Anime · Creative Writing

How To Use A Death Note

It occurs to me, after finishing Death Note, and enjoying the heck out of the last episode, that Light’s strategy as a mass murderer was fundamentally flawed. This guide will endeavour to help future recipients of killing books from the realm of the dead in their quest to rule the world and, while they’re doing so avoid both the pitfalls that Light made as well as avoiding common and obvious traps otherwise. There’ll even be some fun little tricks you can learn to get the best use out of your Death Note. If you are of faint heart, or believe that hippy nonsense about the death penalty and swift, sweet Kira justice being an authoritarian innocent-killing nightmare that is far too absolute, look away now.

Let’s set the scene, you come across a folded black book, seemingly dropped from the sky, in a public place. You’re the first person to notice it, everyone else seems too busy. We can estimate that, on the higher numbers, 20% of people walking by will have seen the anime and can recognise what it is, thereby wanting it for themselves so they too can become a serial killer. More if it’s on a college campus and you’re next to the anime clubroom as you so clearly are, you weeb. So pick it up quickly and be discreet. You should get home for the next stage.

Obviously this won’t work if you share a room or live with people who can barge into your room at any time so first of all, go to your single room and lock the door. It’s fine, you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend/otherfriend (delete as appropriate), but you will get one later down the line so be prepared for your Misa moment. It’s easy at the start though, it’s almost impossible to get caught right off the bat because you have no connection to the victims and can kill from anywhere, and you can even make it look like a completely natural death as well so there is zero chance of you being caught on your first kill.

The first kill is one of the most important. You need to test it to make sure that what you have is a true death note from the Shimigami realm with all the associated rules and whatnot and not some fake that some enterprising otaku left out as a prank. For you to look foolish in the privacy of your dark basement hole. It may seem tempting to open with a big one and knock off a Trump or a Murdoch or someone else who seems responsible in your mind for what is wrong with the world, but be patient, there’ll be time enough for that later. If you did not do it exactly right it would open a murder investigation and either way would cause chaos and that’s not the sort of thing you want opening up against you this early. However, you’re also not likely to be as lucky as Light was and start your Death Note adventure while watching a live crime scene play out. So the backup plan would be, as Light did, to test it on criminals. Pick one infamous enough, another mass murderer perhaps, for news of his death in prison to be broadcast by major news channels and whose face you can picture. You’ll still get to feel all nice and moral for a little bit, and as Near said in the end, if you were normal, after one or two killings of horrific mass murderers, this is where you’d stop. But you’re a budding serial killer, so on we go. If possible, avoid doing a Google search to remind you of his face though, because that will be important later. You’ll then receive news of his death shortly after and we’re good to go.

Indeed, if any investigators do catch on to the fact that these murders are in fact murders and start monitoring internet search history, as they do in all self-respecting first-world countries already because they need to see what porn everyone’s watching, they’ll quickly notice that you google searched your victims just before they died. That doesn’t even need L to narrow down the field to you and possibly a few other people if you’re lucky that others were looking up the grim story of Anders Breivik moments before he died. So invest in a VPN, preferably one made by yourself or a trusted associate who doesn’t know why you’re making it and just assumes you want ultimate privacy. While no VPN may be truly enough to stop determined law investigators, there won’t be any directly looking your Internet way for quite a while. Just in case, search and memorise victim’s faces and give them different times to die.

Of course, this assumes that you don’t make like Light did and openly shout that these deaths are connected. Because he was unsubtle in his movements and desired worship as a god, it would have taken longer for the rest of the world to realise bad guys were dying had he spread out his killings and used different methods of death, but eventually internet communities would realise that shit people were dying as perhaps a form of ‘real’ divine intervention rather than a human being fakely divine. I think it’s possible to hide your Kira status for a lot longer than Light did, particularly as he made his worst mistake early on by killing Lind L Tailor and knocking his living range down from ‘the whole world’, to ‘Kanto’. That’s an important thing to remember, if your goal is just to avoid getting caught, ignore all attempts at investigative teams trying to drive you out.

A week or so later, most of the most evil people on the planet, mass murderers in prison, including any and all named members of Islamic State who have mugshots posted, will have mysteriously hanged themselves, contracted incurable cancer or walked into a spray of bullets. This might be enough of a coincidence for investigators to get on the case, even if you do kill them in different ways. So it might be worth spreading these out even more, so they just appear natural in a way that the basics on social media who mourned 2016 as being the worst year when a ton of nice famous people died, will celebrate 2017 as a great year because a ton of horrible famous people died. Because they’re morbid fuckheads. From here, you can go the Light route and just start killing more and more because you can’t stand not writing names in the Death Note and because you want to outsmart the leader of the investigating team who most definitely will not have a name as cool as L, nor will you probably be even able to find out his name or even an alias at all. So there goes the locking minds bit. I don’t think the Light route is that fun. And it’s unquestionably the most evil.

You can still back out from here. You’ve killed people, sure, but they are people that very few, not even their mothers would miss, although you’ve taken from them a few years of pondering their crimes so that’s a downside. But you haven’t yet become a crazy person and there’s probably no way the Death Note can be attributed to you. There’s no way they even know it was a Death Note.

But that’s not quite as fun for strategic purposes. You don’t quite want the power that Light craved and you’d like your freedom without spending your days chained to helping the very team that’s trying to catch you, but you still want to keep this in your back pocket, so to speak. Well, here’s how to do that. Occasionally kill a political leader you don’t like, if they’re old and could plausibly suffer death. Move into killing rapists, abusers and pedophiles, whenever their face crosses your path. Feel powerful from your dank hole as you dole out death like you’re a high judge and they are merely ants. If you get a hint that an investigative team is latching on to the idea that there is a Kira, stop for a while and lay low, doing merely a few natural-looking deaths and focusing your life on other things, like getting a job, keeping personal hygiene to acceptable levels and talking to people you’re attracted to. Unlike Light, you probably won’t be able to get information direct from the police in order to see how they’re doing, in fact, you’re probably just going to be blind to their actions and it’ll be only your VPN that is saving you, if they haven’t already figured out that it’s likely that any perpetrator behind this is using a VPN and start cracking them. But at least you’re not going to be from a policeman’s family such that only a few families are getting tailed by FBI agents. Keep in mind, that if you do kill a political leader, the possibility of an investigative team forming is very high. It’s tempting, but hold off on that until you’re really confident. Remember, Death Note is a very popular anime and some nerd in law enforcement is going to be familiar with it and would have probably joked about it several times before realising ‘oh shit, it’s real’. Any truly high-profile deaths after murderers have died in isolation in prison is going to lead to a few of these flags and once they’ve figured out that then they’ll know how to come at you.

In fact, I probably just wouldn’t go that far, because this’ll be the outcome, after they crack your VPN, and they will do that: “Put down the notebook sir, and step out of your stinking room, the officers will not go in for fear of suffering in chemical warfare.” *bullet holes enter you from all sides*

Getting a Misa, or a secondary accomplice, would be, on second thoughts, far too crazy for anyone other than Light to go for and let’s not even talk about taking the Shinigami eyes or thinking to do the memory gambit, the latter may be a great get-out-of-jail clause if you suspect you are about to be busted, to lose the notebook. But to plan to get it back would take far too much setting up and honestly, you probably just want to watch some more anime, don’t you. Being a serial killer is exhausting. Let’s put that Death Note back on the floor. Or just pick it up and spend a lifetime feeding Ryuk apples and entertaining him with means other than death.

(the above is a work of satire of questionable quality, the author of this piece does not sincerely wish death upon anyone mentioned or implied in this post, except radical extremists of any race or religion, but particularly at this point in time, IS, who kill innocents every day, because fuck them)

(an actual summing up of how I enjoyed the series may be coming soon, I figured it might be fun to follow this little strategical wondering to its natural conclusion)

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