I reckon if you look up “weazel words” in a dictionary, you should get a picture of Light Yagami.
Yagami is the master creating those peculiar types of arguments that sound plausible, convincing, even when based on questionable, if not out-and-out false, premises.
But he is one of those classic ultra-criminal, psycho-masterminds that we can’t help but be intrigued by.
What is it that attracts us to the charismatic bad-guy?
Think Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Hannibal Lector from the Silence of the Lambs, or Batman’s Joker is portrayed in comics such as the Killing Joke or when acted by Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix.
Often these anti-heroes are fascinating because they are just so damned convincing in their arguments. They present a coherent if twisted world view.
It is the true world but seen reflected through glass so that left is right and top is bottom, but still accurate in every detail.
These jokers (or should that be Jokers with a capital J?) are intriguing because they show how a small shift in perspective on a shared set of facts can have awesome, and disastrous, consequences for those that hold them, and those around them.
If you are after some anime quotes that arent so, well, deeply misanthropic, you could try these luffy quotes from Onepiece instead.
What character does Light Yagami play in the context of Death Note?
Light Yagami is a calculating pragmatist. He calmly adds up numbers in the ledger on the left and delivers the result on the right. He doesn’t pull back from implementing what he sees as being the truth.
Yagami Light, sets himself up as a god-like figure whose word is law. The death notebook he finds gives him the ability to kill criminals, or anyone Yagami perceives to be a criminal, literally with the stroke of a pen.
In his coolness, you get the feeling that there must be an element of sociopathy at play.
Light is presented as a kind of opposite, mirror-like image of L, and it can be interesting to compare the Yagami quotes against L quotes.
Light is often so, well, dark that he needs some comic relief. This is provided by his Death God companion Ryuk, who’s quotes are generally much more pithy.
What does the name “Light Yagami” mean?
It seems that the authors of Death Note were having something of a play of words with the name “Yagami Light”. Yagami light is written in kanji as 夜神月, meaning literally “night-god-moon”. Obviously, the rare reading of the kanji 月 as “raito” fits well with the double meaning with the English word light. So in this meaning we get Night-God Light, which is an intriguing mix of darkness and illumination. In many ways this mirrors Yagami Light’s character which is on the surface in all ways the picture of perfection, but underneath is black beyond every day comprehension.
Yagami Light’s Delusions of Grandeur
Yagami exhibits the logic of the fundamentalist. Which is to say, he follows the “rules” in such a black and white way that these “rules” become so rigid that they actually end up serving a purpose diametrically opposed to what they were intended for. Through a process of complex logic, rationalization and intellectual callisthenics, Yagami Light arrives at the same kind of dangerous positions that many religious or political extremists do.
But he goes further. He puts himself on a pedestal, or perhaps an altar, as some kind of deity. Not content to simply be in dialogue with the shinigami gods, gods of death, he seems to feel that he surpasses them.
In this way, Yagami light becomes something like an absolute dictator. Or, a step further, a god.
As we hear in the series,
“With absolute power, comes absolute evil”.
Unchecked power dispenses with the niceties of pleasant society and reveals itself to be something darker.
The irony is that Yagami sees himself as a saviour. He illustrates in graphic precision the age old saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
Yagami Light as a “Hitler”
You can’t help but think of the penultimate bogey-man of the modern era, Hitler, and his attempts to create the perfect Aryan race.
Indeed, there is something almost eugenic in Light Yagami’s attempts to expunge the human race of the criminals and the riff raff to create the perfect unblemished people.
As a high school student he has become bored with his privileged lifestyle.
This makes me think of the lines from Billy Bragg’s song the Great Leap Forward:
“Fidel Castro’s brother spies a rich lady who’s crying
Over luxury’s disappointment
So he walks over and he’s trying
To sympathize with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner”
Indeed the Japanese have a saying that expresses a similar sentiment.
Look above you and it’s endless, look below you and it’s endless.
Yagami Light’s failure to perceive his own good fortune
But far from peering around the corner at those less fortunate than himself Yagami Light only experiences the latent ennui existent in privilege.
His own singular destiny allows him to design something more god-like for his life.
Fans of the popular manga and anime series probably know that Light Yagami is not a hero. In fact, he is the ultimate anti-hero.
13 Light Quotes from Deathnote
I’ve gone back to the original Japanese to create new translations that more fully capture the full meaning of the original Deathnote manga & anime.
#13) The world is rotten. The rotten people of the world are better off dead.
yononaka kusatteru. kusatteru yatsu wa shinda hō ga ii.
#12) Evil begets only evil. The mean undertake their dirty work. The more they spread, the more the weak learn their ways. The rot sets in to each person. Eventually, you find yourself justifying to yourself that wrong is right.
aku wa aku shika umanai. iji no warui ningen ga akuji o okonai. yo ni habikoru naraba, yowai ningen wa sore o narai, jibun mo kusatteiki itsuka wa sore ga tadashii to jibun o seitōka suru.
#11) I’m going to rid the world of all evil if it’s the last thing I do. Given all the time in the world, it still wouldn’t be enough.
nanishiro yononaka o aku no nai risō no sekai ni kaeru nda . jikan wa ikura atte mo tarinai .
#10) Dexterity has nothing to do with it. It’s about ability.
kiyō sa nante kankei naiyo . kiyō yori kiryōda .
#9) As the world changes, humans change with it. They become more kind.
yononaka ga kawattekureba ningen mo kawattekuru … yasashiku nareru
#8) I am the killer, and the new God of the New World. I am the way, the one who protects the natural order. This is fact. Now, I have become Justice! I am the hope of the world!
boku wa kira , soshite shin sekai no kamida ！ ima no sekai de wa , boku ga hōdeari boku ga chitsujo o mamotteiru ！ kore wa jijitsu ！ mohaya boku wa masayoshi ！ sekai no ningen no kibō！
#7) I don’t want to be lumped in with the Gods of Death. I am just using the Notebook of Death for the sake of humanity.
shinigami to issho ni saretakunaine . boku wa ningen toshite ningen no tame ni desunōto o tsukatteiru nda .
#6) This world can no longer be saved by the law.
mō , hōritsu de wa sukuenai sekai ni natteru ndayo ！
#5) Don’t try and compare the killing of humans by other humans with the killing of humans by the Gods.
shinigami ga ningen o korosu no to , ningen ga ningen o korosu no o onaji jigen de kangaeruna .
#4) Humans have the right to seek out and pursue happiness. But for a certain group of rotten individuals, this right can easily be extinguished.
ningen wa shiawase ni naru koto o tsuikyū shi , shiawase ni naru kenri ga aru . shikashi ichibu no kusatta mono no tame ni , fui ni itomo kantan ni sore ga todaeru .
#3) Humans, by their nature of being the most advanced forms of life on this globe, must continue to evolve. But, they have been in a state of devolution…
honrai ningen wa , chikyū jō de ichiban sugureta seibutsu toshite , shinka shiteikanakerebanaranai . … daga , taika shiteita nda
#2) If I die at this point, I die without knowing the Truth. And so, it is better to run. I may even discover the truth during the act of running. No, I will grasp the truth with my own hands as I run.
koko de shinde mo , shinsō wa nani mo wakaranai mamada .dattara mada nigeta hō ga ī . sonokan ni shinsō ga wakaru koto mo aru . iya , nigenagara demo shinsō o tsukandeyaru
#1) You, too, should understand this. Some humans are better off dead. You have no qualms about squashing pest insects, but you call exterminating human-pests “evil”.
omae ni datte wakatteiru hazuda ningen ni wa akiraka ni shinda hō ga ī ningen ga iru gaichū wa koroserunoni naze gai no aru ningen o korosu no o aku to suru
How do Yagami Light’s quotes compare with other notable anti-hero’s quotes?
Anti-heroes are controversial. They are often viewed as the hero’s darkest counterpart, but in some cases they may be heroes themselves.
As a result there is ongoing dialogue over whether or not these anti-heroes should be rewarded for their actions within the realm of fiction.
As far back as Shakespeare we come across one of the world’s most famous anti-heroes in Hamlet, who spends much of the play pondering his own mortality and/or contemplating revenge.
In Death Note, Light Yagami may seem like a typical school boy on the surface but his words show otherwise. There are parallels with this “normal on the top, rotten on the bottom” visage in characters such as Brett Easton Ellis’ Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho Quotes:
“I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning”
“It strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.”
“All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.”
“So What Do You Do?” “I’m into, oh murders and executions mostly. It depends.”
“I Think My Mask Of Sanity Is About To Slip.”
“The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.” ― The Joker
“Smile, because it confuses people. Smile, because it’s easier than explaining what is killing you inside.” ― The Joker
“As you know, madness is like gravity…all it takes is a little push.” ― The Joker
“When the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.” – The Joker
Hannibal Lecter Quotes
“Cruelty Is A Gift Humanity Has Given Itself.”
“Whenever Feasible, One Should Always Try To Eat The Rude.”
People are not immune to the darkness within themselves. The irony is, that this darkness often presents as light. This, perhaps, is the ultimate refraction of truth there is.
Don’t quote me on that.
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