Kira vs. Dexter

April 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm (Fictional Character Battles) (, , , , )

Serial killers are a staple of fiction. They provide frights, gore and stunning insight into the human mind. Except for the stunning insight into the human mind, because who goes around killing people? I mean, I know I’m tempted, but I’ve got this pesky little thing called a “conscience” that keeps me from doing it. I hate that guy.

Anyway, movies, television and books love serial killers, because they’re scary and interesting. That was my point. Yeah.

And speaking of serial killers, do you know who’s a couple of serial killers? Death Note’s Kira (Light Yagami) and Dexter’s Dexter! Also, they kill bad guys, so that makes for some fun times, right?

The face of evil.

I've got some killin' to do.

On to the bloodbath!

Physicality. A lot of people say Michael C. Hall is really attractive. Now, I’m not saying they’re wrong, just that I think they’re wrong. (So, I guess I’m saying they’re wrong.) Seriously, though, I can see how he would be some folks’s type, what with the whole “rugged” thing he’s got going on, but we all know that the only rugged guy who has a place in my heart is Adam “John Casey” Baldwin. On the other hand, Light “pronounced Raito” “Kira” Yagami is drawn like your stereotypical bishonen (that’s pretty boy, for those of you who aren’t into that genre of manga) and is portrayed as a ladykiller. Not literally. Well, sometimes literally. On the other (third, mutant) hand, he was played by this guy:

I still say his head's too big.

in the live-action film. Winner? The manga Light Yagami. It’s hard not to root for a guy who’s drawn that pretty.

Has a strict moral code? The weird thing about this pair of serial killers is that they both have a strict moral code. Sure, that strict moral code includes “killing certain people is OK,” but it has the proviso of “those people must be bad, evil, killer-types.” Except that they’ve both killed innocent people, so they kind of suck at following their own moral codes. However, Dexter really does try to avoid murdering the so-called “good guys,” while Light Yagami killed a bunch of FBI agents just because he thought one of them might possibly maybe be able to figure out he was Kira, perhaps. Winner? Dexter.

Willing to get his hands dirty? Metaphorically, they’re both willing to get their hands dirty. Ridding the world of murdering scum such as themselves, that sort of thing. However, physically, only Dexter has a traditional serial killing routine, with the slicing and the blood and the plastic tarp or whatever. Light Yagami just writes down people’s names in a magical notebook of death (hence the series’ name, “Death Note”) and they die of heart attacks. If worst comes to worst, he has a henchman do the dispatching. Winner? Dexter.

Killed a detective who got too close to the truth? Light Yagami murdered L. Light Yagami murdered L! Sighhhh …. OK, actually, he didn’t murder the great detective L. He just set things up so that there would be no choice otherwise for another character. (Like I said, he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty.) Similarly, Dexter was not directly responsible for the death of that one detective (I forget his name, but he was the one who said “motherfucker” a lot), but it’s not like he cried when the guy was dead. Winner? Nobody, by a stupid technicality. Otherwise, it would be Kira, because I hate him so much for killing L. *Sniff*

I mean, who kills genius detectives who solve crimes barefoot? That just seems excessive.

Has a father with a realllllly strict moral code? As a matter of fact, yes! Both these killers have daddies who are policemen. Dexter’s dad helped him come up with “the code” by which he lives, which keeps him killing baddies and mostly out of jail. Light Yagami’s father was on the task force charged with identifying Kira. How’s that for irony? It’s ironic! Kira’s his son! That’s really, really irony! Winner? A tie!

Has a better reason for turning to murder as the solution to all life’s problems? As a child, Dexter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and was found pretty much caked in her blood. He didn’t have to turn to serial killing, but it kind of seems like really heavy drugs or a psychotic break are the only other options. Light Yagami was bored. Oh, and he wouldn’t mind making the world a better place, but mostly bored. Winner? Dexter.

Has a useless younger sister? Dexter’s sister is actually useful. She’s a cop and also keeps him from going all completely dark side on the viewers. Light Yagami’s sister is just your regular little sister, except she gets kidnapped and never is quite right after that, so that’s pretty useless, actually. Winner? Light Yagami.

In real life, Michael C. Hall is totally married to his television sister. That's kind of weird.

Cover wife/girlfriend died a tragic death as the result of her husband/boyfriend’s propensity for serial killing? In the Death Note movie, Light Yagami totally kills his girlfriend using the Death Note, so he will look like a wronged innocent. (Don’t ask; it’s very convoluted, but it works.) In the manga, he has two cover girlfriends, one of whom dies before the series is over and one of whom (says the series creator) kills herself when it’s done. Both deaths are because of the Death Note and/or Light Yagami himself. Dexter’s wife totally got murdered by John Lithgow, the serial killer Dexter was stalking but didn’t get around to killing before it was too late. Winner? A tie again.

You totally deserved it, you serial-killing Misa Misa.

Hangs out with a death god? Sorry, folks, Dexter stays firmly in the realm of realistic crime show. No death gods there. Light Yagami, however, spends a lot of his time hanging with the shinigami Ryuk, who dropped the Death Note in the human world, which is what started all the killing in the first place. Winner? Light Yagami.

Death gods are scary.

The tie-breaker question, then: Which serial killer is a braver soul? Dexter isn’t particularly cowardly. He’s got his things that scare him, sure, like getting caught and ruining his family’s lives, stuff like that. But he’s all about horrible, serial-killing justice, and will stop at nothing to achieve it, even if that means facing John Lithgow. (What? He’s scary!) Light Yagami is a whiny coward baby who whines. His death scene is one of the most awesome feats of whininess known to pop culture. He spends a good five minutes pleading for his life, with lots of begging and crying, and it is soooo undignified, you don’t even know. Errrr, spoiler alert. Winner? Dexter.

Overall winner: The guy from the show I don’t even watch! Congratulations, sir!

He's so happy about that.



  1. Tit Farm said,

    Hells to the yes! What a fantastic show! Seriously, i thought it would be bull. but i got all seasons (up to 4, not 5…yet) and dam, im so pleased with it. its also simple. just a simple show with such great moments…

    The annoying wife is now dead..

  2. anonymous said,

    I like dexter and death note but I prefer the latter. Although you try to break down a comparison to see which is better, it’s hard for me to agree to your criteria for awesomeness and that of course is inevitable. kira who although had quite a pathetic end was genius character along with L who is always on Light’s tail. The psychological warfare was better in deathnote imho.

    • lokifire said,

      I can’t believe you have trouble agreeing with my criteria for awesomeness. I thought everyone lived by my code of awesome.

  3. Drizzt said,

    mmmm, a really simple comparisson… I´ll make another to show the difference:
    1. Watch Like Minds movie: Both personalities (Dexter and Kira´s) are represented
    2. Batman Begins: Joker and Two faces: Some part of both personalities are represented

    Who is mightier… One who is merciless, who cares nothing about his/her own safety, but only his/her goals, who wont stop against anything, vicious, devious, charming, but acts basically alone, who makes the stuff with his own hands…
    The other, cold, master manipulator, (More than the previous), uses others to do the stuff, merciless, and pragmatic, cares about his/her safety, vicious, not so charming, but smarter…

    Both are related, I truly wont want to mess with neither of them, particulary the first (With te second you can reason, or at least be useful) Witch the First the only way to fight is to kill him/her…
    However, in a fight against both the latter wins… How perfect kill, no witnesses, no evidence, no tracks… (I must admit, dexter’s type would perform a really hard stance…)

  4. noisyass2 said,

    why did i just come across this now? this maybe a really late reply to a post 2 yrs ago but id like to say this is awesome!
    i agree with you hands down! dexter is more awesome. but i think your tie breaker question isnt fair.. kira did die like a whining baby, but dexter is still ongoing, whos to say he wont die the same?? although i really cant see that from happening to dexter, i couldnt see it happening to kira too..

    • lokifire said,

      My tiebreaker questions are never fair. They always reveal an innate, inner bias I have for the winner. It’s just a flaw of mine I have to learn to live with, I guess.

  5. Nikhil Sunku said,

    Here is my review for your questions (If you could respond that would be sweet :D):

    1) No, disputes, I agree with all of your premises, Light yagami wins.
    2)Again, no disputes, Dexter definitely reveals more of a conscious than Light does.
    3)Willing to get his hands dirty, again I’ll agree with you.
    4) Here is my first disagreement. It is not a tie. Yes, neither of them did the actual killing of each detective, but Light willingly led L to his death. Dexter had no clue that Doakes (the man you are thinking of) even died. Light would have killed L himself had he figured out his name. His intention behind what he did is no different than had he done the crime himself. Plus, I think we can all agree that Doakes doesn’t even compare to L. Winner: Light
    4) Light Yagami wins this one again. Chief Yagami would go to any extent to protect innocent people, even the guilty, from death. Dexter’s father only wanted to keep his son alive. Both were excellent cops, but Harry would not go to the depths that Chief Yagami went to preserve an individual’s right to life. In fact, Harry trained Dexter to be the vigilante that he is.
    5) Tie. No one has a better or worse reason to kill. People have the tendencies that they have. you can say light was just “bored” but that wouldn’t be true. No one forced either one of them to be who they were. The only influences they had to dictate their sociopathic tendencies were encrypted in their DNA regardless of if it was by birth or by traumatic incident at a young age.
    6) Agreed with you.
    7) I hated misa, and I loved Rita. Not her character herself, but what she stood for in Dexter’s eyes. She was the voice of encouragement. She was the counter Harry. Harry said that Dexter couldn’t change. He couldn’t stop his tendencies to murder, however he could channel them to the people who deserved to die. Rita’s voice was a voice of encouragement. Even though she did not know Dexter’s secret, She believed in him. She showed Dexter that he was capable of more and gave him a reason to beat his “Dark Passenger.” Plus Misa killed herself. While we can say it is Light’s “fault” a suicide is a suicide. Winner: Dexter
    8) I don’t even know if one could argue with you if they wanted too lol.
    9) I disagree with your “wanting to make the world a better place” for Dexter’s motive. Dexter is a sociopath. That idea is his cover to kill. he enjoys killing. he needs killing. He subtly reveals over and over again that the premise of “wanting to make the world a better place” is more of an idea than what his actual heart is for. And no, I also disagree with you in the story of Lithgow. Dexter had many moments to kill him, yet he didn’t. Not because he cares about Lithgow, but because he believed Lithgow could show him how to live a normal life with a family and be a serial killer. It had nothing to do with justice, or a conscience. Dexter made a mistake and thought Lithgow was someone that he wasn’t and paid the price for it. It was not heroic. It’s a tie. neither of them are the “braver” soul. Winner: Light Yagami

    • lokifire said,

      You put a lot of thought into all of that, and, since I wrote this a couple years back, I really haven’t. So … uh, sorry, my reply is so lame, but thanks for reading.

  6. kickass said,

    they both are completely different . light kills people because he wants the world to be a better place . but dexter kills because of his urge to kill. he
    choose bad guys cause no one will miss them and so he woudn’t get caught .

    • lokifire said,

      Well, “completely different” except for the whole killing people thing, sure, I guess.

  7. BattleInformant said,

    Wait…. what? This reasoning is backwards, unless you mean based on what makes a better character, as a Death Batte? This is ridiculous lol, lemme explain why:
    Wait a Moral code = better in a battle? I would think the lack of one would be better, no restrictions…. you have a strange and backwards way of thinking about a battle, Light Yagami would win due to the fact that the Death Note is absolute, your name enters that book, you die, very quickly, also being brave doesn’t account for strength, infact being a coward can actually be a benefit, knowing you are outclassed in say hand to hand and such would only make you even more careful. Fear isn’t a useless animal emotion that humans have, irrational fear is and that is what you have to get over but true fear based on real things is very healthy if you want to survive.
    Dexter is physically stronger and has got down and dirty with more graphic and physical encounters however those who don’t need are clearly more intelligent, don’t be mistaken however, Light is infact an athlete and he has created his own little devices to make sure of his own safety, usually practical and overlooked things (even by L)
    That girlfriend one, how is that even? Idk… i think after reading that i was sure it was merely a personal preference fight for YOU rather than a battle using realistic factors, this contributes nothing to a fight, infact if anything it supports Lights ability to sacrifice what he needs to in order to win

    Though i could have misinterpreted this as why you prefer them rather than a battle as i’ve said, if so this should be renamed

    • lokifire said,

      Yes, I should rename all my fictional character battles because one very literal-minded person discovered one of my really old posts.

  8. Mire said,

    I don’t mean for a super late reply but, this isn’t even a versus. Its just you giving your opinion of why you liked Dexter or why you think Dexter is better. It was just filled with bias reasons and completely unrealistic

    • lokifire said,

      Yeah, hi, Mire! Welcome to the Internet, land of biased reasons and missing punctuation.

  9. Anaphax said,

    I find the main difference between Kira and Dexter is that Dexter starts off lacking empathy at the beginning of the show and gradually gains it throughout, becoming more human.
    Light starts off psychologically normal (empathetic, genuinely concerned for the state of the world) and progressively loses his empathy, gradually becoming a psychopath at the end of his show (willing to kill his own sister without hesitation at the beginning of the second part).
    With Kira, his de-humanisation allows him to become more successful and efficient at what he does. As for Dexter, his “humanisation” becomes more of an obstacle to his activities. However, neither of them succeeds.

    Two opposite processes, both ending in the downfall of the protagonist, regardless (or rather, due to) the changes they experience.

    Maybe these two shows show us that attempting to change yourself into something you are not is a grave mistake, regardless of the moral nature or motive behind such a change. Both of these characters denied themselves, their identity for the sake of something else and as a result they and everything close to them suffered the consequences.

    Dexter is shown that his attempts to develop real relationships with others, no matter how close to fruition, lead to death anyway, and it seems his mentor Doctor Vogel was right about him being “perfect” as a detached and calculating killer, with his own place in the world being what he always was.
    Light would have had a great future as a detective (which was mentioned in the show) if he had remained who he was: a normal, concerned, an extremely intelligent young man. His attempts to change the entire world at the expense of his relationships and emotions led to the death of everyone that could have helped him, and only fueled his narcissism and god complex, ultimately leading him to overestimate himself and underestimate his adversaries.

    So I guess the lesson is: stay who you are.

    • Nicky said,

      Lights down fall was not due to his personality change or lack of empathy. It was due to mikami.

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