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In Episode 37, Light dies. Soon after that, Misa commits suicide. But I'm a little confused now, because of this rule:

the death of the person whose name is written in the book can not lead to anyone else's death

Now, everyone knows that Misa will commit suicide if Light dies. But the death of a person whose name is written in the book can't lead to anyone else's death. So basically, Ryuk shouldn't have been able to kill Light, because if Light is dead, that will indirectly lead to Misa's death. So, have I missed something in Death Note, or am I right?

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    …Directly. The death of the person whose name is written in the book can not lead to anyone else's death directly, as it would be the same as killing someone else, for which you have to write a name and imagine the target, which you'd be missing, and that is an essential part of killing someone with the Death Note, so you have to do it properly by writing a separate death note according to all rules. – Hakase Jul 2 '14 at 9:57
  • I don't remember it well, but I think Misa commits suicide as per her own will, which doesn't violate any rules. But if she wrote something like "I die if Light dies first" in the Death Note, it would still be valid, since she would have died from a heart attack if the condition isn't met. – Hakase Jul 2 '14 at 9:59
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    The Death Note doesn't allow "if...then" conditions, judging by the fact no one ever uses it this way. – Azrael Jul 2 '14 at 14:17
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    @user1306322: You have written But if she wrote something like "I die if Light dies first" in the Death Note. I think that THIS would cause Light's death as by doing this she would write Light's name to the notebook. – Honza Zidek Jul 2 '14 at 14:48
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The title of this question is misleading, because "another flaw" assumes there was a first flaw. Death Note avoids plot holes more rigorously than perhaps any other series in existence. Whenever someone misunderstands or forgets some element of the storyline, they tend to think their misunderstanding must be a flaw in the story.

The rule you're thinking of is Rule XXVI.

XXVI

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.

Things to note:

1) It doesn't say that the Death Note is incapable of killing people who aren't written in it. It only says that, in these cases, the victim's cause of death must be a heart attack.

2) This rule only specifically refers to directly causing the immediate death of other people. This is made clear in the story, and it's also clarified in the rules, with Rule XLII.

XLII

The use of the Death Note in the human world sometimes affects other human's lives or shortens their original life-span, even though their names are not actually written in the Death Note itself. In these cases, no matter the cause, the god of death sees only the original life-span and not the shortened life-span.

It spells it out here that killing a human with the Death Note can shorten the lifespan of other humans, "even though their names are not actually written in the Death Note".

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    Note: it doesn't mean you can tell him to die of a heart after murdering L. In that case he will still just die of a heart attack within a few seconds. You can, however, write down L's driver's name which he is in the car so his heart attack could feasibly kill L. – kaine Jul 3 '14 at 16:06
  • That's right ^^ – Azrael Jul 3 '14 at 23:58
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Note: It's been a while since I watched Death Note, and it's not a series I've followed much afterwards, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I have also only seen the anime.

There are two points to address here:

  • Is the fact that Misa will commit suicide if Light is dead completely certain?

  • What exactly constitutes "leading to the death of another person"?

In Death Note, we see that Misa is fairly devoted to Light, in almost an obsessive way, but it's not completely clear if she's obsessed to the point where life would be completely pointless without him. We do see that she's fairly dependent on him, and to be honest arguing about whether or not she's that devoted to Light is slightly difficult, so it's easier to come to some conclusion by looking at the exact mechanics of the death note.

The "leading to the death of someone else" bit is usually interpreted as

the death of someone whose name is in the DN cannot directly lead to the death of someone else1

An example of something that wouldn't work would be:

XXX hijacks a passenger jet and crashes it into a mountain [which wouldn't work because it would kill the passengers as well]

In Misa's case, her suicide is somewhat indirect, so one could say that this rule doesn't quite apply here - I get the impression that driving the bereaved to suicide as a result of someone's death doesn't really count. (We should note that the influence that the Death Note rules talk about seem to be more "physical" and direct.) As stated by user1306322, Misa commits suicide of her own will here, which is also important here.


  1. Realistically speaking, the idea that something will occur as a result of an earlier event can't really be said to ever be completely certain (in the same way one might say that there's a chance the sun might not rise today). But given how we see the death notes work, I don't think this should be an issue per se as long as the causality is reasonably direct.
  • In an episode she said something like: I can't live in a world without Light. And then L says: Yes that would be dark. :P – DarkYagami Jul 2 '14 at 10:42
  • @user6399: the second bit of my answer is more important, but I'll take a look at that later when I have time. – Maroon Jul 2 '14 at 10:45
  • @user6399: edited my answer – Maroon Jul 2 '14 at 10:52
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    I wonder what would happen if you write "Mortally stab a man and after kill yourself". He wouldn't die at the time of death, so technically that death didn't cause more deaths and who knows, he might be saved. Would he stab him? – Peter Raeves Jul 2 '14 at 11:18
  • @PeterRaeves: I feel like that case shouldn't be allowed, but the possibility of being saved by other people (in this case, or even in the examples in the question I linked to) give a dreadful lot of ambiguity. – Maroon Jul 2 '14 at 11:23

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