~ L, L: Change the World, p 17
Welcome back to our ABC list of known canon Wammy kids alongside the letter to which they were (or most probably were) assigned.
The Wammy House for Gifted and Talented Orphans is the intriguing institution which features so prominently in Death Note, or at least its alumni form the centrepiece of the war against Kira.
Each genius child raised there is afforded a bespoke education, side-stepping the normal system of classrooms, with professors, researchers and other experts in their field brought in for one-to-one demonstrations and tutorials.
Graduates get to enter The Wammy Foundation, a shadowy organisation founded by the man who raised them - their childhood benefactor and adulthood allocator of a single Letter which meant so much - Quillsh Wammy, aka Watari.
This alphabet of Letters from Wammy's House investigates the ethos and histories of each recipient for clues as to the character and motives of Wammy himself.
Death Note Wammy Letters' Alphabet Pt 2 - L-Z
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.
Among them, one orphanage took in highly intelligent children from around the world without regard to nationality, race or gender and provided them with a specialized education. The orphanage was called Wammy's House.
There was no formal school or academic departments at Wammy's. Instead university professors, researchers and top specialists in their fields from around the world were invited to give individual instruction to the children according to their abilities and potential.
~ L: Change the World, p13
L - Wammy Kid The Last One, or The Lost One - True Name L Lawliet*
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.
... the name L was, for him, just one of many. He never had any direct connection to that identity, he never thought of himself as L... L had a real name that nobody knew, and nobody will ever know, but a name which only he knew never defined him. I sometimes wonder if L himself ever knew exactly which name was written in the Death Note, which name it was that killed him.
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.
He wielded incredible power, was able to mobilize every investigative bureau in the entire world, and was applauded generously for his efforts.
L is the one about whom the whole of Wammy's House, its founder, staff and children, plus its attendant Foundation revolves. He was the first of those genius orphans afforded special attention, a tailored education and a letter to use as his name and his calling code.
By accident, precedent or design, he set the standard whereby all other Wammy kids are measured. They are supposed to be precisely him and if they best him, they get his code.
But that's highly unlikely to occur.
As Beyond Birthday found out, beating him is one thing; it's quite another to persuade Wammy to relinquish his obvious favourite, so to divert resources and his personal support towards a more worthily ranked ward.
That was a pattern which began on day one, when Wammy brought the tiny orphan L into Wammy's House and left him with his peers in the ornately stained glass windowed main hall.
The other children rushed to give him a hug - cute, new, big-eyed boy and all - but that panicked L. He was only about eight years old, but managed anyway to beat up and floor boys and girls much bigger than himself.
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.
Marking the moment when Wammy vowed to accept L's every decision and support him wherever possible.
From now on, the child, not the adult was ostensibly calling the shots; Watari would make good each hefty choice and passing whim spoken aloud by the eight year old.
Nor apparently was there any disapproval expressed for the dodgier demands, let alone censure or out and out refusal to comply. Watari just did it, trusting that L was clever and would be right. (Giving him just enough rope hang himself? Or truly in perfect trust of the child's truth and sense in all things?)
Therefore leading to a situation - so a canon Omake tells us, authored by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata - wherein the adult L cannot dress himself, or attend to his own ablutions, without Wammy assisting with the fundamentals. L seen now as so intelligent that he's become downright infantile.
An absent-minded genius trope too far, or some manner of control/avenging the loss thereof/kicking back against too much of the same, or someone severely upon the autistic spectrum? Frankly it's way too tempting to assume the former, though the other options have their resonance in all other of L's famous ticks, quirks, eccentricities and prolific sweet consumption.
The latter also keenly enabled by Quillsh Wammy in butler (more like carer at this point) mode. Along with a pop, pseudo-scientific rationale that such quantities of sugary things are needful in order to keep L's brain whizzing along.
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.
However, a thick layer of covert constrictions hide just beneath the surface for the detective. He's been told from childhood two things - there are those in the world out to kill him; and world peace hinges upon his living in a state of constant, active and demonstrable investigations.
While the world leaders should make efforts to ensure the safety of all the finest minds... the current societal systems do not allow for this, and L believed he had no choice but to protect his mind under his own power... For a detective of L's ability, self-preservation and the preservation of world peace were one and the same.
Ergo, his life is in danger, but he can't stop to save himself without imperilling the world. Not that most of the potential killers with him in their sights are that far from home.
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.
~ L, Death Note Relight: L's Successors
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.
... just as the greatest of detectives makes the greatest of criminals, a specialist in investigation is also a specialist in murder. From this perspective, this was nothing but a detective war. Beyond Birthday challenged L. And L accepted the challenge.
Even Naomi Misora knew what had happened to detectives falsely identifying themselves as L, and B was from Wammy's House, so he knew better than anyone - so this choice suggests the strength of his decision. He never once intended to survive.
... it would certainly seem odd if (K), who was threatening the President posing as L, asked him why the US hadn't moved to kill L.
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
I'm always number two… no matter how hard I try…
It's not just the notebook I'm after. I wanna eliminate my competition. I will be the best. I don't care what it takes. I'll beat Near by any means necessary.
In Another Note, Mello calls Wammy's House 'home, sweet home' and describes it as the place 'which raised me until I was fifteen'. (p11)
Between real time scenes from the manga (Zero) and anime (Renewal), plus flashback scenes from Near's memory in Death Note Relight: L's Successor's (and the one-shot manga), we have a fair bit insight into Mello's experience and behaviour during that time at Wammy's House.
Just as you'd except from a teenager who left the institution to join the Mafia, young Mello is shown to be a bully at while he was still there.
We see him kicking a football into another child's face. On another occasion, he's clutching another boy's hair and pulling his head down, whilst walking up the corridor.
He even attacks Roger, bunching fistfuls of the warden's lapels and half dragging him across a desk, in response to news of L's death.
None of this is reprimanded. There's no adult response at all from the first incident. In the second, Roger merely captures Mello's hand and holds it whilst untangling his victim's hair. No words are spoken about it.
During his lunge at Roger, all the older man can summon up is a vague, world-weary 'Mello', uttered like a sigh. Imagine behaving like that with your own parent or guardian, would you have received the same lack of passion in their reaction?
But apparently this is the Wammy's way and Mello is perfectly at liberty to use violence, intimidation and fear as part of his life strategy.
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.
N - Wammy Kid Near - Nate River
I've wanted to make him taste his own pathetic failure with all my heart.
Don't worry, Commander Rester, making assumptions is part of any investigation. If we're wrong, all it'll cost is an apology.
Giovanni: If there are shinigami, I might die, right?
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.
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.
Near must have spent an inordinate amount of brainpower and time pondering all L was or seemed to be; imagining his world-view and thought processes; researching by whatever means may come every snippet of information truly known about his idol; deducing what triggered every known pattern in behaviour, decision-making and everything else besides.
Then Near would have to expend yet more energy, resources and concentration in seemingly endless hours perfecting his carbon copy role-playing of the same.
Allowing another man's self in totality to imprint as a mask over Near's psyche. To suppress his own as worth much less than this prototype soul; as he alone won the right to exhibit L in de facto possession.
Yet some part of Near's genius must be twitching rebellion in a dark, cerebral recess. As early as twelve months prior - to the day - Near espouses rhetoric about how he (in union with Mello) surpassed L. However, it's spoken hesitantly, with many pauses for reflection in its delivery during Near's final confrontation with Kira in the Yellow Box warehouse. Nor does his conclusion appear to have lodged inside his own mind, beyond a theoretical concept to mess with Light's mind.
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.
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.
What we then see from Near is a breakthrough moment of self-awareness, in the most literal sense.
At first Near appears dwarfed by the spectre of L. We're still in the same location, but his own world torn down to facilitate a new configuration of tarot card towers.
Each one spells out the single initial L. Near's own figure is almost completely lost amongst them.
Meanwhile Rester speaks from a monitor above, peering down like God Himself, or an Orwellian 1984 style Big Brother. The message he has to convey could have been uttered by Wammy. It certainly encapsulates the Zeitgeist of Wammy's House - the methodology can be as awry as it needs to be in order to solve the puzzle. The method justifies the means.
Near meekly replies that he'll embody L, doing only what it would be natural for L to do.
He goes on to broadcast globally in L's name, with a speech that includes elements from the only one he ever personally heard L declaim. Near addresses the 'new Kira' situation with utter disdain, stating that he won't be getting involved, because it doesn't interest him. Just as L told the Wammy kids in Near's own hearing that he chose his cases solely if they piqued his interest.
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.
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.
"Mr. President, this is L... The L organization has captured L-prime and recovered the Death Note. We will eliminate L-prime with the notebook. You can confirm the body in one hour at the Kira Headquarters in Japan."
"By the way, Mr President, would you mind if also issued you a threat?... You will ensure a future where children can go on smiling. Will you promise us that? If you should break that promise, we will not hesitate to use the Death Note."
Then you get the Near characterisation - the latest incarnation at the time of writing - wherein the Puckishness and violence have come utterly to the fore. Though in this case it's stated that Near has dual personalities and it's the Mello persona sharing their body who has the capacity to kill.
None of which strays too far from previous canon, nor the attributes with which Near was originally created by Tsugumi Ohba.
Even in the manga, Near has no problem causing the death of others - or else placing them in potentially fatal peril - if it assists him in solving the puzzle. Thus Kira is led to Mello's Mafia family hide-out; dollar notes worth $10m are dropped on a square in Manhattan causing a stampede; Gevanni is despatched to recover a Death Note's pages, despite instant death if Near's deduction is wrong; and Near psychologically shifts Ryuk into a position whereby the shinigami is keen to kill Light Yagami ASAP.
Just as he learned at Wammy's House.
O - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
P - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
Wammy letter P is known in canon only through being shown on L's call/mailing list in the movie L: Change the World.
These are the individuals who make up the Wammy Members' Group to whom L breaks the bad news via email that Watari is dead. The Wammy House crest, their knowledge of Mr Wammy (and the fact that they'd care about his death) and that they are all designated with single initials renders it certain that they are active members of the Wammy Foundation.
Though we know nothing about P, it can be guessed through the precedent of the rest that he/she is probably a detective, scientist or excelling in the arts. Aizawa and Matsuda reported in the manga that most Wammy alumni fit into those three categories, and the known alumni have followed suit so far.
Of course, there's nothing stopping these letters also possibilities for being assigned to the like of Matt and Linda, though the timeline makes it unlikely to be Ryūzaki's letter.
Q - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown; Unless Strong Probability: Q - Wammy Kid Matt - True Name Mail Jeevas
The hacking defence system, developed by Wammy's House's Q and given to him by his personal friend Watari, had identified the perpetrator who had cleverly routed through several servers all over the world on its way into the lab's system. "Accessed from inside the lab..."
After sending one email, he deleted all his files using the emergency system created by Q.
Q's letter is seen in the call list of Wammy's kids glimpsed briefly upon L's screen during the movie L: Change the World (see P).
Unlike most on the list, this individual is also mentioned in the novelization of the same, where it's revealed that (s)he is some kind of computing genius.
For this reason, Wammy's Q is most likely the letter assigned to Matt, aka Mail Jeevas, named in canon as the third ranked Wammy kid of the fourth generation (i.e. next in line for L's succession after Near and Mello).
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.
Monitoring multiple screens, (Matt's) cockiness leads him to make a few mistakes.
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
R is amongst those Wammy Letters known only from a glimpse of L's computer monitor in the movie L: Change the World.
Those listed there were on the Wammy Members' Group. Each identified by just a single initial, alongside the Wammy House crest. Most were e-mailed by L that he might alert them to the death of Watari.
Only there's something different about B, R, V and T to all those mentioned from this source previously. They weren't in receipt of the missive, and their letters were blocked out grey with a line voiding the box to select them.
The implication is that these are Wammy kids who are no longer alive. A kind of confirmation coming in the inclusion of B there, assuming that this movie exists in the same timeline as the novel Another Note: The Los Angeles Murder Cases.
Beyond Birthday would indeed be dead this close to the end of Kira's reign. He was killed on January 21st 2004 of a heart-attack probably during one of Kira's purges of international prison populations.
S - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
T - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
U - Wammy Letter Not Assigned in Canon
V - Wammy Kid Pseudonym and True Name Unknown
W - Wammy Letter for Watari - Quillsh Wammy Himself
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).
The hints from the manga are inconclusive to bordering upon the disturbing.
We never hear Wammy's own thoughts on what he's established, just catch an undercurrent of Aizawa's unease, as he reports back to Light what he find in Winchester.
Plus How to Read: Death Note 13's note on Roger Ruvie, that he was employed to collect children internationally and bring them to Wammy's House to train as L's successor. Watari employed him to do that. He pays his wages too.
The anime continues on along the same theme, adding nothing directly from Wammy's mouth, but providing us with snap-shot flashes of the orphanage with sobbing infants and bullying in the corridors.
Not to mention the strange spectacle of Roger telling Mello and Near (aged 14 and 12 respectively) that they now have to take L's place in the struggle against a mass murderer of global proportions.
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.
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.
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.
~ L: Change the World (novel), p151
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."
- L: Change the World, p188
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.
~ Another Note, p170
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
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.