Neku Sakuraba, a 15 year-old boy with a hobby for music and graffiti, wakes up in what seems to be the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, Japan. With no idea why he's there, he opens his hand to realize he is holding a strange black pin. After flipping it with his hand, the thoughts of the people surrounding him began to flow into his head at once. Surprised, Neku discovers he is able to read the minds of others, and assumes it has something to do with the black pin he is holding.
A cellphone starts to ring in his pocket, and he can't tell whether it is his or not. A text message appears: "Reach 104. You have 60 minutes. Fail, and face erasure. -The Reapers". After discovering he can't delete the message, a timer of 60 minutes imprints onto his right hand. Neku is in Shibuya to play the "Reapers' Game", which spans a total of 7 days. All Players of the Reapers' Game have a black pin with a skull embedded on it.