Even people who are new to anime are well aware that Light Yagami, the main protagonist of Death Note, is not a traditional villain. At times, he ruthlessly eradicates his enemies and comes off as one of the most gruesome villains. Then there are other times when his acts of lawlessness seem justifiable. To put it simply, Light is morally grey and it’s this moral ambiguity that divides fans into two groups.
While some are dead set on believing that Light is purely driven by selfish reasons, others can relate to his skewed but strong sense of justice. Well, regardless of one’s opinions about Light, it’s hard not to empathize with him at times. For the most part, he may be responsible for all the trials and tribulations that dawned upon him towards the end of the series. But his tragic fate and many events that led to it are sad nonetheless.
Towards the beginning of the series, Light is portrayed as a hardworking young boy who’s a lot smarter than his peers. He seems to have a cynical perspective towards the world around him but he never really acts out his sociopathic tendencies.
But it is only when the Death Note drops out of the sky and gives him a god-like power that he starts changing for the worse. Without the Death Note, Light could have achieved greatness by putting his intelligence to good use. Considering his deductive abilities and his sense of justice, he might have been a good fit for the police force as well. But the Death Note ruined it all.
Even before Light gets his hands on the Death Note, he’s very different from most other teenagers of his age. He spends most of his days locked up in his room, preparing for his entrance tests. And despite being quite popular among girls and fellow students, he avoids wasting his time on any unnecessary social activities.
Part of the reason why he does so is that his perspective of the world is very different from most people. Especially from the ones who surround him. His idealist beliefs make him likable but at the same time, it’s the same beliefs that make him unapproachable.
Light could have easily avoided any kind of trouble if he had never fallen for L’s first bait. Being extremely driven by his hubris and god complex, Light goes on to believe that no one can outsmart him. And it’s this belief that makes him kill the first decoy L sets up for him.
Moreover, he goes on a ruthless killing spree, believing that no one in the world would be able to figure how he’s doing it. But that’s until L shows up and challenges him.