Near (ニア, Nia), whose real name is Nate River (ネイト・リバー, Neito Ribā), is the younger of L's two successors raised in Watari's orphanage for gifted children (Wammy's House). Near is 155 tall (5' 0"), weighs 88 pounds and his blood type is B. Near is the more level-headed, calmly assessing the situation, while the other, Mello, is more emotional and quick to act. Much like L, Near shows various odd behaviors during his normal life. He is usually seen hunched over than sitting, and he also constantly plays with various toys which he uses in his theories. He shows a great respect for L, basing much of how he solves crime on L's methods, even to the point where he only takes cases that he has a personal interest in rather than trying to pursue justice. As L uses the Wedding text "L", Near uses the Wedding text "N" to represent himself.
In Death Note, Near is the younger of L's two successors raised in Wammy's House, Watari's orphanage for gifted children, in Winchester, England, United Kingdom. Of the successors, Near is more level-headed, calmly assessing the situation, while the other, Mello, is more emotional and quicker to act. Much like L, Near shows various odd behaviors during his normal life. He is usually seen hunched over rather than sitting. He also constantly plays with various toys and puzzles, which he uses in his theories, as well as idly twiddling strands of his hair. As a succesor to L, he shows a great respect for him, basing much of how he solves crime on L's methods, even to the point where he only takes cases that he is interested with rather than trying to pursue justice. Near uses the Wedding Text font "N" and "L" to represent himself and the fake L, respectively. But later in the aftermath, he used Old English font "L" like the original L did.
About 5 years after L's death, he works for the United States under the SPK (Special Provision for Kira) team that is established to investigate Kira. He soon manages to deduce that Light Yagami, posing as L, is actually Kira. After finding that Mikami is Light's proxy and Mello kidnaps Takada, Near is able to switch Mikami's Death Note with a fake one, allowing him to set up a final confrontation that leaves Light exposed. Ryuk kills Light soon after. Near claims that neither of he nor Mello could surpass L alone, but together they have done so by inadvertently working together. Near soon takes on L's name, and keeps on the surviving members of the SPK as his subordinates.
In the one-shot taking place after the series, Near is shown as the new L. He summons the police force to fight against a new Kira. The new Kira had gained a Death Note which belonged to a Shinigami named Meadra (Midora in Viz's translation of Death Note: How To Read 13), who had received another Death Note from the Shinigami King by giving him 13 apples which she had taken from the human world. The new Kira had the quality of murdering only elderly people to "relieve their pain". When Near's SPK subordinates ask him why he isn't taking any action, he replies saying that he is trying to think what the previous L would do. He finally comes to a conclusion that the prevailing Kira was just a murderer without a purpose. He finally announces that he isn't interested in the case on national television, he also says that the reason for his backing out is that the current Kira is not the real Kira, but "an abominable murderer". This results in C-Kira committing suicide. Throughout the 40-page manga chapter, the identity of the new Kira isn't revealed.
Tsugumi Ohba, writer of Death Note, said that Near "becomes less likeable" as the story advances, citing Near's plan to take the notebook at a later point in the story. Ohba said that a negative reaction originated from "the difference in their attitudes" and that people may have viewed Near as "a cheat"or "L wannabe." Ohba added that Near's "cheeky behavior," intended to "reinforce his childishness," had been construed as "annoying." Also, in "Death Note: How To Read 13", it is included that "generally speaking, his personality is dry and he values results above all else".
In the final chapter Near brings finger puppets to the Yellow Box Warehouse. Takeshi Obata, artist of Death Note, said that Near first bought the Kira finger puppet and drew on it with a magic marker. Obata then said that Near must have created the other puppets afterwards. Obata views Near as not liking L much so Obata had Near depict L as "ugly", and that Near "worked hard" on Mello's puppet as Near "liked Mello."
It is stated in "Death Note: How To Read 13" that "his calmness in situations is even above that of L's". Effectively, Near is shown very calm and emotionless in both attitude and expression regardless of the situation he's put in. (Even when nearly all the members of the SPK were killed, he simply observed.) However, it is shown that he is worse at cooperation than L was. "He was even willing to use forceful tactics that were barely in the law" and that "he values results above all else".
Even though his intelligence is that of a genius, he lacks social knowledge and is bad at interacting with others, so "he is only able to release his true powers when he has the support of his members."
Conception and development of Near
Ohba said that he introduced Near and Mello together as 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 Obata 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 gave Near a hobby of playing with toys (mostly robots); stacking "things" as a development from L's hobby of stacking sugar cubes. Ohba included the match and the dice towers in his thumbnails. Ohba said that he thought about Obata encountering difficulty in drawing the dice towers and felt surprised when he saw the dice towers in the final work.
The given name "Nate" comes from the word "natural" and "River" is to symbolize that Near's talents flow from L. Therefore Near is the natural successor to L. The name is "supposed" to show that Near is a "natural genius blessed from above." The nickname Near is composed of the first and last letters of Nate River, then swapped around to make a recognizable word.
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." Obata 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 stated that he originally thought about creating Near as "a bit more mature mentally." Obata said that he created a "cooler looking version of L" design and considered using a younger version of that design. Another design Obata created for L included a "really innocent and cheerful character" and he felt that the design could work for Near; he said that he "quickly abandoned" the idea.
Obata said that when he first saw Near he "didn't even know what the heck he was wearing."He said that "it was tough" drawing Near's clothes as he did not understand the assembly of his clothes. Obata said that he settled for pajamas [because of the "toyish" theme Near represents] and "things got a lot easier."
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; then Obata received approval he could not say that the labels were incorrect. Obata said that, for him, Near was "more evil." He felt that "it's better" that the switch occurred.
Obata stated that as he drew Near the concept of his immaturity became "stronger and stronger" as he believes that such traits are best revealed "gradually." Obata cited the fact that in the beginning Near's sole toy consisted of darts.
Ohba said that the finger puppets used by Near in the final chapter did not exist in the thumbnails and that he felt the final scenes "looked cooler" with the presence of the puppets. Obata said that he felt he could express "negative" parts of Near with the puppets. Ohba added that one could see "his dark side in his kind of puppets he used."
Near Nate River
Birthdate August 24th 1994
Loves toys and puzzles
Neat in lins for the title L
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