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Characters / Death Note Near

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Main Character Index | Main Characters | Light Yagami | L Lawliet | Near | Task Force | Shinigami | Side Characters | Novel, Pilot, and Movies | Death Note (2017)

Near (ニア;Nia) / Real Name: Nate River (ネイト=リバー;Neito Ribā)
"Keep all important information in your mind only."
Click here to see Near three years later, during the events of the One-Shot Special. 
Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (JP), Cathy Weseluck (EN), Masumi Mitsuda (Spain), Bruno Coronel (Latin America), Vincent De Bouard (FR), Narushi Fukuda (film)

"If you can't win the game, if you can't solve the puzzle, then you're nothing but a loser".

After L's death, he's the main antagonist of the series, but not the villain.

A detective presented as very similar to L. Characterized by the contrast of his mature conversation with his childlike playing with toys, he runs the SPK, a force from the USA specially designed to unmask Kira. He suspects Light to be Kira and periodically makes life difficult for him both unwittingly and wittingly- the former by reminding Light of L through the style of his speech and analytical skills and the latter by sowing seeds of doubt amongst the Task Force to make some of them suspect Light as well. He soon comes to suspect Mikami and Takada to have something to do with Kira as well.

In the Death Note One-Shot Special, which takes place three years after the end of the Kira case, Near is the main protagonist.


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  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In the TV drama, he's involved from the start.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Far more benevolent in the TV drama (which, ironically, makes L a case of Adaptational Jerkass).
  • Adorkable: Particularly when his shyness and social ineptitude comes into play. The fact that he's older than he looks certainly helps.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In a different but similar way to L (just as the character is different but similar to L generally). Just like L, he has signs of schizoid personality disorder as well.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In the drama. Although referred to as male in some promotional material, is never given a gender in the show itself. Near is referred to as "they," though it's probably an indication of a Split Personality rather than a nonbinary gender.
  • Ambiguously Evil: At first. With his Kubrick Stare, his robotic, stone-cold personality... it's hard to tell how good Near really is. However, much of his goal is to avenge his mentor L, and "How to Read" confirmed that he is a sensitive person.
  • Anti-Hero: Just like L, he is more than willing to use morally questionable tactics to catch Kira, such as kidnapping.
  • Arch-Enemy: He sees Kira / Light Yagami as one. After all, he is largely motivated by revenge.
  • Author Filibuster: His Shut Up, Hannibal! summation of Light is meant to be a reflection of writer Ohba's personal beliefs.
  • Badass Adorable: He's a lot more traditionally cute than L and just as cunning.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's cunning, intelligent and clever.
  • Bat Deduction: In the anime, Near's eyes turn white and he has the clues he needs. The manga avoids this, but does show his photographic memory and ability to watch and listen to a room full of TV sets showing as many different news items and taking them all in at once.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Theorized by Matsuda. At the end, he uses the Death Notes to find out which is the real and fake ones that he can trick Mikami into taking.
  • Bishōnen: In the Death Note One-Shot Special, he's a very attractive young man.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Near loves playing with toys just as much as L loves sweets. He stacks dice and matchsticks just as L stacks milk-pots and sugar-cubes.
  • Cain and Abel: Both him and Mello were the successors of L. Near is the Abel to Mello's Cain.
  • Celibate Hero: Just like L, he was never interested in romantic relationships.
  • Character Tic: Near is always doing something with his hands. If he isn't playing with toys or stacking things, he's twirling his hair.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Looks like the c: emoticon, transposed onto a human being.
  • The Chessmaster: Just as good as L and can go toe-to-toe with Light and Mello.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He has odd gestures and a very unusual personality.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Though he rejects offhand the idea of "just shooting him" as dishonorable, he's still a cheater and Ohba suggests that that's why he survives. It is still argued on whether or not he used the notebook to control Mikami in the final confrontation.
  • Color Motif: Light Blue. Probably to show that he's still new to being L's Successor, L's color being dark blue.
  • Creepy Child: Played with. Near is 13 when he's first introduced and 17-18 by the end of the story, but he gives off Creepy Child vibes all the same.
  • Creepy Monotone: He speaks in a rather monotonous voice pitch.
  • Crosscast Role: In the TV drama, he's portrayed by actress Mio Yuki.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Like all successors, he's an orphan, making it likely he witnessed his family die, with apparently no remaining family that could have (or wanted to) adopt him, and was groomed from an extremely young age (likely being confronted with very graphic crime scene evidence during the process) to succeed the world's greatest detective, and actively being pushed to compete with his peers no matter the cost to his mental health. No pressure.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just like his mentor L, he is shown to have a dry sense of humor, stating that Light was "popular with the ladies."
  • Defective Detective: He has the minimal possible rank in the "Ability to Live Everyday life" part of his stats in "How to Read", in the slot that indicates a character's special talent or significant weakness.
  • Deuteragonist: After L's death, he's the opposing deuteragonist to Light.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: As with L, he doesn't wear shoes, though he at least puts socks on his feet (except for a couple of scenes in the manga).
  • Epic Fail: During one phone call Near is shown throwing a dart at a board which completely misses. A few scenes later and the viewer is given a top-down view of the dart board showing a large pile of darts on the floor and none stuck into the board itself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Toward the end, he points out that he doesn't believe in an absolute code of right and wrong, but doesn't like Kira killing people in the name of justice.
    • He also acknowledges that at least some of Kira's followers truly do believe in the cause he himself is fighting, but voices a low opinion of people he sees as just taking the "Kira" flag as a personal excuse to make noise and cause mayhem.
  • Extreme Doormat: Even moreso than L. He doesn't hunt Kira out of any moral obligation but just because it's what he's been trained to do- although his final showdown with Light might imply a personal touch considering he wears the L mask and makes it a point in how important Mello's contribution was with his miniature doll.
  • Final Boss: Of the entire series.

  • Genius Sweet Tooth: In the epilogue of the manga at least, in which he's seen eating a chocolate bar. It's thought he's doing it in memory of Mello.
    • Also, in the drama, he is fond of Watari's cakes, much in the same way L is in the anime/manga.
  • Guile Hero: Outwits Kira.
  • The Hero: After L's death, he's the first in line to succeed L and the mastermind behind the S.P.K.
  • Hero Protagonist: In the Death Note One-Shot Special.
  • Heroic Albino: While the morality of pretty much any character in Death Note is debatable, Near does work to defeat Light and end his killing spree.
  • Hidden Depths: The How to Read volume suggests that he cut his ties with the outer world because he's really sensitive.
  • Hypocrite: If Matsuda's theory that he used the Death Note to restrict Mikami's actions, enabling the group to expose Light as Kira is correct, he would qualify.
  • Identical Stranger: He and L could be mistaken for brothers given their similar appearances and quirks, but they aren't blood related.
  • The Immune: In the Alternate Continuity film L: change the WorLd he is the only one to survive The Plague that afflicted his village.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Was a loner from the beginning.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his partners don't always like working alongside him, they do agree with him and his plans, especially when he tells Light that he is nothing more than a serial killer.
  • Kirk Summation: He rejects Kira's ideals entirely, especially after confronting an implicated Light:
    Near: No. You're just a murderer, Light Yagami. And this notebook is the deadliest weapon in the history of mankind. If you had been a normal person and had used this notebook once out of curiosity, you would have been surprised and scared of what had happened, regretted what you had done, and never used this notebook again. To speak of extremes, I can actually understand those who would use this notebook for their personal interests and kill a couple of people, and even think that they're normal. But you yielded to the power of the notebook and the Shinigami and have confused yourself with a god. In the end, you're nothing more than a crazy Serial Killer. That's all you are. Nothing more... and nothing less.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Subverted. While L was a Worthy Opponent for Light, the series gets even darker with the introduction of Mello and Near. Although, this is a rather odd example as Near is an Anti-Hero like L; it's just that Light's character becomes much darker at this point as he becomes a full blown villain and Mello and Near happened to show up once this progression takes place.
  • Kubrick Stare: Look at the picture.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: So Light, you thought you'd gotten rid of L, huh? Say hi to his successors.
  • Light Is Good: Though not as morally questionable as Light himself, Near wears white pajamas, and his hair is white - white being the color of death in Japanese culture, though whether he knows this is debatable. It's not really delved into in the story, but How to Read suggests that he's cut himself off from the world because he's "overly sensitive".
  • Loners Are Freaks: Has closed himself off from the world, and seriously creeps Light out.
  • Looks Like Cesare: In the Death Note One-Shot Special, Near is shown to have sharp bags under his eyes, probably because he's The Insomniac (just like L).

  • Manchild: He's 17-18 in the post-timeskip (21 in the post-series one shot) and he's always seen playing with toys.
  • Man in White: Wears white pajamas and socks.
  • Meaningful Name: His real name, Nate River, is supposed to symbolize how his talents flow from L like a river flows from Canada to Alaska.
  • Messy Hair: Well, messy and somewhat wavy.
  • Mind Rape: Just look at chapters 103 and 104 of the manga.
  • Non-Action Guy: Unlike L, it is completely unknown if he can really know some kind of martial discipline (eg, L knows Capoeira), and his abilities come solely from his own deductions and intellect.
  • No Social Skills: Even more so than L, to the point where he is apparently unable to make his own travel arrangements. How To Read, the series encyclopedia, points out that this is a significant weakness, as he can only make full use of his brilliant mind when surrounded by support because his basic social and living skills are so bad.
  • Not So Different: Near's like a more vengeful version of L. He's not above stooping to Kira's level of mind games and manipulative tactics. It's also teased that Near used the notebook to defeat Kira.
  • Offered the Crown: Given the title of L's successor by Mello in a fit of sour grapes before the latter storms off.
  • Oh, Crap!: His surprise to Light pulling out the last trick up his sleeve, the piece of the Note in his watch. His expression is clear in the manga, but remains absent in the anime.
  • Older Than They Look: Many assume he's ten or so by his appearance, behavior, and voice: he's 17 or 18 by the end. He looks about 15 three years after that. He's even referred to as a "boy" by the President of the United States.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: He spent his entire appearance clothed in PJs, although in the anime this appears to have been changed to a PJ top and jeans.
  • Parental Abandonment: Like all the other Wammy's kids, he's an orphan.
  • Planning with Props: Uses his toys for this sometimes.
  • Politeness Judo: Very passive-aggressive.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: More so than L.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives an epic one at the end to Light.
    • He also gives one to C-kira that drives him to suicide.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Mello's red. While he and Mello are geniuses, Near's more calm and logical.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: He has even poorer social skills than L and white hair.
  • The Smart Guy: Just like L, he's incredibly smart and calculating.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Extreme emphasis on "socially awkward."
  • Sole Survivor: In the Alternate Continuity film L: change the WorLd Near is not only orphaned but is the last survivor of his village. Also in canon he is the only Wammy’s Kid to challenge Kira and survive.
  • Split Personality: Appears to have one in the live action series.
  • The Spock: Operates almost completely on logic, and is a brilliant strategist.
  • The Spook: Very little is known about his past.
  • The Stoic: Rarely, if ever, shows any emotion.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: As with L before him, he is shown to be thinking exactly the same thing as Light when planning out his strategy for defeating his opponent.
  • Super OCD: Is it the majority of his agents dropping dead all around him from the Death Note or his tower of dice falling over that he is most saddened by in chapter 66? You decide.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Quoting from the folks at IGN, "Near is the darker, colder, angrier version of L. L represented justice and Near represents vengeance."

  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Look at him.
  • Tranquil Fury: He never loses his stoicism, even when he's annoyed.
  • Übermensch: As he put it, after Light responds to his withering complaint towards his personal character:
    "Nobody can tell what is right and what is wrong, what is righteous and what is evil. Even if there is a God and I had His teachings in front of me, I would think it through and decide if it was right and wrong myself. I'm no different to you. I believe in what I think is right, and believe that to be righteous. You are no god. And I find the whole idea of you setting the path for all the people to follow is neither peaceful nor righteous. And anybody who claims to be a god and kills people from left to right is neither peaceful nor righteous."
  • Unscrupulous Hero: At first, he's almost as bad as Mello, but in the bonus chapter (post-epilogue), he's a little bit more reasonable.
  • The Un-Smile: Sometimes he gives an extremely unnatural smile like looks like a living version of the "c:" emoticon, in a great contrast to L's When He Smiles moments.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: As "N"
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about L's successors without giving away the fact that L himself dies.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Quite literally.
    • He gets a full list of his toys in the 'How To Read' book, complete with their price and how difficult they were to obtain.
  • Worthy Opponent: While at first he viewed Light as nothing more than a crazy mass-murderer, by the time of the epilogue he has come to view Kira in a better light, refusing to consider C-Kira as an equal to the original Kira.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Near has natural white hair.
  • You Monster!: A variation of this trope. In the Death Note One-Shot Special, he calls C-Kira an "abominable murderer."
  • Young and in Charge: Is still in his teens (and looks much younger) and heads the SPK, which consists of several experienced FBI agents.
  • Young Conqueror: Defeats Light at the age of 18.


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