Grelle Sutcliff (グレル・サトクリフ, Gureru Satokurifu) is a Grim Reaper. They are part of the Retrieval Division of the Grim Reaper Dispatch. Grelle initially posed as Angelina Dalles's butler and conspired with her as Jack the Ripper. They were suspended for some time as a result, but are now a fully active Grim Reaper.
Grelle is an individual "covered in red." Grelle has long dark-red hair, shark-like teeth, and red-framed glasses accessorized with a chain with skulls. Like other Grim Reapers, Grelle has chartreuse phosphorescent eyes.
Grelle's typical attire consists of a vest; gloves; a red-and white-striped bow around their neck; and red and black 4.33-inch (11-cm) high-heeled ankle boots. Grelle also sports a red coat they took from Angelina Dalles after fatally wounding her; they often wear it slung off their shoulders with the sleeves rolled up to their elbows.
Grelle has specially modified their Death Scythe to operate like a chainsaw because they deem the average Death Scythe old-fashioned.
When posing as Angelina Dalles's butler, Grelle had brown hair, which was tied with a red ribbon, and they dressed in plain black clothes.
Grelle is an outspoken, flamboyant individual who unreservedly expresses themselves and their desires. They possess a strong predilection for the color red, which they believe can be used to achieve beauty.
Combative, Grelle is quick to turn to violence to eliminate hindrances and has had numerous clashes with Sebastian Michaelis because of such an inclination. They have little to no patience for those who are bogged down by their emotions, having ruthlessly slain partner-in-crime Angelina Dalles for hesitating to kill her nephew.
At first, Grelle was dismissive of the principles of Grim Reapers, which includes staying neutral in human affairs, as evidenced by their unlawful partnership with Angelina. However, after a period of suspension, Grelle has come to respect said principles, enough to preach the importance of soul-reaping to fellow Grim Reaper Ronald Knox. Nevertheless, due to their impulsive nature, they are still liable to transgress these principles, such as when they were about to kill Aleister Chamber, ignoring Ronald's warning that killing humans is prohibited.
Grelle is fond of incorporating double entendres and referencing plays and theatre in their speech; for instance, they described Angelina's death as a "falling of curtains" and compared their relationship with Sebastian to Romeo and Juliet.
When posing as Angelina's butler, Grelle was timid and ineffective at their job; they failed to properly prepare tea and got lost while driving a carriage.
When Angelina Dalles began murdering pregnant prostitutes as Jack the Ripper and consequently filling up the soul retrieval list, Grelle followed her and took an interest in her. They sympathized with her since they could relate to her troubles—the inability to give birth—and decided to assist her, defying the Grim Reaper code of neutrality. Grelle disguised themselves as the Burnett family's butler to avoid suspicion.
Red Butler Arc
Grelle is with Angelina Dalles, their mistress, and Lau in Ciel Phantomhive's London townhouse, searching for tea. They accompany Ciel, Sebastian Michaelis, Lau, and Angelina while they gather information on Jack the Ripper. They later attend Aleister Chamber's party with them, where they briefly leave in order to commit another murder.
Afterwards, Grelle, in Mary Jane Kelly's house, brutally kills her. When Ciel and Sebastian enter the scene, Sebastian comments that it is an excessive murder as blood has splattered all over the floor. Grelle comes up with a feeble excuse for being there, despite being covered in the prostitute's blood. Challenged by Sebastian, Grelle discloses that they are a Grim Reaper. When they are questioned about why they have broken the Grim Reaper's code of neutrality, they reply that they were captivated by "a certain woman."
Grelle confronts Sebastian with their Death Scythe. They claim that their Death Scythe can slice through anything, and sadistically trifles with Sebastian, stating their desire to tear up his body. They add that they love the color red and enjoy using blood to do makeup for ugly women. Sebastian points out Grelle's violation of the Grim Reaper rules and deems their butler principles sickening, and Grelle remarks that even so they are still the "butler of death." Their battle continues, and Grelle inflicts a small slash on Sebastian's left arm, revealing a brief Cinematic Record of Sebastian's past and his first encounter with Ciel. Grelle explains the general purpose of a Cinematic Record, which is to replay memories for assessment by the Grim Reaper, and Sebastian dismisses it as a "spying activity."
Grelle then has Sebastian pinned against the wall. However, when Ciel's life is endangered, Sebastian rushes off, in spite of Grelle's Death Scythe (which deals a considerable wound to his arm). They comment that Sebastian has commendable endurance, and order Angelina to kill Ciel. They notice her hesitation and insist that she carries out the task. When she admits that she cannot because she views Ciel as her own son, they are gravely disappointed and proceed to stab her in the chest with their Death Scythe. They denounce her as an "ordinary woman" and complain that they have gone to great lengths to aid her, but were uncompensated. They remove the red coat from her corpse and proclaim that she is not fit to wear red.
Grelle turns to leave, and Ciel orders Sebastian to kill them. While battling, Sebastian intentionally aims for Grelle's face, much to their anger for they greatly cherish it. Grelle asks if Sebastian is afraid to perish once he is critically hit by their Death Scythe, and the latter asserts that he is not. Grelle states that a demon and a Grim Reaper are unable to reach a mutual understanding; thus, their relationship is like the "tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet." Grelle rams their own forehead against Sebastian's and deals a strong, upward slash across his chest. Much to their dismay, they perceive a rather mundane Cinematic Record which consists simply of Sebastian's daily life as a Phantomhive butler.
Subsequently, they attempt to end the battle with the next blow. Sebastian uses a shred of his ruined, woolen tailcoat to jam Grelle's Death Scythe. He then, pummels Grelle in the face, ignoring the victim's pleas to spare it. However, before Sebastian can kill them with their own weapon, William T. Spears intervenes. William lands on Grelle's head and lists off all of the rules that Grelle has violated. He grudgingly apologizes to Sebastian, retrieves Grelle's Death Scythe, and drags Grelle away by their hair. Grelle later faces suspension for their offenses.
In regard to the case involving the Noah's Ark Circus, the Grim Reapers are assigned various tasks. While William T. Spears and Ronald Knox are to collect the souls at Baron Kelvin's manor, Grelle, whose suspension period has recently ended, is responsible for collecting the souls at Phantomhive Manor—a mission they are very excited about, as noted by Ronald.
Luxury Liner Arc
Grelle is assigned to work with Ronald Knox to collect souls and investigate the Bizarre Dolls. They watch as Campania crashes into an iceberg. They then leap on the ship's deck and behead several Bizarre Dolls.
They meet with Ronald and make Ronald hold them by the waist as they enjoy the night breeze. They soon stop, however, deeming Ronald unexciting. Ronald reminds Grelle that they both should be focusing on their duty, for they have approximately another one-thousand souls to collect and they must investigate the Bizarre Dolls as well. Grelle tells him that soul reaping is a Grim Reaper's most important job and that the investigation part can come at a later time. They then urge Ronald to hurry, for they wish to go home and do not want to risk another suspension order.
In the first-class suite, Grelle and Ronald destroy numerous Bizarre Dolls while complaining about the sheer quantity of them. Grelle notes that dealing with the Bizarre Dolls is a waste of time, and Ronald agrees, stating that Campania will sink in one hour.
After they carry out their task in the first-class front hallway, Ronald informs Grelle that they must descend five floors to reach the third boiler room, much to Grelle's annoyance. While they discuss the enigmatic Bizarre Dolls, a Bizarre Doll on a carriage led by a couple of Bizarre Doll horses appears. Grelle swiftly annihilates them.
In the second class restaurant, Grelle and Ronald encounter Sebastian Michaelis, Ciel Phantomhive, and Elizabeth Midford. Grelle prevents them from running away and starts battling Sebastian. During the fight, Grelle accidentally slashes a window with their Death Scythe, causing water to rapidly enter the ship. While Grelle is distracted, Ronald takes their place and fights Sebastian.
After a brief intervention with Elizabeth eliminating a number of Bizarre Dolls, Elizabeth goes after Grelle, intending to attack them, but Sebastian stops her. Grelle plans to resume their fight with Sebastian but overhears Ciel telling Sebastian to concentrate on finding Rian Stoker, who has constructed the Bizarre Dolls. Ronald shows Grelle Rian's information in the soul retrieval list, and after they both read it, they leave with urgency to learn more about the Bizarre Dolls from Rian.
In the first-class passenger lounge, Rian falls due to Campania tilting, and Grelle catches him by the leg. When they ask for a method to stop the Bizarre Dolls, Rian discloses that there is a device in his room that can render the absolute salvation ineffective. Grelle, Ronald, and Rian go to the Rian's first-class guest room, where they discover that the device has been stolen. They return to the first-class passenger lounge, where Ciel, Sebastian, Undertaker, and Aleister Chamber, who has taken the device, are. When Grelle states their desire to kill Aleister, Aleister threatens to destroy the device, and Ronald stops Grelle.
A legion of Bizarre Dolls arrives, the number of them bewildering them all. Grelle, Ronald, and Sebastian are forced to fight them. Irritated by Aleister's theatrics, Ronald asks to kill him, and Grelle scolds him for stopping them earlier. Grelle then shouts at Aleister to activate the device, but Aleister refuses to until they perform the dance of the Phoenix to pledge their loyalty to him, much to Grelle, Ronald, Ciel, and Sebastian's exasperation. They reluctantly recite the lines and do the pose.
A satisfied Aleister then turns on the device, but it does not work. Fed up with what they consider a farce, Grelle deftly kills several Bizarre Dolls, which impresses Ronald, and lunges at Aleister, despite Ronald's cry that they must not kill humans. Undertaker blocks Grelle's Death Scythe and attacks Grelle with his sotoba.
Grelle, Ronald, and Sebastian note Undertaker's chartreuse phosphorescent eyes, and realize that Undertaker is a Grim Reaper. Grelle and Ronald are shocked to learn that Undertaker created the Bizarre Dolls by editing the deceased's Cinematic Records. On Undertaker's encouragement, Grelle views a couple of Bizarre Dolls' Cinematic Records and is appalled to see that Undertaker has indeed connected fake records following the "End" mark for the bodies to mistakenly believe that life is still continuing. Undertaker further explains how Bizarre Dolls function, and admits that Campania was merely an experiment to see what will happen when the same amount of humans and Bizarre Dolls are together. Grelle and Ronald decide to apprehend Undertaker, who is most likely a "deserter," and the former adds that they can never forgive Undertaker for injuring their face.
Grelle and Ronald attack Undertaker. Sebastian kicks Ronald, to Grelle's surprise, and says that he would be in trouble if he were to let Grelle and Ronald haul Undertaker away, for Ciel wants to take Undertaker into custody as well for Queen Victoria's sake. Grelle and Sebastian tell each other to stay out of their way. They all then decide that whichever team is the fastest can take Undertaker. In subsequence, Grelle, Ronald, and Sebastian attack Undertaker simultaneously.
While fighting, they discuss Grim Reapers' nearsightedness, and Grelle points out that Undertaker must be at a disadvantage for he is not wearing any glasses. Grelle is astonished that they are able to cut through Undertaker's sotoba, even though they could not before. Undertaker kicks Grelle, and Ronald rushes over, but his glasses are thrown off by Undertaker. Grelle tosses Ronald's glasses back to their rightful owner, but Sebastian knocks them away. Sebastian and Undertaker battle while Ronald retrieves his glasses with Grelle next to him. Grelle and Ronald mention that they are running out of time since the ship is tilting heavily, and attack Undertaker head-on. Undertaker blocks their Death Scythes successfully, revealing his own and slicing them both with it. Grelle and Ronald are shocked, with Ronald commenting that his Death Scythe should have been confiscated when he retired, and Undertaker implies that he smuggled it out with him. Undertaker then destroys a pillar near where they are at, causing it to collapse on them.
After a battle between Sebastian and Undertaker, where Undertaker manages to view Sebastian's Cinematic Record, Campania begins tilting upward, causing great chaos and many deaths. Rian falls to his death, and Grelle immediately assesses and collects his soul, stating the dates of his birth and death. They tell Sebastian that they do not have much time and that they will take Undertaker. While Grelle fights Undertaker, Ronald fights Sebastian, "the weakened one."
During their battle, Undertaker recalls that Grelle was Madam Red's butler and remarks that they also tampered with people's lives. Grelle calls him nosy and assures him that they are not going to leave, albeit the time constraints. Grelle is about to take a swing at Undertaker, but Sebastian hurls a beaten Ronald at them, making them both crash into a wall. As Campania sinks and water floods the area they are fighting in, Undertaker tells them that he must go. Grelle and Sebastian make a concerted attack on him, causing him to drop his chain of lockets, which Ciel catches. Undertaker entrusts it to Ciel, splits the ship into two with his Death Scythe, and escapes.
An unconscious Grelle floats face-down in the water. William T. Spears rescue Grelle and Ronald, and force them to wake up. Grelle is thrilled that William has arrived, and tries to leap on him, but falls back into the water instead. William tells them that they must collect the souls despite their injuries and that once they are finished they must report to headquarters and immediately file a report on the "violator," Undertaker.
Emerald Witch Arc
Grelle and William T. Spears travel to Germany, where they meet the German Grim Reapers Ludger and Sascha. Ludger remarks that Grelle's greetings are flashy as per usual. Sascha hands documents to William, who complains about being sent all the way to Germany. Grelle says that they are actually enjoying their trip with William; William responds by hitting them with his Death Scythe. William then tells Sascha and Ludger to inform the English Branch if they receive any information about the "seceders" before leaving with Grelle.
Blue Cult Arc
Grelle reaps a boy's soul and complains about always getting the most wretched cases. They bemoan having to cancel their manicure, prompting another Grim Reaper to point out that Grelle's nails did not last a month in the country. Grelle identifies the Grim Reaper as Othello, and says that it is not often a Grim Reaper from the Forensics Division would visit a crime scene. Othello explains that he is out there because there is no end to the cases lately and adds that his getting dispatched to the scene means that their superiors are finally getting serious.
Grelle, then, presses Othello for the reason why he is there, but Othello refuses to tell them, claiming that they would not understand and that they are not interested in forensic research anyway. He says that they should not interfere in each other's affairs, and requests for Grelle's protection if he needs it since he is not confident in his physical abilities and has not customized his Death Scythe either. Grelle is repulsed by the "unfashionable" Death Scythe, commenting that it reminds them of their training days. Othello, then, asks to look at the file of the kid whose soul Grelle has just collected, and reads that it is another case of "death by multiple organ failure caused by loss of blood," as he suspected.
Later, Grelle and Othello investigate Sphere Music Hall's facility. The former comments on its size and advanced equipment. Othello notes that they are making more progress than they should have. When Grelle asks him for an explanation, Othello ignores them, mulling over the situation. An irritated Grelle remarks that they cannot stand "geeks" like Othello. Othello, then, admits that there is still plenty he does not understand, but what he knows for certain is that whoever is the mastermind needs to be chased down and be given "a good spanking," to Grelle's excitement.
Grelle and Othello arrive at a music hall in Bath, where Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis are. Grelle collects the soul of Ralph Cutler, who has died from blood loss. Grelle is delighted that they have run into Sebastian and asserts that Gregory Violet will be fine, for he is not on the soul retrieval list. When Grelle tells Sebastian that he should ask them out on a date, Sebastian and Ciel pointedly disregard them.
To Grelle's annoyance, Othello explains the situation to Ciel and even shows him the soul retrieval list. When Othello asks Grelle to help him carry one of the advanced machines there home, Grelle refuses, and, as a result, Othello decides to take it apart. He urges Grelle to do the soul collection in the meantime, to Grelle's exasperation.
Ciel and Sebastian leave for London to track down Blavat Sky, and Grelle complains, for they were hoping to spend time with Sebastian. When Othello tells Grelle that William T. Spears will be upset if they do not hurry, Grelle decides to listen to him and work, convinced that they will reunite with Sebastian soon anyway.
Grelle reaps Agni's soul, declaring that he, Arshad Satyendra Iyer, was born on 24 August 1858 and died on 15 November 1889 from multiple knife wounds. Grelle adds that they did say that they and Sebastian will be meeting again soon.
Blue Memory Arc
Later that same day, Grelle breaks into Phantomhive Manor by jumping through a window and announces themselves upon landing while their companion Othello enters through the front door and reminds her of this highly accessible way of entering. Grelle replies that "entrances are all about being cool." Othello then says that it is time for Undertaker's "spanking," which fails as he is unable to throw his Death Scythe far enough to cause Undertaker any damage, much to Grelle's shock and annoyance.
Othello's miserable act makes Undertaker fall into a hysteric fit before he retrieves his own Death Scythe to retaliate. About to be attacked, Othello uses Grelle as his shield, annoying them once again. They then break free from Othello and charge at Undertaker, ready for a rematch after they lost against him onboard the Campania. Grelle and Undertaker barely started their fight when Sebastian interferes who does not want them to destroy the manor. The fight is ultimately ended with the arrival of Scotland Yard and Alexis and Edward Midford. While everything is in tumult and everyone else is preoccupied, Grelle and Othello sneakily leave.
They head to a pub in London where Grelle confronts Othello what they are doing here and why he is wearing a lab coat in public. After all, did the Management Division not instruct him to blend in? Othello replies that Grelle's brilliant red coat is not very inconspicuous either and carries his order to their table. They sit down, and Othello prompts Grelle to ask why they escaped from Phantomhive Manor which they do as it was the perfect opportunity to capture Undertaker. Othello disagrees as there were too many humans and too much potential for casualties. He also asks Grelle whether they truly wanted to fight Undertaker on their own.
Seeing the look in Othello's eyes, Grelle wants him to tell them what he knows about Undertaker, and Othello proceeds to tell them about their shared past at the Grim Reaper Dispatch and that Undertaker used to be a legend. Afterward, Grelle asks Othello what they will do now, and Othello says they need to strike as soon as possible before he falls into his incomprehensible "geek talk." Othello simplifies his wording and informs Grelle that, if the Bizarre Dolls do not receive their frequent blood transfusions anymore, they will become ordinary corpses once again, and Grelle begins to understand the urgency to stop Undertaker before he can finalize his project and tear down the foundations of their world.
Afterward, they leave the pub, and Othello sends out a messenger pigeon to request for reinforcements.
- "This Death Scythe I'm using will play a duet with the soul's last moments."
- "Oh Bassy, I do love red the most. Hair, clothes, lipstick, I love them to be red. That's why I love using fresh blood to do make up for those ugly women. The more flamboyant a woman is, the more she's as beautiful as a poisonous flower, right?"
- (To Sebastian Michaelis) "A good man's past makes people curious! But if he's a bad man, then it makes me wanna see even more!"
- "Apparently, we are unable to reach a mutual understanding. If the job of a Grim Reaper is to recover all the souls of the dead, then demons can be likened to the pests that snatch these souls away just for the sake of devouring them! No matter how much love I put in, it won't bear fruit. It's like . . . the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet!"
- "Such an ice king you are! A beautiful tyrant! An angelic devil! A raven with the wings of a dove. My little lamb with the appetites of a wolf. My very own Sebastian darling!"
- "This is like a big guilt trip of death!"
- (To Sebastian Michaelis) "Ah, It's so nice to see you in my true form! I admit, I was very surprised when I first saw you. I've never seen a demon playing a butler."
- Grelle's favorite color is red. Additionally, they like the scent of roses and musk, and dislike tea.
- Grelle is, in fact, stronger than William.
- "Grell(e)" can either mean "gaudy," "lurid," or "grating/piercing" in German.
- Grelle may have been named after Peter Sutcliffe, a British serial killer responsible for the death of thirteen women, also known as "The Yorkshire Ripper."
Out of Universe
- According to the official Kuroshitsuji character popularity poll, Grelle is the fourth most popular character in the series, with 779 votes. They are ranked among the "Devil Six."
- Yana Toboso has stated that she would love to go shopping with Grelle because of their honest and direct nature.
- So far, Grelle has only been on a special completely red slip-over cover for Volume 12 which was included in the August 2011 issue of Monthly GFantasy. It is possible that they may be featured on a proper volume cover in the future though.
- In the early drafts of the series, Grelle did not wear high heels.
- It was the idea of Toboso's editor, Mr. K, to make Grelle a flamboyant character.
- Yana Toboso and her assistants call Grelle "Shark" because of their teeth.
- In the OVA The Story of Will the Reaper, Grelle and William T. Spears were both Grim Reaper students. Grelle resented being partnered with William because while Grelle was a very excellent student, with expertise in the area of scythe technique, William was an entirely average student.