The List
8 (Mostly) Deadly Death Gods

by Lynzee Lamb, Mar 2nd 2013

Since the popularity of Death Note, death gods or shinigami are a reoccurring character in manga, video games, and anime adaptations. The supernatural entities serve a similar purpose as the Western Grim Reaper, Ancient Greece's Thanatos, the Irish's Dullahan, and the angel Samael. Elements from various cultures cross over, as some anime shinigami carry scythes, some simply ferry the dead to the next life, while others carry on living similar to humans. The following eight death gods represent the varying benevolent and dangerous interpretations of death incarnate.




8. Meroko Yui (Full Moon o Sagashite) Meroko is one of two frilly death gods that appear before the terminal 12-year-old Mitsuki in Arina Tanemura's Full Moon o Sagashite. Her character is prone to jealousy, a trait carrying over from her previous life as a human. As a death god, she uses a whip to collect souls of the dying and also has the ability to transform into a stuffed rabbit. Despite a tragic back story, and lashing out on occasion from her insecurities, Meroko is kindhearted, seeking to rectify the relationships of her past and remain loyal to her partner, Takuto.





7. Komachi Onozuka (Touhou Project) Perhaps unfamiliar to some, Touhou Project is a series of 2D shooters, where the screen literally fills with patterned bullets that must be dodged. The games feature a large cast of characters and inspired several complimentary short story books. In the world of Touhou Project, feudal Japan is alive and well, occupied by supernatural beings and creatures. One such character is Komachi Onozuka, a shinigami that ferries the dead across the river to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Komachi is also incredibly lazy and causes a huge back-up of souls waiting to be judged, who, in turn, decide to start possessing all the flowers in the area. Similar to the Grim Reaper, Komachi carries a scythe.







6. Momo (Shinigami no Ballad: momo the girl god of death) Momo tries to facilitate the deaths of the living as painlessly as possible, even performing favors for them when she can. She's prone to crying on their behalf and exhibiting behavior similar to grief despite not personally knowing those she encounters. Momo is trailed by a familiar of sorts, Daniel, a talking black cat and carries a scythe. Over the course of six episodes, Momo faces off against the cruel death god Ann who dresses in black (that's how you know she's the bad guy) and ease the suffering of the dead or soon-to-be dead.







5. William T. Spears (Black Butler) William T. Spears manages the Grim Reaper office in Black Butler, a job forcing him to work with the likes of the sadistic Grell. Overworked and typically finding his efforts undermined by demons, William has a strong dislike for Ciel's butler, Sebastian. Like the other death gods under his management, William's "scythe" is related to yardwork: a pair of garden trimmers.






4. Asato and Hisoka (Descendants of Darkness) Asato and Hisoka are partners in an afterlife detective agency run by death gods. Despite having a seniority of over 70 years, Asato's pay is poor and his division's reputation is a joke. The pair investigate supernatural crimes, trying to maintain order among the undead, and unraveling a conspiracy within the underworld. Asato has the ability to summon shikigami, or spirit animals to aid him and Hisoka in their investigations.







3. Maka Albarn (Soul Eater) Maka is a shinigami in training, and gosh darn it she's going to be better than her dad! She trains with her human-soul-turned-weapon, Soul Eater, in pursuit of evil souls and a witch so she can become a full-fledged reaper. Over the course of the series, Maka obtains new abilities and powers to help in her quest for greatness like Soul Perception which helps detect the strength of souls around her and Anti-Magic Wavelength, which helps negate negative effects of magic on herself and Soul.







2. Ryuk (Death Note) When most anime fans think of a death god, the image of the grotesque Ryuk eating an apple is the first to pop into their heads. Generally apathetic to the emotions of humanity, Ryuk starts the Death Note "game" for his own amusement, acting as a spectator more often than a direct player. Still, he mains a level of control over the game, reminding Light that when the time comes, he will take his soul. His ambivalence could seem nefarious when taken into consideration. He did leave a powerful item used to kill anyone in the hands of humanity simply for shits and giggles. More importantly, its level of free will the shinigami show in Death Note that can make them truly scary.







1. Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach) Ichigo initially becomes a death god under duress; he takes on Rukia's powers to save himself and his own family when a Hollow attacks his town. Ichigo's power as a shinigami increases greatly as he learns to control his powers and develops a Hollow spirit within himself. Mastering control of his Hollow spirit, unleashing his Fullbringer powers, and other shonen-style level-ups puts Ichigo as one of the most powerful death gods in the Bleach universe.




The new poll: This week, if you could resurrect one deceased anime character, who would you pick? I'm going to leave a fill-in option this time if you don't see the choice you'd like, so please read all current and submitted choices before typing one in. Thanks!

The old poll: Last week's poll asked which character archetype you'd pick, if you found yourself the protagonist of a harem anime. The top two were so close, but it looks like the majority would pick the typical harem-anime choice: all and none. I'm also a bit surprised to see "The Hired Help" at the bottom; I guess maids/butlers have fallen out of fashion?

  1. This is a harem. The only choice is to choose none of them and keep all their attention as long as possible 21.8%
  2. Nerdy, Shy Bookworm 21.5%
  3. Childhood Friend 18.4%
  4. Tsundere/Stoic Member of the Student Council 14.4%
  5. The Delinquent 6.8%
  6. Sporty "Genki" One 5.7%
  7. The "Magical" One 5.0%
  8. The Older Adopted Brother/Sister 2.1%
  9. The School Playboy/Beauty Queen 1.7%
  10. The Younger Adopted Brother/Sister 1.6%
  11. The Hired Help 1.0%


Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee or e-mail me at [email protected]

discuss this in the forum (69 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

The List homepage / archives

Around The Web