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Nicole Premier

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Overview
Nicole Premier
Nano Sleeping
Role Main character
Race Human, Living Weapon
Gender Male
Status Alive
Deceased (Shiki's Bad Ends)
Relatives N/A
Aliases n, Nano
Weapon N/A
Abilities Superhuman strength
Voice Actor Takumi Yamazaki
Height 182 cm

Nicole Premier, better known as n or Nano, is a living weapon. His blood is the source of Line, making him the most powerful being on the planet.

Personality

Nano has a very stoic and enigmatic personality. During battle he will maintain a calm, almost disinterested face, even when he is wounded. This is explained by the manipulation of his genetic features in Project Nicole, which resulted in suppression of emotions, allowing Nano to become 'invincible' as per the goal of the project: to become the perfect human weapon. 

Due to his restricted upbringing, and in spite of his eloquence, Nano appears to have gaps in his basic knowledge of the world. For example, he eats tree bark to survive, yet innocently tries to bite a Solid with the plastic wrapper on. He also mixes clean bandages with dirty ones in a first aid kit, which displays either ignorance or apathy.  

Appearance

Nano has naturally light brown hair and clear blue eyes, which suggest that he is of foreign origin. His skin is described as very pale and transparent, clear enough for his veins to be seen. His eyes are often described as emotionless and empty, only seeming to hold a lingering darkness deep inside. He stands at 182 cm tall. He primarily appears in a brown sweater and tan pants. During the flashback sequence of himself meeting Akira for the first time, he is depicted with shorter hair, in an outfit that consists of a short-sleeved beige shirt and brown pants. He does not carry any weapon to defend himself from the dangers of Toshima. The only thing he appears to use in combat are his hands, which he uses to pierce through a person's body and throw various objects.

Abilities

  • Enhanced physical strength and speed. In both the anime and manga, his speed is so great that he appears to teleport.  
  • Hypnotic Effect (game and manga) - Nano has a mysterious tranquilizing effect on others, demonstrated primarily on Akira, but also with Takeru and the black kitten. The effect seems related to his ability to go unnoticed (except to Akira), which enables Nano to move freely throughout the city. 
  • Reverse Empathy (game) - Whether he can do this to other people is unknown, but Nano has the strange ability to force his feelings of deep grief and despair onto Akira.

Relationships

Akira - Nano is drawn to Akira and feels an unusually strong connection with him. On Nano’s game route, they encounter each other repeatedly and become emotionally involved.  

Emma - In the past, although she was a researcher and he was a test subject, Emma and Nano had an affectionate bond. It is unclear how much Emma knew she was signing up for with ENED, but it appears they used her to test Nano’s emotional responses without their consent. Nano took her arm when he broke out of the facility and killed the others, but spared her life. Because she still cares about him, she tries to kill him to end his suffering.

Shiki - He coordinates with Shiki for the distrubution of Line, but does not have a positive relationship with him. Shiki's ultimate goal is to kill him. 

Motomi - As a researcher, Motomi glimpsed Nano once; their connection is mostly one-sided. Even though Nano killed his son, Motomi intends to kill Nano not for revenge, but to stop the military’s research and to fulfill the promise he made to his family.

In the Game

History

The exact age Nano became a test subject is unknown, but it's clear that he was quite young; the game emphasizes how all test subjects were selected as children, and a line in his epilogue states he’d spent most of his life inside research facilities. While Nano was still a test subject, he met a young Akira by chance. Nano was tested in battle multiple times and encountered Shiki on a battlefield. His results were unmatched by other subjects, and he was the only subject to have successfully suppressed emotions. When he broke out of the facility, he killed almost all of the researchers (except Emma) and several test subjects (including Motomi's son) in his escape. After doing so, Nano disappeared, only for Line to later emerge in Toshima.

Game

Nano appears throughout the game as a cryptic and mysterious presence, and his route is both the final and "true" route of the game.  

Click here for a complete synopsis of Nano's game appearances.

In the Anime

Nano makes his first appearance in the first episode, during the intro to the series. At first, his identity is kept a mystery, as he appears out of nowhere and without any hint of who he may be. His true nature is revealed later, and he is involved in the final climax of the anime. 

In the anime, Nano is often shown lurking on rooftops as a passive observer of the story's events.  He leaves vials of Line for the people of Toshima to find, and tosses one directly to Takeru in Episode 5. As most people use Line in order to enhance their abilities, Nano seems appalled by human nature. Later on, in episode 7, he encounters Akira. After a few stoic words, he instructs Akira to give this case (that is filled with enhanced Line) to a man who will come soon. Akira asks him who he is in confusion, but Nano answers Akira's question with a riddle and walks away. When Shiki arrives to take the case, he tells Akira that the man who gave it to him is "Fear".  

Anime Nano

Nano as he appears in the Anime, Ep 7.

In episode 10, it is finally made clear who Nicole Premier is. After saving Akira from Gunji, Nano teleports an unconscious Akira and Keisuke to a secluded safehouse. Moments later, Emma and Gwen arrive and put both Akira and Nano at gunpoint. It is then explained that Akira was a part of Project Nicole, a genetic engineering program to create a drug which enhances the natural capabilities of humans. Emma tells him that his blood is the antidote for said drug, and is the reason he was framed for murder and placed in Igura: Emma wanted to use him to lure Nano out, whose blood is the source of said drug. 

In the 11th episode, Nicole Premier is confronted by Shiki. After a staredown, it is revealed that the two have met in the past during the Third Division and that Shiki was purposely spared during a bloody fight between Nicole Premier the super-soldier and Shiki's military unit, which no one else survived. When asked why he was spared, Nano tells Shiki that he spared him because he wanted to experience the feeling of dread that was born within him that day; he would surely come back to him in the future. After a long fight between the two, Nano realizes that Shiki is only motivated by gaining absolute power in order to eliminate that feeling that was put inside him that day and offers Shiki his pure blood, that would make him as powerful as him. Without second thought, Shiki lunges at Nano and sinks his teeth in neck, drinking his 100% pure Line blood. Miraculously, Shiki survives this and gains insurmountable power as a result, even surpassing Nano and managing to injure him.

In the series finale, Nano yet again fights Shiki, who is now able to best him in combat. Nano next appears before Akira and Rin and helps them escape Toshima. This is the last time Nano appears, as he heads towards a unit of soldiers who are shooting at him and easily butchers them. He is presumed to be alive and still dwelling somewhere in Toshima.


In the Manga

Nano's appearances are frequent but fleeting throughout the manga, as Nano wanders the streets and rooftops and silently overlooks events below. He is usually accompanied by either a white or a black cat.

Interactions with Akira

Nano catches akira

Nano catches Akira

Nano doesn't make contact with Akira until volume 2 (chapter 6), when Akira is running away from Shiki; he returns Akira's lost knife and helps Akira escape. Chapter 10 contains a partial flashback to their first meeting. Although Nano often observes Akira, almost approaches him in chapter 15, and intervenes on Akira’s behalf several times, they don’t speak again until volume 6.

In that volume, Akira is captured by Kiriwar and taken to Arbitro. Although drugged, Akira tries to escape in chapter 30 by climbing out a window. He falls, and is caught in midair by Nano. Nano takes out the guard who attempts to shoot them using a fork stolen from the Palace. In chapter 31, Akira wakes in the greenhouse. Nano appears before him and licks the blood from a cut on his hand, which Akira protests. Nano replies that Akira's blood cannot harm him, but it will right the sins of this world. He says Akira’s presence contains salvation and disappears. As Akira broods, Nano draws his own blood (for Line) and thinks about how everything will be over soon.

In the next chapter, a recovered Akira interrupts Nano’s reading to say thank you, and to ask Nano about what he meant by seeing without trying and trying without seeing. They talk, and remembering Keisuke’s hatred upsets Akira. Nano picks up and puts Akira on a couch. He tells Akira to rest and joins their hands; the warmth prompts Akira to remember their past meeting. Their discussion is interrupted by an explosion at the Palace, and Nano tells Akira to stay behind before he vanishes.

Fights with Gunji

Nano and Gunji clash several times. Their first meeting is in chapter 17; Gunji dangles Akira above a pit and demands that Akira cry and scream. Nano interrupts by throwing debris at Gunji, but Akira is dropped anyway and catches himself on a pipe. Nano then briefly clashes with Gunji before disappearing. In later chapters, Gunji shows a slight fixation on the “ghost,” asking others for their thoughts.

In chapter 24, Nano is wandering around and encounters Gunji, who is eager to fight. Nano catches Gunji’s claws with his hand, which delights Gunji because it means Nano is corporeal. Their battle continues into chapter 25, and picks up again in volume six, chapter 28, which notably shows Nano’s hand cannot penetrate Gunji’s bare skin. Nano’s response to this is to headbutt Gunji and start throwing metal pipes. Shiki catches sight of Nano during the fight and hurries to the area, but bumps into Gunji and distracts him. Nano disappears as they argue.

In chapter 37, Nano fights Gunji for the last time. Nano kills him using one of Gunji’s own broken claws.

Flashbacks

The manga includes multiple flashbacks to Nano’s past, primarily involving Shiki or Emma. The blood-splattered lab of Nano’s escape appears several times; in chapter 19, it appears when Emma remembers how Nano took her arm.

In chapter 23, Motomi visits Arbitro to talk about Project Nicole; a flashback shows Nano getting extracted from a successful battle. Nano annihilated the enemy troops in seven minutes and 13 seconds, and Emma is thoroughly congratulated as the leader of the team. The crudeness of the other scientists is more overt in the Tokyopop translation, as one suggests: “Nothing motivates teenage boys like a pair of boobs.” Meanwhile, Nano is at the coliseum during an Il-Re battle. He stares at an ampoule of Line and recalls Emma's words of praise for his emotional control.

Terror copy

Nano meets Shiki's eyes

Shiki briefly recalls meeting Nano on the battlefield in chapters 7, 8, and 13, but chapter 24 contains a longer scene where a younger Shiki observes Nano on the field, only to meet Nano's eyes and lose everything to fear. His flashback is picked up again in chapter 29, showing how they fought. Shiki thinks about the research documents that led him to learning about Nano’s history as an experiment (highlighted by showing Nano with wires trailing and blood dripping).

Other Activity

In the manga, the military sends covert amounts of troops into Toshima; in chapter 13, Gwen discovers Nano cutting down these soldiers. Gwen’s life is spared after Nano hears Emma's voice over Gwen’s communications device. His fight with Gunji in chapters 24-25 involves them both fighting troops and dodging bullets as well as each other. In chapter 38, Nano stands covered in the blood of another group of fallen soldiers, contemplating his color.

In chapter 18, Shiki is cutting down participants when he hears the meow of a cat and spots Nano. Shiki gives chase, and Nano leads him to a suitcase full of Line. He exits through a window after confusing Shiki with his talk of colors.


Trivia

  • Akira is the only one who learns Nano's real name. "Nicole" is the name of the virus in his blood, and "Nicole Premier," "Premier," and "Nano" are all his code names. At the end of Nano's route, he and Akira have a belated introduction; Nano smiles gently and tells him, "My real name is..." before the end credits begin.
    • Emma and later Akira call him “Nano,” but all the other researchers (including Motomi and Arbitro), Gwen, and Shiki refer to him as “Premier.” Gunji calls him "Mr. Ghost" in the manga. 
  • The artbook contains an image of Nano embracing Akira that shows Nano's bare skin is mottled with scars.

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