Posted by psgels on 27 November 2009 with categories: Umineko no Naku Koro ni

So now we’re back at the island again, and this episode portrayed a new character as the villain: Kinzou. Like all villains of Umineko, this guy is way over the top, but then again, that’s part of the fun. You don’t exactly watch this series for its realism. We also see a new servant introduced: Gaap (not the most fortunate name: it means “yawn” in Dutch, which makes it a bit hard to take her seriously).

What’s also interesting is that in this arc, we never get to see the corpses for the first twillight confirmed. All we see is Beatrice smirking and claiming that it’s the same as the previous first twillights, but the massacre scene was just like any other magic scene in this show so far: an illusion. Who is to say that these people really died? This is especially notable because one of the biggest suspects right now (Dr. Hanzo) could have used this to his advantage and pretend to be dead, killing everyone from the sidelines.

Still, this also supports the theory that there are multiple killers. My prime theory at the moment is that Kinzo is responsible for the first twillight (see the third arc, in which the murders had to be committed by one of the six people who died there), and after that Hanzo took over with the rest of the murders.

And boy, that scene between Maria and Rosa was intense. This also explains why the scene between the two of them in the last episode felt a bit incomplete, and now you can really see where the twisted personality from Maria came from. However, Rosa does raise a few questions: if this supposedly happened in every single arc (of which I’m not convinced of at the moment), then it doesn’t really fit with her behavior during the second and third arc. Having been killed more than a 100 times, Rosa should now be terrified of of her. I didn’t exactly get that impression from them, aside from the first arc, perhaps.

Now that the first season has nearly ended, I do have to say that so far, I do consider Higurashi to be better than Umineko. We’ve now seen 22 episodes, and while the potential for mystery on both series is just as interesting, Higurashi had far better characters at this point. And while Studio Deen’s influence really contributed to the creepiness and atmosphere of the first season, I’m not feeling the same as with Umineko.

Overall, I’ve been getting a bit disappointed by Studio Deen for the past year. They used to be one of my favourite studios, but their shows seem to have dulled, and ever since Amatsuki, their good shows have either been good shows because they had awesome source material, or because they were sequels of already good shows (Jigoku Shoujo and Higurashi Rei). I’m missing that typical Studio Deen-esque feel that can make already good premises even better.
Rating: * (Good)

17 Responses

  1. Veldril says:

    If you look carefully, you could notice that the Maria and Rosa scene occur in Meta-World, possibly in Maria’s head/dream about how her think of Rosa’s opinions toward her.

  2. 4saken says:

    We also see a new servant introduced: Gaap (not the most fortunate name: it means “yawn” in Dutch, which makes it a bit hard to take her seriously).

    Actually, Gaap, like Ronove, is one of the 72 demons from “The Lesser Key of Solomon”

  3. Zaric says:

    The Rosa that Maria kills over and over is a magical duplicate/clone/copy for the purposes of training Maria in the dark ways of magic, as Beato promised to teach her in a previous episode.

    During the dialog they talk about the “real” mama not acknowlaging her (the witch Maria) and therefore the real Maria’s life will never be fixed.

    So yeah, none of that affected the real world, it was just to help explain Maria’s insane alter ego.

  4. marebito says:

    Considering this season of Umineko consists of the 1st 4 arcs in contrast to Higurashi where they only left out the 2 last arcs for the 2nd season… I’d say that Umineko already delivers quite some character development, even if most of them aren’t that complex until now but most likely there are still 3 episodes left after EP5 so we’ll see what awaits us there.

    I mean if they had only used the non-kai arcs for the 1st season of Higurashi there woudln’t have been that much character development either, the question arcs consist more of mystery than anything else.

    I needed quite some time to feel comfortable with Umineko, especially after being used to Higurashi, but after EP4 and after EP5 even more, I expect to like both series to at least an equal extent. Maybe for different reasons but I prefer the fact that they are not that similar anyway.

    I really hope that at least after EP4 you’ll be able to differentiate between all the different levels/layers of storytelling. I have to admit that this is one of the aspects that might be easier to handle when reading the novel. EP5 was really helpful for this whole meta-aspect but we’ll have to wait a long time until they begin animating the 2nd half of the episodes…

  5. Camario says:

    You’ve made a good point about the first twilight not being confirmed with the red, which means that for the time being we have no idea of who actually survived and who didn’t.

    As for Kinzo’s involvement, perhaps he really was behind this first set of murders directly or indirectly but I’m expecting to see him “die” in the process and that should allow his remains to match what we’ve previously seen in other arcs.

    In other words, it might even be that he’s already dead but that his closest servants and someone else are carrying out his “will” through all the sacrifices, which is what the magical sequences could be representing.

    That scene with Rosa and Maria was quite creepy, I suppose it makes sense as a sign of how much she’s come to hate her mother. In my opinion it’s part of Maria’s imagination and not much more so far.

    On the whole topic of Higurashi vs. Umineko, I’d say that the first series only became really good in terms of characterization when Higurashi Kai came around. Until then, the main advantage it had was the comparatively smaller number of characters that allowed for a more personal focus during each arc, but there wasn’t too much to them at first either.

    Umineko is apparently trying to be a lot more ambitious and does come off as struggling, trying too hard at times, but so far I’m willing to give it a chance to develop its characters further. The past couple of arcs and episodes have been pretty good for this, at least from my point of view. I’ll only be able to pass judgment after this entire story is over.

  6. blkmage says:

    It’s easy to see what happened. The difference between Higurashi and Umineko is that with Higurashi, they cut a lot more out, while Umineko is trying to stuff everything in. The result is that with Higurashi’s fewer characters, it became a lot easier to spend more time with each character and the important scenes are a lot more intense.

    With Umineko, most of the character development scenes got dropped because they didn’t contribute to the mystery and the pacing for important scenes is off and the impact lessened because they were just interested in showing what happened and getting it out of the way.

    So the only time you spend with characters is during the mystery and not when the cousins are hanging out at the beach or when the servants are cooking and cleaning together, for example. These are analogous to the club games from Higurashi.

    By this point in the game, none of the original 18’s characters (including the characters that got sidelined like Gohda) personalities, motives, or history should feel like a mystery. You should be able to follow their thought processes and figure out how they’d act in certain situations.

    The result is that Umineko’s anime adaptation became a Coles notes version of the original, while Higurashi was an adaptation where the mystery wasn’t quite as complex or important (in terms of the emphasis they gave it) so they had a lot more liberty in what they could keep or cut.

  7. Marion says:

    psgel, the doctor is named Nanjo not Hanzou XD

    As far as characters go, you have to understand Higurashi had a MUCH smaller cast compared to Umineko. And I’ll say right now – not all characters will have good development by the end of this first season. But you need to know that Higurashi’s adaptation is a bastardized version of the actual series – DEEN cut out chunks left and right of the game’s contents. Umineko’s adaptation meanwhile has stayed relatively faithful to the game (maybe a few scenes cut out here and there).

    Keep in mind that Umineko is a mystery while Higurashi was a horror. Generally in horror you are made to care for the characters a lot more BEFORE they die. In Umineko it’s the other way around.

  8. PL says:

    The thing about character development is that some of you make good points about comparing this to Higurashi (ie. less characters, six arcs in season 1 vs. four, more faithful adaptation). But there are two important points you should consider also. First, this is an anime, and while it is an adaptation of the game, it has to live or die on how it succeeds as an anime, and qualitatively should be judged from the viewpoint of someone who has never played the game. Just because those of you who have played it may know that the characters are going to get more development, that really doesn’t hold a lot of meaning in terms of measuring the success of the anime. Secondly, as an anime, it is being told in a medium that requires fans to watch around a year of programming, hanging by week-in and week-out (not counting the break between seasons), whereas to play the game must surely take much less time comparitively (again, not counting the breaks between releases), so it only makes sense that an anime-only viewer will need to develop a greater attachment to the characters in a quicker amount of time. Regardless of genre (horror vs. mystery), its a medium that requires stronger characterization. So, it may very well have been a mistake to adapt it so faithfully, and a less faithful adaptation that squeezed in more of the important character building stuff at the cost of losing some of the complexity of the mystery, could have improved it substantially. That being said, I still think its one of the best things on right now. But, strong character development is ranked just below good storytelling in importance to me, whereas, from what I’ve noticed from psgels’ other reviews, it seems to be more the other way around, so i think his criticism is pretty valid from that perspective.

  9. chounokoe says:

    @PL: The problem I see when comparing Umineko to Higurashi is, that the style of adaption is so fundamentaly different it is bound to fail on too many levels.
    Higurashi’s S1 adaption was about the flashy horror-atmosphere of the first 6 arcs…even though only the first 3 arcs were actually real horror-genre.
    Umineko’s S1 adaption tries hard to stay true to the source material, because it is forced to do so.
    The Higurashi anime adapted some things generally wrong, set wrong focuses and some characters developed in a totally wrong direction because of that. Even after the anime finished, many people still see Rena as the archetype of the deranged killer-loli, even though she always was the brains of the team.
    Still that didn’t hurt Higurashi’s story, because it’s kernel functioned unrelated to any characters apart from the antagonist itself…
    Umineko is a whole other story because of it works with perspectives, thoughts, etc. so much…some things wouldn’t make sense if they rewrote parts the wrong way. Concerning that Higurashi was a whole lot easier to handle on a basis of pleasing the audience…because they wouldn’t notice if things went wrong along the way as long as it didn’t obstruct the deus ex machina finale.

    Umineko let’s one assume already that it won’t be that easy, so they have to work a lot more carefully during the adaption process…and of course that cuts away on the time they could take for actually getting more slice-of-life development in.

    Of course Higurashi succeded as a stand alone project, but as an adaption it failed…at least for me.
    Umineko succeds much more as an adaption, but I admit it isn’t such a wild ride.

  10. Westlo says:

    This should have a much better finish than Higur s1 imo, 25-26 should be the best episodes in the series along with 18.

  11. battler says:

    Did you read the comments psegels? you really have to thank the users because they explained practically everything you really get wrong i mean come on is obvious the scene with maria killing rosa is all in maria’s mind XD.
    About confirming if they are dead or not don’t forget to see everything throught battler’s eyes when he see someone dead you have to be practically 100% they are.

    Also wait to make your final judgment about the first season of umineko because the last four chapters are going to be AWESOME (if deen makes a good job) and don’t forget umineko first season adapts 4 visual novels instead of six like the first season of higurashi.

  12. Westlo says:

    “Also wait to make your final judgment about the first season of umineko because the last four chapters are going to be AWESOME (if deen makes a good job)”

    Exactly, if it stays true to the VN and captures the emotion than I think Umineko’s ending episodes will be the sun to Higur’s candle.. Higur had an okay ending…that’s just it.. Umineko has a stunning ending, I think the last 2 hours of VN 4 is superior to the last 2 of VN 3.

  13. superluccix says:

    Its easy to see why Higurashi is better than Umineko. its because it is more realistic. In Higurashi, there wasn’t no magical creature or whatever, it was one person pulling all the strings, but you were given information piece by piece to get closer to the truth. Also viewers knew when Higurashi went into another world or whatever so viewers wouldnt get confused. In Umineko however, nothing is certain, no one knows what the hell, when the hell, where the hell, why the hell, how the hell did things happen and for what reason. I mean honestly Beatrice could kill them all but has to play this magical game when she doesn’t really need to. I mean having regular humans go up against witches is pretty ludicris itself but whatever. Umineko can just keep pulling out magical creatures left and right and we still won’t get anywhere. I havent played either games or read the manga, but it doesn’t matter. We are talking bout the anime. The bottom line is, the more balanced the playing field is, and the more realism it gets, the better it is. I still LOVE Umineko and will continue to watch, but if anyone thought that Higuraashi was better but didnt know why, well thats the reason.

  14. marebito says:

    IMO what anyone who feels kind of lost right now should do is trying to think about how what we and Battler are shown could have actually happened without any magic and regardless of how and when instead of disproving everything right away. That way we should be able to differentiate between actual happenings and illusions that only exist to confuse.

    Furthermore I think the anime and its visuals make pretty clear when things shift into the meta-level and IMO we should just accept it as a META-level. Not as some kind of magical world, just a depiction of the metaphysical aspect of the whole storyline. Of course there are supernatural elements to a certain extent (see Rika/Bernkastel in Higurashi) but I think the meta-characters only serve for the depiction of certain concepts and theories.

    Also it was already mentioned by Bernkastel that the only one who can defeat Beatrice is Ange. Ange is a person from 1998, the future. We also know by this point in the anime, that letters describing the incidents on Rokkenjima in 1986 were found in those bottles… but the whole case still remains as a huge mystery to the public and nobody knows for sure what actually happened. Now think about what that might indicate concerning the events we get to see in 1986 and the perspective from which we are actually observing.

  15. Sacchi says:

    I’ve been thinking about Kinzo. Kinzo might be dead. We’ve seen Kinzo many times though. But who is to say that the Kinzo we’ve seen IS truly Kinzo? Like, who says that the man we saw all this episode might be another man who is acting like Kinzo? Nanjo and Genji are the only ones that can truly recognize him. His children could too, but they haven’t seen Kinzo in a while, and besides, there’s always the possibility of some sort of mask. Just a thought I had when you mentioned that the first twillight wasn’t confirmed (by the way, nice catch, I hadn’t noticed!)

  16. Silvering says:

    GAAP means ‘generally accepted accounting principles’, and it happens she is a CPA in hell.

  17. Magician Man says:

    O_O Can’t unsee. You think that as an accounting major I would have caught that.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:26 PM)
    I enjoyed this chapter of berserk and it made me immediately think “Finally now we’re getting somewhere”. I have been flicking through older chapters of the manga and wow, this really has turned into something fairly different. Bam is right about Gut’s reason to go to elfland. I think its impossible now to get a satisfactory ending out of berserk though we’ve been waiting too long.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:14 PM)
    The alternative is that Miura wants to bank on this till he dies; can’t blame him cuz you can always bet on black (swordsman).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:13 PM)
    @Aidan: I think the point was originally to heal Caska (hence Farnese showing hesitation in fear of losing Guts when Caska is back) but then so many people tagged along that I don’t think the party knows anymore why they’re going there, just that they were supposed to. I have said before but I’m sure that either Miura doesn’t know what to do or has serious doubts about the ending.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:52 PM)
    Fairy dust, stargate, riding dragons, ruby slippers…anything to get Gut’s back on track to taking revenge. Miura needs to end this. He’s sick of making it and we are sick of waiting yet he drags the thing to high heaven.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:48 PM)
    It’s been so long I can’t even remember why they were going to elfhelm in the first place. Also was that a one piece joke?
    I like his art but yes, going simpler for moving the story along would be a better idea. Even if he needs to downgrade to the level of one punch man webcomic standards to bring weekly releases.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:14 PM)
    I just hope they teleport back to Midland or something, or ride faeries or whatever, I don’t Gove a damn, just anything but the boat. #NoMoreBoat
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:13 PM)
    The artistry remains incredible, with every frame filled to the brim with details, almost to the point of tiring the eye. It looks great and all, but I wouldn’t mind some simplicity for the sake of more frequent Berserk. I swear Guts’ entourage has grown so numerous and colorful that they’re almost like a traveling circus. I didn’t even remember that Roderick and a whole bunch of other people are also on the boat.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:06 PM)
    I enjoy Rickert but this chapter made me remember how better the story gets when Guts is back in the picture. This was a primer chapter and spent most of its time touching bases and getting the story back on track, and it did that wonderfully and humorously.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:01 PM)
    I was tryna stay spoiler free, but you’re goddamn right they got there! Few months back when Miura got it running again I said I believed that if Guts didn’t get to Elfhelm before the next hiatus then the series will probably never end. I really did feel that way and had little hope, but alas, rejoice indeed.

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