Characters: Death Note Shinigami

Monstrous, inhuman creatures who inhabit the land of the dead, the Shinigami are Gods of Death who all own their own copy of the titular Death Note. The series starts when one Shinigami in particular gets bored with lazing around all day and decides to take a visit down to Earth.

These tropes are shared by most of the Shinigami:

  • All There in the Manual: Any information on Shinigami that do not appear in the series or the movies comes from How To Read.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Of course Shinigami have no problems killing humans or with humans dying. Shinigami take human lifespans for themselves. Why should they care about the human world beyond it being their food source? In fact if a Shinigami does care about a human, that means they "failed as a Shinigami", and that is punishable by death.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: A shinigami on Earth can only be seen or heard by humans who have touched his/her particular Death Note.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Averted: all of the female Shinigami are rather grotesque in appearance.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Any Shinigami on Earth can offer a human the Shinigami Eyes, at the price of half of the human's lifespan.
  • Death's Hourglass: Shinigami eyes allow them to see their victims' lifespans.
  • G-Rated Drug: Ryuk mentions that Apples to Shinigami are like cigarettes and alcohol to humans.
  • Intangibility: Although a Shinigami on Earth can temporarily become solid to manipulate objects.
  • Namedar: Shinigami eyes see humans' names.
  • OC Stand-in: Most of the Shinigami who don't go down to Earth.
  • Punch Clock Villain: It really is only their duty to take humans' lives, and they only truly qualify as "evil" insofar as the occasional decision to kill a human earlier than intended - and doing so to save another is an offense for which death is punishment.
    • It's unclear if death is a punishment or it's simply what happens
  • Random Power Ranking: All of the known Shinigami are ranked from 1 to 13 (with the exception of the Shinigami King who doesn't have a rank). This could be subverted in that Ryuk is two levels below Rem, yet is shown to be more cunning and manipulative than her, not to mention he ends up outliving her.
  • Shinigami: Obviously.
  • Stationary Wings: Some have extending wings despite being able to float like ghosts.
  • Was Once a Man: If the speculation about the Unnamed Shinigami from Relight is correct then it suggests all the Shinigami were once human Death Note owners.

    open/close all folders 

    Ryuk 

    Rem 
Rem
Voiced by: Kimiko Saito (JP), Colleen Wheeler (EN)

Misa's Shinigami, who is highly protective of her, bringing Gelus's Death Note to her after his death and generally watching out for her. Rem forces Light to enact a Memory Gambit to save Misa when she gets caught, and haunts Higuchi while this is being done. Misa surprises her by coming to be interviewed at Yotsuba for an advertising gig as part of L's plan to local the Yotsuba Kira, and Rem takes the opportunity to reveal herself to Misa and tell her what's going on. Later, Rem follows the Death Note back to Taskforce Headquarters when L captures Higuchi and Light regains ownership of the Note. There, Light tricks her into killing L and Watari in order to save Misa; and although she realizes what he has done, she goes along with it, choosing willingly to die to keep Misa safe.


Tropes associated with Rem:
  • Affably Evil: As long as Misa's safety isn't in danger, she doesn't seem terribly threatening toward people. Although, the only humans she's interacted with have somehow been a potential cause of harm to Misa...
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Although her morality is in question, she genuinely cares about Misa and is disgusted by Higuchi.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: She sees Misa once and developes feelings for her so intense that she journeys to the human realm to give her Gelus's notebook.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Due to Blue and Orange Morality that comes with being a shinigami, she exhibits few qualms with Misa murdering people, as well as murder being committed for her sake. She does gently rebuke Misa for not using the notebook properly and suggests that she use it more for herself and not grautuitously. She also has a great distaste for the way the Yotsuba group use the Death Note; in particular she's repulsed by Higuchi's greedy and obsessive nature.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She ends up killing herself so Misa won't be found out as the Second Kira.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her.../I'll Kill You!: As Light notes, she is firmly on Misa's side and will take action on her behalf.
  • Love Martyr: Rem cares deeply for Misa and is even willing to die for her. Misa doesn't care.
  • Mama Bear: She is very protective of Misa. Considering that Misa had recently lost her mother (she tells Light that her parents were murdered a year ago) around the time Rem showed up, it's not too inconcievable that Rem took up that role for her; although Rem obeys Misa and follows her lead, she certainly is shown treating Misa as a daughter, up to and including willingly sacrificing herself for Misa's safety.
  • Meaningful Name: "Res", in Latin, is a feminine noun meaning 'thing,' like a tool to be used. An accusative is when something is happening to it. The accusative for Res? Rem.
    • So she's "the thing that things happen to".
    • Also R.E.M. is the state when the mind is dreaming, which goes along well with Rem's idealized notions of love and sacrifice.
    • It may also be derived from the Christian and Islamic angel Remiel, whose name means Compassion of God.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Inverted. Confusingly, the film adaptation gave her a male voice while the anime gave her a female one. The manga bounces a little on this, with Light using male pronouns for her from time to time. Rem herself says in the English manga, "I'm female" and Ryuk refers to her as one.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Dying for love is so tragic and beautiful...
  • Token Good Teammate: To Team Kira.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Light manipulates her into saving Misa (thus ensuring her own death) by killing L and Watari. Double Subverted in that she figures out exactly what it is Light wants her to do, how he's getting her to do it, and what will happen if she does, yet she does it anyway out of her love for Misa.
  • Woman in White: In contrast to Misa and possibly Ryuk.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Combined with Mystical White Hair. She's got like anime style purple-white hair and is a magical Death God.

    Sidoh 
Sidoh
Voiced by: Kazuki Yao (JP), Samuel Vincent (EN)

A lazy, whiny shinigami and the original owner of Light's first Death Note (before it was "liberated" by Ryuk). Causes trouble for Light's plans when he comes to retrieve his notebook.


Tropes associated with Sidoh:
  • Affably Evil: He may be a Shinigami, with a bizarre appearance typical by their standards, but he's actually a bit of a goofball in terms of personality and is rather forgetful.
  • The Ditz: He is even dumber than Ryuk (who is considered pretty dumb among the Shinigami).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "What's with this [Mello] guy? He's human but he's scary..."
  • The Slacker: Like many Shinigami he was really slacking off writing down names so he needed to find his notebook soon or he was going to die.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": English media writes and pronounces the character's name as Sidoh, an error which is present even in the Japanese, as it's the spelling used in Volume 9 of the tankobon - but in Japanese How to Read 13, largely considered canonical, the character's name is spelled Shidoh, which is likely the intended name.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In as many words, when realizing his notebook is missing in the human world.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mello introduces him to chocolate bars.

    Gelus 
Gelus
Voiced by: Kenichi Matsuyama (JP), Michael Dobson (EN)

The original owner of Misa's notebook, who sacrificed himself to save Misa.


Tropes associated with Gelus:
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He has the grotesque appearence common to all the shinigami, but his one and only scene has him willingly dying to save Misa's life.
  • Remake Cameo: His Japanese voice actor previously played L in the live action adaptation.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Even though it's against the rules for a shinigami to extend someone's life, he uses his notebook to save Misa from a demented stalker who would have killed her.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Japanese media spells his name as Jealous, English calls it "Gelus." The latter appears to be preferred by the fans, especially since many of the Japanese romaji spellings are truly bizarre.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: The Rank 13 Shinigami. He has no friends and dies in his first appearance.

    Armonia Justin Beyondormason 
Armonia Justin Beyondormason
Voiced by: Hideyuki Umezu (JP), Michael Dobson (EN)

This jeweled skeleton is the Shinigami Realm’s adviser, who knows the rules well.
Tropes associated with Armonia:

    Daril Ghiroza 
Daril Ghiroza
A high-ranking female Shinigami.
Tropes associated with Daril:

    Deridoveley 
Deridoveley
Voiced by: Tetsuo Goto (JP), David Pettitt (EN)

Another denizen of the Shinigami realm.
Tropes associated with Deridoveley:


    Midora 
Midora
A female Shinigami with a spotted body that kind of looks like Jabba the Hutt. She likes humidity and dislikes dryness.
Tropes associated with Midora:











    Gukku 
Gukku
Voiced by: Takeharu Onishi (JP), Lee Tockar (EN)

An antelope-headed Shinigami. A friend of Ryuk's that watches his exploits in the human world. He likes gambling but he's not very good at it.
Tropes associated with Gukku:











    Zellogi 
Zellogi
Voiced by: Kibou Tokumei (JP), John Novak (EN)

A minor Shinigami character that expresses interest in the human world and what Ryuk is doing.
Tropes associated with Zellogi:











    Calikarcha 
Calikarcha
Another Shinigami mentioned in How To Read 13
Tropes associated with Calikarcha:

    Kinddara Guivelostain 
Kinddara Guivelostain
A female Shinigami. She’s very violent and not very smart.
Tropes associated with Kinddara:

    Nu 
Nu

The highest ranking Shinigami that resembles a stick covered with eyes. Only the King is more powerful than she is. She likes repentance and dislikes sound.
Tropes associated with Nu:


    The Shinigami King 
The Shinigami King
A toy figure of the Shinigami King issued with a Death Note DVD.

"The Old Man," The King of the Shinigami Realm, the one who issues the Shinigami their marching orders, and the highest ranked Shinigami of them all.
Tropes associated with The Shinigami King:
  • Comically Small Bribe: During the main story, he refuses to give out new Death Notes to Shinigami after seeing what Ryuk does. In the bonus chapter 109, however, he changes his mind and will give anyone a new Note for the price of... two apples from Earth.
  • Greater Scope Villain: Although never seen in person, he casts a shadow over the world of Death Note, having created the MacGuffins in the first place. Indeed, he was the one who gave Ryuk another notebook that allowed him to kick off the entire story to begin with.

    The Unnamed Shinigami 
The Unnamed Shinigami

An unnamed Shinigami who appeared in the movie Relight: Visions of a God, where he was searching the Shinigami Realm for Ryuk. He is violent and impetuous, making demands of the other Shinigami. He is very interested in the human world and bored with the Shinigami realm. He bribes Ryuk with apples to hear his story of the time he spent in the human world but leaves before he finishes it. Physically the Shinigami is a skeleton with spiky brown hair and wears a tattered suit, a red tie headband and a grey bookbag, and he walks with a limp. This and the dialogue at the end of the movie strongly hints that he is a Reincarnation of Light Yagami.
Tropes associated with The Unnamed Shinigami:
  • Actually, I Am Him: Averted; while he is implied to be Light from the story Ryuk tells, he never flat-out says so at all, and the only hint we are given comes from Ryuk.
  • Axe Crazy
  • Came Back Strong: If he really is Light, nothing would be able to stop Kira if he decided to try again (now that he's a literal god).
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Trope picture.
  • Here We Go Again: The Shinigami heads down to the human world to alleviate his boredom for a while.
  • I Never Told You My Name: One of the biggest pieces of evidence supporting the idea that this Shinigami is actually Light is that he somehow knows of Ryuk's taste for apples without anyone having told him.]]
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": When searching for Ryuk the other Shinigami try to give him the runaround. "Shut up and answer my question!"
  • Wham Line: Said to him by Ryuk, possibly revealing his true identity:
    Ryuk: Wouldn't you agree, Light?