Light Yagami is the top high school student of Japan who had, until recently, led a boring and uneventful life. That changed quickly when he found a mysterious notebook with the title "Death Note" on it, lying on the ground during the year 2003. Although initially skeptical, after realizing that the "Death Note" is a Shinigami's tool with the power to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages, Light decided to use it to "cleanse" the world of evil.
Soon the many unexplainable deaths of reported criminals was noticed, and Light becomes hunted by the Japanese police force and a mysterious detective known as "L." L quickly discovers that the murderer, that the publics dubs "Kira," is located in Japan, and that he can kill just by knowing someone's face and name. Light realizes that L is just as cunning, if not more intelligent than himself, and begins a cat and mouse chase with L to see who will be the first to have his identity exposed.