Nezumi (ネズミ) (Japanese), directly translated in the English versions to Rat (English), is a main character in the novels, manga, and anime of No.6. After coming across Shion when they were children, Nezumi would rescue him when they were both in danger from the city of No.6.
In the novels, Nezumi is described as having a fair, pale complexion and a slender jawline, giving him a feminine image. He has gray eyes and black hair (dark gray in the anime), which is short and just covers his ears. Shion comments that Nezumi's shoulders are broad and he is well-muscled, though he is able to maintain a thin, agile, and androgynous appearance. On his back is a large burn scar as big as a human's hand (in the anime, Nezumi has more than one burn scar) that he received during his childhood.
Nezumi wears a dark grey, green-tinted leather jacket that is decorated with pockets and zippers. Underneath, he wears a pale yellow long-sleeve shirt. His beige cargo pants have large pockets on either side, and he only tucks the left leg into his combat boots – the right side is left loose and is tattered. Around his neck is a large, dark grey scarf made of incredibly durable superfiber cloth, which doubles as his cloak.
In the manga and anime, Nezumi wears his hair differently. It is longer, about shoulder-blade level in length. He is most commonly seen with it in a spiked ponytail, and he appears to use some of his own hair to secure it. In the anime adaptation, his hair is the color of slate instead of black.
At age twelve, Nezumi's hair was shoulder length. His attire consisted of a light gray sweater with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and denim blue shorts. He was also shorter than Shion.
Outwardly, Nezumi is a rude, sarcastic, and irritable individual, especially when he feels as if he's being questioned. Every time Shion asks Nezumi about himself, Nezumi shortly tells him to stop being nosy. When speaking with others, he often takes on a condescending or mocking tone. Nezumi has a cruel streak when it comes to getting what he wants, such is demonstrated when he tortures the No. 6 official, Fura. However, no matter how much Nezumi denies it, he is capable of thoughtful gestures. At some point, Nezumi gifted Shion's sweater to the young girl, Karan.
Nezumi also has a tendency to to be dramatic and theatrical, due to his love for classic literature. His room is filled with books that range from Shakespeare to Ecology and Scientific Journals. For someone who has no formal education, Nezumi has a vast amount of knowledge. However, he is unorganized – a fact that is noted by Shion and proven by how messy his room is. In addition to being booksmart, Nezumi's instincts and survival skills are as sharp as his knife.
At the beginning of the series, Nezumi is a very cold individual who keeps himself distanced from others. He stands firm to the belief that you should live only for yourself, that memories and relationships are like shackles that ultimately lead to your downfall. As the series progresses, this resolve crumbles. He becomes protective and fond of Shion, and there are a number of times he puts Shion before himself. At one point in the anime series, he appears to begin to tell Shion that he's "fallen in love" with him but is interrupted while infiltrating the Correctional Facility. A few similar scenarios are shown in the manga and novels.
Nezumi is descended from a race that once lived in Mao Forest, otherwise known as the Forest Folk. They resided there for eons, long before most of the planet was destroyed by war. The Forest People were peaceful, they lived in harmony with the wind, earth, rivers, and sky. They could communicate with animals and the forest itself, which they protected and revered.
Among the Forest People were those called “Singers”, gifted people who were able to appease and converse with Elyurias through song, Nezumi being one of them. They pleaded with Elyurias to not turn them into hosts for her parasitic wasps. They offered her a nest made of animal brains for her to lay her eggs instead, which was known as the “Godly Bed”. So long as the forest people guarded the eggs with their hearts and souls until they hatched, they would not be harmed. This bargain was carried out through countless generations.
These parasite wasps have the ability to control their human host, a trait most parasitic organisms posses. That is the power that No. 6 wanted from Elyurias – the ability to control and dominate humans. When No. 6 entered the forest seeking to capture her, they met resistance from the people that lived there. In response, No. 6 used force to seize the Godly Bed and slaughtered all the people, burning the forest to the ground. This event is known as the “Mao Massacre”.
Nezumi was only five when he witnessed his family, friends, and home burn. During his attempt to flee, he received the scars on his back. He only survived this tragedy thanks to an old woman who carried him out on her back and took care of him. This old woman, who he referred to as “Gran”, harbored an intense hatred for No.6, and wished to get revenge for the massacre. Through this, Nezumi's own hatred for the city began to boil. When Gran attempted to carry out assassination on the Mayor of No.6, she was killed. As result, Nezumi was captured and taken to the Correctional Facility, where he was left in the basement to die. He found the tunnels that led to the underground society, and there he met Rou.
After two years of living there, Rou made a plan that would allow Nezumi to leave the underground and escape from the city's clutches. Rou contacted officials in the Correctional Facility and told them that Nezumi was the last of the forest folk, claiming they'd benefit a great deal if they took him to the Moondrop for experimentation. Before sending Nezumi off, Rou gave him a knife and told him to escape the very moment the opportunity opened up.
During his escort to the Moondrop, Nezumi was able to slip away from the Security Bureau. He came up with a story of how he's always wanted to see and hear the Moondrop howl in person, saying it's his last wish to do so before he becomes a “sample”. Once security let their guard down he was able to escape into the sewers, with backup close on his trail.
Nezumi was first shown staggering to the outside of a tunnel, appearing to be wounded on his shoulder. He made it out alive and is seen promising himself that he would not die a meaningless death.
He then appeared in front of Shion as he entered the window leading to his room. Shion, then twelve, was surprised by his sudden appearance but before he could say anything Nezumi quickly silenced him with a choke hold. Shion then saw Nezumi's bleeding shoulder and offered to treat the wound. Nezumi was shocked by this sudden request. Shion's mother then spoke through the intercom asking if Shion opened the window. He said yes and but did not warn her of Nezumi's presence. Nezumi released Shion and he asked if the wound was from a bullet. When Nezumi responded Shion was shocked to know that anyone other then the hunting group even possessed weapons. "There are those who hunt and those who are hunted" when Shion didn't understand he told him that its best for him to not know.
Four years later, Nezumi learns from his robotic rats that Shion was on his way to the correctional facility. He traces the police car in which Shion was being transported and rescues him. He leads him to West Block, just outside No. 6, and lets him stay with him. Nezumi later saves Shion from a fatal parasitic infection. When he learns that Shion wants to save the city from the infection -- thus contradicting what Nezumi desires -- he tells him that he would become his enemy if he carries out with that plan.
Powers & Abilities
Nezumi is bright and has the animal-like ability to sense danger. He is noted to be agile and strong, proven when he survived the Correctional Facility. He is extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat and fighting with his knife. He also appears to be fairly comfortable in shooting. Also, as stated in the novels, Nezumi is the last Singer of the Mao and has the ability to control Elyurias. Inukashi/Dog keeper stated that Nezumi’s singing voice seems as though can carry away the soul without pain.
Shion: He first met Shion when he entered his house through the window during a storm. When Shion asked if Nezumi wanted him to bandage the wound on his shoulder, he was rather taken aback, but agreed. He was telling him that the city was just used as a brainwashing project to enslave people and that it was not perfect. Shion immediately agreed with him, surprising Nezumi.
Nezumi seems to, in a sense, care for Shion deeply and he sees him as innocent. He admires the fact that Shion wants to find a better way of doing things than killing but tells him he's foolish for thinking so. It is known that Nezumi and Shion have romantic feelings toward each other; a few hints are given off every time Shion is an issue. For example, in episode 7 Shion gives Nezumi a "goodnight kiss", but this was in fact a "goodbye kiss", also used as a thank you to Nezumi for all he's done for Shion. Shion also didn't want to involve Nezumi with the rescue of Safu in fear of Nezumi getting hurt. Then, in No. 6, when Shion kills a guard for harming Nezumi, Nezumi feels it's his fault and shows a surprising amount of emotion when he cries for making Shion do such a thing. And despite his belief that survivors are the winners, after Shion is killed, in the anime, he chooses to stay in the correctional facility and sing for Shion's soul rather than run away from the collapsing building; further proving that they harbor romantic feelings for each other. Another hint that they have romantic feelings for each other is seen in Episode 10, when Nezumi states, "I have fallen", after thinking about Shion; however the true meaning of what he says is unclear at the time, it later becomes more clear. Nezumi kissed Shion in a romantic sense during episode 11, promising him that they would meet again.
Nezumi has shown signs of being protective over Shion, as he helps him out in his own special way throughout the series to help him adjust to life in the West Block, but it was most prominently shown in episode 11. In said episode, Nezumi lies to Shion, in order to calm him, that he used Safu as an excuse to blow up the Correctional Facility and said the line, "At the end of the day, you and I are just..." right when he was about to say strangers, an officer spots them and aims his gun at Shion; Nezumi quickly runs in front of Shion and takes the bullet for him. This is very significant because throughout the series, Nezumi states that once you find something to protect, you lose, Nezumi tried denying the fact that he loved Shion to the point where he would protect him up until that point where he lays his own life on the line to protect Shion.
Throughout the series, the two have intimate moments that further deepen their relationship; Nezumi tries comforting Shion when he first notices the changes due to the parasitic wasp, even saying he preferred Shion's new white hair to his old brown hair, offered to help him dye it back if wanted to, and called the snake coiled around his body charming/sexy.
While Shion was being hit on by the prostitute, Nezumi says he (Shion) belongs to him, in the manga and light novels, he even goes so far as to say that Shion was head over heels in love with him and no matter how pretty she is, he wouldn't fall for a woman. Later, Shion strangles Rikiga when he asks Nezumi to work as one of his prostitutes. Shion was clearly more upset over the situation than Nezumi was himself and he even wraps an arm around Shion's shoulders as a form of comfort as the two start to leave. Inukashi points out Shion is the only person that can get Nezumi emotional or to feel emotions at all. Nezumi and Shion dance in the (one-sided) celebration of the wasp epidemic coming sooner, Shion tries getting out of it by saying he can't dance, so Nezumi teaches him how to waltz and throughout the entire dance, the two seem to be staring into the other's eyes. Nezumi often holds Shion's chin in the series to get him to look him in the eye, the movement often makes watchers/readers think that he's about to kiss him, and Nezumi has been shown straddling Shion on different occasions as well.
Inukashi: Nezumi and Inukashi have an extremely antagonistic relationship, only overshadowed by their professionalism (Nezumi's need for information and Inukashi's role as an informant). Their first meeting happened when Inukashi, looking for resources, snuck into Nezumi's home in the former library area. Nezumi caught them rummaging through his belongings, and threatened them for trying to steal from him. In an attempt to get away, Inukashi went into tangents about this and that to disract Nezumi. Eventually, the situation cooled down and they introduced themselves to one another.
Along with their ability to cooperate with each other in favour of their own personal goals, the two, at the most, can 'trust' each other when one says they'll do something. On Nezumi's part, he says he'll sing or help Inukashi if they're ever dying, and Inukashi feels that Nezumi will certainly keep his word. Whereas Inukashi's information is trustworthy and vital to Nezumi's actions. Business aside, Shion's interactions with both of them further forces the two to cooperate and compromise with one another.
Gran: Gran was an elderly Mao member who saved Nezumi from the Mao Massacre. She helped Nezumi survive, and is the source of his distrust in others and the belief that anyone can deceive another at any time. Nezumi showed great concern for her when she cried about how overwhelming her hate for No. 6 became, and thought to himself how he didn't what to see her crying. She is said to have been strong-minded, and her grudge of No. 6 never dwindled, to the point where she attempted to murder No. 6's mayor, but was shot before she could do so.
Nezumi is unaware if Gran is his grandmother or just an old woman who took him in.
Images of Nezumi
- "You guys have been programmed to think the holy mess of a city is perfect."
- "The West Block isn't part of the city to him. It's in the Margins. He probably only sees this place as some kind of garbage dump."
- "Who ever lives wins. Don't feel guilty about having survived. If you have time to be feeling guilty,work on living a day longer, a minute longer. And once and a while, remember the ones that died before you. That's good enough."
- You just wait. Some day, I'll carve out that infection of yours, and lay it out in the open."
- His name means "rat".
- In the official translations for both the manga and anime, Nezumi's name is translated to "Rat".
- He has bad sleeping habits
- A common misconception is that he dislikes seafood. In the novel, Nezumi clarifies that while he does not have the privilege of being a picky eater, he does not trust raw seafood due to West Block's unsanitary conditions.
- He likes his soup piping hot
- "Nezumi" is an alias.