Appearance-wise, Lord Death seems to have the most eccentric appearance of all the Soul Eater characters. He is arguably one of the tallest characters. He also wears a black robe with many jagged edges which appears to house his arms and covers his entire body with his face being covered by a cartoonish skull mask. It has not been shown what he looks like without the mask on, but since his son appears as a human, Lord Death may also have a human appearance. This possibility is supported by Mosquito's comments in chapter 53 regarding the Lines of Sanzu. Lord Death's mask has broken on several occations during his battles with Asura, however, rather than revealing his actual face, it merely appears that what is behind the mask is simply a continuation of his robe, showing nothing but continued blackness. His mask shape changes to convey his current mood, with the eye holes of his mask shifting to triangles so that the mask is reflecting an angry/serious skull face.
Lord Death's soul is large (it surrounds all of Death City) and pale yellow; with three prominent spikes, slightly off-center, closely resembling his current mask.
In the past, Lord Death wore a far more grim-looking skull mask, which he changed from this more frightful mask after the establishment of Death Weapon Miester Academy because it always scared the children. He also had black claws with his signature written on one and had a deep, menacing voice. He's also shown with skeleton hands when he was shown ripping Asura's skin off.
In most cases, Lord Death comes off as a bit of a joker with a cheerful demeanor. He also prefers to be optimistic and treats every situation as such. He also has a great sense of humor.
He has a special move called a "Direct Noggin Shinigami Chop" (which is normally shown when Shinigami shows his large flat four-fingered hand appearing from his robe; often called Shinigami Chop for short). This move is normally administered on Spirit whenever Shinigami refuses to put up with Death Scythe's antics when it comes to Maka or her progress. He has a habit of giving warnings to people about to be punished with it after the punishment was carried out. He also seems to take on a more playful attitude when talking with his son (he says the stripes in his son's hair are cute), but at the same time thinks he can be quite the handful and is glad that Patti and Liz look after him.
As the headmaster of Shibusen, he is highly respected by teachers as well as students, not only because of his great power, but for his desire for peace in the world. It is for this reason, that Shibusen was created. Despite his past and his powerful position in the school, he tends to be kiddish and joyful as to not to scare the children. In the past, Shinigami spoke in a deeper and far scarier tone and was far more violent than he is today (this can be seen when he was fighting Asura) . Also, his new personality is the complete opposite of his own son.
Grim Times 800 years prior the start of the series, the Shinigami wore a normal skull mask, black claws with his signature written on one, and had a deep, menacing voice. At an unknown time, Death had visited the Lost Island, an area witches had used as a construction facility for demon tools. As it turns out, Death was lured to the island by witch Arachne. After she had obtained Eibon's blueprints, she planned to blow up the facility, along with everything related to Brew and presumably kill Death. Somehow, Death survived/escaped the explosion. 800 years before the main storyline, Death fought and hunted Arachne, after she had killed a member of her kind and used the soul to join a human and weapon together, to create the first Demon Weapon. Arachne escaped by separating herself into small spiders and spread across the lands. Before the start of the series, Shinigami lead a group of 8 meister and weapon partners, known as the Eight Powerful Warriors, to hunt down witches and prevent kishin from being born. Among the group was a man by the name, Asura. He was regarded as the strongest, as well as the most feared and suspicious, of the group. Overwhelmed by fear, Asura became addicted to power and followed the path of Kishin, consuming his own weapon, and eating souls himself, until he was a powerful kishin. which ultimately led to Shinigami ripping all of his skin off and sealing Asura away inside a bag made of it. The process of sealing Asura forced Death to root his own Soul to the ground, ultimately preventing from leaving the general radius of the spot. Afterward, he built what is now known as Shibusen, to prevent the birth of another Kishin.
Post Kishin's SealingEdit
Under his rule, there are currently 8 active Death Scythes in the world. 7 of 8 are normally stationed in different parts of the world, as Shinigami's eyes, ear, and if need be, on call support weapon for himself or a highly trained meister. The strongest Death scythe; ironically, which is the only one that is an actual scythe other than Soul; stays as with him at Shibusen. That death scythe being Spirit, Maka's Father.
Death the KidEdit
Death the Kid is Shinigami's son and heir. There are few scenes between the two, but Shinigami seems to get along well with Kid and encourages him and his partners to succeed. Shinigami is confused by Kid's obsessions, but tends to ignore them. Shinigami is confident enough of his son's skills to - if a little reluctantly - assign a three-star mission to him at the start of the series. When Brew causes one of Kid's Sanzu Lines to connect, Shinigami seems genuinely pleased at his son's progress. (Even if it does seem to affect his health in a negative way. See: Part of the story: =Operation: Capture Baba Yaga's Castle=):He also seems to care for his son greatly since in the anime he threw himself in front of a laser to protect kid.
He is by far the most powerful character in the series — with Asura and Mabaa being the only other characters that could possibly match him in power, and even that is debatable. And he really believes that he is the most powerful character. In the second battle with the Kishin, when it was about to attack, Shinigami said "What? Seriously? You seriously believe you can beat me? It's a shame but, the battle was decided the moment that you were brought here."
- Shinigami Jets: This has yet to be confirmed to be an ability for Shinigami or just an item at his disposal. Either way, it has been shown to give shinigami the ability to fly.
- Change in mass/Stretch: Shinigami is also seen with the ability to change his size and shape. This is seen when he is damaged by Asura and is left with holes in him. It is also seen in his second fight in the anime with Asura when he uses numerous punches from afar, and also enlarges the palm of his left hand to block an attack from Asura.
- Shinigami Chop: Unlike his "Direct Noggin Shinigami Chop" this chop is used for battle, not punishing people's silly antics. This attack had enough power to hit Asura into the ground and cause a small crater upon impact.
- Shockwaves: Shinigami used a blast of energy to counter one of Asura's attacks. After stopping the attack, shockwaves traveled down Asura's skin scarfs and attacked him directly. Asura called this shockwaves, or he may have been referring to the nature of the attack.
- Shadow Skull Arms: Shinigami calls out four shadowy claws from his body, with black skulls at the end of them. The nature of this attack is unknown since it failed to connect. It can be assumed that the attack probably slashes or grabs an opponent. Before Shinigami used this attack, he said he would rip off Asura's skin again, suggesting this may have been the attack he used to rip off Asura's skin in the first place.
- Punch: As opposed to chopping, he can throw a straight punch. He has incredible range with this because he can extend his arms to very long distances.
- Skull Shield: Shinigami creates a shield that resembles his mask to protect himself. He can also use the shield offensively as he used it to try and crush Asura in his fight with him.
- Hands: Shinigami's hands are very strong and able to deflect Asura's energy blasts. He normally does not display hands, they appear at his sides when he is attacking or defending with them. He can alter their size to make them large enough to cover his entire body. He is also able to hold up a hand behind his skull shield, strengthening it's defensive capabilities and serving as a backup defense for if it is breached.
- Hand hole: He is able to open a void in his hand which is able to swallow energy blasts. As he demonstrates this ability while wielding Spirit in the other hand, and not in the original battle, it may be that he requires a weapon partner to do this, or adequate preparation for the blast to open it, which he was not able to do when caught by surprise by Asura's first attack.
- Kishin Hunter: He can perform this with Spirit.
- Sniping: He demonstrated the ability to fire a sniper bullet so powerful it could destroy a massive turret, compared to when Sid shot it and it could not even obliterate Mosquito.
- Death City: As he has linked his soul to the city, he shares a special bond with it which he can manifest in special ways.
- When Maka used her Soul perception ability on the Shinigami, she was unable to see his soul, but what Maka didn't realize is that Shinigami's soul wavelength is so large that it covers the entirety of Death City.
- His number in Death Room for calling him through a window or mirror is 42-42-564 (shini-shini-goroshi), which literally means death-death-murder (死に死に殺し) in Japanese.
- Shinigami'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.
- In an interview, Atsushi Ōkubo mentioned that Jason Voorhees was a large inspiration on Death's character.
- Although Kid calls Shinigami "honorable father" in the original Japanese version, in the English dub he calls him either "dad" or "father".
- In describing the five remaining warlords of the Great Eight, the black mass says, "Order, Knowledge, Power, Rage, Terror". It can be assumed that "Order" describes Shinigami, which goes in hand with the Madness of Law, of which Shinigami and Death the Kid are associated with.
- In episode 6 of the anime, "The Rumored Freshman! Kid's First Appearance at Shibusen, an Experience to Remember?" Death does the impossible and physically leaves his room, and the academy, to take his son Death the Kid home after his fight with Soul and Black Star. This is possible because his soul encompasses Death City, allowing him to leave the academy but not Death City, though Death the Kid mentions that his father always told him he could never leave the Academy.
- In episode 47 "The Miracle of Overturning a Table in Anger: Our Death City's Robot?", Death physically leaves both his room, and the academy to snipe a large cannon being used by Arachnophobia, this is the second time in the anime .
- So far, his son, Kid, connected 2 of his 3 sanzu lines, each one followed by a noticeable crack in shinigami's mask; it is unkown if his mask will completly fall apart or if another thing will happen when Kid connects all 3 lines of sanzu.
- Lord Death is considered to be one of the most iconic Soul Eater characters, considering his mask is referenced everywhere.
- The reason why Shinigami looks and sounds very comical in comparison to his old mask 800 years ago is that since making the Academy, he had feared students would be afraid of his scary appearance.