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In the manga Death Note, when Misa meets L for the first time, she has the shinigami eyes, so she must be seeing L's lifespan at the moment. L dies a few volumes later, so couldn't Misa have alerted Kira that L was about to die, and it wasn't worth much trouble?

Is this a flaw in the manga?

It might also be the case that since L was killed by a shinigami itself, the lifespan Misa saw with her shinigami eyes didn't account for that death.

Which of these possibilities is correct?

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L was killed by a Death Note (Rem's). When someone is killed by a Shinigami's Death Note, the remaining life span is added to the Shinigami's life. This means the life span seen using the Shinigami eyes doesn't account for deaths caused by the Death Note (since that difference is added to their life). The important part of what the Shinigami eyes does for Misa is that she can see L's real name.

  • 5
    This answer is correct, but I think furthermore that even if death note's users can see numbers/symbols representing the lifespan, they cannot understand them anyway. Another important point of Misa shinigami's eyes is that a death note's user cannot see the lifespan of another death note user. This is a way to discover who is also a death note user in the population. – Djaian Apr 7 '13 at 10:16
  • As far as I remember, Rem told Misa how the time system works (and this should even be part of the deal but Rem sure told her precious Misa), however even if the eyes were to show the exact human-time date of death even considering Death Note kills, it is explicitly stated that Misa plain out forgot what she saw that day. She saw countless names and life spans in her time as Kira, was tortured for weeks then still held in the headquarters until they got Higuchi. Do you remember every comment you read at least 2 months ago even without being tortured beyond the will to survive? – hajef May 22 at 17:16

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