Posted by psgels on 24 December 2009 with categories: Umineko no Naku Koro ni



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

23 Responses

  1. thestation says:

    You haven’t said a word about the episode itself… Only that it was ‘good.’
    For the most part your entry was just ranting xd.

  2. Acylia says:

    Like thestation said, please tell us more what u thought of the episode itself. I was looking forward to reading your thoughts on the different ‘happenings’. x) Save this for the final review of the series. :)

  3. Westlo says:

    Umineko was an indefinitely better adaption of the VNs than Higurashi ever was and Higurashi was a far better anime.

    You say this is rushed yet this only adapted 4 VNs while Higurashi adapted 6 VNs in their first series.

    Higurashi’s setting obviously allowed cuts to flow better unlike Umineko, and Umineko adaption dropped the ball..

    How many anime only readers are going to be coming up with theories? How many are going to be working out if Beatrice is Shannon or Jessica or another character entirely? While the VN readers are swamped with Beatrice and Battler shippers (just see how many complaints about no hug after the Who am I riddle for instance lol) their relationship getting undercut in the anime won’t have that same impact on those viewers.

    You can say so what but their relationship might be the main theme of Umineko in the end. Kinda of a stupid thing to cut down on than isn’t it?

  4. Acylia says:

    @ Westlo

    Yeah, I KNOW! Where did that hug go!? xD

  5. Geekodot says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juEkoLXXoxo = much better version of the final riddle.

  6. Acylia says:

    @ Geekodot
    The final riddle wasn’t really… THAT bad. I kinda liked it. Except for the hug. :

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Geekodot: it might be because I only watched the anime and all… but am I the only one who found that youtube clip cheesy?

    Westlo: it’s like you said:while Higurashi had its charms being rushed like that, it worked a bit less for Umineko, which is why I think that it could have used a lot more episodes.

    Also, while I of course have no idea what’s going to happen in the rest of the story, I liked the enidng even thogh there wasn’t a hug. Because of the way the ended with the riddle, I’m right now very excited for the second season (if it’s ever going to come, of course). While the episode itself wasn’t of the epic proportions you described, the ending was a far better closure than with Higurashi’s first season.

  8. Acylia says:

    @ psgels
    Amen to that. :P

    Well, at least I loved the voice actors in Umineko. Most of them, at least. XD

  9. Geekodot says:

    @psgels
    Well, I can understand it being cheesy to anime only viewers, because most of the inner monologue and character relationships between Battler and Beato was cut from the last battle in the anime. Even if the anime did end with this exact scene, with all they cut in the last battle and episode 4 in general, it probably wouldn’t work like it did in the VN.

  10. Acylia says:

    *Reading your post again after edit*
    Bernkastel and Lamda don’t seem very nice, do they? -.- I feel kinda sorry for Beato if that’s the case. She really seems like she wants to die in this episode. I really like her character, though. There’s a lot more to her than we think. :) … I think. *lol*

    [No wonder I’m cosplaying her for the next con in my country ^-^]

  11. fox demon soavi says:

    where in the visual novels does this leave off? 4, 5 or 6?

  12. Marion says:

    @fox demon soavi: It ends at EP 4. EP 5 starts the answer arcs.

  13. Anon says:

    Hate to break it to you, bro, but Amatsuki was an awful adaptation. Did you know that Toki was trapped inside of a virtual reality the whole time, run by a company called the Sensai Corporation? I’ll bet you didn’t, because DEEN literally cut half the plot.

    DEEN has always made really rushed and half-baked adaptations. It just really shined with Umineko because instead of being able to cut in huge chunks, they had to whittle away at individual scenes until nothing was left.

  14. Deus says:

    “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.”

    Yes, finally, no more need for spoilers. :D

    When you think about it, it actually makes sense. Bernkastel’s goal is to win the game against Beatrice, and Lambda’s goal is to keep Bern occupied forever (and to do that, she must make sure that *the game goes on forever*. If any party wins, the game ends, so she will work so that both sides will never win). At no point in this equation can Beatrice ever get the upper hand. She will either be defeated by Bern, or Lambda will enforce a stalemate til eternity. In the end, two VERY powerful (way more powerful than Beatrice, in fact) witches have basically ordained Beatrice’s doom.

    Somebody up top said that the two didn’t seem very nice here. In the VN scene, they were… scarier. Full on evil faces and cackling scarier. There’s definitely something more to it than Beatrice = Bad, Bernkastel = Good, and if Beatrice is defeated everything in Umineko will become right as rain.

    If you’re up to reading a supplemental short story by the creator containing the motivations and schemes of the witches in Arc 4 (to be read after this arc):

    The Witches Tanabata: http://community.livejournal.com/witchhunters/6549.html

    Seriously, read it.

  15. Writer says:

    *Sigh* Guys, you’re forgetting something very important here about this adaption, and Higurashi too. Something that you’re brushing off as simply being bad.

    Ahem – you’re trying to compress many hours worth of information into a 26 episode series, each episode not even accounting up to half an hour. It would have helped if each episode could have been twice the length, or that of a typical anime movie, but they weren’t. Few studios would have had the budget and voice actors at their disposal to make it work, and then there’s the broadcasting as well to pay for and smooth over.

    In short, yes, the series was rushed, but HOW could it be otherwise?! It’s like you’re trying to turn the entire cast, covering a wall, into an average sized picture without making it look too abstract or simply heads pasted one beside the other. In short, you need to be one hell of a workhorse and perfectionist to make it so, and though Deen wasn’t that equine, can you really blame them?

    And now for the episode; the fact that there’s only 17 people on the island from the start means that Battler has to suspect one of his relatives, or the workers. Personally, I’m going with either Kumasawa, Gohda, or Genji. Yes, it invokes the old “the butler did it”, but think about it; these three are the least likely to inherit anything from Kinzo, and though that doesn’t make for motive, it does mean that they have a reason (hatred festers, as they say) and many, many opportunities.

    Now, I know this card was played by Higurashi, but what if there’s some kind of swamp gas or something on Rokenjima? Something that assists in the delusions taking place in the mansion? Couldn’t it help with Kinzo’s infamous delusional behavior, if he isn’t (or at least just) suffering from dementia? Or even more reliable, what about a gas leak? How do we know what kind of heating they use if they’re still in the late eighties?

  16. Marion says:

    @Writer: I think that’s a lame solution. To just rehash the same solution from Higurashi is simply lame and I don’t think Ryukishi would resort to such a cop out solution.

    As for Kinzo he was acting crazy because he wanted to see Beatrice again after so many years, along with his family constantly hounding him for money like vultures.

  17. Writer says:

    @ Marion: Your comment has been duely noted. I know that it’s an unlikely happening, but I’m not saying that it’s Hinamizawa syndrome all over again; just oxygen deprivation to the brain, or maybe poisoning a gas leak, making them less likely to be rational and more likely to murder. Again, we have no way of knowing how the building is heated, whether it uses electric heaters, gas, or even a wood stove – just that there’s a boiler room, which has a wood opening.

    And not to be snarky, but I don’t see you putting anything more reasonable up Marion. I know that Kinzo’s wrought with his desire to see Beatrice, it’s the reason behind the bracketed addition, so you don’t need to spell it out to me. Besides, I didn’t say that it was a or the solution, I said it was a theory, something to assist the other possibilities. Don’t go attacking when I haven’t said that it’s definite.


    And now, to something that is actually relevant/helpful, could Beatrice be a memory? I remember that Beatrice was considered by Battler to be a legend of the island, and who knows? Maybe he thought someone like Kumasawa was Beatrice back then before he realized who she was. Therefore, this is my theory; Beatrice is a memory of magic/witches in Battler’s past, proven false, made when he left the household to live with his grandparents. She is the image of a person who Battler made up in his head, destroyed when he realized that it was a normal person and not a witch. The “sin” that was mentioned before was Battler attacking said person before he realized his mistake, and the remembrance of this event is what would “kill” him while he’s alone on Rokenjima.

    Tell me how that conflicts with anything in the story, people. And before anyone goes with “but Battler should remember such an event”, picture it, if you will, if you attacked a person seriously when you thought it was a witch, to the point that the other person looks like they’ve died, at the young age of twelve. You don’t remember such an event, you bury it in your head, traumatizing you into keeping from doing such a thing ever again. “She wasn’t a witch, because witches don’t exist”, becomes the force behind, “Witches and magic don’t exist”, even when you’re fighting against one to prove that very point. Of course, this isn’t likely to be right, but it’s an idea all the same, and it satisfies me.

  18. thestation says:

    I think I just found something really interesting. So, in this episode it was established that Kinzo really was dead all the time. Now watch episode 2, when Rosa is asking everyone who lent the umbrella to Maria.
    Dr. Nanjo says: ‘It wasn’t me either. After all, I was playing chess with Kinzo until a few minutes ago.’
    Doesn’t this make Nanjo look really, really suspicious ^^ ?
    And it wasn’t anything shown by the witch, it was the first game.
    And I think I said it somewhere before on this blog, but I’ll say it again , in episode 12, at the part where Maria receives the letter + umbrella , the letter was already sealed with the ring , before Beatrice even received the ring. Then I thought, it must have been written by Kinzo, maybe even before his dead. At least I don’t think it really was written by Beatrice, she didn’t have the ring in time.

  19. 4saken says:

    Nanjo isn’t the only one.
    Genji, Kanon, Shanon, Natsuhi and Rosa also claimed to meet Kinzo too.

  20. monkzor says:

    Battler did it. No spoiler, just lols

  21. cillia says:

    wow. this episode… just wow. i did one of those maria laughs at the end of the episode.

    the cliffhanger was so absolutely… ugh T_T HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT THAT LONG FOR THE EXPLINATIONS????

  22. Uminekofan says:

    For everybody who ever reads this, know this. EP7 of the VN presents you with all the clues needed to solve the mysteries. The epitaph, gold, Kinzo, everything like that is answered. The twilights however aren’t. And EP8 won’t address that. All the killings that happened here will forever have no official explanation. It’s up to you to understand it. But EP7 bombards you with such huge clues that reasoning out this is completely possible.

    It’s just that I haven’t done it yet (In my defence, I’ve figured out EP1 and the first twilight of EP2.)

    This anime adaptation was good, I only got in the VNs after watching it. It has some serious, serious mistakes. In the first game, first twilight, the very first murder, the anime shows you Shannon’s face. They shouldn’t have shown you that. Out of all the twilights that happened, this one is the only one that EP7 tells you in the face that it happened like this: Shannon played dead. She didn’t die in the first twilight.

    ANOTHER BIG SPOILER OF EP7

    There are bombs in the island. In the first and second game, everyone dies. A part of the island blows up when the clock ticks midnight of the second night. The explosion of the bombs never reach the hidden mansion. Another thing, all this anime showed you Beatrice games. There’s a definite truth, non-magical explanation of what TRULY happened in the island in EP7. Like Ange’s future shows us, Eva is the sole survivor because she activated the bombs and then run to the hidden mansion, then played dumb about not knowing anything.

    That’s all I’ll leave for you all. Have fun, and read the VNs (especially 5-7, or 7 if you want the one with most answers) if you liked the anime. Byee.

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    @Bam Read the Mob Psycho entry.

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