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Sonny Wong vs. the Paper Sisters: What were Dokusensha’s Goals?

Dokusensha once had at their disposal two very different sets of Paper Masters. For what purpose, and why did they each work for Dokusensha in the very different ways that they did?

Sonny Wong, aka "The Recycler," seems to be Dokusensha’s answer to "The Paper" of the British Library. He is an enormously powerful Paper Master—stronger even than Yomiko Readman, quite possibly (Nenene, who has seen Yomiko in action says that he is the strongest she’s seen). He can grab paper controlled by another Paper Master and use it against them, an ability not used by anyone else.

We know absolutely nothing about Wong except that he is a total badass.

We do know, however, a little about the Paper Sisters. According to the British Library, Dokusensha took Anita King and a bunch of Paper Master gene samples from Britain during the fire. Dokusensha (as is my understanding) engineered this material into living test subjects, hoping to turn them into Paper Masters. They discovered that the test subjects became psychologically compromised; this was mitigated by putting the new Paper Masters together into "family groups." The ultimate survivors of this project were Michelle Cheung and Maggie Mui, who were put together with Anita King to form the Paper Sisters. In their (false?) memory of their meeting in a church in Hong Kong, Michelle and Maggie were working for Dokusensha, assigned to be partners (never having met before) for a particular job, but after meeting Anita they decided to live together. By all appearances, Michelle and Maggie appeared to be doing freelance work; they don't recognize each other, and Michelle points out that they’re quite expendable if they fail, probably due to their tenuous connection to the organization. And even though they "remember" possibly being screwed over by them, the Paper Sisters work for Dokusensha on occasion because even though the "publishing company" is "creepy," it pays well. As freelancers, however, the Sisters have no loyalty to Dokusensha beyond the paycheck it provides.

This is the strange thing: if Dokusensha made the Paper Sisters and implanted into them their memories, why did they set them up as a semi-independent unit who were only very loosely affiliated with Dokusensha rather than make them full fledged agents of Dokusensha? If they could rewrite their memories to whatever they wished, why not program the three of them to be highly loyal, full-fledged Dokusensha operatives?

Why, moreover, program them to "remember" being possibly set up by Dokusensha?

And where does Sonny Wong fit into all of this? Dokusensha clearly wanted a potential army of Paper Masters using the genetic material they had. Sonny Wong is a veritable one-man Paper Master army. Did Wong work for Dokusensha before they got their hands on Anita or afterward? Was he, too, an unmentioned or unknown product of the "Paper Family" project, or is he an independently born/discovered Paper Master? And why is he a full agent of Dokusensha when the Paper Sisters, Dokusensha's own creations, aren’t?

Wong is a psychopath in the purest sense. It’s very possible he’s very loyal–but he is a cold-blooded killer who enjoys what he does too much. Keeping him on hand must be risky. If he was a "Paper Family" result, was it that his particular mental instability kept him from functioning with a group of other people, just as the other Paper Masters could not function without? Was it simply, regardless of his origins, that it was safer to keep him close rather than far away?

Why was Anita King, essentially an I-Jin Paper Master, put with the Paper Sisters and not trained to be a Paper Assassin by Wong?

Perhaps Dokusensha regarded the Paper Sisters as a "failed project." After all, I imagine they ideally would have wanted a lot of Paper Masters and getting only two relatively stable, functional results was less than satisfactory–especially when the two people worked best together, and thus could not be split to be sent to different assignments. It’s also possible that being somewhat mentally unstable (all Paper Masters are severely OCD if nothing else), they feared giving the Paper Sisters any more mental programming than was necessary; the more they tried to rewrite, the more could go wrong. In fact, making them forget their origins might have been because Dokusensha considered the project a failure, one they wanted to separate themselves from. But Dokusensha also must have realized there was no point in scrapping (i.e., killing) at least somewhat functional results. So: give the Paper Sisters their own lives, but just that little "suggestion" that work for Dokusensha was a good thing to do from time to time. Make them mistrust them, a little, even. That way Dokusensha could take advantage of the Paper Sisters’ skills and not completely waste their investment, but at the same time not have to be fully responsible or traceable should the Paper Sisters botch anything.

As for Anita: clearly, the traumatic fire was burned, so to speak, into her mind so deeply they could not even cause her to forget it after a mental "rewrite." Her powers, while unlocked, were likely unstable as she’d just discovered them and under extreme duress at that. Perhaps like Maggie and Michelle, Dokusensha decided they were safer not trying to directly control Anita but put her simply at arm’s length, where they could use her as needed or push her away when she was a problem.

Indeed, maybe it was Anita's technical I-jin-ness (she's never called one, but that's basically what she is–a superpowered test-tube baby and a good candidate for the Gentleman Project to boot) that also made Dokusensha nervous. After all, the original I-Jin rebelled when Dokusensha tried to control them and nearly destroyed the world. Putting Anita with Sonny Wong, if he existed at the time, might have resulted in her becoming a powerful and deadly agent—but she could likewise take her power and turn on them. Seeing where Anita came from, Dokusensha was aware of what an out-of-control Paper Master could do. So again: don't make her feel controlled–and therefore, have more subtle access to controlling her better.

But we’re still at a loss for Sonny. I’m inclined to think he is not a genetic construct or altered being like the Paper Sisters. If Dokusensha didn’t want to keep on the three girls as full agents for those reasons, they certainly wouldn’t for Sonny. So he is probably a natural born Paper Master. And perhaps was even recruited fairly recently; Dokusensha was likely still wanting to have a Paper Master of their very own to work with–especially if the Paper Sisters proved overly uncooperative. It’s possible he was even hired to directly deal with them should they go "bad"—though I doubt this; someone as talented as Wong shouldn’t have been brought on just in case a trio of "freelancers" caused them some trouble. Certainly, however, Dokusensha wanted the Paper Sisters to see Wong in action. They wanted the Sisters to see that while they were useful to Dokusensha, they could easily be replaced by one of Dokusensha's own.

But clearly the I-Jin lesson was not thoroughly learned: Dokusensha’s true "failure" was underestimating—and deceiving—their own creations.


Death Quaker's Realm All original creative materials © 2005 R. Pickard. Read or Die, R.O.D the TV and all related concepts were created by Hideyuki Kurata and are ©2003 Aniplex/Studio Orphee.
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