If you’re unfamiliar with the concept the series is based on, there’s no harm in checking out the first episode of Death Note. The premiere differs from the first manga chapter in how it sets everything up and how many people Light kills in advance, but it fulfills the same function in setting up the basics. You get to know the main character and discover his motives, which at first seem noble.
We meet Light Yagami just before he finds the Death Note on his school’s grounds. He reads the instructions, understandably thinking it’s a joke, but tests it anyway and is shocked to discover that the notebook actually allows the user to anonymously kill a person – as long as they know their name and what they look like. Fueled by a (slightly childish) sense of justice, Light resolves to become an all-powerful judge of good and evil in a new world he will create by killing all criminals.
A shinigami (gods of death in Japanese culture) named Ryuk shows up to Light and reveals more about the notebook and the shinigami realm, but none of this is relevant to viewers anymore. The main conflict between Light and L only begins in the second episode. So if you’ve seen “Death Note” before, “Rebirth” is entirely skippable. The rules of Death Note are established in this episode, but repeated almost ad nauseam in subsequent episodes. The intro isn’t quite filling, but it’s pretty easy to pick up the show in Episode 2, the brilliant “Confrontation”.