I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Death Note is a gripping masterpiece that captivates audiences in front of screens.

With its striking camera movements and revolutionary soundtrack, Studio Madhouse knows how to create a show that stands the test of time.

Fans know all too well that compelling characters stand out thanks to their brilliant intelligence, but they shouldn’t overlook strong characters either.

After all, Death Note is made up of complex plots that push individuals to push their limits. Without perseverance, Death Note’s prey and predators would not have achieved their ambitions!

Below, I’ll describe 10 characters who, in my opinion, are the most powerful in Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s timeless series.

10. Aiber / Thierry Morello

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Aiber, a con man hired by L himself, works tirelessly to maintain his cover 24/7. He expends great energy by constantly disguising himself and imitating the voices and vibes of the people he copies.

Although he didn’t get much screen time, many fans don’t know what Aiber had to endure to survive: liver cancer! His life-threatening illness may not have featured prominently in a psychological series like Death Note, but when you consider the hardships he went through, you realize that battling a life-threatening illness takes great strength of heart and mind.

Thierry Morrello, a man among men, occupies 10th place on this list! Fortunately, in the manga, his final moments in a Paris hospital are not brutal, as he is surrounded by family members on his deathbed.

And while family members are present, Kira neither manipulated nor controlled Aiber’s death. After all, Kira makes sure her murders are brutal, always leaving her victims in despair!

Morrello’s death proves to be one of the few natural deaths in the series. This makes him an honorable and admirable man, for despite his frailties, he endured to the end, succumbing to liver cancer.

9. Stephen Gevanni / Stephen Loud

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Fans are unaware of the hardships this man endured following Near’s ridiculous orders: to create a fake notebook by precisely copying, word for word and line by line, the names and circumstances of death from the original!

Nothing but the idea of forging a Death Note is damning, let alone the realization itself. But Gevani pulled an all-nighter to perfectly execute Near’s orders in a single night! Yes, you read that right, in a single night. It’s incredible!

The pages Gevanni was to copy were to start from the page where Light Yagami first tested the notebook. This included the page where Lind L. Tailor’s name was written. That’s like copying 4 to 5 years’ worth of content!

Furthermore, Teru Mikami (the prosecutor Light Yagami used as Kira’s “cover” and human shield) filled a page daily with the smallest font size seen in Japanese calligraphy!

Gevani didn’t miraculously copy the contents of the original (including Mikami’s death) in a single night. But with his tenacity, patience and determination, he proved himself a reliable investigator capable of falsifying a Death Note in one night!

This feat alone makes Gevanni worthy of his position as an elite investigator under Near and Anthony Rester!

8. Anthony Rester / Anthony Carter

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

As head of operations for the Special Provision for Kira (SPK) working under Near, Anthony Rester reminds me of two other strong and famous characters from another series: Erwin Smith and Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan.

Some fans might even joke that Anthony is an “adopted son” of Erwin and Levi in an alternate universe! (LOL!) But fan fiction jokes aside, Anthony looks and plays the part of a battalion commander ready to give his life for the cause!

To further reinforce his military experience, Anthony’s cold, calculating personality and serious face are traits he shares with Captain Levi Ackerman.

On the other hand, not only are Erwin and Anthony’s backgrounds military-related, but they also share neatly combed blonde haircuts!

These clean, neat haircuts are important because they reinforce the image of respectable men who value justice, law and order above all.

Staying clean and well-coiffed, civilians perceive men like Anthony as having influence, power and authority (even if they can’t conclude that Rester leads a military unit)!

Near recognizes the value Rester brings to the SPK. Seeing his subordinate’s unrivalled undercover and investigative skills, he appoints him as deputy commander (further emphasizing his importance to the team)!

Despite his military knowledge and notable achievements, Rester procures items on Near’s shopping list. This list includes finger puppets, darts, dice, matches, decks of cards, tarot cards and even Christmas trees.

Of course, these toys are bought for Near’s pleasure, allowing the young genius to create simulations to capture Kira. This may seem a futile task for Commander Rester, as he has to spend over €5,000 to satisfy his boss’s cravings for puzzles, games and toys.

However, as an army man, Rester respects his superior’s preferences, no matter how unconventional the requests, making him an ingenious and reliable pillar for the SPK!

7. Teru Mikami

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

At its peak, Teru Mikami’s eyes were slowly opened to the dichotomy between good and evil, good guy and bad guy, friend and foe.

He was ridiculed by the cruelest boys in his class, simply because he had been chosen as respectable class president. He was bullied and punched by boys stronger than him. Worse still, he was harassed by his classmates when he undressed in front of them (episode 32 of the anime)!

Despite the risk of being violently assaulted himself, he regularly saves his classmates, who are being violently abused by their tormentors. Bringing the students together also gives him satisfaction, as it creates a sense of “all for one, one for all”: they stand up against the bullies, their common enemies at school.

Fans have forgotten what a perfect background Teru’s past provides for a Shōnen Jump protagonist, even if he’s only a secondary character.

His days at primary and secondary school were cruel, as he was constantly bullied and humiliated. But as he grew older, he gradually gained the confidence to realize his dream of becoming a prosecutor.

Teru values physical health as much as a brilliant mind. He regularly frequents the gym to stay in shape while defending many unwilling (and potentially scammed) citizens in the course of his prosecutorial duties.

Moreover, if someone beats him up or becomes violent toward him or the people he’s trying to save from physical abuse, this lawyer has the confidence to take on his adversaries! After all, he’s been building and strengthening his muscles since joining the gym.

Although he possesses a strong sense of justice, this slowly turns to spite and a desire for revenge. He strays from the straight and narrow when he rationalizes eliminating criminals from the face of the earth.

That’s why his maniacal cry “Delete! Delete! Delete!” as he writes in Death Note demonstrates his madness and devotion. He has become a Kira fanatic and worships a human murderer as a god!

With such loose screws, it’s no wonder Teru’s strength is driven by his insane “Where’s the justice?” mentality. He’s both a dangerous Kira worshiper and a terrifying, god-like serial killer.

6. Watari / Quillsh Wammy

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Watari’s strong heart and will are admirable, as he brilliantly carried out L’s orders despite his advanced age. As an individual who has made a fortune from his patented inventions, this old man possesses a unique tenacity to adapt to his master’s eccentricities in order to capture Kira!

However, his moments of complicity with L are immortalized in Mika Ninagawa’s book of photographs, L FILE No. 15:

L ~ ONE DAY (also known as The Works of Watari)

Fans can tell that old man Watari had his work cut out for him, because even as a butler, he had to dress a young detective!

L doesn’t like dressing alone, as it seems an “awkward banality” to him. Looks like Watari is both butler and babysitter to a teenage prodigy!

L ~ Wammy’s house

Watari chose to follow L, understanding the boy’s fascination with solving his first murder case, which he considers more difficult than puzzles and gambling games (such as stock market trading simulations).

In these two short stories, Watari shows courage in caring for L since he was a child: he invented a “human washer” with drying modes so L could stay constantly clean; he created gadgets and provided computers so the boy could solve murder cases in one of the orphanage’s private rooms.

No matter how menial or unimaginable the tasks, Watari has enough energy and strength to be butler, babysitter and guardian to the great detective L all at once!

5. Soichiro Yagami

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Deputy Director Yagami’s greatest strength lies in his humility, not just in his ability to train and coordinate the Japanese Task Force in the fight against Kira.

Although Soichiro is old and his will is weakening, he has endured many hardships as a detective and investigator. Let’s not forget that he had to rescue his daughter, Sayu, from Mello Mafia kidnappers in America! What a heroic father!

To atone for his mistakes in managing the notebook in the face of Mello mafia members (in exchange for Sayu’s life), Soichiro struck a deal with Ryuk! Not only did this give him the edge to take on the mafia and Mello, but it also allowed him to verify his son’s innocence!

Always in possession of the Shinigami eyes, Soichiro sees Light’s lifespan (which proves to Soichiro that Light isn’t Kira, since the Death Note user must possess the notebook).

At this point, Light relinquishes ownership of the Death Note, but keeps one hidden in his pants (so it can’t be easily detected by the Japanese Task Force). This also allows him to retain his original memories linked to the notebook.

So, when Soichiro looks at Light with Shinigami eyes, he sees Light’s name and lifespan, which convinces him of his son’s innocence. Soichiro died believing Light Yagami was not Kira, which is a tragic ending for his character.

However, given that the old man refused to write Mello’s real name entirely in the notebook, he was lucky in a way. The truth that his son is a serial killer was kept from him, even on his deathbed!

Until his last breath, Soichiro remained courageous despite Light’s taunts about him being a father and a losing detective. That’s why he takes fifth place on this list for his bravery, willpower and unshakeable faith!

4. Mihael Keehl / Mello

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Mello is one of Death Note’s most powerful characters, as he is an agile youngster who values mobility over caution.

His reckless actions stem from his competitiveness with Near, a child always ranked first at Wammy’s House (an orphanage set up for gifted children in England).

Contrary to the prodigious and logical Near, Mello quickly took matters into his own hands. He left Wammy’s House before reaching the age of 15 and joined an American mafia to pursue Kira.

Mello doesn’t beat around the bush, doing her job while eating chocolate bars. His impetuous actions and sartorial style stem from his desire to prove his worth as L’s successor (even though he’s already officially renounced the title of “L’s true successor” by leaving the orphanage).

To realize his ambitions, Mello enters a race against Near: whoever catches Kira first wins the rightful title of “true successor to L”!

The fierce competition between Mello and Near may be seen by fans as a battle of wits. But for the ambitious and competitive Mello, it’s also a battle of physical strength!

While Near retreats and hides behind the protection and military might of the SPK, Mello mobilizes his American mafia to kidnap key figures in the Kira affair. Among the hostages were:

  • Kanichi Takumura is the director of Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA).
  • Sayu Yagami is the daughter of Soichiro Yagami, Japan’s police director.
  • Kiyomi Takada is a journalist and presenter with the NHN news broadcasting company.

Some fans might claim that Mello is acting under Near’s manipulative influence, but this is not true. Mello has not been brainwashed. He sets himself apart from Near by deliberately defying the rules and superiority imposed by his rival since their days at Wammy’s House.

However, Mello has chosen to take dangerous action (joining the mob, kidnapping and taking hostages) to help Near capture Kira. Regardless of his reluctance to help his rival, Mello’s actions inevitably created situations that benefited Near, the SPK and the Japanese Task Force.

These characteristics make Mello a captivating character in the series, despite his brief appearances. He knows he’s somehow relevant to Near’s plan to successfully capture and confuse Kira.

Knowing his imminent death, Mello believes his emotionless but analytical rival, Near, will find irrefutable evidence to capture Kira and bring this murderer to justice! But first Mello had to create an opportunity for his rival by kidnapping Kiyomi Takada, an NHN anchorwoman and Kira’s spokeswoman.

Despite his arrogant attitude, Mello’s collaboration with Near and their cooperation are admirable traits. It’s precisely these aspects that make him strong, justifying his 4th place on this list.

3. Rem

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Rem is another tragic, yet strong, character in Death Note. His emotional strength stems entirely from his powerful love for the happy human, Misa Amane.

Despite her foolishness and recklessness, Misa shows little respect for Rem. She revealed Rem’s secret when the Shinigami revealed Gelus’ death, and she even let this sacred secret slip to a cunning human-like light!

Hearing this revelation, Light exploited Rem’s weaknesses to kill Rem, Watari and L (the detective Kira considers her greatest obstacle to establishing a new world)!

Light knows that protecting Misa is Rem’s ultimatum. If anyone hurts Misa, whether Shinigami or human, Rem will not forgive that person and will go so far as to write his name in the Death Note!

There’s no point in trying to fool a mere human. Rem is fully aware of how the traitor Light has managed to outsmart the omniscient Shinigamis themselves!

As a result, Rem easily succumbed to Light’s manipulations. She deliberately played along with the madman’s cruelties because she believed there was no way to survive Light’s wiles.

Rem may have underestimated her supernatural powers to defend herself against Kira’s manipulations. However, the mere fact that Kira exploited his weaknesses demonstrates a major feat: saving by killing.

It’s an irony of fate for a god of death who willingly committed sacred acts to save and preserve the life of a selfish human. This is why Rem’s ultimate sacrifice is seen as her greatest strength, placing her in 3rd place on this list.

2. Ryuk

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

Throughout the series, fans viewed Ryuk as nothing more than a pet and tool of Light Yagami. He seemed more like a prankster than a terrifying god of death charged with bringing justice to the abandoned world where Light lives.

But a mere human like Light (who was having problems with his god complex as Kira) managed to reveal Ryuk’s true essence as a god of death!

Slowly dragging Ryuk into his devious machinations, Light demonstrated the “right and proper” way a Shinigami should act. The 17-year-old boy used the Death Note to brutally murder victim after victim, as if they were mere toys.

Of course, apple-crazy Ryuk is constantly entertained by Light’s murders! He loves them so much that he looks forward to seeing how the boy devises plans and stratagems to evade capture.

If Death Note were a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, children would be startled to see a drawing of Ryuk in the pages of a children’s book! But manga readers and Death Note viewers know better – they shouldn’t be afraid of this silly reaper.

Ryuk can be intimidating and frightening if you don’t know him. Take the hostage-taker’s victim on the bus, for example. He was frightened when he saw the Shinigami’s size and creepy gothic appearance!

But Ryuk is mischievous in another way too: he can entice humans into making deals with him. Of course, this strategy didn’t work with Light, as his intelligence is far superior to Ryuk’s.

However, a deceitful reaper like him is commonplace in legends and fairy tales! Had this trickster used his wits and possessed Rem’s calm and rationality, Ryuk could have gained years and years of life ripping off the many humans he could have manipulated with the Death Note.

<Ryuk is a formidable adversary. The only other supernatural being scarier than him is the Shinigami King himself!

King Shinigami

10 Strongest Death Note Characters

We’ve finally arrived at one of the most powerful (not to mention hideous) creatures in the series, the Shinigami King!

Although he was briefly mentioned in the main series, his first full appearance was in the manga one-shot entitled “The C-Kira Story”, published in February 2008.

The Shinigami King’s powers are so powerful that in the fan book “Death Note 13: How to Read”, his stats are literally described as “immeasurable”. He hasn’t shown the full extent of his incredible powers in the main series, making any comparison with other Death Note characters insufficient to measure his infinite power.

However, this ancient old man inspires fear in Shinigamis such as Rem and Ryuk! Despite being an all-powerful god of death, he seems to have let himself go in the Shinigami realm and acts more like a capricious, sore-loser king.

For example, the Shinigami king turned a blind eye instead of punishing Ryuk after tricking him into possessing two Death Notes. He was also easily bribed to give a Death Note to Shinigami Midora (also known as Shinigami Meadra) in exchange for 13 juicy apples!

In reality, the Shinigami King’s powers lie in his ability to add rules to Death Note, as mentioned in the one-shot “2019 Never Complete Exhibition” or “The a-Kira Story”.

To prevent a human (Minoru Tanaka) from profiting from the Death Note, the Shinigami King added the following rule: “Once the notebook is exchanged for profit between buyer and seller, both parties will die.”

Like Light, L and Teru Mikami, King Shinigami hates to lose and loves to win in games. Since he has the power to do so, why not avoid defeat by cheating (or by using his authority as God of Death)?

The Shinigami King added the new rule, but he also created two different outcomes for the parties involved. Minoru (the seller) died because he accepted the auction money.

However, the president of the American government (the buyer) refused to take possession of the merchandise (the Death Note) and didn’t die thanks to Ryuk’s intervention!

So, in a way (and with Ryuk’s indirect help), the Shinigami King won the victory without resorting to his inherent power. He used his authority to deceive a human adversary (Minoru) while causing huge financial losses to another human (the president). It’s a win-win situation for the Shinigami King!

Minoru’s death becomes a precedent for future Death Note users. Whether written down or sold at auction, this notebook brings bad luck to its human owners.

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