How Smart Is Light Yagami in Death Note?

How Smart is Light Yagami in Death Note Light
Credit: Madhouse

How Smart is Light Yagami in Death Note Light
Credit: Madhouse

How smart is Light Yagami in Death Note? More importantly, is he smarter than L?

In action-filled anime, there's a lot to say about characters' powers. Sometimes, it's relatively easy to pinpoint the strongest and most powerful.

Intelligence, on the other hand, can be a bit harder to measure. There's no doubt that Light is one of the smartest characters in anime, and many died because of it.

How Smart Is Light in Death Note?

How Smart is Light Yagami in Death Note 1
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Credit: Madhouse

Unfortunately, Light's exact IQ isn't known, as it's never mentioned if he got tested for it. He is, however, considered a genius even in-universe, and he did well in all that he would ever undertake (apart from being a decent human post-Death Note acquisition).

Fans have often discussed just how smart Light is, with some even suggesting that his IQ might be over 200. However, this has not been confirmed.

Even the likes of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein had IQs of about 160.

Light never really made an important contribution to any scientific field, nor any major discovery, though he is definitely academic-minded and a stellar student.

What Are Light's Strengths in Intelligence?

Light's Strengths in Intelligence
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Credit: Madhouse

Light's true talent is investigating and concealing a crime, and it takes a lot of intelligence and deceit to get away with things for as long as he did.

In the additional manga material Death Note 13: How to Read, Light's intelligence is measured as 9/10.

Other quantifiables on the list include initiative, creativity, and interpersonal skills.

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So, Who Is Smarter: Light or L?

How Smart is Light Yagami in Death Note 2
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Credit: Madhouse

For fans wondering how smart L is, Death Note 13: How to Read measures L's intelligence as 8/10, which is one point less than Light's. Such a measurement, however, should be taken with a grain of salt.

L scores higher than Light in other parts of the list such as initiative (remember, Light is brilliant but perpetually bored).

Ultimately, more than intelligence itself, what matters the most is what one does with it. Learning to apply skills smartly is something that can be cultivated.

Apart from the Death Note 13 list, there is no other official answer about Light's intelligence in comparison to L's, and fans can't seem to agree.

Light Yagami vs. L Death Note
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Credit: Madhouse

It doesn't help that those fans' arguments are colored by their personal preference, as those who love one of the two geniuses will often hate the other.

Light was able to outsmart L, resulting in the latter's death, though one can argue that there were other factors at play.

For instance, L wasn't aware that Light had supernatural help from a shinigami until it was too late, so it can be argued that if he was aware of Death Note's mechanics from the beginning, he might have stood a chance.

At the end of the day, character intelligence will always be harder to measure than other abilities, but no one can argue that Death Note's characters are not among the smartest.

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