|“||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 right before me, I would think it through and decide if that was right or wrong myself.||„|
|“||No. You're just a murderer, Light Yagami. And this notebook is the deadliest weapon in the history of mankind. You yielded to the power of the Shinigami and the notebook, and have confused yourself with a god. In the end, you're nothing more than a crazy mass murderer. That's all you are. Nothing more and nothing less.||„|
|~ Near to Light Yagami|
Near (ニア Nia) (Real Name: Nate River) is the secondary antagonist of the anime and manga series Death Note, acting as the main antagonist in the second half of the series. He is the younger of L's two successors, raised in Watari's orphanage for gifted children (Wammy's House), as well as one of the characters from Death Note. After the death of L, Near begins his investigation of the Kira case, gathering evidence over a period of four years, Near takes his findings to the President of the United States and reveals himself to be the true successor of L. Soon after, Near becomes the head of the SPK and continues the hunt for Kira. After making contact with "L" (Light Yagami), Near begins to suspect that the current "L" is also Kira.
He is voiced by Noriko Hidaka in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Cathy Weseluck in the English version of the anime.
Near has white hair and gray eyes (similar to the eyes L had). Near is only seen wearing a white long-sleeved pajama top, and white pajama pants. In the anime, Near's pants are instead a light blue color. In the Death Note One-Shot Special which takes place three years after the end of the Kira case, Near is shown to have sharp bags under his eyes, slightly longer hair and to have undergone a growth spurt.
Near is very intelligent, although his childish appearance and demeanor can cause others (such as David Hoope) to question his abilities. He has an obsession with solving complex problems to which he views investigation as like solving a puzzle. He is highly observational, and was once seen piecing together a puzzle that was almost entirely colored white. He is proficient when it comes to multitasking, and is able to monitor multiple computer screens at once. Near also appears to be ambidextrous, playing darts with his left hand and stacking dice with his right.
Despite his genius abilities, Near has a low social knowledge and is bad at interacting with others. As stated in Death Note 13: How to Read, "he is only able to display his true deductive powers when he has the support of his members." The book also states that Near is distant from people because he is sensitive. Near is rather codependent, as seen when he asks Rester to accompany him on his flight to Japan, due to having never flown alone.
Near is very calm and stable, a trait that is described in Death Note 13: How To Read as being "above that of L's". He is also rather devious, and isn't above using tactics that are "barely within the law", as he "values results above all else." Although a seemingly straight faced individual, Near will often smirk when getting something right, and does so many times while trying to corner Light during their conversations. He is also shown to have a sense of humor, stating that Light was "popular with the ladies" while discussing with Rester the roles of Misa Amane and Kiyomi Takada in the Kira case. Near shows much more emotion in the manga than he does in the anime, and displays far more facial expressions. For example, when the SPK members were killed in the anime Near has a very stern look, but in the manga he is visibly upset.
In the post-series one-shot, Near is shown to have 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. Much like L, Near shows various unusual mannerisms during his day to day life. He is usually seen hunched over rather than sitting, and he also constantly plays with various toys, which he uses in his theories. With extremely childlike interests, his surroundings always have toys, dice, or darts strewn about. Even though he is only playing, piecing together a patterned puzzle starting out of nowhere and the like easily shows a sample of his abilities and intelligence. Normally, his fixation with toys is light, but he does seem to have things that he particularly likes since he has taken these with him when he had to escape. Three years after the main story, Near takes an interest in building Tarot card stacks. Of course, these structures are far beyond normal size, easily covering an entire room. It appears that Near would despise anyone who would knock down these structures, accidentally or intentionally. He also seems to have a love for dice. Although Near is always surrounded with toys, none of them are electronics. All of his toys are the types that need to be moved manually such as the action figures, darts and dolls (except for the remote-control rubber ducks powered with batteries, and a battery-moved train). While L uses the Old English Text MT/Cloister Black font text "L," Near uses the Wedding Text BT/ClerestorySSK font text "N," to represent himself during the Kira investigation. In the post series one-shot, he is shown conducting investigations as "L", and uses the Old English Text MT/Cloister Black font text "L".
Near is first introduced to the story as a child at Wammy's House. He is first seen sitting alone in a room, piecing together a white puzzle, with the puzzle's only design being a black letter 'L' in the corner. As some children run by the room, a young girl named Linda asks Near if he wants to play with them. Near replies "No, thank you Linda", and continues to put together his puzzle. Soon after, Roger comes by the room with Mello, and brings the two children to his office. There, Roger informs the two children that L has died.
Although Mello reacts rather violently to the news, Near remains quiet, sitting on the floor piecing together his puzzle. Mello begins questioning Roger, asking how L could say that he would catch Kira but end up dead himself. Near picks up his completed puzzle and turns it upside down, causing the pieces to fall about. He states that "If you can't win the game, if you can't solve the puzzle, you are just a loser." He immediately begins putting his puzzle back together. Mello asks Roger if he or Near was chosen as L's successor and Roger replies that L had not decided yet. Roger asks if the two children could work together. Near responds with a positive "alright", while Mello says it will never work because they "don't get along". Mello says that Near should take the position of 'L' because he stays calm and doesn't get emotional; he uses his head to solve the puzzle. Mello leaves the orphanage and Near stays at Wammy's House for an unknown period of time. In the time between learning of L's death and the creation of the SPK, Near gathers evidence related to the Kira case. Because all of the data gathered by L had been deleted, Near starts from scratch.
On March 5, 2009 (2012 in the anime), Nearly four years after the death of L, Near and the Director of the FBI, Steve Mason, meet with the President of the United States. The Director informs the President that the current 'L' is false and was created by the Japanese Police to avoid disorder. The President is informed that L is dead and the murders performed by Kira were done with a Death Note. The Director asks Near if his (the Director's) statements are correct and Near replies that they are. Near explains that on November 5, 2004, L pursued Higuchi and within forty minutes Higuchi in his vehicle was surrounded by police cars. Near says that L warned the police to not get near Higuchi's car, meaning that there is no doubt that Higuchi had the ability to kill. The President asks Near if he thinks Higuchi killed with a Death Note, and Near responds that the notebook has the power to kill those whose name is written in it. Near explains that a policeman at the scene reported hearing Higuchi mention a notebook that could kill someone whose face you know, if you write their name in it. Near says that afterwards, a notebook was removed from the scene and taken away via helicopter. Near says that this indicates that with L gone, the notebook is most likely in the hands of the Japanese Police. The Director tells the President that Near began his own investigation with no prior evidence, but his (Near's) research materials that he brought for the President support his theory. The President asks the Director who this boy is, and the Director responds that Near is the rightful successor to the name of 'L'.
On March 12, 2009, the United States of America created the SPK, an independent organization consisting of FBI and CIA agents. Near worked for the United States under the SPK team that was established to investigate Kira. He soon managed to deduce that Light Yagami, posing as L, actually is Kira.
After identifying Mikami as Light's proxy and after Mello kidnaps Takada (which revealed Light's deception of having Mikami use a fake Death Note to lead Near on), Near was able to switch the real Death Note with his own fake version, which allowed him to set up a final confrontation which left Light exposed. Near claims neither he nor Mello could have surpassed L alone, but together they had 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 (the third chronologically). A new Kira emerges who had gained a Death Note from the Shinigami named Midora, who had received the additional Death Note from the Shinigami King by bribing him with 13 apples she had taken from the human world. The new Kira murdered elderly people in Japan to "relieve their pain." When Near's SPK subordinates asked him why he wasn't taking any action, he replied that he was trying to think what the previous L would have done. He finally reaches a conclusion that the prevailing Kira was just a killer without a purpose, and he labeled the killer as "C-Kira" for "Cheap Kira." He announces on national television, under the alias of "L," that he was not interested in the case and that he had deduced that this Kira was not the real Kira but only an "abominable murder." This resulted in the suicide of C-Kira. Throughout the 40-page manga chapter, the identity of the new Kira is not revealed.
- There is a rumor that Near has albinism. The evidence supporting this theory are his pale hair and skin, his slate-grey eyes, and the fact that he is never seen outside (those with albinism can be highly sensitive to UV rays), as well as the fact that he is bad at darts and usually doesn't look those to whom he is talking in the eyes, which could be signs of poor eyesight, another common problem for those with albinism.
- There is another rumor that him and L Lawliet have Asperger Syndrome, which causes their strange behavior, seeming disregard for social contact and norms, and extreme intelligence. They also present other secondary signs, such as dislike of constricting clothing/shoes, always wearing the same clothes, and intense staring.
- His English voice actress, Cathy Weseluck, lso voiced Spike in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Shampoo in Ranma ½, Snoozer in Hamtaro, Dennis Chan in Kid vs. Kat and Buttercream Sundae in Littlest Pet Shop.