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Reapers (死神 shinigami?, "death god" in the Japanese version) are a type of administrator in the Game. They are identified by the black wings on their back, which are a manifestation of their supernatural powers.
Reapers are recruited from Players who have survived previous runs of the game. Any such player, provided they are strong enough, may choose to become a Reaper if they wish.
Reapers are able to move between the Realground and the Underground without anybody really noticing. While on the RG, reapers do not possess their wings and cannot use their powers. Reapers are permitted to live normal lives on the RG within certain constraints, although they must report for duty in the UG whenever required. The lifespan of a Reaper is determined by the number of Players they successfully Erase (their "Score"). Reapers can also be Erased by players as part of the game. A new Reaper has around a 2 week lifespan in which to erase their first Player. The majority of Reapers are eventually erased before they can rise very high in the organization, either directly by Players or by their lifespan running out.
All Reapers have the power to create Noise. Reapers have their own pins which they use to create different forms of Noise; they must also make use of a resource called "Soul." Most Noise will not attack players who have a Pact. Taboo Noise, however, freely attack anybody, Player or Reaper. Reapers can instantly erase any Noise that they themselves created. Reapers can make Pacts and work together like players; they can also project their Shadow onto the alternate plane to fight Noise - or groups of players - alone, but they are less effective in this case.
All Reapers are forbidden from attacking players directly except in exceptional circumstances. One such exceptional circumstance is an Emergency Call (EC) - an alert to an event that affects the continued existence of the UG. In this case, all Reapers - even Support Reapers - may directly engage Players.
The symbol for the Reapers is a very stylized skull and crossbones, the crossbones showing up on two pins throughout the game. Reapers are subdivided into three broad categories: officers, harriers, and support.
Support Reapers are the lowest ranking Reapers. They create challenges within the game exactly as instructed by the Game Master. Usually, this involves maintaining special walls separating the different districts of Shibuya, informing players of the requirements to destroy certain walls, and lowering the walls when the requirements are met. Like all Reapers, they have the power to create Noise, but usually only as part of the challenges required to remove walls.
It appears that a large number of these Reapers have identical appearance, or they are able to exist simultaneously in more than one place on the RG. However, it is possible that low-ranking Reapers simply have a regulated uniform, as they would need to be easily identifiable to passing Players. This point is supported by the fact that 777, who is a support Reaper, wears the same type of black hoodie and green trousers worn by some other support Reapers seen.
As support Reapers were former Players, they do, in fact, have names, although the only ones known are 777's bandmates Tenho and BJ.
It is not clear which Reapers are able to create Walls. Tenho and Konishi demonstrate the ability to create Walls in the game; BJ guards numerous walls, but doesn't clearly create any. 777 and Uzuki both ask Tenho to create walls for them, implying that they are either unable to do so or choose not to (presumably because creating and maintaining a wall requires some expenditure of effort or energy).
Harrier reapers are mid-ranking reapers who are permitted to act independently (within a few constraints) in order to erase Players during the game. Usually, the Game Master will specify when and where Harriers may act. Due to the rule that Reapers may not normally attack players directly, Harriers must summon Noise to attack the players. The Harrier reapers in the game include Uzuki Yashiro and Kōki Kariya.
Under special conditions as decided by the Conductor, it is possible for a new Reaper to join directly as a Harrier (as in the case of Beat).
It is possible that this is determined by the player's score during his or her time as a player.
GMs and the ConductorEdit
Among the top of the Reapers are a selected few who are exceptional and under the Composer and Producer. These Reapers are chosen to leads each weeks game and basically control how the outcome of the game will be. These are the Game-Masters, often referred to as GMs, and the Conductor who is in second command to the Composer.
- Game-Masters are highly exceptional Reapers who help lead each week of the Reaper's Game. These Reapers are the few who ever talks to the Conductor. Every week, one Game-Master is assigned to be the leader of that week, therefore becoming the week's final boss also. All Game-Masters has their own unique Noise form to fight in. Although they lead the week, by the rules, they are not allowed to personally touch the Players until the end of the week. Instead, during the week, the Game-Master has to create one mission per day for the Players to complete.
- The Conductor is the second-in-command Reaper, second to the Composer. Well trusted and powerful in comparison to even the Game-Masters, the Conductor's position is not one to be underestimated. The Conductor, as his name indicates, leads the Game-Master, makes critical decisions of the Reaper's Game and makes sure that both Players and Reapers alike are playing fair-game. He can also substitute the Composer's position and become the proxy of the game, taking the acting position of the Composer.
Beyond the ReapersEdit
The highest ranks involved in running the game are not normally considered to be Reapers as such, but they operate closely with that organization, and can be recruited from exceptional Reapers.
- The Composer defines the entire game. Every one of the rules above, including the supernatural abilities of the Reapers, is set by the Composer. The Composer also usually assists with overseeing the game, and rectifying any issues that the lower ranks cannot deal with. This includes restoring Players to life, which only the Composer is powerful enough to do; it also includes creating the fundamental Pins used by Players and Reapers. The Composer normally only dialogs directly with the Conductor; lesser Reapers generally do not contact him. An exceptionally skilled Reaper can rise to become Composer, although this requires the existing Composer to be defeated first, which is exceptionally difficult, but not impossible. The Composer has god-like powers in the UG, and even in the RG, he still holds a significant amount of power.
- The Producer has even greater power than the Composer; however, he is not permitted to use it freely. The Producer is an Angel, sent to ensure the fair and reasonable running of the Game. He is not permitted to directly intervene in the running of the game, although this does not guarantee that he does not do so. No Reaper, not even the Composer, can advance to the rank of Producer by normal means; instead, Angels are recruited directly from the exceptional Players who survive the game, and may then become Producer via a process within that plane.
The wings on the backs of most Reapers are one of the more obvious indications of their strength, and also a distinguishing feature apart from normal people and Players in the UG. Most of the time, these wings are equally proportional to the Reaper's stature.
While many would state "The bigger-looking the wings, the stronger the Reaper," Reapers in The World Ends with You go by an almost opposite mentality. The reason this can be claimed is because most of the weaker Reapers have slightly large yet crude wings, while more polished Reapers have smooth, thin, and smaller wings. This can be a measurement of how much control they have of their powers: the stronger they are, the more they can control their wings. This is apparent in the fact that Sho Minamimoto, Megumi Kitaniji, and Mitsuki Konishi don't show their wings except when Neku fights against them. Higashizawa, who was a newly promoted game master, had puny wings, which would mean he was one step under Sho, Megumi, and Mitsuki.
As part of Reaper training, Reapers are introduced to at least four "sports" which appear to be games which Harriers (and above) are permitted to play with Players as part of the Game. These are:
- Reaper Sport 1: Russian Roulette. This is never seen in the game. This may also not be an actual Reaper Sport, due to the fact that Beat mentioned this while failing to try and remember Reaper Sport 4.
- Reaper Sport 2: Hide and Seek. Exactly as the real-life equivalent, although affected by the supernatural powers of Players and Reapers.
- Reaper Sport 3: Player Hunt. A simple contest between two Reapers to see who can erase the most Players in a given time.
- Reaper Sport 4: Tag. Again, exactly as the real-life equivalent. Beat incorrectly remembers Reaper Sport 4 as "Reaper Creeper."
- Reapers are comparatively artists, or have some relation to some kind of art. This is also apparent in how the top class Reapers are named "Composer" and "Conductor."
- Yodai Higashizawa pertains to the art of cooking, which is included lots in how he talks.
- Sho Minamimoto is a clear reference to the "art" of mathematics. He is well versed in math vocab, often slipping terms into his speech, such as "hectopascal" and "radian". His most popular catchphrase, "So Zetta Slow!" is no exception.
- Mitsuki Konishi may not have a noticeable art reference, but she does like creating "art" of calculations.
- 777 himself is a famed rockstar.