Is Niko Dead Or Alive In ‘Dead Boy Detectives’? Character, Explained


Niko Sasaki, who is played brilliantly by Yuyu Kitamura, was introduced in Dead Boy Detectives as the neighbor of one of our protagonists, Crystal Palace, at the Tongue & Tail butcher shop in Port Townsend. Due to Crystal’s psychic powers, she was able to see that something was off about Niko as she kept emanating this colorful aura, which at first seemed like an indicator that Crystal was attracted to Niko. Eventually, it became clear that she was either possessed or that her mind and body were host to some dandelion sprites. Charles, Edwin, Crystal, and Niko became good friends while trying to get those pesky creatures out of her. While Niko was a supporting character throughout the show, her presence became integral to the success of the protagonists in the finale. On top of that, it’s her character that provided the cliffhanger for a yet-to-be-announced Season 2 of Dead Boy Detectives. So, let’s talk about her.

Spoiler Alert

Niko Sasaki’s whole backstory is a bit of a mystery. We do get bits and pieces of information. For starters, when Niko was a kid, her dad used to say that keeping a dandelion in one’s pocket made them feel courageous. Since Niko had traveled all the way from Osaka to Port Townsend, she remembered her deceased father’s words and went searching for dandelions. That was how she got the sprites, Kingham and Litty, in her head. Once they were out of her body, the sprites were put in a jar, and they kind of became her pets, who used to constantly mock and tease her. But Niko was such a nice person that she took it all as a joke. By the way, the whole process of getting the sprites out of Niko’s head turned her hair from black to blonde, which, in my opinion, suited her quite a lot.

Apparently, after parting ways with her Mother, Niko Sasaki didn’t write  back to her again. But the more time she spent with Crystal (who didn’t remember who her parents were), Edwin (I suppose a lot isn’t revealed about his parents), and Charles (who had an abusive father), she began to realize that she should cherish the fact that she had a mother. Hence, she started writing letters to her. In the process, she figured out the identity of her landlord Jenny’s secret admirer. It was Maxine (the librarian), and this revelation had some disastrous consequences. I guess she learned that, while it’s definitely important to find goodness in this slowly decaying and evil world, maybe looking at everything through the lens of wholesome optimism isn’t the right thing to do. By the way, that doesn’t mean that a person as good as Niko needs to lower her standards so that she could fit into the boxes assigned by society. It’s actually the other way around. The world should change to be on par with the goodness of people like Niko.

Niko Sasaki loved watching Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Don’t ask me how she managed to consistently pay her rent and have an expensive collection of manga and anime. She didn’t technically have any special powers, but she had the ability to listen to people who were ignored by everyone, i.e., Tragic Mick. It was a recurring joke that Mick wanted people to listen to how he was cursed to live as a man who was once a walrus. But it was Niko who stopped to listen to Mick’s story about Sedna (who stems from Inuit mythology, by the way), the water goddess. Thanks to Niko, we learned that Sedna’s father threw her into the sea, but the gods decided to be merciful towards her and turned her into the Mother of the Sea. Her fingers gave birth to walruses (with Mick being one of them) and various other creatures. Mick wanted to get in touch with humans, but Sedna didn’t want him to. Still, Mick defied Sedna and was cursed to live the rest of his life as a human being.

Anyway, since Niko saw Mick, instead of seeing through him, he gave her his lucky charm (it was a wooden bear) before the finale of Dead Boy Detectives. Before coming to that, I have to mention that, while talking to the Night Nurse, Niko did consider resurrecting her deceased father. But the Night Nurse kept her from doing that because nobody wanted to see Niko’s dad running about as a flesh-eating zombie. That said, since Niko gave the Night Nurse’s book a thorough read (yes, she was a really good reader) while searching for ways to bring back her father, she managed to stop the Night Nurse from sending Charles and Edwin to the afterlife. So, the main takeaway here is that you should always read the fine print. That way, you’ll be able to save your friends from being whisked away to somewhere they don’t want to go.

Coming back to the ending of Dead Boy Detectives, while fighting with Esther Finch, Niko sacrificed herself. Since Finch’s magical knife hit her straight in the chest, it did seem like she was dead. But right before the credits rolled, we saw her sitting in an igloo with Kingham and Litty, with Mick’s wooden bear in her hand. So, it’s obvious that that bear is more than a lucky charm. Maybe Mick knew that Niko was the most vulnerable person on the team, and she needed to be protected when things got hairy. And that’s how he ended up giving her a second chance at life. If you’re wondering whether Niko has shrunk to the size of the sprites or if the sprites have grown as big as her, your guess is as good as mine. However, it’s obvious that the sprites have warmed up to her, and they’ll be helping her in whatever quest she is about to go on in a potential second season of Dead Boy Detectives.

There is a theory out there that The Principal, who shows up at the end of Dead Boy Detectives, is actually Niko Sasaki’s mother. It’s a stretch, but given how everything about Niko is such a mystery, it’s perfectly okay to speculate as wildly as you can. We heard Mick underscoring Niko’s kind-hearted nature by saying that we never know how one’s goodness will end up being repaid (I am paraphrasing here). And when The Principal allowed Charles and Edwin to continue their work of solving paranormal cases, she said the same thing as well. So, maybe there is a connection, or maybe I am shooting in the dark. Whatever the truth may be, I am excited to see more of Niko, and I hope that if we do get a second season of Dead Boy Detectives, we will learn about Niko’s origins.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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