Light Yagami vs the Evil Overloard List
Inspired by Voldemort vs. the Evil Overlord List, I have basically ripped it off and decided to see how Light Yagami from Death Note, alias Kira, went with respect to The Evil Overlord List. Obviously, spoilers abound.
I am only examining items in the List which actually pertained to Death Note; he didn't have Legions of Terror, anything with ventilation ducts, or a noble half-brother, thus leaving off the first three, for instance. I'm also only doing the first 100; I may look at the others later.
The List, With Notes
4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
I don't think Light ever actually used a gun (see below); on the other hand, he killed everyone who opposed him, as soon as he felt it was reasonably feasible, with the Death Note — a reliable method if ever there was one, with none of this "reasonably inescapable deathtrap" nonsense (but see #23).
5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
He got this one exactly right. In the final arc, though, "a safe-deposit box" was exactly where he put it. He didn't screw this one up — that was entirely Teru Mikami's fault. Of course, he originally kept it in a booby-trapped desk drawer, but in his defense he wouldn't have had access to anything else at the time. ("Hey, dad, can I have my own safe-deposit box?" "Why?" "Uh ... no reason.")
6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
Ooh, so close! He usually gloated over his enemies' predicaments after he killed them. But at the very end, he just had to let loose a little bit of gloating before the heart attacks struck ... (not that this would have helped much, but even so).
7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."
He got this one right, insofar as everyone who knew about Kira already knew what "this" was all about, and Light, as I said above, tended to save gloating and one-liners until they were already clutching their chest.
9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.
If a booby-trapped desk drawer counts as a "self-destruct mechanism", he got this one pretty much spot-on; at that point, he was the only one who knew there was anything there to hide or destroy.
11. I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.
Okay, this one, he really screwed up. First of all, he left lots of clues. Yeah, most of them were bogus ("L, do you know, Shinigami only eat apples"), but he still left them, and he practically flaunted the fact that there was a leak in the police department. Like L says near the beginning, he's a childish sore loser. This really gave him away when dealing with, y'know, everyone who was after him. If he hadn't killed Lind L. Taylor, L would never have known where he was, and might never even have been sure there was any evidence to be found.
That said, he left the rest of the police alive because they posed no threat. Heck, it's clear by Soichiro Yagami's death that Light does not care if his own father lives or dies.1 And what did he care if Near knew that he was Kira? He could have just settled for killing the rest of the police force and letting the world decide that Kira Is Good, when it had already all but done so! He certainly would have lasted longer if he'd killed Matsuda. But if Light Yagami had been openly Kira at that point, and had the Death Note with him the whole time, he would have won.
On the other side of things, I find it ... intriguing that nobody else even considered the possibility that Light was Kira after L died, when they had six years to figure it out.
12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
Hmm. I'm on the fence about this one; Light was supposed to be smart enough that a five-year-old wouldn't be able to realistically understand half his plans, let alone spot flaws. That said, it couldn't hurt to have someone a bit less full of himself and childish (ooh, burn!).
13. All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.
Light didn't need to worry about this one; the Death Note is pretty damn thorough. Higuchi, now — Matsuda got off scott-free just by using an alias ...
14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
He got this right with L. His confrontation with Near, however, was entirely by the latter's arrangement. And we all know how that turned out, don't we?
16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
And whaddaya know: he never did. If Kira wanted to kill you, he already knew everything he wanted, except possibly your name and face.
17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
See, that's another problem: Light didn't have advisors. The concept seemed to sort of elude him. Granted, he was usually the smartest person in the room except when L and Near were around, but still, it wouldn't have hurt to get a little extra input now and then. Uh, from someone other than Misa and Ryuk.
18. I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
19. I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
He got this one right, mostly by dint of being too young to have kids yet, although it's probably fairly unlikely that any beautiful-but-evil daughter would have been particularly attracted to either L or Near. Especially Near ...
20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
Light didn't laugh manically. He smirked. (Well, in the manga, at least; someone who's seen the anime fill me in?)
23. I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.
Another one he did wrong. He really didn't use anything except the Death Note. Granted, it was pretty damn thorough if you knew someone's name and face (and a lot less noisy than a gunshot, with a lot less worry about struggling than anything in the melee range), but it was useless as a weapon when you didn't have one or the other.
27. I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
Well, he did his best to get his hands on every Death Note on Earth, but see #23: he really didn't think to pack heat.
29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
Rather than being the usual kind of Evil Overlord, throughout the entire series his position rested on his identity being unknown (or at least unproven), and either way, he had no justification to dress differently from everyone around him. So while he doesn't obey this one to the letter, he fulfills it in spirit by not dressing like a generic Evil Overlord. It certainly fooled the other people searching for Kira for six years.
32. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
Light really never killed anyone on his own side. Nor, um, did he have more than three at once over the course of the series. (Rem and Ryuk don't count; nor does Higuchi, who was just a random patsy who needed to be relatively easy for L to find.) So that's okay, I guess.
35. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.
See #29; he was trying to remain anonymous to begin with.
38. If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.
In Light's defense, it really wasn't possible for him to have known about Near and Mello until they introduced themselves, so count that as a near-miss. In any event, the minute he did, he started his efforts towards killing them.
40. I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.
He got this one mostly right; he used the Death Note as often as possible. Then again, as I said before, he royally screwed up by not trying to kill the other guys on the Kira case.
47. If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.
If he'd known that Near and Mello were collectively going to be L's spiritual successor, he probably would have iced the kids ASAP (read: once he'd gotten names and faces). That said, again, he pretty much did try to kill Near ASAP.
48. I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
He never actually controlled Ryuk or Rem, and both went out of their way to be vaguely hostile to him to begin with, so this doesn't count. Yeah, he manipulated them each precisely once, with the result that the latter died, but when Ryuk killed Light, it wasn't actually because Light had been mistreating him.
49. If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.
This wouldn't have worked, given the nature of the other Death Notes.
53. If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.
He has just about the opposite problem with Misa. And he still doesn't kill her! (See also #68)
54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being, then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.
Another near miss — he did sort of double-cross Rem, but did so in such a way that it immediately resulted in her death, more or less at her own hands.
57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
Which he did, to the best of his (and Ryuk's) knowledge and ability. And then he found even better ways to use it than the ones explicitly spelled out!
64. I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.
Y'know, like, "a childish sore-loser who is leaving most of his worst enemies alive."
68. I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.
Misa butting her head into things is basically the only reason he's able to kill L, thus "saving his life"; he lets her live, despite how irritating she is. To be fair, she's still useful for a while, but he more or less doesn't bother to do anything else about her. (What exactly was he planning to do if Takada hadn't died?)
72. If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.
This one is pretty much exactly how Near defeated Light.
74. When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.
He got this one right, although considering how damn cheap Near's deductive reasoning is, he might as well have.
85. I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
You know what, all his plans seemed to be horribly complicated, and frankly, they stopped needing to be the minute most of the world powers started supporting him.
89. After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.
Light never acted like this. He knew how precarious his situation was the minute Ryuk told him that someone else who touched the Death Note would see him. He never lowered his guard, until the minute Teru Mikami had written Near's real name in what turned out to be a fake Death Note.
92. If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)
Hah. Like Near would fall for that.
100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.
Who knows what Kira would have done once he'd become the God of the new world ...
1As an aside, this happens only a couple of days after he acquired the Eyes of the Shinigami at most — which means that he would have only lived a few days longer in any case.