Misa Amane: A Character of Failed Potential

April 18th, 2012 in Anime, Rants by

We all know Misa Amane from Death Note as one of the most hated characters in anime (Aw come on! But she’s so cute!). She is pretty much useless, obnoxious, and the yaoi fans damn her for eternity for getting in the way of their precious Light/L ship.

I totally understand where the Misa bashing comes from. When I first watched Death Note and she made her first appearance I was very excited. Finally, a female lead who doesn’t get herself killed an episode later! Then, I was disappointed. Why? Not because she’s so annoying, but because she actually could’ve been a fantastic character. I don’t proclaim to be better than the brilliant writers behind Death Note are, but let’s look at the facts.

What Misa was made to be:

– She is stupid
– She is annoying
– She is completely and utterly obsessed with Light Yagami
– She is extremely immature and bratty

And really that’s about it. There’s no more depth to her in the show. Shame because the characters of Death Note are all very psychologically complex.

But what could have been? Well, picture this, and this is the direction I thought the writers were going in by the way. Misa Amane is not necessarily stupid. She is a lost, hopeless girl who is completely obsessed with Light for delivering justice to her parents’ killers and so many other murderers. She isn’t, though, in love with him because she thinks he’s a good person. She’s actually not even in love so much as she is in lust, and she feels this way because Light is her last hope in life. The tragedies in her life were too much, so Misa formed a fairy tale romance that does not actually exist to escape her traumatic past. She could still be a perky ditz, but now she has some depth to her. On the whole, the writers give no clues or hints that she’s more than just a dumb blonde. They mostly just have Light point out how stupid she is, and she never reveals any emotional complexity. It makes her character very disappointing.

Why is Misa so one dimensional in an anime filled with such complex and three-dimensional characters? Well, I hate to play the sexist card but, here ya go. In an anime with so many super intelligent male characters looking down on the female characters of the show, it’s a shame the writers couldn’t look past stereotypes and dig into something deeper with Misa’s character regardless of her gender.

I personally don’t hate Misa. I guess sometimes I secretly pretend that there’s more to her than there really is. On the other hand, I am just known for liking characters nobody seems to like. As I said, I don’t pretend to be smarter than the writers of Death Note. I’m just arguing that there are many routes they could have taken with Misa and they chose to make her as one dimensional as possible. I suppose for better or for worse we have to accept Misa for the obnoxious, adorable blonde that she is. For the record, despite how annoying she can be, I find her endearing at times.

16 responses to “Misa Amane: A Character of Failed Potential”

  1. Façade says:

    eeeeh, I thought she was okay. She just played the character of the super obeessive fangirl.. who happens to be rich… and have a shinigami 🙂

  2. Cely_belly says:

    Hello Julie! 🙂
    I always did find Misa rather annoying (okay really annoying) but I guess I can agree with your justification for her obsessive compulsory nature.

  3. TisNot says:

    I personally love her character and she is has a very important role in the anime/manga. It’s not a sexist show, though you’d all like to believe it is so you can rant about it.

    • paperfl0wers says:

      I think she’s important to the show too. I just think she could’ve been better and as far as it not being a sexist show that’s your opinion. Mine still stands.

  4. Nipah says:

    I really enjoyed Misa’s character because I found her so important to the show without her L couldn’t of died and Light couldnt of gotten far. I thought the same as you she had so much potential to be an amazing character.

    • paperfl0wers says:

      Yes, I really enjoyed her as well but I do feel like she had the potential to be more psychologically in depth. I don’t like thinking she led L to his death because I love L. 🙁

      • Lindsay Penner says:

        L only died because of the love Rem had had for her and the willingness to sacrifice herself to save Misa’s life. So yes, Misa is the direct cause of L’s death.

  5. Isaac says:

    Terribly late response, but I just started watching the show again. Misa has and probably always will be my favorite character on the show. While as Light and L are so much more complex and intricate in their thoughts and actions, Misa is one of the only characters in the show to avoid the pitfalls everyone else is tripped up by. Not only does she survive and ride off into the sunset, but she does so by embracing a shorter life. In taking the eye deal not once, but twice, she has effectively quartered her life-span. Yet, despite that, she still outlives both L and Light. L and Light, mired in their own brilliance and complexity give rise to a unfortunate truth – life is all about enjoying the little moments for yourself. They spend their time and effort becoming the most capable versions of themselves to beat others instead of to love them. Misa, however misguided her love may be, becomes the most complete (although still twisted; she did murder innocents by the way) to just love somebody. And maybe she loved Light, or just the idea of her savior, but love was definitely present. Maybe I’m reading more into this than I should, but I find the character of Misa to be the reminder to not lose ourselves in reckless ambition, but instead to love the things we can hold close.

    My two cents.

  6. Lindsay Penner says:

    Misa Amane I can honestly say is my perfect dream wife in every way!

    • Façade says:

      lol, im pretty sure you’d get bored of her after a while

      • Lindsay Penner says:

        I thought about that but honestly I doubt it. I’ll admit I most likely wouldn’t pay much attention to her after awhile and in many ways treat her as Light does. However, I would never actually be bored of her. If things were getting lame, it wouldn’t take much to renew it all and being that she would be obsessed over me and willing to do my bidding I can have fun in almost any way I wanted to. People only get bored when they lack the creativity and adventure to prevent it.

        • Façade says:

          I suppose you have a point there… Still, I wouldn’t be able to take someone like that every… single… day… Wish you the best of luck though

  7. Amy Hernandez says:

    Wow all of you people are really dumb to like this ‘character’ i mean what is so good about this dumb show..i tired to watched a few ep and couldn’t because of misa was always an annoying brat. It’s really tiring to see females act soo useless in animes. and this happens to be one of them…

  8. Scratch Gobo says:

    She’s a ditzy genius and that’s how they made her appear in the beginning. Everything you wrote was obviously true from when she was introduced. She was a deep character. But after the time skip, the writers just didn’t know what to do with her any more so they ruined her and made her a dumb stupid blonde and just threw in some sex appeal for no reason. Before L died, she was the best character in the show. After L died is when Misa essentially died, too. The writers had her going great and just ruined her.

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