Neku is tall and slender with spiky orange hair and blue eyes. He wears a sleeveless shirt with a funnel-shaped collar and an indigo stripe outlined with gold going down the middle, a yellow sweatband on his left arm, 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 headphones and having his MP3 player around his neck.
Neku is antisocial. Claiming that he "doesn't get people," Neku usually dislikes interacting with others, feeling that friends only drag him down. Neku sees society as an annoyance that forces its values on him, pesters him, and expects him to do things he doesn't want. As such, he admires the designer CAT for their motto, "do what you want, how you want, when you want."
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).
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, Joshua, Beat, Rhyme, and Mr. 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 World Ends With YouEdit
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 he had not been on his way to meet Neku in front of 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.
On the day of his death, Neku gets caught up in a gunfight between Joshua and Sho Minamimoto while admiring a CAT mural. After fending Minamimoto off, Joshua kills Neku entering him in the Reapers' Game and selecting him as proxy for the Game for Shibuya's fate.
On Day 1, 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 hoard 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.
On Day 2, 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, making him a "Psych genius". Outside, they meet Beat and Rhyme, with whom Shiki discusses the Reapers' Game. Neku keeps to himself, 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.
On Day 3, Neku wakes up and remembers how Sanae Hanekoma had intervened just in time to save the pair. After intervening, Hanekoma had stuck around to give some advice on the Game and the Fusion Pin. The mission for the day is to defeat the master of A-East, which ends up being completed by Beat and Rhyme.
On the sixth day, Neku 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 discover that Beat is still alive. Shiki is chosen to be revived, which she hesitates, but Neku tells her it's okay. Neku receives his entry fee for the first week, (most of) his memories, and is told that he must compete in the game again to be given another chance at life. He is horrified to discover his 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 antisocial and pessimistic behavior, but the two make it to 104 to complete their mission.
On the second day, Joshua requests that the two go to Cat Street, but Neku refuses to since he needs to complete the mission. On the third day, Neku receives a mission to go to Cat Street (that he later discovers is fake), and meets Hanekoma, who upgrades his phone. Over the next few days, since the new Game Master Minamimoto hasn't assigned any missions, Neku follows Joshua as he uses his new phone features to locate the Shibuya River. Meanwhile, Neku reads Joshua's mind and discovers some of his lost memories, and is led to believe that Joshua killed 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.
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 Minamimoto, he fires a powerful beam 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, 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 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 finds Shiki and Megumi Kitaniji, where Kitaniji brainwashes Shiki and fights Neku and Beat. Neku chases Kitaniji down further into the Shibuya River and fights him again with Shiki and Beat. After the battle, Neku finds Joshua, and discovers that Joshua really did kill him, 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.
He is then taken to a standoff between him and Joshua, 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 meets with Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme a week later.
In the parallel universe of 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 also has "emo urges" and is a huge fan and skillful player of Tin Pin. He 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 and doesn't want to lose him like his former friend who died in an accident. Upon reaching the top, Neku meets the main world version of Hanekoma, who challenges him to a fight before leaving.
In Kingdom HeartsEdit
Neku makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 3D: 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 alllies 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 parrallel 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 TWEWY, that if he gives up on himself, he gives up on the world. Neku thanks him for the words, and he hopes he can get back, too.
On Sora's TeamEdit
After Sora and the team visits Neku's worlds and happy to see him again, he greets to team and joins after they help Neku defeat Jeff the Killer, and Slender Man. On missions, he's always serious and protects Shiki from harm.