Mello (メロ, Mero), real name Mihael Keehl (ミハエル・ケール, Mihaeru Kēru), is Near's rival. He is the eldest of L's two successors, raised at Wammy's House—Watari's orphanage for gifted children in Winchester, England, he is also Matt's friend who is the 3rd successor. When Roger decides that Mello should work with Near to capture Kira, he refuses, citing an inability to work with somebody he is considered "second" to. He leaves the orphanage soon after, stating "I'll find my own way," and eventually seeks help from the Mafia. Mello has sometimes been known to use less conventional methods to achieve his goals, including kidnapping the Director of the Japanese Police. He also relied on information leaked from an informant, (Ill Ratt) from the SPK in order to write most of the SPK member's names in Sidoh's Death Note. Later, he also relies on Halle Lidner for intelligence about the connection between Kiyomi Takada and Light Yagami.
Similar to L's fondness for sweets, Mello is often seen eating bars of chocolate. Another thing about him that is very like L is his tendency to take drastic strategies to confuse and force the hand of his opponents. How to Read 13 states that Mello has "an excellent mind" and that he "sometimes lets his emotions get in his way." The book cites his hatred of Near, which created a flaw in his personality. His birthday is December 13, 1989 (1992 in the anime) and he dies on January 26, 2010 (2013 in the anime). He is 171 centimeters tall (5' 6"), weighs 52 kilograms (114 pounds) and his blood type is A. He can usually be seen wearing black clothes and a crucifix which was altered to a red stick-shaped charm for the anime adaptation (erasing any evidence of Catholicism in Mello's personality).
While Mello is certainly a genius and more intelligent than most people, the concept of being only the second most intelligent person in
Wammy's, behind Near, fuels the inferiority complex that defines Mello's character. Mello verges on being amoral in his obsession with being the one to take down Kira and is willing to do "whatever it takes", tactics which include kidnapping and approach being an accessory to murder. In the manga, after Mello has successfully stolen a Death Note, he even goes so far as to attempt to blackmail the President of the United States via telephone into giving him funds and resources to aid his hunt for Kira, threatening that if his demands are not met he will use the Death Note to force the president to launch the United States' nuclear missiles and start World War III. Arguably, Mello isn't even trying to defeat Kira out of a sense of "justice", but because capturing Kira will prove to the world that Mello is indeed the worthy successor to L's status as the world's greatest detective, and not simply runner-up to Near, or as Mello describes his goal in his own words, "I will be the new Number One!"
Death Note 13: How to Read states that Mello has "an excellent mind" and that he "sometimes lets his emotions get in his way." Mello's emotions and knowledge give him a distinct personality and character.The book cites Mello's "hatred of Near," which created "a flaw in [Mello's] personality." Obata points out that Mello's envy and hatred of Near was only one-way, and that Near honestly "liked Mello" The book states that Mello isn't purely evil, citing his apology and genuine care for Matt's well-being, as well as earlier in the series when he apologizes to Soichiro Yagami. Tsugumi Ohba, the writer of Death Note, stated that Mello "works hard for everything." Ohba added that Mello's name "doesn't really stand for anything," as opposed to Near's name standing for Nate River, etc.
Mello is voiced by Nozomu Sasaki in the Japanese anime, and David Hurwitz in the English version.
The Race to Capture Kira
Mello decides to find Kira his own way by joining the Mafia, which accepts him as its major advisor because it has the shared goal of taking down Kira. Mello proves his ability to it by tracking down a rival mob boss of whom even Kira could not discover the identity. Mello obtains one of the Death Notes from the Kira investigation team by having the Mafia kidnap Sayu Yagami, then exchanging her for a Death Note. Mello is then successfully able to retrieve the Death Note by fooling the police into thinking it was being transported away from the exchange via helicopter, until revealing that it had actually been loaded onto a missile, which was too fast to be tracked once launched. Having successfully outwitted Kira, Mello's men retrieved the Death Note, and he began planning how to use it.
However, Light Yagami discovered the location of Mello's Mafia hideout by having Misa use her Shinigami eyes to discover the identity of one of Mello's Mafia accomplices, and then using the remaining Death Note to make him mail Light their location. The indirect result of this is that the Shinigami Sidoh, who was the original owner of the Death Note Mello now possessed, also found out Mello's location and was able to get there first. Sidoh briefly struck up a loose alliance of sorts with Mello, revealing to him (in exchange for some of Mello's chocolate) that the two extra rules that Light made Ryuk write in the Death Note to fool L -- particularly the one saying that "if the user does not kill once every 13 days, they will die" -- were fakes. Mello begins to theorize that whoever Kira was, he probably used that rule to fool the Japanese police into thinking he was innocent. However, Light then launches a SWAT team raid on the hideout, leaving Mello in a face to face confrontation with Light's father, in which Mello revealed that he had the entire building rigged with remote-controlled explosives, leading to a tense showdown. In order to escape, Mello was forced to detonate all of the bombs, after one of his Mafia accomplices fatally wounded Light's father. Mello managed to survive the explosion and evade the police, but Mello was left badly scarred along the entire left side of his face above his mouth (the gas mask he was wearing at the time protected the rest). Worse, while Mello was still alive, the failure of his Mafia scheme left his real name in Light's hands.
Mello forces an entry into the SPK at gunpoint, to retrieve the one existing photograph of himself from Near. Each wryly promises the other that the race is on to see who finds Kira first. Mello leaves Near, but not before passing on the information to him from Sidoh about the two fake Death Note rules, which drastically sharpens Near's suspicions on Light Yagami. Mello then enlists the help of his friend Matt (the third best student at Wammy's House, behind Near and Mello) to spy on Misa.
After learning that Light is Kira and Near was going to attempt to apprehend him, Mello kidnaps Kiyomi Takada, by having Matt attack Takada's motorcade with a gas grenade. Mello then drives up on a motorcycle, while wearing a helmet, and offers to take Takada to safety. In the confusion, Takada agrees, not realizing it is Mello until it is too late to get off. After a chase, Mello is able to evade Takada's guards on his motorcycle, and lock her in a shipping truck. While driving her to a different location, Mello sees on his portable television that Matt was cornered by Takada's guards and killed in a hail of gunfire; Mello feels deeply guilty and remorseful that Matt died, as Mello's plan was for Matt to escape to safety. Mello forces her to strip to get rid of any tracking devices, however, he allows Takada to cover herself with a blanket, which proves to be his undoing as she had a piece of the Death Note hidden in her bra. Takada uses the hidden piece of Death Note paper to kill Mello. This action causes Teru Mikami to expose his own Death Note to kill Takada, not realizing that Light already killed Takada (to destroy all the evidence by setting herself and the truck on fire) using a different piece of Death Note paper he had with him. This alerted Near's agents to the location of where Mikami had hidden the real Death Note in his possession, directly leading to Near's final defeat of Kira. In the end, Near tells Light that Mello realized they couldn't live up to their successor, L, alone. Therefore, he worked with Near up to his death and after his death.
Near reflects this during the final showdown and credits Mello as the single most pivotal person in discovering Light's plans. Halle Lidner further believes that it was Mello's plan that he would be killed, because he knew that the only way to reveal the true location of Mikami's Death Note was to force him to immediately need to kill someone, but Near disagrees.
Conception and development of Mello
Ohba said that he introduced Near and Mello together because L individually could not defeat Kira. Ohba felt that introducing one character individually would produce a "repeat" of the struggle between Light and L, so he instead wanted a story involving three combatants fighting each other. Ohba said that he let Takeshi Obata, artist of the series, create the character designs and asked him to make both characters look "a little 'L-ish.'" Ohba said that he "wavered" in their ages and considered making the characters the sons of L. Ohba added that he did not initially develop their personalities as he wanted to "reveal" them through their actions.
Ohba said that he added the chocolate trait because he believed that chocolate "represented all sweets" and that the trait would fit with the story arc in the United States. Ohba described the trait became "useful" during the discovery of Mello's base due to the discarded chocolate boxes. Ohba said that he added Mello's scar to the thumbnails as the trait would give him "more depth." These traits give Mello a unique character build.
Ohba recalled that he considered having Mello be the character who ultimately defeats Light. According to Ohba, after the disappearance of Sidoh, the writer "struggled" with Mello's role. Ohba's idea of Mello ultimately defeating Light and Near being "the best" was strong in his mind, but once Mello had "learned too much about the Death Note" he had to kill him to "sustain the intensity of the story." As a result, Ohba did not give Mello a "large role" at the conclusion of Death Note and instead had Mello negatively affect Light "indirectly." Ohba gave Mello a "very plain" death, depicted in only one panel; he felt that if Mello had perished "dramatically" it would reveal the truth behind his death.
Obata said that, since Ohba wanted to "include a little L" in Near and Mello, he tried to keep "the weirdness and the panda eyes." He also added that since L was an important character, he felt that he made Near and Mello look too much like L. He described the character designs as "a major struggle." Obata said that, when he first heard about Near and Mello, he assumed that Near and Mello would join as a team and work together, so he envisioned the two as twins when he created the character designs. Obata said that at first he tried to depict Mello as having "more energy than Near." At first, Mello's hair was cut straight across; Obata said that he preferred Mello's hair becoming messy, which occurred later in the story. Obata said that he felt grateful when Ohba added the scar since he felt that he could draw Mello "looking cooler." In addition 13: How to Read described Mello as looking "more intense" and "more human" with the scar. Obata said that he felt sad when Mello died in the story shortly afterwards. Obata added that he designed Mello's clothing based on "what I like," meaning clothes he enjoys drawing and not clothes that he enjoys wearing; Obata says that he enjoys drawing "shiny" leather. At the point he created the pages featuring the reappearance of Mello with his scar, Obata said that he "finally [felt that he could draw Mello] really well." Obata added that the fact that Ohba and Obata did not regularly meet in person was best, because if Obata told Ohba about his satisfaction with Mello's new appearance that Ohba may not have killed Mello.
Obata added that the designs for the characters became switched at the design phase; the final Mello had Near's design and vice-versa. Obata said that when he created a depiction of the designs, his editor wrote the wrong names accompanying the designs; when Obata received approval he could not say that the labels were incorrect. Obata said that, for him, Mello was "more calm and feminine." He felt that "it's better" that the switch occurred.
Mello Mihael Keehl
Died on January 26th 2010
Birthday December 13th 1989
Was 2nd in line for the title L
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