L’s Spirit is believed by some to have appeared at the end of the Death Note anime.
In the final Death Note anime episode 'New World', Ryuk writes Light's name down in his Death Note, killing him. However, just before Light died there is a scene of what looks to be the spirit of L appearing in front of Light as he is dying on a stairway while the ending credits of the episode are playing.
It is questionable to whether the image of L is supposed to be his spirit or just meant to be Light hallucinating, thinking L finally defeated him. In the Death Note universe it is confirmed by the writer Tsugumi Ohba that there is no heaven and hell, and even no afterlife for humans when they die. Humans just go to Mu (nothingness) becoming non-existent.
However, because of the fact that there are continuity differences between the Death Note anime and manga, some fans believe that the anime creators were trying to offer an alternative conclusion to the story line, where a possible afterlife could exist. A closure on L's death even, considering how many people were disappointed and unwilling to accept his demise. In the anime, Ryuk specifically says that the one who uses the death note cannot go to heaven nor hell, alluding to the fact that in the anime itself, there is such a thing of an afterlife to a varying degree. He tells Light this at the very beginning of the anime when he first possesses the Death Note. This is to clarify to him that, in essence, this is the only life he will experience, because he won't be able to have an afterlife of any kind.
It may also be possible that the entire thing about "Mu" is a lie deliberately fabricated by the Shinigami. This theory is highly supported considering that Light Yagami is widely thought to have been reincarnated as a Shinigami, possibly along with other Death Note users. Which would then mean that whether or not L is in heaven or hell is a question left to be debated.
The evidence that the image of L was intended to be the spirit of L is that:
- The appearance of L in front of him seemed to have been intended to regard the memories of the friendship between the two back in the first arc of the Death Note storyline. As well, it could also imply that L was Light's friend and he wasn't going to let him die alone, implying the motives of an afterlife.
- Light was seen dying halfway up a flight of stairs, which symbolized that he couldn't go to heaven nor hell, also implying the motives of an afterlife.
- Sunshine shines down from behind the image of L, implying what could be the possible light of Heaven.
- It is also a mirroring of how Light saw L die. When L died, Light was certain he had won, but as Light dies, L is basically saying that not only did he always know he was Kira, but that even after death, he won.
- This ending itself, with L’s image, is actually exclusive to the anime and did not happen in the manga.
The anime creators have never confirmed why exactly they developed an alternative ending for the anime to Death Note, or even what the image of L is supposed to represent. This has been left for fans to decide for themselves what the possible reasons were for this alteration.