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This article is about a character in
Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni.
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Aya Souma (相馬 あや Sōma Aya) is the protagonist of Reaper of the Thirteenth Step. A girl with no will to live, all of that changes when she becomes trapped in Izanami's game.


A girl who has lost the will to live, and remains living out of sheer force of habit. When she stepped on the 13th step, she was forced into a 49 day trial, searching for the meaning in life.

Having survived the trial, she underwent a major change, and even became a member of the track and field club. Her club adviser looks a lot like Izanami. He's still working her hard, even today.

Every day she counts the steps on each staircase she walks on in the hopes of meeting Izanami again.

Aya full 1

(Translation by Spider Lily Translations)


Aya has long brown hair tied into a braid and brown eyes. She wears a yellow school uniform with green sleeves, a white collar, red plaid skirt, long white socks and brown shoes. Her PE uniform is a white shirt with purple accents and panties.


At the beginning of the story, Aya has a nihilistic outlook on life, questioning many of her problems and asking herself what her purpose in life is. She constantly hopes for a painless death, always finding that easier than living with no purpose; she believes that her life is boring as it repeats every day with no change. After her experience with Izanami, she becomes much more positive and discovers a reason to live.


Aya becomes trapped in Izanami's game after investigating the legend of the 13th step out of curiosity.



Second Night[]

Reaper of the Thirteenth Step[]

Aya hears about the legend of the 13th step and finds a 13th step at school, but gets disappointed when nothing happens. That night, Aya has a dream where she sees Izanami catch and kill a victim, the youkai seemingly aware she's watching her. The next day, Aya is suddenly transported to Izanami's world when class ends. The reaper appears and yells at her to run if she doesn't want to be killed. Aya runs for her life, and after 5 minutes she suddenly leaves Izanami's world and ends up back home. That night, Izanami speaks to Aya in her dreams again and explains the rules, as the game's not over yet.

Aya spends the next week being transported to Izanami's world every day after school, the time she spends running increasing but fluctuating each time. Aya realizes she'll get tired and die one of these days, then hears about Michiru Sakurada' s sixth sense and ability to talk to youkai. Aya tells Michiru about her situation with Izanami, but Michiru says there is no youkai strong enough to defeat him. She also says his curse lasts for 49 days, but there is another boy trapped by Izanami that could help.

Aya meets the boy, Osato, who despairs that he'll be caught sooner or later but might have a chance today since it's Wednesday. Aya wonders what the significance of Wednesday is and why the time she has to run from Izanami keeps fluctuating. One day she goes to talk to Osato again only to find he doesn't exist, having been eaten by Izanami already. Later, Higanbana appears and loudly complains about the gym schedule. Aya notices that the PE dates for Osato's class matched the running days he said were shorter and wonders what her own schedule is like. Aya realizes that PE days decrease the time she spends in Izanami's realm since she's already running then. Aya confirms the trick works when she runs a lot in her off time.

Aya continues to run as much as she can at school to shave off the time she spends running from Izanami. Aya develops a healthier lifestyle as a result, always finishing her lunches and dinners and going to sleep without insomnia. Despite Izanami's constant increases to the running time, Aya still manages to escape him. One day during another chase, Izanami says he's grown fond of Aya and asks her reason for living, giving her the option of dying whatever peaceful death she wants. Aya rejects him, but she still doesn't understand why.

The 49th day approaches, the day of the annual school marathon. Aya is excited to run it since her time with Izanami will end, but the youkai suddenly appears in front of her. Izanami says he wants to make today special and will chase Aya during the marathon, but he still promises to kill her gently if he catches her. The marathon begins, and as they run, Izanami says Aya's got a lot more strength than the other track members who practice every day.

Aya realizes that the meaning of life for her is living not to die. She successfully passes the finish line, earning much praise from the students and teachers. Even Izanami is proud of her.

After School[]

In this dream world, Izanami tries to pit Aya against Midori while bickering with Black Tea Gentleman.