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Shinigami characters often appear in modern Japanese popular culture. These characters are typically employed as psychopomps, bringing deceased souls to the world of the dead. Shinigami appear in the following fictional works:
- In Bleach, shinigami, or soul reapers/death gods, are souls that protect the human world from Hollows and that lead people to Soul Society, a place reigned by souls in another dimension.
- In Boogiepop phantom, Boogiepop is said to be a shinigami, appearing to protect human kind.
- In Death Note, there is another dimension where shinigami live, however, instead of protecting humans, they kill them in order to extend their own life.
- In the anime and manga Ginga Densetsu Weed, one of the three chosen elites of Hōgen and Genba, Buruge, proclaims during his fight with Kyōshiro that he's a Shinigami.
- In Soul Eater, Shinigami is the head of the Shibusen technical school for weapon meisters and weapons, whom he trains to hunt souls on his behalf. He posts those who need their souls harvested on his list. He is more like the Grim Reaper than a normal deity, since he used to actively devour the souls of wicked people.
- In Descendants of Darkness, the main characters are shinigami who work in a place called Meifu; their job is to make sure that everything goes well when human souls die and are reborn.
- In Nephilim (manga), one of the main characters, Abel, is a shinigami. She is part of the race of people called Nephilim. They are rumored to possess unimaginable beauty at night, and are said to be shape-shifters/gender-benders.
- In Full Moon o Sagashite, shinigami ensure that a person dies at the moment they are fated to die by interfering with circumstances and events that would cause a death earlier or later than fate deems; they then act as a psychopomp. These shinigami were once people who committed suicide and now must collect souls as punishment.
- In The World Ends With You, Neku Sakuraba and his friends must win a week-long "Shinigami Game" administrated by a group calling themselves Shinigami under the threat of being removed from existence. The Shinigami use a stylized skull and crossbones as their insignia. The english version of the game refers to them as "Reapers".
- A shinigami character appears in Shigeru Mizuki's comic series Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro and Kappa no Sanpei. He has a skull-like head and likes watermelon.
- In the Murder Princess manga, the character Dominikov is a shinigami.
- In Naruto, the shinigami is a monster-like deity clad in a flowing white robe which can be invoked using a technique known as the Dead Demon Consuming Seal.
- In Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety, shinigami resemble small, cute versions of Death, and try to convince their victims to commit suicide. The title character, Risky, is a shinigami who attempts to use a miniature scythe to send the female protagonist to the land of the dead.
- In Ballad of a Shinigami, the main character is a shinigami whose job is to collect the souls of people at the moment of their death. However, she attempts to make a positive impact on the lives of the people who encounter death.
- The Shin Megami Tensei games and their Persona spinoffs, a shinigami class of demons includes many death-related gods borrowed from mythology, such as Chernobog, Persephone, Ankou, Hades, Mot, and Thanatos.
- In YuYu Hakusho, the character Botan and other shinigami are represented as kimono-wearing girls that ride on oars. These girls guide departed souls to the Spirit World (Reikai), where they are judged by the deity Koenma.
- In Zombie-Loan the main character, Michiru Kita, has what is called "Shinigami Eyes". These allow her to see a faint ring around a person's neck, when this ring becomes completely black that person's death is near or that person is a zombie.
- In the anime & manga Kuroshitsuji, the main characters occasionally come into contact with shinigami, whose job it is to look at the lives of humans and judge whether or not they deserve to die. Relations between demons and shinigami are tense, as shinigami see demons only as the scavengers who undo all of their hard work.
- In Princess Mononoke the Shishigami (The Forest Spirit which resembles a great stag during day) turned into a Shinigami when his head was cut off. It resembled a humanoid made of tar-like liquid that towered over the forest and trees, killing anything that touched it.
- In The Dark One Saga, a horror tetralogy. Shinigami watch over a person their entire life, serving the dual purpose of guiding them to limbo once deceased, as well as being a guardian angel.
- In Dragon Warrior II and a clear data file of Dragon Warrior Monsters, the evil priest Hargon wishes to summon a shinigami named Sidoh (called Malroth in the original NES version of Dragon Warrior II). It is unknown whether or not Hargon wants Sidoh to help him rule the world, or destroy it.
- In the Touhou Project game Phantasmagoria of Flower View, a playable character and possible opponent is Komachi Onozuka, a slacker shinigami who provides passage across the Sanzu River. As a Ferryman and not a Reaper, Komachi has a role akin to that of Charon of Greek mythology. She describes in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, however, that there ARE Reaper shinigami in the charge of collecting souls and bringing them to her.
- In Ryujin Hachisu the main antagonist Kaishi is a shinigami.
- An episode of the F-Zero GP Legend anime is titled "Shinigami Jack Levin".
- Testament from Guilty Gear can be considered a Grim Reaper or even a shinigami because his weapon is a scythe made of blood and his powers even resemble that of a Grim Reaper or shinigami.
- In the Doujin soft game RosenkreuzStilette, at the end of Stage 3 of Graf Michael Sepperin's castle, the player character (wether it be Spiritia Rosenberg or Grolla Seyfarth) meets Raimund Seyfarth, Grolla's grandfather and, apparently, now an undead, shinigami-esque entity, as the boss.
Characters associated with death are also commonly named or nicknamed "Shinigami":
- In Rozen Maiden, Suigintou's medium(Megu Kakizaki) calls Suigintou Angel-san in the episode where they first meet. She also tells Suigintou to quickly take her away from the world
- In the Akumajō Dracula/Castlevania series (video games), a character named "Shinigami" (Death in the US games) is a loyal servant to Dracula, working to hasten his master's revival and assisting him in creating a world of darkness.
- At least three characters from the multiple Gundam universes are called "Shinigami" as a nickname. These include, Kyral Mekirel from G Gundam, Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing, and Terry Sanders Jr. from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team.
- In the manga Hellsing, character Walter Dornez, has the nickname "Shinigami".
- The protagonist of the anime Darker Than Black, codename Hei, is known by the nickname "Black Shinigami" for his skills at killing opponents during a war in South America ten years prior.
- In the manga Zombie Powder, the main character, Gamma Akutabi, is nicknamed the "black-armed shinigami", referring to the black armor he has grafted to one of his arms.
- A character in the Klonoa games goes by "Shinigami Guntz" from his job as a mercenary. Most of his moves has 'Shinigami' in front of them.
- In the Japanese manga "Shinigami Lovers" the character Sei is a shinigami who is chained to Mika's soul by the Thantos Lovers chains.
- In the manga "As the Death God Dictates" by Mimori Ao the main character Ayumi is told she had one month left to live by the shinigami Shiro.
- In the anime & manga "Nabari no Ō" the character Yoite is referred to as the emotionless shinigami because of his use of his power "Kira" on people without remorse.
- Ragna the Bloodedge, the main protagonist of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, is also nicknamed as the "god of death" (in other words, a shinigami). His Astral Heat, "Black Onslaught", even provides more proof of him being called that name, especially when turning his sword into a scythe.