That was my entry for the Fanart-Competition at the Aninite-Convention, Grell and William in “Little Red Riding Hood” ^-^ I didn’t win anything, unfortunately, but it was still fun to do and I’m actually really satisfied with how the picture turned out c: Except…the handwriting…I tried but it still doesn’t look as good as I wanted it to v_v aaaaah nevermind
The fact that we know about Undertaker so far are: he used to be Shinigami and that he have deserted around 50 years (half a century) ago from the current time in manga and he had 7 people that he cared about enough to put their names/hair on mourning jewels. Did his desertion had something to do with queen Victoria (she came to the throne around that time) it is yet to be seen.
We know that one of the people whose name and hair he keeps on mourning jewelry is Claudia Phantomhive, Ciels grandmother. We also know that he cared for Vincent so much that he even cried after him and he was willing to give his ribbon to Vincent in bonus chapter, but Vincent name isn’t on one of the 7 mourning jewels.
I’m not going to use anime canon, although Shinigami OVA (or Tale of Will the Reaper) could be close to manga canon. Still Grell doesn’t seem to be newbie and among the reason Grell doesn’t recognize Undertaker could be because his look has changed from the time he was active or even he could be among higher ups and not close to shinigami in the Collection department. There are no records in manga of how Undertaker have looked before he deserted, and we can’t really use anime look since that is the look of the legendary shinigami, and looks like he is not that legendary in manga.
I am hoping that Othello was introduced to clear at least part of Undertaker’s mystery in manga, and I hope that he will run into Undertaker soon(is).
During Campania or Ship Voyage arc (soon to be animated as the Book of Atlantis), company called “Osiris” was mentioned. We haven’t found out much about the company, but it gave me the clue that Yana knows who is Osiris.
Osiris was Egyptian god of death and underworld. One part of his myth says that he was killed by his brother Set and cut to pieces. His sister/wife Isis has collected all parts and put them back together (it was said also in some version of myth that the vital part was missing and have to be restored). Isis also have conceived Horus with Osiris, while he was still dead.
That leads to the possibility that Undertaker is partially based on Osiris. Although we have learned how Shinigami come to existence and that they used to be human, they are still dead gods. Being cut to pieces and then put back together could explain Undertakers scars, especially since they are all over his body. I am not sure that that was done with death scythe, since it is stated that death scythe is probably the only thing that can kill shinigami. To be cut to pieces without dying some other weapon is the most likely used, maybe even just regular human weapon.
Leg scars are not visible in manga, but it is presumed they exist… chest scar is visible in bonus chapter.
If he is based on Osiris possibility that he could have conceived child (children) even though already dead. Although dead should not be able to create life, Egyptian mythology give us example that it is still one of the possibility. Would that be true or not remains yet to be seen.
Undertaker might not be the legendary shinigami in manga, but he is still different then the rest of them. And even though some parts of manga have base in Christianity, Yana have also used other mythologies and references for creating her world.
Considering that Book of Atlantis anime movie is coming to Japanese theaters in January, I hope that we will get some big discovery in manga too somewhere around that time.
I am open for discussion and to other possibilities. Until it is written in manga everything is still open, and even things written in manga are open to different interpretation.
This is a list of all the facts we know about he reapers. I tried to keep this manga exclusive, although I did allow a few from the musical and OVA, The Tale of Will the Reaper. If you see any that I have excluded or have forgotten, feel free to add to the list.
1. All reapers are nearsighted. They wear glasses to correct this problem.
2. They were all humans who took their own lives. Becoming reapers was a punishment, and they must work until they reach some sort of redemption, although the details on this are not clear.
3. Reapers have death scythes to collect souls. These scythes look like traditional scythes at first but can be customized with the proper paperwork.
4. When someone is cut by a death scythe, their cinematic records fly out which allows a reaper to examine the life this individual has lived.
5. A reaper can determine if a person can die or if they should be given another chance. No details have been given about how exactly this is done.
6. There are different departments for each agency. Some departments which have been named are collections, supervising, personnel, upper management, and forensics. Spectacles was named in the OVA only.
7. There are different agencies in different areas with their own sets of reapers.
8. Some reapers (namely Grell) have been shown to have the ability to alter their appearance.
9. They require sleep.
10. They have heightened agility and strength compared to humans and can survive injuries that would kill a person.
11. They have lists of people who will die and in what manner they will die.
12. Some reapers (namely William) have been shown using pigeons to send and receive messages.
13. A reaper can desert their job of collecting souls. It is unclear what this means for the reaper in question.
14. Reapers smell of death.
15. They can choose to be seen or not seen. However, there are some exceptions to this as Ciel could see Sascha and Rudgar.
16. Their method of quick movement makes it appear as if they simply vanish, although it is unclear if this is some sore of teleportation or simply moving faster than the human eye can detect.
17. When a reaper retires, they are supposed to hand in their scythe. (Thanks @andantin0!)
18. William graduated from the same class as Grell. There are classes before becoming a reaper. (Also in the OVA, but the manga confirmed this much.)
19. Reapers have two-toned eyes.
20. A death scythe can cut through anything except another death scythe.
21. Reapers are described as being between man and God by Sebastian.
22. A reaper’s age is hard to tell by appearance. Although no specific ages have been stated, Undertaker said he retired fifty years ago after collecting souls for a ‘long time.’ (The OVA states that William and Grell graduated about 100 years prior.)
23. It is prohibited for a reaper to kill someone not on the death list.
24. A reaper’s hair can grow. (Shown by OVA and Yana’s sketches of Grell.)
25. (From the musical) Reapers can contract a deadly disease known as the thorns of death. There is a reputed cure of 1,000 pure souls.
26. (From the OVA) Reapers in the academy receives grades in practical, written, and ethics. They have to take a final exam of observing someone for up to 30 days to determine if they should live or die.
27. The only reapers to be named in the manga are William, Grell, Ronald, Undertaker, Othello, Rudgar, and Sascha. Alan and Eric appear once, but aren’t named. They are only named in the musical. The OVA has Lawrence 'Pops’ Anderson who works in Spectacles.
28. (Submitted by an Anon)
Only reapers and demons can see the Cinematic Records–in TMBD, the Reapers and Sebastian watch Eric’s record, but Ciel can’t see it. (This was also confirmed in the manga.)
And that’s about it for my list. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something though, so please add to it as needed.
Looking at Chapter 115, there’s actually a little more information we can gather about the Shinigami. First, there’s some things we can gather about death scythes when Othello reveals his..
Othello has never customized his death scythe. Considering he’s stated previously that he hasn’t been to the human realm in about 50 years, it would stand to reason that he wouldn’t need to use his scythe much. However, he still has his own scythe. All Shinigami must be given one to use even if they aren’t assigned to collect souls. Since Othello has never saw any reason to customize, and his lack of confidence concerning using it, it’s possible that he’s collecting very few souls if any at all.
Secondly, Grell remarks that the sight of this uncustomized scythe is reminiscent of a training scythe - which was similar if not identical to those seen in the OVA “The Tale of Will the Reaper.” All Shinigami must be given these type of scythes to train with. However, since Grell also comments about not imagining someone still using this type of scythe, it must mean that just about all active Shinigami must customize their scythes. So far, ever Shinigami we’ve seen has used one that they’ve have customized. It could be a right of passage. Even William, who follows the rules very carefully, has his pruner scythe.
Othello also asks for Grell’s protection. This would mean that while all Shinigami might have greater strength and abilities than humans, there is still some differences among them. This might be due to experience, and Othello doesn’t seem to have much experience in these sorts of matters, or some Shinigami are simply stronger physically. This might have something to do with why they are assigned the positions they are. Othello has admitted he’s not confident in his abilities, which would mean he wouldn’t be good at Grell’s job. Later, he even seemingly taunts Grell regarding her interest in the science and research that his job requires.
Lastly, Othello tells Grell that collecting souls is the most important job of the Shinigami.
It’s hard to tell how sincere Othello is being since he seemed to be teasing Grell a lot, but it makes sense that it would be the most important job. While Othello appears quite intelligent, and comments Grell would understand his work even if he explained it, there’s a strong chance that collecting is held in higher regard.
Finally, we have a few more hints about the Shinigami!
This isn’t a theory as it’s still a bit disjointed and scattered. This is more of a ‘what-if’ examining one possibility of Undertaker’s scars.
I’ve always assumed that Undertaker’s scars were caused by a scythe since that’s one thing we know that can hurt a shinigami. However, @abybweisse commented on an image of Undertaker and stated that the scars could have been caused by cinematic records. This made me wonder and consider what if that’s the case.
We know records can attack, but it’s unclear what damage can be done. It’s rumored that can be the cause of the Thorns of Death, but even that’s uncertain. If we look at the OVA, “The Tale of Will the Reaper,” William is attacked by Thomas’s records. When this happens, he’s able to see Thomas’s memories to the point it brings tears to his eyes.
This event didn’t last long as Grell cut the records and rescued William. Now, here we come to the heart of this 'what if.’ What if Undertaker was attacked by records but there was no one around to help him. What would happen to the records and to the shinigami attacked by records?
If this scenario occurred, then Undertaker might have two sets of memories; his own and those belonging to someone else. This could create confusion as to trying to figure out which memories are his own. It could lead to instability as well as changes in personality.
Think about the experiments with the Bizarre Dolls for a minute. If Undertaker is immortal, why would he be concerned with what comes after death? If this just his curiousity? Humans are curious as to how to extend life. They have to deal with losing loved ones as well as their own mortality. Shinigami don’t have that issue. Could it be that Undertaker is not only curious but his actions are being influenced by human memories?
A shinigami’s job is to separate the soul from the memories. If any of this happened, there’s a chance that Undertaker hadn’t had a chance to make this separation. This would mean that no only would he have human memories, but a human soul.
As I said, this isn’t a theory - not even a cracked theory. While I would think this happened 50 years ago, and could have led to his desertion, I have no idea whose memories and/or soul Undertaker could possess. There’s also no evidence to support any of this. It might be better suited for fanfiction and, if that’s the case, anyone is welcome to use it.
In chapter 114, Grell and Othello apparently know each other, and Othello actually seems rather nice to her.
When Will and Grell went to Germany, Grell remarked that she was happy to see Rudgar and Sascha AGAIN, and they even commented that Grell was as flashy as usual. So they knew each other as well.
This has gotten me to wondering if perhaps I had gotten the wrong idea about Grell. I had always assumed that Grell was simply a collection agent and was probably even a bit of an outcast among other Shinigami, but there’s a chance I was very wrong.
There was a post recently about Grell being referred to as a temp worker, so maybe there is a reason for all this. If we take the OVA The Tale of Will the Reaper, Grell had extremely high grades in practical. Perhaps Grell was so talented, she wasn’t limited to one location. Instead, she’s sent to where she’s needed at that time.
I had also assumed Grell was treated a bit differently than the others, but that comes more from the second musical and in the Shinigami song. Within the manga, Othello is nice to Grell and Ronald appears to be her friend. While Rudgar and Sascha think Grell is flashy, they were still nice enough. Perhaps Grell is more popular than we’ve assumed all this time.
This is about Will the new Grim Reaper observing life stories of all sorts in the world regardless of good or bad. He just observes the soon-to-die souls discreetly. It is this Will who fell in love with a human girl, but this girl didn’t have long to live. The girl was also in love with Will. Torn between love and the principles of Grim Reaper, he chose love in the end. He wanted to save the girl despite breaking the rules. Will’s friend who helped them was the kind, redheaded Grim Reaper - Grell. Will and Grell’s effort were in vain. The girl died in the end. Will told the God of Underworld that he’s willing to disappear and offer his soul in place of the girl that he love and so, the girl was saved. But there was one condition, that is that all of Will would be wiped out of the girl’s memory. Even so, it did not matter. Despite the memory loss, there must still be some evidence of love within the deepest part of a soul and no one could take that away. Will was gone but the girl was revived and continued on with her life. She fell in love as expected, bore a child as expected, and named that child Will.