Death Note Analysis: The Importance of Near in Death Note

Death Note Analysis: The Importance of Near in Death Note

You know, so far Hoodie has gotten most of the hate on this channel... What can I do to change that? Hmm... The Death Note Netflix movie came out last week, and somehow as they always do whenever anything Death Note related comes out, people used the opportunity to shit on Near. Well, I'm gonna come out and say it. I love Near.

He is my favorite character in Death Note. And today, I'm gonna explain why. Because let me tell you, this has been a LONGtime coming. Near is actually my favorite character in the entire series, but so many people think he’s terrible, or an L-clone with no originality, or just a plain-old jerk, or that Mello should have won in the end. Well, let me tell you why you’re all wrong about Near. But before that, let's examine some of the problems that people have with Near. There are a lot of complaints about his personality.

Near - Deathnote - One of my favorite parts with him. He was very ...

Frankly, I can't argue with that, because if you don't like his personality, I can't get you to like it, unless you blatantly misunderstand what his personality traits are. I think one misunderstanding of his personality that gets thrown around a lot is embodied in this scene. Here, we see the SPK headquarters is being stormed by rabid Kira supporters being led by Demogawa. Near has a contingency plan to use money that he inherited from L to create a distraction so that he and the SPK can escape. People point to this scene as evidence that near is wasteful and he disrespects L. This is a huge misunderstanding of Near's motivation here, and of what this scene represents.

Near believes that there are good people in the world who agree with what Kira's doing because they think it'll lead to a better world. However, he also believes that there are people who just want to jump on the bandwagon because they're too stupid or too weak-willed to examineKira's philosophy for themselves. He knows that those people are the ones this door, and he wants to demonstrate their lack of dedication to Kira, which they use as an excuse for violence, by proving how easily distracted they are by blinding them with money. He uses the last remnant of L on this Earth to display how worthless these Kira supporters are. From a thematic standpoint, L's battle with Kira was all about defending himself from Kira's attempts to kill him.

If there was ever a move that Light was about to make that could prove dangerous to L, L foresaw that move and took action to stopLight from being able to make it. And here, the last remnant of L is blockingKira's attack. With all of that in mind, this moment should be celebrated, but instead, it's pointed to as evidence that Near has a bad personality people who don't understand what the point of this moment is. It's a testament to Near's respect of L. By showing everyone that Demogawa and his army of blind followers are greedy and not noble, he challenges Kira's very philosophy that the people who oppose him are the ones who are truly evil, and that good person would inevitably support him.

This moment is evidence that Near is a perfect foil for Light's own belief of himself as a God. But we'll get to that later. The next point that I want to combat is the ideas that Near is a clone of L. Near and Mello are both like L in their own way, because they were both raised to be L. Near is the intellectual side that has an out-there way of thinking that leads him to make connections that no one else really sees and Mello is the emotional side that is driven to act, and will do whatever is necessary to achieve victory. That's the idea behind the theme that the two would have to work together to beat Kira. The most iconic Mello scenes are him speeding down the highway on a motorcycle with a hostage or blowing up his headquarters to escape capture.

Did Near cheat with the Death Note to beat Light Yagami? | by ...

He even attains a position of power that allows him to combat Kira through violence, namely finding a mafia boss that even Kira couldn't identify and cutting his head off Jason Todd style, while Near attains a position of power through more bureaucratic means. Near outsmarts and Mello acts. This makes Mello stand out more as being different from L than Near does, as he's even more radical than L was. The contrast distorts people's perceptions of the character, causing them to view L and Near as being too similar despite their many differences, simply because they're both understated personalities and socially inept geniuses. Really, people simply overestimate the actual similarities between the two characters when all that they really have in common is their possession of genius-level intellects and general dismissal of social norms.

And of course, their childish nature. Finally, we have the claim that the final arc of Death Note, the battle between Near, Mello, and Light was the weakest in the series because of Near. Even if that is what you believe, it doesn't make a lot of sense that people seem to pin that on Near. What people love about L's interactions with light is how he confronts and challenges him almost constantly, often coming out and saying that he's suspicious of him and trying to catch him off guard. If these interactions were something that really pulled you into their conflict, then that's all the more reason you should loveNear, because he is constantly doing the same thing. The very first sentence he ever says to Lights accusatory and throws him off from the very beginning. He's the character that keeps the cat and mouse element of the series alive. The characters that cause the biggest tonal shifts are Mello and Takada, as Mello's actions elevate the level of spectacle we're used to and Takada's involvement with Light adds a romance element to the series.

Personally, I think the Yotsuba arc is the weakest in Death Note, and I'd even say the dynamic between Near, Mello, and Light made the show more interesting and less predictable than the dynamic between L and Light, just by adding another major player. My favorite arc in the show is the first 9 episodes when Light and L are both making moves to reveal each other without being in direct contact. It's the most interesting part of the show because being unable to directly speak to each other forces them to be creative regarding how they try to get to each other. Light leaving coded messages in suicide notes and L televising what can essentially be called a diss track are two of my personal favorite events. Don't get me wrong, I think every single arcin this show is a masterpiece, but the specific set up of two anonymous forces subtly working against one another was the most interesting part of the show for me. In that sense, Near's battle with Light feels like a return to form.

They are able to speak to each other directly, but Near still has to figure out who Kira is and what he's up to, while Light also has to try to figure out ways to kill Near. It's different enough that it's not a complete rehash of what we've seen before while also having the same allure of the earliest episodes of the show, and it's all thanks to Near. Now that I'm done defending him, let's get into what I like about Near. Looking at all of the major players in DeathNote, you'll see that most of them have an identifiable quirk. Specifically, the ones related to Wammy'sHouse. L has his iconic sweet tooth, Mello has his penchant for chocolate, and Near has his toys. One of the things that I like about Near is that his toys actually means something, contrasted from L's sweets accompanying him in most scenes as just another way to make him a weird character, or Mello's chocolate pretty much-meaning nothing to the character at all, every single time we see him playing with his toys, it's a metaphorical representation of his thought process.

For example, take this scene from the final chapter of Death Note, the flash-forward one year after the conclusion of the Kira case. Here, we see Near surrounded by an impossibly huge house of cards. The metaphor here is that he's been spending the last year building something incredibly intricate and substantial: his career as L.There's also the scene where Light and Near speak for the first time, and Near is tossing darts at a dartboard while he explains his thoughts on the case. With each comment, he tosses a dart at the board. He suggests that Kira might have killed Mello's shortage, which would suggest that he's someone with access to the Japanese police forces' information. He's correct, but he doesn't have all of the details. At the conclusion of his statement, he misses the dartboard. He's not quite on the mark. Then, there's the moment when Near calls Light to tells him that they'll be meeting in the near future. During the call, Near is building a model of a tower. Then, we see imagery of Light and Near standing face-to-face in a similar tower.

This metaphorically foreshadows that Nearis in control of this confrontation. For a less subtle example, there's a scene where many of the SPK members are killed by the Death Note, and later the scene where Aizawa first calls Near. At the same time that the first SPK member falls, a stack of dice that Near had been meticulously piecing together falls. It all comes tumbling down as the organization that Near had built from the ground up is dismantled by Mello. When he talks with Aizawa, he begins building a new stack of dice. Clearly, like the house of cards in the one-shot, these stacks of dice represent his career as a detective, or more specifically, his Kira investigation. These metaphors are abundant in the series and they add a level of insight into Near's world view that's pretty interesting to me. He uses his toys to represent the world and plays with them the same way that he plays at life. This is consistent with him referring to L'sdeath and Light's defeat as having "lost the game". Life's a game, and Near's Yugi Moto, baby.

HD][Death Note] Near meets Light (KIRA) German./.English ...

Now, for the most important point in this entire video. Not only is Near a cool character, but he is also also the perfect person to succeed L and to defeat Kira. The rivalry between L and Kira is elevated to absolute importance in the series, but what L and no one in the show seems to acknowledge or even realize is that this rivalry actually deifies Kira. L’s very introduction proves beyond a doubt to the entire world that Kira does exist, that someone out there actually is punishing the wicked. He puts a huge spotlight on Kira and their rivalry from the very moment that he becomes known to the world. A man with godlike power versus the greatest mind in the world. L states multiple times that stopping Kira is a cause that’s worth his life. This not only deifies Light in the eyes of society at large, resulting in cultist followers like Teru Mikami forming around the world, but it especially does so in the eyes of Light himself. This dude really starts buying into his own hype like crazy, to the point that by the time he does meet Near, he calls him “far inferior to L”, and dismisses him as a threat.

The reason that this makes Near a great foil to Light is that Near does not think Light is special, allowing him to humble him in unique ways. Near says something to Light that I, as a viewer, had wanted to say to him throughout the entire show, and something that I guarantee you L would never say. Near calls Kira, Light Yagami, nothing more than a crazy serial killer. Light, who had defeated the greatest detective Earth, his greatest personal challenge, is bested by a child who doesn’t even grasp the importance of what’s at stake. This is what goes through his mind in his final moments, and it’s the ultimate reality check. While Near tells Light that he’s nothing special, he holds up the Death Note as the most dangerous weapon of mass murder in history. The spotlight isn’t on Light for Near. He instead identifies the truly unique evil and the real remarkable detail in this case, the Death Note itself. Light isn’t special to Near. The Death Note is. This, I think, is what makes Near the only character in the show that actually grasps the truth of the situation.

The reason that Mello wouldn’t be as good of a foil as Near was, despite the fact that he’s in the same position of being L’ssuccessor, is that he has the same problem that Light and L had, but regarding Near. To him, his rivalry with Near is the most important thing. Rather than denouncing Light as Near did, he’d probably have said something like “Beating you was the best way for me to beat Near.” All of this made him an even more perfect candidate for the final victor than Mello or even L himself in my opinion. Light believes that he is a God and that it takes the greatest man he's ever known to even pose a challenge to him. Near defeats him, basically saying "I'm not as great a man as L was. I'm not as experienced a detective or as righteous as he was. However, I'm still enough to beat you, because you, Light Yagami, are not special." That's what I love about Near, both as a character and as a part of the plot.