The World Ends With You
Advertisement
The World Ends With You
Speech Bubble - Exclamation Question SR.png Spoiler warning: Plot and/or character details follow.
Overview

"Shut up! Stop talking! Just go the hell away! All the world needs is me... I got my values, so you can keep yours, all right? I don't get people. Never have, never will."
— Neku in the opening to The World Ends with You

Neku Sakuraba (桜庭 音操 Sakuraba Neku) is the main protagonist and playable character of The World Ends with You.

In The World Ends with You, though born and raised in Shibuya, Japan, Neku wakes up one day unable to remember anything about himself except his name. He soon finds that he has been thrust into a contest known as the Reapers' Game where he must cooperate with another player named Shiki Misaki in order to survive its seven days. In overcoming the challenges he is presented with, Neku discovers a new world.

In NEO: The World Ends with You, Neku, now known as a legendary Player, returns three years later and makes his appearance in another Reapers' Game.

Appearance

Neku is a short and slender teenager with spiky orange hair, blue eyes, and pale skin.

In The World Ends with You, Neku wears a sleeveless black shirt with a funnel-like collar and an indigo stripe outlined with gold going down the middle, a yellow sweatband on his left wrist, and white shorts held up by a loose-fitting belt. His shoes are black with an indigo stripe outlined in gold, similar to the style of his shirt. Neku is always seen wearing his signature indigo wireless headphones on his head and his white MP3 player around his neck. It is noticeable that his shirt is a Dharma, his shorts are an Inazuma, and his headphones are the "My Phones" threads. He seems fond of the Jupiter of the Monkey brand as it tends to give him stat bonuses and abilities.

In NEO: The World Ends with You, Neku wears a loose light indigo shirt under a short-sleeved plaid Gatto Nero jacket with a hoodie, baggy black pants, and indigo-and-black sneakers. He no longer wears his headphones and he wears yellow wirstbands on both of his hands instead of only one like the original. His hair now has a fringe directed to right, and covers a little of his right eye.

Personality

"At fifteen, Neku is an ardent fan of graffiti, but far less enthusiastic about forging relationships with other people. When the Reapers' Game throws him into contact with other Players, he has two choices: open up... or get picked off."
— Game manual description
NekuMAD.png

At first, Neku is introverted and unsociable with a dislike of humanity to the point where he is arguably a misanthrope. Neku also often makes a lot of rude sarcastic snarky comments, although he has some decency not to verbalize all of his thoughts out loud. Neku dislikes Shibuya, viewing it as an overpopulated noisy place, wondering why a town needs so many people in it. He has a hatred for loud and noisy people especially; he wears headphones to block the sounds of noisy people out and also presumably so other people will approach him less. Even when people approach him and talk to him, Neku never takes them off.

Mentioning that he "doesn't get people," Neku usually dislikes interacting with others, feeling that people and friends only drag him down. Neku sees society and dealing with people as an annoyance that often tries to force its values on him, pesters him, and expects him to do things he does not want to do. and his ideal world is one where he is left alone. Apart from the Reapers' Game, Neku enjoys the idea of the Underground, being thankful he is in a place where no one sees him, bothers him, or expects anything from him. In The Animation, after winning the game, Neku mentions that he is not really sure if he wants to come back to life.

Neku views friends as unnecessary burdens and has no friends in the beginning of the game, viewing friendship as self-interested people putting on facades and pretending to agree with each other, eventually resulting in one or both parties getting hurt sooner or later. It is implied that his personality is the result of being traumatized by losing his only friend before their death, possibly with some betrayal.

Neku admiring CAT's graffiti before his death.

Neku admires the designer CAT for their motto expressing the self-freedom of, "do what you want, how you want, when you want." Neku likes it because it encourages him to have control over his life instead of following society's expectations for him. Neku enjoys CAT's artistic graffiti and his favorite spot in Shibuya is a CAT mural in Udagawa. Although Neku does not have a lot of known hobbies, it is suggested he also likes music. His tastes in food implies he prefers more traditional Japanese food like ramen and rice balls, and curiously, rare mushrooms. He apparently despises muffins.

Despite his negativity, Neku is a clever, imaginative and insightful individual. His quick thinking and flexibility aid him tremendously in adapting to the numerous and uncanny challenges presented by the Reapers' Game and his imagination awards him a frightening aptitude for psychs. Additionally, his insights allow him to encourage his partners to be at their best on multiple occasions (albeit using fairly rough vocabulary). Neku either has an extraordinary memory or is very intelligent, as on Day Two of Week Two he was able to give Joshua the square root of 3 up to the 7th decimal point. He also knew the periodic symbol for gold.

Neku mourning Joshua.

Though he initially alienates his later-to-be friends, Neku slowly softens and loses his abrasive personality as the Reapers' Game forces him to listen to everybody around him. He becomes more open and trusting as he gets to know Shiki Misaki, Joshua, Beat, Rhyme, and Sanae Hanekoma, among others. By the end of his time in the Underground, Neku begins to develop compassion for and the ability to empathize with others better.

In the end, he has shown to have grown from being isolated and abrasive into a compassionate, selfless and caring young man. However, this does not necessarily mean Neku likes humanity in general because the player is asked by Megumi Kitaniji if he does, and the player is free to answer either way, resulting in ambiguity in Neku's characterization. Regardless, Neku sees the value in listening to people and not shutting everyone else out, and will always want to defend Shibuya even if Neku tells Kitaniji he doesn't like people. Additionally, Neku has shown to be quite merciful, as he was able to remain friends Joshua and become friends with Coco when their actions, although well-intentioned, resulted in three years of his life being trapped in the void remains of Shinjuku.

In This Day Ends with You!

In Another Day, Neku is much more optimistic compared to his "main" counterpart, stating his love for Shibuya and praying to the Lord for a great day. He still has what he calls "emo urges" however. This causes him to be slightly distant from others but still enjoy the company to an extent. Neku is show to still be very fond of Mr. Hanekoma and desires to help him out in his shop. He is also huge fan and skillful player of Tin Pin, capable of defeating its creators.

Story

Background

It is implied in This Day Ends with You! that a few years prior to Neku's death, Neku's best friend tragically died in an accident. Claiming that his friend would still be alive had he not been on his way to meet Neku in front of a mural, Neku blamed himself for his friend's death. To cope with his mourning and guilt, Neku resolved to not let friends "drag him down" again. It is unclear if this event also occurred in the main timeline, however, his dialog implies it did when he says, "Dammit... I feel like crap. This is just like that time... That time? What time? ...I can't remember." Neku still sensing this, even despite having amnesia, implies it was so traumatic that it stayed with him even after a memory wipe.

Neku's isolation in society.

In the main universe, it is also hinted that Neku's interactions with other people only brought him pain. This is suggested by Kitaniji who tells Neku, "What have your dealings with other people brought you? Only hurt." Kitaniji appears to have the ability to give and take memories and may have peered into Neku's memories himself, as Kitaniji says this in a knowing manner. Neku became very distanced from people as a result.

Neku unknowingly became selected by Joshua to take part as his proxy in a Game to determine whether or not Shibuya should continue to exist. Although not directly stated, it is implied Joshua wanted to find a human being who, like himself, is not fond of humanity and see if that human being could change his heart to become open minded and see if humanity was worthy of potential and of a future. Neku is also claimed to have an intensely high Imagination in the Secret Reports. However, it is also described as having "discord", being "unstable" and it is the result of "emotional confusion inhibiting the unity of his emotional self and physical body." It is implied this is due to the trauma of his friend's death.

Neku's bleeding corpse after being murdered by Joshua.

On the day of his death, Neku went to admire his favorite spot in Shibuya, the CAT mural in Udagawa. It is also mentioned that this mural was a mass imprinting site created by Hanekoma to be a gathering site for those with high Imagination. Unfortunately, Neku gets caught up in a gunfight between Joshua and Sho Minamimoto. After fending Minamimoto off, Joshua kills Neku with a gun, entering him in the Reapers' Game, giving him an additional Player Pin.

Week 1

An amnesiac Neku wakes up in the UG.

On the first day, Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing with no idea how he got there. He finds a Player Pin in his hand, and discovers that touching it allows him to hear the thoughts of others. After receiving the day's mission (reach 104), Neku is attacked by a horde of frog monsters and is forced to flee, unable to defend himself. Eventually, in front of the Statue of Hachiko, he is coerced into a pact with Shiki Misaki, who reveals that the monsters are called Noise and that they can be fought by Players with pacts using abilities called Psychs. After defeating the Noise, the newly pacted Players make their way to the 104 Building. Neku is irritated by Shiki, but she reminds him that they must stay together to survive the week. At the 104 Building, they meet Uzuki Yashiro, who creates a Grizzly Noise to attack them. This fails, and Neku is left confused and frustrated at the situation before abruptly falling asleep.

On the second day, Neku and Shiki awaken in the Station Underpass and are told that they must defeat the Noise in the underpass to leave. Neku tries out various pins and discovers he can use every pin for a different Psych, which is incredibly uncommon. Outside, they meet Beat and Rhyme, with whom Shiki discusses the Reapers' Game. Neku keeps to himself claiming he doesn't need them, which eventually angers Beat who leaves with Rhyme.

Neku choking Shiki to death after being manipulated by Uzuki Yashiro.

Neku and Shiki then complete the mission, removing the curse from the Statue of Hachiko by defeating the Noise inhabiting it. Neku and Shiki are confronted by Uzuki, who offers Neku a "bonus round." Uzuki promises Neku that if he erases his partner that he will be able to escape the Game, but fails to mention that the escape from the game will come in the form of erasure. He decides to go through with the deal, but Sanae Hanekoma intervenes just in time to save the pair. After intervening, Hanekoma had stuck around to give some advice on the Game and the Fusion Pin.

On the third day, the mission for the day is to defeat the master of A-East, which ends up being completed by Beat and Rhyme. Shiki offers Beat and Rhyme a second chance at working with them. Neku, remembering Sanae's words, accepts, but under the condition they "don't get in his way."

Shiki argues with Neku for not expressing sadness over the loss of Rhyme.

On the fourth day, Neku learns more about Shiki's ambitions and gets called a "spicy tuna roll" by Eiji Oji. Neku is irritated by Shiki's behavior, saying he must wear trendy clothes and can't wear what he wants, and later, pulling down his shorts to fix a button. Neku and Shiki are too late from saving Rhyme from being erased. This event causes Neku to emotionally withdraw and feel that having friends is painful. Neku and Shiki enter an argument where she is offended by his lack of expressive sadness, wondering if he even feels sad, not knowing he is dealing with his grief differently than her. Shiki claims that she and Rhyme are his friends and Neku angrily says they are not, and that he does not need or want friends. Shiki calls him inhuman and no better than a Reaper.

On the fifth day, Shiki apologizes to Neku for what she said the previous day. To free Spain Hill from the Noise as part of their mission, Neku and Shiki are successful by using imprinting and Reaper Creeper to end Mina and Ai's argument born from misunderstanding. Neku and Shiki ask each other about friendship and the philosophy of lying. Neku admits that he is sad by Rhyme's death and the pair agree she deserved better. The Game Master Yodai Higashizawa appears to taunt Shiki and informs Neku that he is deceased, causing Neku to panic due to not remembering his death.

Neku learns more about Shiki's past.

On the sixth day, Neku is forced into a difficult position as the driving force of the team. During the mission, Shiki flees after seeing her friend Eri in Scramble Crossing. Neku follows her and discovers the truth of Shiki's Entry Fee. Neku tells Shiki she is fine the way she is and she is lucky to be jealous to have a friend so amazing. He helps Shiki overcome her jealousy of Eri, granting Shiki new resolve to win the Game.

On the seventh and final day, Neku, Shiki, and Beat are the only Players left in the Game. The mission is to defeat the Game Master, Yodai Higashizawa. Upon learning that Beat is going to go after the Reapers alone, Neku and Shiki race to save him. The two meet Higashizawa, defeat him and win the Game. Afterwards, the two meet the Conductor Megumi Kitaniji and discover that Beat is still alive.

Neku and Shiki saying goodbye.

Shiki is chosen to be revived, but she protests, saying Neku changed more than she did and that he solved most of the riddles. Kitaniji informs them their wishes don't mean a damn compared to the wishes of the Composer. Neku tells her it's okay and they will meet once he completes his next Reapers' Game. Neku receives back his entry fee for the first week, his memories (although notably lacking the memories of his death), and is told that he must compete in the game again to be given another chance at life. He is then horrified to discover his new entry fee: Shiki.

Week 2

Neku forming a pact with Joshua.

Neku wakes up in Scramble Crossing at the beginning of the week, and realizes he needs a partner. He goes to the Statue of Hachiko in hopes of meeting somebody, only to be attacked by Noise again. Joshua makes a pact with Neku, and the two fight off the Noise. Neku is quickly irritated by Joshua's introverted and pessimistic behavior, but the two make it to 104 to complete their mission. There they meet the week's Game Master, Sho. This causes a severe amount of mental strain to Neku whenever the three are together.

On the second day, Joshua requests that the two go to Cat Street, but Neku refuses to since he needs to complete the mission. Neku participates in a Tin Pin Slammer tournament and loses, but the players still get by because another player Sota Honjo won.

On the third day, Neku receives a mission to go to Cat Street (that he later discovers is fake and a trick from Joshua), and meets Hanekoma, who upgrades his phone. Neku also fights with Beat as a Reaper.

Joshua taunting Neku.

Over the next few days, since Minamimoto hasn't assigned any missions, Neku follows Joshua as he uses his new phone features to locate the Shibuya River. They also introduce themselves to Sota and his partner Nao. Meanwhile, Neku reads Joshua's mind and discovers some of his lost memories, and is led to believe that Joshua killed him. At the end of the fifth day, Neku finally confronts his supposed killer, and Joshua hypothetically asks what Neku would do if it turned out he was killed by him.

On the sixth day, Neku finally receives another mission, and discovers an outbreak of Taboo Noise. He can choose to save some of the Reapers, including Uzuki and Kariya, from the Taboo Noise. He also tries to save Sota and Nao, but the two are erased by Noise. Sota and Nao's deaths causes Neku to become angry; Neku begins seeing the value in empathizing with "strangers" instead of dismissing their plights.

Neku falling off (scene from anime).

On the seventh and final day, Neku and Joshua receive a mission to defeat Minamimoto at Pork City. When the two confront Minamimoto, Neku reads Joshua's mind again and discovers that Joshua didn't really kill him, but tried to protect him from Minamimoto while he was alive. After defeating him, Minamimoto fires a Level i Flare at the two. Shoving Neku off the building, Joshua steps in front of the beam and sacrifices himself (though it is later revealed he actually teleported to another world), and Neku wins the game. The game is considered null and void by Kitaniji due to illegal intervention, and thus Neku is re-entered into another game. Neku is also informed that his entry fee from the null game would be carried over to the next one, so Shiki's life would still hang in the balance in addition to a new entry fee for this third game.

Week 3

Konishi discussing the next Game with Beat and Neku.

Upon waking up on the first day again, Neku rushes to the Statue of Hachiko in order to find a new partner. He soon realizes that his final entry fee was the entire group of Players, leaving Neku to fend for himself, which all but ensures his loss and erasure. At the last minute, Beat, who is now a Reaper, rebels and makes a pact with Neku. The two make it to 104 to complete the first mission given by the new Game Master, Mitsuki Konishi. On the second day, Konishi gives them one mission to complete for the whole week: find and defeat Konishi.

Throughout the week, the two try to find Konishi but end up being sidetracked and can't find her. On the third day, Uzuki is made the Game Master for the day and plays tag with the two. When she is tagged, Uzuki gets angry and fights the duo before being stopped by Kariya. On the fourth day, the pair then fights Uzuki and Kariya as a team to receive a keypin. On the last few days, the two notice that everybody in Shibuya is sharing the same thoughts and have stopped moving. They are attacked by several brainwashed Reapers and a brainwashed Uzuki and Kariya.

Neku breaks Shiki's O-Pin.

On the final day, the pair goes to the Shibuya River, where Konishi appears from Beat's shadow. The pair fight and defeat her, but the game is not over yet, confusing them. Continuing through the Shibuya River, Neku is shocked to find Shiki alive again, his entry fee having been returned because they technically won the Reapers' Game by defeating the Game Master. The trio of youths pass by Minamimoto's body and into the Dead God's Pad. They meet Kitaniji, who brainwashes Shiki using an O-Pin and fights Neku and Beat. Neku and Beat fend off Shiki while fighting Kitaniji and defeat him. Neku saves Shiki by breaking Shiki's O-Pin, but Shiki and Beat are left unconscious, forcing Neku to locate the Composer himself, who he believes is Hanekoma. Neku finds an area full of graffiti where he reminiscences on his friendships.

Neku and everyone after defeating Kitaniji.

In the Room of Reckoning, Neku discovers Kitaniji has recuperated and learns the Composer has been absent for a while. Kitaniji questions Neku on whether or not he actually likes people and requests Neku join him in his cause to "save" Shibuya, but Neku disagrees with Kitaniji's methods, feeling that people clashing with each other can be a positive thing because they can grow and change. Shiki and Beat catch up and help Neku fight Kitaniji in his Noise form Anguis Cantus. After the battle, Neku encounters Joshua as Kitaniji absorbs Neku's three partners and prepares to fight Neku. Forming pacts with all three of his partners, Neku manages to defeat Kitaniji in his final form Draco Cantus.

Neku prepares to shoot Joshua.

Afterward, Neku discovers that Joshua really did kill him and learns the truth about the game between Joshua and Kitaniji. Neku becomes furious at Joshua for killing him and breaking his trust. Joshua then takes Neku to a standoff, which will determine the fate of Shibuya. While Neku wants to protect Shibuya, he cannot bring himself to shoot Joshua, whom he now trusts. Neku lets himself get shot by Joshua, supposedly sealing Neku's fate. Joshua, however, admires the trust that Neku holds in him and spares Shibuya.

"Why... WHAT THE HELL?!"

Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing, this time in the Realground and restored to life with a small crowd looking at the mysterious boy on the floor. Neku eventually stands up and screams, "Why... WHAT THE HELL?!". This is because Neku was under the under the impression that the city would be erased because he lost the duel and realized he was misled and tricked by Joshua once again, when Joshua only said that he would decide what to do with Shibuya, instead of erasing it.

Neku reuniting with the Bito siblings in the RG.

A week later, Neku walks around Shibuya, addressing an absent Joshua about how he grew over the past few weeks and how they were very hard for him, learning how to trust people and having that trust broken. Neku is glad he met everyone which opened up his mind to the world and invites him to meet at Hachiko. He meets with Beat and Rhyme at the Statue of Hachiko. A while later, Shiki joins the group as well, no longer in Eri's body. Joshua never appears proper at their meeting, but he watches them with Hanekoma on 104 Building's rooftop. Neku is seen finally taking off his headphones.

This Day Ends with You!

"Man, life is sweet! Ahem... Dear lord! Please let today be even sweeter than yesterday! Thanks, peace. ... There! Now today is totally going to kick ass."
— Neku praying in the opening

In the parallel universe of This Day Ends with You, it is mentioned that Neku met Hanekoma when he was about 13-years-old and this Neku already knows of Hanekoma's identity as CAT, but not much else. Additionally, Sota Honjo is Neku's barber in the Another Day universe and has been since Neku was a "little squirt". Neku would come in with clippings of images and say, "Do me like this!" The clippings are mentioned to be of something which Neku finds embarrassing, possibly images of characters from children's shows or manga. This Day Ends with You Neku also mentions that his parents believe that TV warps the mind, and as such, don't allow Neku to watch it. Neku amused himself with Tin Pin Slammer instead.

In the present day, Neku competes in a Tin Pin tournament, when all of the players but him have their pins taken. He decides to lie about losing his pins so he wouldn't be suspected. He then forms a team to find the missing pins.

In Pork City, he finds Hanekoma ascending the tower. Deciding to follow him, Neku reflects on his long lost friend, who is revealed to have died in an accident. It is also revealed that he blames himself for that accident. Upon reaching the top, Neku meets the main world version of Hanekoma, who challenges him to a fight before leaving.

A New Day

In A New Day, Neku is mysteriously brought back into the Underground with Beat as a part of Expert Mode and is tasked with escaping Shibuya. Neku and Beat decide to partner again. The two quickly meets the Reaper Coco who he does not entirely trust but still allows to follow them. Neku becomes skeptical of the Expert Mode when meeting Shiki, Rhyme, Kariya, Uzuki, and Joshua. All of which he notes act out of character. He also frequently receives visions of the near future. The origin of these visions are tied to Tsugumi Matsunae. One of these visions is of Rhyme's death which he chooses not to tell Beat. This soon comes true and also results in the erasure of Shiki much to Neku's dismay.

Neku, moments before being murdered a second time, this time by Coco.

After meeting Joshua, Neku gets in touch with Hanekoma who asks Neku to go to WildKat. When Neku arrives, he learns that the Shibuya he was in was a pseudo-parallel world created by Coco and was actually a giant Noise. Neku and Beat defeat the Noise and return to the Realground in Udagawa. Shiki immediately calls Neku to ask him if he would like to go shopping later to look for materials to fix a tear in Mr. Mew. Coco suddenly shoots Neku, killing him in front of a horrified Beat. Coco flees after Joshua arrives on the scene with a gun, and Neku's body is seen disappearing from reality.

NEO: The World Ends with You

After Coco shot Neku in A New Day, as a precautionary measure, Joshua sent Neku from Shibuya into Shinjuku during its purification, presumably to have him handle the situation there and keep him isolated and safe from those who would target him for his abilities. However, due to bad timing, Neku was transported just after Shinjuku was purified.

Neku was unable to escape in this strange temporal space for about three years, and even Joshua's powers as an Angel could not rescue Neku. Neku described it as being stuck in an lonesome area with only the stray thoughts of people. In Shinjuku, Neku crossed paths with Coco and she explained she was only trying to recruit someone powerful to help save Tsugumi and Shinjuku from erasure. The two became friendlier and they investigated what was once Shinjuku. Coco made her way back to Shibuya a little earlier than Neku in order to check on Tsugumi and the rest of the city. Neku also heard that Shibuya was in trouble, prompting him to return.

On the first day of Rindo's Reapers' Game, Hanekoma picked up vibes similar to those emitting from Shinjuku just before its purification, suggesting Neku was nearly finished on his journey back to Shibuya. Considering how Neku does not notice the Gatto Nero label on his jacket, this implies he obtained these clothes very recently, possibly from Coco.

Neku rescuing Beat three years later.

From the end of the first week up to the second day of Week 2, Beat is mistaken to be Neku due to his appearance being similar to Neku's own. Neku himself would make his true appearance on Week 3, Day 4, saving Beat and the rest of the Wicked Twisters from the Noise form of Sho Minamimoto (Leo Cantus Armo), to the shock of everyone there. Neku joins the Wicked Twisters thereafter.

On Week 3, Day 5, it is revealed that Neku has now befriended Coco, as her goal was to save Shinjuku and Tsugumi Matsunae. Neku also reveals he’s been seeing the same visions as Rindo and it is discovered these visions were sent from Tsugumi using her psychic powers.

On the Final Day, Rindo helps Neku meet up with Rhyme and Shiki, although neither can see or hear him as his existence is confined to the UG. In order to help save Shibuya, Neku has to sync with everyone in Shibuya. Neku helps the team defeat Phoenix Cantus.

Neku and Shiki reunite after three years.

Neku has another talk with Joshua at Udagawa where they discuss Joshua's reasons for sending Neku to Shinjuku. Seeing how Neku wanted to return to the RG, Joshua used a sample from a parallel world where Neku never went to Shinjuku and instead lived peacefully in the RG for three years in order to modify the space and memories around Neku so that he may once again reside in the RG without issue. Afterwards, Neku proceeds to reunite with Shiki at the Statue of Hachiko after his three year absence.

Party in the 'Buya

Neku comes to Shibuyapalooza with Beat, who hasn't been able to sleep because he was so excited to see the show after many delays. When the Wicked Twisters pile on Fret for losing the tickets, Neku tells them to stop because everyone makes mistakes and Fret is probably more disappointed in himself than anyone. Neku thinks to himself that it means a lot when he planned his whole summer around seeing Shibuyapalooza. When the Wicked Twisters sign up for Reaper's Romp at Statue of Hachiko, Beat tells Neku that they aren't getting a lot of screentime. Neku tells him to let the younger characters have fun and their lack of screentime means they can play Tin Pin Slammer. At the end of the scenario, Neku is satisfied to forgive and forget Fret's mistake because they still saw Shibuyapalooza due to the Reaper's Romp.

If the player does the Final Time Trial by talking to Coco at Takeshita Street, Neku notes that Coco was emitting a hallucinogenic field that pulled the Wicked Twisters in. He mentions "weird black stuff" around Coco which is invisible to both Rindo and the player.

Relationships

Neku's best friend

In the Another Day universe, Neku's best friend was a male classmate who also apparently had an interest in CAt, and was the one who showed Neku CAT's mural in Udagawa. Neku felt this friend was his only one real friend and the only guy in his class he could talk to as an equal. After the day Neku asked his friend to meet at the mural, his friend died in an accident and Neku blamed himself for his death, almost feeling like his murderer, and the grief almost broke him.

Shiki Misaki

Shiki demanding Neku remove his shorts so she can fix a button.

Shiki is Neku's first partner in the Reapers' Game. At first, Neku dislikes Shiki and becomes irritated by her behavior, an attempt in emulating Eri's bubbly personality, which he viewed as "obnoxious". Similarly, Shiki also misunderstands and mistreats Neku at first, reflecting his coldness. On Day 2, Shiki assumes poorly of Neku and criticizes him for unhelpfully ignoring her when he is actually thinking about how to get past a wall. Her fashion-conscious attitude makes her disregard Neku's own interests, such as when she tells him he must be trendy and can't wear what he wants. She also stubbornly removes his shorts to repair a loose button; Shiki believes she's looking out for Neku in a trend-obsessed Shibuya and Neku feels controlled and undermined by her. Near the end of Week 1, they begin to understand each other's mindsets more.

Due to Shiki's desire to be more like Eri, Shiki initially comes across as incredibly extroverted. This creates a contrast with Neku's quiet and introverted personality, and so he views her as an incessant chatterbox. For the first portion of the week, Shiki is incredibly motivated to win the Game. Neku initially lacks much motivation to play or get along with Shiki causing tension between the two at the start of the week.

Neku after Shiki annoys him.

As a result of their interactions, Neku acts coldly towards her and tells her he only stays with her to survive the Reapers' Game. He nicknames her "Stalker" because she follows him around wherever he goes. In the Japanese version, Neku also feels Shiki is a hypocrite and points out the hypocrisy of Shiki calling wearing his headphones rude, while she plays with her phone during their conversations which he deems also rude. Even through Neku's rude behavior, Shiki continues to do her best to get him to open up to her.

Despite the incident where he almost killed her after being manipulated by Uzuki, Shiki continues to treat him the same and does her best to understand him. After being guided by Hanekoma and some time passes, Neku allows himself to open up and the two become closer and develop a friendship. When Neku and Shiki spot Eri, Shiki's best friend in the Realground who strangely looks exactly like her, Shiki starts to run from Neku, but he stops her and gets her to tell the truth about her past. Neku learns that she was not happy with who she was, and always felt jealous of Eri, so when she entered the Game her entry fee was her appearance, teaching her that she shouldn't be jealous. Through this experience, Shiki and Neku grow closer when he begins to sympathize with her. At the end of the week they learn that only Shiki will move on to the Realground and that Neku must play the Game again. Shiki states that she will wait in front of Hachiko everyday until Neku returns. However, Shiki is instead taken as Neku's new entry fee for his second week.

There is some amount of irony to Shiki being Neku's second entry fee. While this is a bluff on the part of the Conductor — because only the Composer can restore life to Players — Neku finds the entry fee credible enough to stake all of his efforts on Week 2 on getting Shiki back, which possibly strengthened his feelings for her. Shiki is highly embarrassed when she finds this out at the end of Week 3.

Everyone meeting up a week later.

In the ending, Shiki meets up with Neku, Beat and Rhyme in front of the Statue of Hachiko, as promised. In A New Day, Neku is the first person she calls when Mr. Mew's seam breaks and she asks him if they can go shopping together for materials to fix him.

In the Another Day universe, Neku and Shiki are both Tin Pin Slammers and it is implied they already know each other to some degree because Shiki can ask him when he got so good at Tin Pin. Shiki calls Neku "Black 'n' Blue" in this universe. Shiki is also interested in Neku's and Joshua's relationship and the possibility of them becoming a couple, willing to enter a dark sewer just to see if anything erupts between them.

Beat

Neku first encounters Beat on Week 1, Day 2 where they get off to a rocky start. They meet again the next day, where Beat is reluctant to give them advice. However, at the end of Week 1 Day 3, Beat and Rhyme appear and save Neku and Shiki by completing the mission. Afterwards, they seem to be on good terms, and agree to work together for the rest of the week.

When Rhyme is erased the next day, Neku, Shiki and Hanekoma talk him out of fighting the shark Noise that attacked Rhyme. As he leaves with Hanekoma, Neku and Shiki agree to avenge Rhyme in Beat's place. He joins the Reapers at the end of Day 7, surprising both Neku and Shiki.

During Week 2, Beat is assigned by Megumi Kitaniji to defeat Neku and Joshua. He attacks and overpowers them a number of times, but never brings himself to erase them. Despite their misgivings, in one encounter Neku is compassionate enough to return Rhyme's pendant (which Beat had dropped the previous day) to him.

Neku and Beat survivng the third week.

At the start of the third week, Beat chooses to leave the Reapers to become Neku's partner and save him from certain demise (being the only Player, Neku could not form a pact). As partners, the two become closer, and work together to survive the week, save Rhyme and attempt to dethrone the Composer. During their time together, Neku learns more about Beat's background and why he is in the Reapers' Game. In the final battle, Beat states that he no longer sees Neku as a partner but as a friend. Together, along with Shiki, they defeat Kitaniji in both his Noise forms.

In the ending, Beat and Rhyme both meet up with Neku and Shiki by Hachiko, and the friends are reunited. Beat then later partners with Neku again in A New Day. At the end, Beat is shown to be panicked at Neku's sudden death.

Rhyme

Neku and Rhyme rarely interact and he almost never addresses her, but he does listen to her. Neku first encounters Rhyme on Week 1, Day 2 along with her partner Beat, where they get off to a rocky start due to Neku's anti-social attitude. They meet again the following day, where Shiki asks them about the mission. Beat finds the situation with Neku awkward and leaves after calling Neku a piece of dirt with Rhyme tagging along behind him. Later that day, Neku and Shiki fail to complete the mission, and just as all hope is lost and with seconds to spare, Beat and Rhyme complete the task.

On Week 1, Day 4, Rhyme jumps out and saves Beat from a Noise, the Swing Shark, sacrificing herself. Neku acts coldly and begins to withdraw, telling Shiki getting hurt is why he doesn't rely on anybody or want to forge relationships. He also tells Shiki that Rhyme was not his friend.

Rhyme showing Neku her pendant in the ending.

Rhyme appears later in the form of a squirrel Noise as a Pin that Neku can use to fight the Noise. Neku also decides to return Rhyme's pendant to Beat. While talking to Konishi later, Neku considers her a friend when he says, "And she's not a Noise! She's our friend, Rhyme!" Despite the two not being shown together much, the two are shown interacting well in the game's final scene, with Rhyme showing Neku her pendant.

Joshua

Neku finds Joshua's snobby attitude irritating — especially near the start of the week. Joshua often teases him and makes an effort to get on Neku's nerves. Joshua likes to belittle Neku and make things like Shiki becoming his entry fee seem unimportant. Joshua also often manipulates Neku with smaller-scale events like tricking him into going to WildKat or larger-scale events like using Neku to decide the fate of Shibuya.

Neku, motivated by his desire to bring Shiki back to life, does everything he can to put up with him for the week. Despite their many disagreements, Neku finds that he can — in a number of ways — relate to Joshua. They have similar views of society and the world, which often come up in their conversations. This does gradually change however, as Neku's philosophy changes greatly over the course of their week together.

During the few days where no missions are issued, they make frequent visits to Hanekoma and his cafe WildKat, where it is revealed that Joshua and Hanekoma have a long history with each other. Joshua claims to be searching for a way into the Shibuya River so that he can take on the Composer and gain complete control over it.

Neku eventually becomes incredibly distressed when he scans Joshua and sees flashbacks of him dying in front of the mural in Udagawa, leading him to accuse Joshua of being his killer. Joshua neither confirms nor denies this throughout the week, and there is a great deal of tension between the two for the remainder of time they have together.

On the seventh day, when they battle the Game Master, Sho Minamimoto, Neku sees another flashback which leads him to believe that it was actually Minamimoto who had murdered him. After defeating him, Minamimoto unleashes a level i flare, and Joshua pushes Neku out of harm's way and takes the brunt of the attack, seemingly erasing both Minamimoto and himself.

Neku deeply regrets that he never got to apologize to Joshua for accusing him of murdering him, and feels guilty for his death. Allowed to play the Game one more time, Neku vows not to waste this chance which Joshua had managed to give him.

Neku angered at Joshua's betrayal.

In the final day of the third week, Joshua returns after the fight with Megumi Kitaniji's Noise form, shocking Neku. Before they can talk to each other, Kitaniji absorbs Joshua and the final battle begins. Afterwards, Kitaniji is erased and Joshua reveals that he himself is the Composer and that everything that had transpired was part of a Game he had set up with Kitaniji - one that would ultimately decide the fate of Shibuya. Wanting to erase Shibuya, Joshua chose Neku as a proxy to play the Game for him - and he had won. He also returns what is missing of Neku's memories, revealing that Joshua had indeed murdered Neku, just to send him into the game.

Joshua has one final Game with Neku - a duel, in which the winner becomes Composer and gets to decide Shibuya's fate. They both receive guns and Joshua begins a countdown for them to fire. Tearfully, an enraged Neku aims his gun and prepares to shoot — however, in the end, he cannot bring himself to kill a friend, and lowers his gun. Joshua, however, smiles coldly and shoots Neku, supposedly erasing him.

Following the duel, Joshua has a change of heart and spares Shibuya, having observed the changes in Neku firsthand. Neku then wakes up at the Scramble again, only to realize that he is back in the Realground. In the ending, Neku wishes to see Joshua again, hoping he will show up at Hachiko with everyone else. He states that while he can't forgive him, he trusts him. Joshua does not arrive however, and watches the friends from atop 104 along with Hanekoma.

Sanae Hanekoma

Hanekoma telling Neku the world ends with him.

Hanekoma is aware from the start of Neku's role as the Composer's proxy. He tries to help him survive the Game. He helps Neku by giving him a harmonizer pin as well as various phone upgrades. Upon discovering that Hanekoma is CAT, Neku's admiration of Hanekoma deepens, but Neku becomes confused due to the evidence suggesting Hanekoma is the Composer of the Reapers' Game.

In Another Day, Neku and Hanekoma are both good friends. As Neku says, "He's the only man that I respect". The main storyline Hanekoma knows Neku and "tests his abilities" by using Panthera Cantus. When Neku wins, Hanekoma tells him that the day Neku will help him will be sooner than they think. The Hanekoma from the Tin Pin world is a stranger to all, except for Neku. When found at WildKat, he tells Neku that if he finds any Secret Reports, to never read them. With Hanekoma trusting Neku with such a task, shows a great bond between the two.

Megumi Kitaniji

Kitaniji asking Neku if he likes people.

Kitaniji is the Conductor of the Reapers' Game who enjoys music like Neku. Neku first met Kitaniji at the end of the first Reapers' Game. Kitaniji finds Neku fascinating and admires his intelligence and tenacity to survive and even wiping out Minamimoto, yet sees Neku as a nuisance in his struggle to prevent Shibuya from erasure. Kitaniji wishes for Neku to understand his side, even asking for him to support his mission with the O-Pins. Kitaniji does not harbor any major ill will towards Neku. In missable dialog, before his death, Kitaniji takes a moment to congratulate Neku for how far he's gotten and Kitaniji tells Neku that it's up to him now to save Shibuya.

Sota Honjo and Nao

Neku listening to Sota and Nao.

During week two, Neku met the ganguro couple. Although initially apprehensive about them, Neku soon warmed up to them after realizing they were good-hearted and non-judgemental people, and they gave one of their pins to Neku. Sota and Nao helped Neku realize that he should not blame himself for Shiki being his entry fee. Sota and Nao would occasionally give Neku advice throughout the Reapers' Game. Neku and Joshua were unable to save them from Taboo Noise in time, distressing Neku who realized that he can't just shut out people as a whole anymore. In the Another Day universe, Sota is also Neku's barber.

Coco Atarashi

to be written.

Rindo Kanade

to be written.

Abilities

Neku is able to use many different pins that he finds to perform a variety of attacks. Other characters comment on his mastery of Psychs, indicating that this ability is unusual. This is further proven by the fact that Neku's partners can only use one pin at their disposal. Although he cannot use every pin in battle (Pins 246 through 261 being the most obvious exceptions), the wide selection of attacks adds to his unpredictability and therefore to his value in the Game.

He is able to summon Noise despite not being a Reaper. He performed this while fighting Mitsuki Konishi in Week 3, Day 7 by summoning Rhyme's Noise form after all his other pins had been stolen by Konishi. Neku explains it to a surprised Konishi by saying that Rhyme is his friend and that she's not a noise.

Neku can perform powerful Fusion attacks, which have three levels, with his partners by using the Harmonizer Pin. He can also perform a Final Fusion attack, utilizing the power of all three of his partners (Shiki, Joshua, and Beat) combined, shown when he defeated the Conductor during the end of Week 3.

In his time in Shinjuku, Neku learnt a technique that allowed him to scan Souls. He uses it on Noise taking on the forms of erased people in VisioN (Week 3, Day 5) and his skill becomes a major part of "Operation: Awakening" to save Shibuya. While most latent abilities in NEO: The World Ends with You are named (such as Trailer, Remind, Dive, Soundsurf, Telewarp, and Trailer), Neku's ability goes unnamed.

The Animation

In The World Ends with You The Animation, Neku more or less possess the same abilities as his in-game counterpart. Though he is capable of using multiple psychs, Neku's go to ability in the anime is Pyrokinesis. With the fire he is capable of unleashing with the various lines of Pyrokinesis Psychs he holds, Neku is able to burn enemies from afar. Unlike the in-game incarnation of the psych, however, Neku is not limited to causing lines of flames from erupting. He is also capable of wielding it in melee combat by coating his arms and legs with fire before striking them with punches and kicks. He can also shoot fireballs, slash them at enemies, and propel himself upwards. Though not directly Pyrokinesis, Neku is also capable of calling on the Fire Barrier Psych to protect himself from fatal hits.

Whenever he is not using Pyrokinesis, Neku is also shown to use Thunderbolt related Psychs and shoot electricity from his hands. He can also use Ice Risers to blow enemies upwards or block hits. Rarely, he will use Shockwave to kick noise away or to deflect projectiles with his hands. Projectile type Psychs that Neku has been shown to use are Patrol Rounds and Lightning Moon.

Like in the game, Neku is capable of Syncing up with his partners to unleash a coordinated and more powerful attack and is used to finish off most of the opponents Neku and his partners faces.

Items

The World Ends with You

Swag

The following is all of the Neku-related items that the player can get in the game:

Threads

There are several Threads that give bonuses when worn exclusively by Neku. Listed in order of their item number, they are:

Food

Neku will react differently to certain foods, giving him more or less Sync than the food's description states. Neku's food tastes are very mixed, and he is neutral on most foods. He tends to like the "rarer" food items. Neku has the least dislikes with 2, shares with Beat in likes with 12, and ties with Joshua the least loves with 7. Overall, his tastes are geared in mind towards more umami or savory dishes, and are more reflective of a typical Japanese person's tastes. In Week 2, Day 3, he reveals an immediate dislike for Shadow Ramen, and not including its exorbitant price, stating it is too strong and beefy for his tastes.

Neku's line eating food he loves with a 200% sync modifier is "That's good." His 7 loved foods, listed in order of their item number, are:

Neku's line eating food he likes with a 150% sync modifier is "Not bad." His 12 liked foods, listed in order of their item number, are:

Neku's line eating food he's neutral on with a 100% sync modifier is "It's edible." His 18 neutral foods, listed in order of their item number, are:

Neku's line eating food he dislikes with a 75% sync modifier is "Gross!" His 2 disliked foods, listed in order of their item number, are:

Neku's line eating food he hates with a 50% sync modifier is "Ugh... Pass." His 4 hated foods, listed in order of their item number, are:

NEO: The World Ends with You

Threads

There are five threads that give bonuses when worn exclusively by Neku.

Icon # Name Threads Slot HP Bonus ATK Bonus DEF Bonus Style Ability
NEO Thread 034.png 34 Leather Shoes Footwear 0 34 56 150 Neku: ATK Boost IV
NEO Thread 168.png 168 Samsara Sneakers Footwear 0 42 64 150 Neku: DEF Boost IV
NEO Thread 248.png 248 Jumpsuit Full Body 173 0 173 150 Neku: HP Boost IV
NEO Thread 099.png 99 Gilded Bamboo Accessory 0 111 0 180 Neku: Jackpot
NEO Thread 170.png 170 Naraka Rucksack Accessory 69 0 0 80 Neku: Second Wind II

While it does not directly give him bonuses, it should be noted that the Legendary Headphones, Legendary Tank Top, Legendary Shorts, Legendary Sneakers, and Legendary Music Player are based off his original The World Ends with You outfit.

Foods

The food that Neku loves are as follows:

Name Bought From
Hachiko Blend Hachiko Café
Iced Cold Brew Hachiko Café
Ice Cream Float Hachiko Café
Cheesy Champion Justice Burger
Fearless Fishwich Justice Burger
Justice Burger Justice Burger
Dandan Noodles Glutton 4 Gluten
Topsy-Turvy Noodles Glutton 4 Gluten
Sinful Noodles Glutton 4 Gluten
Rotisserie Chicken SBY BBQ
Churrasco Skewer SBY BBQ
Ruby Chocolate Delight Udagawa Parfait
Ladies' Night Parfait Udagawa Parfait
Boba Milk Tea Bubblevision
Mango Boba Latte Bubblevision
Muscovado Boba Latte Bubblevision
Triple Triad Plate SPICY CURRY DON
Pickled Plum Onigiri Moyai Mart
Salmon Onigiri Moyai Mart
Between-Act Bento Moyai Mart
Fried Chicken Moyai Mart
Bowl of Oden Moyai Mart
Matsuzaka Beef Bowl Donburi Town
Hokkaido Bounty Bowl Donburi Town
Tokyo Roast Beef Bowl Donburi Town
Grand Slam Meat Bowl Donburi Town
Avocado Toast Vegelovers
Veggie Soup Special Vegelovers
Cheesy Corndog Asia Fantasia
Takoyaki Tray Asia Fantasia
Farm-Fresh Cream Cone fluffy 'n' sweet
Hearty Beef Tacos Tacos y Más Tacos
Shoyu Ramen Suzu Slurpz
Salty Lemon Ramen Suzu Slurpz
Spicy Miso Ramen Suzu Slurpz
Orange Tea somedrinks
Orange Tea Fizz somedrinks
Masala Dosa Crowned Curry
Crispylicious Taiyaki Kyoto Sweets
Fluffy Pancake Stack Cutie☆Pies
Chocomint Shaved Ice Cutie☆Pies

The food that Neku likes are as follows:

Name Bought From
Café au Lait Hachiko Café
Iced Café au Lait Hachiko Café
BLT Sandwich Hachiko Café
SKO Sandwich Hachiko Café
Chicken Soup Curry Hachiko Café
Hero Hamburger Justice Burger
Freedom Fries Justice Burger
Superhero Soda Justice Burger
Justice Juice Justice Burger
Dark Dandan Noodles Glutton 4 Gluten
Whole Hog BBQ SBY BBQ
Dry-Aged Beef Steak SBY BBQ
Roasted Tuna Head SBY BBQ
Fruit Cocktail Udagawa Parfait
Dark Chocolate Dream Udagawa Parfait
Matcha Boba Latte bubblevision
Strawberry Boba Latte bubblevision
Chicken Curry SPICY CURRY DON
Fish Curry SPICY CURRY DON
Japanified Biryani SPICY CURRY DON
Potato Chips Moyai Mart
Toyosu Seafood Bowl Donburi Town
Nagoya Eel Bowl Donburi Town
Green Smoothie Vegelovers
Açaí Smoothie Vegelovers
Air in a Can Vegelovers
Banana Tigim Asia Fantasia
Pani Puri Plate Asia Fantasia
Xiaolongbao Set Asia Fantasia
Muscat Grape Crêpe fluffy 'n' sweet
Very Berry Bouquet fluffy 'n' sweet
Chocolate Soft Serve fluffy 'n' sweet
Sweet Potato Swirl fluffy 'n' sweet
Spicy Verde Tacos Tacos y Más Tacos
Super Spicy Tacos Tacos y Más Tacos
Holy Mole Tacos Tacos y Más Tacos
Miso Ramen Tacos y Más Tacos
Non-Vegetarian Thali Crowned Curry
Banana Leaf Banquet Crowned Curry
Chicken Biryani Crowned Curry
Vegetarian Thali Crowned Curry
Anko Dango Skewer Kyoto Sweets
Zunda Dango Skewer Kyoto Sweets
Creamy Matcha Anmitsu Kyoto Sweets
Triple Matcha Parfait Kyoto Sweets
Chocolate Pancake Stack Cutie☆Pies
Creamy Berry Shaved Ice Cutie☆Pies
Mango Shaved Ice Cutie☆Pies

The food that Neku dislikes are as follows:

Name Bought From
Chocolate Chunk Scone Hachiko Café
Grilled Alligator SBY BBQ
Dal Curry SPICY CURRY DON
Mixed Chopped Salad Vegelovers
Berry Blend Tea somedrinks
Bubbly Berry Blend somedrinks

Etymology

The kanji of Ne-ku Sakura-ba (桜庭 音操 Sakuraba Neku) literally translate to: sound, manipulation, cherry, garden. This is likely to be a reference to the idea of Neku closing out the outside world with his headphones, ignoring the wonderful world ("cherry garden") around him, and his astonishing skill with psychs. Additionally, sound may refer to the music theme in naming the characters.

He shares the same pronunciation of sound 音, ne, and sakura 桜 with Sakurane Shouka (桜音 紫陽花). While Shoka's first name (紫陽花) altogether means "hydrangea", the individual kanji continue their Neku allusions with purple, yang, and petal.

Quotes

The World Ends with You

  • "Screw you. I go where I want." (to Shiki)
  • "What. The. Hell." (seeing the timer on his hand)
  • Shiki: "Don't just stand there. Think of something!"
    Neku: "I AM thinking. Maybe if for just one minute you could stop your bi—"
  • "Would you shut the hell up! I just met you. I don't like you. And I don't give a rat's ass if you think I'm rude!" (to Shiki when she says he should remove his headphones because it's rude)
  • "Full of fail, as usual." (regarding Futoshi)
  • "Shibuya sucks. Who needs a town with this many people? All they do is get in the way and screech at each other. They're the REAL Noise. Wish I had a giant Mute button."
  • "Sad!? I'm thankful No one sees me. No one bothers me. No one expects anything of me. It's like a dream. Once I survive the seven days... does the dream end?"
  • "I am not... a... a spicy tuna roll!"
  • Shiki: "They call it a fashion statement for a reason! How you dress sends a clear message."
    Neku: "Then I wish I had more zippers... so I could tell you to ZIP IT."
  • "Back off! No one's my friend. Least of all you. I just stay with you to survive." (to Shiki)
  • "Who needs friends! They just laugh and talk like idiots, and pretend to agree with you... So you end up caring about them... exposing yourself... getting HURT... Screw it! We're better off without them! You want people getting in your way? Dragging you down? I don't. And I never said we were friends. You did!" (to Shiki)
  • "Restored to life? What the hell are you talking about!? I'm... I'm dead? I'm... I'm d-d-dead? How? When did I... I'm DEAD!?"
  • "Oh, would you cut the crap? Forget her! You need to live your own life. If she can do it, so can you! All that matters is that you try. You're lucky you're jealous. It gives you something to shoot for. So... shoot." (to Shiki)
  • "No big deal. We all, umm... We all have our bad days." (to Shiki)
  • "All right. Then whatever it takes... Let's win... Let's live. Just one more day!" (to Shiki)
  • "I got her dragged back into this. But I'll be damned if I let it end this way. I'm winning this Game. And I'm not relying on other Players doing it for me."
  • "Yeah, and the more people hold you back. Screw living in a world choked by rules. I'm living free. Like CAT. It's just easier on my own. Nobody else's baggage. Nobody else tying me down. ...People aren't meant to figure each other out." (to Joshua)
  • "Yeah, so what? I don't like other people. I've got no use for the next world over... so don't come barging in on mine. My own world's all I need... Unless..."
  • "How can you say you're the same as us? You're alive! You're here 'cause you want to be! Not us! I don't want to be here! I'm not playing the Game for kicks, dammit!" (to Joshua)
  • "Then he died... protecting me? Why would he do that? ... I did this. I blamed him. He's gone because of me. I accused him of shooting me, but he was innocent! I made him feel like he owed me something. I didn't... I didn't trust him. My partner. I didn't even apologize. I'm the worst... I never told Joshua I'm sorry."
  • "Shiki's out. They made her my entry fee. Joshua too- took the bullet for me. Rhyme's gone. Noise got her. And Beat left to join the Reapers. One Player after another... gone... I'm the only one of us left — the only hope we have."
  • "Don’t go the distance for other people. Do it for yourself." (to Beat)
  • "I was never good with people. I covered my ears and blocked them out. But you know what? If I don't clash, I don't change. The world ends at my borders, and the best moments slip away. Shibuya's full of people waiting for those moments, when we clash together and find something new. Here in the UG, I clashed. I changed. And now I know-- Shibuya should stay just as it is!"
  • "It was you! I thought... I thought I finally found a friend I could relate to... But it was YOU! You killed me!" (to Joshua)
  • "Why... WHAT THE HELL?!"
  • "You don't see it, but... those few weeks were very hard for me. Learning to trust people; having that trust broken. Finding out the town I pegged as small, and stifling, and empty... wasn't any of those things."
  • "I'm glad I met you guys. You made me... pick up on things, I probably would've just gone on ignoring. Trust your partner... and I do. I can't forgive you, but I trust you. You took care of things, right? Otherwise, Shibuya would be gone and my world with it. Hey, did I mention? I've got friends now! We're meeting for the first time in a week. See you there?"

NEO: The World Ends with You

  • "Let's dig in." (placing order)
  • "This... is amazing!" (eating loved food)
  • "A new Game, huh? Don't worry—I'm here to help. Shinjuku got destroyed, but I won't let that happen again. Not here."
  • "Three years ago, I got dragged back into the UG. When I came to, I was in Shinjuku. Or whatever was left of it. The city was already in ruins by the time I arrived. Well, it's still there, but it's been cut off from both the RG and the UG. Nobody's there. But it's not completely empty. People's thoughts are still floating around the city like lost souls. You can scan people and see what they're thinking, right? It's kind of like that, except the people themselves aren't around anymore. I tried sifting through some thoughts to find out what happened there. Nothing concrete. But I did get a new lead. Gotta follow up on that first."
  • "It won't be easy. And it might feel hopeless. But the fate of Shibuya is at stake. We've gotta try to save it from erasure. We're the only ones who can."
  • "Listen: there's more at stake here than Minamimoto's friendship. We have a city to save, remember?"
  • "Let me scan her. There might be a hint somewhere in her Soul. Picked up a few tricks while I was in Shinjuku. I couldn't exactly scan people the old-fashioned way."
  • "She's completely lost herself. Now she's just...Noise. Even after someone's gone, their thoughts and memories can get left behind. My bet is the Noise has latched onto some of hers. It absorbed her leftover thoughts and took on her appearance. Pretty sure. At the very least, it's not her. It's just Noise."
  • "Why are you here, anyway? Don't tell me you got yourself killed again." - to Beat
  • "Me, too... Almost makes me wish everyone else was here. Yeah... If we make it out of this Game alive, we oughta have a reunion."
  • "It's a cat. Remember? His name's Mr. Mew."
  • "Oh, wow. This is wild... When did Mr. Mew get so popular?"
  • "This is the stuffed animal that Shiki made. Yeah. She was my first partner back when I was playing the Game. She controlled this little guy with her mind and used him to fight the Noise."
  • "We've gotta find a way to help her. She's the only one who knows what really happened back in Shinjuku. If we can get her to tell us about it, we might be able to stop it from happening here in Shibuya, too." - about Tsugumi
  • "But it paid off. Thanks, Nagi. Can you keep us in here a little longer? I wanna talk to Tsugumi now that the Noise is gone. But I don't think we can communicate with her from the outside while Mr. Mew's all torn up. This might be our only chance to chat for now. Think you can manage, Nagi?"
  • "You're the one who called out to me and showed me the future. Aren't you?" - to Tsugumi
  • "Don't worry—we will. That's a promise. And once Shiki makes it back to Shibuya, we'll get you out of here."
  • "Well, I do. Kind of hard to forget someone who shot you." - about Coco
  • "Hey... I know you're worried about Tsugumi. But her Soul is safe and sound. She'll be back to her old self before you know it. My friend will see to that. I promise. So let's try to stay focused, okay?" - to Shoka
  • "Maybe not—not right away, at least. But are you gonna let that stop you? Good. After all, never know until you try. Things might even go better than you expect. Just gotta put your faith in that possibility and keep pushing forward. And isn't that what you've always done? Even when things looked bleak, you kept going. You kept fighting because you hoped things might turn out better if you did. You couldn't see a better future, but you believed in one—and that's what matters." - to Rindo
  • "As long as the city stays intact, it'll return to normal eventually. The people of Shibuya wouldn't have it any other way."
  • ""Time trick"? Huh. So that's what he was talking about... Rindo. When you've used that power of yours, have you ever noticed any side effects?"
  • "Well, do they do anything? Like attack you? If anyone knows a thing or two about trash, it's Minamimoto. You might wanna avoid using your powers if you can—just to be safe."
  • "Which reminds me. Did you get another vision today? To be honest, I couldn't really tell what was going on. But if we want to stop whatever it was from happening, we've gotta find a way out of here."
  • "No, you were right. No point fighting to save a city that's already been destroyed. Sometimes the future's just hard to avoid—even when you can see it coming. Y'know, I had a few visions back in my day, too. But I couldn't tell what they were or how they connected to anything. In the end, I couldn't stop any of them from happening. With your powers, though, we've got a good shot at ensuring a better future." - to Rindo
  • "I get it: you're nervous about the big fight. So am I. Just good at hiding it."
  • "I bet you don't even know what the word "nervous" means." - to Beat
  • "Rindo... Don't use your powers unless you absolutely have to. If they really are connected to the Dissonance somehow... ...there's no telling what consequences they'll have. We keep moving, even if things don't go according to plan. It's tough, but it's for the best."
  • "All the more reason to help us, then. I know you've got your sights set on the city. And you can't take over if it gets erased." - to Minamimoto
  • "How about this: I'll talk, you type." - to Beat
  • "Shiki... I can see you just fine. And soon, you'll be able to see me, too."
  • "We should be all set to intercept the Noise. Remember: they're just mindless thoughts. Let's show 'em what Shibuya's made of!"
  • "Count on me to break free, you mean? After you locked me up?" - to Joshua
  • "I appreciate your concern. But I think we both know you had an ulterior motive." - to Joshua
  • "...Not today. Right? Hey. Sorry it took me so long." - to Shiki
Party in the 'Buya
  • "But I almost wish I didn't. Beat refuses to calm down and act normal."
  • "Can you blame him? Shibuyapalooza is finally here after getting pushed back a bunch because of...well, everything."
  • "All right, that's enough. Fret doesn't need everyone piling on him right now. Everyone makes mistakes. Give him a break. He's probably more disappointed in himself than any of us are in him."
  • "(Which is saying a lot... I planned my whole summer around this...)"
  • "Bah! Let the young'uns have their fun."
  • "Rindo! Are you all right? Coco was emitting some kind of hallucinogenic field, and we got caught up in it."

Battle Quotes

The World Ends with You

  • Watch yourself. - Begin battle
  • You're good as gone! - Begin battle
  • We up for this? - Begin battle at low HP
  • I got this! - Catching the puck
  • Any last words?! - Catching the puck at 5x power
  • Be careful! - Partner recovering from knockdown
  • I'm... I'm fading. - Game Over
  • So, who's next? - Noise erased
  • At least we won, right? - Noise erased at low HP
  • That's how it's done. - ★-rank victory
  • We'll get it next time. - E-rank victory

NEO: The World Ends with You

  • "Goin' up!" (Launching combo finisher)
  • "Can't run forever..." (Running away)
  • "Darkness, take hold!" (using Dark affinity pin)
  • "Here's a shock!" (using Electric affinity pin)
  • "Got 'em!" (Rindo: "Great job!")
  • "Nice teamwork!" (Rindo: "That was perfect!")
  • "We've got this!" (Rindo: "Yup!")
  • (Rindo: "Got 'em!") "Well done!"
  • (Rindo: "Alright!") "Keep it going!"
  • (Rindo: "Nailed it!") "Nice one, Rindo!"
  • "That was pretty good." (Fret: "I learned from the best!")
  • "Nice work, Fret!" (Fret: "Ha-HA!")
  • "Alright!" (Fret: "Perfecto!")
  • (Fret: "We're gonna wiiin!") "Fret! Focus!"
  • (Fret: "How was that?") "Right on time."
  • (Fret: "Perfect timing!") "Nice work."
  • "Nice one, Nagi." (Nagi: "Thank you!!")
  • "Leave it to me." (Nagi: "Yes, o legendary one!")
  • "Just trying to keep up." (Nagi: "Such humility!")
  • (Nagi: "Might we be unstoppable?") "I sure hope so."
  • (Nagi: "'Twas my humble contribution.") "That was great."
  • (Nagi: "A legend indeed!") "Thanks."
  • "Take..." (Beat: "This, yo!")
  • "Thanks for the assist!" (Beat: "That's what I'm here for!")
  • "It's all or nothing!" (Beat: "Do it to it, Phones!")
  • (Beat: "Just like ol' times!") "Some things never change."
  • (Beat: "Do it to it, Phones!") "Aren't you glad I'm back?"
  • (Beat: "I'm goin' all out!") "Rein it in a little!"
  • "That was great!" (Shoka: "Duh.")
  • "Right on time." (Shoka: "Hm, not bad.")
  • "That went pretty well." (Shoka: "All thanks to me.")
  • (Shoka: "I got this.") "I can tell."
  • (Shoka: "I'm counting on you.") "Same here."
  • (Shoka: "Wow, am I good or what?") "You sure are."
  • "How's that!?" (Minamimoto: "Huh, nicely integrated.")
  • "Try to cooperate, will you?" (Minamimoto: "Heh!")
  • "That factored out nicely." (Minamimoto: "As it always should!")
  • (Minamimoto: "Hah! Trash!") "I'll say!"
  • (Minamimoto: "What a zero matrix!") "Good enough for me!"
  • (Minamimoto: "That all you got?") "Just getting started!"
  • "That's another one for the books." (Noise erased)
  • "Teamwork makes the dream work." (Star-rank victory)
  • "Damn it." (E-rank victory)

Non-Canon Appearances

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

"A boy who has been forced into the Reapers' Game. He wouldn't be caught dead without his headphones... and wants nothing more than to shut other people out. But Sora, and his other new friends, may have the power to change him."
— Neku's character file
Neku KH3D Render.png

Neku makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance in Traverse Town. Jesse David Corti reprises his role as Neku. After surprising Sora by appearing out of nowhere, Neku explains that he is a Player in the Reapers' Game, which takes place in Traverse Town. With Neku's timer running short and no partner at hand, Sora, who isn't following Neku's explanation, happily agrees to help anyways. Neku's Dream Eater is a Necho Cat, a brightly colored cat-like creature with a music note for a tail.

Neku and Sora act as allies for a short time, fighting the Nightmares together. Neku leads Sora to Traverse Town's Third District, where they encounter a man in a black coat. He makes a move to attack Sora, but Neku jumps in to defend him yelling "This isn't what you promised!" Sora is then unexpectedly plunged into sleep. When Sora wakes up, Neku is nowhere to be found.

Neku and Sora later meet up again in the Fifth District. Sora presents Rhyme to Neku, hoping that he may be able to jog her memory. Neku is unable to help, and Sora proceeds to fight Traverse Town's boss.

Joshua then appears by using Rhyme's dreams as a portal between the two parallel Traverse Towns (not to be confused with the real Traverse Town, as these two are dreams) and manages to reunite Neku and Shiki, as well as Beat and Rhyme. The Traverse Town story ends there until later revisited.

On the player's second trip to Traverse Town, Neku and Shiki face a tough mission; to defeat a Dream Eater so strong it is able to create more Dream Eaters. Sora meets up with the two, who face a pair of Dream Eaters (and also pass a puck between one another) Shiki wants to bail, stating the Dream Eaters are too strong, when Sora comes in to help them, to his slight dismay.

Neku later has a moment with Joshua, expressing his fear that he will never get back home. Joshua reiterates what he said to him in the original game, "If you give up on yourself, you give up on the world.". Neku thanks him for the words, and he hopes he can get back, too.

Other Kingdom Hearts Titles

Neku Union X.png

Neku appears as a costume that the player character can wear in Kingdom Hearts Union X. He also appears in several medals:

Neku, Shiki, and Joshua also make a brief appearance at the start of Kingdom Hearts III along with Sora's memories.

The Animation

AnimeTemplate.png "It's like... it's the same place, but only we are in a different world."
The information below contains information exclusive to The World Ends with You The Animation and may be non-canonical to the original game.


"An antisocial, graffiti-loving kid who keeps his headphones on to shut the world out. He awakens in the middle of Shibuya's Scramble Crossing and immediately realizes that something is a miss…"
— Neku's description in The Animation's official website

In The Animation, Neku's story remains mostly the same with some key differences. Neku's moveset was also changed. Instead of utilizing Pins for his abilities, Neku naturally has access to any psych. However, the design for the Pin associated with them flashes on screen just before he uses their psychs to indicate what Pin he would be using.

Neku overwhelmed after a scan.

In the first episode "The Reapers' Game", Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing with two pins and without his memory. Unlike the game, he does not know his own full name and only knows the name "Neku"; he only learns his last name is "Sakuraba" when Uzuki taunts him with it on the second day. He learns that he is untouched by the Realground by both the pedestrians walking through him and when a truck phases through him and leaves him unscathed. He partners with Shiki at Hachiko and then make their way to 104 Building as the mission instructs. Just before falling back to sleep, Neku and Shiki see Uzuki and Kariya at 104.

Neku attempts to erase Shiki while possessed by Noise.

On day two, Neku and Shiki meet Beat and Rhyme when Neku touches Beat when trying to scan. Immediately after Neku receives the mission mail to lift the statue's curse, several Garage Wolves emerge from Hachiko. Neku swiftly attacks them on his own and gets angry at Shiki for trying to help. This anger consumes him and attracts more Noise. Uzuki arrives and tells Neku, who is under the influence of the Noise, to erase Shiki or be erased. As a result of being possessed, he attempts to do so without hesitation. This differs from the game in which it was a conscious choice and wasn't threatened with erasure. Hanekoma intervenes and tells Neku to trust his partner to survive the Game.

On day three, Neku is shocked when Shiki still wants to work with him. Their mission is the defeat the master of O-East. They erase Noise possessing Futoshi who then accompanies them to O-East where he works with 777, who is performing soon with his band Def Märch. 777 thanks Shiki by giving her a keypin and allowing them to enter the stage. Inside, they encounter Vespertilio Canor. Neku first tries to defeat it on his own but quickly realizes that he needs to work with Shiki if he is to survive. Beat and Rhyme also arrive to help. Afterward, they all agree to work together for future missions and watch 777's performance. Shiki wonders how 777 and Futoshi could interact with them, and Neku deduces they're both Reapers.

In the episode "Shiki", Neku, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme talk and people-watch together in the green frog carriage near Hachiko. While Beat and Rhyme find their invisibility and scanning strange, Neku feels that not having to deal with people is liberating and scanning is more convenient than talking. Shiki disagrees. Rhyme states she doesn't have a dream: Neku says it means she doesn't have a dream. He argues with Beat, who is encouraging Rhyme to find her dream. After, since they haven't received the mission yet, Shiki takes Neku to 104 Building. She accidentally calls him "Eri". They also see Eiji Oji advertising mineral water; Shiki thinks the Prince is a strong influencer but Neku doesn't understand the appeal. They get the mission mail to free Spain Hill from the Noise. Shiki realizes the Noise are feeding off Ai and Mina's negativity, and Shiki uses imprinting so they make up. After the mission, Shiki abruptly stops talking about friends to Neku and rushes him out, but a girl almost identical to Shiki passes through her. In the end of this mission in the game, Neku learns about Shiki when Yodai Higashizawa taunts her and only sees Eri on the next day.

Neku and Shiki fighting Noise at Spain Hill.

On day five, Neku receives the mission to dominate the Scramble Crossing's view in 3 hours at 3:00 before he can talk to Shiki. Shiki opens up about how the girl from yesterday was Eri and how she wished to be her. Neku tells her the point of her clothes was to cheer people up, and tells her to come along and do the mission. Neku plans to have the Prince advertise the pins, instead of imprinting slogans on Makoto like in the game. Shiki scans and finds there's a Prince event happening later at AMX. At Center St. Entrance, Shiki's Keypin clears a wall. She notices Neku has two Player Pins, something she notices in-game on Day 2. At the AMX event, Neku imprints on the Prince so he asks the crowd to wear Red Skull pins and watch the Q-Front advertisement at 3:00.

At 3:00, the crowds' eyes glow red and the sky turns purple. An Anguis Cantus Noise symbol blasts beams of light, erasing many Players. When Neku and Shiki think they're doomed to be erased by the beam, Joshua clears the sky by snapping his fingers. Shiki apologizes to Neku for not doing much for the day, but Neku says they've only survived because Shiki doesn't abandon people, like clearing Futoshi's noise and resolving Ai and Mina's problems. Neku continues that he's grateful for Shiki not abandoning him after he tried to erase her. When Shiki hears Eri's true feelings, she swears to come back to life and make clothes with Eri. Neku is confused by "come back to life". Shiki explains the Players of the Reapers' Game are dead and are competing to come back to life. In the game, this was instead explained by Higashizawa at the end of the Spain Hill mission. Neku has blurry memories of his own death as the day ends.

In the episode "Erased", Beat challenges Neku and Shiki to a race to Tower Records. Before arriving, Beat taunts Neku and Shiki about their slowness - Neku says the race isn't done yet because he's still waiting outside Tower Records. There, a Swing Shark summoned by Uzuki erases Rhyme. Since Reapers aren't allowed to physically attack Players, they leave the Noise to erase Neku, Shiki, and Beat. They notice when the Shark eats the Fish Noise surrounding it, it grows. Hanekoma takes Beat with him, and Neku and Shiki erase the Noise. On the last day, Hanekoma calls Neku and Shiki to report Beat has gone missing. Since Reapers can attack Players at will on Day 7, and the Game Master Higashizawa will be about, Hanekoma asks them to end the Game as soon as they can for Beat.

Neku as Shiki fades away.

At the Station Underpass, Shiki thanks Neku for their time together and promises to meet up with him when they return to life - since Shiki will look different, she will bring Mr Mew. At the freeway, Higashizawa transforms into Ovis Cantus. They defeat him and celebrate their victory before they find themselves in a white void. They are greeted by Megumi Kitaniji, who reveals that only one person will be revived: Shiki. She begs for Neku to be revived, but Neku wants her to be resurrected. As Kitaniji explains Neku can play the Game for a second time, Shiki falls to the ground in pain, turning into static, crying out to Neku for help. Neku asks Kitaniji if this is what he calls rebirth, and he announces that she's being taken as his entry fee for the second week. She dives into Neku's arms and dissolves. In the game, Shiki disappearing is much more bittersweet and happens before Shiki is revealed to be an entry fee - instead she is lifted into the sky and holds a hand out to Neku.

Neku being caught by Joshua.

In the episode "Reapers", at the beginning of the first day of the second week, a loud voice over a speaker orders Players to calculate the square root of 10,216 in 60 minutes or be erased. Neku is attacked by Carcinofolk and caught by Joshua, who forms a Pact with him. Joshua compliments Neku on his fighting ability and says he's been watching for a long time - Neku wonders if he was from the first week, but knows he wasn't one of the survivors. When Neku grabs Joshua's shoulder, he sees a tag mural, briefly hears his own voice, and sees himself - even if Players can't scan other Players. Neku decides to team up with him, and Joshua says the square root of 10,216 refers to 104. There, Minamimoto at the top of his trash heap recognizes the two, calling them a happy miscalculation that will bring him closer to his desired solution. Neku sees the young couple he saw on the news two days ago as being unconscious after a car crash, and realizes they didn't survive. Minamimoto orders the Players to fight their partners, winners being spared. Neku fights off Carcinofolk and says that they need to trust their partners and not trust Minamimoto's lies. Neku and Joshua erase the Noise in a powerful Fusion. Joshua is proud, but Neku is still suspicious of Joshua.

On day two, Joshua speaks to someone on the phone about routes. Neku realizes he knows Shibuya and it was his entry fee from last Game, and the mural he saw himself at in Joshua's thoughts the day before was at Udagawa Back Streets. They get the mission telling them to find √3. At MODI, they find Minamimoto's trash heap blocking the path to Parco, and Taboo Noise. They struggle, Neku only saving Joshua from an attack by tackling Joshua out of the way. After erasing the Noise, Neku notices Eri at a florist buying lilies for Shiki's grave. When Eri passes through Neku, he sees Shiki. Neku retraces his memories but can't remember his death. He gets furious at Joshua and runs towards him - when grabbing his shoulder he sees himself dying. Reaper Beat appears, having received special orders from Kitaniji. He punches Neku to the ground, then flies off, ignoring Neku begging him not to fight him.

In the episode "CAT", Joshua asks Neku to come with him to Cat Street since the mission hasn't been issued. Neku refuses because he can't lose the Game for Shiki. He receives a mission telling him to go to Cat Street across Shibuya in 15 minutes or be erased. There, Neku urges Joshua to run faster. Joshua says he wanted to go to WildKat Café. Neku asks if the mission is fake, and Joshua shows he faked a text to look like a mission. Neku learns the WildKat owner is Hanekoma and Joshua also knows him. Neku wonders if he was too suspicious of Joshua. While Joshua and Neku drink coffee, Hanekoma updates their phones. Hanekoma tells him to enjoy every moment with all he has and Neku says it sounds similar to his idol, artist CAT's motto. Hanekoma tells Neku the world ends with him, and he has to expand his horizons and change his world. Later, Joshua and Neku investigate an energy spike at the Scramble Crossing. It turns out to be people wearing Red Skull pins. One of them states it's CAT's design and Neku notices they look like Player Pins. Joshua explains they were designed by the Composer and he wants Neku to help him become Composer before the day ends.

Neku wakes up after dreaming about Udagawa. Neku wants to see Udagawa; Joshua thinks it's because of the energy signature, but Neku wants to so he can find out why he died. At Tipsy Tose Hall, the Udagawa wall is closed. Joshua makes a deal with Def Märch where they let down the wall if they find their missing microphone. At the phone booth, Neku suggests someone might have turned the microphone into the police as a lost item, but Joshua interrupts with a video of Minamimoto taking it for his art. 777 releases the wall as promised. Joshua explains the camera can record the past, but only allows two shots a day and drains the battery. Sota and Nao meet Joshua and Neku while fleeing; they warn them about the Noise and tell them to turn back so they can all live. Joshua says that not everyone can come back to life, and those who don't have to play again, like Neku. Neku blames himself for Shiki not coming back to life, but Sota and Nao run away before they can continue speaking.

At Udagawa, Joshua and Neku admire the graffiti, but Neku is caught up in his memories of dying there and appearing in Joshua's thoughts. When Joshua says he stopped moving like "back then", Neku grabs his wrist and sees Joshua shooting him at Udagawa. He backs away, panics, and realizes Joshua killed him. The episode "Turf" picks up after this cliffhanger. Neku grabs Joshua by the collar, making his phone drop and crack. He accuses Joshua of killing him, and Joshua argues that they need to work together if they want to win. Neku asks what he's after. Joshua says he wants to properly guide Shibuya and asks Neku for help. Around the corner, they spot Minamimoto reciting an incantation as he draws a Taboo Noise Refinery Sigil.

On day five, Joshua asks Neku to come with him to Cat Street to fix his phone. At Miyashita Park Underpass, Beat tackles Neku out of the way, and challenges him to a fight. Neku refuses, and Uzuki and Kariya take Beat with them. Neku notices that Beat dropped Rhyme's bell pendant. At WildKat, Hanekoma repairs the phone. Neku waits outside and is approached by Sota and Nao, who observe they seem to be the only Players left. Sota tells Neku his thoughts about how only a fixed amount of people come back, and Neku's last partner being his Entry Fee. They decide that it means he must care a lot about his partner and it's not something to be guilty about. Neku wonders about the people in Shibuya and their issues while staring at Joshua with his fixed phone.

Neku realizing Hanekoma is CAT.

Later, Neku comments on a closed business and says he spent his time exploring Shibuya after school. When Joshua asks if he did it with friends and Neku says no, Joshua compares Neku to the Underground: each area has their own rules and can't be moved between. Neku and Joshua philosophize about CAT's work, people, and communication. At Miyashita Park, Neku excitedly notices a new CAT graffiti. Joshua remarks that he's surprised that CAT can run a café in the middle of it. Joshua reveals CAT is Hanekoma and Neku obsesses over meeting CAT to the point of screaming out in the streets when he realizes telling Hanekoma about CAT was silly.

Later in the day, Neku declares he'll stop helping Joshua find the Shibuya River as it is too risky, but will guide him there. After finding it's locked, the two get attacked by a powerful Trance Rhino. Neku suggests running, but they find they're surrounded. Joshua reluctantly fires a series of powerful beams of light. After the battle, Kariya arrives and outs Joshua as being an alive Player. Joshua defends himself as being as valid as any other Player, but Neku argues that others didn't choose to come to the Underground and have suffered for it, and Joshua killed him. Joshua socratically asks if he did kill Neku, if Neku would kill him like Shiki. Joshua cryptically states that he's been watching Neku for a long time, and that the Game is for Neku's salvation too.

In the episode "Joshua", Neku pretends to be asleep as he listens to Joshua on the phone with Hanekoma. He wonders if Hanekoma knows Joshua killed Neku and why. Neku accuses Joshua of playing only for himself. Their phones receive a mission to defeat the bosses of 2.2360679's 0 and 5 within 60 minutes. Joshua explains the number is the square root of 5, and only Route 5 is open. Neku concludes the Noise that attacked him at the Scramble Crossing is the first boss and the second boss is at Udagawa. Running through Tipsy Tose Hall, they witness Nao get erased. Sota grabs Neku's hand, begging him, Joshua, and Shiki to come back to life. Neku mourns Sota and Nao, while Joshua is apathetic. Joshua summarizes it into Neku interacting with others and finding a new self. At Tokyu Hands, Neku and Joshua back up Uzuki and Kariya struggling to fight off Taboo Noise. Uzuki reprimands them for saving her and flies off. Kariya tells Neku that the Game Master isn't playing by the rules, and they need to watch out. At Udagawa, Joshua and Neku defeat a powerful Wall of Grizzly and complete the mission. Minamimoto flies down and taunts them, saying that on Day 7 he'll solve the calculation he screwed up "that day".

Neku and Joshua fighting Minamimoto.

On the last day, before Joshua can pull out his phone to see the mission, Neku grabs tightly onto his wrist. He asks Joshua to promise him to tell everything once they win. The mission is to defeat the Game Master at Mark City. A wall blocks the elevators, so the boys take the stairs. They are chased by Beat to the top, and Neku stops to return Rhyme's pendant. Beat takes it and flies away. At the very top, Minamimoto returns some of Neku's memories, making it seem like that after Joshua shot, Minamimoto appeared from behind and killed him. He shatters them into the Imaginary Number Plane and transforms into Leo Cantus. After, Minamimoto explodes into a flare. Joshua pushes Neku off the roof. Neku wakes up to see Kitaniji, congratulating Neku for collaborating with them. He says he sent the mission to erase Minamimoto and Joshua was erased along with him. Neku cries over the misdirected blame, but Kitaniji says that he shouldn't grieve over Joshua's rulebreaking. Since Neku could be considered aiding and abetting in Joshua crimes, he could be erased, but Kitaniji lets him play one more time with his entry fee of Shiki carried over and a new entry fee, but with the penalty of disqualification from any further game.

In the episode "Emergency Call", Neku gets the mission mail to go to 104. He finds it walled off and thinks about finding a partner. He receives a postscript saying the game has only one Player. Neku tries to think of a plan for a week, but sees Kariya and Uzuki flying down. He tries to use psychs, but realizes he's defenseless without a partner. Uzuki summons a mob of Frog Noise, overwhelming Neku. Beat crashes through the wall with Noise Rhyme, objecting to only one Player after he was ordered to erase his friends. Beat pacts with Neku, and they run. At 104, Neku thanks Beat for helping, and Beat is shocked at Neku's openness. Neku asks why Beat pacted with him, and Beat sees it as playing against unfair rules, and also for returning Rhyme's pendant. Neku says the Reapers will have issues with it, but Beat tells him it doesn't matter. He notices Beat's wings are gone after their Pact. Beat takes him to the Station Underpass and explains his plans to defeat the Composer to take over and revive Rhyme. He punches the wall and it opens - Beat explains its due to the keypin he got as a Reaper, but only the Reapers on Konishi's level could open the Shibuya River.

On day two, Konishi appears on the Q-Front and gives her mission of hiding in a specific place for six days. A second announcement appears on all screens across Shibuya, announcing the Emergency Call and ordering Reapers to erase Beat and Neku. Beat says he saw Konishi go into the Concert Stage, and they run inside. 777 approaches them, and Neku congratulates him for the ticket sales for his concert. He says he hasn't seen Konishi in the Concert Stage. As they leave, 777 stops them and says he'll erase them for being a threat. After being defeated, 777 asks them to finish him off. Neku refuses and tells him to play the show tonight. He gifts Neku a keypin that will open more than Beat's, then orders them to leave. Outside, Neku and Beat hear 777 screaming from inside. "Rhyme and Beat" begins on this cliffhanger: Neku notices 777's choker on the stage's floor and realizes 777 was erased.

On the next day, Neku wakes up in Miyashita Park Underpass. He finds Beat staring at a bouquet of flowers. Neku asks if there was an accident, and Beat reveals the flowers are for the crash that killed him and Rhyme, who he reveals to be his sister. Neku says Rhyme didn't have ill will towards Beat, and says it means she must have really cared about him if her memories of Beat were her entry fee. Neku calls him an idiot for his bravery, and trusts him for risking his life to save Neku. They get determined to bring back Rhyme and Shiki. Beat walks out of the underpass, but Neku grabs him and tells him to blend in as Reapers using their keypins. Beat gets an idea to scan the Reapers, but Neku points out that Reapers can't be scanned. Neku tries to scan a living human, but doesn't get a thought, describing it as being "empty". Beat points out they're all wearing the CAT-designed Red Skull pins with an identical design to the Player Pins that prevent Players from being scanned. Beat concludes CAT designed the Player Pins, but Neku claims CAT couldn't be the Composer because Player Pins are designed by the Composer and Hanekoma helped Joshua find the Composer.

At Tipsy Tose Hall, Uzuki reprimands them for distracting themselves by fighting Noise, and shows them noise Rhyme, trapped in a birdcage. Beat is woken up by the mission mail on Day 4, to defeat Kariya and Uzuki. Beat takes Neku to their "turf" at the top of Q-Front. The cars and pedestrians stop, and they fight. While Neku and Beat are attacking Uzuki, Kariya comes in from behind and hits Neku with a blast of fire. When Uzuki tries to take out Beat with a powerful gunshot from behind, Neku blocks it with Piercing Pillar. Neku and Beat attack with a Fusion and demand Rhyme back, but Kariya reveals it was Konishi's trick.

In the episode "The Countless Wrongs of Our Day", Beat shakes Neku awake in the middle of the crossing. He notices another day's went by, and Beat panics about their lack of time. Neku calms him down and tells them to figure out where the keypin Kariya gave them would take them. A group of pedestrians pass through Neku, all with glowing red eyes and thinking the same thing. Beat notices it's due to the Red Skull pins, and declares CAT is pulling the strings. Neku denies it, and says Hanekoma is CAT, who helped save Rhyme, and helped Joshua look for the Composer. He says that a homogeneous Shibuya is against CAT's morals of individualism and difference.

Neku reads Hanekoma's note.

Beat and Neku find a smashed wall at Udagawa. The boys sees the Taboo Refinery sigil Minamimoto used. Neku takes a photo, and sees Hanekoma at the sigil. They fight Kariya and Uzuki possessed by their O-Pins and learn that dislodging their O-Pins will make them go back to normal. Beat wants to go to Cat Street to ask Hanekoma about recent events. The Cat Street wall is broken like Udagawa's, and they rush to a wrecked WildKat. Neku concludes whoever destroyed the wall was coming after Hanekoma. Beat says they should take another photo, but he can only take one more and sees Hanekoma hiding something in it. They search and find an envelope with a red Anguis stamp and a keypin. Neku recognizes it as the barrier to the Shibuya River. Neku sees a note by Hanekoma saying to enjoy every moment and to watch for shadows and find where Konishi truly is. Beat concludes Konishi is hiding in the Shibuya River, but Neku wonders why Hanekoma didn't give the keypin for the Shibuya River to Joshua.

Walking back, Beat finds a junk pile. At the top of the pile is a Taboo Minamimoto who overpowers them and flies away, leaving Neku and Beat's bruised bodies on the pavement. They wake up at Scramble Crossing on Day 6 and decide to go to the Shibuya River. Meanwhile, at the entrance, Minamimoto tears it down with a punch. Neku and Beat see the red and black lightning thundering in the sky and run to the Shibuya River, going through the broken barrier. The episode "The Hour of Reckoning" begins from this cliffhanger. Neku and Beat walk to the entrance of the Shibuya River. Neku stops Beat and points out light in the distance. They find Minamimoto sitting on a pile of debris, saying they're stuck by a barrier that only Konishi can take down. Konishi reveals herself from Beat's shadow, strikes a deal with Minamimoto, and removes the wall for him. She stops the boys and taunts them by revealing Rhyme. Konishi transforms into Tigris Cantus, and creates an illusion where they seem to be floating above Shibuya. They attempt to perform a Fusion but Konishi breaks their focus. They plan for Beat to act as a decoy and Neku to strike while she's distracted - Neku fires a shot of Flames Afar, Foes Aflame. Konishi's shadow subdues and beats Neku. Beat looks in horror and remembers Neku's enthusiastic trust and Rhyme's sacrifice, drawing out Rhyme from within Konishi. Beat and Neku perform a fusion, empowering Rhyme, who claws through and breaks her shadow. She bites on and pulls it away from her, then deals a finishing blow.

Neku, Beat, and Rhyme are returned to a white void while Konishi lies on the floor about to be erased. She reveals to Beat that Rhyme's memories and love for Beat was Beat's entry fee before erasure. They reunite with Shiki who says she woke up to see them in the void - Beat realizes she's returned since Neku defeated Konishi and has won his entry fee back. Neku looks at his palm and sees the timer has vanished. Neku explains to a confused Shiki they're still in the Underground and apologizes for her being his entry fee. Shiki is flustered over being Neku's most valued, and he says he wanted Shiki to come back to life, thanking her for his development.

The walls around them turn static before shattering to show the Room of Reckoning with Kitaniji waiting in the distance. Kitaniji asks Neku if Shibuya should be reborn to fix its selfishness. He possesses Shiki and he transforms into his Noise form Anguis Cantus and directs Shiki to attack Neku and Beat. Using a fusion, they defeat Shiki. Neku removes the Red Skull from her pocket while she's unconscious and places her with an unconscious Beat. Kitaniji grabs Neku's shoulder, and he spots a timer on Kitaniji's hand with minutes left. Kitaniji's negativity begins attracting Noise, which he absorbs, making him sprout dragon heads. Kitaniji explains his belief of Shibuya's negativity stemming from individuality, and by using the Red Skull pins they will believe a single idea. Neku's Player Pin starts glowing and he becomes engulfed in fire, explaining that having to interact with people in the Underground helped him grow and Shibuya should stay as it is. Kitaniji transforms into Draco Cantus.

Neku reflecting on his connections.

In the episode "It's a Wonderful World", Neku battles Kitaniji as Draco Cantus. He says he can't believe Neku was the chosen one and refuses to explain. Beat and Shiki help Neku, forming a powerful three-way fusion, blasting and destroying Draco Cantus with powerful lasers of light. Kitaniji is erased. Neku reminds Beat they have to find the Composer. The door at the center of the Room of Reckoning opens. They find themselves in a corridor covered in CAT's graffiti. He wonders about Hanekoma's actions, but stops hesitating and screams out to him in the darkness. Beat yells for the Composer to come.

Joshua appears, revealing himself to be Shibuya's Composer. Neku is horrified. Joshua levitates Shiki and Beat and paralyzes them. Neku is in crisis over everything he's done during the Game to help Joshua erase Shibuya. He asks if Joshua erased Minamimoto as well - Joshua says Minamimoto kept interfering with his plans. He gives Neku back the last memories he'd been withholding. Neku's memories start from when Minamimoto fired behind him - however, the bullet was meant for Joshua, who stopped the bullets. Minamimoto kept shooting as Joshua simply stopped them. Joshua raises his gun at Minamimoto, and he runs away. He then shoots Neku dead and drops him a Player Pin. Neku grabs Joshua by the collar and tells him about how he was blaming himself for believing Joshua to be his killer, for it to be right all along. Joshua forces Neku away. Joshua materializes two guns and proposes a Game to Neku, where the person who shoots first becomes Composer and decides Shibuya's fate. Joshua starts counting down from ten as Neku cries. At 7, he raises his gun, but thinks of Hanekoma's "trust your partner" mantra. At 1, he drops his gun and lifts his hand out to Joshua. Joshua shoots him dead.

Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing, alive. Confused, a passerby bumps into him. Neku stares up at the Q-Front, seeing an advertisement rather than a days countdown. At Statue of Hachiko, Neku runs up to Beat and Rhyme waiting for him. Beat doesn't understand why they're alive, but Rhyme says it has to be something Neku, Beat, and Shiki did. Neku asks where Shiki is - someone taps him on the back. It's Shiki in her real body, holding Mr. Mew. Neku removes his headphones and greets her like when they first met. Beat mentions there is new graffiti in Udagawa. Rhyme says it showed up overnight, and Shiki says everyone's been talking about it. Neku says it was done by Hanekoma and Beat teases him for his graffiti enthusiasm. Beat asks how they could perform a Fusion like they did on Draco Cantus, and Neku guesses Hanekoma was cheering them on with his keypin to the Shibuya River. En route, Neku, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme meet up with Sota and Nao at Tokyu Hands. It is shown the graffiti at Udagawa is a dedication to Neku: purple headphones surrounded by angel wings.

Trivia

  • Neku's name is incidentally phonetically similar to the Japanese word for cat ((ねこ) neko), which may relate to the name of Neku's favorite designer, CAT.
  • Neku's bright orange hair was designed for convenience, so the player could easily identify him in a crowd of pixelated characters.[1]
  • Jesse David Corti once said Neku's story is of him becoming more open minded and going from invulnerable to vulnerable, especially regarding his emotions and personality and allowing himself to experience hurt and weakness. This contrasts many stories where protagonists start as vulnerable and become invulnerable. While many protagonists gain strength and abilities, Neku begins the game as a psych master and loses all of his psych abilities when he returns to the RG at the end of the game.
    • Neku also loses the distinction of being a psych master in NEO as any Player is capable of using any psych regardless of their psych level.
  • It is unknown whether or not Neku can utilize absolutely every pin, as some pins are not accessible to the game player, which includes the pins that Neku's Partners use.
  • The fate of Neku's third entry fee (every other player in the third week) was not revealed.
  • In the Japanese version of the game, Neku's nickname in Another Day is "Dark Blue."
  • When Neku meets Shiki, she says "call me Shiki" and Neku thinks to himself, "I call this wack." Neku says this because in Japanese culture, calling people by their first name is seen as a sign of closeness and informality, and he is annoyed by how easily Shiki is trying to befriend him.
  • Neku and Shiki placed seventh on Nintendo Power's list of gaming's top couples in their February 2011 issue.
  • Neku's favorite brand is Jupiter of the Monkey, and Neku is quite fond of CAT. Jupiter of the Monkey's main store happens to be located on Cat Street nearby CAT's café, which ties Neku and Hanekoma together.

Neku's body by the graffiti.

  • During the scene where Neku is killed, upon close inspection, the graffiti above Neku shows a skeleton dressed similarly to Neku, with what seems to be reddish hair, blue clothes and wearing blue headphones. The Neku-like skeleton is looking directly at Neku's body. Under the skeleton is an image of a bull made of bones, which may represent Shiki who is associated with the D+B brand and may also represent her death. To the left of the skeleton seems to be an abstract skull which may reference a Player Pin, and underneath, yellow art similar to the Thunderbolt pin (one of Neku's first pins) which may represent psychs. The section of the mural may foreshadow Neku's time in the Reapers' Game.
  • In The Animation, Neku is left-handed.[2]
  • At the end of the main story, Neku discards his headphones. However, they are present again in A New Day. The headphones do not reappear on Neku's character design in NEO: The World Ends with You.
    • The inclusion of his headphones in A New Day was likely so that the developers did not need to create new assets of Neku without his headphones.
    • The headphones were a part of Neku's early character designs for NEO: The World Ends with You. They would have appeared around his neck.
  • In NEO, one of Neku's result screen lines is a direct quote of Hanekoma in The Animation: "Teamwork makes the dream work."
  • In a NEO guidebook, there were photos of Neku wearing his original outfit during battles, which does not appear in the final game. Putting the Legendary set on Neku does nothing.
  • In the first DS version, Neku is still internally referred to within the game's code as "boy", since his name was not decided at the start of development.
  • Neku coincidentally shares a battle quote with NEO's main protagonist Rindo that Neku says in the original game.
    • When defeating a single Noise, Neku can say "Any last words?!" similar to Rindo, who says the same quote when doing so.
  • Neku was designed by Tetsuya Nomura in both games. In the NTWEWY Artbook from 2021, Nomura commented that "it was difficult to surpass Neku's first design from the original game". In other artworks, Neku's beta design has more white palette to it, and has a zipper in his white jacket.

References

Characters in The World Ends with You
Neku SakurabaShiki MisakiBeatJoshuaRhymeSota HonjoNao 777BJCoco AtarashiKoki KariyaMegumi KitanijiMitsuki KonishiSho MinamimotoTenhoUzuki YashiroYodai Higashizawa
Shopkeepers
Aily UenoAkira YoshiiAnna AoiAyu HamaguchiBanzai AyanokojiFumi GotodaFumiko NishimuraHideki KikuchiHikaru KoikeHT MasuokaJun OdajimaKeiichi OkadaKen DoiKyoMakoto MikiMasanori ItoMay KurokawaMie SuzukiMiki KosakaNana MajimaPrincess KRayca HoshiRikako TodaSanae HanekomaShigemi KonnoShigemori IwataShinta IwataTadafumi SatoTak KimuraTatsuya OmuraTsubasaYoji IwataYosh IshinoYumi SheenaYuu Narumi
Other Characters
AiCATEiji OjiEriFutoshiItaru YokoyamadaKen DoiMakoto MikiMinaMr. MewNeku's best friendPin ProfSanae HanekomaShrimpShuto DanTsugumi MatsunaeWizard of SlamVice Wizard of Slam
Characters in NEO: The World Ends with You
Rindo KanadeFretNagi UsuiBeatShoka SakuraneNeku SakurabaSho Minamimoto Shiba MiyakazeSusukichiTsugumi Matsunae Fuya KawaharaKohei ToyohashiKatsuhiko Tanimaru Kanon TachibanaMaito Minami Motoi AnazawaSumio Tanaka Koki KariyaUzuki YashiroCoco AtarashiSho Minamimoto Shiba MiyakazeTanzo KuboAyano KamachiKaie OnoHishima SakazukiShoka SakuraneSusukichiTsugumi MatsunaeTsugumi Matsunae's brother
Shopkeepers
AadivAika KuribayashiAkari MinaminoAkira IshiwaAoi KyobeGenzo KoitabashiHirofumi ItoguchiHiromu TakaharaIzumi AriyoshiJo MakitaJun SonobeKana InadaKaoru NitobeKeiichi OkadaKen DoiKohei SuzukawaLinda WatanabeMai IseyaMasayaMichihisa TadashimaMiharu NakanoMiki SaionjiMiko YamamotoMitsuhide TojoMomoka OwadaNaoto KuwataRei MogiRenka SakumaRieko KawaharaRina TodoRintaro NakagawaRyojiRyoma UtsumiSakura KogaSayoko MorohoshiShinobu SatoSumire ChibaSuzu ItoTakumi MiyanoTamao SasaiTomoko HirasawaTomoyuki KondoTsukihimeWataru KoketsuYotsuba SanoYudai MikiYumi Takita
Other Characters
Buddy RapidsEiji OjiEiruHazuki MikagiHonoka KondoItsuki KanedaJoshuaKen DoiMachastreeMKNMr. MewRhymeRyojiSanae HanekomaShiki MisakiTomonamiYuika KagaMarino OriharaYusei IseyaRiko SekinoharaTaka the HandymanTaku IhamaKashikiShuntaro HarimaAmmonia BanksHide TakenouchiGo ModoriyamaYoko NorimotoManami Akita
Advertisement