the perspective of an inventor - of course he wanted to make a copy, of course he wanted to create a backup.
Anyone would feel the same.
~ Mello, Another Note, p104
What remains mysterious about the benefactor of that strange chain of orphanages established in Death Note manga, anime, novels, movies, TV drama and games, might just show in the Fate of orphans raised within their alpha home - The Wammy House for Gifted and Talented Orphans.
Each child within the Wammy system assigned a single letter. A calling code. Something by which they could identify each other, if no other code-name was available.
Genius minds afforded specialised training; then sent out into the world, apparently to change it. Though what precisely that means never is quite explained, beyond a vague pandering to the word justice.
As defined by the Wammys, especially L.
More often leaving the House to engage in petty rivalry and combat with each other; and woe betide any who get in their way - for to destroy the world is just another way to change it.
... what if they could copy (L)? What if they could make a backup?
List of Wammy House Letters Discussed in General Terms
There's just a handful assigned without furnishing the fandom with clues pertaining to the person here represented. Even then they may be discussed in general terms, applicable across the board. Not least the assumption might be made that someone raised or based at Wammy's House in Winchester was, is or will be in possession of the code required to utilize all that this letter represents.
Not anonymity in public communication - no matter how much it's used for that, such usage is just a bonus - but access to The Wammy Foundation, its administration, resources and infrastructure.
Doors don't open because someone sat in GIMP messing around with Cloister fonts and single letters centred in Old English. If they did then I'd be L by now. Government offices allow access to restricted lines; military manoeuvres are initiated by request; Interpol meetings are infiltrated; and intelligence agencies are directed or else willing to share classified information, because that Wammy letter alphabet gets used set within a certain context.
Further codewords or numbers may allow verification of its user's authenticity.
It could rescue that clever detective from dangerous places, or let him/her secure whatever was uncovered that now needs safeguarding. Sensitivity in no questions asked, efficient fixing; unlimited funds able to be wired wherever a masked voice asks for such to be. Plus so much more besides.
It's not each iconic initial that's key in those calls. It's the apparently boundless support and open doors that such icons represent.
Wammy's Foundation has an incredible reach throughout the planet and into the hidden powerhouses unknown to most. Where global movers and shakers meet with their identities gleaned incrementally on a need to know basis. Where influence is strong and disagreements could potentially cause or avert World War III. Yet none more able to direct the flow of world affairs than Quillsh Wammy himself.
No doubt such reminders prompt the machinery of co-operation into instant, unfettered movement by any given government and their agencies, accompanied by renewed guarantees that this status quo will remain so indefinitely. Uttered upon expensive, elite lips belonging to those who know they can keep their promises.
Just as Mello did in the Death Note manga, compelling an American President into acting in accordance with that Mafioso Wammy's will. Threatening to use a Death Note to gain US compliance anyway, with its President's actions subject to unstoppable remote control, until his inevitable death a few days on.
That wasn't the Mafia man talking, however close the sentiment might seem. It was the Wammy speaking as Mello this time. Another day it could have been L or Near, as also happened in canon, outlined as dialogue in the novel L: Change the World. And THAT has to be how they were raised for President Hoope seemed to expect it. Evidently he's dealt with Mr Wammy and his alumni many times before.
A great man, as Matsuda once said, or the monstrous child-thief - as he's intimated to be by L, Mello, B and Near's testimonies? Hinted in separate instances, dotted about various canon sources - Watari brainwashing proto-detectives, from kids raised in his care, to enter into deadly games of rivalry and puzzle-solving, all for fun.
More of those children's stories might provide some insight into the manner of this man, whom even Tsugumi Ohba his creator called 'terrible'.
Death Note Wammy Letters Alphabet
The designation of a letter in Wammy's alphabet held a special significance for those who graduated Wammy's House. It signified that they were charged with changing the world. There were only twenty-six letters to exist every generation, and these young people were part of an illustrious list of past letters who had time and again been instrumental in saving the world from catastrophe. Above all, the designation signified Watari's trust.
Watari's Character? He's a guy who cultivates detectives for fun. That's kind of terrible, isn't it? (laughs)
A - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
... even for a genius like Watari, creating a fake L was easier said than done... I hardly need to tell you what it was like when Wammy's House was first founded, when he was still experimenting. The first child, A, was unable to handle the pressure of living up to L and took his own life...
~ Another Note, p105
Imagine that for just a moment - someone, anyone, being taken into strange premises and told that all you are and were no longer matters. You have no name, or purpose beyond becoming somebody else. Not in the military we-will-make-you-action-man sense, nor in any manner of self-improvement, like going off to university, or training to run a marathon. This isn't even the refining of a Swiss finishing school.
This is taking a presumably orphan child and stripping him of all form of self-identity. Not a name to call himself, just a letter. No personality traits that can't also be found in L. No lesser intelligence than what that incredibly once-in-a-lifetime type genius mind than attain. Telling a boy that everything about himself is so worthless that nothing will do but to reject it all and become the clone of another boy deemed more valuable.
And they wonder why he committed suicide.
B - Wammy Kid Beyond Birthday - True Name Unknown
... the second child, Beyond Birthday, was brilliant and deviant. B stood for Backup...
That B had been a candidate to succeed L, and that the pressure of that had driven him off track... Beyond Birthday's quest to surpass L. It mattered more to him than his own life. Perhaps he was less intent than desperate. Nobody could have stopped him.
By which is meant that Watari's zest to 'copy' L drove another orphan in his care to conclude that the only way out was suicide.
Only Beyond Birthday didn't attempt his own end with the supposed quiet lack of drama that beset the tragedy of A. (At least Mello didn't deem it worth gossiping about the fine detail later.) B opted for self-slaughter in perhaps the most dramatic, loud and all encompassing manner he could stage manage. Downright theatrical in fact, in that he performed it in costume, caked in thick make-up, complete with props. Assuming a role in scenes orchestrated and arranged by himself.
The part that Wammy had always wanted him to play. Indivisible from L; a carbon copy. Albeit with a few heart-breaking, pointed and rather grisly differences in the reality that played out. Not least that Beyond knew that L could count on the support of Wammy's House, and he could not.
... he had always disguised himself with heavy make-up while he was with Misora, and he had never left a picture behind.
He knew that the moment he took action Wammy's House and Watari would alert L, so he did not even bother trying to stop them.
Our mental image of B - repeated endlessly in fan-art and fiction - depicts him fixed in cosplaying L. Cosmetics to recreate the sleep deprived pallor, hunched over in walking and folded, knees up in sitting.
There's no telling whether the crawling on all fours isn't just a parody of L's burden bent back, nor if the jam eaten with his fingers straight from the jar might not be a clown-like standing for L's endless array of sweet confectionery. He even quotes L's habitual lines, about how hot beverages brimmed into slush with sugar boost his energy and awaken his brain, while sitting in that famous stance raises his mental faculties by 40%.
Beyond Birthday copies L, just as Mr Wammy demanded of him, but only to break him in a desperate challenge - choosing death in order to commit an unsolvable crime. Viewing serial killing and his own horrifically agonizing mode of ending himself as reasonable prices to pay if he ultimately got to beat L. It didn't matter that B wouldn't be there to see it happen. The victory was all.
Well, in theory, give or take Naomi Misora being more intelligent than any Wammy credited those outside the institution as having any right to be.
Hence B ended up terribly mutilated, surviving in the knowledge that L's proxy - a civilian! - had bested him even when he threw in such extremes. Serving a life sentence inside an LA prison for the murders of three people pretty much used as props to destroy L's mind, pride and reputation. Until Kira killed Beyond randomly (so it's implied) during one of his Death Note purges of evil-doers inside.
Nor do we see any evidence that Watari intervened, though with his connections it's probable that Beyond could have been released into Wammy's House custody. There's not even a hint that those who drove B into such desperation and madness so much as visited him behind bars. Then he was dead before Mello moved into the same city.
Wammy's experimentation went on.
C - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
D - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
D is known only from an entry within the Wammy Members' Group Mail, glimpsed upon L's computer screen in the live-action movie L: Change the World.
However, it might be surmised that D has been in possession of his or her letter for quite some time, as those listed aren't alphabetical and D is at the top.
That may be a false premise nevertheless, as L himself only appears halfway down the list and he was the first Wammy in possession of a letter.
L doesn't hesitate in sending the communication to D, nor indeed anyone else on the list, with the exception of K who gives him pause. For all else, its implied that they are trusted, worthy recipients with no bad blood between themselves and the Watari Foundation, as represented here by L.
Beyond that, nothing else is known. Nor is every letter displayed, as the scrollbar alongside the list of Wammy letters hints at more unseen before the camera drifts away to focus upon the e-mail's sender instead.
E - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
F - Wammy Kid F1225 - True Name Unknown
They are exempt in theory from contagion, clad from head to foot in bright yellow protective clothing. They speak with American accents and seem unsympathetic to the suffering of victims all around them. Moreover, brutal in their dehumanising pronouns - 'deal with that', one says, indicating a man nearby. Another pushes a mother surrounded by four dead children roughly away from him.
F flees. There is no explanation as to why he was there. Nor why he's so certain of his immunity from contracting the unspecified pathogen, that he's willing to risk exposure to it.
The only clues come from a future scene, wherein we're told he was working undercover for the Watari Foundation near Bangnum Village, and that the biometers aren't responding. Though whether that fact pertains to F's presence isn't clear from the context. He was certainly there 'in the line of duty'.
However, he's presumably on some kind of Wammy House directed rescue mission, as the child waiting at the location F flees to - in the ruins of ancient architecture just beyond the village - is Near. Though evidently Thai, Near does not appear native to Bangum. "This village is over for us." F tells the child, interrupting him mid-mathematical flow, with formulae chalked all over the mossy stone walls.
They have perhaps gained sanctuary there with Near seemingly unperturbed by events. Abandoning his calculus without fear nor apparent regard for the destruction down below, in order to join F in flight via the older Wammy's Land Rover.
So, has anyone done so yet? To whom does it connect? Are they very sick of random people calling from all over the world, demanding to speak with Watari?
"Watari will protect you," F informs his young charge, wearing an ethereal kind of smile as he says so. The future Near, it has to be said, surveys him right back with the world's most dubious expression over a long, drawn out stare. Already too clever for his own good, that one.
But a look which surely seems like presentiment when, in the next instant, an American military helicopter arises from the bushland track behind them and starts shooting holes from the road in front.
F steps on the accelerator of the Land Rover he has weaving all over this Thai dustroad-turned-Formula-1-racetrack. Yet a close look at him reveals the sudden appearance of lesions on the side of this face. Not so immune to disease after all, though Near is in the clear and remains so. F knows that he's personally not going to survive this flight through the bushes, thus in a poignant moment takes the necklace bearing his Watari letter F from around his neck and places it around Near's instead.
This race away from Near is deliberate though. Himself less important than the child left behind, despite F's presumably high intelligence and top class education rendering him a supposed benefit to the whole world as a Wammy letter. Surely more so in that horrible choice between himself and an untutored youngster with much potential. Because whatever Near is, or may become, right now the boy is an unknown quantity.
Yet somebody somewhere within the Watari Foundation judged it worth risking F's life to send him into that dangerous situation in order to extract the kid. By his actions, F certainly concurs.
The helicopter descends before the Land Rover, blocking all egress. F stops the vehicle and surveys in horror what waits ahead. There's momentary horror and fright for F. Not ready to die. Then he is, eyes closing and a tiny smile touching the corner of his lips. Like this is acceptable.
He's not going to survive this, yet surely it was Watari - or a representative thereof - who sent him there. Nevertheless, F will ensure another child follows in his footsteps and smiles as he dies. Some inner conviction sated in the certainty that his premature demise was worth it.
Perhaps the ethos wherein this genius Wammy House orphan was raised. One we'll return to time and again in the biographies of Wammy kids. Dulce et decorum est pro Watari mori...
G - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
H - Wammy Headquarters Letters - Roger Ruvie (presumed)
Wammy Letter H may be seen representing Wammy Headquarters in a scene from the live-action movie L: Change the World.
That this is also The Wammy's House may be determined by comparing the avatar crest accompanying the moniker Wammy Headquarters with the same already displayed on Watari's desktop underneath the call alert.
As warden of Wammy's House, it must be assumed that Roger Ruvie is the individual in receipt of this letter. The H reflecting that element of his job description that involves liaison between Watari and the rest of his wards - HQ rather than headmaster.
This would explain why Roger Ruvie sticks around as overseer of an orphanage, when his pet hate (according to How to Read: Death Note 13) is 'children'.
It also chimes nicely with the warden's role within the original manga and anime Death Note stories. He was the recipient of L's alert pertaining to the detective's own death.
Moreover, Roger was the one to inform Near and Mello of the same, and would have been the one told if Watari/L had chosen which of them was to succeed their idol. Roger also felt able to make a suggestion regarding the succession himself - the futile interjection that the pair should work together.
In short, Roger had long since been the nexus for internal Watari Foundation communication. The manga has him eventually becoming Watari, when Near takes the Letter to continue as that detective code.
It's a similar pattern of feeling - or lack thereof - as seen in the manga, whereby Roger's first act upon hearing the news of L and Wammy's demise is to call in Mello and Near, thus to settle the succession. No question that such a continuation must occur.
Nor apparently did he race after Mello, when the boy announced his attention to leave home and work alone in catching Kira. This is a fourteen year old stepping out into a frigid December night, in a barely adequate jacket, yet his guardian did not shift in his recall.
Back to F and the news of his death. It's never clarified who alerted Roger to that particular tragedy, though we do get to see Wammy and L react to the same. Wammy's look of sadness and shock tips off L, who gently enquires if it is bad news? His guardian answers in hushed tones that F was killed in Thailand. There follows a pensive moment, wherein the old man sadly states, 'It was in the line of duty, so it couldn't be helped but...'
The answer to F's death comes in reality from L's actions. This is the final piece of information to push the detective into writing his own name into Misa's Death Note, thus effectively committing suicide. Why? 'To take control over my own Fate is the only way to outwit Death.'
"I'll do it my own way!" He bellowed in retort, a fourteen year old leaving the sanctuary of his childhood home in the dead of winter.
Neither did L feel able to just walk away. At least in the minds of themselves, as nurtured in Wammy's home by Watari and Ruvie, this was their inevitable duty. As unfortunate as any death might be in the line of such duty, it couldn't be helped. An ethos surely carried by the warden, as Roger swapped his letter H (Wammy Headquarters) for a W (Watari in his turn).
I - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
J - Wammy Kid Pseudonym Unknown - True Name Jeffrey Miller
The Wammy kid known as J is an elusive quantity.
In fact, we're not even 100% certain that he was Watari raised, trained and assigned a letter. The only clue to that is his name - the letter J - as given in the only canon source in which he turns up.
J is a character in the Konami DS game L: The Prologue to Death Note: Spiralling Trap, which was released in Japan on February 8th 2007. It's never been translated into any other languages nor made available anywhere else across the globe.
Game-play is text based problem solving, wherein you are a rookie FBI agent knocked unconscious to awaken in a locked room. Your environment is booby-trapped with explosives, with antagonists presumably out there primed to set them off.
Enter J. Apparently another Wammy kid turned murderous in pursuit of L. Now ready to engage you in a boss fight.
The image (left) is a screenshot from the trailer for L: The Prologue to Death Note (above), which features around the 1 minute 46 mark.
Though he is wearing a lab coat, hence probably falls within the science spectrum of Wammy alumni specialities.
All that can be said additionally (until our Japanese translators turn up and, of course, assuming any of them have actually played this game) is that our last glimpse of J seems to be aboard a stricken cruise ship, which L has just caused to explode extensively right across its middle section. Presumably then J is now lost, presumed drowned or else caught in the ensuing inferno.
About par for the course for a Wammy kid.
K - Wammy Kid Keep Your Way - Dr Kimiko Kujo
"Please understand, Watari. This is the only way I believe I can change the world," she said, as much to convince herself.
L: Change the World, p 121
On the subject of serial killing Wammy kids, they don't get more potentially destructive than Watari's own destroyer of worlds - K.
Perhaps Kali might have been a better pseudonym for this lady, rather than the poignant sobriquet Keep Your Way afforded to her by Mr Wammy himself.
She certainly seemed convinced that the only way to change the world was to wipe the human race from the face of the planet.
In true mad scientist mode, when we first caught up with K - real name Dr Kimiko Kujo - she was busy cultivating a swift-acting, 100% fatal pathogen in readiness to unleash upon all hated humanity.
The premature release of her deadly virus upon test subjects in Thailand had already led directly to the demise of another Wammy letter - F. She would have taken out Near too, before he even made it to Wammy's House, had the wonder-boy's natural immunity not kept him safe from contagion.
"Dr Kujo, is your time at Wammy's House perhaps a cause of your despair toward mankind?"
So what went so badly wrong with this one that global genocide seemed the only answer?
Surely even Roger couldn't have been so tactless that her natural response was to sequence a virus to push her own species into extinction. Though granted, it would have constituted one method of stopping Kira, which was what most of her peers were concerning themselves with at the time.
After witnessing the 'many casualties', K ran from the scene never to return. It wasn't the failure of the operation per se that was the problem, but the notion that she had betrayed Watari's trust in her capabilities as a Wammy letter.
Nothing to do with the power and influence that comes with that designation either. It was the personal censure invested within Wammy the man that she most feared evoking. He'd brought her out of herself and believed in her abilities following the death of her parents. He'd been kind and caring, with a warm smile and sage advice, making K feel like she counted, even amongst all the rest of the clever, little Wammys around her.
She couldn't stand to see his face again, knowing that she'd let him down. That he'd be disappointed in her. It was that personal for the Wammy kids raised to become Letters within the Wammy Foundation. Away from Wammy's House and the man at its helm, K's 'soul had grown darker than the world around it'.
A darkness that she couldn't hope to assuage without the total destruction of humankind, wiped from the Earth in order to save the planet.
Astute words in retrospect, though perhaps Watari should have clarified a 'way' amongst the sane options open to her.
Moreover, L continued - breaking her heart in knowing this only now - "Even after you left Wammy's, Watari refused to give that designation to anyone else." Awwww! If only she'd grasped that Wammy still loved her, K wouldn't have had to turn Thailand into the vast killing fields of her unleashing viral mass murder.
As it was, L promised that she could resume her place at Wammy's House, letter intact, even now, after whole populations lay dead. What was a little genocidal slaughter amongst Watari's kids? When they stood to ensure justice would prevail and the world could be changed. K vowed to do so, returning to Winchester just as soon as her life sentence was done in prison.
No doubt Watari - whomever that was likely to be forthwith - would soon intervene and get that time served down to, say, a week. After all, foiled architect of humanity's extinction aside, Kimiko remains a Wammy kid, in receipt of the letter K.