The Modern Sherlock: L Lawliet
Even if you put L in a deerstalker cap and have him smoke a cigar, it’s still hard to imagine the similarities between our lovable genius freak and the celebrate Holmes. But as a fan of both fictional sleuths, I find it easy to point out the things that make then undeniably common to each other.
To begin with, let me state the most obvious fact: THEY ARE INTELLECTUAL CRIME SOLVERS. The occupation gives them an immense mental satisfaction. Holmes is a proactive thinker and a man of action who goes in his way to achieve the truth hence the success of a case. He is also quite picky in his choice of cases. L has the same characteristics in his line of work. He is intuitive and creative in the way he puts himself out there, performing feats of mind games to get a desired result. He also chooses cases that interest him. The most important thing to take note is the timeline they belong to respectively. Holmes is the great detective of the Victorian Era and L is of our modern world. Despite the century gap, they represent the type of justice that never crosses a specific line but bends the rules for the name of it.
To those who followed his long, successful career, you will know why he is the kind of man who deserves utmost respect, if not admiration. He is a bit quirky himself but remains as a well-bred gentleman of the Victorian class. Holmes started his detective career when he discovered the passion he has for deduction and mental work. He started little; organizing strategies and patterns of what we may call now as methods for Forensic science. He is a very keen observant and his studies are for the improvement of his skills. He only acquires knowledge that would equip him for his work. We have already established the fact that he’s a real catch of a genius so how about his person? Well, Holmes has a share of peculiarities. His associate, friend and chronicler Watson described him as “a man of reclusive and often unpredictable habits.” Holmes’ mind, according to the great detective himself, “rebels at stagnation,” and that he “abhors the dull routine of existence.” It makes Holmes often unable to deal with commonplaces and gets depressed when there is no mystery to unravel. To the extremity, he even used cocaine, an injected seven-percent solution (not failing to mention that he’s a chain-smoker). Holmes was speculated to be a ‘woman-hater’ but many circumstances begged to differ, especially his suspicious ‘sentiments’ for Irene Adler. However, Holmes is not one to pry on emotions and that makes him even more calculating and sharp.
L is probably incurably unique. He knows how to play mind games and he is quick to judge a character readily. His ways of scrutinizing a case is just unbelievably precise and he goes out there to face danger when it calls for it. Like Holmes, his personality is of that odd quality. He sits, eats and walks n ways only he could do. His irregular practices isolate him from common crowds. In summary, he’s a riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma. There is no end to what he could be and could do.
The most noticeable trait common to both detective is their ORAL FIXATION. L is to glucose as Holmes is to nicotine. They get to stimulate themselves in unusually long periods of time by oral intake. You could tell L uses his addiction to sweets to help him get through mental exercise. Holmes smokes his cigars while thinking through the case. They could also be lousy sleepers. Since both intellects are men of action during the night, they both exhibit lazy and languid manners during the day. But once motivated and excited by a discovery, they become very brave and confident. Combine that energy to their faculties of intellectual brilliance and you have a case solved.
Working styles and habits
Now why do I say our beloved L is the modern Sherlock? Well, Holmes did come first and he was tenacious for his perfection in skills. There was no advanced technology back then so Holmes, in a sense, becomes a multi-tasking, crime-solving machine. He is a good actor too so he dons disguises to investigate. He works alone, having Watson as a companion in cases. He gets constantly threatened by culprits and enemies. He has to invent new methods to approach a mystery. Now that is why I like the Sherlock Holmes series. You can see he is more than just a brain; he has to work really, really hard to attain success in his cases. His services don’t come quite cheap, mind you. But if your case is overwhelmingly perplexing then Holmes will vigorously shake your hand since he is in for the enigma and everything that follows it. No need to pay him at all!
L, on the other hand, is a mind who hides in the shadows. He never appears publicly and he lets the police o all the action. He sits on the armchair and eats cakes. But that doesn’t make him less credible. Just look how he approached mass murderer Light Yagami and played his cards right, staking his reputation and even his life. He thinks rapidly for a solution, tries it out and then confronts his subject. He is definitely a risk-taker. Even though rarely out, you could see his passion and determination to win and take action to achieve so.
Values and ambition
Now after all the comparisons, it all comes down to their sense of justice. Both Sherlock Holmes and L Lawliet are pursuing a justice that, although flawed and ambiguous, ends up benefiting most people. L takes dubious methods to attain evidences just like Holmes. L proved Kira’s existence by letting him execute a convicted criminal posing as him in national television. L tortures Misa Amane during interrogation. He almost tested the Death Note himself. Holmes went his way to pretend he was poisoned so he could prove that his suspect tried to kill him. He married a maid of a con artist he was trailing. He also hangs around morphine dens to spy on particular individuals. There is no limit to their actions and they will cross lines to search for the truth. But they do possess a humanitarian goodness that is incomparable.
L is generally good-natured if not inclined to deceit. He is also quite childish and rarely sociable. Now here comes the contrast: Holmes, being a strict Victorian, is chivalrous and well-mannered. He accommodates women with proper pleasantry. L is a true anti-social. He doesn’t enjoy human contact and he even proclaims that Light Yagami is his first friend. And we don’t have to discuss his appearance. All in all, Holmes and L are both individualistic. Whether they are lonely with their reclusive existence, it’s evident that they find personal fulfillment in being workaholics.
Watari and Watson (Trusted Companions)
Holmes would remain inhuman and too calculating if it wasn’t for Dr. Watson, the narrator of the Sherlock Holmes stories. He provides a lighter shade and even comic relief. He also takes care of Holmes when he becomes too much preoccupied with work that he doesn’t eat or sleep. Likewise, Watari is the only trusted companion of L. He arranges his cases, his choice of meal and even the smallest, mundane tasks. He is the famous inventor Quillsh Wammy who found L somewhere and took care of him ever since. Think Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Watson and Watari share great affection for their phlegmatic detective and never leave their sides.
Naomi Misora and Irene Adler (female acquaintances)
It’s pretty difficult to establish the relationship of these women with the detectives (because fickle fanon will trump canon facts sometimes, where fans are concerned). In summary, Irene Adler was Holmes’ counterpart who has outsmarted him and earned his respect, dubbing him as “The Woman.” Naomi Misora seems very qualified for L’s professional expectations and spoke highly of her as well. Not to mention both women care rumored ‘love interests’ in their respective fandoms.
Beyond Birthday, Light Yagami, Professor Moriarty (Dark nemeses)
It’s common knowledge that Professor Moriarty is Holmes’ greatest foe. I find it hard to select between B and Light Yagami as L’s nemesis. B was no doubt the exact copy of L who can match him but Light Yagami manages to have L killed. Professor Moriarty was also the death of Holmes. I believe in some aspects, both B and Light Yagami are worthy of the title as L’s greatest foe. And how badly we wish that L was resurrected just as Holmes was revealed to have survived when we al l thought he was dead.