Mischievous and cunning, L Lawliet from Death Note is arguably one of anime's most famous detectives for his well-known intellectual battle with Kira. In fact, his character has become a model that inspired many anime detectives in recent years. Not only are these detectives highly intelligent, but life is like a game of chess to them.
Some of anime's most iconic detectives possess intellectual skills that far surpass the average person. Not only can they analyze clues that most people overlook, they mentally plan far ahead and stay on their toes. As a result, solving cases is little more than fun to them. Here's how L and other famous anime detectives are connected.
Bungou Stray Dogs' Ranpo Has Similarities to Death Note's L
Wits and intelligence were L's greatest strengths in Death Note. Obvious tricks don't fool him, and he could analyze the deeper meanings of trivial clues that the police ignored. He has a habit of second-guessing information presented and thoroughly analyzing evidence. As a secretive individual, L is naturally meticulous and overly skeptical.
While it is common in literature and in media for detectives to be intelligent, L's character created an expectation of how smart a detective needs to be to attain success. Many detectives modeled after L have extraordinarily high IQs and are a prodigies of sorts. For example, Edogawa Ranpo from Bungou Stray Dogs takes after L in wits. Despite being the only individual in the Armed Detective Agency without a special ability, Ranpo prides himself on being the smartest agent. Though he claims to have an ability called "Super Deduction," Dazai proved this false; Ranpo is "merely" a natural genius.
Ranpo is able to solve a case that police dismissed due to lack of evidence. He analyzed small details of his surroundings and came up with the crime's perpetrator within minutes. L accomplished similar feats throughout Death Note. While some of his methods seemed excessive, L's thoroughness and critical analysis ultimately led him to discover Kira's true identity. Anime detectives who came after him followed suit in valuing details, caution and confidence in their intelligence.
Detectives Like L and Moriarty May Use Underhanded Methods to Win
At times in Death Note, L was willing to act as a villain to catch Kira. In addition to analyzing clues, L sometimes used underhanded methods such as misinformation and bluffs to spite his targets. His actions could be due to his cautious nature, but with his suspicion of Light Yagami being Kira, L couldn't outright accuse him without solid proof. L knew Kira was an intelligent individual, and only by using multiple tactics could he possibly stand a chance of catching his target.
William James Moriarty from Moriarty the Patriot takes after L in terms of wits. When he was a child, adults were amazed by Moriarty's intelligence because he could already speak a second language, read complex books and solve advanced math problems. However, Moriarty teeters more toward using dirty methods to achieve his goals, creating calculated crimes to abolish the class system.
L and Moriarty believed what they were doing was right and used any means necessary to achieve their goals. While Moriarty's character is somewhat morally gray, he embodies L in his thorough planning and always remaining two steps ahead of his opponents. Moriarty's cautious nature allowed him to toy with Sherlock Holmes and lead the police astray, and many other anime detectives act similarly to outsmart their foes. While their actions may not always be ethical or moral, sometimes mentally embodying the enemy will allow the detective to catch them.
L Treated His High-Stakes Battle With Kira Like a Game
Death Note's L solved his cases as if he were trying to win a game, utilizing caution and never acting hastily. He always through his plans through before making his next move, and his smarts posed the biggest threat to Kira's plans since he wasn't easily fooled or swayed from his work. L's extremely cautious behavior made him question everything; later anime detectives tend to embody this trait as well and don't trust people easily.
L knew his opponent's strengths and carefully made calculated moves to try to catch them. While playing the game of hide-and-seek, L would place traps and try and lure Kira into exposing themselves. L had long suspected Light to be Kira and plotted ways to confirm his suspicions. He used a false name to trick Light into using the Death Note to kill a celebrity, and crucially laid plans for young Near take over in case L himself ever died. L played the game with many plans to be ready in case one backfired.
Many detective characters following L from Death Note embody some of the same personality traits and characteristics. They are overly analytical individuals who tread with strict caution, but likewise aren't beneath using underhanded methods to ensnare their target. By following in L's footsteps, future anime detectives can successfully achieve their goals and defeat their foes with intelligence.