So Neuro is a hottie. Yeah, he’s pretty. He uses strong body language. He’s forceful and has an unbreakable will. He could even be described bishounen when he’s angry.
He’s also sadistic and has a low regard for humans, and even then he has a low regard for demons too. He has low regard for everything. He is the pinnacle of self-absorbed.
So when you combine those factors, you get an image something like this, right?
Let’s look at Neuro’s behavior in Chapter 2, when he’s confirmed he has a slave who works for him and isn’t particularly disobedient (he just wants something to hit and use, he doesn’t really give a shit about Yako’s blatant disrespect). He feels there’s no obstacle and now he’s geared towards getting his meal. The slave knows what’s up. He can do his thing now.
So how does he act?
Yeah, that’s pretty in line with Neuro’s behavior. He is a scary motherfucker. We got this down. We can even appreciate Matsui’s surreal symbolism in the art. It’s gorgeous and gives a great image of Neuro’s personality, moreso than the evil smile.
Sure, so what other kind of faces does he make?
In case you didn’t catch Neuro’s defining character trait, it continues on in later chapters.
He starts off intimidating, of course. No matter how many different faces he makes, it’s a fact that he just oozes overconfidence. He knows his strengths.
He doesn’t even fucking know what sex is.
He literally does not understand what sex is. He lives in fucking hell, he should be able to comprehend intimate innuendo. Ten-year-olds would have caught that.
Neuro what are you doing.
Okay, see, maybe I’m wrong. He’s pretty. He’s got it. He’s cool. Caught a bullet with his eyelashes, cue fucking bedroom eyes. Dang. Well that closes that arguement the
For fuck’s sake.
This generally continues on literally every time Yako and Neuro are alone. If you still haven’t got it, let me spell it out;
Neuro is a child.
He’s essentially a kid in an adult’s body. He’s been spoiled by the sheer degree of power he has. No one can bring him down. He’s unbelievably petty and has no perspective because he doesn’t need it. When he starts the series off he is so disinterested in humans that he doesn’t even bother looking over the finished mystery.
This puts a light on his behavior later in the story;
Aya Asia’s ability actually piques his interest. It’s the only time you see him surprised or intrigued beyond responding to Yako. When you focus on what points of Yako’s behavior he reacts like this to, we can determine he does it because he didn’t expect humans to be any more than worms. His concept of perspective is challenged. He’s confused because he’s sheltered and doesn’t have the maturity to accept that he had been wrong about something he was so adamant about. He only held certain humans (like Yako) in higher or lesser regard for most of the story.
So we got that Neuro is
- not a sex god
- extremely childish
- very petty and selfish
These are his character flaws. Wouldn’t it be boring if we just had an all-powerful and perfect demon dragging Yako along? He has to have flaws, or else we’d lose interest. And what do stories do with flaws?
They turn them into obstacles.
Neuro’s immaturity and lack of perspective drags him down severely. He has no empathy and can’t comprehend the objective of a murder. For most of the story, he leans on Yako for the in-depth factors and listening to her dig out a criminal’s core visibly affects him. He listens to their confessions, even responding to them (with condescending quips, but still). He becomes interested in humans.
And by the end, he becomes attached.
Even if they’re the source of his food, there are a ludicrously huge number of people in Japan. What should he care? At the beginning he is the core of sadistic apathy; he gains no joy from killing humans, but he also probably wouldn’t give a shit if a bunch of humans died. He only beats and mocks people because he gets his jollies from it. This isn’t “like” him, but we see him slowly come to this view over the course of the plot.
Even if it’s only because he feels all humans have potential to hatch a meal, he puts value on humans.
On an ever-calm character like Neuro, that is an expression of outrage. The act of storing away humans and stepping on their heads, treating them like like they’re disposable; it disgusts him. He enjoys regarding humans like trash, but he has developed a line that people can cross with him.
He sacrifices his energy for these humans. He dumps his energy for a bunch of worms that are a technically few among many. He doesn’t show any sign of sensing potential; he just assumes they have it.
Even though it’s not all of his energy, or even depleting him to his core, or even worth worrying about because he’s Nougami fucking Neuro, it’s still an act of putting value on humans.
And then he deems them capable of defending themselves. The weak and broken bodies of a bunch of scared humans against a “human” that he himself had trouble fighting. He thinks humans are lesser beings, but also capable ones.
The main arcs around Yako and Neuro overlap and interlock; these arcs are the sense of value. Yako feels she has no value, while Neuro does not give value to anything. These characters grow and evolve based on this concept.
Even if he keeps his lack of empathy little-kid behavior (which Yako eventually stops punishing him for), he still becomes a more mature person who is better at sorting his priorities and finding a time for seriousness. He has met his match and learned what it is to be under strain. He has learned about humans. Even in a psychopathic child who doesn’t feel any empathy, he still developed and grew as a person.
So shine on, you crazy demon.
Okay. Maybe a little less shining.