So you can't use the Death Note to kill someone else. If you write something like:

"John Zerto burns himself to death after he killed his boss"

John would simply die of a heart attack so he couldn't kill his boss. But if you would write:

"John Zerto dies after a heart attack after he tried to shoot his boss"

That could work. After 6 minutes and 40 seconds, John would take out his gun and try to shoot his boss. And because there's a chance his boss could survive, it could possibly work. So what do you think? Could this work?

  • 1
    Honestly, this question deserves a better title.
    – Rahul
    Jun 27, 2014 at 11:05
  • I don't think I understand the question that much. Jun 27, 2014 at 13:05
  • @user6399: I edited your title to make it better - if I've changed the intent of the question somehow, feel free to edit it back in. Welcome to the Anime/Manga SE.
    – Maroon
    Jun 27, 2014 at 15:59
  • @Maroon thx for changing the title.
    – DarkYagami
    Jun 27, 2014 at 17:28
  • I remember reading something about an (allegedly?) canonical example where two people were directed to go to a specific, remote location where it was unlikely anyone else would be around, at the same time. One would die from suicide by shooting himself, the other would die from being hit by a stray bullet (not attributed to anyone) at the same time. And it worked. Implying the suicide victim ended up "killing" the other person, albeit coincidentally/accidentally. Though I can't seem to find this at the moment, so maybe I'm imagining something or am recalling someone relaying fan-fiction. Jan 19, 2020 at 15:13

3 Answers 3


No, the Death Note is precisely for killing someone else. Using a method like "John Zerto burns himself to death after killing his boss." could work since it's within the realm of possibility that John Zerto could kill his boss and that John Zerto could burn himself to death afterwards.

The 6:40 rule applies to if you've begun to write someone's name down in the Death Note, but have not specified how or when they will die. If you don't specify the details within 6:40 the person who's name you have written down will die of a heart attack after 40 seconds.

There aren't any rules against using someone to kill someone else in the Death Note. So this is an entirely possible scenario. If you go into specifics, e.g. John kills his boss with a gun, but it's not possible for John to obtain a gun, John will simply die of a heart attack.

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    There's a different rule that says that the Death Note cannot be used to kill people whose name was not written. It's possible to write "John killed his boss, Doe, and committed suicide" That would work, because his boss's name is written as well. If a death cause results in direct deaths of individuals not written in the death note, the target will die of a heart attack. Jun 27, 2014 at 14:02
  • If not for the rule that Madara Uchiha mentions, Light could have killed L by writing "Kanzo Mogi (or whoever) flips out and kills the person he knows as L, then shoots himself in the head". It would get around the necessity of knowing a person's name and face, and make the plot really boring.
    – Torisuda
    Sep 2, 2014 at 23:28

Rule X (I think) specific says

Whether the cause of the individual's death is either a suicide or accident, if the death leads to the death of more than the intended, the person will simply die of a heart attack. This is to ensure that other lives are not influenced.

So if written in the Deah Note "John Zerto burns himself to death after he killed his boss" it won't be possible.

However, the second example you gave "John Zerto dies after a heart attack after he tried to shoot his boss" might be possible since a gunshot don't necessarily kill people so if he has a gun (because if he can't get one he will die of a heart attack) the DN will make John Zerto shot his boss in a way he won't be killed, but if it's not possible to the boss the got shot and not get killed like he have bad health and will be dead the DN will prevent John to shoot his boss and will die of a heart attack.

And this only for the difference since it is not written that he shot his boss to kill him just shot to shoot him, the DN talked about other deaths, not injures.


Even though only one name is written in the Death Note, if it influences and causes other humans that are not written in it to die, the victim’s cause of death will be a heart attack

There are three possibilities and chosing between them is speculation. None kill the boss. As Madara said, you could merely include the name of the Boss to skirt this. Lets say the boss, therefore, goes by the identifier B to avoid this. Lets say John Zerto is his bodyguard so his ability to obtain a gun or find B is trivial.

If you say "John Zerto dies of burns after killing B by shooting him" then John will just die of a heart attack.

If you say "John Zerto dies of burns after shooting B" then either John will just die of a heart attack or he will non-fatally shoot B before burning to death. I believe it is the former.

If you say "John Zerto dies of burns after trying to kill B by shooting him" then either John will just die of a heart attack, he will non-fatally shoot B, or he will attempt to shoot B but will inevitably miss every shot (or won't get any off). Of course he burns to death after either of the last two options. I believe it is the first again but this is speculation.

The only thing I know is that any of these options result in John Zerto dying and B living. I include here the possibility that B could be maimed but this can be logically excluded by assuming Kira is smarter than you. If he could mentally disable L by having a soldier non-fatally shooting him in the head, he would have. He would not have missed this possibility and, therefore, it does not exist. We can extend this to assume that extreme phyisical harm is prevented.

Note that this all must mean the universe of Death Note is either deterministic to some degree or the death note is intellegently moderated. The book/death itself knows if action A will result in someone else's immediate death or someone makes that call each time looking at the situation.

  • "if he could mentally disable L by having a soldier non-fatalling shooting him" - I'm not completely sure I agree with this for now, but good point!
    – Maroon
    Jun 27, 2014 at 16:01
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    @Maroon L was a threat to him and that would eliminate the threat. This clever but cruel solution seems completely within his character traits. People can survive the surgical removal of large portions of the brain and that is exactly what that would be if the death note guarentee's that he would not die from the wound.
    – kaine
    Jun 27, 2014 at 16:45

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