Ness was a man of average height and build. He had a welcoming face with a mustache and also had a beard around his jawline. He was notable for the white bandanna that he wore around his head, which concealed his bald spot, but showed light brown hair along the sides and back. He was never seen without the standard Survey Corps Uniform, but he did add the green cloak during expeditions.
Ness was a serious leader who never took his job lightly. At the same time, he truly cared for the new recruits and wanted to make their first expedition as easy as possible for them. This was proved as he was the one who taught them about the Long-Distance Enemy Detection devised by Erwin Smith. Ness was not a fan of fighting Titans and always tried to stick to the idea of avoiding them outside the Walls, however, he never hesitated to fight them when it was necessary.
During the 57th Expedition Outside the Walls, Ness encounters an abnormal Titan in a field, and uses his vertical maneuvering equipment to sever the Titan's ankles, causing it to fall over and allowing his squad mate Luke Siss to destroy the nape of its neck. To his joy, Ness's horse returns for him, and he and Siss resume the expedition.
Almost immediately after, they encounter the Female Titan. Caught off-guard by its speed, Ness is nearly crushed underfoot, before noticing that it is heading for Armin. He and Siss attack the Titan's nape, but it easily intercepts and crushes Siss, before catching Ness's line and whipping it to the ground, killing him instantly.
Later in the Battle of Shiganshina, as Erwin Smith begins to lament the dwindling hopes of his dream, Ness stands among the many fallen Survey Corps comrades in Erwin's mind, wanting to know if their deaths had meaning.
In the forest, as Levi contemplates all the times he risked his life to save Eren, Ness appears among the comrades he had lost along the way.
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