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We Grim Reapers were once human too and all. Humans who have committed suicide become 'Grim Reapers' as punishment. We're worked to the bone until the day we're forgiven, a captive audience to the deaths of man. For us, who've committed suicide, to have to bear witness to their earthly regrets and lust for life day in and day out is a depressing state of affairs indeed.

A Grim Reaper (死神, Shinigami) is a neutral supernatural being, whose primary duty is to review and collect souls.



Humans who committed suicide become Grim Reapers as punishment. Until the day they are forgiven, they are to work hard and continuously observe people's deaths.[2]

General Information

Grim Reapers must remain neutral between God and humans;[3] they are strictly forbidden from to intervening in or influencing human affairs. Grim Reapers receive a soul retrieval list of those scheduled to die from their higher-ups.[4][5] The list contains substantial information on the human, including the person's name, parents, birth date, death date, cause of death, and any additional notes.[6] Their principal job is to check each dying soul's kaleidoscope of memories—its Cinematic Record—one by one, to determine whether they deserve to die or not. For the human who receives the judgment, "this human should die," the Grim Reapers use their Death Scythes to sever his or her memories and souls from his or her bodies, resulting in the human's death.[7] Afterward, they would promptly stamp "Completed" on the individual's file on the list.[5] The human can be removed from the list only when they are judged to have been one "who has potential to be beneficial for this world"—notwithstanding, the number of humans who have that sort of value is few to none, according to William T. Spears.[5] The Grim Reapers fundamentally work to confirm that the rare possibility of a "valuable" human is not the case each time, and they must do so as indifferently and level-headedly as they can.[5]

If a Grim Reaper makes a mistake or breaks a rule during their mission, they must return to headquarters and submit a written apology and report.[8] The details of their punishment are unknown, though if the crime is severe, they may be suspended for some time.[9] On the other hand, if a Grim Reaper quits or retires, they would no longer have their soul retrieval list,[10] and their Death Scythe would be confiscated, unconditionally.[11]

The Cinematic Record of a human, from beginning to end.


Grim Reapers typically intend to eliminate anything that gets in their way.[12] They and demons have a long-standing and mutual distaste for one another. They consider demons vulgar and a nuisance; demons disrupt their structured, meticulous work of reaping souls, due to their tendency to devour souls indiscriminately and in great quantities.[13]

Grim Reapers are similar to humans in strength and hearing.[14] Unlike demons, Grim Reapers require sleep.[15][16] They also need to eat.[16] All Grim Reapers have chartreuse phosphorescent eyes,[14][17] and wear glasses because they are extremely nearsighted.[14][18] Grim Reapers without their glasses are normally presumed to be "deserters."[19] Moreover, all Grim Reapers dress in black.[14]


  • Enhanced agility: Grim Reapers are considerably more agile than humans; it is as though they are "defying gravity."[20]
  • Enhanced endurance: Grim Reapers are appreciably tough, for they are able to endure attacks that could have killed a human.[21]
  • Soul review and collection: By using their Death Scythes, Grim Reapers can review a dying soul's memories, via its Cinematic Record, and retrieve the soul, once the formal assessment is finished.

Grim Reaper Dispatch

The community of Grim Reapers is referred to as the Grim Reaper Dispatch. The organization is divided into administrative departments or districts; each section is charged with a specific duty. The Management Division is responsible for overseeing the dispatch members, and ensuring that their conduct is proper and acceptable. They will apprehend whichever Grim Reaper violated their ordinances.[22] The Retrieval Division consists of members dispatched into the field to retrieve souls.[23] The Personnel Division sends out reinforcements to the field, when necessary.[24] The Administrative Division controls the use of Death Scythes; Grim Reapers must obtain permission to use their Death Scythes, and to modify them.[25] There is also a division that deals with forensics.[26]

There are different branches of the Grim Reaper Dispatch, separated by geographical regions. According to William, the London District, or the British Branch, is "perpetually understaffed."[23] Occasionally, the branches cooperate by sharing information or important documents, as did the British Branch with the German Branch during the events at Wolfsschlucht.[27]

Identified Grim Reapers

British Branch

German Branch

Identified Divisions

  • Headquarters
  • Management Division
  • Retrieval Division
  • Personnel Division
  • Administrative Division
  • Forensics Division

Known Rules

  • Killing those not on the list of the dead is prohibited.[22]
  • Using a Death Scythe without submitting an application for said use is prohibited.[22]
  • Interfering with life and death in the human world is prohibited.[19]


  • Even though only biologically male Grim Reapers have appeared in the series so far, female ones also exist.[14][28]

Out of Universe

  • Grim Reapers have chartreuse phosphorescent eyes in references to onibi, a mysterious light born from the corpses of humans and animals in Japanese folklore. A possible scientific explanation for those lights is that they are the illumination of the phosphorus from decaying corpses.[30][31]
  • One of Yana Toboso's old, scrapped mangas, "Hell-O", inspired the Grim Reaper Dispatch.[32]

  • In the first season of the anime, Grim Reapers are not immune to human ailments, such as hunger and exhaustion. However, they are able to sleep without breathing.[33]
    • In the first season, Grim Reapers possess a unique and powerful item called the Death Bookmark, that when placed into the book, is able to stop the events of someone's Cinematic Record.[34]

  • The musical The Most Beautiful DEATH in the World introduces two more Grim Reapers: Alan Humphries and Eric Slingby.[36] Both are original characters of Yana Toboso's.

  • References

    1. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 105, pages 10-11
    2. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 105, page 11
    3. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 9, page 9
    4. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 26, page 30
    5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 16
    6. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, pages 11-12
    7. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 10, pages 9-10
    8. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 17
    9. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 15
    10. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 60, page 17
    11. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 61, page 14
    12. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 26, page 33
    13. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 26, page 30
    14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Kuroshitsuji Character Guide, page 143
    15. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 27, page 3
    16. 16.0 16.1 Kuroshitsuji Character Guide, page 47
    17. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 60, page 2
    18. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 61, page 2
    19. 19.0 19.1 Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 60, page 18
    20. Kuroshitsuji Character Guide, pages 143-144
    21. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 12, page 14
    22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 12, page 11
    23. 23.0 23.1 Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 26, page 26
    24. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 13
    25. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 18
    26. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 114, page 29
    27. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 102, page 29
    28. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 35, page 18
    29. Kuroshitsuji manga; Chapter 52, page 28
    30. "Grell: I wanted to choose a colour that looks supernatural, aside from red. I chose the phosphorescence colour (yellowish green) since it is said that 'Onibi', [*a mysterious light phenomenon] which is born from corpses, is in fact the phosphorus."
      (archived and translated by akumadeenglish)
    31. "A detail from the movie. The reason why the eyes of all shinigamis are 'yellowish-green phosphorescence' is because it's said that 'the phosphorus that is contained in the buried bodies turn into 'Onibi' (aka 'will-o'-wisp' in Western world)'. Phosphorus emits yellowish-green light when burnt. All of the shinigamis in Kuroshitsuji are human beings who committed suicide, so that's why the phosphorus remained in their eyes as a reminder."
      (translated by akumadeenglish)
    32. Downstairs with Kuroshitsuji, Volume VI
    33. Kuroshitsuji anime; Episode 17
    34. Kuroshitsuji anime; Episode 18
    35. Kuroshitsuji OVA; The Tales of Will the Grim Reaper
    36. Kuroshitsuji musical; The Most Beautiful DEATH in the World


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