Neku Sakuraba is the protagonist from The World Ends With You, who appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. He was featured in a gameplay demo at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
While looking for Riku, Sora stumbles across Neku, who is hanging off of a nearby roof. Neku jumps down from the roof, asking Sora if he will help him in "the Game", but after looking at Sora's palm, he realizes that Sora is not part of the Game. He shows Sora his own palm, which is marked with his remaining time in the Game—just over forty-three minutes. Sora offers to help Neku win the Game, and though he comments that he was looking for a partner, Neku refuses, saying that they've just met and can't be considered friends yet. Neku leaves to continue the Game, and Sora chases after him. When Sora catches up, the pair is attacked by Dream Eaters.
After quickly disposing of the Nightmares, Neku explains the concept of Spirits to Sora and teaches him how to create one. They are once again caught off guard by Nightmares and the two are forced to split up. Sora eventually catches up to Neku in the Third District where they are confronted by a man in a black coat. Neku tells the man that he had brought Sora, and it was time for him to hold up his end of the bargain. The man motions to attack Sora, but Neku jumps in front of him in defense, saying "You said you wouldn't hurt him!" Sora then blacks out.
Sora later catches back up with Neku in the Fifth District, who is feeling some regret for betraying Sora. Always willing to forgive, Sora looks past it and presents Rhyme to him, hoping that he'll be able to jog her memory. A giant Nightmare appears and Sora quickly defeats it. After that, the players are reunited with their game partners with the help of Joshua.
Neku's appearance is the same as he appears in The World Ends With You. He is seen as tall and slender, with spiky orange hair and blue eyes. He is shown wearing a sleeveless shirt with a funnel-shaped collar, and a blue-violet stripe outlined with gold going down the middle. He wears his signature blue-violet pair of headphones. He also wears a yellow sweatband on his left arm, and white shorts held up by a loose-fitting belt. He wears black shoes with a blue-violet stripe outlined in gold.
Neku's personality is generally unsociable; he claims he "doesn't get people", and because of this, he usually dislikes interacting with other people. His opinion of others is so low that he tends to see people only for their use. Neku refuses company, as he feels that friends only drag him down, cause him pain when they fail him and make him feel like "unnecessary baggage" to them. Neku sees society as simply an annoyance that forces their values on him, pester him and expect him to do things he doesn't want to do. As such, he admires the designer CAT for their motto, "do what you want, how you want, when you want".
Though at first his negative world view keeps his friends alienated despite their best efforts, Neku slowly softens as he listens to the advice of everybody around him. He becomes more open and trusting as he gets to know people like Shiki, Joshua, Beat, Rhyme, and Mr. Hanekoma among others. As time passes, he begins to understand more about others and believe in his friends.
Neku Sakuraba is the main protagonist of The World Ends With You. An antisocial teen, born and raised in Shibuya, Neku despises people and acts cold towards anyone that tries to communicate with him, to the point of resorting to the use of headphones to put up a distance himself from everyone around him.
One day, Neku wakes up in the Scramble Crossing, unable to remember anything but his name. He is then forced to make a contract with his partner to survive in the "Reaper's Game" by doing daily missions assigned by the Game Master, battling against the monstrous Noise and the Reapers who serve as the game's enforcers. Neku is later forced to play two more weeks of the Reapers' Game, uncovering the secrets behind Shibuya, his lost memory, and the Reaper's Game itself.
- Neku is the first character that is not a Disney character, Final Fantasy character, or orginal Kingdom Hearts character to appear in the Kingdom Hearts series. However, he originated from the game The World Ends With You, which was conceptualized by Tetsuya Nomura and Square Enix.
- Neku is voiced in the game's Japanese version by Kōki Uchiyama, who also voices Roxas and Ventus.
- In The World Ends With You, Neku (and many other characters from the game) were usually foul-mouthed, often cursing numerous times in many scenes. Though in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Neku (or any other characters from The World Ends With You for that matter) never cursed in the game, likely because the game is published and owned by Disney, and were likely trying to keep it family-friendly. Ironically, one of Disney's own characters (Sam Flynn) cursed in the game.
- When Sora meets Neku, a remix of the song "Twister" plays, the theme song of The World Ends with You that appears in multiple arrangements throughout the game. It is also considered Neku's theme as some of the lyrics seem to describe Neku anti-socialness and power over psychs.