Okay, so apparently this episode was terrible for the visual novel readers. I however am just watching this anime, so I don’t care. This episode was pretty good, and the only thing I’m raging about is that bloody cliff-hanger, especially considering that that second season might not even come!
However, I do agree that Umineko was really, really rushed. How could this have happened, really? People keep saying “DEEN! DEEN! DEEN!”, but they’ve made plenty of great series and adaptations in the past, so that can’t be the only thing. In the end, my eye still falls back to Chiaki Kon, the director. I don’t like her. While she adapted the Higurashi novels really well, with nice balance and a strong direction, she was able to do so because she really didn’t have anything else to do at that time. It was her debut, so she really had to prove that she could direct something right.
But take a look what she’s up to from the past spring: 20 episodes of Hanasakeru Seishounen, 26 episodes of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, and when this is over she’s going to do Nodame Cantabile’s finale. That’s more than 52 episodes within one year! She really took way too much on her plate, and like Shinbo I’d wish that she’d just concentrate on one single series and make that one right, instead of trying to do everything at the same time. Now all of those shows are just going to be really rushed, and they’ll miss the strong direction that Higurashi had. Most directors manage to produce one series every two years, or perhaps even one series a year. Counting the upcoming winter-season, Chiaki Kon has directed six series in two years. Somebody stop her and hand those series over to some other directors. I mean, Studio Deen has enough other talents walking around.
At this point, I have a really hard time deciding how to judge this series. Rushed or not, Umineko has one hell of a backstory. It was always fun to formulate theories, trying to figure out what’s going on. This is why I’m not going to recommend this series to people who already played the visual novel. Not because it’s badly executed, but by far the best thing about Umineko is its mystery. When you already know what’s going to happen, then what’s left? What’s the fun in reading a detective novel if you already know exactly how everything is going to happen?
As for the people who haven’t played the game, it’s a bit trickier, though. It’s a great watch, but I sure as hell ain’t going to recommend this if a second season isn’t being produced. It’s like reading a detective novel, only to discover that someone ripped off the entire second half. This is probably the thing I like the least about anime: it’s “let’s just animate the first part so that we can only animate the conclusion when the sales are good”-mentality. Imagine if Monster or Legend of Galactic Heroes were animated this way.
EDIT: ah, forgot to talk about the episode. It’s interesting how Beatrice basically let Battler bombard her with theories that she could in fact just have blown all away, as if she wanted to lose. At first I thought that she was simply acting again, but for some reason I don’t think she really did that here. Kinzou’s death actually being confirmed was a major revelation, of course. The question really is: who the hell is this guy? If he is one of the seventeen people alive, the servants must be playing a really strange game.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that at least one of them is in on the game: there are only a few family members who knew about Kinzou’s death, while they were in on it all along since they lived inside his house, and otherwise the closed room murder in the third arc would be pretty impossible, but actually plausible: they knew that Kinzou was already dead, and made it seem that he was killed along with the other six to cover him up.
I also wonder, at the end we see Lambdadelta and Bernkastel talk about how Beatrice must never win. Again, big clue: the two are working together and somehow have interest in keeping the game going on forever. And how is Bernkastel’s magic going to play in, I wonder? I mean, her magic is to make anything happen as long as the possibility isn’t zero. If Beatrice is going to be able to win of her she’s going to have to be able to create such a lock-down that there’s no possibility for escape.
There. Happy now? ;)
Rating: * (Good)
And remember: even though the series is finished now, I still reserve the right to delete any comment that spoils beyond this point in the novel