|Name in Japanese||直井 文人|
|Romaji Translation||Naoi Ayato|
|Debut (Anime)||Episode 04|
|Appears in||Anime, Heaven's Door|
|Voice Actor (Japanese)||(jp)Megumi Ogata|
|Voice Actor (English)||(en)Greg Ayres|
|Affiliation/s||Afterlife War Front|
|Final Appearance||Episode 13|
Ayato Naoi was the Student Body Vice President of the Afterlife School, and then became the Acting Student Body President after Kanade was removed when her tests results were brought in. He then had her locked up when she broke the rules of eating a meal outside of meal hour. He was gifted with the power to hypnotize others and induce them to follow his commands.
Naoi is a young male with chin-length dark green hair with fringes swept slightly to the right. He wears the default uniform of the afterlife school which consists of black pants and a white polo shirt worn under a black gakuran (he is the only SSS member in the Anti-Angel Headquarters that doesn't wear the standard SSS uniform). He also wears a variation of a Mao cap, with a dominant dark blue and black color scheme. Whenever he goes on his rounds on the school's classes, he is usually followed by a small group of NPCs. In the manga, he wears the same uniform as in the anime, excluding his Mao cap.
Before joining the SSS, he is much stricter than Angel was and his first action as president is to punish the SSS for their constant disobedience. He even massacred the SSS after Otonashi and Kanade were sent to the reflection room. Later on, when he joins the SSS, his affection for Otonashi and antagonistic attitude towards the others are used as a constant source of comic relief. He often says negative remarks on others, and then says that with the exception of Otonashi. He also claims himself that he is a God, though the SSS insist that he is not. Hinata is usually the target of his hypnotism, due to Hinata's constant teasing.
"My brother died. My twin brother and I were born in a house famous for its pottery. My brother was a prodigy and declared heir to the family business at an early age. On the other hand, I spend everyday stuck playing alone in my room. Not even my parents expected anything of me. It was a meaningless life. "You're the one who died." That's what the sky told me. Right, my brother was the one who survived. I swapped places with him. I was the one who had died. That's when my meaningful life began. I was separated from society so I could focus on recuperating. I underwent fierce training under the name of "rehabilitation." Father yelled at me everyday. The training was intense. My brother's life had been so distant from my own. But I worked my hardest to make my life have meaning. I would never return to the days of playing by myself. And I won an award at an exhibit. Although my brother could have done considerably better, it was the best I was capable of. But then, my father got bed-ridden. There was no hope of recovery. He couldn't spin the potter's wheel. Naturally, he was no longer able to teach me pottery. He even stopped scolding me. He'd smile gently whenever I brought him food. What's the purpose of my life? I can't run the studio at my level and I can't go out on my own. Am I stuck taking care of him forever? Please tell me, God! I really did die back then. My brother was the one who had worked so hard. He's the one here and now. It was just my father and my brother. My life was just a lie. I had never existed." Naoi explains his past.
Before he died and ended up in the Afterlife, Ayato Naoi was one of the twin sons of a man famous in the field of pottery. His older brother inherited his father's skills in creating pottery, while he is left alone in the house usually playing alone. In a car accident, he and his brother falls and his brother dies from the fall. Upon Naoi's recovery, he was forced by his father to impersonate his brother and tell anyone who knew of his existence that he had died instead. However, as Naoi's brother was recognized as the more talented, hard-working brother while Naoi was spent his time alone doing nothing, Naoi felt he was the one who died. During Naoi's recovery period, he undergoes strict training from his father. He works to the best of his efforts and manages to receive an award at a small gallery. Soon, his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was bedridden. Not being able to continue his training, Naoi nurses his dying father as his family's name slowly sank into anonymity. It is implied Naoi had two regrets: The first was the feeling of the accomplishments in his life not being recognized as his own. The second being guessed from the fact that he became depressed thinking " I really was the one who died that day. It was only ever my father and my brother. They were the only ones who ever tried hard. But they were the ones that died." It is shown that he feels it is unfair that he, the less-talented child who had no accomplishments recognized as his own, survived while his father and brother, whom he felt were the ones who truly worked hard, had not. The cause and circumstances behind Naoi's death is unknown.
It is not revealed when Naoi arrived in the Afterlife, and his first encounter with the SSS occurred when he had already been in the Afterlife long enough to acquire the title of Student Council Vice President. But his appearance in Heaven's Door Chapter 29 of the manga shows that he had been in the Afterlife for a while without Yuri or the SSS knowing about. It is also not revealed how he acquired his hypnotism ability, however it is likely that he learned it and it is not a supernatural ability. At this time, he works under Angel while he plans on an entirely different agenda: to cease the existence of the organization.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Using his ability to control the minds of NPCs and normal humans alike, he proceeds to replace Kanade as the acting Student Council President from episodes 5 until 9. It is possible he was using his powers to influence the decisions of the faculty of the school or as the Vice President, simply took over. When he assumes the position of Acting President, he watches over the school's activities with an iron grip, at times using the students to assume order in the school. Yuri, however, witnessed that he is equally cruel to the students as she watched how he assaulted a group of students in the school's rooftop. Naoi does this to prevent himself from disappearing, as his interpretation of the metaphysical laws of the world is similar to the SSS and beating NPCs act to balance out the positive deeds he does as a model student.
Unveiling "God's" PlanEditLater, he issued an order to directly attack SSS; as Otonashi and Kanade share a short sentence before escaping from the school's Reflection Rooms, Naoi, with a small group of NPCs under his control, takes down the remaining members by using NPCs as meat shields which also becomes responsible to their deaths. (It is also implied that the members of SSS experience the pain of death several times because of this and the bloody school grounds can be evidence for it.) Otonashi confronts him and it is there that he reveals his plan: to become God himself. Naoi also says that his plan will be hindered by the SSS, and thus, he needs to force into their minds to "cross over" and pass on. However, he decides to abandon this plan upon his admiration of Otonashi's resolve to live a genuine life and joins the SSS later on.
Following Otonashi's FootstepsEditUpon his integration into the SSS, he is seen to treat Otonashi with respect compared to the others, whom he avoids calling with their names and instead calls them with less respectful terms. Likewise, his remarks usually target his fellow members, followed up by a disclaimer that "Otonashi-san" is not among those he targeted with his remarks. He then used hypnotism to recover Otonashi's memories. In later events, he volunteers to assist Otonashi in his plan to help the SSS get over their regrets; despite having almost constant arguments with Hinata, he manages to help out. Eventually, he remains as part of the last people in the afterlife before being the first to disappear in their group.
- When in combat, Naoi uses a pair of Heckler & Koch USP pistols, but his main ability still lies within his remarkable hypnotic abilities and high intelligence. From the banter between Yuri and Naoi, both are close to the same level of intellect.
- The origin of Naoi's mind control ability is a mystery that even the anime series fails to explain.
- Naoi bears a striking resemblance to Naoto Shirogane from the game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.
- Coincidentally, a character from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Ken Amada shares his Japanese Seiyuu, Megumi Ogata.
- Naoi also shares his seiyuu with Naegi Makoto of Dangan Ronpa and Komaeda Nagito of Super Dangan Ronpa 2.
- Referencing his resemblance to Naoto Shirogane, his name, Naoi Ayato, can be shortened to Naoto. "Nao" from Naoto is for Naoi, and "To" is for Ayato.
- Naoi's mind control ability is very similar to Lelouch vi Britannia's geass ability from Code Geass series, especially in the way he orders Hinata to disappear in episode 11.
- He is the only SSS member in the Anti-Angel Headquarters not to wear the SSS standard uniform.
- In Episode 8, "Dancer in the Dark", when everyone sacrifices themselves one by one to stop Angel's clones, he is the only character to not have his name cried out by the others when he is killed by a clone. When Hinata commented on this Yui said she did not know his name.
- During the OVA Stairway to Heaven, he is nearly run over by Hinata and Noda during the dust-cloth race, to which he responds as if they were trying to kill someone. Otonashi apologizes to Naoi and states that "[Hinata and Noda] have always acted like this."
- In the Drama CD 3, he was known to be the strongest fighter.
- Naoi has the same English voice actor as Kaoru Hitachiin from Ouran High School Host Club, Kouta Tsuchiya from Baka and Test, Youhei Sunohara from Clannad, Tomoki Sakurai from Heaven's Lost Property, and Ganta Igarashi from Deadman Wonderland.
- It is shown that Naoi's twin brothers name is Hayato in Episode 6, when a pot with this name engraved on it is shown.
- Naoi must have been an incredibly intelligent and determined person to be able to create the door resistant Angel's Guard Skills that he used in Episode 6, though he said it took years to make.
- Despite revealing his past in Episode 6, it is unknown how he died and ended up in the Afterlife, though it is assumed that he committed suicide.
- Despite Hinata meeting Naoi in the manga, he never seemed to recognize him in Episode 4 of the anime. The fact that the anime aired long before Chapter 29 of Heaven's Door was even released is a likely explanation for this.