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Shinigami (死神, "Grim Reaper", "death bringer" or "death spirit") are gods or supernatural spirits that invite humans toward death in certain aspects of Japanese religion and culture. Shinigami have been described as monsters, helpers, and creatures of darkness. Shinigami are used for tales and religions in Japanese culture.

In popular culture

Shinigami play a central role in the Japanese manga series Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. A shinigami named Ryuk follows the protagonist Light Yagami and is responsible for the Death Note to fall into the hands of humans.

In the manga series Bleach written by Tite Kubo, high school student Ichigo Kurosaki becomes a shinigami who helps wayward spirits find peace by passing on to the afterlife.

Shinigami is a mystic witch character in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe.

In the manga series Naruto, Shinigami is called upon for completion of the reaper death seal.

Shinigami play a large role in Boogiepop Phantom.

In the manga series Black Butler written by Yana Toboso, many recurring characters are shinigami, such as Grell Sutcliff, William T. Spears and Ronald Knox.

In the 1995 Anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing one of the five Gundam Pilots Duo Maxwell, is known as the "God of Death" or Shinigami (In the censored dub of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, which aired on the Toonami block of Adult Swim, Duo is instead referred to as "The Great Destroyer" due to Religious Themes). He earned this moniker by surviving a massacre at the Maxwell Church when he was a child, (due to not being there at the time) and because he pilots the XXXG-01D Gundam Deathscythe and the XXXG-02D2 Gundam Deathscythe Hell.

In the 5th season of the manga called Initial D, a character named Rin Hojo is nicknamed Shinigami for his dangerous driving technique and multiple attempts to kill anyone he passes especially Ryosuke Takahashi.

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