The book has some major characters other than Light and Detective L, particularly Misa Amane, Near, Mello, and the Shinigami. Misa Amane is a Japanese model with a burning crush on Light. She has a very ditzy personality, and is always insisting that she and Light had “love at first sight”. However, Light only views her as somewhat annoying, and gets tired of her clingy personality.
Near is very similar to Detective L throughout the story. He even begins to call himself “N”, and has very similar idiosyncrasies. As L stacks sugar cubes, N stacks dice. When L plays with random objects, N also plays with similar things. He is very calm and emotional, and has pale skin.
Mello is an orphan who grew up in a home for “gifted” children. He is very intelligent, but usually is overcome by his emotions. He is usually seen eating bars of chocolate, and has a life goal to surpass L and Near.
Finally, the Shinigami are beings that live in the Shinigami realm. They appear somewhat evil, and are actually very lazy. They spend much of their time gambling, and the only work they really do involves use of the death note. When they get closer and closer to death, they write a human’s name in the death book, and use that human’s life to extend their own. For example, if the Shinigami killed someone who would have lived for forty more years, then they would receive these forty years of life. In this sense, they are immortal. However, true love for a human can kill them. The main Shinigami are Ryuk, Rim, and Sidoh.
The Death Note series is illustrated in all black and white by Takeshi Obata. The effect of the lack of color allows the reader to determine the mood of the page. If the page is of majority black, then it denotes a sense of strong danger, and vice-versa if the page is of majority white. This mood determination also correlates to the evil and good characters. The Shinigami death god is drawn in black attire, with black hair. His notebook is also black, denoting the sense of evil.
According to Scott McCloud, in his book Understanding Comics, the “Big Triangle,” would label illustrations from Death Note as being realistic with iconic representation and a hint of cartoony characters, such as the Shinigami death god. The illustration for Death Note would be place in the middle of the base of the “Big Triangle,” because of the characters resemblance to human beings, yet their over exaggerated facial expressions, make the shift towards the right of the triangle that is a pure cartoon approach to illustration. McCloud would agree that this novel contains a multitude of different scene transitions, most commonly the action to action and scene to scene transition.
McCloud, Scott, Understanding Comics - the Invisible Art HarperCollins 1994