Shinigami Lovers (死神ラヴァーズ)
By: Yuuki Ryou
Shinigami Lovers is a short shoujo manga about a girl named Miku Onda, who accidentally dies from a car accident. Her soul becomes chained to a shinigami named Sei, and she is granted one final wish before entering the afterlife. However, Miku learns that her death was a mistake; in which there was a glitch in the system about her lifespan within the Shinigami world. As a result, Miku is permanently chained to a Thanatos’ Lovers—Sei’s chain of death—for the time being. Miku returns to the human world, but her soul is linked to Sei’s Thanatos’ Lovers until her appropriate time of death, where Sei will finally take her to the afterlife.
The chains, also known as the Thanatos’ Lovers in this manga, represents the bonds between people. Chains portray two different types of bonds: in death and in love. In Shinigami Lovers, the Thanatos’ Lovers are chains that connect a human soul to a shinigami (soul reaper or grim reaper); in which the shinigami guides the soul to the afterlife. Hence, the first part of the chains’ name, Thanatos, is referring to a figure in Greek mythology that personifies death.
Another representation of chains is that it symbolizes the fated bond between lovers. If you think about how fate plays a role in our love life, where an invisible chain links us to someone else, it is a fascinating concept. Personally, I believe in this type of bond. Every person has a chain that connects them to his or her significant other. (Sometimes, I wonder who is at the end of my own lovers’ chain, but that will remain a mystery until it actually happens.)
One of the other interesting details I noticed in Shinigami Lovers, is Miku’s hobby for nail art. Miku likes to paint the nails of her friends. She even gets the opportunity to paint Sei’s nails. I wondered why nail art is so important to this manga. I assumed that the reason relates to how nail art is done on the fingernails of a person’s hands; hence, it suggests another bond between lovers, where two people can hold hands. So when hands touch, it implies an intimate connection or link between people.
Overall, the manga has an interesting concept and storyline regarding chains and bonds, but I felt it was a bit rushed. Also, the manga provides a loophole in regards to a shinigami-human relationship. Yet one could only wonder what will happen once Miku’s human lifespan ends.