Foreknowledge in Death Note

June 10, 2006


In Death Note (I've read all the volumes published so far – up to 5), the shinigami (death gods, one named Ryuk is pictured above) live in another realm, where they watch the human world from afar. Their existence appears to be quite pointless. They spend their days talking, watching, wasting away. What makes them death gods is, of course, their ability to take the lives of humans. To do this, they write the human's name in their Death Notes, notebooks like the one below:

death note notebook

This notebook is the only way to keep the shinigami alive. To extend their lifespan, they must continue to kill humans. This is how it works: A shinigami's eyes are special – they can see the name of a human and the date of his death. If the shinigami's eyes were pointed at me, and my date of death were June 10, 2016, he could write my name in his death note, and he would gain 10 years of life. Original date of death – date that killed = years added to shinigami's life.

I find this a bit confusing. First, who set the original date that the person would die? Second, if this date was set by an all-knowing being, why was the first date set, and not the date of the actual killing by the shinigami, which is the true date all along? What kind of weird foreknowlege thing is going on here?

Anyway, you should all watch the Death Note trailer.


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