Lan Hikari, known in Japan as Netto Hikari, is the human protagonist of the Mega Man Battle Network anime and games.
Lan is a fifth-grade student with a strong bond with his NetNavi, MegaMan. He is the son of Yuichiro Hikari and Haruka Hikari, and the grandson of Tadashi Hikari. He had a twin brother, Hub Hikari, who died when they were young, and it is later revealed that MegaMan.EXE is actually Hub reincarnated as data. MegaMan.EXE has a .1% modified difference in his DNA to avoid a connection between the two, but it is eventually erased, which causes them to become synchronized.
In the AWA fics, Lan is a student at the AWA Academy.
In the XP4 fics, Lan debuted in XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!.
Lan has brown eyes and untidy brown hair, which he keeps out of his face with a bandana bearing the Hikari family symbol. His upper-body attire consists of a white long-sleeved shirt with black squares on the elbows under an orange vest. From the waist down, he wears black shorts with yellow stripes on the sides, black ankle-socks, and orange shoes with black stripes. He carries detachable roller blades that allow him to instantly modify his shoes. He will often be seen with his backpack.
He almost always carries his PET with him, and the later versions usually come with a pouch or a strap to carry it with.
Lan is one of the Mega Man franchise's youngest protagonists, and still attends school, where he has a reputation for being outgoing, friendly, and a poor student who would much rather prefer to spend his time doing anything but studying. The games imply that Lan is actually quite intelligent and that his academic failures occur due to a lack of motivation; for example, a class assignment featured in the third game indicates that he actually achieved a higher score than his best friend Mayl Sakurai, who is much more studious than him. A running gag of the series is MegaMan dutifully nagging Lan to stop neglecting his homework.
Lan's interests lie in other areas, sports like soccer and inline skating; his absolute favorite pastime, however, is Net Battling. This is reflected in school, where he leads the class in Virus Busting, and his high grades here balance his other generally mediocre scores. It's here that Lan's natural enthusiasm and skill shine through, directing MegaMan in combat with great skill despite his lack of resources (he begins every game with a basic Chip Folder). As an operator, Lan is able to concentrate in a way he cannot bring himself to do in other situations.
For most of his life, Lan has lived a comfortable, risk-free life, and so is somewhat unequipped to deal with the sudden gravity of the situation when his pastime becomes an issue of mortal peril, though he finds it rather thrilling. MegaMan's uniqueness precludes Lan from restoring his Navi from backup data, which means that he stands to lose a great deal more than the average victim of net crime if he fails.
As a civilian, Lan behaves quite like a normal schoolchild might. He sleeps in (and is often late for class), has an enthusiasm for sports, and collects video games and action figures. His outlook on life is simple, and while he is initially mildly selfish and lazy, he grows a profound sense of empathy over the course of the series. He loves to eat, especially curry, and his mother is happy to indulge his appetite. While naturally curious and capable of impressive acts of deduction, his simple worldview often risks becoming too simplistic, especially concerning his lack of emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
When danger arises, however, another side of his personality emerges. Lan's deep well of boyish energy is refocused into sheer determination and sometimes anger. This does not mesh well with his flaws—Lan is reckless, and his desire to solve the many catastrophes he finds himself involved in often leads him to disregard his own safety. Lan also has a high opinion of his own skill, which he is aware is uncommonly good. However, he lacks the maturity to properly accept praise, and is sometimes prone to letting his Big-Fish status dangerously inflate his ego. He eventually learns that this usually means nothing beyond his schoolmates, especially in the face of those who want to kill him and the people he cares about. Indeed, it becomes a preoccupation of his to keep his friends and loved ones out of danger, leading him to try and separate them from the threats he has to deal with; when he fails, he may succumb to either desperation or fury.
His simple outlook on life also leads to several other problems, such as his emotional vulnerability, which can and has been exploited. Late in the third game, his vanity and then his trust are both abused in succession, and he is left believing that he is guilty for putting thousands of lives in danger, including his father's, causing him to fall into depression. When he finally arises, his worldview is tempered with a better understanding of evil.
Despite all this, and further despite his list of world-class accomplishments, many remain unable to see him as anything more than a child. (Indeed, it is a commonly deprecated element of the Battle Network series that so many people remain ignorant of Lan and his accomplishments). However, Lan rarely ever seems to mind this, perhaps being mindful of the incident in the third game, and he eventually earns the respect, friendship, and even admiration of a variety of men and women, including high-profile individuals like Creamland's Princess Pride and Netopian General Baryl.
In the adaptations, Lan's general characterization remains consistent, though each emphasizes his traits in a certain way. In the anime, Lan's inherent talents are deprecated (he and MegaMan are only just introduced in the first episode) and his growth in skill becomes an central aspect of his character growth during the first season's tournament arc. At the start of MegaMan NT Warrior Axess (and the shift in the show's genre), his character growth from the first two seasons is partly undone to allow him to grow into his role as a Cross Fusion hero. In the MegaMan NT Warrior manga, his talents and potential are noted early on, and instead his boyishness manifests as delinquent tendencies. Eventually he is recruited by the police for his skills, which allows him to put his love of Net Battling (which is normally illegal in common areas) to good use.
Lan is a member of the Heroes Coalitions and is part of The Mighty Never Kneel. He also attends the Vanguard Academy as a student.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!
In Chapter 6, Lan, alongside his team, The Mighty Never Kneel and another team called The Flaming Honor, are seen in Magnum City taking on a group of Emotionless and successfully defeated them.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Neo-City Diaries
In Chapter 21, Lan, alongside Geo Stelar, is seen reading comics under the Sakura Tree at the Training Camp when Luna Platz and Hsien-Ko walks towards them.
Lan uses a handblaster in fighting.
- Lan is the first character from Mega Man Battle Network to be introduced in the AWA fics.
- Lan indirectly cameos in Mega Man Star Force 2; having a Mega Man Battle Network game inserted in the w-gate slot of a Nintendo DS will unlock a bonus sidequest that will send Geo Stelar and Omega-Xis around the world collecting Lan's diary entries, which refer to events following the series epilogue in the sixth game.
- In one of Lan's diaries, he mentioned his bond with MegaMan, and how it has granted them an "almost miraculous power" that helped them pull through hard times. Lan puts forth his research on this power at SciLab and calls it the "Link Hypothesis". He believes that bonds contain an incredible power and that it will benefit the world. Lan also holds true to the belief that future generations will be able to use it to create an even brighter future for all. This is a reference to Geo making good use of this power to its full potential, which is known as Link Power in Mega Man Starforce 2.
- In the anime adaptation, Lan invents the forerunner of laser jack-in PETs, the wireless jack-in port, at only 11, which foreshadows his aptitude as a Net Scientist.
- Lan's favorite food is curry. In the fourth game, he samples Flave's five-star curry and manages to insult the chef by declaring he prefers his mother's. In the anime, Lan frequents the World Three curry-shop MaHa Ichiban, and in Rockman.EXE Beast both participates in and judges curry contests. In the MegaMan NT Warrior manga (Ryo Takamisaki), Lan's favorite food is his mom's Curry Rice.
- In the anime, Lan is usually accompanied by an associate that serves as his partner and second: Mayl in the original series, Chaud during Axess and Stream, Iris during the latter portion of Beast.
- In Network Transmission, Lan's last name is misspelled "Hikaru" instead of Hikari.
- During the finals of the N-1 Grand Prix in the anime, Lan defies Chaud's attempt at calculating odds by declaring that math is his worst subject.