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Shall we begin?
~ Ryuk to Light.
Ohhh yes! A dream! I like that. Dreams are places you can have fun, right? It's all in your mind, so why not enjoy it?
~ Ryuk.
Humans are so... interesting.
~ Ryuk's last words, also the final line in the movie

Ryuk is the secondary antagonist of the 2017 Netflix original film Death Note, which is very loosely based on the anime and manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. He is a Shinigami death god who seeks to deliver the Death Note to a new owner, then stay to watch what happens. As opposed to his original incarnation, which served more as comic relief, this version is much more sadistic and takes pleasure in the death and mayhem he causes.

He was portrayed by Willem Dafoe, who also portrayed the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, John Geiger in Speed 2: Cruise Control, Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox, Lord Cob in Tales From Earthsea, Nikolai Diavolo in 007: All or Nothing, Eric Masters in To Live and Die in L.A., Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire, Raven Shaddock in Streets of Fire, Armando Barillo in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, George Deckert in xXx: State of the Union, and J.G. Jopling in The Grand Budapest Hotel.


Ryuk is first seen encountering Light Turner (the movie adaptation of Light Yagami) after the latter found the Death Note and later gets him to write down the Kenny Doyle's name into it causing him to be decapitated by the ladder on a truck. Ryuk later appears when telling Light more about the Death Note in his room, telling him not to be concerned with the Note's rules when he finds warnings about trusting the Shinigami.

Afterwards, Ryuk is seen in various other scenes floating around in the background, usually commenting on Light and Mia Sutton's attacks being reported on the news and later on how he likes Mia's way of thinking. After several FBI agents commit suicide under the influence of the Death Note, Light accuses Ryuk of killing them, and he, while eating several apples, does not confirm of deny what he did. Once Light threatens to wright his name in the Death Note, Ryuk mocks him by stating that his name has four letters and the most that anyone had ever gotten to was two.

When L suffers a mental breakdown and gets the police to search Light's house after discovering that the latter was committing the murders, knowing they will find the Death Note, Ryuk mockingly laughs, stating that, when he finds the Note a new owner, Light Turner will be the first name he recommends. However, the Death Note was actually safely taken by Mia to ensure this didn't happen.

During the film's climax while Light and Mia were on the Ferris wheel Light begs Mia not to take the note which she promises not to, however Mia takes it from him anyway, much to his dismay since he had written her name in should she have taken it, with both Mia and Light's name in the note Ryuk proceeds to tear apart the Ferris wheel in order to kill them both, Light attempts to save Mia and himself from the fall however they both fall with Mia ripping out his page to save his life. Light then lands safely in the river while Mia lands on a flower stand and dies instantly. Light was put into a coma and the Death Note was retrieved, upon being discovered Light explains mostly everything to his father whilst L breaks into Light's house and discovers the names of all of the FBI agents murdered by Light and Mia on a discarded page of the note, with revenge in mind L proceeds to write Light's name onto the page. Light then sees Ryuk laughing in the corner of his hospital chamber as he comments on how interesting humans are.


Despite the 2017 movie adaptation of Death Note getting mostly negative reviews, Willem Dafoe's portrayal of Ryuk has been praised by fans, and is considered one of the few good things about the movie.





  • Even though Mia Sutton is the main antagonist in Death Note, Ryuk serves as the Bigger Bad because he caused the plot by giving the Death Note to Light Turner and caused Mia to go mad with the Death Note by killing the FBI agents, and causes L to seek revenge against Light for Watari's death.
  • Unlike in previous adaptations where Shinigami simply kill using their Death Note, this version shows that Shinigami actually go out and physically cause the events that lead to the kill.
  • Unlike his original incarnation who ate apples completely, this Ryuk shows a wasteful side to eating apples, throwing them when all but a core remains.


           Death Note 2017 Villains

Antony Skomal | James Brode | Kenny Doyle | L | Light Turner | Mia Sutton | Ryuk

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