Umineko no Naku Koro Ni first came to my attention from the doujin-style fighting game based off of it called “Ougen Musou Kyoku X“, I had to know where the origins of such a game came from.
Taking an interest within the game, and wanting to know more about the origin of the one really elegant looking character (Beatrice, the Golden Witch seen here in the main picture), I delved into the anime head first!
Phoenix Wright style finger-pointing, plenty of murder mysteries, endless scenarios, trickery, witches, the blurring of lines between fantasy and reality with high-level arguments to boot; I give to you my anime review for うみねこのなく頃に Umineko no Naku Koro Ni!
-[ WARNING! ]-
My reviews are normally elaborate in describing my thoughts and feelings; so hints and/or reveals of the story, character development, and any plot twists regarding the subject that it covers may arise due to the amount of detail needed for explanation. Being mindful of the fact that spoilers could come into play, it may be better for you to watch, read, and/or play the material before reading this review. Thank you and happy reading!
-[ WHY UMINEKO no NAKU KORO NI? ]-
This anime came to my attention because of the game called “Ougen Musou Kyoku X“. This game had some very outlandish game play and had quite the array of characters that seemed to be very noble and elegant in demeanor. Later, I found out that this game features characters from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni (When the Seagulls Cry), which originally started out as Visual/Sound Novels and then migrated into an anime.
Also, it helped me out greatly that someone ended up making an AMV (Anime Music Video) “Beato’s Gangsta Rap” which featured Beatrice (My favorite character in the anime) as the role of Natalie Portman and Kinzo as the man that is interviewing her.
-[ STORY & PLOT ]-
Going to the island of Rokkenjima, the Uroshimiya family gathers there every few years it seems to catch-up on things as well as discuss their family issues; especially concerning the head of the household since their father will pass away soon (Which is the reason they are supposedly gathering in the first place). The family members and their children discuss the headship and want to know who will be succeeding their father. Their father, Kinzo, supposedly has a legend behind how he gained his wealth and the Golden Witch “Beatrice” has a picture with a strange epitaph written beneath it that talks about a way to enter the “Golden Land” and inherit all the gold; with this the stage is set.
Kinzo throws off his ring and declares that Beatrice is free to begin her little game; starting with giving a letter to Maria in the rose garden, she begins to talk about exactly what she plans to do and how they can stop the riddle in order to enter the Golden Land, speaking of sacrifices and collecting what is “Her’s” unless they can find her hidden gold (Kinzo was given 10 Tons of gold by Beatrice with the condition that he would give it all back plus the “interest” which is everything he’s acquired by using the gold, including the Uroshimiya family member’s lives). This is now where everything begins to take a turn for the worst.
Strange murders begin happening all over the island with the witches epitaph being carried out completely (The instructions written beneath Beatrice’s painting that says what she will do, along with a riddle to solve it to restore everything back to normal and for her to give up the rights to all she is owed by Kinzo). So many people begin dying according to the epitaph while Battler Uroshimiya attempts to keep everyone on each other’s side and try to make it seems as though an unknown person “X” has been committing the murders and neither the Uroshimiya family members, nor their servants (Kanon, Shannon, etc) committed any of the killings. Eventually the resurrection of Beatrice happens, much to the dismay of Battler who does not believe at all in witches. This is supposedly the end of the first “Game” (More on this later).
Everyone returns back to life and talks about how a witch must have been the culprit, yet Battler refuses to believe it, even though everyone who was dead is now back alive, even asking Shannon, “Wouldn’t you like to now who killed you?!”. Beatrice appears and tells him that she is quite interested in him, and that she will make him acknowledge the existence of witches and that he is the type of man whom she loves to make kneel down and kiss the tips of her toes. Battler accepts her challenge and swears he will be able to deduce all murders through human logic and prove she’s nothing but a figment of imagination and that witches do not exist…this is where the meat of the anime happens.
Beatrice begins to replay the same scenario over and over on Rokkenjima island, using different methods and order of people each time to kill off the Uroshimiya family members while Battler is having to explain what is going on using human logic to explain impossible “Closed Door” and other scenarios that could only occur by the power of witches by using theories of how it could have happened without magical interference (He is also present inside of the “Game” as a player and outside of it as an “Observer/Player” like Beatrice). In order to combat this, Beatrice devised something called the “Red Truth”, which is an absolute fact that cannot be argued against and Battler must devise his arguments and theories within that realm of that truth as if it was absolute to that world/situation. Later on more witches are added into the mix, Lady Bernkastel “The Witch of Miracles”, Lady Lambdadelta “The Witch of Certainty”, and Lady Vergilia who is Beatrice’s teacher and former “Endless Witch” (A witch who can repeatedly bring someone to life as well as fix things to no end). They play a great deal within this game, but that is not recognized until the end.
Many other things are revealed later on, such as the fact that Ange Uroshimiya is supposedly the last witch (Who is Battler’s adopted sister and did not come to Rokkenjima when the “tragic incident” happened and was adopted by Eva Uroshimiya who is the only survivor), proclaiming herself to be the “Witch of Resurrection” after bringing back Maria, the “Witch of Origins” beloved stuffed animal companion “Sakutaro” who was torn apart by her mother, Rosa Uroshimiya. When Beatrice escaped to the Golden Land with Maria after proclaiming Battler was not worthy to be her opponent (Ironic because he said the same thing to her earlier when she tricked him into thinking she had completely turned around her personality and wanted to become a “good witch” and prove to him the existence of witches, “First you hit them with the “Tsun” then the “Dere” as she put it; shocking Battler who believed that Beatrice had turned herself around for the better). When Battler lost his fighting spirit after Beatrice revealed he was not the son of his mother (I.E. “Adopted”) he lost his will to continue the game, but Ange, being ripped apart because she revealed who she was to him (His sister) gave him the ability to fight back against Beatrice and also allowed him to use the “Blue Truth” theories that are concrete and cannot involve witches nor a Red Truth to counter it.
At the very end, Battler ends up killling Beatrice through use of the Blue Truth to destroy any speculation of witch involvement in any of the games they have played up to that point; piercing her body and having her soul appear to ask Battler one final riddle. A scene at the end shows just how greatly Lady Bernkastel and Lambadelta play a great part of this “Game”, and is later found that through the use of their two powers (Lambadelta and Bernkasel) that ,”For the very least, Beatrice will not win. Will it be Battler’s Victory, or will they tie for all eternity” by declaring, “I, the Witch of Certainty, and I, the Witch of Miracles proclaim that Beatrice will not win and a miracle will certainly not occur!”. Though, with them saying Beatrice has far more tricks up her sleeves (And according to the visual novel), this game is far from over… and even more so is the fact the game seemingly is played to account for Battler’s sin of not remembering her.
[ THOUGHTS & IMPRESSIONS ]
Beatrice, the Golden Witch.
Going into this anime I had no idea what to expect at all. I had not read a description about it, I had not read what it was about, all I knew was they had a video game based on it that seemed like it was pretty good (That and I had not watched any anime in a while, so I needed a new series to get into). When I first started I was skeptical but I really liked the opening, I have always had a weakness for opera sounded chorus in the Latin language, epic.
Diving into it, was a bit boring at first to set up the whole thing, finding out why everyone was there, seeing Kinzo go off the edge and act all maniacal, obsessed, and superstitious with him worshiping Beatrice as more of a Goddess than an actual witch, etc. Though, you did get to see a lot of interesting things with their relationships, George and Shannon’s forbidden love, Kanon’s strict view about a servant’s role in life, even how Eva was very loving even if she was quite narcissistic about her ability to take control as the head of the Uroshimiya family. Though, this all pays up as Maria’s dark nature shows and the first letter shows up with the Right Wing Emblem of the Uroshimiya family with a crest made from the “Head Ring”, the symbol of the head of the family (This is about the time all the Bizarre murders start to occur).
The murders were well-done in my opinion, they offered their own array of brutal happenings and the first time you are seeing it was by far the best. Everyone dies from reasons unknown and the origin of the Golden Witch is showed and Maria is showed to be right all along (And Maria is by far my favorite character next to Beatrice, she is a sadistic little thing who do not mind others getting killed as she was ridiculed so much by her mother and treated so poorly she only wants everyone to acknowledge magic). I must say, I think the funniest death is when Eva-Beatrice (The Beatrice created from Eva Uroshimiya’s split, Bad Witch personality which inherited Kinzo’s gold in one story and inherited all of Beatrice the Golden’s Endless powers) killed Maria and Rosa Uroshimiya through a series of murders in which she resurrected them several times (Dropped them from the sky, drowned them in Jelly, and dropped a giant cake on them) and Beatrice had to come and kill them both (Strangled Maria and impaled Rosa’s head on a spiked fence) in order to appease Battler’s sense that she was a good witch. The most brutal death is probably when Maria killed her mother, Rosa, over and over again with the Resurrection help of Beatrice the Golden after Rosa ripped apart Sakutaro.
Though the plot is weaved quite well, somethings for me do not add up. First off, the fact that Battler had already admitted that he had lost in one of the games and gave up; became Beatrice’s naked furniture and was killed by some of her Goat servants; how he reappears and reinstates the game after already giving up is beyond me in the slightest. Next off is the very nature of him denying witches in order to try and prove they do not exist when the games he is participating in, how he is participating in them, and even being able to see truth in “Red” and “Blue” are all evidence that this is magic, even the fact that Ange (From the future no less) shows up and tells him he must win for her sake… how can you possibly deny all of this and chase a witch’s furniture (One of the Seven Sisters of Purgatory) to try and get a breakfast roll? Ridiculous. Though, another contradiction occurs where she must forfeit the rights of the Uroshimiya house back to the owner when Eva-Beatrice finds and inherits it, so exactly why does everyone come back to life and have to keep repeating the witch’s epitaph if Beatrice is no longer in control? Is it Endless and cannot be stopped until a witch who is over it is defeated in a “game”? No one has ever said anything about this and in this respect Umineko no Naku Koro Ni should have ended a long time ago.
Even if it should not have ended a long time ago, it is difficult to know which Arc is the “True Arc”, kind of like a fighting game. Before they began to give “True Endings” that showed what happened, each character had a possible ending of what could have happened and because you have so many theories more games are able to be made without too many severe consequences as far as plot and continuity because they never set a definite story path. While it is true that the very first Rokkenjima island ceremony did elevate to Battler and Beatrice’s “game”, it does not explain Eva-Beatrice nor does it explain why Maria is now the Apprentice Witch of Origins (Since these all happened in later games and yet still seem cannon). Maybe elements from all games are left intact for the duration of the game and its ever evolving instead of being one set of facts fused in concrete; yet, it appears only one cannon iteration of any particular character can exist on the “Chessboard”. Good series but confusing as shit.
Stretching beyond this is the fact that Beatrice the Golden may not actually be the original apprentice of the former Endless Witch Virgilia; seeing as she died a long time ago and resurrected herself from the dead corpse of Yasu…yeah.
-[ THE VERDICT ]-
Battler Uroshimiya and Beatrice the Golden.
Umineko no Naku Koro Ni was very entertaining. The game was very serious, yet it was humorous, and did not take itself too seriously all at the same time while still keeping in mind that people’s lives were at stake here. The killing and how Battler battles back is good, but at the same time you wonder how can he deny the existence of witches when he’s playing a very game crafted by one.
The ending especially left me wanting a lot more, especially seeing the team-up of Lady Lambadelta and Lady Berknastel. Though, a lot of questions still have to be answered which really makes me want a second season from them, especially with what I have been hearing… as it furthers the relationship that’s seemingly blooming between Beatrice and Battler, even if things looked as though they have taken a turn for the worst during episode 26.
So, while I do hate how they have some holes, I am anxiously awaiting what is next and I am hoping they have another season and fill in everything that was lost, including establishing a cannon timeline of the events that have occurred.
Thank you for reading my review for うみねこのなく頃に Umineko no Naku Koro Ni! Arigatou and Sayonara!