The Death Note process began when Ohba brought thumbnails for two concept ideas to Shueisha; Ohba said that the Death Note pilot, one of the concepts, was “received well” by editors and attained positive reactions by readers. Ohba described keeping the story of the pilot to one chapter as “very difficult” and he said that he remembered it took over a month to begin writing the chapter. He added that the story had to revive the killed characters with the Death Eraser and that he “didn’t really care” for that plot device.
Obata said that he wanted to draw the story after he heard of a “horror story featuring Shinigami”. According to Obata, when he first received the rough draft created by Ohba, he “didn’t really get it” at first and he wanted to work on the project due to the presence of Shinigami and because the work “was dark”.] He also said he wondered about the progression of the plot as he read the thumbnails, and if Jump readers would enjoy reading the comic. Obata said that while there is little action and the main character “doesn’t really drive the plot”, he enjoyed the atmosphere of the story. He stated that he drew the pilot chapter so that it would appeal to himself.
Ohba brought the rough draft of the pilot chapter to the editorial department. Obata came into the picture at a later point to create the artwork. They did not meet in person while creating the pilot chapter. Ohba said that the editor told him he did not need to meet with Obata to discuss the pilot; Ohba said “I think it worked out all right”