the scene as a news anchor was one of the many parts that I liked very much.

Misa in a nurse uniform on page 48.
This was decided by me since the beginning. You can considering it as fan service (laughs).

The character Matt.
He was ranked number 3 in the Wammy’s house and was Mello’s sidekick. Just as L and Near had their minders, I felt that Mello ought to have someone that worked along side him. This is how the character Matt came about.

The reason why Mello ate only chocolates.
I was searching for a uniting element in junk food between L and Mello and the first thing that came to mind was chocolate. It was also relevant to the American setting and that was why chocolates were used (laughs).

Why did you not have Mello kidnap Misa?
If it was Misa, Light would not be bothered over whether she lived or died (laughs). Since the beginning, Light had always loved his family. He believed that they were good and righteous, the perfect citizens for his new world. Despite his Utopian aim of wanting to become the god of justice, he cared about the welfare of good people like Soichiro and Sayu. On the other hand, Misa had killed before, and because of that, Light saw her as a bad person and would have left her for dead. Hence, the person who was to be kidnapped by Mello could not be Misa.

Were Mello’s actions at the end already decided from the start?
No, it was not. I was still pondering about what to do with Mello when the story reached the stage where Shidoh returned to Deathgods’ world. I had intended that Mello would be the one to defeat Light. Being number 2 at Wammy’s house, Mello was the dark horse whom I wanted to see the winner.

Why was this not the ending that was told?
Mello knew too much about Death Note. If he had won, it would be too easy a win. Hence, I made him attempt to physically capture Light one on one, resulting in his death, which was meant to be very dramatic.
Mello’s face injury.
I thought a facial injury would greatly reflect Mello’s physical activities. Hence, I added that in.

Why was it that L died so abruptly?
L’s death was initially just an option. It was after the story had reached the point in which Misa was captured that everyone in the editorial team felt that “L’s death” was the way to go. That was how I reluctantly let the character go.

Furthermore, if one lone investigator was to replace L, the battle between him and Light would have little different between that of L and Light. Hence, I decided on a 3-man fight. I left all the character designing to Obata-sensei and my only request was that Near and Mello should embody the essence of what L was like. As for Near’s and Mello’s ages, we could not decide on that. Initially, I thought of introducing them as L’s sons, which was why their personalities were not as obvious until very much later. It was only after we confirmed the background facts about Near and Mello that their personalities were portrayed.

Did L have any friends?
No. When he told Light that Light was his first friend, it was a lie. L could never have a friend, as he found humans to be a very cunning species.

Near’s hobby of stacking things up.
As L stacked up sugar cubes in the previous arc, I decided to reflect this childish act in Near. I also added Near’s liking for toys, such as his play with the/such as his tower/structure made of match sticks. When I first sketched that on the story board, I thought that it would be too touch for Obata-sensei to draw. I was extremely surprised that he managed to pull it off.

Written up by scarredinsilence