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Death Note Short Stories: Do They Hold Up to the Original?

Death Note Short Stories is the newest addition to the Death Note universe, published in Japan in February 2021, and releasing in English during May 2022. The single volume is a compendium of six individual stories. Death Note Short Stories volume adds new insight into the universe of L and Kira. Not only does the volume bring all the illustrated short stories from the Death Note universe together in one volume, but it is also the official English debut of the newest addition, the “a-Kira” story.

Before getting to the meat of the stories, or what they add to the Death Note universe, some context is required to understand the collection. While there is a brand-new short story featured in the volume, many of the other short stories were released at other points in time during Death Note’s original serialization. Despite some of these stories existing for years before this collection’s publication, this is the first time they’ve been collected into a cohesive release.Starting at the beginning with the “C-Kira” story, which is supposed to take place three years after the last volume of the original Death Note manga takes place, it follows Near and a new “Kira” that Near would then label “C-Kira”. The story is about another shinigami who tries to replicate Ryuk, bringing another Death Note down to Earth. This does not go according to plan and the extra notebook ends up in Ryuk’s hands.

The next and newest addition is the “a-Kira” story, which takes place immediately after the events of the last story where Ryuk has obtained another Death Note. This story explores a different way the Death Note can be used. The main character, Minoru Tanaka, also known as “a-Kira”, refuses to take advantage of the Death Note’s killing abilities, instead pulling a media stunt and sell the supernatural notebook to the highest bidder. While there isn’t much action in this installment, there is quite a bit of lore added to the universe of the Death Note. There are also plenty of cameos from fan-favorite characters such as Near, and depictions of how Light Yagami changed the world.

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