Death Note/Characters/Shinigami

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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:

  • 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.
  • Intangible Man (or Woman): Although a Shinigami on Earth can temporarily become solid to manipulate objects.
  • NameDar: Shinigami eyes see everyone's name and lifespan.
  • 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.
  • We Are as Mayflies



Voiced by: Shidou Nakamura (JP), Brian Drummond (EN)


Light's Shinigami sidekick, and the one who dropped Light's Death Note on Earth in the first place. Despite his terrifying appearance, he's mostly harmless (unless he gets bored), and has a fondness for apples. He tells Light about various rules of the Shinigami Realm, sometimes at extremely inconvenient times.

In the end, he's the one who kills Light, due to Light being finally beaten by Near, meaning that things won't be fun anymore. Appears briefly in the one-shot, where he is indirectly responsible for creating C-Kira by revealing to all the other Shinigami that they can go into the human world under certain circumstances and eat apples.


"You know, you haven't been very nice to me. I might just write your name in my Death Note and kill you, just like that! ...I wouldn't laugh if I were you."


"The symptoms are STAAAAAAARTING!"


"Hey Light, want to play some video games?"


Ryuk (sounding excited and happy): He’s not the least bit daunted by the fact that I’m a Shinigami! He doesn’t suck up to me, and he seems to have no problem giving me a hard time. (Grins, AWESOME!!)



Rem-deathgod 5979.jpg

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.



Sidoh 2167.png

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.


Gelus-1 8274.png

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


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

Armonia Justin Beyondormason


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


The jewel skeleton. The Shinigami Realm’s adviser who knows the rules well.

Daril Ghiroza

A high-ranking female Shinigami.



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


Another denizen of the Shinigami realm.


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



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.



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


A minor Shinigami character that expresses interest in the human world and what Ryuk is doing.


Another Shinigami mentioned in How To Read 13

Kinddara Guivelostain

A female Shinigami. She’s very violent and not very smart.


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

The Shinigami King

"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.

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 strongly hints that he is a Reincarnation of Light Yagami. [1]