The two series are quite enigmatic and strong on their own, but what truly escapes to catch our attention sometimes is the degree of similarities but at the same time some cliched differentiation between the two. Having been grown up with a strong impact of both worlds, I can say that one cannot get enough of the best of both worlds but sometimes having been under influence this strong you are bound to do some comparison and matchmaking.
Both series revolve around the basic mind war between the two strong parties and how the coin flips from one single stroke. A criminal consultant vs consultant detective and how they grow on each other, and a story of high school genius vs secret intelligence caught up in the celestial war with a different view of right and wrong has an impact on us all and has altered ours believes as a person all along. Keeping in mind such an overpowering concept let’s all take a moment and see what are the similarities and differences between the two most addictive and mysterious series of all time.
1. Similarity: Getting High
Both L and Sherlock have a lot in common to think about starting from their crime-solving passion and love. Married to their jobs and devoted to their intelligence to solve a crime, the two are significantly resourceful and amazing in stopping crime. But with such high passion you need a distraction to lower the adrenaline rush and the more difficult the mystery gets the more you have to put up to.
In the case of Sherlock, he was constantly shown addicted to smoking and even drugs at some point in his life (keeping in mind how no one trusted him when it came to drugs and always ended in him peeing in a cup). But his true kick or natural high was by solving crimes, especially the complex ones, that’s one of the reasons why Moriarty became his biggest competitor and challenge, and yet somehow, he enjoyed the little game, in the beginning, the GAME WAS ON!
As far as L is concerned, he was usually shown eating something sweet all the time and was addicted to the same. He was always seen as a bit restless, which could be blamed on the sugar-rush but some part of it was also related to the thrill of solving the crime. Light challenged his intellect and believes and the more complex the case got, the more the high of solving it.
2. Difference: Ego Level
With great power comes great responsibility and in the case of L and Sherlock, the level is quite high. The two characters might be in the same field, more or less, yet the perception of them themselves is quite different.
Sherlock is always shown as someone who has a high level of pride in his skills and is often seen gloating about the same. He hates when people question his intellect or disagree with him, which proves that he has a pretty high ego level and the same is proven by him a million times in the series.
But L always listens in silence and keeps in mind others’ points of view too (at least listen to them without commenting on it). When he hits the dead end, he finds no shame in gaining Light’s help to solve the case and doesn’t think of himself as the most superior of them all just because he has got some skills.
3. Similarity: Cat and Mouse Chase
The basic concept of the two series is quite the same if we look at it from the surface. The good guy against the bad guy and the two constantly after each other in a cat and mouse chase.
Sherlock and Moriarty are shown as quite a chase where one outsmarts the other by a single move as if the world was their chessboard. Whereas, L and Light are shown in a chase in the dark, where one purely fights from his wit while the other one from his nerve. Both of them take chances and try to win the battle from the unknown and yet savvy.
4. Difference: Moriarty’s and Light’s perception
The two most powerful villains of all time and yet the two vary a lot, one major difference being their motives even though their actions were the same.
Moriarty saw himself as a criminal only who committed crimes for fun or rather consulted them since he was the criminal consultant. He didn’t believe in peace and justice and wanted to eradicate the same by defeating Sherlock.
On the other hand, Light didn’t see himself as a criminal but as a human form of justice where he thought that it was his duty to eradicate the crime by granting death to the accused. His obsession with it got so intense that he ended up killing the innocent and got lost in the path of power and hunger.
5. Similarity: The Invincible Villains
Even though Light and Moriarty were quite sufficient alone, but when they joined hands with Ryuk and Euros respectively they became invincible and quite an epic pairing to remember forever. Every criminal need a henchman and these two were just the same.
As for Moriarty, it was pretty clear that he can defeat Sherlock by the end of season1 although when Euros made an entry, we realized that he needed her to make him suffer. The two were able to destroy Sherlock’s little world and everyone near it as their wit and act were beyond anyone’s imagination even Sherlock’s! After all, it did take them just 5 minutes to do all that to him.
Although Ryuk was never of much help as he was simply there because he was bored, he also proved himself quite useful on some occasions. The light was smart enough to outsmart the cops but to defeat L he needed an alliance and Ryuk proved to be a good one after all a death god by your side does serves some profit. Spying for all the hidden cameras and seeing if someone’s following, etc, Ryuk did make quite a team with Light.
6. Difference: Fame
Getting the love and fascination of the audience and getting recognized and named to be the best for the same is quite a dream. But not everyone follows the same. Sherlock and L had a bit of a different perception about it.
Sherlock always showed that he hated the fame at least in the starting he did. But once John started to blog about his every single case and how brilliantly his mind worked, he secretly started to like that attention and recognition. He even identified himself with the hat, which was just a mere accident initially, after all, he is Sherlock Holmes, he wears the damn hat!
Whereas L hated fame all along. He didn’t even let the police force to see his face, he never even told his real name to anyone. The only person he told to from the outside world became the very cause of death later on. He didn’t let the media get to him and was not interested in any kind of recognition what so ever.
7. Similarity: Logical Arena
The two shows were highly power-packed and strongly wit based. Solving crimes and fighting against the unknown in the world, makes a show unique and exceptionally interesting to watch. The two series are also dealing with something like that which makes it very pleasant to watch. The two characters are shown with quite a character difference yet the similarity between the two is quite remarkable, and one greatest of it is the intelligence.
Even though the two main leads don’t share the same level of intellect and observatory skills the two still are quite remarkable and irreplaceable in their way. Logic is their highest point and greatest ally, and the same is maintained throughout.
8. Difference: Phantom Realm
I believe the greatest difference between the two series is the introduction of the celestial world. While Sherlock is constantly shown as someone who is not really religious or doesn’t hold a god complex either, death-note specifically shows the involvement of one and revolves around supernatural power and beings. Hence making both of them unique and enjoyable.