In the world of Death Note, Light and L tend to outshine the others in terms of popularity. Because of this, other Death Note characters like Misa Amane get written off as inferior or useless to the storyline.
Though parts of the fandom often write her off as unintelligent, unhinged, and loose, Misa displays all sorts of moxie that deserves a second look. Her backstory provides a compelling reason for her dedication to Kira, and compared to many of the other series villains, she goes through some heavy stuff.
Misa Amane is actually a good character; she's not perfect, but she's a whole lot better than many Death Note fans give her credit for. As an added bonus, she adds a bit of color to a series known for being relentlessly somber.
She's Smarter Than People Expect
One of the most common criticisms levied against Misa comes in the form of digs at her intelligence. In an anime full of super geniuses, Misa might not look bright by comparison, but she holds her own, as is demonstrated by her entry into the series.
Misa figures out Kira's identity before anyone else does. Some refuse to give her credit for this because she confirms his identity with the Shinigami Eyes, but the method used to find him in the first place was all her.
Misa sends tapes to Sakura TV claiming to be Kira in hopes of getting the real deal's attention, and ensures her identity stays secret by keeping her fingerprints off the tapes.
This is on the level of Light or L's plans, but Misa rarely gets recognized for it.
Her Motives Make Sense When You Consider What She's Experienced
Arguing for Misa's benevolence feels like a tall task—she willingly kills thousands of people, and seemingly does it to serve her boyfriend. But Misa's more than just Light's lackey. Misa witnesses her parents' murder, then watches the court system utterly fail to bring their killers to justice. After that, a stalker nearly murders her, but she's saved by Gelus at the last minute.
Kira, who Misa later discovers is Light, gives her the justice she desires by taking out the man who orphaned her. First she tracks Kira down to thank him, then subsequently falls for him and his manipulations.
Though at times Misa behaves in an unstable or inappropriate fashion, it may be because she's experienced multiple traumas without processing them.
Her Charisma Is Both Entertaining And Effective
Misa possesses one of the most entertaining personalities in Death Note. Not only does she boast the charm required to work as as model, she also appears innocent to the vast majority of the police force, all while actively working as Kira.
Light gets a ton of credit for his masterful ability to appear innocent and charming, but Misa's prowess in this department is slept on by most viewers.
She's No More Dysfunctional Than Anyone Else On The Show
Though damaged in her own way, Misa is far from the only terrible person in Death Note. Sure, she kills a lot of people and neurotically pines after Light Yagami, but so does Teru Mikami, who experiences sensual delight when he kills for Kira.
Kiyomi Takada may not seem as clingy as Misa, but she's just as willing to take lives. Light becomes a serial killer who eventually loses all sense of morality, willingly puts his family in danger, and kills innocents to avoid getting caught. L, allegedly one of the good guys, physically and psychologically tortures people to get information out of them.
Misa attracts more hate than almost any other character in Death Note, yet shares the same – if not less – guilt than the rest of them. It's fine to dislike her, but lambasting her for being a murderer while simultaneously loving Light or L is hypocritical.