This is directed towards the Mell0/Matt fandom. The rest of you just talk amongst yourselves for a while.
How would you like every novel, drabble, short story and scrap from the Matti!Universe tidied chronologically into omnibus editions? And how would you like it if those tales - full and partial - were all properly indexed?
Matti knows that you would, because she's been repeatedly asked for something of the ilk by various readers of her fan-fiction over the years. Though the index part is a bit of a bonus.
The impetus for finally doing this thing came when those on the He Moves Me Differently (The Fan-Fiction of MRSJeevas) forum decided to read every tale in order, following the internal timeline to see how it all panned out as a whole.
Feel free to join them there.
Tipped off, Matti quietly opened Sigil and began work. The first volume was completed from scratch, including much hands on imperative tatting and learning via ALL of the mistakes, that the thing might receive that cross-referenced index.
Stephen Gevanni surely didn't do so well, when he spent a night copying a Death Note from start to finish. At least he didn't have to teach himself forgery first!
The free eBook It Matters: Complete Series Vol 1 covers every tale right up until the end of the '90s. Some have never been made public before, having languished with their existence forgotten and unknown.
Vol 2 will be 2000-2009; Vol 3 - 2010-the present day. Eventually the plan is to amalgamate that trilogy into one big, hefty, totally indexed cyber-tome that could figuratively batter binary to death.
Writing a fashion feature for Yahoo Style this week, Zalora considered the whole of anime past and present to produce the most fabulously attired characters in them.
The resultant '5 Anime Characters Whose Style We Want to Steal' (Yahoo, Zalora, May 23rd 2016) included no less than TWO dramatis personae from Death Note anime! Complete with tips on how to replicate their look.
While Misa Amane topped the feature as the character selected to star in the banner, she came in a mere fourth anime-wide for overall fashion sense. Beating her hands down was that self-confessed 'best dresser who died like a dog' Mihael Keehl, aka Mello.
Sound about right to you? Or do you disagree with the Yahoo writer's judgement on Top Five fashionable anime characters and/or what has been written about them? Who would you have chosen? And what would you have said in justification of those choices?
Read more at the original posting, including why Misa made number four and how you can copy her style too.
The reader survey held recently on Death Note News also pointed to another issue: speculation and fact can get blurred when the theoretical is being reported alongside actual news stories.
An example was given regarding an article on Matsuda's Theory, wherein a reader had commented to state that the theory wasn't possible in one regard. Yet the piece itself was never updated to indicate this. It has been now:
The point in a more general sense has been taken on board and our writers are going to try to highlight precisely what is fact and what is musing personally upon a facet of Death Note canon and its wider universe.
Hopefully this satisfies the querent at this time.
Many thanks to all who took the time to voice their thoughts on Death Note News' Month of... feature. In addition to airing viewpoints on various items relating to the running of the site, and how we deliver content to you, via the completion of last month's reader survey.
All comments have now been read. Some whilst blushing and feeling suddenly very coy; others forming a cringing addendum to our discussion agenda and/or directly onto a lengthening To Do list. All were very helpful and wonderfully appreciated upon receipt.
There were a few pointers requiring acknowledgement, answers, action or announcements, including the results of who will be featured at the centre of future Death Note Month of... events. I'm here to bring you fully into the loop.
Known Issues, Omissions and Pointers for the Death Note News Website
How to Join the Death Note News Team
Ask. We're always good for welcoming new writers, or other talented folk, into our team. If it's a regular column that you wish to pursue, then hunt down Matti to discuss what you have in mind. Either way, our contact page has a plethora of ways to contact us. In this instance, an email (via the form) is probably best.
Whatever Happened to Those Voice Actor Interviews We Were Promised?
Everything has been collated, tidied up, formatted and emailed to the requisite Death Note actors. Each acknowledged receipt of the questions and indicated their intent to answer as many as possible.
In short, we're confident that all (but possibly one) remain winging their respective ways to us and will be made public quickly thereon.
Results of the Reader Survey Regarding the Month of... Feature
Another individual thought having a 'what if' month would be interesting, as in 'what would have happened to the characters if Light Yagami hadn't received his Death Note, thus the Kira case never occurred?' I have to say that my imagination has been running overtime in pondering, since reading it posed there. But could we pull off a whole month of it? Probably. Maybe another format would work better. It's one of those added to the staff agenda for mulling over.
Nearly all of you indicated that yes, you would like to see a Month of... focus being the forthcoming Death Note movie, released at the end of October 2016. Of those, one person voted for November to be the ideal month. The rest of you didn't mind, as long as it happens.
All excepting the single respondent who said no full stop to that and indeed everything about the Month of... events. He/she really didn't like it and wished it would go away. Your views have been read and noted. Thank you for them. Unfortunately, you were outvoted by your peers.
Everything in, it was overwhelmingly positive and extremely helpful. Even the person who hated the feature told us nicely! And we were really pleased with the wide array of places where people are finding Death Note News. Particularly as one source was apparently the Archangel Mello pointing this way with his fiery sword.
As for the one who asked if being in the Mello/Matt fandom counts - YES! Yes, it does. Most important part of the whole Death Note fandom Mello and Matt. Though I might be biased, given what I write.
Forthcoming Characters to be Featured in Death Note News Month of... Focus
Lots of fabulous suggestions here. We had Mello, Beyond Birthday, Mikami, Sayu, ALL live-action tellings together, L, Shingami (collectively), Naomi Misora, the LABB murders, and the movie thumbs up for a month closer to the release date.
We've decided to start with the one garnering the most votes in that survey. Admittedly to the mild surprise of all here, though we're game for everything. Bring it on! Therefore I can announce that June and July look like this, with more made public when we've finished tatting with the list:
By tomorrow, we should have their submission and questionnaire pages up and ready. In the meantime, do feel free to send in things using generic tools for contributing content, or mentally amending questions pertaining to another character asked of Death Note fans writing, creating art or donning cosplay.
Also by tomorrow, we should actually start Death Note News' Month of Misa Amane. Three items in already. Get a head start on the crowds by chucking in any relevant content now.
Death Note Tarot Tales V: Kira's Magician Versus the Wammy's Magi - Divine Wisdom and Poetic Justice in Death Note
Welcome seekers after sama, kana and qi! You won't be the first to want to reverse your life's fortunes; otherwise embrace words to change the world; take steps to transform yourself into a hero; divert humanity away from its current perverse course; perfect its core that all may sing together - refraining from discordance, aligned in peace and harmony; gain insight into the working of the universe; realize your dreams; reach for the stars; sail across the cosmos and converse with the divine; enchant and charm Kannon at the gates of wisdom; seize manna from the Gods; invoke matter from the kether; traverse the mysteries and become God of this New World.
It's not unknown.
But no matter what foolish idea inflames your passion and ignites your will. Before you take your first steps onto the path of making it real, you will need some guidance. Sound the intro, maestro! And enter The Magician.
The Many Roles of the Tarot Magician
The Meaning of Magician in the Major Arcana
In ancient Persia, the Magos were the learned members of the priestly caste, adept at astrology. They could give you the overview of your life and destiny, as it was written in the stars, taking in the knowledge of what constellation was on the ascendency or ruling within a certain house. It was up to you what you did with that information and how you let it guide your lives.
Over the centuries, their spiritual descendants have been known as the adepts in a variety of other fortune-telling, mind expanding, soul perfecting or perception enhancing skills. For example, those magnificent seekers delving into the Kabbalah/Cabala/Qabala as scholars, scryers, practitioners, occultists, alchemists, diviners, philosophers, Hermetic code-breakers and ceremonial magicians.
Enlightened beings who know The Way and what it might mean for you. But if it's shared - and done so entirely, selectively or else strewn with misinformation - and how that translates into relevancy for your own life's destiny, only a Fool can know in passing through the realm of the Magi.
The Magi In All Their Guises: Major Arcana Death Note's The Magician Card
The Death Note itself can be seen as falling right into the realm of The Magician. In fact, it's practically the Three Magi represented here in the notebook, as its role is considered in relation to Light Yagami.
Firstly Light has to find the shinigami's notebook, which serves the dual purpose of opening his eyes to the existence of a world beyond his own and highlighting its possibilities. Hitherto unconsidered (or disbelieved) realities are presented as a pathway upon which to forge his own destiny. It's the Tarot Magician as gatekeeper, signpost and luminary of higher knowledge.
However, its also the Trickster, or Charlatan, insofar as the falling Death Note serves Ryuk's agenda first and foremost. Its presence on Earth is set to alleviate the shinigami's boredom. Light will pick it up and, primarily believing it an elaborate prank, use it to the detriment of his own future. Not only will it curse his living years, but condemn his eternal being into the dissolution of Mu. This ultimate destination for Death Note users means that a destiny is foisted upon Light Yagami, manipulated by ignorance and curiosity into foolishly using it without fully translating all of the rules beforehand.
The Death Note wasn't on his side, nor against him. It's an item; a thing without judgement nor partiality. It serves an agenda encapsulated by itself. ('I am that I am' is the So'ham Sanskrit manta; also viewed as the Word of God in Christian mysticism; or 'As above, so below; so below, as above' in Hermetic teachings. All very much part of The Magician's inner knowledge, and here beautifully descriptive of the Death Note too.)
Secondly, Light actually reads the rules written inside the Death Note. Here the shinigami notebook becomes The Magician as a teacher; illuminating the arcane knowledge needed to utilize this supernatural tool. The rules themselves inspire possible ways in which Light may now traverse in order to fulfil his projected destiny.
Even more dramatically comes that third moment of the notebook of death as The Magician in Death Note. That's when the touch of it allows Light's mind to access his memories, previously locked away through rejection of the artefact. Perhaps it's not quite what the ancient Magos would view as accessing the higher self, but it serves the same purpose within the storyline. In an instant, Light Yagami's ignorance is dissolved, when the doors of perception are well and truly opened upon his past. His destination now reached, just as planned.
The Magician as Death Note's Gatekeepers and Arbiters of Destiny
L's Messenger Mage Watari: Herald, Spokesperson and Point of Contact
Destiny's Magister: Roger Ruvie, The Wammy House Ringmaster Tolls Part Two
Mello the Consigliere: Death Note Mafia Mage with a Dual Agenda
Sakura TV as the Charlatan: Showmanship Masquerading as Wisdom
Kiyomi Takada: Enlightened Divine Messenger of Death Note
Quem Deus perdere vult, dementat prius; quem di diligunt, adolescens moritu.
Those the Gods will destroy, they first make mad; and whom the Gods love dies young.
Le Bateleur Matsuda: Sleight of Hand Illusionist in Death Note
The Three Wise Men (Wam-Magi?)
In the time of Watari, after Kira was born in Japan, wise men from the Wammy's House in Winchester came to Kanto, asking, "Where is the murderer who has been born God of the New World? For we observed his kill count at its rising, and have come to take him down."
When Takimura heard this, he was frightened and all world leaders with him; and calling together all the Kira Task Force and NPA public relations officers, he inquired of them when the Kira was to be arrested. They told him, "In the Yellow Box Warehouse; for so it has been written by Near: 'And you, Takimura, in the land of Japan, are by no means going to know a thing about it, because Mello would have got you killed by then.'"
Then US President David Hoope secretly called - via Watari - for the wise men and begged each in turn to stop threatening to control him into doing worse than Kira, whenever any of them get hold of a Death Note. Then he sent them to Kanto, saying, "Go and search diligently for Kira; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."
When they had heard the POTUS, they got him killed and replaced with George Sairas; and there, ahead of them, went the star Misa Amane that they had seen rising as Second Kira, until she stopped because L had her tortured. When they saw that the Japanese idol had started begging to have her life ended, they were overwhelmed with joy.
On entering the Warehouse, they saw the megalomaniac with Mikami his worshipper; and Near knelt down (the other two forced to too, as they were now dead and puppets). Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of cake, Transformers, and chocolate.
And having painted a vivid picture for Ryuk warning of a future bound to a Death Note now stuck in Near's vault - while Light languished in a prison for the criminally insane for life - Near successfully manipulated the Death God into taking out Light before returning to the shinigami realm. Then the Three Wise Wammys left for their own country, where verily two returned to the toy box and Near took L's Code for himself. And probably Mello's too.
Hold on! One missing from this listing of The Wam-Magi as read from the Book of God's New World:
Bored out of his mind, Il Matto stayed put in Winchester, playing SuperMario and thanking the Gods of the Internet that Kira never came with cyber-terrorism on-line. Else he'd never have been able to get away with hiding behind his lazy, mad, wise Fool routine; playing Tetris instead of getting himself killed in someone else's war. So wise he only ever ranked third and remained forever Il Matto. He probably wouldn't have amounted to much anyway. Beep, beep, lulwut, nub?
Ok, I've stopped now.
"Watari, from now on you must safeguard the world with the other Letters."
~ L, L: Change the World, p 17
Death Note Wammy Letters' Alphabet Pt 2 - L-Z
Read the first part: Wammy Alphabet A-K
Watari, also known as Quillsh Wammy, had used the enormous earnings from the patents of his many inventions to establish the Wammy Foundation, an organization dedicated to building orphanages around the world.
L - Wammy Kid The Last One, or The Lost One - True Name L Lawliet*
* This is the name that features upon a collectors' card fitted as a bonus gift inside the back fly-page of manga manual Death Note 13: How to Read. It's also the name recorded in a Death Note, as seen in the Japanese live-action films.
However, in the novel Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, narrator Mello wrote that L was in possession of well over 3,500 names and pseudonyms to hide his personal identity. Mello postulated the theory that even L didn't know his own true name any longer.
Though M (presumably Mello again) subsequently contradicted himself one book on - in the novelization of the movie L: Change the World - when he casually informed the reader that only L and Watari knew his real name. Thus able to facilitate the key plot-line underpinning this variant of the story, wherein L won his war against Kira effectively by committing suicide via Death Note.
However, this was an alternate universe to that recounted in the manga and anime, wherein M as Mihael Keehl's Mello never existed, begging the question as to who is writing this novel now. Unless it's Maki, grown a little older and brought furthermore into the Wammy House loop. The fourth generation Wammy to be assigned that code-letter M, in lieu of poor, lost Mello, omitted unmade and erased from the record for this telling.
Anyway, onto the plot.
Instead of reprimanding him and ensuring that he apologized to the kids and teens groaning against the floorboards all around, Mr Wammy thought this rather fabulous. Presumably the other orphans were shortly deprived of familiarity, friends and home by being relocated to sister establishments in the chain of Wammy Orphanages. Meanwhile, L got his own room, a computer and plenty of cooing fuss.
L managed to redeem his anti-social behaviour - if such was needed in Wammy's eyes - by perusing stock markets and advising the old man on what to buy and when to sell. In that way, the profits poured right in. That was the year that the eight year old took on the Winchester Mad Bomber and averted World War III.
Being handed such freedom on a plate, with adults to order about too, would be heady stuff for any child. Pair it with extreme wealth and the ear of world leaders and suddenly even societal boundaries are non-existent. The possibilities are limitless, with even torture, killing and the ordering of a condemned man onto live television for his execution are not only on the table, but Watari's logistical and sniping skills will ensure all continues quite smoothly.
With a seeming lack of constriction akin to a juvenile Roman Emperor, it's little wonder that L emerges into the Death Note story with a personality self-confessedly childish, but also spoiled and cruel.
Depending upon whether Beyond Birthday ever met L or not, it was either now or five years later - when L was thirteen - that The Wammy House for Gifted and Talented Orphans was established with Roger Ruvie at the helm. Employed by Wammy not as warden per se, but as a trained psychiatrist there to gather parentless, genius kids from around the globe, and to reshape them - body, personality and mind; self-identity changed as standard - into clones of L.
In a rare moment of introspection, L saw clearly what manner of man he considered himself to be - both inspiring and imbibing the Wammy ethos, as the one most influenced by its engineer. Amongst them all, L had the most direct, one-to-one contact with Quillsh Wammy, who set up the system and let it evolve that way. The current crop of Wammy orphans gathered together to learn what their privileged, pressurized upbringing was urging them to become.
L laid it on the line in his famous 'monster' speech. To be L was to embrace the monstrous. Just like him.
There are many types of monsters in this world, monsters who will not show themselves and who cause trouble. Monsters who abduct children, monsters who devour dreams, monsters who suck blood, and monsters who always tell lies. Lying monsters are a real nuisance. They are much more cunning than other monsters. They pose as humans, even though they have no understanding of the human heart. They eat, even though they've never experienced hunger. They study even though they have no interest in academics. They seek friendship even though they do not know how to love. If I were to encounter such a monster, I would likely be eaten by it because, in truth, I am that monster.
Driven home in the hearts and minds of his back-up foster siblings, over whose lives L is able to exert absolute control. Wammy, L and Ruvie colluding with potentially sociopathic abandon, in what can only be deemed 'experimental' upbringings for those children subjected in generational waves to that institution. No soaring IQ necessary to foresee tragic results in such child-raising methodologies, centring around rehumanisation at its core.
From suicide to serial killing through to the attempted pathogenic extinction of the human race, via joining the Mafia and martyrdom, Wammy kids answered their psyche's refashioning en masse.
In the end, it didn't matter how many Wammy kids strove to murder L. He beat them there too. No matter which version of Death Note is consulted, L kills himself. His suicide is either openly stated, as per the live-action movies, with him writing his own name in a shinigami's notebook to beat Kira; or else it's so subtle as to be barely acknowledged, hidden beneath an overlong stare at Light Yagami, circa Kira's 'just as planned' exclamation of victory.
That L had worked it out is confirmed conversely by his statement of the precise opposite. He dully enunciates that Light is not Kira, and should in fact be the next L. The mystery was solved; the game was over. Though to admit so was to lose the fun. The clash of minds that had begun with a challenge to Light Yagami, which was answered in kind. Without it, L could foresee the futile vastness of his life without that battle enriching all.
Already depressed, L said nothing, just concurred with the sentiment of Light's innocence.
It prolonged their cerebral sparring a little while longer, but it would kill L soon, as he well knew. It seemed worth the cost in the banishment of tedium and onset of fascination alone. Just to see what Light would do next, and to end the life that kept L trapped - 'a reclusive sociopath' - in Wammy's world of responsibility, self-protection and unceasing investigations. Now doomed to tedium post-Kira, plus the unsolvable crime because he would never catch Kira. He'd already let him go.
L's manga suicide was his silence. A final act of justice (belatedly) for his Wammy House brethren was in taking Quillsh Wammy with him.
M - Wammy Kid Mello - Mihael Keehl
It's also semi-rewarded, insofar as the goals of the institution are concerned. L names Mello as one of his chief candidates for succession due to 'a nasty look in his eyes' rather than anything related to grades. While Roger follows up both latter acts of aggression with encouragement and/or expectation that the fourteen year old before him take the deceased L's position in the world, at least jointly with Near (a twelve year old).
Can we say child soldiers?
The bullying isn't all. We also view Mello as a Wammy boy apparently isolated amidst his peers. During L's 'monster' speech, Mello stands alone, away from the children excitedly grouped before the laptop through which L chats with them.
When he hears about L's death, Mello's mind flashes back to a moment in receipt of grades (pictured right). All of the other kids are flocking to read Near's paper and see his mark. Mello is left lonely and anxious reading his own. He also apparently studied alone, as the following panel demonstrates.
Probably because he's the Wammy House bully and this is the best that his foster siblings can do in their own defence and/or revenge.
Not all of them though. Near was quite happy to work with Mello, when their warden Roger suggested it, regardless of the look of utter horror twisting Mello's expression at the same time. Later on, Matt appeared from the peer-group at the Wammy House to partner Mello in the final hunt for Kira. So two people at least could have been, or were, Mello's friends there. That said, even bullies have confederates and/or a gang.
Mello goes for the biggest and the best (or worst, depending on how we're phrasing it) gang after leaving Wammy's - the Mafia. Wherein his admittance was assured despite his lack of Sicilian ethnicity (which kept Al Capone out); his posh Winchester/English accent; his youth; and his effeminate attire. All this was over-ridden by his demonstrable intelligence and the fact that he brought, as an entrance present, the head of a Mafia Don whom even Kira couldn't touch.
How literally should we take that 'bringing the head' tidbit? Are we actually talking the decapitated article in a box? Or information thereon? An alternative translation states it in the plural - 'the heads of Mafia dons, who even Kira couldn't touch'. Maybe this is the source of those skulls, with which the teenage Mafia era Mello likes to surround himself.
Nor is this the worst that Mello feels justified in ordering during those days. He arranges for the abduction of Japanese police chief Takimura, followed by the same for Sayu Yagami, both as bargaining chips to be exchanged for the Death Note in Japanese police custody. Takimura is killed by Kira in a pre-emptive move; Sayu is left catatonic with trauma.
No end of Mafia associates are killed, or pressured into giving up half of their lives to acquire shinigami eyes. Drug routes established. The President of the United States of American coerced into suicide in order to prevent Mello using the Death Note to force his hand. Like making him launch nuclear bombs around the world, thus causing World War Three. The theft of a missile. All but three of the SPK massacred as a test of the Death Note, falling around Near, probably as a show of strength for his benefit.
Therein lies the rub. It's all about Near, ergo all about Wammy's House, not really about Kira or Rod Ross's prestige and profits at all. When the pair finally confront each other face to face, the background fades to exhibit instead the stained glass windows from the institution which raised them, and continues to cast its pall over their lives right now.
For Near and Mello, the battle to become L is all. Both are willing to pull out extremities in action, thought and deed to secure the prize Wammy and Roger left dangling for them. Ultimately, Mello will give up his life simply to make it onto the final score-sheet as joint first, once he realizes that the end is nigh and he'll be second in perpetuity.
N - Wammy Kid Near - Nate River
Of all the Wammys - with the possible exception of Beyond Birthday and his peer, the institution's first child suicidee A - Near seems to have taken the directive to become L's clone most keenly to heart.
He never met his idol, so any physical emulation of his idol was accidental, or an inadvertent consequence of both boys being raised within the same system. This didn't matter. The purposes for which reprogramming children to match the prototype was deemed necessary didn't involve B-like cosplay antics. Before Kira, no-one outside the Wammy Foundation met with L face-to-face, therefore would be hard pushed to identify him in a line-up. There was a brief interlude with Naomi Misora, immediately prior to the Kira case, but L never actually introduced himself. Perceptive Naomi guessed anyway, but she had the huge clue before her of Beyond Birthday making an indelible impression whilst copying L in costume, aspect and stance.
Near's task was much more insidiously wrought than just dressing up would have been. He sought to think like L. Submerge his own personality beneath a persona modelled upon that of his predecessor, as Near believed him to be based on this own observations and insights gleaned from L's electronic address to the fourth generation Wammy wards en masse. Near didn't even ask him any questions. They never had a conversation.
Scant enough hints around which to mould a credible likeness in continuation of the L Code. Especially when it has to be enough to to fool world leaders, and high-ranking contacts - networked to no known degree in the past - drawn randomly world-wide from government, military, legal/law enforcement, intelligence, secret services and other offices. Plus those within the private sector, researchers, consultants and experts in fields raising across the academe.
With whom did L share a confidence? Who did he know? Detest? Exchange now impenetrable dialogue in language encroached in private in-jokes? All of which Near must know in order to pull this off, or else his failure is outright and absolute. 'Just a loser' in all he worked hard and aspired to be - surviving his nearest rivals; out-ranking the rest - the only source of meaning for his life. He was told. And equally raised to fear, as catastrophic on a global scale, being exposed as a fake L, alongside the real L's death now leaked.
World War III would start. Only the actual Lawliet held its inception in abeyance. Crimes rates everywhere would soar, in figures projected to make the upward surge post-Kira seem like an insignificant bump beside the inevitable spike post-L.
A year later, Near's faded from his own world; withdrawing into isolation as a hermit obsessively constructing a whole city out of tarot cards, paranoid about the fragility of his finely balanced reality. One draught of wind or an unwary boot upon Rester's foot might bring whole sections of the edifice down. Near's obvious depression surely a consequence of his attempt to obliterate his distinct and natural self, in lieu of fulfilling his Wammy given destiny to become L. Lawliet.
All of this after several years in pursuit of Kira - as the L defined arena in which his prototype Code's pretenders must battle to the death for the right to claim it as their own. Not to mention that it followed on top of a childhood raised in the Wammy House, with its petty rivalries, academic expectations, competitive rankings and presumed early exposure to graphic evidence from crime scenes, as part of the endemic brainwashing forging a strong desire to become L, should a back-up be required.
It takes a retracing of his steps back to the start for Near to even grasp the issue. The return sparked by circumstance - a prospective new Kira appearing on the scene - coupled with the urgent messages forged in his own subconscious - Near's arranging for all previously present to reassemble in the Yellow Box warehouse on the first anniversary of Light Yagami's denunciation and death. Another confrontation in the offing, this time with a crime syndicate dealing in drugs.
That hardly seems worth the while of a Wammy kid, except that it puts altered realities in Near's frame of introspection.
In the midst of that mix, experienced after twelve months spent dissembling, something had to give. It seems to begin with the sequence shown in the panel above, whereby Hal Lidner affirms to Near that he doesn't need to become L. 'L is L, you are you,' Lidner tells him and Near is momentarily at a loss for words to say in response. He mentally assesses her wisdom in taking such a perspective and is forced to conclude that she is quite correct.
I wonder if it's deliberate or coincidental that Hal's further comment - 'we can handle it our own way' - apes Mello's upon leaving the Wammy House - 'I will find my own way'. Near would have heard such echoes of sentiment anyway.
Later in the conversation, Hal says quite pointed that Near is trying to think as L would think. Near, who had just accidentally knocked over a section of his tarot card city, asks the pair to leave. He telling adds that they shouldn't topple his towers on the way out. In tarot, The Tower is a card of necessary destruction in the major arcana. It wipes away the old that the new might flourish.
However, Near's concluding statement in the L speech was a denunciation that was never heard from Lawliet's mouth, nor anything akin to it. But it mirrored entirely that famously enunciated by Near to the first Kira - 'You abominable murderer'. It was Near's personality emerging in full strength t0 wipe away the vestiges of Lawliet.
This time, when Rester repeats Hal's assertion that Near is L, Near does not hesitate to concur. We get the wide view and see that the Towers of L aren't so much zones of intimidation. It's Near demonstrating full well his altered world view. He doesn't have to be Lawliet, because he's Near.
All of this is a far cry from the Death Note anime, which simply skips over the issues Near endures post-Kira. Or the Death Note movies, which only features Near in the third film (L: Change the World). There he's a very young child when L dies, delivered to Wammy's House as L's final act of salvation before the detective dies. It will be a long time, if ever, that Near will have to take on L's mantle in that alternative timeline.
Or you can opt for the timeline altered once more in the novelization of L: Change the World, which omits the Thai boy entirely, to reinstate a more commonly rendered Near in cameo as the end. Only this one doesn't have self-identity issues, nor any compulsion not to tell the US President that L is dead, and he is now L. This telling establishes L as a team effort rather than investigated in one figurehead, albeit one with the same initial as the overall group. Here Near comes across as Puckish, in fact almost angelic.
Well, angelic only if we recall that Lucifer was also an archangel; that Gabriel's horn topples city walls; that Samael was an Angel of Death and Destruction; and that Michael wielded a fiery sword to wage war on God's behalf. Near stating that he'll murder a man, then destroy the Death Note in one breath, followed by a threat to kill the President via it, sometime in perpetuity, seems nothing next to all that. Even if he did get caught in a lie from his own tongue within seconds of stating it.
If Matsuda's theory is correct, then Near went much further than what was less than subtly implied in the pages of the manga. The new L was a serial killer, whose victims could well have included Mello, and whose continued possession of the Death Note AND the L Code makes him a dangerously all-powerful influence upon the modern world's movers and shakers.
Just as he learned at Wammy's House.
O - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
We don't currently have a canon assignation for the Wammy group letter O, just the usual known candidates: Matt and Linda, plus Wammy House created and raised L clone Ryūzaki (from Death Note: Light Up the New World).
P - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
Q - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown; Unless Strong Probability: Q - Wammy Kid Matt - True Name Mail Jeevas
It is a truth universally known and recognized throughout the Death Note fandom that Matt is good with computers. On his Death Note Wiki page, where cited facts tend to be cross-referenced back to source, we're told '(Matt's) specialty is technology, and he is tasked by Mello to monitor the activities of Misa, Mogi and Aizawa.' The information is devoid of citation.
Matt's geek prowess in computing and 1337 cyber skills are implied in canon. Nevertheless it may surprise most to realise nothing in manga, manual, anime or elsewhere explicitly states anything of the sort. Unless we're missing some reference somewhere, Matt's technological genius is pure fanon.
What we are told - or shown - by Death Note's creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata is that Matt likes video games. He's rarely seen without a PSP or Nintendo DS in hand, and/or other consoles trailing in the background, unless he's driving a car, wielding a gun, watching Kira over the road through a camera or chatting to Mello over his phone about Misa, boredom and the unchanging nature of brick walls.
However, there are quite often computers in the vicinity too. Multiples thereof. Whole reasons in fact why fanon latches onto this notion that Matt is Wammy's technological genius, not least because of the sheer amount that surrounds him at every (woefully scant) view we get.
Whether the case is made for Matt being Q or not, he's likely to be the figure behind a Wammy letter. This correlation between implied official/widely accepted fanon facets of Matt with those known about Q is as close as canon has come to assigning him a letter thus far.
A major insight into the mores of Watari is afforded us through the added information about Q . The Wammy House computing adept has created at least two highly useful programs. They belong to him/her - unless the geek's own Hacker Ethic has seen them released as freeware online - and could be patented for personal profit outside the Wammy Foundation orbit.
Yet they have not. Moreover, Watari feels warranted passing those scripts onto a personal friend as a gift.
There could be quite innocent and laudable reasons for this, or it could be that all those high flying skills possessed by Wammy letters are never quite their own to utilize. Their gained wealth and honours fly straight into the Wammy coffers to be used as a common treasury for all within the House and its Foundation. Fuel for fan-fiction writers anyway.
As for Matt himself, he's yet another letter coming from the Wammy House into that deathly battle against Kira. After assisting Mello in some surveillance work in the USA, Matt flew with him to Japan. There he further helped out, this time firing a CS gun from the driver's seat of a red muscle car, creating a smokescreen to facilitate the abduction of Kiyomi Takada.
Matt was killed shortly afterwards, when cornered by Kira supporters and shot dead. He was nineteen years old.
R - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
S - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
To date, there is no known Wammy Letter S in canon, which isn't to say that one doesn't exist. The usual candidates apply here too.
T - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
T is known only from his/her entry on L's call/mailing list in L: Change the World live-action movie. However the initial is faded out to grey, implying that T is dead (see R.)
U - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
There is no Wammy U letter assigned in any canon source to date.
V - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
Another included on L's Wammy Members' Group mailing list in the film L: Change the World. V's initial is greyed out, it's owner presumed dead.
W - Wammy Letter for Watari - Quillsh Wammy Himself
It's difficult to know the motive for Quillsh Wammy in creating The Wammy House for Gifted and Talented Orphans in Winchester. Mostly in manga, anime, novels and live-action adaptations of Death Note, the altruism is played up in the persona of L's handler (as Tsugumi Ohba described him).
But the Death Note author also stated that Wammy cultivated those kids as detectives 'for fun'.
Even if Wammy's orphanage and the lettered foundation to follow were established for the best of reasons, gathering genius children from across the globe - for the most part relocating them to another country - then stripping them of their names and other indicators of self-identity robs all concerned of their birthright. Held up to the light of the UN's Rights of the Child (international law) and Wammy's House is shown sadly lacking for all its wonderful provision.
That document was certainly ratified in England, where Winchester is situated. Some government officials, and those in the local authority too, must be turning quite a large blind eye, or else Hampshire Social Services would be traipsing all over the premises. Closing it down too because, for all its bright and glorious intentions, Wammy's House is an illegal concern by universally declared human rights laws.
Obviously those politicians in Winchester, Westminster and in the offices of other world leaders too consider it expedient to let the institution continue existing - taking the Stalinesque position that the ends justify the means - but that's by the by. The question here is what Wammy himself thinks he's up to, and how he's squared it with his conscience (if, of course, he knows his operation to be criminally negligent and cares about that).
And incidentally, their guardian is dead, along with their idol. The one they were raised to emulate to the point of becoming in a very literal sense.
Its director's cut movie length double bill - Relight - adds the darkest element yet in L's 'monster' speech, as recalled by Near. Whatever else anyone thought the Wammy Foundation to be, L was in it for the lulz. Apparently. Then Mello, as narrator in Another Note, takes the matter of Watari's motives and the institution's reality plummeting to whole new levels of criminal insanity and horror. Herein, Quillsh Wammy emerges as a mad inventor, dehumanising children to the level of machines, psychologically repackaging them as carbon copies of his prototype child. Then placing them on a conveyor belt onto martyrdom or becoming L mark 2.
Thereafter, things lighten up considerably. Wammy suddenly transforms into a kindly benefactor, personally concerned in realising the potential in each of his wards, coupled with a genuine zest to save the world - or change it, as the movies and their novelisation strangely phrases it.
Though this overtly compassionate soul doesn't stop L, to all extents and purposes, committing suicide by writing his own name in a Death Note; F dying with a smile on his face in Thailand; and K building a biological contagion to wipe out all humanity. All directly or by proxy sent into the situations that killed or unhinged them by Wammy himself or one of his assistants at Wammy HQ.
Not one of them elicited a word of censure or damage limitation from their guardian either; nothing of consolation nor urging them to put their own safety and well-being above the perils of the case.
F's death 'couldn't be helped' (L: Change the World movie). K was never approached with the key information that she'd been assigned and kept not only her letter, but Watari's own esteem (L: Change the World novel, p 176-177). While sight of L's name in that Death Note almost prompted words in reaction from the man who'd raised him and continued to be a constant presence catering to his every whim. But Wammy stopped himself speaking 'and closed his eyes to contain his feelings' (ibid, p 16).
For that matter, though L was on the trail of Beyond Birthday enough to contact and advise Naomi Misora, Watari did not take the first available flight to Los Angeles in an attempt to calm his wayward, suicidal ward. With all L's considerable sway upon the movers and shakers of most nations - the USA topmost on the list - no apparent intervention was made on behalf of the badly burned Beyond Birthday. He was left to languish in a LA prison, until Kira killed him. (Nor then had the Wammy Foundation ensured his anonymity regarding face and name, as Near did for Mello. B lost and thus was excluded from the fold.
It's unlikely to be an appalled father figure washing his hands of the 'back-up'. Watari covers up or fixes the carnage from no end of criminal acts, up to and including murder, as enacted by his other wards. Like Near/Mello, in the Death Note TV drama (2015), phoning to announce that he's just killed Yudagawa. Wammy's reaction being to retrieve Near from the scene, arrange the clear up and cake. Near's favourite at that.
Finally back to the manga's original story and timeline, wherein Watari, firmly entrenched in the perils at the front line of the Kira case, never once thought to phone home to tell Roger, "You know, this might be too dangerous for the kids. Plus they've got the onset of puberty looming on the horizon, which is going to play havoc with their thought processes and deductive reasoning. If anything happens to me and L, be sure and keep Near and Mello safe indoors, eh?"
Instead, he doesn't even deign to indicate a name for L's successor - news which every child there spends every second of their existence in conditioned striving to become - partially because he knew L had already named Light (more important information for the cohort in Winchester, perchance?), and also because Wammy's own death was so sudden.
Yet surely this ultra-efficient man had made provision? Given his wealth, responsibilities and current condition in risk of sudden death by Kira, it seems the most obvious rolling course of action for the Wammy House founder and father figure.
The only insight we get to the mindset of Quillsh Wammy, in regard to the ridiculously short life expectancy of those in his care, comes from his musing in response to the fait accompli of L's suicide - deferred by twenty-three days as per the extremities of the Death Note's limitations. In the knowledge that L would have contemplated every move available to himself before acting thus to checkmate Kira, a conclusion is reached - 'this was the choice L had made. How could Watari object?' (L: Change the World (novel), p17)
How could he not? When each tragic loss to the Wammy House cohort, met without comment, reaffirms the normality/inevitability/expectancy of such choices made, his objections should be paramount. Especially as L - with his own demise fixed and irreversible - instantly acted as though a burden had been lifted from his shoulders. A burden that the novel later articulates as,
... L did not and could not forget the face of thousands of victims... The chronically rounded shoulders, the inevitable dark circles, the eccentric tastes - L suppressed the pain of being a champion of justice, but the evidence of the pain was molded into his very body. L tore out his hair and howled at the sky, unleashing the agony inside his soul.
It's a life that Watari chose for his favourite ward to live, when the boy was way too young to know what it could possibly entail. A whole Foundation was constructed around facilitating and perpetuating it, complete with staff-members tasked with replicating L upon the raw matter and vulnerable psyche of a steady procession of living children. The majority of whom L, at just twenty-seven years old, has already out-lived.
His guardian, mentor and carer Wammy hasn't left his side in over twenty-one years. Two decades of reaffirming to L that what he's doing is necessary and the only thing he could be doing. Acting like this is normal and right. Intimating that L perhaps owes him something for this relentless support and companionship, with so much time, wealth and world peace tied up in the detective going on as before; his burden bending his shoulders and adding dark pits around his eyes.
L looked up suddenly... with the worried expression of a child. "Watari, have I fulfilled you expectations?" Watari answered with his usual serene smile and uttered one simple unerring word: "Fully."
X - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown; Y - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown; and Z - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
... I heard from L: the story of the detective war between the three greatest detectives, all solving that infamous bio-terror case, with guest appearances from the last of the alphabet, the first X to the first Z from Wammy's House.
X, Y and Z were all Wammy House children who assisted L, as he battled for supremacy over the original Eraldo Coil and Danuve.
Emerging victorious, L wasn't content to merely take the top spot in investigative global ranking. He took their detective codes too, hereafter able to call himself by their names; as evidenced in the battle against Kira, when he announced to the task force that he was in fact all three detectives now. Aiber was able to pose as Coil, in L's stead, when the Yotsuba Group hired the supposed 2nd placed detective in order to investigate the first.
Yet none of this explains what happened to X, Y and Z afterwards. Mello never tells us in Another Note; nothing more beyond that snippet quoted above. Nor do they turn up in the B case, or the fight against Kira which follows on.
Then again, that quotation can be read another way and perhaps they weren't assisting L at all, despite their Wammy House credentials. It seems unlikely that one or two WERE the original Coil and Danuve, challenging L for the chance not to be his backup nor copy. That would place them centre-stage, not cameos.
But nothing there says that they weren't the instigators of the bio-terror case under investigation. After all, it wouldn't be the first time that something like that was spawned from the dark corridors of the Wammy House to be unleashed upon the world.
In which case, all precedent says they're now tucked up safely inside their laboratories within the confines of the orphanage, welcomed home with an attitude akin to respect and a jolly well done. But for the fact that none of the trio factor upon L's calling screen in L: Change the World - plus Mello refers to all as 'the first' of their names in Another Note.
The implication being that these three Wammy kids no longer exist, even within the institution out of public view. Moreover, those who supplanted them in their allocated initials potentially were lost too. That is if we're taking all Death Note stories as one amalgamated canon, even where their time-lines clash.
The Wammy Alphabet of Death Note Letters
Those names greyed out are already dead by the end of all iterations of the Death Note canon. Those inverted represent Letters whose allocation is currently unknown. Leaving just D, E, G, H, K, N and P still alive.
However, this is just one run through from all known canon data. We have indubitably got a mix-match of generations here. A, B, X, Y and Z are known to have been amongst the first. M and N were definitely fourth. L, H and W held their letters throughout. K's letter survived at least two generations in its allocation. It has to be assumed that for a letter to be reassigned (four times for four generation of alphabets filled and started again), the previous recipient is dead.
How many Wammy kids must have died then, for the latest as semblance of Wammy Letters to exist? A vague straw-poll based on the configuration seen above suggests that, of the overall proportion, 73.1% are dead.
It may be presumed that Ryūzaki, Linda and those nameless Wammy kids in the background of flashback scenes all bore an initial apiece. A single letter displayed upon a white screen when they called - stark black in an Old English font, in lieu of a real name.
And where were J, X, Y and Z on L's calling screen in L: Change the World? A possible 4-7 more dead or disappeared. J to a burning ship in the middle of a pixel ocean; the latter three implied dead by Mello's comment 'the first to hold those letters'.
And of the remainder, one planned to destroy all humanity but was brought back into the Wammy fold. Not before K had already killed thousands, obliterating whole villages along the way. While, if Matsuda's theory was right, another is a secret serial killer in possession of a Death Note's great power, in addition to holding the L title that every one of Wammy's children coveted.
As L's successor, N beat them all to what amounts - in practicality, wealth and influence alike - to world domination.
Here is at least one house for gifted children, assumed to be orphans, who are raised in an unfriendly and competitive environment for no other reason other than Quillsh Wammy thought this was an important thing to do. Those children are taught their skills should be directed to a very specific goal: becoming L. L is a detective so the point of collecting those children is to groom them into becoming detectives. More than that, they are trained to be confident in their own reasoning, their own methods of doing what they enjoy.
If the children are taught to find a hobby and to find their own way of achieving the goals of said hobby, can we talk about indoctrination in Wammy’s House? Considering John White’s definition that indoctrination takes place if the intention of the teacher is to make it so that “(t)he child should believe that ‘p’ is true, in a such way that nothing will shake this belief” (White 1972a, 119 and 1973, 179), it could be said the point behind Wammy’s is to make sure the children believe their goal is worth everything.
If they want to solve a case, anything they do to accomplish that (be it breaking the law or putting themselves at risk or indirectly getting people killed or cheating) is worth it. Their conclusion is absolute to the point their actions are justified as if they are justice.
Mello joins the Mafia, K joins a bio-terrorist group, B becomes a serial killer, L himself admits to being a criminal by current laws and is willing to use torture against Misa. Letting them do as they pleased, confident on their own skills and conclusions, seemed to be a pretty chaotic project.
As it is, Watari died before his experiment was complete and we only have bits and pieces of it to try and make sense of his project. But why was it important to Watari to create a group of people with that level of confidence in their own reasoning? Why was it important to let them loose in the world with no guidance or direction?
Article by Lua Cruz
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Originally, Ohba meant to call this character Shadow, as in L's shadow - a moniker with more than one inferred meaning, which fan-fiction writers would have had great fun exploring. However Death Note's editor pooh-poohed the name, telling Ohba, 'No, no! Anything but that!' Hence the author coming up with Watari, which he explained meant 'handler' in Japanese.
Watari's Vital Statistics
Key Dates for Watari
The Auguries of Quillsh Wammy
A Versatile Fixer - The Personality of Quillsh Wammy
Death Note 13: How to Read gives us an insight into the character of Quillsh Wammy, at least insofar as his author saw him.
The older man scores highly for versatility, talent, initiative/willingness to act, motivation and emotional strength. Not far behind are his only slightly lesser scores for creativity, social skills and intelligence. That he doesn't reach the topmost figure for creativity is a little surprising, given that Wammy made his fortune as an inventor. The ultimate creator, one might think, this side of actual divinity.
We do get a hint of the kind of things that Wammy invented, when he turns up in the Death Note manga with belts containing panic buttons. Not exactly Bond's Q, but in the ballpark.
As befits a man whose wealth and life has become devoted to raising children, his pet hate is 'dirty rooms'. Presumably plenty of those at Wammy's House. I can't quite see the like of Beyond Birthday, Mello and Near running around with a duster.
This is an attribute taken to extreme levels in the Death Note TV drama, wherein guests are sprayed with disinfection at the door. The interior of L's headquarters is kept pristine in its cleanliness, with Watari hurrying in to exchange L's shirt should a mere splash of food stain hit upon it. In most tellings of the Death Note story, it's also inferred that Wammy is a fabulous cook. At least there doesn't seem to be any travelling caterer providing all that confectionery for L that his handler regularly delivers.
Though it's nowhere stated that Wammy is an Englishman, it's implied in the location of his main orphanage for the training of gifted and talented orphans - Winchester, in England. A further clue is given in his most favourite thing in the world - Earl Grey tea.
It's never truly explained how Watari managed to become such a crack marksman either. His sharp-shooting is such that, in the Death Note manga and anime alike, he's able to fire a bullet which blasts a gun from the hand of Yotsuba's Kyosuke Higuchi, far below him on the ground. Wammy himself hovering over the scene in a helicopter at the time.
Nor do we learn where Quillsh Wammy acquired such skill in espionage, though he puts that to good use in Death Note, infiltrating various organizations to gain or deliver information. Not least a gathering of Interpol.
Nevertheless he passed on all this knowledge, and the thinking/morality behind it, to the children in his care. Maybe more clues to Watari's character reside in those he raised - how they turned out and what became of them.
Complete List of Wammy Kids in Death Note Canon
Genius children taken from wherever they lived around the world and installed in Wammy's House, Winchester. Here their 'special talents' were cultivated with a top class education, whereupon they were sent back out into the world to put those skills into practice. All of these individuals were nurtured by Wammy - or at least had their upbringing and training overseen remotely by him, as warden Roger Ruvie took orders from above.
Each skilled Wammy kid set loose on the world was assigned a letter by Watari. In L: Change the World, it's stated that this only occurs with the greatest, most intelligent of the Wammy's House outcrop. Kujo is according stunned to belatedly realise that she was afforded the letter K.
Dotted across various adaptations of canon, we've practically got the entire alphabet in Wammy Letters. With Watari himself indicated by the Letter W, only H, I, O, S and U are missing. However, some known Wammy alumni never divulge their letters. We don't, for example, know which Matt was assigned, despite him being third in the Wammy House rankings. Nor yet do we know which letter Ryūzaki will take in the forthcoming movie Death Note 2016, assuming that he takes one at all.
Meanwhile, by the end of the manga/anime Death Note stories, Near interchangeably uses both N and L. The latter earned post-Kira. Thus giving an insight into the fact that letters can be taken from their peers by successful rivals/successors from the same Institution. This is a system that Wammy himself must have set up.
Along with a code of ethics that apparently accounts for serial killers, abductors, biomedical scientists bent on mass destruction and the propensity of Wammy graduates to think it proper to die - or be killed - for want of a puzzle's solution.
The Faces of Watari
There's always been something a little off about events in the Yellow Box Warehouse, wherein was staged Death Note's climactic scenes.
It's all good drama nontheless. We get Gevanni's sleight of hand with Death Notes performed like a stage magician's prestige; that breath-taking instant of Light's confession; the chaos and the shooting; a divine madman's soliloquy on the subject of justice; and Near's finest hour in the coldest put-down to ever deaden a burgeoning reality.
Not to mention the revelation of Mell0's final heroism, as martyr to the cause (inadvertently taking Matt with him), being more meaningful than hitherto suspected; and the crawling disbelief of Light, as the Kira veneer is stripped from him and we're all reminded that Ryuk was only ever here for the lulz.
Then death - a flashing ghost of glowing L, if this is the anime over manga - and everyone leaves to resume normality in a world, where the given order has long since been shaken to the core. Global society now quickly recovering with a haste almost indecent enough to prove Kira right after all.
And everyone lived happily ever after.
So - Run it by Us Again - How Did Death Note End?! I Think We Missed a Bit...
Except they didn't. Do you know a single Death Note fan who hasn't at least questioned the unfolding narrative in that scene?
Attempting to follow Near's proof and logic from confrontation to conclusion; not only of the moment, but the whole story supposedly unravelling in evidence that leads directly to Light's undignified demise.
I think everyone read or watched it again at least twice. I've lost count of forum posts with each new fandom victim meandering to say, 'Erm, sorry, but I don't quite get this.'
Thus follows the specific point where they tripped down yawning the plot-holes, now opening up like a minefield across the scene: What did Mello do again? How did Near know x, y, z? Is he psychic or something? And what the sweet proverbial was up with Mikami's bizarreness in behaviour generally and facial expressions definitely?
Everyone too busy worrying that they were the only one left confused to even touch upon the gore of that arterial blood-burst, so gloried in the anime as Mikami's dramatic turn at self-harm.
You know what I mean. We've all been there. Several detailed readings or stop-contemplate-start viewings on, some of us can even convince ourselves that the denunciation is sequential; all points supported with no great leaps of faith; and it all makes sense. Otherwise we've sat though 37 episodes/108 chapters of story that doesn't deliver at the final crescendo of all that build-up. Which can't be true, when the tale is widely deemed to be a - perhaps the - classic of the genre; wildly, unabashedly and unceasingly popular on a global scale.
So the doubt creeps in that it's us instead. We weren't genius enough to fully 'get' it. It's enough to pretend we did, then run with the points that were discerned and fitted perfectly in place.
The rest is simply fan-fiction.
Death Note Doesn't End at the Yellow Box
The problem is our natural propensity to think of Death Note as Light's story. It's not. It's Ryuk's. (Though Tarot Mikami is coming up shortly with an intriguing perspective on the manga also being Matsuda's tale.) Nevertheless when the epic build up breaks upon Kira's death, and subsequent dissembling into nothingness, it can seem like we went with him.
What follows is way too often dismissed as superlative; an epilogue to bring us all back down to Earth. While mischievously inserting doubt over whether Light really lost, when Kira worshippers still ritually congregate and believe.
But this, not Kira's Curtain, was what it was all leading up to. Tsugumi Ohba himself said, in How to Read - Death Note 13, that the vision of these scenes in Finis were what caused the spark of inspiration to flow through the rest of the Death Note narrative. All else he wrote was working back from this, no tacked on arcs post-L, nor leaping into the grave with Light. For all their game-changing grandeur, they were ultimately merely markers upon the narrative, pointing beyond themselves to now.
Pinging upon the sacred number of Defilements in Buddhism, Finis is chapter 108. It always would be. Ohba decided that one early on, and left the one-shot manga to follow unnumbered so not to alter the fact that Death Note has exactly 108 chapters. You can count them on your Mala Beads, if you want.
So what great facet is revealed to us here? That Light found divinity in the end? That the world without him simply returns to previous form: crime rate rising to pre-Kira levels; all else flowing back as if the last seven years had been erased, with even the same people in the streets, older, yet doing exactly the same things.
Light's endeavours, and even erstwhile existence, rendered meaningless in minute, subtle ways. Like the return of Yamamoto, last seen in cameo within the earliest Death Note chapters as Light Yagami's friend; now greeting Matsuda as his BFF, and off they go to the pub. Light's own mother never learning the truth of his loss. Told lies to cover up the reality as seen and shaped by her son. His place in the world, philosophy, perspective and pursuits all rendered Mu as his Kira ridden soul. All else come full circle and moved on like he was never there.
Nor is this the point of Finis. It just the fine detail in the background driving certain messages home; if we're charitable a coda of candles in the wind.
Matsuda's Theory is Not a Coda; It's the Final Piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle
It's in the foreground that the big reveal is happening, hidden in plain sight through the chattering of a 'Fool' and already dismissed by Ide before we even make the mountain top.
Most readers agreeing, because we're too distracted by Light and all the lovely Easter eggs waving from the scenery. Plus we already feel like idiots for not quite 'getting' the Near exposee of Light in the Yellow Box Warehouse, and we're damned if we're going to be drawn into another long explanation posited by a traumatized idiot.
Matsuda's always been so easy to dismiss. Particularly now, when we recently saw his gullibility writ large upon that shattering previous scene. His shock in the great Kira reveal caused such a meltdown that he's probably suffering PTSD or something now. Racked with guilt over Soichiro and so many dead; still obviously wrestling with the shock of knowing a third of his life was lived as a lie; his loyalty disabused in the most belittling, gut-wrenching way.
We don't need the ghost of L to whisper, 'Shut up, Matsuda! You idiot!' Because we're hardly listening anyway. It's just background noise finally shut down by Ide, tacitly approved by all lost in mourning for our mass murdering megalomaniac and his warped sense of justice.
Now echoed by Ide himself, as he decrees Kira's crimes terrible enough to warrant his summary execution - with an illegally wielded firearm (Matsuda was technically off-duty) and a Death God's intervention, in an out of the way warehouse, without charge, nor trial, judge and jury, and no right of appeal before instant death. Based upon evidence constructed from a self-confessed SPK sting, plus Near sounding so sure as he blithely divulged bits of the known coupled with conjecture, like it was the only way things could have played out.
His speech, on behalf of the prosecution in this kangaroo court condemnation of Kira, seemed utterly watertight. Yet Near was still able to reorder his version of events, to encompass the implications of Mello's intent in Takada's abduction, as Hal Lidner testified her impression of the same rather late in the day. It was an interpretation which cast a different hue upon the timeline, but delivered in confidence nontheless and received likewise from all who heard. Just as they'd accepted the prior telling too.
Maybe because they, like those bearing witness from our ringside seats in the fourth wall, couldn't truly follow it at the time.
But Near is a genius, so it must be true; and who cares why or how a Mafia man died? While Matt only turned up twelve panels ago, if he'd lived he probably wouldn't have amounted to much. We hardly knew him, so let him go - collateral damage in a war against a man too rotten to live in this world of safety and security, and justice.
Around this time in proceedings, it's normally behoven for babes or Fools to call out to say that the Emperor wears no clothes; or that in this Orwellian warehouse scenario it's getting difficult to call the pigs from the humans, humans from the pigs, nor tell the rationale of Kira from those arrayed extra-judicially against him.
Unfortunately the Fool Matsuda was in meltdown at the time, being dragged away by his friends; while the only child present was made judge and chief prosecutor at the same time. Needless to say, he won the day. Then watched Light Yagami die as a result; howling, without advocacy, nor anyone to ask whether Light was even sane enough at this point to understand what was happening to him. Or take the opportunity to arrest Kira, hold him safe, and learn what he knew about the Afterlife and eternity, and all those other things that philosophers, priests and ordinary people have pondered to distraction over every millennia of human sentience.
Instead all watched too, accepting the sense of prevailing 'rightness' in the air around Near. Who watched Kira die and kept the Death Notes.
Which was the actual point of the Yellow Box confrontation - to knock out the opposition and clear the decks ready to quietly seize power, when no-one else was looking. At least it is, if we're running with the gut instinct of Matsuda and some really quite compelling end game theories for Near in Death Note.
No Black and White in Light and Near - Matsuda Muses Upon Morality Post-Kira
One year to the day after the death of Light Yagami, Touta Matsuda still isn't convinced that they were on the right 'side' in the end. He watches society sink back from fear of Kira into a resurgence of the usual mix of humanity for good or ill living as they will. With the inevitable wave of criminal behaviour surfing in ever higher numbers in their midst, Matsuda's depression deepens.
For those not actually targeted by Kira, these streets had been safer under his horrific regime.
It's an unsettling notion that maybe, after all, they did crucify their Saviour. Yet sharing his concerns with Ide elicits a most telling reply:
Kira was wrong. Because that's what they DECIDED by consensus was the case. Kira has to be wrong, or else there was no purpose attached to the sacrifice of those serving on the anti-Kira Task Force, nor who lost their lives in other parties in his opposition.
Condemn Light Yagami's worldview, and his prospective Godhood with it, and survivors like Matsuda, Ide, Aizawa, Mogi and Near with his group all become war heroes. Able to feel pride in their past endeavours and self-respect for themselves. Their fallen - Soichiro, Ukita, L, Watari, Raye Penbar, Mello, Matt et al - become martyrs in a noble cause. The Glorious Dead of cenotaphs, remembered with honour and distinction.
Support Kira in memory and all that fails. Each become betrayers, of a friend and comrade, perhaps of a Messiah. Maybe even the destroyers of humanity itself; thieves of a genuine Utopian dream.
It was decided Kira was not right, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to grasp what they were fighting for in that bitter, seven year war. And madness beckons that way.
Does Tota Matsuda's Theory Reveal Death Note Truths as its Grand Manga Finale?
For all that its generally ignored, or blatantly rejected within the panels of the Death Note manga, Matsuda's theory isn't that off the wall. It's nestling comfortably in the realms of actual possibility.
Whilst recalling that this was the chapter planned from the start - following one that was almost called Black Curtain (a Japanese euphemism for someone orchestrating events behind the scenes) - and that Tsugumi Ohba blatantly said that 'Near cheats', let's recap. These were the points of plot that Touta Matsuda was pondering:
Near Played Mello like a Puppet
Before indulging in speculation about this part of Matsuda's Theory re Mello, please read what Death Note News reader Dominic Miller has to comment below. He has effectively disproved its veracity, as Near didn't have Mikami's notebook in time for this sequence of events to be feasible.
However, we never do find out. Matsuda manages to convince Ide to at least intimidate some parts of his theory have been heard, and taken seriously. For a moment, the older man steps into Touta Matsuda's reality and that kind of affirmation was all the young officer needed for comfort in his unsolvable, unsettling theorizing.
A touch of grace and we see the old Fool back. Matsuda grinning with a friend, too busy chatting, making plans to visit a bar tonight, to properly hear a word Near has to say anymore. The final word in Death Note - before the ritual coda of Kira cultists - is Near's admonishment to Matsuda, "Listen carefully!"
Maybe because Near knows that he might need Matsuda one day to stop him too, if only the Fool would pay attention. But for now he's distracted, laughing and moved on, Near got away with killing for personal gain. But surely that's understandable? Just ask Kira.
It's been pointed out to us that Taylor Swift was sporting a Death Note Mello hair-do at the 58th Annual Grammy Music Awards last month. Take a look, see what you think:
I don't know. It wouldn't be the first time that Taylor Swift's Death Note fan credentials have been highlighted. But on this occasion it does all seem a little tenuous!
Success of the Redeemer Series - Death Note Fan-Fic by Maru-Light & Andariel
The Redeemer Series began as a private passion project between myself and Andariel (Anda-Chan on DA) as we were entering into our own romantic relationship back in 2008. (We’re now engaged, living together and wedding planning).
We were cosplaying often as Light and Mello back then (and later L, B and Matt) and writing together became part of our raison d'etre. It was a full package deal, the writing feeding the cosplay and vise versa. We had a habit of telling our fellow DN friends about this huge fic we were working on, and they began asking us to read it, so after some thought we eventually relented and put Redeemer up on AFF.
From there the series seemed to generate an audience on its own. We rarely promoted The Redeemer Series much outside of our own DeviantArt accounts, and later, our own forum; but on the rare occasion I sought it out online to see if it had some presence, I often came across it on various Death Note fic rec lists, and even a listing on TV Tropes.com. (LOL)
It was fantastic to suddenly have an audience that didn’t just invest in reading our story, but reviewed and even joined our forum to chat all things Redeemer Series. We had fabulous artists doing fan art, we had an active Character Ask section, we were embroiled in discussion every day about the Death Note of our fic world, and we made some truly great and supportive friends (several of whom are still with us.)
So really, what happened?
Writing on The Redeemer Series Begins to Break Down
Later on we had some of our nearest and dearest readers tell us that they could pinpoint just where the series started to fall apart. At some point in the fourth book, Sins of the Father, around the quarter mark, long after we reached what we felt was an apex in the finale of To Be or Not to Be and then cruised through a very alternative continuation supported largely by OCs in Our Time is Running Out, we started to lose momentum.
We’d been writing about Death Note for five years. However, we were two writers (in my case a life-long writer) who sought to have real-world careers in writing, but were beginning to realize that we were spending all of our time writing about someone else’s work. It was fun, it was engaging, we loved it while it lasted, but we were beginning to long for something more and we weren’t getting any younger.
It wasn’t an immediate revelation. It came slowly as we pounded the keyboard to push through Sins of the Father. After all, we had two more huge books planned. We had enormous story arcs to cover! The nature of Kira’s God-ness was going to be explored in epic proportions! We were heading toward the End of Days!
Instead, what we were actually heading toward was the end of the Redeemer Series.
We were going to write a spinoff called I’m Not Okay (we were having a love affair with My Chemical Romance at the time). The spinoff centered on one of our OCs (his name was Adonais back then) with the Death Note characters as a peripheral presence. The idea was to tell Adonais’ origin story as a flashback novel, and lead into Sins, where he’d been coexisting as a Wammy’s student with the likes of L and Light. It was supposed to be a break for us, a way to get out and play with something new, and hopefully return to the Redeemer Series with renewed vigor. That was our plan.
But what happened was not according to plan.
Backlash of Death Note Redeemer Series Readers
Not long ago, we came across a blog post somewhere, belaboring our ‘underhandedness’ of ‘tricking’ our readers to read a book about an OC with promises of Death Note and then not delivering. “If they wanted to stop writing Death Note, just come clean and tell us, don’t trick us into reading about your OC.” That was the complaint, or something to that effect.
Let me say, it wasn’t that simple. If it was, we could have saved ourselves a lot of angst. After all, we weren’t lying to our readers; we were lying to ourselves.
Frankly, we weren’t ready to let go. It was a lesson we learned the hard way, writing I’m Not Okay. The more we wrote, the more that book began to do what it wanted apart from Death Note, but we kept trying to force the enduring intent that we were going to bring it all back around to the Redeemer Series. Slowly, our audience started to drop off, frustration began to show in reviews. The longer names like Kira and L and Mello were absent from the text, the less people stayed with us, and the more that happened, the more we began to wonder at what point did we have to accept the truth: that we’d moved on.
The readers that remained and invested honestly in our burgeoning original tale, weathered our indecisiveness, but started to agree that we needed to break it off. Not Okay was becoming its own thing, and to proceed without letting the book organically grow as itself, was proving a hindrance to the work and to our efforts. And clearly it was pissing off the people still holding out for L and Light to make an appearance.
So we decided to call it, and we removed I’m Not Okay from AFF and put the Redeemer Series on indefinite hiatus.
The Redeemer Series Transforms into The Breaking Across Devotion Series
We squirrelled our new work off to our private forum where some of our long-term readers were keen to beta. From there, Pandora’s box syndrome kicked in and we realized there was a huge untapped OC cast with untapped potential just waiting to move in on our little story and blow it wide open.
Because all of this siphoned down from The Redeemer Series, there were initially some similarities between concepts we'd been exploring beyond canon when it came to characters like Beyond and L particularly. Those similarities eventually diluted until we can really just shout out to their original incarnates like a sentimental homage.
However, as we planned the world of our new original universe, we realized there were still elements we'd incorporated in To Be and its compatriots that we wanted to explore and adapt. We began to pull some of these concepts back in, revisiting ideas we had for the Redeemer Series with new eyes as we constructed a world, while removed from Death Note, was not necessarily removed from our signature subjects.
Our explorations of madness and the asylum culture, our crazed characters who often speak in sing-song~ Our off-beat, anarchist, angst-ridden, pretty boys. That’s who we are as writers, and that’s what we have been building into our new work--The Breaking Across Devotion Series. Literally a tale about rock stars and serial killers. I’m not even kidding.
We made every attempt to spread the word about why the Redeemer books were coming down, but our reach is none too wide these days, and I know there are a great many readers out there who are angry and disappointed. Trust me, I get it and I’m sorry.
The Redeemer Series had a great long run. We had a lot of fun writing it, we had an amazing experience with the audience it garnered. We’re grateful and we thank you guys who latched on to it and enjoyed it so much. Redeemer itself is still public on AFF and won’t be going anywhere. It is undeniably, a Death Note fanfic.
However, I am going to echo what I’ve said repeatedly in statements about the series’ removal: that if you so happen to have downloaded copies of the novels, you are free to keep them for you own reading pleasure. Just please do not share them online, or post them for download, and please do not plagiarize them (have some humanity, I beg you).
Anda and I are hard at work on The Breaking Across Devotion Series (BAD for short) and are very active on our new forum, CocoaCoveredGods.
Anyone is free to join if they want to get in touch with us, want to ask us anything about Redeemer, or want to check out what still exists of the Redeemer Series content regarding the removed books, Character Asks, fan art, etc. And yes, there’s even a thread where we speak to the unsolved mysteries of the series and where future plans were heading, so what was left unfinished can at least have some closure. (Was Matt ever going to die as predicted? Short answer: no.)
We’re also open to betas of the new series. Since we’re planning to publish, it’s not open membership, but if you're interested, come over and let us get to know you, get to know us, and we’ll be more than happy to consider you as a beta. Chances are, if you enjoyed the Redeemer Series, what we’re doing now will be right up your alley. It’s just as dark, and twisted and saturated in atmosphere as books like To Be, Our Time and Sins were.
We have two Death Note films coming this year. The proof is in the Tweeting.
(Incidentally the actual date for Japan's Death Note 2016 movie release is September 13th 2016, according to IMDb.)
Too young to have known the impact of Bowie in the 1970s, I can only imagine. It must have been immense. By the time the ripples reached me - in the early noughties, thirty years on - they still sounded as a sonic boom, even then retaining power enough to rock my world. Representing one less battle for me to win, because he'd already owned it on our behalf and done it with aplomb.
Bowie brought colour to a monochrome world. Without him, all would have remained painted black for me, in counterpoint to my rival's white. Splitting our idol's hues into two; dividing them one apiece. Like they were all that existed in the rainbow prism of a fabulous spectrum.
I wore red for Bowie. I wore feathers, leather, mascara and kohl. I wore whatever I Goddamned liked, because he made it possible for all men to do so without sacrificing one iota of masculinity. Whether we traced it back to source or not, it was Bowie who took male beauty into a cosmetic artform and gave us the glitz and glamour previously only available to ladies.
If he could do that in working men's clubs, I could do it in the Mafia. He made Metrosexual sexy. He made self-pride alright. He made it so no-one could say a blasted thing about it and not seem silly in the saying.
All this while gay men were still being beaten by police in raids on shady bars. All of this out in the open, where conversations could be had over dinner-tables watching Bowie on TV. All giving courage to countless legions of gay and bisexual individual, and those who saw gender in its glorious fluidity, and those who simply didn't care a damn.
As writer Mark Simpson - 'daddy' of the Metrosexual - put it back in 1994, “(David Bowie) gaily refused to conform to 'masculine' expectations and provocatively appropriated ‘feminine’ styles, fashions, cosmetics and sensualities – anything that would make him look and feel fabulous, and piss off 1970s dads. He understood perfectly that the world was an increasingly visual culture and sired the New Romantics, who went on to invent the 21st Century.
“The glamorous seeds he sowed back in the Seventies have borne strange and wonderful bisensual fruit, enjoyed by everyone, regardless of gender or orientation.”
There is no 'feminine' anymore. No 'masculine'; no 'androgyny'; no 'unisex'; not after Bowie. There is just us and what we will be. Each of us with the potential to be heroes, rebels, leper messiahs or stardust, but mostly the potential to be whatever we want to be. He blurred boundaries until there were none, only that which we set ourselves. He normalised the weird; domiciled aliens; made diversity the new normal.
Moreover, Bowie taught generations since that it's ok to reinvent yourself, and reinvention does not have to mean losing one atom of that self.
You may know me as Mello, 'the best dresser who died like a dog'. But it was a Diamond Dog, with a fabulous wardrobe made possible by the prior bravery of Bowie. We can be heroes, he told us, and we were.
RIP the legend that was David Bowie (1947-2016)
* Death Note Mello's David Bowie tribute written with perhaps a little help from MRSJeevas
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