"Now, now. There's nothing wrong with being addicted to peace. In fact, lets get more and more addicted. After all, that would mean the world is all the more peaceful. Which is why we can't afford to ruin this peace. We'll just have to entrust to the rest of them..."
Death (デス, Desu), also referred to as Shinigami (死神), was the God of Death and the Great Old One whose affiliation with Madness presides over "Order". Eight hundred years ago, he led his personal guard known as the Eight Shinigami Legions and created his first son, Asura, as a fragment of his soul containing his fears. and made him his apprentice However, he was forced to seal Asura when he became a Kishin and bound him under what he would later found as the DWMA, also known as Death Weapon Meister Academy, and became its headmaster and leader in its military department until his death when his second son and heir, Death the Kid, connected all three of the Lines of Sanzu. He is commonly referred to as Shinigami with the "-sama" suffix as a term of respect in the manga or Lord Death in the English dub.
Death's duty as a God of Death is to preserve the world order by maintaining balance. Eight hundred years prior to the start of Soul Eater, Death led the group, the Eight Shinigami Legions after the creation of the Demon Weapon race. However, he was betrayed by his first apprentice and son, Asura, when he became the first Kishin. Unable to kill him due to his immortality, Death sealed him away and started an organization, DWMA, to prevent the rise of another Kishin.
Called a "god without arrogance" by Franken Stein, Death himself is a kind, wise, and benevolent figure, often showing care for those within the DWMA as well as optimistic. This is shown when Kilik Rung became frustrated with the situation during the anniversary eve of the DWMA with Death reassuring that there was nothing wrong with being "used" to peace and how that makes the world a peaceful place. Despite his background and powerful position within the school, he tends to speak in a silly voice as well as changed his mask and appearance to not scare children. He's also capable of sympathy and compassion even for individuals whom are Witches and is demonstrated when he unconditionally allowed members of the DWMA to do what they can to help Angela Leon, a notion in which surprised some members of the DWMA so much they wondered If he was even taking them seriously. In addition, Death has an easygoing nature to the point that even after facing Stein, Marie, and Spirit in their plan to let Stein go despite being wanted, he let all of them off with only an apology.
Despite his benevolent and easygoing nature, even Death himself has a far more serious side. He's next to intolerant on Spirit's drunken and silly behavior at times as well as to inappropriate behavior. He's also not above punishing others, such as Maka when she borrowed the Book of Eibon's Manuscript using Spirit's I.D Card and was also openly critical of Spirit's irresponsibility in letting her do so and was nearly adamant about punishing Maka, though this attitude seemingly stemmed from the fact he was set on rescuing his son. Azusa Yumi also described him as being pushy, a trait in which has passed to his son as well. Despite having shown support in his son when he claimed the Witches will assist, it was shown that even he was doubtful of their appearance. This was shown to even cause him to be angry when he assumed they were attacked, calling them "bitches" and suspected they would attack and was surprised to see it was Excalibur who had arrived. When he disapproves of various actions from individuals, he will even issue Shinigami Chops. While normally DWMA students or staff are issued these chops, he's shown to even take the opportunity to strike and chop those whom have caused issues such as Medusa Gorgon. In the anime, He's shown to be confident in his own overwhelming power, claiming that Asura's defeat was decided when he became trapped in the Death Room prior to their battle.
However, even with his status Death possesses a few flaws on his own. Death has admitted that both humans and gods have weaknesses as well as having showcased guilt for being the one to create Asura to the point he felt he couldn't speak ill of Medusa Gorgon's own treatment of her child as an experiment and expressed further frustration in having to leave the problems he created to others such as his son and his companions. In the anime, he is also known to be reckless by both Death the Kid and Asura.
Death himself possesses some eccentricities: He gives out short greeting speech, at times puts his students in dangerous but fabricated situations for the sake of bettering them, and enjoys telling expositions. In the anime, he can get homophones mixed up at times such as "pause" and "paws" or "Mandolin" and the last name "Manheling" and cannot "handle" coffee-enthusiasts such as Joe Buttataki.
Main article: Death/Relationships
Death appears as a being covered in a tattered piece of pitch black cloth with many jagged edges, decorated with a cartoony skull mask, which seems to serve the sole purpose of imitating an otherwise absent face—a means of rendering Death more humanoid and thus making it more comfortable for humans (particularly children) to communicate. Occasionally, he also appears with large, foam gloved hands from his side, in which seemingly materialize. Throughout the series, as Death the Kid connects the Lines of Sanzu, various cracks on his mask are made.
Death also sports the largest seen soul within the series, spanning to be as large as the entirety of Death City. His soul is pale yellow/golden colored with three spikes emerging from the top right, in which resembles that of his own mask.
In the past, Death sported a much more intimidating look. He wore a grim-looking skull mask. He also had black claws instead of hands with his signature “Death” written on the right forearm, and a deep, menacing voice. He has been shown to have skeleton hands during the scene of flaying of Asura. He also additionally possessed more, human-like large gloves.
- Though Death's face has yet to be seen, Death has mentioned that he has face behind his mask and Kid, in the anime, has also has commented that Death rarely takes off his mask.
- Death doesn't seem to possess any sort of internal organs or even blood, a trait in which unique to him and not to his sons for unknown reasons.
- Death's prominent symbol of his mask was based upon the symbol involved with the character "Shotaro" and his "Kyoukotsu" in Atsushi's earlier series B. Ichi.
- During the A Fight to the Death at the Anniversary Celebration Arc, Kid and Stein confirm that Death anchored not only his soul but his body to the spot of land that would become Death City in order to prevent Asura from escaping, hence making Shinigami and Death City one and the same. This oneness between Death and his city may clarify the name and imagery of death and skulls found in Death City: the city itself may be an extension of Death's own body.
|Left Group||• Excalibur • Eibon • The Great Old One of Power|
|Great Old Ones||DeathOrder • ExcaliburRage • AsuraFear • EibonKnowledge • The Great Old One of PowerPower|
|Madness-Types||Madness of Fear • Madness of Order • Madness of Knowledge • Madness of Rage • Madness of Power|
|True||DeathGreat Old One|
|Fragments||Death the Kid • AsuraGreat Old One|