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Grim reapers (死神, Shinigami; Yen Press Translation "Death God", "Reaper" alternarively) are true gods who presides over balance.[1]

Overview

Characteristics

The body of a reaper can vary; although they can have both human[2] and inhuman bodily appearances,[3] they all possess a face like that of a human.[4] Perhaps the most striking attribute of the reaper is the Lines Of Sanzu, which appears to be the source of their power.[5][6]

Though they reproduce through a process in which they fragments parts of themselves, they also possess groins.[7]

Fragment

A method in which a reaper can reproduce is to "fragment" themselves and create a being.[8] The "parent" is able to either make them "complete" or "incomplete." It's also shown that the fragment carries some of the parent's traits, such as Death the Kid's inheriting of the Madness of Order and being born without fear due to Asura harboring Death's former fears within him.[9]

While a fragment will have the soul wavelength of their parent within their soul, after two connections of the Lines of Sanzu, a Reaper can forfeit their own parent's soul wavelength with their soul. When this is performed by Death the Kid, in order to power his own attack, he did so because he didn't want to "ride" on his "father's coattails".[10]

Role and Significance

As true gods in the world, the role of a Reaper is the maintaining of balance and equilibrium between good and evil.[11] As such, they're often perceived to have surpassed human understanding[12] as well as being the very symbol of order itself.[13] In addition, reapers are also authorities over souls.[14] Despite their purpose, however, they're mistakenly often thought of to preside over people's lives and death as well as being absolute authorities of order itself.[15]

As gods too, they're also even worshiped; examples include the Flying Dutchman, who worships Asura as the Kishin[16] or Justin Law, whom once worshiped Death himself until his defection.[17]

Types of Reapers

There are several types of Reapers:

  • Immature: An "immature" reaper refers to one who was born with incomplete Lines of Sanzu, which is something decided by the parent.[18] Because of this, as a reaper grows, their control of the Lines of Sanzu and power expands dependent on age.[19]
  • Mature: A mature reaper refers to a reaper who is born with complete Lines of Sanzu. Not much is known about this beyond the fact that a mature reaper, unlike their immature counterparts, is born with all their Lines of Sanzu complete and have two indications surrounding their head.[18] These Reapers can co-exist with even a True Reaper.[18]
  • True: A True Reaper is an individual who possesses all three connected Lines of Sanzu, making them extremely powerful and allowing them to utilize the Madness of Order. True Reapers can also create fragments to later be their successor, even having control over the "maturity" their fragment initially are. However, only one true Reaper can exist at a time and when one becomes a true Reaper, the other dies as a result. According to Excalibur, the reason behind the existence of one True Reaper at a time is because it is unnecessary to have a numerous number of them.[20]
  • Kishin (鬼神, Kishin; FUNimation "Afreet"): Even Reapers can become known as Kishins and embody a powerful type of Madness. However, doing so requires the Reaper to consume a Demon Weapon in it's weapon form. As witnessed by Asura, a Reaper can strangely merge it's body with a Demon Weapon in it's weaponized form.[21]
  • Great Old Ones (旧支配者, Guratto Orrudo Wan): Per being Gods, Reapers can qualifty to become Great Old Ones by even birth, as evident with Asura being a fragment of Death. However, this can be controlled by a true Reaper, as Death the Kid was not considered a Great Old One despite being a fragment himself. Great Old Ones can embody a unique variant of a Madness Wavelength.[18]

Special Abilities

Holding a incredible amount of raw power and special advantages over other races, grim reapers each possess common abilities (in addition to unique ones) such as:

  • Reaper Powers (死神の力, Shinigami no chikara): Originating from the Lines of Sanzu are special, divine powers capable of being performed by a reaper. Like other abilities, it follows a reaper's particular theme/motif.[22][23]
  • Immortality (不死, Fushi): A fully realized Reaper is capable of being immortal, unable to be killed by almost any means. This is due to them being an embodiment of a particular concept (such as fear).[24] This also allows them to be capable of living for long amounts of times (over eight centuries) while retaining a youthful appearance and suffering no consequence of old age.[18][21]
  • Regeneration (再生, Saisei): They're also capable of powerful regeneration and depending on the Reaper, can reattaching their body parts[25]
  • Unique Physiology: As Reapers, their skin are immune to sunburns , extreme temperatures, and repels everything such as poisons and cosmetics such as hair dye.[26] It's also speculated that the effects of Demonic Energy from those such as the Magnetic Field doesn't affect them as much.[27]

Specialized Fighting Styles

  • Reaper Taijutsu (死神体術, Shishin Taijutsu): A unique fighting style used by certain Reapers that allows them to change attack style with a stance.[28]

List of Reapers

Name Reaper Type Status
Death True Deceased
Death the Kid True (formerly Immature) Active
Asura Mature Active

Trivia

  • Though grim reapers are known to reproduce via "fragmentation", it seems that they can also possess groins and testicles.[7] It is unknown if this is a conscious decision made by the true Reaper when "fragmenting," as Kid states he was purposefully created to appear human.[29]
  • According to Excalibur, the limited number of Reapers is due to the fact that the world itself doesn't require more than one, true Reaper.[30]

References

  1. Soul Eater Chapter 77 — Kid:"We're about balance right?"
  2. Soul Eater Chapter 0.3 — Introduces Death the Kid, who's a shinigami.
  3. Soul Eater Chapter 0.3 — Death the Kid and his father interact, a contrasting difference in appearance.
  4. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 70
  5. Soul Eater Chapter 63 — Kid accesses one of his father's powers after a Sanzu Lines: Death Claw
  6. Soul Eater Chapter 108 — Kid accesses Reaper Mode.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 47
  8. Soul Eater Volume 19 page 92 — The Great Old One of Power: "When the Shinigami cut a piece of himself to create you....."
  9. Soul Eater Chapter 108
  10. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 81
  11. Soul Eater Volume 19; Chapter 77, page 14
  12. Soul Eater Volume 19;Chapter 81, page 158
  13. Soul Eater Volume 21; Chapter 89, page 45
  14. Soul Eater Volume 4; Chapter 13, page 138 - Kid:What is he trying to accomplish collecting the souls of so many good people...? As an authority over souls, I cannot allow this..
  15. Soul Eater Volume 19; Chapter 78, page 65; Chapter 77, page 14
  16. Soul Eater Volume 11; Chapter 41, page 63
  17. Soul Eater Volume 7; Chapter 23, page 8
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 108
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Chapter 52
  20. (Yen Press) Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 113 — Excalibur:Joke? Do you think we need a dozen Reapers? You have the full, proper power of a Shinigami, so your father disappeared.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 16
  22. Soul Eater Manga: Prologue 3
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Chapter 22
  24. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 108, 112
  25. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Chapter 53
  26. Soul Eater Volume 11; Chapter 30, page 121
  27. Soul Eater Volume 9; Chapter 34, page 144
  28. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter `15
  29. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 110, page 22
  30. Soul Eater Manga: Chapter 113

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