The Composer (コンポーザー Konpōzā) is an Angel, leader of the Reapers within a particular area, and the ruler of the local Underground. It falls upon the Composer's shoulders to create the rules for the Underground, and to judge the Players. The only two known Composers are Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu of Shibuya and Hazuki Mikagi of Shinjuku. Both of these Composers have chosen to organize Reapers' Games within their Undergrounds. As such, this article will focus on how the Composer acts within a Reapers' Game.
The Composer's main purpose in the Underground is to create and maintain the rules for the Reapers' Game in the area they are responsible for, and to run the Reapers' Game. While almost never interacting with most denizens of the Lower Planes, the Composer works through his second-in-command, the Conductor.
- Can create the rules for and has ultimate control within their Underground.
- Less restricted within their territory than other Angels.
- Can bring people from the UG to the RG, and vice versa.
- Can incapacitate people.
- Can fly/teleport.
To achieve the rank of Composer in an area that already has one, the current Composer must be defeated. This is easier said than done, considering the Composer's immense amount of power. Sho Minamimoto is the only Reaper to have made a determined attempt to defeat Shibuya's Composer, first by attacking him in the Realground, and then by enhancing himself with Taboo Noise to attack him in the Underground; both attempts failed. Beat also intended to do so, but grossly underestimated the Composer's power in the Underground and could not even noticeably threaten him in practice. It is unclear how long Shibuya's current Composer, Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu, has been in position.
At the end of both games, Shibuya's Composer, Joshua, offered Neku a chance to dethrone him. In the original game, Joshua organized a short game. Both were given a gun, and whoever killed the other first would win. Neku was unable to shoot, however, partly due to the friendship he and Joshua had built over the course of the previous week.
At the end of NEO: The World Ends with You Joshua gives Neku the direct offer of staying in the Underground and eventually becoming Composer, with no "game" attached. Neku declines, preferring to meet back up with Shiki Misaki in the RG.
Creation of the Reapers' Game
As stated above, the purpose of the Composer is to judge the worth of human souls. What this means is that after death, the Composer "judges" a person and decides if they are worthy of a second chance at life. The Composer created a Game that locked Reaper and Player in mortal combat in which the individuals with the strongest Imagination, whether Reaper or Player, survive. If the Player is able to complete the game, which spans seven days, he or she will be judged worthy of a second chance at life because of his or her refined Imagination. Thus, the Reapers' Game was born.
While this system was created in Shibuya, it has been adopted in Shinjuku as well.
Relationship with the Reapers
As the supreme commander of the Reaper's Game, the Composer has little direct contact with Reapers below the rank of Conductor. The relationship with the Conductor is marked by the power dynamics of a commanding officer and his underling, with little friendship readily apparent between the two.
The Composer only leaves his hidden base during absolute emergencies or in special circumstances. Because of this, most Reapers never meet the Composer. In fact, only two Shibuya Reapers have been known to have met with the Composer. The Conductor is one. The other is Sho Minamimoto, the rogue Reaper, who learned the Composer's identity in the RG, and attempted to murder him.
Other Reapers have interacted with Joshua, although none were aware of his identity. Kariya correctly identified Joshua as not being a typical Player by forcing him to fight against Taboo Noise and placing him in a situation where he needed more of his powers to survive. However, Kariya incorrectly assumed that Joshua was a living Player; Joshua allowed the misunderstanding to continue. Uzuki was not interested in Joshua at all, and merely played along with Kariya's plans to humor her partner. Beat was placed on special assignment by the Conductor to eliminate Neku and Joshua during the second week. With Beat's powers as a Reaper, he dismissed Neku's and Joshua's psychs as being weak (likely due to the fact that Joshua is known to be holding back throughout the game, and Neku is simply not as powerful).
Relationship with the Players
Throughout the course of "normal" games, the Composer presumably has extremely limited contact with Players. His primary role is to judge the Players who survive the week and determine what fate should await them. Whether the Composer meets with Players following their victory on Day 7 in normal circumstances is unknown; the Conductor seems capable of relaying the Composer's decisions to the winners, although only the Composer may resurrect Players to the RG, should they elect that option.
Joshua, however, breaks convention in his game against Kitaniji. He directly selects his proxy by murdering Neku and forcing him into the game (which is against the rules; when Uzuki idly wishes to recruit more Players into the game in week 2 by shooting them, Kariya harshly reminds her that that would not be wise). Throughout the first week, he silently observes the game from the RG, and then enters the game in Neku's second week, posing as a living Player and forming a pact with Neku (without his explicit consent, as was required for Neku's pacts with Shiki and Beat). Throughout this week, Joshua has limited interaction with Players other than Neku. However, it is revealed that he has no special sympathy for Neku's situation regarding Shiki being taken as his entry fee, saying that all Players make sacrifices to play the game. He also has a detached view of other Players; his limited interactions with Sota and Nao produce no special reactions, and Joshua is hesitant to defend Sota after Nao's erasure late in the week. Only Neku's urging gets them into the fight.
From his interactions with Neku and the other Players, Joshua might be said to have a detached relationship with Players, perhaps lending to his ability to judge them at the game's conclusion. He did, however, form a strong friendship with Neku throughout the second week, which was further reinforced by Neku's inability to shoot him in the finale.
Of interest is that, at the game's conclusion, Rhyme is returned to life in human form, even though she had been erased during the first week. Since the Composer is the only known entity capable of resurrecting Players, he likely returned her to life (albeit without her old dreams and ambitions, which were her entry fee). No explanation is given for why he might have done this.
From Hanekoma's secret reports, it is revealed that his imposition of an entry fee to play the game was not meant to cause anguish by depriving Players of their most valuable possession, but was instead meant to make them question why they valued it. It appears that Hazuki removed the entry fee requirement from his version of the Reaper's Game.
Relationship with the Angels
While the Composer does not enter the Higher Plane or contact the Angels as a whole, he does stay in constant communication with the Producer. Typically, the Composer speaks with the Producer to request certain items or pins to assist him with the Reapers' Game. While it appears that the Angels have some sort of an alliance with the Composer, it is neither confirmed nor denied by both the Producer and the Composer.
Beyond the item requests, the Composer apparently has nothing else to do with the Angels, though it is stated in the Secret Reports that, just as Players become Reapers, the Composer, whatever current status they may be, may eventually ascend to Angel status.
Joshua has a personal relationship with the game's Producer; Mr. H states that they had been friends in the RG, and had bonded over seeing the events of the Reaper's game play out in the RG.
Hazuki has shown that Composers have the authority to bring in Angels in order to Erase their cities, as Hazuki had Kubo Erase Shinjuku for him. However, Hazuki also demonstrates the ability to singlehandedly Exorcise Kubo after the Executor attempts to Erase Shibuya, despite lower ranked.
Both of the games feature the device of a Composer wishing to erase the city or area they oversee. When this happens, everyone in the district is immediately killed and erased without passing through the Reaper's Game, and any Players currently in the Game are erased. Reapers survive and remain Reapers, and may move to a new district. Additionally, all memory of the area existing is removed from the RG, although those who have visited the UG may retain it. The Composer is now Composer of nothing, and it is not clear what happens to them (although it seems they retain their position as an Angel)
Both games are also silent on why a Composer would wish to take such a drastic step. It carries the implication that the Composer may have an obligation to do this if certain circumstances are met, or is somehow penalised if the area they are responsible for fails to have particular properties.