It’s not usual for me to celebrate, Halloween… but I’d like to make something special for that day, it’s not today, but hell, everyone’s making preparations. So I guess… early Halloween present? Hm… let’s see… the undeads, monsters… what else can I make… Oh, right! The Scythe!
Welcome, folks, to ChrisX’s Top 10 Video Game Scythe Experts
Why scythe, though? I mean, originally it was made to just cut grass. But thanks to the wonders of fictions, stories everywhere attaching the tool to the image of the angel of death, the Grim Reaper, it has turned into a wicked cool awesome weapon that instills fear to whoever faces those wielding these weapons. And because Grim Reapers is some… seriously creepy and spooky creature, I guess why not, it’ll do for Halloween.
Basic rules apply here: Only one character per franchise and only from the games I have played and… those that debuts in a video game. So… just excuse me if a character you like didn’t make it to the list, but let me know anyway via comments! Oh and also, I only count actual scythes. Not smaller ones like kama or kusarigama. At any rate, click on to read the list. If you like this list, take your time to also tell your favorite VG scythe users. It’s good to share.
The Super Robot Wars series is a set of games crossing over between many mecha anime, and then they also put in several original characters to the mix. Some of them get really good, but surely you would be thinking. Just what would be a robot that wields a scythe? Aside of Gundam Wing’s Deathscythe Hell (Because it’s from an Anime, and it’s against the rules)
As a matter of fact… they do. In form of Cobray Gordon’s final mecha, the Dis Astranagant.
Even from looks alone, the Dis Astranagant looks very menacing even for Real Robot standards. Each of the shots it does is fueled by the spirits of the dead, and according to other sources, it holds infinite power… Oh hold on, you’re probably asking now… what of the scythe?
Here it is.
The Dis Astranagant has its own Z. O. Scythe, a scythe whose blade are made a very rare orichalconium. Being a giant scythe wielded by a huge mecha, it is also pretty enormous in size and can be used to cut down other robots or ships with better ease. Not only that, it also can turn its blunt staff part into a boomstick. And due to the nature of the Dis Astranagant, it’s pretty much a one of a kind. You’ll never find another scythe like the Dis Astranagant’s Z.O Scythe, considering there can only be one Dis Astranagant, one Time Diver, one Cobray Gordon. How we get to that… we’ll get to it later. But considering its usage of the souls of the dead and this very scythe, it’s getting kind of similar like a robot Grim Reaper, even if it’s not looking like its part.
But unfortunately I had to rate the Dis Astranagant and its pilot Cobray pretty low, because… well, as enormous the Z.O Scythe is, that’s not even the most powerful part of the Dis Astranagant. I mean, seriously, which one sounds more dangerous to you: A scythe swing plus a boomstick… or a beam that traps you in, subject you to a very long sequence on par with Sephiroth’s Super Nova all while blasting you until you’re erased from existence?
I rest my case.
Ah yes, it’s time for me to revisit BlazBlue. On the first glance, perhaps they don’t even have someone who’s obviously using scythe…
Even the main character here, Ragna the Bloodedge, while known as the Grim Reaper, seems to be just carrying his big ass sword, which is called… Blood Scythe… seriously, you tell me how is this supposed to be a scythe?
Ragna the Bloodedge is the gruffy on the outside but actually pretty nice on the inside main character of BlazBlue series. His more slender build bellies the fact that he possesses great power that he’s known as the Grim Reaper, and yet he also held terrible secrets within him. In battle, he’s as ferocious as a raging beast, with his attacks coming right at his enemies with brute force.
While his big sword is his main weapon, in certain circumstances, it lived up to its name, the Blood Scythe, turning into a massive, dark powered scythe that he could use to skewer or smash through his enemies. Most famously, his Astral Heat had him use the scythe, all empowered with dark powers to completely slaughter his enemy before he drains their life essence, like a Grim Reaper just claiming his victim. All in all, a very vicious display of what a scythe can do.
However… he gets minus points because its most common usage seems to be the giant sword which can get empowered with dark powers, it’s not that often he whips out that scythe. Huh, guess being too overly scary unnecessarily just isn’t his style. Still, that means he gets to use it more often and in more varieties than Cobray and Dis-Astranagant, therefore he’s here to stay at #9.
And whoever says that a Grim Reaper is a male-only job? Female Grim Reapers exist, though unfortunately this one is pretty much the only female you’ll find in this list.
I tried so hard, but there were just some popular games I didn’t get to play and enjoy. So yeah, you’re not gonna see someone from that series, probably.
Back on topic, so if you’re asking who it is, this is who I speak of… the lazy ferrywoman of the Sanzu River of Gensokyo, Komachi Onozuka.
While considered as a Shinigami or a Death God, Komachi is unusual for these traits of hers that make her stand out. First, her ability isn’t exactly to reap souls, but to manipulate distance. Her role is more or less equivalent to not the actual Grim Reaper but the ferryman of the dead, like Charon, and the power is used to manipulate the range of the Sanzu River depending on her ferried soul’s sin. Second, she’s incredibly lazy, preferring to do her job in her own pace which also angers some of her higher ups or boss, though there are times she would punish those that doesn’t behave… like paying the fees of the dead too late. And third… being in a Bullet Hell game, her main methods of attacks are just about throwing the coins of the dead, she’s apparently just using her scythe for show, to tell her targets that yes, she’s the Grim Reaper and she’s there to take them away to afterlife.
The second part, however, quite greatly paints some depiction of the Grim Reaper. Sometimes, the Grim Reaper isn’t actually a malevolent being, he’ll take care of deaths that are peaceful too. Don’t Fear The Reaper, like TV Tropes said, it fit wells with Komachi… Except if you don’t pay your fees for long.
But wait, now you’re wondering… if she said that her scythe is just for show, why is she on this list at all? Well she DOES use her scythe… in the fighting game spinoff Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Yes, she still uses her coins of the dead as bullets and dead souls, but this is where she makes a good use of her scythe. Her long range game isn’t something to talk big about, but when she gets close enough, her scythe can seriously pack a punch. Combined with her distance manipulation power, she could easily trap enemies in one place before she proceeds to attack them with scythe. And… did I mention that this time around, she actually incorporates her scythe strikes into her Spell Cards?
Yeah, Komachi claims that she doesn’t use her scythe often, but when she does use it, it means business and you don’t want to get on that grim blade of the reaper. Makes you wish she’d just sleep off… But still, due to her big reliance to other things like dead spirits or dead coins, while she stills swings her scythe pretty good and probably more than Ragna, she’s here at the spot #8.
Okay for this spot, let’s move away from people who is given the moniker Grim Reaper… well, officially. We’ll get to that later.
So yeah. Sengoku Basara, a crazy awesome, high octane action series based on the Sengoku Period. It offers a lot of new characterization when compared to the Samurai Warriors’ more down to earth portrayals, and some of them can get downright mind-boggling. And one of such portrayals… is this guy.
Meet Akechi Mitsuhide, or Tenkai. It’s kind of complicated, about stolen identities and all. But if you wanna just go for the basics, it’s this: Oda Nobunaga is more famous to be portrayed as some demonic villain in various media. He’s no different here, but usually, Mitsuhide the betrayer at times enjoyed a more sympathetic portrayals because of that. Here? Not really. Mitsuhide at Basara is just as evil, or even possibly worse in terms of wickedness compared to Nobunaga the Demon King. He’s now a crazy sadistic psychopath who lives only to torture his targets, killing them, savoring the taste of their hopelessness and despair. Well, gee! They really went over the top… We’ve seen some of the nastier, antagonistic portrayals of Mitsuhide, but this one is… really really not someone you’d like to arrange a meeting and talk about things over a cup of tea. Because he’d want to make sure that the tea is made out of your brain juices and blood.
And to come along with that, he comes equipped with not just one, but TWO scythes. While he wouldn’t call himself a death God or Grim Reaper… well, there’s that one time that Sengoku Basara was imported to the US as Devil Kings, removing any Sengoku Period references there and making it more like a generic fantasy world. Guess what Mitsuhide’s name over there? Reaper.
Oh right, dismiss that claim, would ya, Councilor? See if getting beheaded up close gets you somewhere!
Anyway, the scythe symbolizes Mitsuhide’s sadism that his attacks might be rather slower than certain others, but definitely not the slowest, and much like a lot of soul-claiming beings like the Grim Reaper itself, he leeches the lives of anyone he struck, making him more powerful. Yeah, he didn’t call himself something similar to the Grim Reaper, but he certainly cultivates that image! But even moreso for his sadistic personality, he can even strike his own allies with his scythe. Yeah, he doesn’t discriminate like the Grim Reaper not playing favorites when it comes to who dies.
Now come to think of it, while he doesn’t have the getup, even Mitsuhide’s own appearance could look similar enough to the Grim Reaper. I mean, look at him, pale skin like skeleton bones, slim body, creepy long hair and face… Well played, Capcom, well played. That aside, even as a living person, Mitsuhide and his crazy sadistic personality matches very well with how he wields his two scythes at once, granting him the position of the #7 of Scythe Experts.
Coming in at Number 6, we have a rather laid back person who’s still overall a force to be reckoned with when it comes to scythe combat. Even if he’s not always appearing to wield it wherever he goes.
From Under Night In-Birth, we have Gordeau. These days, he’s known as the ‘Usual-Victor Mercenary’, a mercenary that has high success rate, but he used to be a member of a group called ‘Amnesia’, an anti Licht-Kreit group that seeks to free Hollow Night that caused the Void to materialize from that organization. Because a member of a Licht-Kreit killed his friend-turned-void. Though the Amnesia was not exactly shining paragons of goodness either, but Gordeau still kept contact to his friends over there.
He’s still a carefree freeloader within the home of his friend Chaos, but there’s a very good reason why he always succeeds his mercenary work. Aside of his EXS of Greed, Snatcher, which allows him to drain the life of his target, there’s also his scythe, a HUGE one called the Demon Sickle: Devourer. The scythe has a really long handle and big blade, and even then, Gordeau swings it like nobody’s business, giving him immense reach with the scythe. He can also use the scythe to drag enemies closer to him, and in addition of his Snatcher, this… yet again… creates a parallel to the Grim Reaper that took away the souls of the departed. Heck, one of his moves is also called ‘Grim Reaper’, and just to be sure, he said it in Japanese-English!
He wields a big scythe and yet he’s still capable of moving fast enough that he’s able to get close in quicker and then screws his enemy apart with that huge weapon of his, that he likes to spin around a lot. He’s still quite a laid back and friendly guy even with his sinister looking massive scythe, probably kind of like Komachi before, but he sure uses that a lot more often, making Gordeau take the #6 spot of the scythe experts.
I’d so love to spin that massive scythe with just one hand.
Okay, time to revisit Arc System Works again. When it comes to scythes, I’d remember this character more than Ragna. And trust me, he went really close to be one of my Top 15 Arc System Works characters but only fell short due to how our play styles aren’t that compatible. But in terms of swinging scythes, amongst the creative cast of characters Arc System Works ever produced… none came as the finest when compared to Testament.
This slender man used to be a gentle soul that became a Gear in order to impress his father, but this caused him to get brainwashed into bringing apocalypse to humanity, and his first act is to sponsor a tournament to generate enough bloodshed to revive the leader of Gears, Justice. And even from there, he not only swings his scythe, which, by the way, is made out of his blood, he also possesses demonic skulls to toss at you or ground beasts trying to devour you from the ground. And my GOD, sometimes, his face just rips away their skins and it makes him look like skull-faced! Yet another one looking like a Grim Reaper!
It was once the game reaches the X series that Testament is developed further. Freed from Justice’s influence, while still hating humans, Testament found something to protect, an innocent Gear named Dizzy. And thus, he changed from an obliterator into a protector… in which because a lot of people are hunting for Dizzy, he sees a lot of fights as well. This time, Testament is a lot calmer and this is reflected in his new play style, instead of a more aggressive zoning, he utilizes various traps to zone his enemies. He still comes with his massive scythe. So just in case anyone steps onto his trap, it’s his giant red scythe coming at you.
Sure, he wasn’t as aggressive as many others, but I’m pretty sure not all Grim Reapers are all screaming idiots who lunges forward without any plans… Right? Testament might have a better personality adjustment, but in the end, combined with his expertise on blood and minor summon magic, he’ll still be swinging his scythe up close to reap down his enemies.
The concept of a Grim Reaper, beings that take away the life of someone who’s about to die, has existed since the Greek mythology, though far from the image of a flying skull on a cloak with a giant scythe.
Death in there was personified by the being called Thanatos. You might have heard this name from a lot of things, but basically, this is the being that executes the job of reaping the souls of people who’s about to die, to be escorted to the afterlife.
And holy shit, Thanatos looks so damn wicked here. While he doesn’t show a face, he’s still carrying the eerie, emotionless feel that he’s here with his scythe to reap the souls of whoever comes across him. Especially when it comes to other immortals. See, Thanatos is not that pleased with humans at all, but he still does his job to reap their souls. But here’s one thing, reaping human souls was too easy for him, he’d appreciate a challenge… A challenge like reaping Godlike souls. And within this game, designated as an Assassin, he can deliver very quick deaths and usually finds himself roaming the jungle where danger lurks on lone Gods that venture there.
(P.S: Never been a main Conquest player)
As long as his enemies are in near death, Thanatos can spot them with his trait, Harvester of Souls. Oh yes, he’s just as eager to drain the life out of his targets, considering that every kills on other Gods will restore his health and reduce his cooldowns. He can also toss his Death Scythe to deal massive damage proportional to the maximum HP of whoever is hit, so if you build up HP, you’re still going to take a big hit if the scythe gets to you. He can also sweep his scythe with the Soul Reap, which deals respectable damage in a cone, but also silences whoever gets caught in the reap. Yes, he’s going in for the kill, so a little silence is appreciated. And by merely sensing the Scent of Death, Thanatos gets speedier as well as empowering the strikes of his scythes close range. And of course, the reason why he detects the wounded is because by that, he can use his final Ultimate, Hovering Death, where he flies high, and then sweeps down for a mighty scythe strike that instantly kills off anyone who has low enough health. That, right there, puts up the image of the Grim Reaper floating right above you and then he swept in and claims your soul brutally with his cold sharp scythe. Brr! Imagining the scenery actually gives me chills…
And even if his target is healthy, he could even stun his target long enough that he could deliver extra strikes that could kill them afterwards.
Thanatos isn’t exactly a late game monster, however, his scaling would fall off as the game goes on and he’s not exactly the toughest God, and that’s why he has to optimize his early game, killing people as quick as he can. This gives a good view on a scythe expert that have to make a good balance between early aggression and careful planning. But without a doubt, his scythe will claim everything… even other Gods that are mostly immortal. The Hand of Death is just as restless to let his scythe calm the restless souls around.
So for number 3, let’s have someone who’s swinging more up close, and yet still possesses enough calm to make sure that every strikes counts. Scythe experts in fighting games are pretty rare overall. Yes I know I already included Gordeau and Testament, but shall we say that this one carries an actual scythe made of materials, not blood, and still be awesome…
Enter Zasalamel from the Soul Calibur series. A rather peculiar sorcerer who was shunned due to his spell casting and by chance, he learned the spell that gives him immortality. But he came to regret it and wanted to at least pass away to the afterlife, causing him to hunt down Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. But once he got around getting the spell to undo his immortality, he got an… interesting vision… The vision that just yells to him: “HUMANITY IS AWESOME!!” And so Zasalamel took back his spell and decided to watch over how humanity progressed, by guiding them forever.
With that development and in addition of his looks, at least in how he debuted, with hoods and all and that mean scythe, you might get another vibes of Grim Reaper, just in reverse color, white hood, black skin or inner color, as opposed to black hood and white inner color. Quite an interesting contrast.
And that massive scythe isn’t just for show either. It doesn’t skewer people, sure, but that size grants him a massive attack range that he can use to clobber his enemies, drag his enemies, or just overall taking it down. And this being Soul Calibur, juggling is also an option to him. How else do you juggle people… purely with your scythe?
While it was his magic that drives his plot and story, I’d see Zasalamel more as an expert in scythe than magic. In combination of his more stylish scythe style, as much as a stoic, serious man like him can offer, Zasalamel has earned his place as the #3 Scythe Expert.
Well, speaking of wielding scythe with style… there’s actually someone else that could fit that bill and probably even moreso than Zasalamel… due to the boon that is being the Main Character. But first, quiz time. Any of you know the epic ‘Divine Comedy’?
It’s a door-stopping epic story of a poet Dante Alighieri who descends through the levels of Hell before going to the Purgatory and then Heaven. The journey to Hell tends to be the most famous one as it gives the most famous interpretation of Christian Hell. Now I’m not one to go on to the bandwagon of hate, but at one point, EA decided that they want to give an adaptation to this epic… but the Dante in the book is a non-combatant. How do they make him badass?
Make him a Crusader veteran, and make him wield a scythe from Death itself. As in, fight him instead of letting him claim his soul, then bludgeon and skewer him to… uh… death. Then take that scythe into Hell and wreak havoc to save his wife Beatrice. That, in the nutshell, is this often-derided-as-Devil May Cry or God of War clone game that’s actually pretty sweet by itself… Dante’s Inferno.
With the scythe as his condemnation tool, Dante can dish out a lot of savage attacks towards demons or any damned souls that comes across him in his journey to the deepest part of Hell. In addition, the scythe can be used to traverse through the obstacles that Hell shoves to him. And there’s a lot of unholy beasts that is taken down brutally with Dante and the quick time events. Gory, but somehow rather… delicious. And you gotta hand it to him, the Death Scythe he wields look pretty sick, it’s like made of bones of dead people claimed by Death.
And in spite of his super brutal style, Dante is a very conflicted man, a big sinner as well. In spite of that, he’s still committed to fight and save those he holds dear and repent for his sins. That actually says a lot more compared to more remorseless heroes like Kratos from God of War. To symbolize this, in addition of his scary scythe, Dante also carried a holy cross that was left behind by Beatrice, giving him holy powers. The duality of this and his wicked scythe makes a rather big compelling play style on Dante, do you absolve sinners with holy powers, or do you punish sinners even more with the scythe?
But regardless of using the cross equally just as his scythe, Dante deserves a place here because really, the act of snatching Death’s trademark scythe and then using it to smack Lucifer’s ass a new one is just too cool as a concept that you could execute in this game and makes using his scythe MUCH more satisfying. So… why is he just at #2? Well…
So you still wanna know in spite all those, HOW Dante is not the number 1? Before I explain to you, I gotta warn you this: The reason contains big spoilers for the whole Dante’s Inferno Game. So if you’re planning to play this game without knowing the plot… TURN BACK! Seriously, turn back! But considering it’s an old game in this era, well maybe some of you would’ve known already. But still… TURN THE EFF BACK IF YOU DON’T WANNA GET SPOILED.
… Still here? Fine. Abandon all hope, ye who approach this video.
SPOILERS BELOW. Highlight to see.
That’s right, turns out the game and Dante wielding that Death Scythe there was a mere delusion. Still, that must’ve been one hell of a powerful delusion that left a mark to us…
Now you must be wondering, who is the #1 after all this?
Well imagine if the Death that Dante faced is THIS Death, servant of Dracula from the Castlevania series. I don’t think he’ll ever get past level 1… Okay, that was pushing it.
As said, Death IS the Grim Reaper itself, there has been many interpretations of it. Including that one Death, and… technically, Thanatos IS a Grim Reaper itself for the Greek Mythology. But this one exemplifies what it means to be a Grim Reaper with one mean scythe… and many many smaller scythes he can produce out of the thin air. He has many attacks in his disposal, such as magical skulls, dark spells or even merely touching him is harmful, but everyone who has played Castlevania knows that these small scythes is what would be their doom, especially with it coming out of nowhere and with limited movement, it makes the scythes hard to avoid.
And it’s not that Death doesn’t even bother with his big one. There are times that he either throws it as a boomerang, or takes a mighty swing on it. Sometimes, when the smaller scythes are just smaller annoyances, especially in the latter gams, it’s that BIG Death Scythe you want to watch out for, it takes out a HUGE chunk of damage and can be the death of many unprepared players.
As a servant of Dracula, Death also shows his loyalty to his Master, though why he’s loyal to that Dark Lord, it’s anyone’s guess, but it does show how much loyal to his mission he is as a Grim Reaper. And regardless of the form, he’ll never lose his scythe in any form like a true Grim Reaper. You want Death? Always gotta have the scythe.
Regardless of it is, he’s the cause that the Castlevania series, especially the earlier ones, has such a HIGH death rate. Because Death and his scythes are always there to reap the souls of whoever crosses his or Dracula’s path. And he will never die… as he’s like a force of nature itself, symbolizing, you guessed it, death. And combined with his imagery, eeriness and fierce combat nature, and the fact that he’s been around since the NES era, terrorizing gamers alike with the tough battle he presents… at this point, I don’t care if I’m just following the flow. I agree with them, Death IS the ultimate Scythe expert in video games history.
I’m ChrisX and… regardless of how many of these looks like Grim Reaper figures or drawing inspirations from it… this has been my Top 10 Video Game Scythe Experts, NOT Top 10 Video Game Grim Reapers. Thanks for reading!