a big part of my love for near came from the fact that i first watched death note when i was like nine and didn’t even know i was autistic, and certainly never saw any positive representation, and near was one of the first times i ever saw a character who was “different” the same way i was. and i latched onto him immediately because there was a character in this amazing anime who was LIKE ME in this nebulous way i didn’t yet understand.
i cosplayed him at one of my first ever conventions (lugging around a surprising amount of my bionicle collection in a backpack because I LIKED LEGOS AND HE LIKED LEGOS), i drew him dozens of times in sketchbooks sadly lost to time and moving house, i got into vicious and very immature fights on gaia online message boards with the many, many people in the 2006 death note fandom who hated his guts, i picked up practically all his mannerisms because i wanted to be just like him (to this day, eleven or so years later, i stim by twirling my hair ALL THE TIME. i had forgotten where that came from until i rewatched death note in 2015.) i have a very vivid memory of hearing about it as soon as they cast his english voice and telling all my unenthusiastic friends about it at school the next day because i was SO EXCITED. near was so important to me as a kid and rewatching the anime as an educated adult and seeing how overtly coded as autistic he is makes that all the more meaningful to me now.
so like, this is why i’ll insist that near is canonically autistic. and… representation is important.