A to Z Challenge Day 18: Ryuk (the Shinigami)


Here’s something you may not know about me: I’m a big manga fan. Growing up I was pretty big into anime, and as I got older I began to be more interested in the original manga series’ than the television shows that were made based on them. I’m not a rabid collector by a long shot, but I have a few full series and am slowly working my way through a few others, and one of the latter is a rather wonderful series called Death Note.

If you’ve never heard of it, the series follows a teenage boy named Light who has come into possession of a “Death Note” notebook which allows him to kill anyone he wants, in any manner he wishes, just so long as he knows the person’s name. He takes it upon himself to use his new-found power to pick off those members of society that he feels deserve to die – murderers, rapists, con-men, criminals of all shapes and sizes – and soon enough finds himself being hunted by the world’s most renowned – if not a little off-center –  detective.

So where does this “Ryuk” character that I’ve named the post for come in? Well the Death Note books are the possessions of creatures called “shinigami”, which translates to “death god”. Basically, shinigami are like grim reapers, whose job it is to take the lives of humans. One shinigami in particular, named Ryuk, becomes bored with the lack of entertainment in the shinigami world and decides to have some fun. He “loses” a Death Note in the human world and then follows around the kid who picks it up to see what happens.

The story in general is just quite brilliant and interesting, and the TV series that was based on it is actually quite good as well, and my favorite part of both is Ryuk. He is one of the strangest creatures of any story that I’ve ever read or watched – a literal death god who loves watching humans and is quite oddly obsessed with apples – and his antics and the way he “mentors” Light add a creepy-yet-goofy feel to the story that make it that much better than it might otherwise have been.

If you’re someone who enjoys the occasional manga or comic, I definitely recommend this series, and if you’re someone who doesn’t feel silly watching cartoons (trust me, this one is NOT for kids!) then I would definitely recommend the TV show as well.