- This article is about the species. For the classification of pins, see Reaper (class).
Reapers (死神 shinigami, "death god" in the Japanese version) are denizens of the Underground, who oversee the Reapers' Game. Reapers are native to every area's Underground and have different customs, abilities, and appearances. The two known groups are the Shibuya Reapers, introduced in The World Ends with You, and the Shinjuku Reapers, introduced in NEO: The World Ends with You.
Reapers are recruited from Players who have survived previous runs of the game. Any such Player, provided they are strong enough, may choose to become a Reaper if they wish. Both Daisukenojo "Beat" Bito and Shoka Sakurane became Reapers by winning games.
The symbol for the Reapers in both games is a very stylized skull and crossbones.
Shinigami are a common feature in Japanese fiction and in many translated anime, originating as an import of the European concept of the grim reaper - and thus usually translated as "Reaper" or "Soul Reaper". They are not a traditional Japanese personification of death; that was the goddess Izanami. In addition, "God" is not an exact translation of kami, which can cover multiple forms of spiritual creature, including the English "angel" and "demon" (although neither is quite appropriate, since kami are not considered purely good nor purely evil)
The tenure of a Reaper is determined by their score. Reapers earn points by erasing Players (usually using Noise) and also by completing the tasks assigned to them by the Game Master. A new Reaper has around a 2-week grace period in which to begin scoring. The relative importance of these tasks will vary based on the nature of the Reaper's Game; in Shibuya, Reapers primarily score by Erasing players, but in Shinjuku's game, conflict is between Players instead and Reapers are set tasks related to maintaining the game environment. This may even include erasing Noise if that Noise is a threat to the game itself, but Reapers are forbidden from helping players or manipulating the results of the game.
On all days but the final one, Reapers are forbidden from attacking players directly except in exceptional circumstances. One such exceptional circumstance is an Emergency Call - an alert to an event that affects the continued existence of the Underground. In this case, all Reapers may directly engage Players. Although they are very difficult opponents for players, it is possible that this can result in Reapers being erased by Players regardless of their score.
Reapers who score highly regularly may be promoted to officer or Conductor. It is possible that they may even eventually become a Composer. Reapers who score too low or break rules risk being ejected from the organization; they may also choose to leave for their own personal reasons. What happens in this case appears to be decided by region; in Shibuya, ejected Reapers are traditionally erased but may return to the Game as Players and potentially win, allowing them to return to the Realground. In Shinjuku, exiting Reapers are strictly erased at the end of a Game unless the Conductor sees it fit to invite them once more. If a Reaper is restored to the Realground, the memories and space around them are usually reconstructed based on a alternate timelines where they never went the Underground as to create a smooth transition.
All Reapers have the power to create Noise. Reapers have their own pins which they use to create different forms of Noise; they must also make use of a resource called "Soul." Reapers can also make Pacts and work together like players as Koki Kariya and Uzuki Yashiro have. They can also project their Shadow onto the alternate plane to fight Noise - or groups of players - alone, but they are less effective in this case.
Reapers on the higher-ranking end are granted a "Noise form" which gives them poweful abilities. Noise forms are modeled after a certain animal, possibly of the Reaper's own choosing. However, it is suggested that harnessing and using a Noise form takes skill; Yodai Higashizawa has a yellow eye because he has not fully learned to control his Noise form completely. On the final day of a Reapers' Game, the Game Master is allowed to use their Noise form against the Players, although they knowingly put their lives on the line as a result.
Reapers have the ability to fly and they can materialize and dematerialize their wings at will. It is also mentioned that a Reaper's wings house their power, and that smaller wings actually signify more power than larger wings. All Reapers at the rank of officer usually keep their wings hidden.
In NEO: The World Ends with You, it is heavily implied that Reapers either do not age, have slower aging, or may not age past a certain point. Kariya's and Uzuki's ages are mentioned in a NEO guidebook as still being 19 and 17, when they are least 22 and 20. Coco Atarashi is said to be 19 years old and looks taller in NEO (even despite her heels in NEO), implying Reapers can still age if they wish, although her appearance suggests she ages slower.
The level of Realground interaction given to Reapers varies by the region's ruleset.
In Shibuya, Reapers are able to move between the Realground and the Underground without notice. While on the Realground, Reapers do not possess their wings and cannot use their powers. Reapers are permitted to live normal lives on the Realground within certain constraints, although they must report for duty in the Underground whenever required.
In Shinjuku, Reapers are unable to enter the Realground. However, they are allowed to interact with it via the Reaper Networking Service. However, they may not reveal their identities online. Should a Reaper leave the organization for whatever reason, their account is locked.
Mitsuki Konishi displayed the ability to hide in a shadow and watch the world. It is unclear if this is an ability all Reapers have or if this is merely one of Konishi's exclusive abilities.
Reapers are classified into three broad ranks:
Sometimes referred to as "grunts", Support Reapers are the lowest ranking Reapers. They personally create unique challenges within the Game. Usually, this involves maintaining special walls separating the different districts of Shibuya, informing players of the requirements to destroy certain walls, and lowering the walls when the requirements are met. Like all Reapers, they have the power to create Noise, but usually only as part of the challenges required to remove walls.
A large number of these Reapers have identical appearance, or they are able to exist simultaneously in more than one place on the RG. However, it is possible that low-ranking Reapers simply have a regulated uniform, as they would need to be easily identifiable to passing Players.
It should be noted that any Reaper is capable of creating walls. More powerful walls can be created by higher tier Reapers and are typically unlocked via a keypin. These walls are not intended to be unlocked by Players.
Harrier Reapers are mid-ranking Reapers who are permitted to act independently (within a few constraints) in order to erase Players during the game. Usually, the Game Master will specify when and where Harriers may act. Due to the rule that Reapers may not normally attack players directly, Harriers must summon Noise to attack the players.
Under special conditions as decided by the Conductor, it is possible for a new Reaper to join directly as a Harrier (as in the case of Beat). It is also possible that this is determined by the player's score during his or her time as a Player.
Officers are the highest ranking Reapers. They have higher workloads and help design and manage the Reapers' Game, and have less free time to enjoy themselves. These are among the pool who have historically been chosen to be Game Master.
Reapers undergo two major changes at this stage. Firstly, they gain control over their Noise form and secondly their wings greatly expand in size and become hidden. These changes begin to go into effect when an Officer is just about to be promoted.
(Main article: Conductor)
The Conductor is the head of the Reapers and is second-in-command within an Underground to the Composer. They are the voice of the Reapers that is able to speak to the Composer and are tasked with making critical decisions surrounding the Game. It is the Conductor's duty to choose the Game Master.
During an Inversion, it is customary for a Conductor to be invited to the Higher Plane.
If there are no Officers present to take this position, a skilled Harrier Reaper may act within the role.
(Main article: Game Master)
Every week, one Game Master is assigned to be the leader of that week and are responsible for issuing the missions. Often times, this results in becoming the week's final boss. Although they lead the week, they are not allowed to personally touch the Players until the final day of the week. Instead, during the week, the Game Master has to create one mission per day for the Players to complete.
Beyond the Reapers
(Main article: Angel)
The highest ranks involved in running the game are not normally considered to be Reapers as such, but they operate closely with that organization, and can be recruited from exceptional Reapers. All of the following roles belong the Angels:
- The Composer defines the entire Game in a particular area. Every aspect of the Game is set by the Composer, and they can shape it however they wish. The Composer also assists with overseeing the Game, and rectifying any issues that the lower ranks cannot deal with. The main tasks of the Composer are to restore Players to life. The Composer traditionally only speaks directly to the Conductor; lesser Reapers generally do not have any contact with the Composer and some are incapable of perceiving a Composer. An exceptionally skilled Reaper can rise to become Composer of a new area; to displace an existing Composer would involve defeating the current Composer in some form to take their place, which is extremely unlikely because of a Composer's power level. The Composer has extreme powers in the Underground, and even in the Realground, they still hold a significant amount of power.
- The Producer has even greater power than the Composer; however, they are not permitted to use it freely. They are sent from the Higher Plane to ensure the fair and reasonable running of the Game. Producers are not permitted to directly intervene in the running of the game, however some Producers might still meddle.
- The Executor is an Angel summoned from the Higher Ground to cause the erasure of an entire district by stealth. Although Exectors are not permitted to act directly in the Realground, the Executor bypasses this by manipulating lower-level Reapers, Players and Noise.
As part of their training, Reapers are introduced to at least four "sports" which appear to be games which Harriers (and above) are permitted to play with Players as part of the Game. These are:
- Reaper Sport 1: Russian Roulette. This is never seen in the game. This may also not be an actual Reaper Sport, due to the fact that Beat mentioned this while failing to try and remember Reaper Sport 4.
- Reaper Sport 2: Hide and Seek. Exactly as the real-life equivalent, although affected by the supernatural powers of Players and Reapers.
- Reaper Sport 3: Player Hunt. A simple contest between two Reapers to see who can erase the most Players in a given time.
- Reaper Sport 4: Tag. Again, exactly as the real-life equivalent. Beat incorrectly remembers Reaper Sport 4 as "Reaper Creeper."
List of Reapers
- Futoshi (The Animation only, rank presumed, could be Support)
- Uzuki Yashiro
- Koki Kariya
- Yodai Higashizawa
- Daisukenojo "Beat" Bito
- Coco Atarashi
- Shoka Sakurane
- Mitsuki Konishi
- Sho Minamimoto
- Kaichi "Susukichi" Susuki
- Tsugumi Matsunae
- Tanzo Kubo
- Ayano Kamachi
- Kaie Ono
- Hishima Sakazuki