- "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
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.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Story
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Abilities
- 6 Items
- 7 Etymology
- 8 Quotes
- 9 Battle Quotes
- 10 Non-Canon Appearances
- 11 Trivia
- 12 References
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.
- "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
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.
Claiming 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 hm, 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 admires the designer CAT for their motto expressing the self-freedom of, "do what you want, how you want, when you want." 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.
Though he initially alienates his later-to-be friends, Neku slowly softens 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, Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu, Daisukenojo "Beat" Bito, Raimu "Rhyme" Bito, 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 a selfish, unthoughtful loner 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. Additionally, Neku has shown to be quite merciful, as he was able to forgive Joshua and 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.
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 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.
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.
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 and Shiki then complete the mission, removing the curse from the Statue of Hachiko by defeating the Noise inhabiting it. After completing the mission 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."
On the fourth day, Neku learns more about Shiki's ambitions and gets called a "spicy tuna roll" by Eiji Oji. Neku and Shiki are too late from saving Rhyme from being erased. This event causes Neku to feel that having friends is painful, and he and Shiki enter an argument where Shiki is offended by Neku's lack of expressive sadness, not knowing he is dealing with his grief differently than her.
On the fifth day, Shiki apologizes to Neku for saying he was inhuman and no better than a Reaper. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing, this time in the Realground and restored to life with a small crowd looking at the 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 and realized he was misled by Joshua once again, when Joshua only said that he would decide what to do with Shibuya, instead of erasing it.
A week later, Neku walks around Shibuya, addressing an absent Joshua about how he grew over the past few weeks and inviting 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. 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.
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.
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. At some point, Neku apparently made it back to Shibuya where he crossed paths with Coco and she explained she was trying to recruit his aid and save Tsugumi Matsunae the whole time. Considering how Neku does not notice the Gatto Nero label on his jacket, this implies he obtained these clothes very recently, possibly from Coco.
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 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
Shiki is Neku's first partner in the Reapers' Game. At first, Neku dislikes Shiki, finding her behavior "obnoxious" and controlling. He acts coldly towards her and only staying with her to survive. 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.
When Shiki talks, Neku generally only responds when he becomes irritated by her chatting, often because he views her actions as neglecting his feelings and boundaries. For example, when she took off Neku's shorts to fix his button against his will, despite his protests, or when she tells him he "can't mean that" or "can't do that" in attempts to be helpful, coming off as controlling to Neku instead. Early on, he seems to show little regard for her, as he is even willing to kill her when the Reaper Uzuki Yashiro offered him a way out of the Game in exchange for doing so, although Neku did not truly want to do it or else he would be erased instead.
Despite the incident, Shiki continues to treat him the same and does her best to understand him. As time progresses, the two develop a friendship as they become closer and open up to each other. When they 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. When they learn that only Shiki will move on to the RG, and that Neku must play the Game again, Shiki states that she will wait in front of Hachiko everyday until Neku returns.
There is some amount of irony at the beginning of the second week when Shiki is taken as Neku's 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.
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.
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.
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.
Neku first encounters Rhyme in 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. In Week 1 Day 4, Rhyme jumps out and saves Beat from a Noise, the Swing Shark, sacrificing herself. Neku acts coldly and pretends not to be upset by the event, telling Shiki it is why he doesn't rely on anybody or want to forge relationships, as he ends up getting hurt.
Rhyme appears later in the form of a squirrel Noise as a Pin that Neku can use to fight the Noise. Despite the two not being shown together much, the two are shown interacting well in the game's final scene.
Neku finds Joshua especially irritating, as he often teases him and his snobby attitude tends to get on Neku's nerves. However, 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.
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.
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.
to be written.
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.
Also, 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 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.
The World Ends with You
The following is all of the Neku-related items that the player can get in the game:
There are several Threads that give bonuses when worn exclusively by Neku. Listed in order of their item number, they are:
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.
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
There are five threads that give bonuses when worn exclusively by Neku.
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.
The World Ends with You
- "Screw you. I go where I want." (to Shiki)
- "What. The. Hell." (seeing the timer on his hand)
- "I AM thinking. Maybe if for just one minute you could stop your bi—" (to Shiki)
- "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!"
- "Then I wish I had more zippers... so I could tell you to ZIP IT." (thinkng at Shiki)
- "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)
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)
- "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 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 appears as a costume that the player character can wear in Kingdom Hearts Union X. He also appears in several medals:
- Neku & Shiki & Joshua
- Illustrated Neku
- The World Ends with You Art
- Sora & Neku
- The World Ends with You Art 2
- The World Ends with You Art 3
- Prime - Neku & Joshua
Neku, Shiki, and Joshua also make a brief appearance at the start of Kingdom Hearts III along with Sora's memories.
|"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. Firstly, he does not know his own full name and only knows the name "Neku". The name "Sakuraba" is revealed to him when Uzuki taunts him with it on the second day. She then tells him that if he doesn't erase Shiki, he will be erased as opposed the conscious choice made in the original game. Neku's anger at Shiki then summons Chump Noise that possess him and drive him to attempt to erase her before Hanekoma intervenes.
Neku's move set was also changed. Instead of utilizing pins for his abilities, Neku naturally has access to any psych. The design for the pin associated with them still flashes on screen just before he uses them however.
- Neku's bright orange hair was designed for convenience, so the player could easily identify him in a crowd of pixelated characters.
- 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.
- It is unknown whether or not Neku can utilize every pin, as some pins are not accessible to the game player, which includes the pins Neku's partners use.
- 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's favorite brand is Jupiter of the Monkey and Neku is fond of CAT. It is unknown if this is a coincidence, but Jupiter of the Monkey's main store is located on CAT street near CAT's cafe which ties Neku and Hanekoma together.
- 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.
- The fate of Neku's third entry fee (every other player in the third week) is not revealed.
- In the Japanese version of the game, Neku's nickname in Another Day is "Dark Blue."
- Neku and Shiki placed seventh on Nintendo Power's list of gaming's top couples in their February 2011 issue.
- Neku's name is incidentally phonetically similar to the Japanese word for cat (
猫neko), which may relate to the name of Neku's favorite designer, CAT.
- Additionally, in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, the Japanese name of his Dream Eater is "Necho Cat."
- 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 the headphones in A New Day is 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 The Animation, Neku is left-handed.
- 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.
- Neku coincidentally shares a battle quote with NEO's main protagonist Rindo that Neku says in the original version.
- When defeating a single Noise, Neku would say "Any last words?!" similar to Rindo who says the same when doing so..
- The World Ends With You The Animation promo video. Note how Neku performs of his actions with his left hand.
|Characters in The World Ends with You|
|Shiki Misaki • Beat • Joshua • Rhyme • Sota Honjo • Nao 777 • BJ • Coco Atarashi • Koki Kariya • Megumi Kitaniji • Mitsuki Konishi • Sho Minamimoto • Tenho • Uzuki Yashiro • Yodai Higashizawa Aily Ueno • Akira Yoshii • Anna Aoi • Ayu Hamaguchi • Banzai Ayanokoji • Fumi Gotoda • Fumiko Nishimura • Hideki Kikuchi • Hikaru Koike • HT Masuoka • Jun Odajima • Keiichi Okada • Ken Doi • Kyo • Makoto Miki • Masanori Ito • May Kurokawa • Mie Suzuki • Miki Kosaka • Nana Majima • Princess K • Rayca Hoshi • Rikako Toda • Sanae Hanekoma • Shigemi Konno • Shigemori Iwata • Shinta Iwata • Tadafumi Sato • Tak Kimura • Tatsuya Omura • Tsubasa • Yoji Iwata • Yosh Ishino • Yumi Sheena • Yuu Narumi Ai • CAT • Eiji Oji • Eri • Futoshi • Itaru Yokoyamada • Ken Doi • Makoto Miki • Mina • Mr. Mew • Pin Prof • Sanae Hanekoma • Shrimp • Shuto Dan • Tsugumi Matsunae • Wizard of Slam • Vice Wizard of SlamNeku Sakuraba •|