What was great drama for us was fundamentally the story of her entire family's destruction. Yet she is last seen standing strong, mothering in the ruins of shinigami boredom and all it wrought upon her home, kith and kin. Pushing her traumatized daughter Sayu in her wheelchair through a park.
We too watched only until we were bored. Or the instalments ended and there was no protagonist left to kill. Then like shinigami ourselves, we flew away to manga and anime pastures new. Finding other sources of entertainment, leaving the character to continue on with her strolls in the park. Caring, because what else was there for her to do? Scream? Sob? Collapse under the grief and sorrow for the cards that life dealt her?
Frankly, she doesn't seem the sort.
Sachiko Yagami, Strong Woman of Death Note
My copy of Death Note 13: How to Read says of Sachiko that she's a 'strong woman who stays by Soichiro's side and supports him through thick and thin. She's a dutiful wife and does her best to keep her family from falling apart during the Kira investigations.'
Alongside it a caption to a manga panel reads, 'worn out by the stressful fight with Kira, Soichiro receives encouragement from Sachiko until the very end'.
However, it seems there are different editions and translations of this tome. Another one is reproduced left. Here the wording slightly, and very subtly, differs.
The panel caption is now worded, 'when Soichiro had his doubts about his decisions in the Kira's case (sic), Sachiko was at his side, urging him to see it to the end.' Which makes her sound a bit bad-ass and the rock in the family. Until you put the panel into context, then you have to wonder if there was a touch of psychopathy there for Light to inherit. Soichiro has, after all, just announced to his family that he's prepared to die to bring this evil to justice.
Which is all very well and noble for society at large, but not much good to her. Nevertheless, Sachiko pretty much says, 'Yeah, go on, martyr yourself for the cause then. I support your decision to die a hero.' Like one of those fabled wives of Sparta, who purportedly told their spouses to return with their shield (victorious) or upon it (dead).
Supportive, dutiful or 'as long as you get from under my feet and stop whining, dear'. Apparently the former, given the emphasis placed upon her support of husband Soichiro Yagami in both translations of the original Japanese penned by Death Note author Tsugumi Ohba.
Charting the Personality of Sachiko Yagami from Death Note
Sachiko's birthday - October 10th 1962 - and the blankness of her death day (because she didn't die; she survived Death Note) remain the same. As does her blood type, liking for TV drama (the reproduction adds 'serials') and dislike of salesmen. Perhaps some hint of a story lies in that last entry. It does to any self-respecting fan-fiction writer anyway. Leave it with me.
My version says that she's 5' 2" in height and weighs 110lbs. The other 158cm/50kg. Same thing, different units of measurement. (And for the benefit of any British reading, that's 7 stone 86lbs, on the off-chance that anyone cares for such things.) So far so pretty standard, but then we get to the personality chart and the wording changes significantly.
Both are agreed on 'intelligence' and 'creativity'. The above version's 'willingness to act' aligns with mine own 'initiative'. Then this alternative translation has 'motivation', where my copy of How to Read states 'emotional strength'. Two rather different concepts. In all so far, Sachiko ranks rather low. She does just a little better in the next point charted. 'Social life' says that recreated above. My book goes for 'social skills'. Same ball-park, different sport. Finally there's the section in which Sachiko Yagami actually excels. Above it lists 'housewifeness'. Whatever that is. In my Shonen Jump Advanced published edition, that reads 'verbosity'.
Verbosity. An excess of words; long-windedness; the propensity to never shut up. Describing the Queen of Understatement in Death Note.
Maybe something got lost in translation - twice - because nothing thus told matches the personality exhibited in the manga panels (nor anime scenes) themselves. Therein a very underrated, quietly fabulous Sachiko Yagami emerges.