We have a community Pinterest Board for Death Note's Wammy cohort, which anyone may join and contribute what they will.
It's part of a whole collection of character or other subject specific boards created and maintained by Death Note News.
So click away on the follow button, wait for your invitation to be added to the board - prompt us with a comment here* containing your Pinterest name if you want to hurry us up with that, though we will try to be quick with the Wammy additions during this Month of event - then pin, pin, pin all you've got on Watari and his wards.
And once you're in, feel free too to invite your friends along. All our members can add other pinners to the group. That's what community is all about!
* If you wish to be added to other boards too, then list those in your comment as well. There are so many of you that these things otherwise go in bursts and starts!
Latest pins on our Watari Pinterest Community Board
A whole group of us are already pinning our Wammy's House and Mr Wammy related items of interest over on Pinterest. You can too!
Do you have a group, forum, community, fan-club or other website dedicated to Watari, Wammy's House or anything connected with the Wammys? Let us know via our submission page and we'll big it up for you during this Month of Watari on Death Note News. Help us get the community connected with like-minded members of the same fandom!
Matti might be Editor-in-Chief of Death Note News, but she's better known elsewhere - writing under the unfortunate moniker of MRSJeevas - as the author of the It Matters series of Death Note fan-fiction novels centring upon Mello and Matt. To encourage other fan-fiction writers to submit their stories for these Month of events, she's been drifting out of her comfort zone to write short stories and drabbles on whatever character is our monthly focus. This time around, she's finally back on home ground, writing about a Wammy. In fact, THE Wammy. Enjoy!
The Quartermaster Quest: A Drabble Upon the Dreams of Quillsh Wammy
Everybody wanted Aston Martins these days; all drinking Martinis, shaken not stirred. But they were missing the point. Seduced by the flash and swagger of James Bond, seeing no further than the bravado and charm. Fleming's character had daring, that much was true. Plucky fellow and all that. But it was born of arrogance and the bankroll to fund it. The protagonist's sense that he was too elite to die; not through any true talent. Bond had just enough intelligence to follow his privileged past into an assumption of immortality. False trail. Shoddy thinking.
His imitators thought hedonism set Bond apart from all those other two-bit classy spies - that seemed everywhere from the pulp fiction piles to the silver screen in these days of escalating Cold War news. Ubiquitous in the background; sparking a backlash frenzy of unimaginative fashionable writers pandering to their half-asleep readership. No, the real thing that elevated Fleming's work wasn't Bond himself, but the gadgetry he carried on him.
And that wasn't Bond, James Bond, at all. That was the truly exciting position held by Q. The inventor(s). Bound by nothing but the outer reaches of his - or their - own imagination; boundless really in its lack of brevity. The creative force behind the flashy tapestry of the spy's rich world. Godlike in that way. So mysterious too, that single letter to denote a being controlling Fate from the background.
Q. Like Quillsh. His own first name. Thrilling to it the first time he read Casino Royale - 'see Q for any equipment you need' - twenty-two and suddenly knowing precisely what he wanted to do. Join the British Secret Service Q-Squad and invent things to save the world.
Only the reality wasn't like that at all. He was in. His family connections saw to that. But there was no Q-Squad in MI6 like the novels promised. Just order requisitions in triplicate; more paperwork than vision could withstand. No figure of Q as strode gloriously withdrawn into the shadows of the movie plots inspired by the books. Merely Quillsh Wammy labouring under the surrender of disappointment with petty bureaucrats (and worse, politicians) dictating his work-life with rigid demands. Tedious in their scope. No room for innovation. No Q. Not even a Bond. Just people who wished they were the latter and thought an Aston Martin purchase, celebrated with a Martini, could cut it for themselves.
The field guys called him Q and thought it funny. Wammy enjoyed the shivery honour of the title, at first; then realised the joke was on him and disdained them for it. People whom Wammy wouldn't trust with the key to the office petty change box given free rein with the treasury of Britain. Most of them raised to start wars, not intercept their onset and divert into harmless channels. Playing at national security as they'd arranged their tin soldiers in childhood. Like it was all a game.
It was the way they were raised. Q mused. Those with the wealth and connections to be here weren't those with the common touch to understand why they should change the world. Improve it. Make it safer. Most of them breed out of brain cells several generations back. Too lacking in much beyond what was and what should always be, in their opinion, immutable; and unfair.
In bitterness, Quillsh tried to tip the balance in his own small ways. Bypassing the limitations of that stack of requisition forms by letting his mind soar into the stratosphere of inventive bliss. Becoming the Creator. Q in actuality, not just name.
That earned him a final warning and quite a few dressings down for wasting public funds. So he did it in his own time. Wasting his hours on wandering through ideas, akin to Da Vinci in their scope, and enjoying them immensely. Then finding and patenting one, then more, that stood out as genuinely useful.
Of all the weird and wonderful, it was a tiny stop-lock that made him rich. In his own right wealthy beyond his uncle's wildest dreams. That sour old man for whom money and its acquisition had always taken the place of feeling or reaching further than himself. Who'd raised Wammy in name only as guardian; the reality being boarding school, held back for the holidays, as his uncle found it too distracting to have a child at home. Except for Christmas break, which was achingly boring and way too formal. Quillsh blocking out droning talk of the stock exchange and investment banking with mechanisms of the imagination, built silently as excitement, or diversion to replace the love lost with his long gone parents.
Uncle William was interested in his nephew now. Fascinated in fact, in his prospects and his bank-account. Lectures on the best stock in which to invest at the present time - naturally brokered through himself - didn't get more alluring with adulthood. Uncle William's interest being solely in the interest that could be due.
While Wammy's remained entirely with the Quartermaster.
The first orphanage founded was to thwart Uncle William, and to teach him something too. A little reaching out in assuage of his childhood; plus amusement. So many startled agents learning that power in riches didn't need to come with Martinis on a yacht; the Aston Martin waiting; an endless supply of fine foods and alcohol; the ladies dripping in all they could grab. Power came best in the adulation of young minds under his control, to cater for and educate according to Wammy's wealth and whim.
Such things confused them. Which suited Quillsh just fine. For he was an orphan and so was James Bond. A fact that seemed to miss them entirely. Maybe one day a young Bond might pass within his warden watch; and he could be Q.
For more Death Note fan-fiction by Matti, check out He Moves Me Differently - website for the Mello/Matt It Matters series - and those stories written for earlier Death Note News Month of events: Mu Amongst Fools: A Drabble from the Death of Light Yagami and Matsu's Musing, a Decade on: Death Note Matsuda Fan-Fiction.
Welcome to our roll call of all the actors ever to have played Quillsh Wammy in the varying adaptations of Death Note. We've hunted them down across the globe and to the best of our ability, here they are.
Though please - it's driving us mad - who IS the sungwoo providing a voice for Watari in the Tagalog dub Death Note anime? It's been a mission for so many; each new challenger thinking they were somehow better at internet searching and/or hounding Filipino friends, yet the Tagalog Wammy actor's name alludes us. If you know, we're begging you, put us out of our misery
And if you deem this quest to be game on for yourself... you have our utmost sympathy as you stand poised to join our thwarted ranks. Nevertheless, good luck. We're all cheering you on.
There they are! The full roll call of Mr Wammy actors and voice actors (excepting the elusive Tagalog one). Their birthdays have also been added to the Death Note calendar, if known. We are missing the following information, if anyone knows it:
Thanks in advance!
Kinky Mattila has been cosplaying since 2005 with her group Team Fabulous Awesome. Over in their native Finland, TFA have been creating costumes within a raft of fandoms, including Death Note, of course. As the image above amply demonstrates, that means Wammy cosplay too (flanked by his wards Mello and Near courtesy of fellow TFA members).
TFA show no sign of waning after more than a decade in costume - 'still doing it happily', Kinky Mattila confirms - with plenty of pictures to fill the TFA-Finland cosplay gallery on DeviantART. But first she has advice to share on cosplaying Mr Wammy.
Death Note Costume Tips: How to Cosplay Watari by Kinky Mattila
How would you go about creating a costume for Watari/Mr Wammy?
Find at a flea market some suit that fits you and buy some white shirts for men. They are not that expensive here - about like 10euros. Buy some fake moustaches, and a pair of Santa's glasses, then colour them grey. Add men's shoes, of course.
A nice wig is also good to get, but your own hair works too.
What clothing and/or props do you feel are essential Watari costume items?
Is there more to cosplaying Wammy than the outfit? (Look/behaviour etc.)
Just to have fun. That is most important to me and nothing else. <3
What's your professional opinion about ready-made Death Note costumes, such as those in our Cosplay Store? Any pieces in there decent enough for a Mr Wammy cosplay? (Be honest!)
I haven't looked for any custom made Death Note costumes; but the ones that I found right now, most of them seemed really nice and need just a little bit of changing.
Any last tips for anyone reading, who wishes to create their Watari cosplay from scratch?
Go look for a cheap men's suit and start from that. :D Nowadays it is way easier to look like a man than it was then (when I cosplayed Watari).
But do it!!! GO FOR IT!"!!! You can rock it. :D
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
US hobby artist Georgina Aquilar likes to create digital art. For Month of Wammy, she turns
her attention to her favourite characters from Death Note - Watari and L.
Georgina Aguilar describes herself as a hobbyist artist from El Paso, Texas, USA. Her digital art is collected in her gallery on DeviantART, where she is known as Lacie BunCat.
Georgina writes, 'I love anime, I been drawing since five years old. Practice towards the years. I love art, so I use different techniques, mostly on Photoshop. And also I'm an Otaku. And I have a lot of my personal comics and fan made ones including one for Death Note.'
Lacie-BunCat Tackles Our Artist Questionnaire About Drawing Mr Wammy
What, in your professional opinion, are fundamental tips/advice in producing art that's recognisably Watari? Any thoughts regarding secrets lifted from Takeshi Obata's artwork too?
I've never drawn Obata's artwork. I only like Watari and L.
What are the common noob errors made in drawing/modelling Quillsh Wammy?
Mostly likely his old detail on his face, like adding the wrinkles and all - best wishes to all! No one is expert but you can practice towards time.
Any last tips for anyone reading, who wishes to start creating Mr Wammy artwork?
Just good luck to anyone and try your best. No-one is an expert, but practicing will make you better.
How to Submit Content for Month of Wammy on Death Note News
You must be used to the form by now, but here it is again for those needing a recap or new to one of these events:
This is getting to be a bit of a habit! But we have made the executive decision to start our next month's focus slightly later than advertised.
Unavoidable personal issues here meant that there was a bit of a bottleneck in posting Month of Matsuda articles and other submissions. While we had a spurge yesterday, there are still some left over. Hence a couple of days grace will benefit us all.
Plus it wouldn't be fair to not include reader contributions, just because Matti disappeared off in an ambulance and couldn't publish their stuff!
Month of Watari will therefore begin on Monday April 4th 2016, and hopefully we can keep on track thereon.
Near Watch is pretty much concluded. After episode 7 of television's Death Note drama, it's undoubtedly proved to be Mello Watch too. Though the jury is still out on Matt there as well.
We so called it. Back in my review of the very first episode of Death Note's TV drama, I wrote:
Is Near hearing voices? Are we witnessing a schizophrenic future L? Or is (s)he merely dissociating him/herself from the dodgier thoughts passing through consideration?
Watching and piecing together the clues from week to week, my SO and I have increasingly been talking about Near with Multiple Personality Disorder (though I understand that psychologists would prefer us to discuss this as Near's Dissociative Identity Disorder, because they renamed it again).
By episode seven, all speculation was confirmed as fact. We saw Near's persona physically switch into Mello. We witnessed a re-emerging Near beg Mello, "Don't come out."
Thus paving the way for a million future Death Note memes on the subject of Mello coming out.
Death Note's Babel in the Tower: Multiple Voices Seeking to be Heard at the Same Time
There was a hint, in the scenes immediately prior to the great reveal, that split identities - or the divisive babble of too many voices simultaneously sounding - was going to factor into this story.
Our clue was in the pseudonym taken by Near: Babel.
With all the Judeo-Christian imagery surrounding Near in this series, it's not too difficult to guess from whence they lifted this new moniker. Genesis 11:1-9 tells - within a Biblical context- the story of the City of Babel.
Its people decided to build a tower, those top reaches would allow them to climb into Heaven itself. God wasn't best pleased about this imminent invasion of human beings, so set out to thwart them.
Until then, everyone on Earth had been united. They spoke just one language and all understood each other. God did a bit of smiting, or cursing, whatever you call it, whereby their mother tongue suddenly splintered into all the various languages heard around the globe, then and since.
Hence Babel being the root of babble. Multiple voices. No-one able to understand the other.
Additionally, God 'scattered them abroad', so that none were congregated in the city anymore, but its population exiled all over the planet. The people divided from one into many.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language...
Oh look! Near and Mello are one! And possibly Matt makes three, though the evidence is tenuous and not yet confirmed by canon. But they can be - and are about to be - separate entities. Just like the people of Babel.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Plus it doesn't hurt that Babel looks a bit like Babe L, as befits L's successor or, as Near is described in the TV adaptation of Death Note, 'consultant'.
Nor does the Babel imagery end there.
Kiras Meeting in the Yotsuba Tower of Babel
The whole Yotsuba group could be seen as acting akin to the citizens of that Biblical city. They band together at the top of a Tower and, as a kind of collective Kira, they seek to steal for themselves that which habitually belongs to deity. Be that access into Heaven, or writing in a Shinigami's notebook.
The Yotsuba arc continues running parallel to the Tower of Babel tale, insofar as God (well, Light Yagami shorn of his Kira memories) sets out to divide and conquer them, thus snatching back divine power as his sole preserve.
Light doesn't change the Yotsuba executives' language. Despite the nice touch in 'Babel' (aka Near/Mello) asking for 'hush money'.
However L and Babel succeed in causing divisions amongst the group's mindset. When they are no longer working in accord, nor even in the same room, its a simple matter to confound their pseudo-divine plan.
Another Note: Beyond Birthday's Near Nod in Death Note (2015) Episode Seven
Of course, when we first saw that giant B appear upon the screen, none of us were thinking of Mello, Near, Babel nor anyone else inserted into the show.
In the Death Note universe, an Old English font letter B signifies L's original back-up: Beyond Birthday.
I thought we were jamming with L's second. We were, but not in the way that elicited so many gasps from those watching from my house.
Watari: There are three people known as the greatest detectives in the world. L, Eraldo Coil, and Marie Deneuve. Babel is ranked after the three of them.
He was B. B stood for Backup. For Babel - the second... OMG! Was Death Note's Beyond Birthday in this show after all?!!
I mean, how fabulous would that have been?!
The first child, A, was unable to handle the pressure of living up to L and took his own life, and the second child, Beyond Birthday, was brilliant and deviant.
Alas, no. Near has not only merged with Mello, but absorbed Beyond Birthday's background too. It remains to be seen whether this includes his jam-loving, murderous self, as a separate persona.
However in that 'I know all about it. Deep down inside, you think you're better than L' line from episode two, we've already seen Mello accuse Near of something more commonly attributed to Beyond. Did 'deep down inside' hold a more significance than hitherto realised?
Dissociative Identity Disorder in Death Note
Ok, I'll call it - Near IS Beyond Birthday! And that's not all.
A could have been the original individual - the first child - whose personality fragmented into the rest, and is now lost beneath them all. Near is so named, as the persona most closely resembling A. Or its an acronym: Near Enough A's Replica.
I tell you, Matt's in there too. Probably Linda and all the Letters from L: Change the World as well. Given enough time, scope and energy, Near's going to turn out to be a walking Wammy's House; all Watari Letters contained within a single form.
Which probably accounts for the outstanding cleverness overall.
A Double Wammy in Death Note's Multiple Personality Plot Twists?
We should never forget the key point about Beyond Birthday - he looked like L. Enough to fool Naomi Misora into thinking she was dealing with the same man. Practically clones, L and Beyond, physically at least.
Beyond Birthday with Naomi Misora on the fly sheet of Another Note.
A version depicting Beyond Birthday close up adorns the German translation book-cover.
Have we yet discounted the hypothesis given in an earlier blog entry - that it's L with the multiple personalities? Near et al live solely within his head; with an option on Watari additionally being a dissociated fragment of L's own self.
It would explain why the detective's insistence upon a sterile home environment faded whenever he went outside to play tennis or watch Ichigo Berry in concert. That wasn't L. It was Mello or somebody wearing L's face.
Less L changing the world, than the world triggering a change in L.
Moreover, L's Dissociative Identity Disorder would fix an anomaly which has been niggling me since the very first episode. (I am a Death Note fan-fiction writer, finding plot-holes to credibly fill is what breathes life into our tales.) How could Wammy's House alter architecturally, depending upon whether L or Near sit on that staircase?
Maybe there is no Wammy's House in the physical world. It exists as a mind palace inside the psyche of a genius detective, acting as the gateway through which dissociated selves become dominant. No accident therefore why it appears as a hallway - the only room ever glimpsed in that house - devoid of creature comforts, stark and stripped, even when highly decorated. Its main purpose being as a place to leave or be received.
Its secondary purpose to be where personae stand by, acting as consultants in the near consciousness. Communicating fully with the self on public display, seeing upon their screens what that worldly self views with their own eyes.
Which is why L and Near's respective monitors once displayed the same page of Kira suspects; why L was able to hear Mello speaking, though the camera showed that Near's lips were not moving. They were still in the House at that point. L discerned Mello coming to the fore within his own mind.
Hence the terrified look then, and the horror on L's face, when Watari informed him that Near had left the House.
Watari acts as a kind of internal gatekeeper, or an external carer, able to inform L when personae become dominant without his knowing that time had been missed.
Watari was telling him that he'd been usurped by Near. That Near had been dominant, while L unknowingly and unwittingly was shut down, losing time through being stashed somewhere within the unseen chambers of Wammy's House.
Worse still, that Near could act as a conduit, or else has a twin, a counterpoint to his own behaviour - so close in morality to L, that the latter doesn't always mind him coming to the fore - which can too easily flip to control them both. It might be Mello playing maverick with their case-load, and it's impossible to predict his moves or count on tracking them down later.
They couldn't even trust that he was always on their side, working with L and Near, rather than Kira.
They could lose the game simply because Mello played by different rules, or entered into another game entirely. And what would it cost, if Beyond Birthday was ever to wake to discern the death of the world from a Wammy House hallway window?
Oh! There's so much fun to be had speculating on the possibilities inherent in this new Death Note storyline! But I'd better return to what is, and not what might potentially be.
Creation of a Successor - L and Near's Michelangelo Moment in Death Note (2015)
As primary player in opposition to Kira, L demonstrated his ability to consider the whole team in episode seven of Death Note TV drama. If he was forced to forfeit his position, then it would be beneficial to assign a successor.
That way Kira wouldn't gain too much ground, while struggles for dominance divided and conquered those who might stand in his way.
L has already foreseen that his baton could soon need to be passed on. He cryptically tagged Near, placing him on stand-by as his choice for successor.
The way he did so owed a debt in imagery to Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. Wherein God reaches out to touch Adam, gifting the spark of life to one made in His own image.
Or, as L did it in Death Note (2015), gifting a jigsaw piece to the one who thinks most closely to himself.
All on the off-chance that L should (metaphorically of course) fatally place his own wrong piece in the battle against Kira. Then it would fall to his successor - 'It could be you, Near' - to finish the puzzle, and the war.
Near caught the implication loud and clear, with an expression further seeing significance in L leaving the scene, as soon as his piece was conveyed. It was a gesture laden with pathos. Inherently implying that L expected to die.
Though naturally Mello was looking in the opposite direction, when all consideration of L's successor pointed due Near.
He was probably too busy noticing that their surroundings still looked like a Mafia penthouse in Los Angeles.
Nor had it been explained, other than the room wasn't in Wammy's House ("You don't have to go back to the house?" L asked Near not two minutes previously). The furnishings weren't even remotely like those in the hotel, wherein we last saw Near lodged and within the depths of which L had his own hide-out.
Perhaps it would have been too blatant had they gone instead for the zebra striped suite from the other Mafia digs in the desert.
Though it begs the question that, if I'm right about where this scene takes place, then why are Near and L there?
Unless I'm also right in my wilder speculation that this room doesn't exist in the real world. It's L visiting a secondary self inside a place located inside his own psyche.
And that jigsaw piece passing hands is L acknowledging that he's losing his position as dominant personality amidst a multitude of others.
Light Changes L's Mind: Death Note Winners
Actually, we did watch L's mind wilfully changing, or at least his mindset concerning how winning and losing would be judged in this clash between himself and Kira.
In L's world-view, the challenge has been issued with Light as his opponent, regardless of how they spent episode seven double teaming against an external interloper. The Yotsuba group, headed by Higuchi as the current Death Note owning Kira, were never serious challengers in L's book. They existed as an opportunity to gather clues and ammunition for the proper battle of wills with Light.
But to play an effective game, both sides need to know the rules. Otherwise how could anyone be declared champion? It would be a hollow victory without the loser knowing themselves to be beaten.
Thus the conditions for winning were set out by Light and agreed by L.
Even if we learn how he kills people, if a comrade dies that's losing, in my opinion.
A game-changing moment, which saw L immediately switching tactics to take down the Yotsuba group and its Kira with ease. But for him, this contained a fatal flaw.
A Fatal Flaw for L in new Death Note Drama
Light couldn't have known that he spoke for Kira too.
But no matter that. L had already observed that Light and Kira's minds worked along the same lines. Light's thoughts would probably fit in with Kira's plans too. Their dual outlook aligning in this duel.
Nor was Light necessarily aware that his definition of winning was meaningful for L.
It was Kira who entered into the battle of wills with the detective, not Light. If he felt the challenge, then it was in reaction to L's actions now. His memories of the previous cerebral duelling had been wiped.
If L's pride hadn't been so intent upon recognition as the winner, then he wouldn't have altered his game-plan. Perhaps the outcome might have been different. As it was, allowing Light to influence strategy had immediate consequences.
He touched the Death Note. His memories flooded back. Himself as Kira returned. Just as planned.
Paradise Lost and Kira - Myself am Hell
There have always been shades of Milton's Paradise Lost running as an undercurrent through Death Note.
One day, I shall write a whole blog comparing the two, demonstrating how significantly Kira quotes Satan from Milton's epic verse.
To my mind, one of those moments comes in Light's classic line, 'I am Kira'. I can't help thinking of Satan in Paradise Lost screaming out, 'Myself am Hell!'
It's not word for word - nor even close - but their proclamations hold the same feeling for me. Not least because both are spoken as each anti-hero assumes their role by mentally and emotionally accepting its inevitability. Each against a background of isolation, as all relationships become merely instruments through which power may be gained or retained.
If this Death Note live action drama continues along tradition lines, then we can see another link between Milton's Satan and TV's Kira.
Each are now poised to duel with an avenging second. Be it Satan's clash with the Archangel Michael (Champion of El), or Kira's confrontation with Mello, aka Mihael Keehl (Champion of L).
The latter already long since viewed in kinship to St Michael. Ensured by Near's constant visual references to Giordano's The Fall of the Rebel Angels - showing Michael taking down Satan - whenever Mello's potential in play came to the fore.
Plus the obvious parallel in which Satan was Heaven's Light-Bringer, and Kira was Light. Ignorance is bliss they say. Light hated Kira. His own paradise lost in the knowledge that he is Kira.
The Return of the King: Kira Finds his Precious
However it wasn't Milton, but Tolkien brought to mind in Masataka Kubota's performance as a re-emerging Kira.
Watching this Kira clutch his Death Note prompted me to write 'Gollum' on my pad, then circle it several times as the sequence progressed. I really did expect him to start hissing, 'My Precious!'
The television adaptation of Death Note has pinged off Tolkien's Middle Earth saga several times already.
Not until Death Note 2015 have we heard that the notebook alters personalities to the bad. That using it invokes paranoia and feelings of dread, not to mention causing agony for those writing names. These are traits more commonly associated with the One Ring to Bind Them All in Tolkien's universe.
The emergence of a secondary personality - split from the owner's primary persona and seemingly built to serve the artefact - is another facet found in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most notably in Gollum, whose conversations with his other self might have also inspired Mio Yuki's portrayal of Near and Mello in open discussion.
That Gollum with the Ring appears physically transformed is echoed in how TV Death Note's Kira can be discerned, distinct from Light, changed utterly.
In Death Note's Dark Prism Light Splits
Light was actually being truthful then, when he emphatically told L that he wasn't Kira. At least in this version of Death Note.
There was none of that in the original manga Death Note, nor its anime, nor even the previous Japanese live-action adaptations. In all of those variants, Kira seemed less Light Yagami's split personality and more an alternative name for the same individual.
Light's nick-name, if you like.
Accepted and assumed during a period when Light's psyche stretched to embrace ownership of the Death Note. A label therefore for his supposed megalomania and increasingly apparent descent into madness. But still fundamentally a single self.
Only by integrating Tolkienesque themes, do we witness Light and Kira separated, as dissociated identities and possibly an emerging secondary self entirely.
By implication, the Death Note dividing his very soul.
Kira Identified in Split Personalities
Let's just say this: you will feel the fear and pain known only to humans who've used the notebook. And when it's your time to die, it will fall on me to write your name in my death note. Be warned any human who's used a death note can neither go to heaven nor hell for eternity... That's all.
Maybe this soul-split is why those who use the Death Note are condemned to Mu when they die?
Complete souls are required to enter Heaven or Hell, at least as such things are understood by shinigami. Personae fragmenting from the same being dilutes the core identity enough that their passport into the afterlife is denied. With nowhere to go, they are lost to the void and formless. Nothingness ensues.
Moreover, this might explain why Death Note owners are identifiable by the lack of a name and date above their heads. It could be that shinigami eyes are confounded by the data being multiplied, as more than one person is present inside that head.
If so, then this has obvious implications for Near and Mello too.
Not least because shinigami eyes are twice used to read Mihael Keehl above Mello's head in the canon rendering. What will happen during those scenes in the story? Can Mello still be killed, as one self amongst multiples?
If so, how does that affect Near? Will he die too? Or will he seem to make like a gamer or a cat with apparently numerous lives to risk in battling Kira?
If not, then how might Kira react to the discovery that some - to all practical extent and purpose - possess immunity from the Death Note's deadly reach. And L's successors are amongst their number.
A new twist beckons, as the insertion of split personalities creates diverging plot-lines. It will be interesting to see how this pans out as the story progresses.
More information has emerged about the Japanese television adaptation of Death Note, not least an updated list of the characters and cast.
However, there is a shift in the timeline. Light Yagami will be a university student, not at High School at all. Hence my theory regarding Near having flashbacks just got a hit.
We do have some trailers though. Ready for a look? Yeah, so was I, but for some reason my YouTube unblocker has failed me. The videos are only available in Japan. *sigh* Here are the links anyway: First Video Second Video
Last Thursday, I had the very great pleasure of chatting with Lawliet director Ricardo Arechiga about his Death Note movie.
The image isn't really him by the way. It's a character from one of his animations, as Rico is a graphic artist by profession.
All of this came about because Logan set me on the quest to discover more about a movie about L. The initial findings were described in: Lawliet - Short Movie About Death Note's L.
On the assumption that you've already read that, I won't repeat myself here. I will mention that there were one or two minor details that were awry. With thanks to Rico for pointing them out, I've already been back to edit those into accuracy.
So now to have our questions answered!
First let me say that Rico is a wonderful conversationalist. As you can tell, I took that screenshot after chatting with him for well over an hour, nor had we finished then! Yet he's so passionate about Death Note, and insightful about the issues raised within, that it all felt like no time at all. If he's like that just discussing it, I really can't wait to view his film about L.
Rico rather apologetically informed me that his movie Lawliet has not been given the official rubber stamp by Ohba and Obata. But then again, he hasn't asked for one! By that token, this Death Note movie short will be technically fan-made on a shoe-string budget.
But when I think of fan-made movies, I tend to imagine so-so quality. At the very best, it will be hit and miss. Here we actually do have qualified film-makers delving into a subject which inspires them greatly. "I really wanted to do (L) justice. As a fan, I want something. I want to see more live action."
Basically, Rico and his colleagues are here to fill the gap left by indifferent studio executives. As fans, they want it. As talented individuals, they can deliver it. Let's see that trailer again.
Death Note Movie Short - Lawliet Official Teaser Trailer
That emphasis on quality explains why we still don't have the movie in September 2014, despite it being due for release in July. It is largely completed and it could be on our screens right now. But Rico isn't absolutely thrilled by some aspects. The perfectionist in him wants it to be the best he can deliver with his resources.
He felt rather bad about this, though I personally think it's a good thing. He did wish to highlight that Lawliet is being produced around his paid commissions. It's a labour of love, not profit.
I know that I'm not an official spokesperson for the whole Death Note fandom, but I'm certain that I spoke for all of us, when I assured him that we could wait. We'd prefer the moment of greatness to that of potential, and we'd like the director to be happy with his work. After all, we've been waiting forever for Shane Black/Gus van Sant to get on with it!
So what can we expect when Lawliet finally arrives?
Rico has written a script which explores the character of L. I don't mean that in the sense of 'fictitious character', though of course that is true too, but in what makes this person tick. Where did he come from? What motivates him? And most of all, how does L come to terms with the notion that he could be killed on this case?
Lawliet is a movie short, which takes place right on the eve of L's entrance into the Death Note world. He's already working on the Kira case, but has not yet revealed as much to the Interpol meeting. It captures a moment when L understands the danger, yet he is on the verge of committing to it anyway.
Most of the long conversation between myself and Rico was about the inner workings of L's mind (and, to a lesser extent, the other Wammy House kids too). I can confirm that this writer/director has contemplated the issues long and hard. He's considered the darkness that lies at the heart of the orphanage, which currently are addresses in the movie. Though that segment may not make the final cut (Rico is refining parts of the script).
With all of my fan-fiction, I thought I'd contemplated much of what there was to say about that institution. But Rico certainly introduced several elements that had escaped me. Particularly in regard to the dangers of chasing Kira. Or, as Rico put it, if the Wammy kids weren't careful, "they would become what they've been brought up to stop."
In Rico's opinion, L is a hero, who knew very well that he would die, but predicted how that would end up. He knew from the beginning that Kira would be defeated, and the entire of Death Note merely plays out L's ultimate plan. Then, at the end, L wins.
Rico tells us that his movie will be 'sweet, humorous and dark'. Pretty much what all Death Note fans love then!
He'll pop back for a proper interview, when Lawliet is ready for release. If you do have any questions for him, then leave them in the comments here and I'll be sure to include them then.
Incidentally, this is a movie by Identity Entertainment working with KA Films. Power On was just an early iteration of Identity Entertainment, but they decided they didn't like the name after all. Bit generic...
And finally, when we do come to watch Lawliet, Rico says to watch out for Easter Eggs. He's included some for us die-hard fans. Challenge accepted!
Lawliet Official Trailer for Death Note Movie Short
Lawliet is being made by Power On Films, a production company based in California, USA. The Death Note inspired movie constitutes its only offering to date.
Both appear to be the brainchild of Ryuk voice actor Ricardo Arechiga, who is billed as writer and director of Lawliet, as well as its cinematographer. His name is down as producer too, though that's a task he'll be sharing with fellow up-and-coming filmmaker Kazuki Abika.
Fans they may be (and aren't we all?), yet there is genuine talent behind this particular collaboration. From their self-penned biographies on IMDb, we learn that Rico and Kazuki are students. Rico won an excellence award from his Theater Arts class in his final year at High School, while Kazuki is currently attending New York University for Tisch School of the Arts. He is majoring in Film and Television.
They are still teenagers - Rico turns 20 in September and Kazuki in December - but have gained plenty of experience in all aspects of film-making.
Not only from their courses either. Kazuki has already produced several movie shorts and documentaries (there are seven listed on IMDb, including Lawliet), which has led to some recognition within the Indy Mogul internet-based independent movie-making community. Meanwhile Rico has established himself, along with L actor Ray Evangelista, as the YouTube channel duo Rico and Ray.
It's noon in Britain, which means that I've finally been able to see what that intriguing Death Note announcement will be.
Kira is being resurrected from the dead!
At least, that's what is implied.
In an on-going plot, running throughout March 3rd 2014, Matsuda has heard rumours concerning the fact that Light Yagami has returned from the grave. He's investigating it on behalf of the SPK. (Because, you know, Near probably has better things to do...)
The information seems to have originated with Hitoshi Demegawa, the anchorman from Sakura TV, who played such a large part in bringing Light and Misa together. As Kira's erstwhile spokesperson, Demegawa may also have been considered a great source of information.
I say 'have been', because I have a distinct recollection of this same nasty media man writing in fatal agony on the floor. Didn't Mikami kill him with a Death Note?
In the online Death Note 10th Anniversary extravaganza, actors are playing Matsuda and Demegawa. I've grabbed some screen-shots above, while the actual film can be found on Shueisha's website.
Updates will be made there, and on the simultaneously launched 10th Anniversary Death Note Facebook page. Further information is being announced via an official Twitter stream @deathnote10th.
What do you make of it? A publicity stunt, or the precursor to a whole new saga of the Death Note story? There's certainly scope here. The original story finished with a strange cult meeting on a mountain top, performing some kind of ritual. It was certainly to venerate Kira, but could it have been much more than that?
Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about it.
The whole point of Death Note was that the stakes were very high. Those who touched the Death Note went to nothingness - to Mu - when they died. Tsugami Ohba made it quite clear at the time that there was no coming back. If this is a promotional vehicle leading to a brand, new arc of the Death Note story, then it would seem to negate the principles of the previous ones.
On the other hand, these are new canon chapters for Death Note. What's not to love about that prospect?!
And, if Kira can be revived, then why not all of the others too? Demegawa certainly seems to have made it back into the realm of the living.
Will we see a charred and steaming Mello arising from the ruins of a burnt-out barn? Perhaps Near looking startled as a giant Old English L fills his screen, and a familiar electronic voice thanks him for his custodianship of the title and code.
Maybe a ghostly Camero running roughshod through Tokyo streets, with a bloody Matt lighting a cigarette at the wheel. Or the television screens suddenly coming alive with the half-naked figure of Kiyomi Takada, smiling mystically at the cameras.
Will we hear the creaky tones of Noami Misora, as she addresses her former FBI colleagues with a terrible rope burn etched into her neck? And the approaching tingle of a sweets trolley, pushed by the gangling figure of Mr Wammy?
What do you think?
UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention that a FAQ on the official site makes it clear that there will be NO new Death Note manga series. Also Matsuda ISN'T the one we already know and love, but Matsuda MomoFutoshi, a new character created especially for the 10th Anniversary.
Why? I don't know. Matsuda Touta survived the original, so he could just as easily been used.
UPDATE TWO: It's not at all what we thought it might be...
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