You're not the nurse? Manny Calavera:
No. Mercedes Colomar:
You're not here to give me my medication? Manny Calavera:
No. But I am here to ease your pain.
For millennia, humanity has feared death, and understandably so, all things considered. Therefore, when personifying it, the result was often pretty terrifying. However, there has also been a very different attitude at times
, with various writers and artists creating a personification of Death
who is not only not scary, but friendly, compassionate, and otherwise the sort of person you'd want to find waiting for you at a difficult time like that.
This sort of Death won't glare at you with Glowing Eyelights of Undeath
from underneath a Black Cloak
while carrying a scythe; she will dress as a Perky Goth
or take on A Form You Are Comfortable With
. She won't challenge you to chess
, but will instead be your best pal
(before you die, even!) if you give her half a chance. Friendliness notwithstanding, picking fights with Death is still something the challenger will regret
Sometimes this overlaps with Beleaguered Bureaucrat
, when she is friendly but nonetheless has a long list of people to get through today and doesn't have time to deal with every decedent's requests.
The Trope Namer
is the eponymous song by Blue Oyster Cult
from Agents Of Fortune
, which is a song about how true love can last even after death
, and not, as some
seem to think, about anyone
committing suicide. Nor is it about more cowbell
See also Psychopomp
and The Grim Reaper
. Compare with Everybody Hates Hades
, when authors do the opposite with death-related deities. Compare also Friendly Ghost
. Distant cousin to The Devil Is a Loser
. Compare Not Afraid to Die
and We All Die Someday
, which is about not fearing death itself rather than its personification.
open/close all folders
- This advert for Grolsch beer features the Grim Reaper taking a brief break from work. He appears to be a quite fun guy to hang out with.
Anime & Manga
- Bleach: Any deceased human with enough spiritual energy can become a shinigami. The fact that the main character becomes one while still alive is a plot point before the Big Bad shows his face. Thus, the shinigami are just like humans: they can be friendly, moody, supportive, scary, hostile depending on situation or individual personality type. However, shinigami aren't enemies of humanity even if their focus on the big picture can make them seem aloof at times. Their role is to guide the dead to Soul Society, cleanse hollows of post-death sin so they too can be guided to Soul Society and also to maintain the balance of souls across different worlds. In other words, shinigami are portrayed the same way humans are portrayed: as individuals with their own personalities, worries, fears, foibles, strengths and weaknesses.
- Soul Eater
- Lord Death willingly embraces this trope. Back in his day he used to look like a textbook skull-and-black-cloak (read: very intimidating) Grim Reaper, but when he founded Death Weapon Meister Academy, he took on a more friendly appearance◊ and goofy speech patterns, so as to not frighten his students. He saves that for his enemies.
- His son Death the Kid is also hardly a threatening image of death, being a teenage boy with Super OCD. Don't try to do whatever you like with human lives. He doesn't like that one bit.
- The idea is alluded to in Cowboy Bebop, where the Magical Native American says "Do not fear death. Death is always by our side. When we show fear it jumps at us faster than light, but if we do not show fear, it casts its eye upon us gently, and guides us into infinity."
- Momo in Ballad Of A Shinigami is a sweet Mystical White Haired girl who not only makes your death painless, she helps the people you are leaving behind by comforting them.
- In Kamichu!, Death is a rather friendly, if somewhat eccentric goddess, who even once had an affair with Poverty.
- An episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX deals with the spirit of the pharaoh Abidos, challenging Judai. After losing, he passes on, satisfied that he finally found an opponent who would duel him seriously. Judai refuses his offer to go with him to the afterlife, but promises to meet him again after 100 years. The episode ends with the crew discussing death and the afterlife. Needless to say, this didn't go well with the translators.
- In the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka herself is seen appearing before magical girls whose soul gems are about to be corrupted and taking the gems with her, enabling them to die peacefully and go to the afterlife without becoming witches.
- Death in Gregory Horror Show is the only character shown to be completely friendly to the trapped guests, speaking kindly and offering to help where he can.
- Played with in Death Note. Shinigami have Blue and Orange Morality and most don't give humans and their lives very much thought. At the same time, they're not all bad — Ryuk really seems to enjoy hanging out with Light and often spends time doing goofy stuff like playing video games in his room. Two Shinigami fell in love with a human and used their powers to extend her life. In spite of their pleasant nature, Shinigami will never be "good" as it's understood by humans. Gelus and later Rem saved Misa's life but were both killed because Shinigami can never use their powers to prolong the lifespan of mortals, and after knowing and hanging out with Light for so many years, Ryuk was all too happy to kill him as soon as he stopped being entertaining.
- In Spirited Away, Chihiro takes a train to get to Zeniba's home which is intended for use by the dead moving onto the next life; it has phantom passengers.
- The classic modern example is the Perky Goth version of Death from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and The DCU, although she can appear more horrifying to those whose life was asking for a shocking exit. She used to be the fearsome and cold kind of Grim Reaper, but she matured into the Perky Goth after spending some time among the living.
- Martian Manhunter's species worshipped H'ronmeer, the god of death and fire (though some regard him as a god of life and light), who called all Green Martians his children. He was blamed for the plague that wiped out the Martian race, but that was actually Ma'alefa'ak's fault. On one occasion he seemed to be coming after J'onn, but he in truth he just needed his help to lead the Martians' souls to the afterlife.
- The French Comic Le Collège Invisible has an incarnation of Death quite similar to Gaiman's Perky Goth, and possibly inspired by her.
- Brazilian comic Penadinho (known in English as Bug-a-booo) has Dona Morte/Lady McDeath, a clumsy Grim Reaper who is always forced to run after her "next clients". Her creator states (link's in Portuguese) that the character is an attempt of making death less scary than most people treat it, and tries to portray her as just someone doing her job, never an assassin.
- The Marvel Universe's Death is like this. She seems like a nice girl, if a little dead inside. Depending on the Writer, she could also be quite evil
- Wade Wilson, prior to becoming Deadpool, even fell in love with her, and one of the reasons he can't die is because one of her jealous suitors made him immortal so he'd stay away from her, which is another reason why Deadpool is so freaking Axe Crazy. Amazingly, she's been shown to reciprocate his feelings—but they can only meet during the few seconds after he dies and before his mutant power/immortal curse can call him back to life. Death as a star-crossed lover?
- Death has also appeared as a low-key but friendly construction worker, to Jean Grey.
- In another X-Men related example, New Mutant Dani Moonstar once tried to fight off an incarnation of Death from taking one of her (non-mutant) friends. She eventually allowed Death to do her job, after she explained why her 'gift' was not to be feared by those who were suffering.
- She can stop being nice if she wants to. When she appeared to Dracula - who she clearly didn't like - she took a male form that was far more intimidating.
- In any story involving Thanos (which, arguably, constitutes most of the stories she appears prominently in), she is presented as a cruel, greedy, and insidiously manipulative being who enjoys causing suffering almost as much as causing death itself; and is generally depicted as the very antithesis of DC's compassionate version of Death. At best, she is Lawful Neutral, often crossing over into genuine evil (she actively seduced Thanos into becoming the living murder machine he is, while still always keeping him lonely and miserable). The reason her relationship with Deadpool is so funny is because it's so unusual for her to react with sincere affection (let alone love) to anyone.
- Although Cernunnos, the Elder God of Death from Joseph Michael Linsner's Dawn series can definitely take terrifying form if he so chooses (if, for example, he needs to curb-stomp a group of angels and demons who've decided to trespass on Earth with their bickering), the one time we see him welcoming a soul to the afterlife, he takes a much more attractive form and greets her...very warmly.
- In Post-Crisis Wonder Woman as conceived by George Perez, Hades is depicted as a relatively benign god who is rather kind and generous as far as his job description allows and nobody has an especially significant problem with him. Other writers had different ideas about him.
- Bernie in Death Vigil doesn't claim souls at all - instead, she focuses on combating primordial forces of evil that want to eat reality.
- Mortis from the Pony POV Series, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death and Grim Reaper, is a pretty nice guy, all things considered. He isn't depicted as malevolent and wasn't complaining that there wasn't much need of him in the G3 reality, barring the occasional accidental death, due to everyone being immortal. He also seems to have no problems letting a soul remain to until its Unfinished Business is completed as the G2 mane cast were permitted to remain on earth until they could pass on together.
- He also appears at the end of the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, an Alternate Universe Spin-Off of the original, where he guides the Construct Mane Six to Pony Heaven, but permits them to watch over Discord and Fluttercruel until the Final Battle with Nightmare Phobia is won first.
- Starlight, of the G2 Mane Cast, gets a job as one of Mortis' angels of death after her own, greeting freshly dead ponies to the afterlife. Overall, she's still basically the same good hearted pony she was beforehand.
- The Reaper in A Growing Affection appears as a beautiful young girl, is quite kind to almost everyone, and only smiles in amusement at Naruto's borderline blasphemy. And the second she gets a chance she pulls out a scythe bigger than she is and cuts Orochimaru's soul in half.
- Crucicle depicts the God of Death, who usually appear as a bare-faced turian, as a nice, friendly, charismatic guy who smokes like crazy. He will often appear as the same species as you to make you feel at home. He is also a very devoting father to his daughter. But don't let that attitude fool you. When your time come you will have to go with him but if he feels the need to do otherwise, he may give you a little more time (either because he's pitying you as a fellow parent or because his child want you to live and he allows so. If you have enough power and manage to catch him off guard, you can seal him away, but even that doesn't stick long. And also do not mess with his family or you will receive A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Love And Death parodies The Seventh Seal in its depiction of Death, who first visits a young Boris and then dances with an adult Boris at the end.
- The movie Death Takes a Holiday (from 1934, starring Frederick March and Evelyn Venable), sees Death become progressively nicer during his stint in human form. It was remade in 1971, and again in 1998 as Meet Joe Black.
- In Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, the Grim Reaper appears as someone with kind of a bad attitude (in fact, he looks almost exactly like he did in The Seventh Seal, which is intentional, given the Chess with Death scenario that occurs between him and the protagonists) — but turns out to become a useful ally. In fact, he later on joins the Wyld Stallyns. The Trope Namer is even quoted, when the Grim Reaper finally agrees to help Bill and Ted out.
Bill: Hey Ted — don't fear the Reaper. *triumphant air guitaring*
Death: [annoyed] I heard that!
- Bob Fosse's All That Jazz features a sweet and welcoming angel of death having a possibly lifelong relationship with the main character.
- In Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, the land of the dead is a fun, colorful place full of corpses and skeletons who are perfectly friendly and laid back, if a little "off." This makes a refreshing contrast to the dull, stifling land of the living. Although the ending does imply that the sinful (or at least those who pissed the dead off) will face a less-than-pleasant experience when their time comes. "New Arrival..."
- In The Lady and the Reaper, Death is a No Respect Guy Determinator willing to go well above and beyond the call of duty to deliver an old lady's soul to meet her husband in the afterlife.
- Fritz Lang's Der Müde Tod* centers on a young couple's encounter with an unhappy Grim Reaper who is sympathetic to the woman's pleas to return her husband but unable to control who dies and when they die. He refuses to accept her attempt at suicide, tries to comfort her, and gives her the chance to save her husband by changing destiny herself. After all her attempts fail, she sacrifices herself to save an infant whose life she had briefly considered trading for her husband's, and the couple are reunited by Death.
- In Adam Sandler's movie Click, Christopher Walken plays "Morty," a peculiar Bed, Bath & Beyond store clerk who is secretly the Angel of Death. He is nice enough to the protagonist, and after dying from misusing the remote, Morty gives him a second chance at life, to be able to truly appreciate his family.
- In the movie adaption of The Halloween Tree, Mr. Moundshroud (heavily implied to be the manifestation of Death), while not the most friendly individual, he also bears no real malice to the children; it's just business to him.
- In The Seventh Seal Death seems like a reasonably amiable fellow, even postponing someone's demise to play a game of chess. Death isn't particularly malicious or even spiteful towards Block but rather affable, in one scene he even acts as a sort of confidant for Block's confession and angry rant against God. That being said, Death will do whatever he can to win the game.
- Death from Monkey Bone, despite having a nasty temper and dark sense of humor, is quite friendly and a rather Benevolent Boss to her reapers. Being played by Whoopi Goldberg definitely helps to play up her perky and cheerful personality.
- La Muerte from The Book of Life, is a goddess that governs the dead and her name literally means death in Spanish. However, she highlights the view that those who've died are never really gone as long as they are remembered by their loved ones.
- Asphodel in A Prairie Home Companion. Rather apropos, as it is Robert Altman's last film.
- In The Sunset Limited, the character White feels warm and fuzzy inside when thinking about the peace and silence of death.
White: I know what is out there and I know who is out there. I rush to nuzzle his bony cheek. No doubt he’ll be surprised to find himself so cherished. And as I cling to his neck, I will whisper in that dry and ancient ear: Here I am. Here I am!
- American Horror Story has the Angel of Death.
- The Twilight Zone TOS episode "Nothing in the Dark". A woman frightened of dying allows a wounded police officer (played by a young Robert Redford) into her apartment. When she realizes that he's Death come to claim her, he tries to convince her that she shouldn't fear death.
- Mother, give me your hand... You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning. — Death, assuring the old woman that her journey has just begun.
- "Am I really that frightening? Before you knew who I was, you sat with me. Talked with me."
- Other Twilight Zone examples:
- With one or two exceptions, Death is regularly portrayed as a very polite man — often a businessman wearing a nice suit. Which, when you think about it, is probably a good thing since his job is to "welcome" people into death, not to make them run away from it.
- One character gets to make a deal to extend his life to finish his life's ambition, to make a really important sale. Death agrees but is annoyed that the character has decided to quit selling anything and says he'll take a life of a little girl instead. Cue the character attempting to sell Death a collection of worthless trinkets (ties, threads and matches) in order to make Death miss his appointment with the girl, thus completing his life's ambition of a big sale that made a difference. Either Death set the whole thing up just to make his client feel better or you can trick him by selling him cheap shoe polish; either way no need to fear him.
- The 1980s-era revival featured an episode where Death was cold and emotionally distant, but not evil or malicious. He regards a woman who has become fascinated him with curiosity, but never animosity; eventually, he allows her to become his partner and she embodies the trope more closely by helping to comfort the dying as they are taken.
- In the 2003 revival, the episode A Night In Mercy, Death is a kind man who doesn't like his job at all and admires a doctor for having the power to give life. Death decides to give up his job, and the doctor quickly finds out how vital it is when incurable burn patients are unable to die and are thus left in agony. When the doctor dies at the end of the episode, Death admits that he's tempted to let him go back to life, but both of them agree that it's just the way things go.
- Touched by an Angel has Andrew, who's a cheerful, friendly, and attractive 30-ish man. His predecessor Adam (not that Adam... probably) was also a pretty nice guy.
- Played with in Dead Like Me: the reapers are all former semi-normal people, and are often quite friendly and reassuring, but are also likely to steal from the newly dead and basically behave like people in a customer service job they're not being paid to do.
- Tessa, one of the Reapers. Admittedly, some of the other Reapers we see range from creepy to outright scary, but Tessa appears to spirits as a gorgeous, compassionate, and genuinely sweet servant of Death, and Sam and Dean even willingly save her from meeting a grisly fate in season four. Though during her role there, she's a bit more snippy than in her first appearance, mostly dismissing the brothers when they try to help a dead young boy who has yet to pass on. The reason being, for the latter, was that she was supposed to take Dean, until he was brought back to life by Azazel, thanks to his dad making a deal.
- Death himself, the boss of the Reapers, also appears. Death is a Cosmic Entity who is as old as the universe and about the same age as God. He runs on Blue and Orange Morality and has seen the death of entire galaxies and will eventually reap God! Hence, he is extremely pissed off that he is bound to one tiny planet circling around a barely newborn sun in a young galaxy that usually wouldn't even be a blip on his radar, due to "a spoilt brat having a tantrum" (a.k.a Lucifer). Dean has a little problem swallowing his pizza after being told this. Just a gentle reminder that, no matter how much of a threat Lucifer may seem, there is Always a Bigger Fish. A much bigger fish. This Death is also given a very human trait, one he shares with Dean: he really likes cheap but tasty food such as pizza, bacon dogs, and fried pickles.
- In a later episode Dean wants Death's help to restore Sam's soul and Death gives him a test where Dean has to do Death's duties for a day. Dean fails the test but attempts to fix his mistake as much as he can. Death is impressed that Dean was able to understand the seriousness and importantance of Death's job and gives Sam his soul back.
- When the Winchesters deal with Death he's usually quite snarky and dispassionate because he feels they're wasting his time by asking him for favors. However, when he's reaping someone he appears quite polite and complimentary and finds it an honor to guide specific people to the afterlife.
- Death is a recurring character in the older BBC series Mulberry, which is appropriate given that the titular character Mulberry is his own son, tasked with cheering up a dour old woman before Death comes to call on business. He spends a good deal of his appearances arguing with Mulberry about how his job isn't a bad thing and how he'd like it if Mulberry would stop asking for extensions on the time he's got.
- After years of begging for Death, Al Bundy gets his wish. Good news: Death offers Al a way out. Bad news: Death can assume any appearance, so naturally it chose his wife Peggy. (And is quite a Deadpan Snarker to boot.)
- Weirdly enough, there is an NCIS episode that implicitly features the Angel of Death. She appears as a little girl, and mostly just appears to be dropping in to check on her next cases.
- A Rowan Atkinson sketch titled "The Devil's Welcome" plays with this hilariously.
The Devil: Now, you're all here for..... Eternity! Ooh, which I hardly need tell you is a heck of a long time, so you'll all get to know each other pretty well by the end.
But for now I'm going to have to split you up in groups.
Will You Stop Screaming!
- Mysterious Ways: Declan starts worrying that his teaching assistant, a not at all scary looking young woman, is the Angel of Death and she has come for him. Throughout the course of the episode, and in dealing with his own potential illness, it is revealed that she is actually the Angel of Comfort (the same one who visited him when his dad died.) The Angel of Death does not appear.
- Several Angels of Death appear in Charmed, one in the form of a friendly black janitor, and the other in the form of a wise, insightful (but very, very snarky) British guy.
- Death as portrayed in Horrible Histories is a hot-blooded, chummy Cloud Cuckoo Lander who looks quite intimidating and has a very mocking sense of humour (his raison d'etre is to laugh at tales of people who die in stupid ways, to So Unfunny It's Funny levels) but is otherwise a really Nice Guy. The worst he'll do is make a terrible pun about the way you died, laugh at you insultingly for a while, and then let you into the Afterlife. He also sings songs.
- American Horror Story: Asylum has Shachath, an angel of death. She uses her Kiss of Death to release people from pain and suffering. Her encounter with Sister Mary Eunice makes it quite clear that the two oppose each other.
- The Franz Schubert song Der Tod und das Mädchen ("Death And The Maiden", 1817) sets to music a 1775 poem by Matthias Claudius in which Death tells the maiden of the title: "Give me thy hand, thou young and tender form. I am a friend, and come not to punish. Be of good cheer! I am not savage. You will sleep softly in my arms."
- Death on Hennepin by Boiled in Lead, takes a more stern tack but ultimately the Reaper in this song is also present to ease the deceased's passing, not harm her or frighten her.
- The Trope Namer is Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" from Agents Of Fortune, although the song is, according to Word of God, about transcending death rather than death being a good thing.
- Machinae Supremacy. I tell you, I Know The Reaper.
- The Demons and Wizards song "The Fiddler on the Green" presents Death as a sympathetic character who takes a young boy too early by accident. He ends up taking someone else (who is implied to have volunteered) so the boy won't have to be lonely in the afterlife.
- Voltaire's Feathery Wings, which turns the Angel of Death into The Woobie.
- The Angel of Death (who looks like the standard Grim Reaper, only with a halo, and no scythe in evidence) in "I've Got Some Falling to Do" by Lemon Demon. He's kind of a goof. He even does a dance!
- Pop Will Eat Itself have a song called "Menofearthereaper" about this.
- Pagan rock band Inkubus Sukkubus has "Death and the Virgin" as a bonus track on their album Strewwlpeter. You can listen to it here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94GDQJc4zGk
- "When the Saints Go Marching In," a Christian hymn, is best known today as a jazz tune by Louis Armstrong. It's popular as a funeral march in New Orleans, it treats death as joyous occasion for those who are going to heaven. The song itself, is about the Second Coming, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the New Creation. Death is only mentioned indirectly by referring to "those who have gone before."
- Rage's album Speak of the Dead features a Grim Reaper in several songs who is "Heaven-sent" as a mercy to free one from pain, and wishes not to be feared.
Mythology and Religion
- In Vodoun:
- The character of La Catrina is an important part of Mexical folklore. She is nice, loves to sing, dance and have fun with the mortals, especially on certain days like Dia De Los Muertos ("Day of the Dead"). And if you are Mexican she will appear on the day of your death.
- Death is also revered in Mexico in the form of Santa Muerte ("Saint Death"), who is worshiped as an unrecognized saint. While still taking the form of a grinning skull, she is revered as a patron of the downtrodden and those forsaken by society at large. She is also worshiped by criminals as the one saint who will never forsake them.
- The Bible
- Jesus explicitly states that angels come to get people when they die (Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) but they're not the ones you should be afraid of. God is the who judges you. The angels will escort the faithful to Heaven, but they'll also dutifully cast the wicked into Hell.
- Some scholars take "Angel of Death" to be an allegory for Jesus. A large number of angels also bear the title. The Islamic figure Azrael is probably the most famous today, but Michael and Gabriel also qualify. Satan is also credited as an "angel" of death, so it's Zig Zagged.
- Though it's not agreed whether this is doctrine or folklore, some Mormons believe that it is your already-deceased family members who come and get you when you die.
- Older Than Dirt: The Ancient Egyptian attitude towards death was not one of horror. Though they believed that those who offended the gods would suffer in the afterlife, their religion featured lovely, kind deities who welcomed the dead to The Underworld with beer and food.
- In Norse Mythology the valkyries, female spirits, are reapers of the souls of dead warriors deemed worthy of being taken to Valhalla. People who died of sickness and death went taken to Hel and Helheim, a shady but peaceful place. Hel is monstrous in apperance but a neutral deity that is understood to be kind, from what is understood from the poems.
- The Breton psychopomp Ankou has shades of this in some of the (frequently contradictory) legends about them. Most of the stories portray them as a fairly terrifying aversion of this; a skeletal figure with a scythe who has too much enthusiasm for their job, but in others they're simply the spirit of the last person to died in a parish the previous year who got drafted into spending a year serving as that parish's psychopomp. While this means that they can be very variable in how they do their job (a old Breton saying when there was more deaths that year than usual translates as 'on my faith, this one is a nasty Ankou'), it also means that there's a pretty good chance of the deceased being picked up by someone that they know which kind of makes the whole thing rather less scary; you're not dealing with some sort of inhuman supernatural being, you're getting a lift to the afterlife from a neighbor or maybe even a relative.
- When Death comes for Lisa in Funky Winkerbean, he is a perfectly-mannered well-dressed gentleman (albeit with a theatre mask hiding his face) who makes an undramatic entrance, allows Lisa to realize for herself that "It's time" and extends his hand for her to take, and lets her pause for a moment as he leads her away so she can say goodbye though it goes unheard.
- The Undertaker, at least since his 2004 return to his "undead" gimmick. He's still depicted as intensely scary and having supernatural powers, but he usually battles against villains - most famously at the 2007 Royal Rumble, when he arrived as the 30th entrant to save Shawn Michaels, Edge, Randy Orton, and Montel Vontavious Porter from The Great Khali.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The Forgotten Realms setting really likes this trope. Kelemvor is the poster boy for this trope and canonically Lawful Neutral. He and his worshipers work to comfort the living and ensure that the dead rest in peace, and Kelemvorite rangers, clerics and paladins are among the most determined undead hunters in the setting. The setting also includes the halfling death god Urogalan, also LN, and the Mulhorandi god Osiris who is Lawful Good. Even Kelemvor's unnerving-to-mortals subordinate Jergal counts, as he is merely the archivist of death.
- In 2nd edition, Kelemvor was Lawful Good. He was changed to neutral later on because of D&D's tendency to equate death powers to evil.
- Sehanine Moonbow, the elven goddess of (amongst other things) death was Neutral Good, and had a bit of a 'death as part of the journey of existence, not the end' slant to her. She got retconned as merely an aspect of Selûne (who does not have death in her portfolio) in 4th edition, however.
- In the Greyhawk setting, Wee Jas is the Lawful Neutral goddess of Death and Law. Her clerics teach that death is part of the natural order, and that she shepherds the souls of the deceased to their final destinations.
- At least one god of death (a converted version of Hades) is explicitly stated to only be evil because the alignment was required for levels in the Assassin class, but would otherwise be True Neutral. Which makes sense.
- The God of Death in Pathfinder, being a Spiritual Successor to D&D 3rd edition, is the True Neutral Pharasma. She's is also the god of Fate, Prophecy, and Rebirth. She has no problem with Resurrection as you'll arrive in her domain eventually so there is no need to rush things. However she hates undead and her followers seek out and destroy them.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Tour Guide From the Underworld seems rather friendly for someone who drives an Afterlife Express. (A lot of fans tend to disagree, however, given how much her card can be abused, often regarding her as the type who seduces souls before dragging them to Hell.)
- Gashapon Shop has the Grim Reaper's angsty nephew, who, on his first day, goes for his target's nephew to to slightly similar names. He later cracks a few jokes and aids the heroes, but he doesn't show up often.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has the guides, friendly minor deities who help each dead person or animal into the Ether. They range from fuzzy dogs to old women to an owl-headed guy to, well, Ketrak. We never see him, but Word of Tom states that Ketrak's appearance is a comforting sight for the souls he escorts. Of course, he's the Guide for Insects, so for normal humans he looks Brain Bleach-grade horrifying.
- The title character from the webcomic Jack is ass-ugly, he's mean, he WILL hunt you down viciously if you try to run away from him, he's one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and in life, he was an evil dictator who wiped out all of humanity. However, he also genuinely cares about the souls he guides to the afterlife (he gets mad when reasonably decent people get condemned to Hell), and even denizens of Hell. And sweet mother of potatoes is he nicer than the other sins.note
- Finders Keepers features a Gaiman-inspired Perky Goth Death, the youngest of the nine Powers That Be, the highest authorities beyond The Veil. She does have rather nasty skeleton-and-cowl enforcers. She seems to have a soft spot for Card, though.
- Death from Slightly Damned, though initially intimidating, is very friendly. However, that Death has been revealed to be the angel Darius, the adoptive father the boy he is hugging. The real Death appears to be much less pleasant.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Death, while still retaining the black clothing (albeit a suit) and skeletal appearance, is a mostly-polite British waiter who guides you to your table in Purgatory, which is a restaurant.
- Death from Death and the Maiden is a generally genial guy with a crush on a human girl.
- Death from Fanboys is a pretty chill and laid-back guy, but he has a very twisted sense of humor.
- Dee, from the Spanish webcomic CROWLEY, usually looks like a cheerful little girl and is quite friendly and kind, and a friend of the main character. Unless you piss her off, then she can be downright terrifying.
- Death in Problem Sleuth is a nice enough guy, willing to let you drink tea and play games for your life. He's also pretty ineffectual at his job, as most of the characters who end up in the afterlife escape through the door.
- The deaths in Irregular Webcomic! are just trying to meet quota so they don't get demoted or fired. One can't help feel sorry for Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs, who can't even manage to harvest people from the Montana Jones storylines... even though half the time they're set on hydrogen zepplins manned by trigger-happy Nazis.
- Death in Muertitos takes the form of a vaguely humanoid mass of black, inky substance with a single eye. While somewhat creepy, he's a reasonable enough guy, and popular enough to have once had his own children's cartoon.
- The scrapyard robot in Freefall is pretty nice for a robot built to take apart other robots (and who carries a scythe). He even allows them to buy themselves as scrap so they don't need to be disassembled (not to mention exist without an owner).
- While the other "The Last Trick-or-Treaters" strips by R.K. Milholland of Something Positive fame are frightening, this one starring the Grim Reaper and an unfortunate trick-or-treater is oddly touching.
- In The Order of the Stick: Malack argues that while death gods get a bad reputation, they should be viewed as neutral by default. Death claims everyone, not just the righteous. His own patron god, Nergal, is almost certainly evil though: Malack is his high priest and his goal is, after his allies have passed on (from old age or otherwise), to begin mass sacrifices to Nergal on a scale that the gladiator games cannot compare to.
- Deidre from Rhapsodies is always friendly and wishes her clients well before leading them into the light.
- Housepets!: Cerberus is first seen in her new job as the Reaper giving a drowned puppy a cookie. She apparently took the job for the opportunity to work with kids
- Death in Johnny Wander is an awkward guy who falls in love with a human girl, accidentally skeletonizing her hand with a kiss and then being too shy to approach her for eighty years, which incidentally prevents her from aging. They get together in the end.
- Childrinrskary: The Childrin may indeed be scary, but Death, despite the skeleton-in-a-cloak-with-a-scythe look, is a kindly and benevolent figure (and a bit of a Woobie too):
- Death from The Time... Guys is pretty cool and takes time out of his killer schedule to go to a bar with Dr. Chronos when Timmy and Caveman were unavailable for the weekend.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy's Grim can seem like a scary guy when he's REAPING someone and he can also be very evil and nasty if you make him angry enough, but on the whole he's not a bad guy. The true evil here is Mandy.
- The Halloween Episode is one good example. At the beginning, he tells Billy and Mandy via Flashback how Jack (as in Jack o'Lantern) tricked him into making him immortal. Grim did so, but retaliated by cutting his head off. ("Gee, Grim, I didn't know you had it in you," comments Mandy.) During the course of the episode, Jack comes gunning for revenge, nearly destroying the whole town, and at the end of the episode, Grim loses his patience and has the guy Dragged Off to Hell, proving he's still got it and that he's the hero in this encounter.
- Family Guy: Several episodes have revolved around Peter dealing with Death, and he's often a lot more down-to-earth than most people on the show, though with a tendency to abuse his Touch Of Death to get out of awkward situations. Being voiced by Norm MacDonald definitely helps him be seen a likeable if not somewhat sarcastic guy. Just don't look under his hood.
- In Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, the Grim Reaper is a bit of a goofball, but every mortal fears him for the obvious reasons. This annoys him when Frankenstein gives him no respect at all as he's immortal and has nothing to fear.
- The mother of Mortys here is pretty nice. Too bad that her son doesn't understand the importance of close and personal.