Death Note wouldn’t have had such a monumental impact in the anime world if not for its characters. These two main characters are Light Yagami and L. The series did a great job of showcasing each character’s personality and opposing ideals. Naturally, they were considered enemies. But fans can’t help but wonder: what exactly is Light and L’s relationship?
Note the word ‘exact’. L and Light’s relationship were never portrayed as strictly enemies. There were instances that there is more to their relationship than what meets the eye. After all, they have this unique chemistry that somehow complicated their relationship with each other. In this article, a reference to their similarities and interactions in the anime can answer the question.
L and Light were the ones moving the Kira investigation onward. Although L was pretending to seek Light’s help because he was already suspecting the latter, L still considered his deductions. They were both capable of thinking steps way ahead than the rest of the investigation team. Only the both of them were fully aware of the big game they were playing. They easily understood each other’s thinking when it comes to analyzing. This is the reason why a lot of fans still debate who was more intelligent.
Since they were considered enemies in the anime, one could consider that both L and Light view each other as a worthy opponent. An opponent worth their time.
Aside from their similar intelligence, they were also very determined to achieve their goals. L even noted that the both of them were ‘childish’ as they hated to lose the game. They will do anything just to win. Light even killed non-criminals so that no one would get in his way. L resorted to criminal methods like torturing Misa Amane or teaming up with con artists just so he could get his way. They were also both capable of manipulation – using the people around them as their pawns.
This was best exemplified in the tennis scene. They both share a fiery sense of determination to win. They also try to predict what the other was planning to do next, which basically sums up their relationship in a nutshell.
This is the period wherein Light temporarily forgot his memories of being Kira. Therefore, he never saw L as a threat or someone he wanted to kill. Their relationship became somewhat friendly as L’s suspicions of Kira were re-directed. He still remained wary of Light though, and wanted to insist that the latter was Kira. So their relationship can be considered ‘frenemies’, evidenced when they engaged into physical fights. But it is important to note they were still working together, and it went well.
One could say that this might have happened if Light never became Kira in the first place. He might have ended up working with L genuinely, as his father was the chief policeman. They might even become actual friends if Light never discovered the Death Note.
The Rain Scene
This is one of the significant scenes in the series. This occurred right before L died. He and Light had a conversation during the rain.
L asked Light a haunting question: “Have you been telling truths ever since you were born?” L referred this to their similarity: they were both terrific liars. As mentioned previously, they were both capable of manipulating others. They were both willing to lie just to get what they want. They were both deceptive to hide their true identities – their true selves. But of course, Light denied their similarity and said a play-safe answer that everyone lies.
It can be assumed that L was revealing a much more vulnerable side of his in this scene. The question intended towards Light was something raw. L also pointing out their similarity may be akin to L feeling a sense of kinship.
In the earlier episodes, L said that Light was the first friend that he ever had, although this was most likely a lie. This scene, however, differed from that. L could be possibly be trying to reach out to Light from his true self here. He wanted to feel related to someone.
Cleaning Feet Scene
This is the scene that most likely raised some eyebrows. This is the point where the audience truly questioned the nature of L and Light’s relationship. They were not enemies truly set in stone, and this scene is the pinnacle.
L offered to massage and dry off Light’s feet. Light looked incredulous at first, but he allowed L to dry and massage his feet. Light, in turn, dried off L’s wet hair. Then the scene became symbolical with its emotional music. It is telling the audience something.
Considering that Death Note incorporated religious imagery in the anime, it is not far off that the scene was meant to be a Biblical reference. It parallels Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, which includes Judas. Judas was the one who betrayed him later on, which led to Jesus’ death. Jesus, on His part, washed his disciples’ feet as a sign of his humility and service.
It is similar to L and Light’s situation. L washing Light’s feet is an indication of him accepting his defeat by humbling himself.
What L said afterwards are interesting, “It would be lonely, won’t it? You and I will be parting ways soon.” There was a moment between the two of them. Light almost seemed like he had let his guard down. He was staring at L like he had never seen the latter before. There was a tinge of humanity in his eyes for a bit.
L and Light felt connected with each other more than they wanted to admit. They were the sides of the same coin. They were each other’s equals. Both were too intelligent for people, hence they never felt close nor related to anyone. The world is too boring and predictable for them, and they gave each other a sense of thrill. A break from the loneliness they actually harbor deep inside.
It is important to note that after L died, Light seemed to miss him. He almost imagined L sitting on his usual chair. Although this only lasted for a bit, it is still significant in defining L and Light’s relationship.
From the story standpoint, they were enemies. From the character standpoint, their relationship was complicated but they have this connection that no one would understand. Basically, if Light never became Kira, he and L would have been best friends. It is a tragic relationship that could have been something positive if things turned out different… if Light never discarded his humanity to be Kira.