Shinigami (Death Note): Wikis


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In the manga and anime series Death Note, Shinigami (死神?, literally "death god") are a race of extra-dimensional beings who survive by killing humans to extend their own lives. Shinigami in this series are not responsible for every death that occurs; people will eventually die regardless of whether or not the Shinigami pay attention to them, but a Shinigami can end their lives sooner than intended for their own benefit.


Creation and conception

Takeshi Obata, the artist for Death Note, said that he had "a lot of fun" during the creation of the Shinigami. He also felt that the process was "very difficult" since he started "with nothing." He cited the difficulty in his creation of Ryuk as an example. Obata said that at first Shinigami appeared like "beasts" and that with later Shinigami such as Sidoh he designed them to look like crustaceans and insects because "it was easier." Obata said that he felt difficulty in basing characters on animal designs and keeping "the same feeling of the series." Obata said that he considered basing Shinigami on wizards but decided against the idea; he says that the rags on some Shinigami serves as a remnant of that concept. Obata added that Shinigami have no physical differences separating males and females; he says that he knew about the genders as he drew the characters and that the sole differences consisted of details added "subconsciously."[1]

Obata said that he used "no real design motif" for the Shinigami Realm, and that he never settled on any concrete appearance; Obata described the Realm as changing appearance in each instance in Death Note, with it sometimes appearing to be a dry field and sometimes appearing to be a room "full of bones." Obata says that he likes to think of the Shinigami Realm as "an abandoned building with chunks of steel sitting around." Obata said that he thought of the realm as being "inside something" and having a "claustrophobic feeling." Obata added that he would like to develop the Shinigami Realm further if it was used as the setting for a story.[2]

Tsugumi Ohba, the author, said that when he first inserted the numbers representing Light Yagami's lifespan (as visible with the Shinigami Eyes) he created a "complicated math equation" that could determine Light's lifespan in human terms; he added that he forgot the equation. Obata created subsequent lifespan numbers.[3]

The Shinigami are derived from the ancient Japanese myth of the Shikigami. Shikigami cannot be seen by most people, but according to the Heian period onmyōji who were said to control them, shikigami often looked something like a child-sized oni demon. Although invisible, shikigami supposedly could, at the onmyōji's command, take a variety of human or animal forms, possess or bewitch people, and even cause bodily harm or death.


Shinigami vary widely in appearance, and their bodies are built in ways that would seem impossible by humans standards. Like humans, Shinigami also can die, of sorts[4] by extending the life of a human they care about: the purpose of a Shinigami is to end life, not give it, and hence saving a human is contrary to their nature. Shinigami who die in this manner are reduced to dust, and their remaining lifespan is given to the human they saved.

Ryuk looking at Light Yagami with the Shinigami Eyes, revealing Light's real name and remaining lifespan (in Shinigami time).

The main thing all Shinigami have in common is the Death Note. This supernatural notebook allows them to end the lives of humans before their times, adding the human's remaining lifespans to their own (e.g. a man who would have lived to sixty, but is killed at forty would add twenty years to the Shinigami's lifespan). In this manner, a Shinigami can extend their lives indefinitely. To assist in this, their eyes allow them to see the names and remaining lifespans of humans by seeing the faces of their victims. For the Death Note to work, the Shinigami must be thinking of the person's face as they write it in. Any cause of death can be written down; if none is written, the human will simply die of a heart attack. A human using the Death Note will not receive the same benefits as a Shinigami; while humans can kill people, they cannot increase their lifespans by doing so.

According to Ryuk, life in the Shinigami realm is incredibly dull; Shinigami pass the time by gambling with years of their lives, and using the Death Note is considered to be workaholism.

All Shinigami must possess at least one Death Note, a necessity to extend their lives. Should they manage to come across a second, it can be loaned to a human. The Shinigami must accompany the human until they die or the Death Note is willingly given back or reach its expiration date; should the human give the notebook to another human, the same would apply to the new owner. Shinigami can explain the purpose of the Death Note to the human, but this is done at their discretion. They can also offer Shinigami Eyes to the human at the cost of half the human's remaining lifespan; however, while a human with the Eyes can also see the name and lifespan of most humans, they cannot see the lifespan of any Death Note owner, themselves included. Likewise, Shinigami cannot see lifespans of other Shinigami. In addition, Shinigami are forbidden from telling the Death Note owner their remaining lifespan, both because it would cause confusion and because a human aware of their fate might react unpredictably (in a negative way). While in the human world, Shinigami are invisible to everyone except the owner of their Death Note and anyone else who has touched it. Other unrelated Death Note users can only see their specific Shinigami. At the beginning of the series, it is stated that humans who have used the Death Note are permanently banned from both Heaven and Hell upon death, instead going to Mu ("Nothingness"); however, the endings of both the anime and manga state that all humans, regardless of their actions in life, meet this fate.

Shinigami may be male or female. Shinigami cannot and are not permitted to have sexual relations with humans; they cannot have sexual intercourse with each other, nor can they reproduce. In addition, humans cannot easily tell which Shinigami are male and which Shinigami are female. Death Note 13: How to Read adds that Shinigami may have emotions "relating to the opposite sex." For instance Ryuk feels shy and embarrassed when Misa Amane hugs him.[5][6]

Shinigami do not need to eat food; they possess senses of taste similar to those of humans; as Shinigami do not gain nutrients from food many do not eat. In addition Shinigami do not need to sleep and will not die from a lack of sleep; Shinigami view sleeping as "evidence of laziness."[6]

The Shinigami have a language; each Shinigami has his or her own written language, with some opting for letters and some opting for pictures. Takeshi Obata, artist of the series, said that he assumes that all Shinigami can understand the languages of one another.[2]

If a Shinigami breaks laws, the Shinigami will face one of nine punishment levels. The severity is least at Level Eight and most at Level One; in addition an "Extreme Level" exists. The Shinigami will die if a level below Level Three is applied to him or her.[5]

Shinigami may not kill a human in any manner outside of using a Death Note; killing a human without using a Death Note merits "Extreme Level" punishment.[5]

Shinigami have rankings, with the King of Death as having the highest ranking. 13: How to Read states that the rankings do not "seem to affect" the Shinigami's "day-to-day activities" "very much."[7]


Shinigami Eyes

Ohba said that a human with Shinigami eyes will always see names and lifespans of other people. The most significant rule with regard to humans is that to obtain the eyes, a person must halve their own remaining lifespan in a trade with a Shinigami. The only exception to this rule is Beyond Birthday, who was somehow born with Shinigami Eyes. In addition, as per the rules, the human owner of the Shinigami eyes gains 3.6 (20/10) vision. Ohba described the rule as "very close to being a stupid rule".[3] The way how to read a person's death date is years, months, days, hours, minutes, and finally seconds.

Recurring Shinigami



Ryuk (リューク Ryūku?) is the main Shinigami of the Death Note series. Bored with the activities (or lack thereof) of the Shinigami realm, Ryuk obtains a second Death Note and drops it in the human realm for someone to find, hoping to amuse himself. He deliberately writes the instructions on the front page (in English, which he assumed to be the most popular language in the human realm) so people would understand its purpose. The Death Note is discovered by Light Yagami, and Ryuk follows him around for much of the series to see how Light uses it. Ryuk has a fairly humanoid appearance. His skin is gray, or a purplish color, his limbs are abnormally long, and he has bulging yellow eyes with black irises (red in the anime); in the films, he is represented by CGI. He is voiced by Shidō Nakamura in the Japanese anime and live-action adaptations, while Brian Drummond voices him in the English dub.

Ryuk is characterized by his constant amusement by, and apathy in regards to, Light's problems. He enjoys seeing Light overcome the various challenges put to him, and often waits until the worst possible moment to inform him of a certain aspect of the Death Note just to get a laugh. He is occasionally helpful if it serves his own interests, such as obtaining apples or furthering his own amusement, but for the most part will jokingly ask Light what his next move will be or have Light explain to him the point of a certain action. The sfist describes Ryuk as a "crazy-looking, supernatural creature with these wicked eyes" who becomes "(surprisingly)" a "moral compass" for Light in the film version of Death Note.[8]

Ryuk has a great fondness for apples, comparing them to cigarettes and alcohol for Shinigami (Shinigami apples are withered and taste like sand, as he shows Misa at one point), and will go through a type of withdrawal if he goes for too long without eating them. His withdrawal symptoms involve twisting himself up like a pretzel and doing handstands. He also states that he is shy around girls. In addition to apples, Ryuk is fond of video games, first shown in the omake eight-panel comic series, where he asks for a Silver Game Boy Advance SP, originally published in Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 4-5 (double issue) in 2005. On another occasion, Ryuk asks Light if he wants to play Mario Golf (changed to "video games" in the anime), but receives no answer since Light's bedroom is bugged with cameras.[9]

As Ryuk explains when he first meets Light, he is bound to take Light's life when his time comes. In the manga, Ryuk does this after Light is shot several times by Matsuda. He desperately begs Ryuk to write the names of the investigation team and the SPK members in the Death Note, but Ryuk, reminding Light that he is not on anyone's side, just writes Light's name instead. He was expecting Light might have thought of some way out of his situation, but seeing as he was desperate enough to go to Ryuk for help, he decided it was all over for him. Ryuk returns to the Shinigami realm.[10]

In the anime, Light does not ask for Ryuk's help and manages to escape the warehouse thanks to Mikami's suicide distracting everyone else. However, his wounds are too severe for him to escape very far, and Ryuk, who is watching him from atop a pole, decides that following Light around during a prison sentence is not worth his time and thus writes Light's name in his Death Note. Light dies peacefully, with an apparition of L standing over him - mirroring Light standing over L on his death.

The second film ends in much the same manner as the manga, except Ryuk's silence leads Light to believe that he is willing to help. When Light learns differently, Light yells at Ryuk and jumps through him, trying in vain to stop his death before dying in his father's arms; before this, Ryuk takes this opportunity to reveal to Light that humans who have used the Death Note are unable to enter either Heaven or Hell regardless of their actions in life. In the spin-off L: Change the WorLd Ryuk offers L the Death Note, but when L refuses and proceeds to burn it, Ryuk moans about L being boring and disappears, returning to the Shinigami realm.

Tsugumi Ohba, story writer of Death Note, said that Ryuk is his favorite Shinigami and that "If I didn't say Ryuk here, his whole character would be in vain. [laughs][11]

Ryuk in the pilot chapter

In the pilot chapter of Death Note Ryuk is the master of two Death Notes that he dropped into the human world; Taro Kagami picks up the first one, and Ryuk talks to Taro. The other is picked up by Taro's classmate, Miura. The police burn Miura's book, not knowing of the existence of the first book. At the end of the chapter Ryuk follows an older Taro.[12] Death Note 13: How to Read describes the pilot chapter Ryuk as "really lazy" and "incompetent".[13]

Ryuk in the yonkoma

Death Note 13: How to Read describes Ryuk in the Death Note yonkoma as, of the characters, one who "may" be the character most resembling the equivalent character in the Death Note series.[13]

Conception and design of Ryuk

Ohba said that he always mentioned apples in the thumbnails because he wished to use "the dying message that Shinigami only eat apples" and therefore he needed Ryuk to hold apples and that "There's no other reason." Ohba also said that he specifically chose apples as the red "goes well" with Ryuk's black body and that the apples "fit well" with Ryuk's "big" mouth.[14] When Obata informed Ohba that apples held religious and psychological significance and that a person could "read a lot" into the inclusion of apples and that he assumed that was the reason why Ohba included the apples, Ohba said that he did not "think about that at all" and that he believes that "apples are cool... that's it. [laughs]" Ohba added that he felt including aspects that could become later plot points was beneficial, and the apples were used as a point when Light asked Ryuk to search for the cameras in exchange for apples.[15]

Obata said that he encountered difficulty in creating Ryuk.[1] He said that his original idea of Ryuk consisted of Ryuk looking like a "young man similar to Light" with black hair and wings. Obata said that he had the idea of Shinigami looking like "attractive rock stars." Obata felt that if Ryuk appeared to be more attractive than Light he would "appear to be the main character" and "things wouldn't work as well." Obata said that he decided to erase the previous design and use the final design when his editor told that Ryuk did not have to appear to be human. Obata said that he liked the "monster"-like appearance and added that, with his face, "you can never really tell what he is thinking." Obata said that he encountered difficulty while drawing Ryuk in the pilot chapter since he did not "have a good handle" on the "bone structure of his face." Obata said that during serialization he became "so used" to the underlying structure that he could visualize it. Obata describes Ryuk's face as appearing different between the pilot chapter and the actual Death Note series. In 13: How to Read Obata thought of an idea involving Ryuk's face being a mask, and under the mask would be an "attractive" face.[16]

When designing Ryuk's Death Note Obata thought about the appearance of Ryuk's handwriting. Ryuk wrote the words "Death Note" on the cover of his own notebook, and when he took possession of Sidoh's book he wrote the same words on the front cover.[2]

Shūsuke Kaneko, director of the films, said that he chose to create Ryuk with computer graphics as it would make the aspect of Ryuk only appearing to people who have touched the Death Note "believable" and that the audience could "tell instinctually" that Ryuk is a shinigami with "no real presence." Kaneko added that if a human actor represented Ryuk, the appearance would have been "too realistic," the actor may have impacted Ryuk's "presence," and the audience may have "doubted he was a death god, if only for a second." Kaneko ordered the graphics team to design the graphics as if it was an actor "inside a rubber suit."[17]

Filming process of Ryuk character

Digital Frontier, a computer graphics company, animated Ryuk. Kaneko said that due to the fact that Ryuk's physical structure is "different from a human’s," he thought of an idea of visualizing a person in a Ryuk costume. He also wanted the audience to think of Ryuk as a person in a Ryuk costume talking to Tatsuya Fujiwara, the actor who played Light. He said that he was "asking for too much" and that he wanted audiences to see the film Ryuk as more than "a product of the latest CG technology." Fujiwara said that due to the constant filming with Ryuk he rarely interacted other actors during filming of the first film; The Star of Malaysia describes Fujiwara's emotions as "mock frustration." Fujiwara described the CG Ryuk as "so selfish" and "far more difficult to work with" than a human actor.[18]

Reception to Ryuk

On the actor's voicework in the anime, Tom S. Pepirium of IGN said that "Brian Drummond IS Ryuk."[19] Pepirium described Drummond's voice as "excellent" and that this makes it "hilarious" to watch "Ryuk and his never-ending grin giggle at the events he put into motion."[20]

Kitty Sensei of OtakuZone had her opinions of the film portrayal of Ryuk published in The Star, a Malaysian newspaper. In it Kitty Sensei said that Ryuk "looks a little artificial in the beginning." She says that she became used to the portrayal and loved "Ryuk’s gleeful chuckles and fish-faced grins."[21]

The sfist describes Ryuk as the sole "(potential) cheeseball factor" of the first film and that he may be "difficult to get used to"; the article stated that Ryuk "adds" to the film if the viewers "let go enough to accept Ryuk's presence."[8]


Rem as she appears in the manga.

Rem (レム Remu?) is the Shinigami who gives Misa her Death Note. Like Ryuk, Rem possesses two Death Notes; however, Rem did not get hers through trickery. The Shinigami Gelus, who had fallen in love with Misa, sacrificed himself to kill her destined murderer. In doing so he was reduced to dust and ash, leaving only his Death Note. Touched by this act, Rem delivered Gelus's Death Note to Misa, since it was her life he saved. Her appearance is quite skeletal, with long, spinal cord-like arms and bone-like skin. Rem is voiced by Kimiko Saitō in the Japanese anime and Coleen Wheeler in the English dub. While Ryuk takes amusement in everything in the human world, Rem is almost the exact opposite. She views most humans with contempt, seeing Shinigami as the more evolved race. Also, while Ryuk is ambivalent to Light's success or failure, Rem actively assists Misa, having inherited Gelus's love for her. She is even willing to sacrifice her life to defend Misa, as evidenced by her threat to kill Light should Misa die before her time. For Misa's sake, however, she still assists Light in his schemes. Death Note 13: How to Read said Rem "supposedly" experiences difficulty while writing the Japanese language. Also stated in Death Note 13: How to Read, Rem is female, contrary to some beliefs, supported by the fact that in manga, chapter 47, page 15, panel 3, she states that she is, in fact, female. Although never clearly stated, Rem appears to be male in the film adaptation.

Light manages to force Rem into working for him by presenting a situation in which harm would come to Misa otherwise. As such, she dies when she writes L's name. In the second movie, Rem declares her love for Misa and her spite for Light moments before her death. While her Death Note is left behind in the manga and anime, she burns it in the film out of spite.

Obata said that Rem is his favorite Shinigami since she is a Shinigami and "a good person."[11]

Conception and design of Rem

Obata said that he decided to create a design contrasting with Ryuk's design, using a white body with "rounder" lines. He says that he used fashion collections to create his motif. He described her resulting appearance as if she wore a "really bizarre suit." Obata said that Medusa inspired the design of Rem's head.[16]



Gelus (ジェラス Jerasu?) appears in a flashback when Rem explains how to kill a Shinigami. He is a small, doll-like Shinigami whose appearance suggests that he was poorly sewn together from mismatched fabric. He only has one eye, despite having two eye sockets.

In the flashback, Rem recalls Gelus watching over a younger Misa Amane in the human world. Knowing that it was Misa's final day, she watches with him. Having fallen in love with Misa, Gelus uses his Death Note to kill Misa's destined murderer, against Rem's protests. Gelus is reduced to a pile of dust as punishment for extending a human life, leaving behind only his Death Note. Rem delivers his Death Note to Misa because it was her that he saved. In the film, he simply drops it and it lands near Misa. He is voiced by Ken'ichi Matsuyama (who played L in the films) in the Japanese version and Michael Dobson in the English dub.

In the Japanese 13: How to Read book, his name is romanized as Jealous. In the English versions his name is romanized as Gelus.

Conception and development of Gelus

Obata said that Gelus appeared to be "a really beautiful" Shinigami in the thumbnails but decided to use his concept instead; Obata designed Gelus with a patchwork body since Gelus is a "really pitiful character." Obata added the trait of Gelus having difficulty writing names into the Death Note. Obata said that he believed that readers could relate to him and sympathize with him more if he looked "pathetic" instead of "beautiful."[22]

Obata said that at first he placed "detailed patterns" on Gelus's Death Note. When deciding that the patterns looked "too pretty" Obata covered the patterns with black, leaving the white portions visible. The text of the notebook is in a "Shinigami language."[2]


Sidoh (シドウ Shidou?) is the Shinigami whose Death Note was stolen by Ryuk. By the time he realizes this, however, the note has already changed hands several times, ending up in the hands of Mello's gang (more specifically, Mello's subordinate, Jack Neylon). After repeatedly hounding Ryuk for its return, he tracks down the gang to get it back. In order to regain his Note, Sidoh agrees to help Mello's gang against Near's SPK and the Kira investigation team. He wears heavy clothing, obscuring most of his features, and his head is wrapped in bandages. He is voiced by Kazuki Yao in the Japanese anime and Sam Vincent in the English dub.

Sidoh shares Mello's great liking for chocolate, similar to Ryuk's liking of apples. Sidoh is fairly timid; Mello frightens Sidoh, despite the fact that Mello is a human. Death Note 13: How to Read describes Sidoh as unintelligent and forgetful, rarely remembering the names of other Shinigami.[23] After Light regains the Death Note from Mello, he returns it to Sidoh to keep him from interfering.

Obata described Sidoh as "very funny," citing the time when Sidoh becomes the first Shinigami to distribute flyers. Obata said he wished that Sidoh appeared more often in the story.[22]

In the Japanese 13: How to Read book, his name is romanized as Shidoh. In the English versions his name is romanized as Sidoh.

Conception and development of Sidoh

Tsugumi Ohba, writer for Death Note, said that he used Sidoh as another Shinigami appearing in the human world because he liked Sidoh's appearance; Ohba described Daril Ghiroza as a "candidate" and that he wanted a "pretty pathetic" character.[24]

Obata said that when he discovered that another Shinigami would appear on Earth, he filed through designs and nominated Sidoh and Daril Ghiroza. Obata said that he believed that Ghiroza would be chosen and prepared for that decision; instead Ohba selected Sidoh. Obata said that he based Sidoh's design on the appearance of a bird with his mouth being based on a beak of a canary. Obata described Sidoh's foldable arms as more "insect-like."[22]

Minor Shinigami

Armonia Justin Beyondormason

Armonia Justin Beyondormason (アラモニア=ジャスティン=ビヨンドルメーソン Aramonia-Jasutin-Biyondorumēson?), otherwise known as Justin the Jewel Skeleton, is a briefly-featured Shinigami who informs Sidoh that his Death Note was stolen by the Shinigami Ryuk. As his names suggests, Justin's appearance is that of a skeleton adorned with all manner of jewellery. He is voiced by Hideyuki Umezu in the Japanese anime and Michael Dobson in the English dub.

As described in 13: How to Read, Justin is the right-hand man of the Shinigami King and sits on a throne. Highly intelligent, Justin knows everything there is to know about the Death Note.[25] Obata describes him as "conceited."[1] Justin provides Sidoh with several scrolls describing the various rules that Shinigami have for interacting with humans, which Sidoh uses to guide his interactions with Mello in the human world. The scrolls are not mentioned in the anime.

Obata said that for Justin's body he referenced Tibetan art that features skulls. He also used ideas stemming from Italian antique accessories that feature faces covered in jewels.[1]

In the Japanese version his name is Armonia Jastin Beyondllemason.


Calikarcha (カリカーチャ Karikācha?) is considered strange-looking even by Shinigami standards, having eight eyes lined up two rows on each side of his head. He has a penchant for blueberries but dislikes sunlight.[26]

Obata said that he based Calikarcha's design off of Balinese bird masks.[1]

Daril Ghiroza

Daril Ghiroza (ダリル=ギロオーザ Dariru-Giroōza?) is a female Shinigami who passes time by stacking human skeletons. Known for her "goofy" laugh. She has a liking for gold but dislikes bright places.[25]

Obata described her as "more of an Orthodox-looking Shinigami." Obata said that since Obata designed her at the same time as his design work for Sidoh for use as a new main character he gave her some contrast with Sidoh's design. Obata said that he based Ghiroza on Ryuk's design and tried to make her appear "higher-ranked."[1] Obata said that when he discovered that another Shinigami would appear on Earth, he filed through designs and nominated Sidoh and Daril Ghiroza. Obata said that he believed that Ghiroza would be chosen and prepared for that decision; instead Ohba selected Sidoh. Obata said that the reason why Sidoh was chosen is that Ghiroza attained a high Shinigami rank and therefore would not fit the role of a Shinigami being "pushed around" by a human being. Obata said that he was glad that Ghiroza was not selected since her design included many details that he felt would have caused "real trouble" if he tried to draw her in every chapter.[22]

In the Japanese version her name is Dalil Guillohrtha.


Deridovely (デリダブリー Deridaburī?) is a Shinigami who spends his time gambling. He is humanoid in appearance, but wears a bone mask over his face. He carries a scythe, making him thematically similar to the classical depiction of the Grim Reaper. He usually gambles with Gukku.[27] His Japanese voice actor is Tetsuo Goto and his English voice actor is David Pettitt.

Obata said that he based Deridovely on a "gross-looking transparent insect." Obata believes that the bandages aid the design.[1]

In the Japanese version his name is Dellidubbly.


Gukku (グック?) is a very lazy Shinigami whose most prominent feature is his animal mask. Like Deridovely, he enjoys gambling. Despite gambling with Deridovely much of the time, he is a poor gambler.[28] He is voiced by Takeharu Onishi in the Japanese version and by Lee Tockar in English.

Obata said that, as Gukku appears in the first chapter, he wanted for Gukku to "look like a monster to keep it simple." Obata decided to use a cattle skull in the design as he felt that using a "regular skull would be boring."[1]

In the Japanese version his name is Gook.

Kinddara Guivelostain

Kinddara Guivelostain (キンダラ・ギベロスタイン Kindara Giberosutain?) is a female Shinigami with a fierce appearance, having a huge fissure jutting from her head and sharp teeth. She enjoys violence but hates excessive thinking.[29] She does not appear in the actual Death Note story; she appears on the spine of Volume 12.[1]

Obata said that, since the final volume release pended, he wanted to create a new Shinigami to appear in the volume.[1]


Midora (ミードラ Mīdora?) is a large, slug-like Shinigami with stubby limbs. Unlike most Shinigami, she does not wear any clothing or decorative elements on her body. She enjoys moist weather but loathes dry seasons. Her enormous size gives her a dominating presence.[25] While she is a background character in the main series, a one-shot chapter set three years after Light's death focuses on her. In the chapter, Ryuk's actions have made apples a commodity among the Shinigami. Midora uses this to bribe the Shinigami King into giving her a second Death Note, which she gives to a human in an attempt to replicate Ryuk's experience with Light. When this "Cheap Kira" is brushed off by Near as "boring", he kills himself. Midora tells Ryuk about this, and he relates Light's claim that someone must have strong spiritual strength and conviction to use the Death Note; Midora simply picked a weakling. She admits that Ryuk is better at judging such things, then gives the extra Death Note to him.[30]

Midora appears to have the same feeling toward bananas, as seen in one panel of the one-shot when she is in the new Kira's room, she is eating a banana while lying amongst an enormous pile of banana peels. In the Death Note 13: How to Read, her name is Midora. In the Japanese version her name is Meadra.

Obata said that he liked Midora's design as she appears "more like a salamander" and has a "vastly different" design when compared to other Shinigami. Obata said that her skin feels moist like amphibian skin; due to this Obata said that he worries "if she can survive in the heat of the Shinigami realm. [laughs]"[1]


Nu (?) is a Shinigami whose body is covered from head to toe with eyes. Nu is "supposedly" the second most-powerful Shinigami, with the King of Death's powers eclipsing hers. She is very intelligent and likes the feeling of others' regret, but she dislikes sound.[26] Obata described Nu as like "a giant rock covered in eyes that sticks out of the ground." Although she has never appeared in any actual episodes in the anime, Nu is shown very briefly in the second opening sequence, along with Ryuk, Rem, Gelus, Sidoh and Gukku.

Obata said that Shinigami like Nu exist and are "rare."[1]


Zellogi (ゼルオギー Zeruogī?) wears a Native American headdress and has a hook in place of his left hand. He takes an interest in Ryuk's activities in the human world, and humans in particular after learning that Ryuk's Death Note is in a human's possession. Despite his feeble appearance, he has a highly inquisitive nature. His interests are in furry items and he dislikes moist temperature.[28] He is voiced by Kibou Tokumei in the original and by John Novak in the dub.

Obata said that he used a Native American motif for Zellogi. Obata said that after covering his eyes and adding feathers "the rest just came naturally. [laughs]"[1]

In the Japanese version his name is Zerhogie.

King of Death

The King of Death,[31] also known as the Shinigami King (死神大王 Shinigami Daiō?),[32] is the ruler of the Shinigami. An unseen character in the main series, the Shinigami King governs the Shinigami and controls distribution of the Death Notes. It is not made clear if he creates them or just has a certain supply, as he is unwilling to replace lost ones. He appears to at least write the rules for the Death Notes, but whether or not he enforces them himself is unclear. The Shinigami King is regarded as a sort of father figure by lesser Shinigami, and is said to be almost immortal. Chapter 109 depicts the King as a large mass suspended in the air with chains. He has a skull for a head, which is surrounded by a larger, skull-like formation. He has four arms, each with only three fingers on the hands, which hang from his body.[33]

One of the eyecatch rules given in the series states that extra Death Notes found by Shinigami are generally expected to be returned to the King, though this clearly is not something Shinigami are forced to abide by. Likewise, lost notebooks must also be reported to him.[34] Little information is given about the character itself, aside from Rem's assertion that the King is not easy to trick, which Ryuk successfully did. In contrast, he is quite easily bribed, as Midora was able to trade thirteen apples for a second Death Note.[33]

Obata said that he felt too afraid to design the King of Death; he said that he considered placing the King of Death on a book spine but felt that the spine would not have enough space to depict the King of Death.[1] The King of Death is included as a figure with the Japanese release of the final volume of the DVD series, and appears in the one-shot set three years after the manga's finale.

Unnamed Shinigami

An unnamed Shinigami debuted in the Director's Cut special of Death Note, Death Note Re-Light: Visions of a God. Like Ryuk, he too was bored with the Shinigami realm. This Shinigami wears a coat and goggles over its skeletal body, has red hair, and bears a bone guitar on his back. He takes an interest in Ryuk's visit to the human realm, and bribes Ryuk with an apple in exchange for information to undertake passage into the human world. Ryuk accepts, but instead recaps the story of Light Yagami's correlation with a Death Note. After meeting Ryuk, he ventures off with his sights set on the human world.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters." Death Note: How to Read 13. VIZ Media. 139.
  2. ^ a b c d "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters." Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 140.
  3. ^ a b "How to Think." Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 58.
  4. ^ Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 51-52
  5. ^ a b c Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 157.
  6. ^ a b Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 55.
  7. ^ Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 56.
  8. ^ a b "SFIAAFF: Death Note." sfist.
  9. ^ Death Note manga; Volume 2, pages 187-188
  10. ^ "The 13 Truths About Chapter 108." Death Note: How to Read 13. VIZ Media. 200.
  11. ^ a b Death Note: How to Read 13. VIZ Media. 190.
  12. ^ "Death Note" (pilot chapter). Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 225-279.
  13. ^ a b Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 215.
  14. ^ Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 181.
  15. ^ Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 182.
  16. ^ a b "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters." Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 137.
  17. ^ Shonen Jump. Volume 6, Issue 6. June 2008. VIZ Media. 6.
  18. ^ "The dummy." The Star.
  19. ^ "Death Note: "Ally" Review." IGN.
  20. ^ "Death Note: "Wager" Review." IGN.
  21. ^ "Death rocks." The Star.
  22. ^ a b c d "Takeshi Obata Production Note: Characters." Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 138.
  23. ^ Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 45
  24. ^ "How to Think." Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 66.
  25. ^ a b c Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 47
  26. ^ a b Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 51.
  27. ^ Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 48
  28. ^ a b Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 49
  29. ^ Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 50
  30. ^ Death Note manga; chapter 109
  31. ^ Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 51.
  32. ^ Death Note 13: How to Read. VIZ Media. 139.
  33. ^ a b Death Note manga; chapter 109, page 26
  34. ^ Death Note manga; 13: How to Read, Page 55


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