Our Journey of Going Mad in 54 Days (+ The Ultimate Guide for Durtle Heaven)

We finally reached B9 :tada: Congratulations everybody! :heart:

But wait, what does that even mean?

Many people might not have followed the Descent of the Durtle into Madness, or only partially, so let’s make a recap of what happened. This is going to be a long post, and even with that warning, we’re only going to skim through all that happened during the descent. So let’s dive in!

1. A quiet day of December

On the day of Christmas, the forums were quieter than usual, but pollers were still polling and durtles still burning. Several people received a badge the following day for having posted on the forum on December 25th: the Ghost of Crabsmas Durtle.

You have sinned on the holiest of days!
You should come with me, young one.
Off we go to Durtle Heaven.
Just follow me closely to learn the way.
There you will be cursed to descend into its darkest depths.
Jiddle after jiddle until you can take no more…

People started discussing the meaning of the badge in the poll thread, until Napthalene noticed a QR Code[post] in the image. Scanning the full resolution image resulted into a website link… durtle.club

2. durtle.club

The landing page of durtle.club is empty except for a single icon of a screaming durtle. Scrolling the page reveals a link named “Durtle Heaven” that leads to the lobby.


Oh hello. Welcome to Durtle Heaven™.
It truly is a Crabsmas miracle you came here today.
You wish to descend into Durtle Heaven?
That’s fine with me.
I’m a pretty apathetic durtle.
But, deeper durtles won’t be so easy.
They will surely test you with their difficult jiddles.
I’ve never gone deeper than B2,
so my only advice is this:
If you run into any trouble,
make like your Review pile and don’t panic.
That is the most important thing.

Well, in you go.
The password to get to B1 is quite easy.
It, uh, rhymes with “ass-word.”

This first riddle is fairly straight forward, acting as a tutorial for the next levels:

  • A durtle is welcoming us at each level
  • A hint text is available, split into two parts: a Durtle Heaven lore text and a clue
  • A link to descend to the next level is available but password protected

Simply entering “password” grants access to B1.

3. Et Tu, Durtle?


Whoa, where did you come from?
You want to descend further into Durtle Heaven?
Alright, I’m supposed to hand you one of these
pieces of, uh, scripture.

│ shqrywqjehi uqj rkjji │

Good luck with that, then.

B1 is the first real level of the descent, but still simple. The clue is encoded using a Caesar Cipher which is an encryption method that has been around for a looooong time. Every letter is shifted in the alphabet by a number of letters and the inverse operation needs to be done to decode it. While it can be done manually if the offset is known, several online websites can encode and decode it painlessly, such as this one for example.

This particular occurrence uses an offset of 10 and the decoded password is “crabigators eat butts”.
Following the lobby clue "It rhymes with ass-word”, it’s the second time that the riddle is related to butts. But let’s not digress, off to B2!

4. Descent of the Durtle into Madness

Alright, but this isn’t going to be a technical explanation of every level. This about the whole Durtle Heaven experience: the community coming together to solve jiddles. So let’s check where the community was at that point.

People discussing the Descent were given a new badge Harbinger of Impending Durtle

You come across a rough looking durtle when you roll up to the local gas station. It warns you to turn back. “Go back where yer came from, outsider,” it drawls. “Yer type don’t belong here in Durtle Heaven.”

It was interpreted as a warning not to discuss the Descent in public. And since the first steps were straight forward, several people solved it in parallel without needing help. But B2, oh my, B2 is a different level of difficulty. As people were failing to solve B2, the discussion was moved from the poll thread to a dedicated thread: Descent of the Durtle into Madness.

This where you can read the whole story of the descent if you want to, but be warned, this is very very long.

There are 6113 replies with an estimated read time of 541 minutes .

I will use DDM as a shorthand for Descent of the Durtle into Madness from now on.

5. B2 or not B2?

Hey! Don’t scare me like that.
I’ve got 91 things to worry about,
and you’re just another one.
Not to mention, I’ve got a new boss…
She’s changing everything around,
and I don’t like her at all.
Speaking of mean things worth worrying about,
here is your clue for the password to B3.

│ ac b7 b4 │
│ 9b b5 a0 │
│ b0 b1 a1 │

If you can figure out what these nine pairs have in common
you may be able to descend to continue your descent.

Now, this is the first wall. The clue itself seems to be composed of hexadecimal which could hint to a kind of character encoding, but it translates to gibberish in ASCII.

The hint text has a specific number, 91, which is too specific to not be part of the jiddle. The references to the new boss changing everything around might be Kristen with the Wanikani Content Overhaul that had been released less than a month ago. The mean boss could also be Mrs Chou who is a mnemonic character doing mean things in the WK lore.

Many password were attempted about the properties of the pairs (“hexadecimal”, “colors”, etc.) and about the hint text (“Kristen”, “Mrs Chou”, etc.) to no avail.

People started to revolve around some main theories:

  • Find the right character encoding and apply it to the pairs
  • Apply some maths (base change, with base91, base13, etc) to the pairs
  • Find an a way to link the radicals and kanjis modified by the Wanikani Content Overhaul to the clue
  • Combine the pairs to form hexadecimal colors

After some time, Oyashiro found something[post] by prefixing every pair of hexadecimal by 91, and doing a Unicode lookup. This results in 9 kanjis all sharing the “alcohol” radical. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the password, but it was looking like progress.

6. Indulgences


While the community was stuck on B2, a wild durtle appeared. @a-regular-durtle created a new post titled Come One, Come All to Durtle Heaven!

By following the link, one could buy an indulgence on the Tofugu store for $1. A username had to be provided as the one praying for, along with a confession text. Buying the indulgence resulted in a new badge being granted: Durthlic Priest.

Somebody bought a Durthlic indulgence and requested the Durthlic Church pray for you. So, here I am. Are you ready to talk about the Durtle that lives at the center of the earth? You are? That’s great. You’re ready to go to Durtle Heaven, then. Just head on over to durtle.club and walk around a bit until you find the entrance.

7. Think outside the 箱

By debating around theories (and posting memes), the DDM thread reached 500 posts and Koichi made his first appearance.

The community chose to get help to solve B2, without knowing what to expect for B3. In hindsight, that was a mistake :smile:

I recommend reading the posts DDM#542 to DDM#600 to get a sense of the mood that was present in the thread at that point :slight_smile:

Here are the replies related to B2:

That resulted in multiple people switching their avatar to emucat’s one to try to trick Koichi, but in the end, another clue was provided:

Armed with this new information, the community started to tear apart every aspect of the hint text and to produce even crazier theories (and more memes).

8. Veni, Vidi, Wiki

The DDM thread organised itself around the second post of the thread that was transformed into a wiki. It was kept up to date by many contributors and was an invaluable resource to solve both the B2 and B3 riddle.

As a side note by myself, thank you to all the contributors for this. It was both helpful for newcomers to join the fun and for others to keep up without having to read all the new posts and theories. :heart:

9. Putting the pieces together

Hitting the 1000 post milestone, it was this time @a-regular-durtle that visited the DDM thread with a clue.

So, there were several elements needed to solve the riddle and each one was already found but not used correctly. The DDM investigators only needed to start combining theories that were written before this post and voilà! Easier said than done, since there were so many theories, half of them being a little bit crazy.

500 posts of theories and despair later, Koichi came back for the 1500 post milestone.

Some people wondered if this particular movie of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had anything to do with the jiddle, and started investigating it.

This answer was interpreted as having a theory that was really close to the solution, but not going far enough.

So, B3 was going to be much harder than B2.
To put it in perspective, it had been 2 days since the first post of the DDM thread.

10. Helpful koichi

Continuing relentlessly to grind theories without visible progress, the DDM thread reached the post 2000.

And after reaching post 2500

The DDM folks noticed that in both of the 1500 and 2500 visits of Koichi, he used the term “shift”. Earlier in the thread, Shift JIS was mentioned, since it’s an old character encoding for japanese.

Kumirei also made Koichi mention TMNT one more time, confusing more people.

11. The big Shift

matthieuesnault produced a table of kanji the same way Oyashiro did, but for Shift JIS with both the prefix 91 and 92 (“91 plus one”)[post].

Belthazar noticed that all these kanjis are taught in Wanikani and share the ちょう reading[post]. The password was finally found and is “Mrs. Chou”.

After 2800 posts of madness in the span of three days, B2 was finally solved and B3 accessible.

Here is the solution step by step:

  • Add 1 to 91 since there is one more problem
  • Prefix each pair by 92

92ac 92b7 92b4
929b 92b5 92a0
92b0 92b1 92a1

  • Lookup the kanjis using Shift JIS

町 長 超
兆 跳 帳
腸 蝶 庁

  • All these kanjis have チョウ as their on’yomi.
  • Wanikani uses “Mrs. Chou” as the mnemonic for チョウ
  • “Mrs. Chou” is the password

ELI5 of the solution
  • Computers use bits (0 and 1) to represent anything.
  • Multiple bits together form a number in binary (base 2).
  • Hexadecimal (base 16) is used to represent binary numbers in a more concise way.
  • To represent text, computers use numbers and an encoding for the mapping between numbers and characters:
    • ASCII is a very old charset, but only covers english letters (and punctuation, and special characters)
    • Nowadays Unicode is used to cover basically everything, which is very convenient
    • Before Unicode, Shift JIS was used in Japan to represent the japanese language (katakana, hiragana, kanji, punctuation)
  • The 9 pairs of characters are all valid hexadecimal numbers, which led to conversions using several charsets until the good answer using Shift JIS

While most of people were happy to move to B3, many felt that the complexity of B2 was too much already. Having to work with hexadecimal, character encoding and the fact that the clue itself was not being directive enough drove many people to abandon the riddle solving. Some of them stayed in the DDM thread to provide moral support (and spam support to reach post milestones), while others left altogether.

12. I want to B(reak)3

Oh. Hello there.
So, you figured out that simple Caeser Cipher?
I suppose Rome wasn’t built in a day, ha ha.
And the Shift JIS riddle?
Talk about dated!

But, this durtle won’t be so easy on you.
You see, I believe that this isn’t a place
for Disciples of the Crabigator.
You seek spiritual ascendence
through your Lessons and Reviews.
We seek physical descendence,
and that is the key
difference between you and I.
We’re just a different type from you.

Hearing that, do you still
seek to descend deeper into Durtle Heaven?
Very well, here is your next clue:

│ 六乙泣競薬 │

Be warned, this is only the first step of many.
Come back to me only when you’ve collected
all four keywords.
Say them in the correct order
and I’ll let you through.

This time, the hint is explicit about the fact that several steps are going to be needed and about the format of the password.

People noted the following interesting bits of info from the hint text:

  • Time is mentioned several times (“dated”, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”)
  • “Physical descendence”, “different type” and “this isn’t a place for Disciples of the Crabigator” might lead to the origin of Kanji
  • The new line right after “that is the key” is very suspicious

@a-regular-durtle arrived for post #3000 as promised.

13. Is this a clue?

Many theories were tried but the first step didn’t seem to be in reach. Here are a few of them, but remember that each of these 500 post milestones contain many theories that we’re just skipping for the sake of brevity.

  • Using Cangjie (an old chinese input method) to produce clear text
  • Using Yojijukugo to have four words
  • Try to find words that can be made using the five kanjis
  • Try to find a common point for the 5 kanjis in their properties (frequency, radicals, you name it)
  • Try to find a meaning in the WaniKani mnemonics of the kanjis
  • Try to separate the kanjis into radicals and make new kanjis using them

Post #3500 was reached and Koichi reminded everyone that they chose to get help for B2 and not for B3.

While Koichi kept telling that there was no clue in these posts, they were dissected by the community anyway, since the B2 visits contained a hidden clue with the “shift” keyword.

14. Crushing hopes

The holidays season was over and the riddle solvers that stayed made much slower progress through the 500 post milestones. Still, many theories were added, and already established ones dug deeper. Until the visit of @a-regular-durtle for the 4000th post.

While it gave a valuable information that the community wasn’t on the right track, it was hard to look back at all the effort already made and throw it into the bin.

15. Durt Durt!

While people were lamenting over the last post of @a-regular-durtle, Masayoshiro noticed the emphasis of the word “stroke” in it and solved the first step[post].

Here is the solution of the first step of B3:

  • Take the kanjis of the clue: 六乙泣競薬
  • Replace them by their stroke count: 4 1 8 20 16
  • Make it a date (in MM/DD/YYYY): 4 18 2016 (Side note, this is a silly format)
  • Go to the only Tofugu article written on that date: How to Install a Japanese Keyboard
  • Look at the article main image to find the instructions for the next step

If you wanted to get to heaven, start from death.

  2. B51BIQPGS206HD
  3. 00LB269G

Caution! Spaces are required.

Omun noted that the Tofugu article had a html comment in its content to confirm that this was the first step solution.[post]

The comment read <!-- Durt Durt! Hmm, not bad, you're on the right track! -->

16. The Schism

Since the Tofugu article had a special html comment, matthieuesnault made a script to look for every other html comment in the Tofugu article.[post] The script found four articles having html comments, all related to the jiddle (including the previous one).

<!-- 9784789014410 89 41 3 12 31-->
<!-- 9784789014403 209 1 24 29 41 50 84 -->
<!-- 4883196038 36 2 10 45 130 4 55 -->
<!-- 1568363850 23 33 2 5 10 34 19 -->
<!-- 4889962344 50 4 33 8 13 434 4 -->
<!-- 9780300038347 168 19 1 6 5 5 5 10 9 -->
<!-- 0887275494 33 98 2 55 34 9 10 -->
<!-- 9780976998129 39 4 3 45 134 2 66 -->
<!-- 1880656906 43 99 3 24 55 16 9 -->
<!-- 4789004546 181 8 49 3 20 2 33 -->

<!-- Durt Durt! Hmm, not bad, you're on the right track! -->

<!-- Durt Durt! Almost! -->

<!-- Durt Durt! Nice try! -->

The beginner-japanese-textbook article had html comments with an ISBN and a code. These Book ciphers seemed to be the next step of the riddle.

This new clue might skip the current step and the method used to find them wasn’t very clean. To avoid spoiling the riddle, matthieuesnault first removed his post, but rfindley chose to create a new thread: (SPOILER EDITION) Descent of the Durtle into Madness.

This resulted in a schism, with the regular DDM thread where people were working on the four lines of the first Tofugu article, while the Spoiler thread was working on the book ciphers.

@a-regular-durtle came to approve the brute force method used to find the book ciphers.

Due to this post reaching the character limit, the following chapters are located below in this thread

  1. Turtle eating unko
  2. Creative thinking
  3. Reunion
  4. A divine intervention
  5. eGoooott
  6. Burning Man
  7. Lost
  8. You’ve got Mail!
  9. Captain Bottomfingers
  11. (@Д@)
  12. koichi-descended
  13. Where is Koichi?
  14. April 1st
  15. thenextstepishiddensomewhere
  16. Uncle Durty Tim’s Survey

To be covered later (I’m late, sorry): Uncle Durty emails

What's next

Currently, the community is waiting at B5. If you want to join the fun*, come to the Descend of the Durtle into eGoooott thread!

*fun is not guaranteed


  • These post comics are based on original comics by Shen Comix, check his work on his website
  • The title of this topic is inspired by a joke by Omun[post] (see jprspereira’s Journey of 368 days)
  • Mentions are not used because of the limit on one post

TLDR: huh, that’s already the TLDR

Real TL;DR

The WaniKani staff started an ARG on December 25th. It’s made of multiple riddles, and the community has already solved the first ones. Currently, the community is waiting for a countdown at level B5 to run out. The discussion is happening in this thread.




Why is there a new thread?

1 Like

These drawings. I love them. >< :purple_heart:

This is brilliant, and so sorely needed to point to when people ask what the jiddle is. It has become so convoluted to explain, and pointing towards a 6k thread will make them shrug and forget about it.

You’re the hero I didn’t realize we needed. :smiley: Thanks so much for this.

17. Turtle eating unko

In the Spoiler thread, rfindley made progress by decoding several book ciphers[post]. For example, here is the decoding of one of the book cipher.

Here’s what a processed page looks like:

Applying this method to several of the book ciphers, rfindley found the following keywords:

Book Keyword
Genki 1 Turtle
Genki 1 Workbook unko
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar. eating

Now to make more progress, they only needed the specific pages of all the other books (in the correct edition), which were sometimes difficult to come by. But when they tried to decode the pages of the other books, no keyword appeared.

Moreover, some of the ciphers were problematic:

  • the “Minna no Nihongo” page was entirely in japanese
  • the “Japanese: The Spoken Language” cipher had the cipher code 19 1 6 5 5 5 10 9. This meant that whatever letter was 5, it would be repeated three times in a row, which doesn’t make sense for an english word

18. Creative thinking

Meanwhile, the DDM thread reached post #4500

Koichi did not confirm that the book ciphers were part of B3. The community was maybe solving B4 in the spoiler thread without even knowing the clue. The problem was, if it the book ciphers were part of B4, even if solved, the input for the password wouldn’t be accessible until B3 was solved.

19. Reunion

At this point, both threads hit a wall. The other book ciphers did not decode to coherent words and the four lines of the Tofugu article remained a mystery. But hitting walls is fun, right? The title of the thread was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy as the descent into madness continued.

Again, @a-regular-durtle implied that the community already found the four keywords and just needed to use them to go to B4.

The spoiler thread was merged into the regular thread to centralize the discussions and the information into one thread and one wiki.

20. A divine intervention

After many days of hitting walls and getting used to it, the DDM thread finally got a decisive clue.

Belthazar received the Harbinger of Impending Durtle for a previous post[post].

Koichi confirmed that all the steps were found, and moved on to B4 by himself.

The hint linked the Tofugu article to the book ciphers already decoded. Here’s the step by step partial solution:

Original encoded strings

  2. B51BIQPGS206HD
  3. 00LB269G

Conversion to kana using (by Masayoshiro[post])

  1. ちちこたしわぬわりやおふふあそいきしやふはにえしせこらままもられ
  2. こえぬこにたせきとふわおくし
  3. わわりこふおよき
  4. しわふあぬえそせたちてしはわこへにりやのこぬはきれち

Convert to romaji (by Belthazar[post] and Leyfitwig[post])

  1. chi chi ko ta shi wa nu wa ri ya o fu fu a so i ki shi ya fu ha ni e shi se ko ra ma ma mo ra re
  2. ko e nu ko ni ta se ki to fu wa o ku shi
  3. wa wa ri ko fu o yo ki
  4. shi wa fu a nu e so se ta chi te shi ha wa ko he ni ri ya no ko nu ha ki re chi

Select one romaji letter per kana to form book names (by rfindley[post], Leyfitwig[post] and many others)
Note that since the text to kana mapping isn’t unique (see this layout for example), the わ and the を are on the same key, and dakuten need to be used as well.

  1. dictionaryofbasicjapanesegrammar (Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar)
  2. genkitektbooki (Genki Textbook I)
  3. workbook (Workbook)
  4. japanesethespokenlanguage (Japanese the Spoken Language)

Map these to the keywords found using the book ciphers

  1. eating
  2. Turtle
  3. unko
  4. eGooooott

21. eGoooott

The four keyword were finally found: eating, Turtle, unko and eGoooott.
But none of these keywords in any order worked. eGoooott? What did that even mean?

The DDM thread was stuck with these keywords for a few days, and the eGoooott keyword was deemed problematic. People tried to get another keyword from the book cipher by skipping spaces, starting at a different point of the page, but nothing worked.

Until FlamySerpent, playing with a script made by Masayoshiro[post] that tries every combination of four keywords, finally made it to B4[post]. ditto20 confirmed the password to be “eGoooott unko eating turtle”[post].

The order of the keywords didn’t make sense, and “Turtle” had to be lowercase but “eGoooott” had to keep its uppercase ‘G’ for some reason. But B3 was finally over, and took more than a month to solve.

22. Burning Man


Hey, you there.
Yeah you, the tall one.
Can you reach down there
and grab that password clue?
I would need like, 240 durtles
stacked underneath each other
to reach all the way down there.
But, you’re at least…
4x as tall as me!

Oh, you can’t reach it either?
How will we solve this problem?
Oh well, you know what they say:
Sometimes you gotta ascend to descend,
you know?

I sense a change, though…
Perhaps your arrival has started something…

This time, no clue, but still a link to descend to B5. Before the DDM thread could dive into this jiddle, a special event occurred.

The DDM thread took this opportunity to rest and waited for the 3 days to go by to see what happened next.

23. Lost

After three days of waiting, it was time for Koichi to come back from the dead.

But Koichi never came back. Instead, a-regular-durtle had some sad news:

Koichi still hasn’t made any post since he burned in the thread.

Since nothing happened, some have resumed the attempts to solve B4.

Several notes were made:

  • 240 / 4 is 60, so B4 might be related to the level 60 (kanji, mnemonics, …)
  • “You, the tall one” in the B4 hint text might be こういち because of the readings of “tall” and “one”
  • A new user account @eGoooott had been created with the B4 durtle as its profile picture, but has no activity yet

infinitia noted that the mnemonics of the kanji (Pit) might be related to the current situation[post].

When you reach the bottom of the pit, you hear someone scuffling around and the sounds of chains. You light a match and inch closer to see what it is. In the darkness, you see こういち, starved and chained in a pit under your table.

After you’ve nursed こういち back to health, he explains that he was put here by a clone こういち–the very same こういち who became emperor. He tells you he can think of around 61-70 different pain levels of revenge, but also that “it probably wouldn’t be worth it, so let’s just hang out for a while instead. Ooh, are those cookies?”

24. You've got Mail!

The attempts were getting scarce, until Liuyuan discovered that level up mails contained hidden messages[post]. These mails already existed for levels 2 and 3, but stopped afterward. Now, people were starting to get emails for their current level, and most importantly, each level e-mail contained a different message.

To find the hidden message, the raw html of the mail had to be inspected. It was an html comment right after Koichi’s signature at the end of the mail. Since there was 60 messages to get, all requiring a different level, Kumirei made a new thread: Have you leveled up in February? We need your help to reach more people. Liuyuan also setup a collaborative Google spreadsheet to collect and organize the messages.

By the end of the day, most of the first 15 levels messages had been found, and a couple of other levels as well. Since leveling up to level 1 doesn’t make sense, another e-mail was used (welcoming new users to WK) for level 1. With these, a story began to emerge:

Level Messages (2 lines per mail)
1 “Durtles?” I asked. “But that’s impossible.”
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” said the queen.
2 “Well, I’ll need a crew,” I said.
“Unless it’s out of my power, Captain Bottomfingers, you may choose whoever you like.”
3 “Ugly Brodo is who I want, then––the greatest swordsman in the realm and captain of your guard.”
“I can’t let you have him,” said the queen.
4 “If you don’t let me take him, then you can find yourself another Digger,” I said.
“Really, I need some time to think it over. I’ll give you an answer in the morning.”
5 Ruminating upon the mission, I went back to my quarters.
Despite my belief that we will not come back alive, I began this journal to record our mission.
6 “Death and madness is what lies ahead,” is what they say.
“The lucky ones burned before the madness set in.”

dasding noticed that the letters of consecutive messages were the same[post]:


Following this, dasding also noted that by removing duplicated letters and taking one in two, words started to emerge[post]:


D U R T W E B ? R ? C I ? D ? ?

Naphtalene got the mail for level 60, that explained more about this:

Kindly take what I’ve written in this journal and look to each and every other line.
Disciples of the Crabigator should not trust the order of my entries after our arrival to Durtle Heaven, for that is when I believe the madness set in.

Signed Yours Truly,
Captain Bottomfingers.

25. Captain Bottomfingers

More and more levels were added and more people were joining the fun. But there were still holes in the story at this point. Level 17 was acquired, which is when the diggers entered into Durtle Heaven, thus beginning the part of the story where messages were out of order.

Read my journal to learn how we succeed or fail.
Included from here is our story, starting from our arrival to the entrance of Durtle Heaven.

Using the two letters of each level was needed to connect the levels and make sense of it all.

rfindley reset from level 60 to 59 to get the e-mail of this missing level[post]. He kept resetting, descending the levels that were missing, until he reached the last one not yet revealed: level 33.

All the messages were finally gathered. They were sorted to produce the following story:

The story of Captain Bottomfingers (sorted)
Level Letter Story
1 D “Durtles?” I asked. “But that’s impossible.”
W “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” said the queen.
2 W “Well, I’ll need a crew,” I said.
U “Unless it’s out of my power, Captain Bottomfingers, you may choose whoever you like.”
3 U “Ugly Brodo is who I want, then––the greatest swordsman in the realm and captain of your guard.”
I “I can’t let you have him,” said the queen.
4 I “If you don’t let me take him, then you can find yourself another Digger,” I said.
R “Really, I need some time to think it over. I’ll give you an answer in the morning.”
5 R Ruminating upon the mission, I went back to my quarters.
D Despite my belief that we will not come back alive, I began this journal to record our mission.
6 D “Death and madness is what lies ahead,” is what they say.
T “The lucky ones burned before the madness set in.”
7 T "This journal shall serve as a guide for future Diggers.
T This is my gift to future generations, should I not come back alive, or sane."
8 T Tonight is my last chance to say goodbye to my family.
W “Weemo, my sweet husband, take care of our lovely son Dumbledore, and our baby girl Chorp. Goodbye and goodnight.”
9 W When I awoke, a man was standing over me.
G “Got an answer from the queen,” he said. “Looks like I‘m coming with you.”
10 G “Good news indeed!” I exclaimed.
E “Every other swordsman claims these durtle shells are uncuttable,” said Ugly Brodo.
11 E “Every other swordsman is not Ugly Brodo,” I assured him.
I “It’s time to go find the rest of our crew,” I continued
12 I In the morning, we began our search for crew members.
B Blessed I was, for I could form the greatest Digger team in the history of our realm:
13 B Bipple, the world’s tallest archer:
N Nobody can shoot an arrow from as high up, but his aim leaves a little to be desired
14 N Norman the wizard! Also happens to be the only wizard in the city.
U “Unconventional and non-mainstream spells” are his specialty.
15 U Ugly Brodo, of course, is our distinguished swordman.
I If you stare him in the eyes, he feels uncomfortable.
16 I I had my team of Diggers.
R Righteous followers of the Crabigator, all!
17 R Read my journal to learn how we succeed or fail.
I Included from here is our story, starting from our arrival to the entrance of Durtle Heaven.
23 I It was a particularly dark night, though as everyone knows it grows darker the closer one gets to the entrance.
N Never has the sun touched around this place, like an anti-spotlight darkening down 30 meters around the hole.
33 N Next to the hole–the entrance, we will call it–is another hole.
R Reach in to your shoulder and you’ll feel a key pad.
34 R “Rhymes with ass-word,” said the durtle who was standing there, next to the entrance.
W “Where did you appear from?” asked Ugly Brodo. “Do you stand against us, follower of Big Durt?"
28 W "We durtles stand aside for all who seek descension.
Z Zebras, humans, monkeys, durtles, it matters not," the durtle said.
50 Z “Zebras?” Norman asked quizzically. “Do you have many zebras seeking descension?”
E “Every once in a while,” replied the durtle after a moment of thought.
21 E “Ever been down there? Into Durtle Heaven, I mean”, said Norman to the entrance durtle.
Y “Yes, I too attempted descension once. Made it all the way down to B2.”
42 Y “You have any tips for folks like us? Advice, maybe?” said Bipple.
R “Right now all I can say about that is this: Don’t panic,” said the durtle.
58 R Rage gripped Ugly Brodo in that instant.
I “I’d much like to skip this jiddle nonsense and go straight to answers. What is the password?"
55 I “It rhymes with ass-word,” replied Norman in lieu of the trembling durtle.
I “If I were to guess, I’d say the password is… ‘password.’"
44 I It was indeed the password and we were allowed to descend.
B B1 was open to us as soon as Norman put in the word.
19 B “Bottomfingers… er… Captain Bottomfingers,” said Bipple, pointing at a durtle holding up a piece of paper.
S “Scripture! Scripture is what you four need! While you read it, I will feed!”
47 S “Seems to be a simple Caesar cipher,” said Norman.
D “Don’t Panic… that was the advice we got. Shift the letters by 42 and… voila, the password is 'crabigators eat butts.”
22 D “Definitely aint going to be that easy,” said Ugly Brodo.
E Entered password accepted, said the key pad.
40 E Everything had gone well up to this point. We were making quick progress.
I It was when we reached B2 that everything began to fall apart.
26 I “I’m Dingle, pleased to meet you,” said a human in a smart looking suit in B2.
D “Don’t Panic,’ what a load of garbage, am I right?” he continued.
54 D Dingle, short for Dingleton as it were, had been in B2 for several years.
V “Very into descending I was, before,” he told us. “But I couldn’t figure out the jiddle and one thing led to another… Now I just kind of do managerial work for the durtles of B2."
32 V “Vengeance against all who make it this far is definitely NOT my primary objective,” continued Dingle.
E “Everything and anything you need, I am merely here to serve.”
49 E Every password we tried was a failure. What were these numbers, and how were they related?
C “Could be hexadecimal,” said Norman. If it was, none of the passwords were working.
39 C “Can’t guess the password hmmm?” said Dingle one morning.
S “Suppose I could help you out but you have to help me out.”
52 S “Swordsman. I want the swordsman for my… personal consumption,” continued Dingle.
G “Give him to me, and I’ll bypass the key pad and let you descend."
20 G “Give him to you? What do you mean by that?” I asked. I was desperate though, so I continued to listen.
C “Concern yourself not with trivial matters such as that. I’ll give you until tomorrow to decide, Captain Bottomfingers.”
41 C Cursing Dingle’s name, I took the news to Ugly Brodo and the rest of the Diggers.
W “Well, this could be an opportunity, now couldn’t it?” said Ugly Brodo to the group.
53 W “We now know that Dingle over there has override codes. We could just force him to let us through.”
E “Every durtle on B2 will be on us in an instant. There’s no way we could pull this off,” I said.
38 E “‘Every durtle’ isn’t the realm’s greatest swordsman,” said Ugly Brodo. “You have my sword, Captain Bottomfingers."
Q “Quite so,” replied Bipple. “And you have Bipple’s nipples. We should take the password by force. We have been attempting this jiddle for weeks with no progress to speak of."
45 Q “Quench my blade’s thirst, Dingle will! Dingle! Dingle! Uncle Brodo is here for a visit!”
N “No, we should plan this out first,” I said. But it was already too late. Ugly Brodo was walking towards Dingle with his sword drawn.
24 N “Never mind the password, tell us the override,” demanded Ugly Brodo, sword to Dingle’s throat.
H “Hold on, hold on, oh damn, no, hold on,” gulped Dingle. “I’ll put in the override.” True to his word, Dingle put in the override and the descension door opened.
59 H “Help” was all Dingle could say before Dingle and Ugly Brodo were attacked.
D Durtles from a hundred holes piled and clawed their way awkwardly onto Dingle and Ugly Brodo.
51 D "Don’t let them take me,” said Ugly Brodo. “Don’t let them turn me.”
V "Very well, it looks like it’s Bipple’s time to shine,” said Bipple, standing up tall and straight, pushing out his chest.
48 V “Venerable Captain Bottomfingers, I must stay here. You and Norman must descend ahead of me.”
F “Find the bottom for me… and for Ugly Brodo. We’ll be watching over you from your Review pile."
30 F Fear gripped me as I realized what Bipple was saying. Norman pulled me through the descension hole, but I still saw everything.
Y Yanking off his yellow t-shirt, Bipple’s nipples shown huge and bright.
27 Y “Yes! Yes! Yes!” he screamed as his arrowheads grew huge and red. Then he screamed.
O Out from Bipple’s nipples two arrows flew, striking their targets true.
37 O “Okay, it looks like it’s old Bipple’s time to go,” he said.
P Pouring forth from more hidden holes, durtles swarmed him. The last thing I saw before blacking out was a single, lifeless hand sticking out of a pile of durtles, in a thumbs up.
31 P “Progress, we actually made some progress Captain!” Norman cast a spell to slap me with a bunch of Kale.
R Reality came back suddenly. I was in B3, but two of my Diggers were dead.
56 R “Rest assured they made their decisions by themselves. They knew the risks when they came here,” said Norman.
L Life can be over in an instant. But was it worth two lives, not to mention even one, in order to descend? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move.
35 L “Lucky guess?” asked a durtle carrying a long staff.
E “Every time someone comes down here it’s a lucky guess, it seems like. Nobody seems to be able to repeat the password and they’re all crying about 'their friend was devoured, etcetera, this and that.’” I didn’t respond. It was time to get to work.
57 E Eternity: that’s how I’d describe the time we spent in B3.
V Verifying the letters of each textbook numbed me, but Norman took to it like a durtle to distraction.
29 V Vowing to never sleep until he solved the jiddle, Norman never stopped.
V Volatile he became, though as time went by. He’d lashed out at me when I tried to help.
18 V Various answers came close, but we never got it exactly. One day, though, he said:
I “I’ve got it. I solved it B3’s jiddle.”
46 I Indeed, the password was correct, but Norman was not.
E Enduring the stresses of this jiddle for so long stripped Norman to a blubbering, drooling, stump of a man.
25 E Executing Norman was the most humane thing I could do. A knife to the durt, as they say, to make it quick.
M Mental clarity is the most important thing, and we can’t have anyone insane going down to B4, right?
43 M Millions have tried to come this far, and most have failed.
R Right now, though, I sit on the cold floor of B4.
36 R Realization comes to me–I’ve failed too: I can only hope to help those that come after me.
K Knowledge of the password is hidden within my journal. I’ve watched hundreds of durtles come and go and I’ve figured it out.
60 K Kindly take what I’ve written in this journal and look to each and every other line.
D Disciples of the Crabigator should not trust the order of my entries after our arrival to Durtle Heaven, for that is when I believe the madness set in.
Signed Yours Truly,
Captain Bottomfingers.


Having completed its mission, the thread used to collect the e-mail messages was retired and the discussion moved back to the DDM thread.

The letters of the hidden messages produced the following sentence:

         1         2         3         4         5         6
 W I D T G I N I I R Z Y I B D I V C G W Q H V Y P L V I M K

Hawkheart, using a Beaufort cipher decoded a second sentence from these strings[post]:



Passwords were tried again, based on these clues, but these were interupted by a-regular-durtle, visiting for post 7000th.

It was noted by Tyger that since the post was all caps, the password might be too[post]. Sylph finally found the password of B5 to be “A TURTLE”[post].

27. (@Д@)


Hello my good friends!


It’s good to see you all again.

Turns out humans just take a little longer to process.


The countdown was running, and the final date was April 1st, at 12:00PM PST.
For the first time, there was no link to descend to the next level.

Several people noted that since the body of Koichi had moved in the last post by a-regular-durtle, this uncanny durtle saying “I’m back” must have been him.

His current avatar on the forums looked pretty similar too.

28. koichi-descended

Not really knowing what to do with the countdown beside waiting, the jiddle solvers didn’t have long to wait for something to happen. koichi came back as a new account named koichi-descended:

After the apparition of koichi-descended, nothing happened. A 500 post milestone was reached, then a 1000 post one, but neither koichi (descended or not) nor a-regular-durtle returned to the thread.

29. Where is Koichi?

A Wanikani Wednesday event occured to find Koichi who appeared in the TV show Portlandia: WaniKani Wednesday: Where is Koichi?

MosbyNeko won the contest[post] and received a prize[post] which contained a note related to the descent:

The postcard was composed of multiple images of decended koichi, and a note referencing Durtle Heaven and Cowboy Bebop. After inquiries from the jiddlers, MosbyNeko looked for a hidden message but didn’t find any[post].

30. April 1st

Originally scheduled for April 1st, at 12:00PM PST, the countdown was updated the last day to run out on April 1, 00:00 PDT. The countdown finally reached 0 and … started to count negative days.


That is, until the page was refreshed. The text now read:

Hello my good friends!

I just got done watching my favoritest movie in the whole wide world. What those four heroes did was inspiring I think I’ll just change the password to B6. I just learned I have the power to do that.

A new button was added to directly descend to B6, but required a password.


Based on the new hint text, Belthazar found the password to be “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3” [post], solving B5 in a mere 5 minutes.

31. thenextstepishiddensomewhere

Hey, did that new Durtle in B5 just let you in here? Bloody heaven’s he thinkin’!?

As the proper durtle that I am, I shall henceforth refuse you entry to B7. Good day and good riddance to you.

Shoo shoo. Off you go. It’s time for me to enjoy my tea.

This time, there was neither a countdown nor a link to descend.

Garuno found a hidden url in the url of the B6 level[post].


32. Uncle Durty Tim's Survey

Following the hidden link to the survey, jiddlers were greeted by a questionable taste in colors.

Durtle Heaven B7, rhymes with heaven

Hello, Friend!

Welcome to B7! You’ve done well to find it.

My name is Durtle Timothy, but my friends call me Durty Tim. Only the coolest durts find their way into my lush n’ plush durt cave. And there you are! If you want to gain my trust, though, you’ll need to answer my cowabunga questions.

I’d like to get to know you more intimately

You’ve peaked my durtle interests.

What’s your WaniKani username, friend?


That’s awesome. Let’s exchange info. Can I have your email address?


Cool, whoa, what kind of phone do you have there?
( ) I have an iPhone!
( ) I’ve got an Android
( ) I have both an iPhone and Android phone, actually.

Depending on the option selected, the following text was displayed:


An iPhone, huh?

I see, so you got an iPhone. Well, there may be something you can do to help out ol’ Durty Tim, if you know what I mean.


An Android?

What’s that, some kind of robot? I don’t get it. Uncle Durty Tim don’t get it at all.

( ) Right…
( ) You see, Android is actually a mobile operating system developed by Google and is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel, not to mention other open source software. It’s primarily used on touchscreen mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. But, that’s not all it’s on… [explain into the night]


So you have both?

Well isn’t that interesting. You got yourself two phones, huh? One of those fancy durts? Wee woo wee woo, we got a fancy durt over here. Somebody better call the Durt Police.

Hello, I am Officer Durt. I got a report there was a fancy durt overe here.
( ) Yes, that is correct. It is I who is the fancy durt.
( ) No, no fancy durt over here. No need to worry, officer.

All options then lead to the same conclusion:


That’s all ol’ Uncle Durty Tim needs to know about you, for now. Uncle Durty Tim will send you some uncle durty emails from time to time, but only if you really want them, okay? Talk to you soon, if you want me to talk to you soon. I gotta get permission to talk to you, you know? Court orders…

Thank you for answering Uncle Durty Tim’s messages. Depending on your answers, you may or may not be invited to test the iOS app. You may also just get emails from Durty Tim. It’s hard to say. Why would you give your email to such disreputable durtles so freely?

To be covered later (I’m late, sorry): Uncle Durty emails

What's next

Currently, the community is at B9. If you want to join the fun*, come to the Descend of the Durtle into eGoooott thread!

*fun is not guaranteed

Go back to the top post




Yeah, while we don’t exactly have a shortage of smart people on it, more is better and I think we’ve passed the point where people could just jump in and help without some kind of intro briefing doc. This is perfect.


When I finally think I’m understanding what the duck is up with POLLs… the durtle king? What in the world?

1 Like

I love it! \o/ This was such a good read, and I adore the drawings!!:3 Thank you for putting this all together, I hope to look at it in my retirement and cry of happiness because of nostalgia


Very nice! And I’m part of the story!!!


Thank you so much. I had trouble getting into the riddle since I thought I was missing something the whole time. But now I finally know the whole story (and realized I was actually up to date -_-)


Thank you for this! I’ve been so busy with my new job but have thought about the Durtles and jiddles often. This was really enjoyable to catch up with so really appreciate you putting it all together.


This is absolutely amazing


Y-You’re absolutely amazing!


Thanks! Way easier to catch up with a thread like this. :slight_smile:


my WK noob butt: whats a durtle?

two hours later: refreshing the DDM page for new theories about B4

for real though this is a fantastic thread; really gave a good succinct summary of what the ever loving heck is going on with this hwole thing


I still have no idea and I’m in the thread

1 Like

…and here I thought just learning Kanji was confusing… :thinking:


i kinda figure that a lot of the WK forums is just flying by the seat of your pants?? I still dont know whats happening with the poll thread lmao


Nobody knows what’s happening with the POLL thread.

But seriously, it’s just a general chat thread. It looks confusing only because the topics switch around, and there are a bunch of persisting inside jokes, but really you can jump in whenever with whatever you want.