The Thematic Importance of Near's Character Arc (Death Note)

The Thematic Importance of Near's Character Arc (Death Note)

Near is an interesting character within the lore of Death Note, because of how much he and the second part as a whole add to the table; him being the only one to legitimately disrespect Kira to the point of underestimation, and the fact that he was the ultimate victor of this long battle, in the end, gives us massive insight into the flaws of Light, Mello, and especially L, and lets us know where they went wrong. For example, Near lets us know that the others lost because of their lust for victory and satisfaction of their respective egos, some evidence to Near not wanting that in the video you can watch through the card above; Light lost because he became far too overconfident and deranged and consequently severely underestimated his opponents.

Near | Wammy's House Character Wiki | Fandom

Mello dug a hole for himself so deep and consumed his entire being with jealousy to such an extent that by the time he cast his jealousy aside, the best he could do was enacted a plan involving his death, and if you believe that he did not plan on helping near or dying then Mello died because of one careless, jealous act, and finally, L’srefusal to accept he is wrong and refusal to believe Light isn't Kira is something Lighteasily exploited to not only kill L but clear his name long after L’s death. Except while Near does not actively lust for victory or the satisfaction of his ego, to say he wasn't susceptible to his hubris would be a mistake. Near was someone who severely underestimated right and Mikami’s intelligence, most likely because of their senses of justice, judging from how he called Takada stupid for virtually no reason at all.

This underestimation is why Near certainly would have lost had Mello not kidnapped Takada and consequently had Mikami expose the real notebook to Near, resulting in him learning that Mikami, Takada, and Light have formed a strategy which certainly would have killed Near, the Task Force, and the SPK, which would have resulted in Kira’s victory. Near learning of how intelligent his opponents really are was the necessary event to humble Near and teach him not to underestimate his opponents and other people, but you could learn more about this in an analysis I’lllink in the description.

Now that you know the relevant aspects of near's character arc and the most explicit ones we see in the series, I do think that this actually ties into the themes of the narrative and what we see of the flaws of light, Mello, and L. What I think Near’s character arc, him overcoming his overconfidence and discarding his ego, represents is the reinforcement of the idea of ego leading to the other characters’ downfall, it is a red herring of sorts. We see someone who was egotistical enough to not see through his opponent’s strategy because of his overconfidence, then we see that character getting rid of their overconfidence, with him getting rid of that overconfidence being the thing that saved his life. This is the perfect way to demonstrate that one's ego is usually their downfall because here we see the only surviving player having won only because of him overcoming his ego.

In fact, I think that the overconfidence Neardisplayed and overcame seems to be a mixture of sorts of the respective egos of both Light and L; it was similar to Light’s in the sense that it involved the underestimation of his opponents, and it was similar to L’s in the sense that it involved him being far too rigid in how he perceives himself. If we’re thinking under the assumption that Mello did indeed overcome his jealousy himself then he is significant in the sense that him overcoming his own ego allowed Near to overcome his.

When I made my video pointing out how Mellois symbolically like Light while he lets his jealousy control his actions but can finally complete L when he didn’t let his jealousy in the way of his actions, I meant that Melloneeded to get rid of the traits L shared with Light, like his childish nature and lust for victory, and complete L by getting rid of his negative traits which caused L’s downfall. Near had to do something similar here in order to achieve victory; of course, despite the fact that Mello had learned his lesson before near did and even catalyzed it, Mello ended up losing and dying despite completing L, and that’s possible because while Near simply underestimated his opponents, Mello had a direct lust for power and victory, which meant his situation was much more extreme.

Now with all that said, I want to share some of my thoughts and opinions on the overall character of Near, mainly his moral compass. So we know that, besides Light, Near is the only one out of the four genii to actually have a sense of justice and fight for it. Near seems to be a utilitarian to a minimalistic extent, only taking drastic measures if actually necessary, and he’s also a pragmatist who doesn't believe in one absolute morality. Despite this, a massive character flaw ofNear’s is how he is prioritizing respecting L’s wish and finding proof and ending the case cleanly over actually simply stopping Kira and preventing the deaths and its especially frustrating for a character who’d normally have very pragmatic ideals.

Mikami and Takada killed thousands of people ever since Near had definitive proof of Mikami being X-Kira and yet he lets all those deaths happen because… he wants to find proof and to cleanly defeat Light. What Near should have done was capture Mikami, confiscate the notebook, then kill Light. He could have prevented so many deaths and he would have defeated the source of all the Kiras, but no. He really wanted to do something as abstract as defending L’s pride and he almost died because of it. It’s really an iffy matter because Nearis prioritizing respecting this dead guy who he knows doesn’t have a sense of justice over his own sense of justice.

This is especially concerning because, I mean, one would think that, after taking the case much more seriously following Mello’s death, that Near would actually place greater importance in saving human life over trying to be L post-canon, but we see in the one-shot that Near goes as far as stalling in the C-Kira case because he's trying to become L and recalls the time when L said that he only takes cases which pique his interest.

However, when Near does learn that he ended up not being the same as L and solved the case while not following L’s methods, that's when Near must have learned to not actually place too much importance on succeeding Land actually act for justice, but I’ve already somewhat discussed that before, and this talk of Near’s a moral compass, I admit, wasn’t really relevant to my main thesis nor did it come with its own insightful claim, but yeah.

This was essentially my take on what Near’scharacter arc means for the themes of the series, and feel free to share your thoughts down in the comments.