Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-5: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments

[Disclaimer]: This entry might contain MINOR spoilers. However, while the analysis might push you to these minor spoilers, NO foretelling spoiler is present. Therefore, please follow the same guideline, and understand that any spoiler can just ruin this critical part of the story for any reader. Good reading!
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The doors of the Golden Land have been finally opened, yet this is not what Battler wished for, and certainly not what we did either.
When the seagulls cry, there are no survivors. Even so, it is time for us to reconsider what could have happened and what will happen from now on.

Here is the last analysis for “Legend of the golden witch”, please be sure to read it. I’m sure it will help you to understand where the show is going to.

Legend of the Golden Witch Analyses: [Episode 1-2], [Episode 1-3], [Episode 1-4]

Be sure to have watched the episode before reading this !

This week, I will focus mainly on the following points :

  1. The parlor
  2. The tenth twilight
  3. The tea party
  4. Random comment: Bernkastel

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[Analysis]


I. The parlor

Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa were killed in the parlor, while Maria was still inside, singing continuously like a broken record.

Again, allow me to summary what we know:
1) Maria, Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa were banished from Kinzo’s study by Natsuhi at 10:00PM.
2) At 11:30PM, Battler found the meaning of the last magical circle, and soon after, they receive a phone call despite they were supposed to be out of service.
3) Few minutes afterwards, they rush to the parlor, and since it is locked, they have to open it with a master key. As they open it, they find the corpses and Maria.

Considering the phones weren’t working properly thus far, it is very likely the culprit was behind it, and not the lightning from the storm of last night.
Considering the culprit had to crush the victims’ faces, put the stakes at the proper places, fix the phones and give a briefing to Maria, it had to take time. Therefore, we can assume the time of murders were more or less around 10:45 – 11:00 for the latest.

Assuming Genji thought a bit about the safest place in the mansion, it is not so farfetched to think they were already in the parlor around 10:05. Therefore, the time required for these murders was much less a problem compared to the second twilight.
Now, let’s see how the culprit had to proceed:
1) Opening the door
This is the most trivial problem here: Shannon and Gohda were killed early. Therefore, there is nothing that prevents the culprit to have seized a master key.
Consequently, there is no problem for the culprit to close the door either. It is nowhere close to a closed room.

2) Modus operandi
Now things are much more difficult: The victims had their faces crushed like the first six. If we think about it a bit, what is the difference between the first six, the last 3 and the rest?
Time.

In Kanon’s case, it is really not possible for the culprit to crush his face as they would be found red-handed by the survivors if the timing was even slightly off. (Of course, the other odd point was that Kanon was the only one who was not “instantly killed”).
As for Eva and Hideyoshi, I already mentioned in my previous analysis that the culprit had at most 15 minutes to carry out the double murders.

From this point, it is important to note that the culprit need more than 15 minutes, but less than 1hour and half to kill 3 persons and crush their faces.
Therefore, this information is quite precious to imagine how long it took them for the first six.
I believe it shouldn’t take more than 2 hours to take care of them, but that is of course not including the transport of the corpses.

Back with the first 3, there is a stark difference compared to the previous 6: except perhaps Rudolf (unless it was a generalized thought), the first 6 shouldn’t be expected to be killed. But for the last 3, they perfectly know a culprit is lurking around.
If we believe what Maria said, Genji locked the door. There is no reason not to trust Maria’s claim since it isn’t a contradiction to anything that has happened.
Thus, if Genji locked the door, it should be something important to note: unless he is an accomplice/the culprit, it means he can trust the other 3. Locking the door is important to shelter yourself from the culprit, but if the culprit is already in the inside, it makes their escape route void: being slowed down just a little bit by the lock (even if it doesn’t require a key from the inside) can be a matter of life and death.
If we consider Genji’s personality thus far, there are good reasons to think he is the culprit/an accomplice if we speculate he is creating an illusion of Beatrice, for the sake of his master, even if he killed him in the process.
However, considering his whereabouts during the second twilight (Eva and Hideyoshi) and the fifth twilight (Kanon) he cannot be the mastermind, but at “best” an accomplice.
With the further evidence about the study incident, it is rather clear that Genji is very unlikely the culprit, so we can rule him out.

Is it possible that any of the 3 was swapped with a fake corpse? I’m rather unsure: the thing is that, unlike the previous victims, the last 3 are in the “elder” category, so having corpses of similar body frames with the exact same kind of features (hair style etc) is very difficult, if not impossible (especially Nanjo, as he is overweight).
Because of this, I would rather speculate that all of them were victims, though I cannot deny the possibility that one of them faked their death.

Now, the direct cause of death is really hard to determine. Poison isn’t really possible to expect, since I doubt any of them were hungry or anything of that sort.
Thus, we can expect a rather physical and direct approach: even if they are 3, the problem is that both men are at least in their seventies and Kumasawa was confirmed to be in her eighties.
So they aren’t exactly a challenge if the culprit knows how to put a fight: if the culprit aim for their neck (bare hand or bladed weapon), the result is probably obvious: we don’t know how they take down the first 6, but Eva was a martial arts master (capoeira, taekwondo, karate, etc) and she was overpowered in a surprise attack. So we can expect the culprit(s) was not shabby if they didn’t use any weapon.
If it was a gun, there is no doubt there was some kind of silencer to avoid problems with the noise, then it will explain why their face was crushed.

As for the plowed faces, since they didn’t take more than 1 hour for the whole deal, we can assume they were just crude and used something like a hammer, baseball bat (hi Keiichi) or something not too fancy.

Last note: why would they leave Maria alone in this mess? Probably the same as usual: using her as the “messenger of the witch”. There is no benefit to kill her yet, and being an obvious “supporter of the witch” makes the culprit’s actions even easier than it should be.

3) Leaving the room
Now, you might think it is as easy as entering the room, but I believe it isn’t the case. The culprit prepared this phone call to lure out the last survivors to the parlor. Since they bothered themselves in locking again the door of the parlor, if they were leaving through the door, there is no guarantee they wouldn’t be spotted by Natsuhi and the cousins if they were faster than expected. Therefore, there is one thing that surprised me in the VN at this point: none checked the room!
Not only they forgot the possibility that the culprit had perhaps a master key, but a closed room isn’t anything to brag about if the crime scene wasn’t fully investigated.
Therefore, considering how the culprit has to be fast, I certainly think they leave through the window and SHUT it from the outside (they CANNOT close it from the outside), so the survivors won’t notice any wind or the like.

Additionally, with this reasoning, if the culprit didn’t have a master key, they could still be able to enter if the windows weren’t closed properly.

II. The tenth twilight

13 people died, but it wasn’t enough and Natsuhi died as well. From what we can tell, her disappearance itself is very bizarre:

Why would she leave her precious daughter and the other 3 in the parlor, while she is facing the culprit alone?
Even though she received a letter from Beatrice, this reaction is absolutely unnatural, especially she didn’t even say anything: she left within a short notice and locked the door from the outside.
Therefore, if we apply the chessboard thinking, the purpose is not to protect the children from the culprit, since the “lock” is on the outside. Rather, Natsuhi seems to prevent the children to get out, for a very weird reason.

This is where we should point out some issues in such act:
For starters, the fact she left without saying anything has a certain meaning: she obviously don’t want the kids to know what is going on with the letter. She could always tell them to take care and forcefully prevent them to follow her, even if they obviously won’t abide easily, but saying nothing pretty much implies she doesn’t want to let them learn what is going on.

From this point, is she hiding anything substantial?
I personally think the speculation that Natsuhi is the killer is really farfetched, even before her being killed.
While anyone can be the murder for the first six, it was impossible for her to have killed both Eva and Hideyoshi (she was always with the kids in the parlor). There was no way for her to kill Kanon and even less possibility for her to kill the last 3.
Accomplices? She arguably doesn’t stir any unnecessary problems: in fact, she is definitely making the whole deal harder because she wants to keep people grouped and so forth.

But one thing that was weird in her behaviour: when Battler claimed that the culprit wants the family to find the gold for them, Natsuhi claimed the gold does NOT exist, despite she saw a gold ingot.
Sure, the gold ingot alone doesn’t prove Kinzo has 999 other ingot similar to this, but the gold, to some extent, does exist, and her shocked behaviour is a big indicator that she had to accept this fact.
Therefore, what it is about?

Is it possible that Krauss managed to know more than he first had shown, and Natsuhi felt she had to safeguard it? No that’s not really convincing either, considering how Natsuhi was trying hard to keep everyone alive.
The culprit definitely drew Natsuhi’s attention in a critical way so she doesn’t even think twice before leaving discretely and barricading the doors.

At first, I thought the culprit just taunted her, declaring they will kill the children if she doesn’t come alone.
However, who would ever accept such terms? The culprit is a psychopath who killed 13 people in less than 1 day. Thus, how can anyone trust their words?
That’s unrealistic at best and if Natsuhi doesn’t abide to this, nothing prevents her to assure personally the safety of the children herself: they could simply go back to Kinzo’s study quickly, and even if they are only 5 with only few capable of fighting back, the culprit was shown a “coward” or picking their targets with great care.
Therefore, the reason behind Natsuhi’s hasty decision must be more serious to force her to settle everything alone.

Now, how was she killed?
In fact, the problem is like this: the anime made so many changes the theory behind the modus operandi can drastically change.
In the VN and manga, the parlor is like 1 corridor away from the hall, and as the kids rushed towards it, they found Natsuhi already dead in front of the portrait with that wound, but also a faint smell of smoke from her gun. This is actually why they were wondering if she killed herself.
All media confirm 1 thing though: Natsuhi read a letter, went alone in the hall. There was a single gun shot and she was then found dead, with a bullet wound in the forehead.

First, let’s bring up “why” a suicide isn’t possible:
1) regarding how Natsuhi would do that, it is impossible that the wound wouldn’t have any trace of burn, unless if she was able to have more than few centimeters between the muzzle of the winchester and her own head
2) the wound location is too weird: one would rather aim the temple of the head instead of the front (especially considering how long the winchester is)
3) The winchester, even sawed off, remains a moderately powerful gun, using .45 long-colt bullets. Therefore, Natsuhi’s head should have been… quite damaged (as much as Shannon to say the least).
4) aiming her forehead would mean her hand is curving like a hook. Not only it isn’t really practicable, but the recoil of the winchester would snap completely her hand (not break, mind you), so she wouldn’t keep the grip of it
5) regarding Natsuhi’s personality, unless if she really had done something unforgivable or if her death is all that necessary, she would never do that, and even with the aforementioned possibilities, it is hard to imagine that. Thus, the probability for her to commit suicide is very close to 0.

From there, with the circumstances and her own personality, it is really really impossible for her to have committed suicide.

But so, how the culprit managed to kill her?
Since there is only 1 gunshot, there are only3 possibilities:
1) both Natsuhi and the culprit shot at the same time
2) Natsuhi shot, but the culprit used a silencer or something else
3) Natsuhi didn’t shoot and it was the culprit

Let’s see for the first situation:
This is probably the less likely situation. Why is that? Because the culprit has shown a very obsessive tendency to pretend to be a witch. Therefore, should they miss even slightly their timing, they will give away that there is no witch, but just a crazed murderer around.
If that timing wasn’t even done on purpose, it would go against the fact how the culprit was so conscientiously trying to keep a witch guise.

Second situation:
That is quite reckless for a face off, because even if the culprit is a pro, they are facing a not so predictable person and since Natsuhi fired, it is obvious the culprit let her do what she pleases first. That means the culprit had to “survive” from Natsuhi’s first shot.
Another silent method would be sniping: as shown in the anime, there is a window behind the butterfly. If we imagine that the window was open, there is a possibility for a sniper to aim for Natsuhi, while the later is busy with an accomplice or under the effect of a drug or hallucinogen (or something that looks like a golden butterfly).

Third situation:
This is where the nature of such thing looks more difficult.
Since the VN and Manga have shown that Natsuhi’s gun was smoking/emitting a smell while there was only 1 single shot, it means the gun next to Natsuhi’s corpse indeed fired. However, that doesn’t mean it was Natsuhi’s gun. Come to the think of it, Kinzo is a rich fellow, and I really doubt he would own only 1 kind of gun: the VN state he imported it from America but he doesn’t have any license. So he is rather doing something shady to obtain it, but wouldn’t it be a bother if the gun becomes impossible to use in the future? (maintenance issue etc.) Having several copies of an item isn’t anything farfetched for a rich man like Kinzo, especially if it is his “collection”. Thus, I believe that in this case, the culprit had stolen a winchester and was faster than Natsuhi. Then, to make looks like Natsuhi committed suicide or the bullet was repelled against her, they swapped the weapons, so it looks like it was only Natsuhi who managed to shoot.

That theory doesn’t work in the anime though, since the kids saw Natsuhi collapsing, thus there is no way for the culprit to make such action.
Furthermore, as many noted in for the anime, when Battler picks up the winchester, he didn’t load a cartridge and shot at the portrait, and then he pulled the hammer and ejected a cartridge. Unless it was another animation inconsistency, this means Natsuhi never shot to begin with, and so, the close up on the gun might be a lure and it is actually the culprit’s winchester.

There is another possibility, but I don’t fancy it at all: the winchester was a trap. It is possible that there is a hidden reverse barrel that will kill the bearer of the gun. That can works in the VN because Natsuhi was calmly aiming at “Beatrice”, like how she was holding the gun at the end of episode 1-4. The other important difference is that Battler didn’t shot once in the game either.
That said, I don’t believe one bit in this theory, because it would be terribly hazardous if Natsuhi fired before this event: let’s say… she lost it completely and shot Eva, now that would be an ugly result for the culprit, since the survivors will note without trouble that the gun was a trap.
Furthermore, there is still the wound issue here: like I mentioned in point 3, a point blank shot of a gun like this would definitely split the head of the poor victim into 2, like an exploded watermelon.
Meanwhile, the anime cannot allow such possibility, because Natsuhi kept the winchester around her waist/stomach, so it would require a bias hidden barrel, which cannot deal such straight bullet wound.

Now, the other interesting point is: the letter disappeared (as a confirmation from the manga and VN, Natsuhi was indeed reading a letter, it does exist). Therefore, the culprit probably didn’t want the children to know about its content… but why? They will kill the cousins in the end, so does it really matter? Or are they really dead anyway?

Let’s see with the next analysis section:

III. Tea Party

Now this is probably the most confusing part of the series for those who didn’t read the VN. First, let’s be clear:
The scene after the eye catch is basically not within the same kind of context than what just happened previously.

As I explained in my review, the cousins, Shannon and Kanon are actually in purgatory and they are discussing about what happened.
What the VN and the anime meant clearly is that: all of them are dead, period. Here are the tips regarding this:

Further elements would certainly help you and unfortunately, DEEN cut the most important thing: the ending scroll of Episode 1.

The storm passed, ……and the leaden clouds that had enshrouded the island for so long cleared away.
From the rifts between the clouds, sun beams shone, …..and yesterday’s storm seemed like a lie.

In the harbour, just as someone had wished, the seagulls returned once again and let their lively cries be heard.

Afterwards, policemen came, and performed an inspection of the crime scene.

The corpses of the children, who were thought to have survived until the end, were not found after all, but from the pieces of the corpses that were found in that unimaginable gruesome crime scene, the police had no choice but to conclude hopelessly that the lives of all eighteen people, including the children, were lost…

How gruesome was the banquet of the witch?
Only they could tell the tale of how beautiful a place the Golden Land was…
Those who came after the banquet had ended couldn’t tell of any tale. They could only imagine what had happened during those two days.

However, …the witch was fickle.
She dared to leave this tale that had no need of telling behind,
and allow it to be told.

Then, many years later.
A strange wine bottle that had drifted on the waves to the pier of a neighbouring island was pulled out by a fisherman.

Inside it was a thin, tightly rolled notebook fragment, written upon in crammed small letters.

That was,…………this tale.
People will know for the first time, through this notebook fragment, the enigma of the mystery-enshrouded October the 4th 1986, and the truth of those two days filled with strangeness.

This incident was later called “The Rokkenjima Mass Murder Incident”, “The Rokkenjima Eighteen Murders” or such, but connoisseurs of the world came to refer to it as “The Witch’s Legend Serial Murders Incident”.

People who delved in the occult claimed that it was the aftermath of a corrupt ritual that had sealed the island, and as the story spread, the two days filled with mystery were embellished and twisted beyond recognition with each retelling.

However, even with all their interpretations, they will not be the ones to reach the truth of this incident.

And even though the notebook fragment in the wine bottle tells of this incident filled with mystery, it doesn’t tell the whole truth.

That’s right, …perhaps not even the writer of the notebook knew the truth.

……It’s possible that she wanted to know the truth.

According to the name written down,…her name is Ushiromiya Maria.

Furthermore, as the result of an all-out police investigation, concerning Maria, a body part, …a piece of her jaw was found. It was a precious instance where they managed to identify the owner of a body part through dentist medical records.

…Since in that gruesome situation there were countless body parts whose ownership or even provenance couldn’t be determined, it can probably be said that this jaw was an extremely fortunate find.

Due to the damage done to the jaw, the police investigation concluded that any hopes for their survival were extremely dim, even though no other parts were discovered or identified.

And so, let us tie this tale to the last sentence of the notebook fragment that Ushiromiya Maria left.

Quote:
By the time you have read this, I will probably be dead.
Although there may or may not be a body.
You who have read this. Please find out the truth.
That’s my only wish.

Ushiromiya Maria

The truth of “The Witch’s Legend Serial Murders Incident” has not been brought to light even today.

1st Game “Legend of the golden witch” Result

Ushiromiya Krauss
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Ushiromiya Rudolf
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Ushiromiya Kyrie
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Ushiromiya Rosa
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Servant Shannon
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Servant Gohda
Died at the first twilight.
Chosen by the key of the Golden Land, offered up as a sacrifice.

Ushiromiya Eva
Died at the second twilight.
Pierced through the forehead by the ‘Stake of Asmodeus’.

Ushiromiya Hideyoshi
Died at the second twilight.
Pierced through the forehead by the ‘Stake of Beelzebub’.

Ushiromiya Kinzo
Died at the fourth twilight.
Forehead gouged by the ‘Stake of Mammon’.

Servant Kanon
Died at the fifth twilight.
Chest gouged by the ‘Stake of Satan’.

Servant Genji
Died at the sixth twilight.
Stomach gouged by the ‘Stake of Lucifer’.

Attending Physician Nanjo
Died at the seventh twilight.
Knee gouged by the ‘Stake of Belphegor’.

Servant Kumasawa
Died at the eighth twilight.
Leg gouged by the ‘Stake of Leviathan’.

The Witch Beatrice
Revived at the ninth twilight.
She finally opens the door of the Golden Land.

Ushiromiya Natsuhi
Died at the ninth twilight.
The witch praised her nobility, and granted her the honor of a duel.

Ushiromiya George
Missing on the tenth twilight.
The witch, whose existence he recognized and whom he prostrated himself before, beckoned him to the Golden Land.

Ushiromiya Jessica

Missing on the tenth twilight.
The witch, whose existence she recognized and whom she prostrated herself before, beckoned her to the Golden Land.

Ushiromiya Maria
Missing on the tenth twilight.
The witch, whose existence she recognized and whom she prostrated herself before, beckoned her to the Golden Land.

Ushiromiya Battler
Missing on the tenth twilight.
Would the witch beckon he who did not recognize her existence and denied her to the Golden Land?

The witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures in the Golden Land.
There, they should resurrect the souls of the dead, resurrect the love that was lost.
For, if what they desired were even a mountain of gold, it was not
something for them to obtain.

For George it was the fiancee he lost.
For Jessica it was the person in her thoughts she lost.
For Maria it was the love of her mother she lost.

Sleep peacefully, Beatrice.
A sleep from which no one shall disturb you again.

The winner is the Golden Witch, Beatrice.
All the eighteen people’s time ran out before
the riddle of the gold was solved.
All eighteen people are dead.
When the Seagulls cry, there are no survivors.

Umineko no Naku Koro Ni
07th Expansion presents. Welcome to Rokkenjima
When they cry 3

Pretty gruesome isn’t it?
Well from this point, it is important to set the context quickly:

As said before, the merry characters were invited in a tea party by Beatrice in purgatory. But that makes things quite interesting is how they are thrown deep down in a “magic realm” which obviously doesn’t convince Battler.

Sure they are dead, but what is the deal of it? Actually they can’t do much about it, but surely enough, figuring out the killer would at least give them peace for their souls… except only Battler was seeking for it.
George, Jessica, Maria, Shannon and Kanon were oddly giving up that early. Thus it pisses Battler off: why would they think it is the witch to begin with? Why abandoning?

This reasoning might sound childish, but it is absolutely logical on its own: there is absolutely no logic that could testify it is magic. Of course, by the concept of the probatio diabolica (or Devil’s proof), there is no way to prove that X doesn’t exist. Proving the existence of X isn’t difficult, since you simply need to show X, but proving they don’t exist require ruthless facts that cannot be countered by mere points like “circumstances” and the like, with a sizable observation time.
Battler pretend witches don’t exist, but even today, no one can prove there isn’t any… think about religion: it is all about faith (though some will claim there are facts, I don’t know the details, please forgive me).

But why do you need facts, when you are human? Sure it is better to avoid assertion by speculating a theory supported with facts, but such lack of facts will only be a stalemate: regardless what you can weave, if your point has realistically no way to provide facts instantly and the opposition has no real fact to claim the antithesis, there is no much meaning to this.
Therefore, COMMON SENSE is actually the point a human can claim, regardless if nothing “proves it”. By this extension, an assertion can also benefit from the devil’s proof.
Battler then uses his common sense and uses a stance of “obviously, witches don’t exist!”. This is actually nothing unnatural indeed: why would he have to provide a proof for his conviction? Sure, he should have tried to give reasoning to George and the rest, but likewise, they weren’t providing anything either.
They stopped thinking, and instead of proving the opposing side, “that witches exist”, they use a very trivial conclusion “if it isn’t a human, it is a supernatural being => witch”. That won’t do, because there is absolutely no proof the witch exists either so far, it is all about “lack of evidences” or “explanations” that turns everything into the opposite conclusion.

This is where things go south: Beatrice, the “witch” just shows up. However, while some of you might think it is game over already, it is not.
While Battler had a very good explanation behind her existence, I believe there is simply another one:
For starters, where are we? Purgatory. Why would the rules and context affect the real world where Battler and the rest came from?
There isn’t any reason for this. Certainly, witches “exist”, but… where?

Let’s change the actual sense: does Battler exist? Yes, but “in Umineko No Naku Koro ni”. That’s right, if you have a broad view of a story, regardless if it is real of a total fiction, elements that are brought should be considered within their own context.
Therefore, yes witches exist in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, but does that mean the culprit is Beatrice?
Now that is interesting because claiming “Beatrice exists!” is only a conjuncture.
It becomes like this in logic:
“I can’t explain the events of Episode 1 (yet)”, “Beatrice is shown as real in purgatory” => “Beatrice is the culprit”.
How is that remotely logical if you pay attention to this kind of conjuncture? Absolutely void.
The simple fact Beatrice exists doesn’t mean anything: it could be Battler’s dream, it could be a delusion in his deathbed, it could be real, it could be a farce devised by Ryukishi07.
See? How can we apply such reasoning when Beatrice is only appearing in a specific context?

Therefore, the fact Beatrice appeared before them and us cannot be taken by its face value: Beatrice beckons “episode 1 Battler” or Meta-Battler (for Meta World) for a battle of wits.
Do witches exist in the real world? Do they not? That’s the point of the story.

If Beatrice’s existence was a proof by itself, her simple appearance would prove everything and no argument would be necessary. But it isn’t the case: that is because the story did not checkmated Battler, nor us either. Her existence is vague, fleeting, yet sharp and lively. However, why didn’t she appear before the Ushiromiya family? Why so many inconsistencies with the magical circles? Why so many inconsistencies with the order of the killing? Why indeed. That is because it is a fake, because a human claims to be Beatrice.

This is why Battler cannot let himself deceived by a mere illusion, or existence that requires everyone to agree on a lie to become truth. The truth should be looked for, not waited for.
Furthermore, this situation is also pretty much the driving reason why Battler doesn’t believe in Beatrice: finding the culprit and hoping they will be stopped in a world, instead of being the victor after such massacre.
Why would Battler bow down before Beatrice who didn’t prove her existence in the real world? Why stopping thinking if there is a margin to determine tricks?
This is why Battler is “logical” and not childish/stubborn as some might believe: yielding to the witch means believing in an illusion, a lie to get away and think “there was nothing I could do” or “thanks to this, none of my relatives is the culprit!’.
That is naive, that is completely false, that is a mere trickery of the weak mind.

And Battler understood well that he cannot yield before such falacious existence, because if he does, and if it was really a treachery, the human behind such onslaught will be free to do whatever they please and will be the complete winner of a gruesome farce.
The simple fact Battler argues with Beatrice is by itself a proof of recognizing her existence, but that is only for the sake of proving she doesn’t exist in the “real world”. Ignoring her would be fine by itself, but at the same time, it is a “game” forced on him by the witch and it is obvious Battler himself wishes to know who is the real culprit.

IV. Bernkastel

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[WARNING]: this section is EXTREMELY spoilerish regarding the core mystery of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Kai and especially Rei! This section should only be read if you have already watched the series, or if you are prepared to be spoiled regarding a specific character. I would wholeheartedly suggest you to check Higurashi first, because I will be forced to use facts from the ending and the like. It will have major ending spoilers from Rei!
It won’t explain who is the culprit or whatsoever, but a core element can really change the whole perception of the story, since I will describe the plot progression, so beware!

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Bernkastel was wandering in the world of the Kakera and “coincidentally” intruded in Beatrice’s territory. but, some information to refresh your memories (or giving you the vital information). Let’s start with Bernkastel’s bios:

First, let me remind you of several things:
What is a Kakera to begin with? Well this word basically means “fragment” or “piece”, designating “worlds” in the universe of the “when they cry” series. However, calling them like this might be a problem if the characters actually call use the words fragments or pieces and its connection with Higurashi is easier like this.
So, a Kakera is simply a world that is drifting in the void, a bit like the planets in the space of the universe. There is an infinitesimal number of such kakera, and many of them are the same of others, while some are totally different.
For example, the world of Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, from Higurashi are different Kakera, but very similar.

Now, witches and the like are actually travelers in such space and Bernkastel intruded Beatrice’s area.

Now, why Bernkastel is such an important character for the community? This is because Bernkastel has a striking resemblance to a major character of the previous series, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Furude Rika, but more accurately, Frederica Bernkastel.

Rika was an unfortunate girl that was trapped in an “endless June”: in each Kakera, she was ruthlessly killed by an unknown culprit. However, thanks to the power of a deity, she was able to go to another Kakera after her death, having a chance to avoid such fate. However, it took her “a hundred years” worth of miserable attempts to finally break free from her “death”.
The concept is like this: when Rika dies in a given Kakera, her soul, or rather memories are collected back in the space where the kakera are “floating”, then the deity sends these memories to another “Furude Rika” of another Kakera. At this point, the “world Rika” gets the memory of the previous Rika (hence it isn’t a resurrection, nor a time jump concept) to some extent, in order to avoid such fate (which seems to be looped 100% of the time).
The previous Rika and the current Rika then becomes one, and the “Rika” acting then is trying to figure what is going on and the clues she might get.

In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, certain events were redundants, while others weren’t (factored by whimsical actions, random, luck, etc). Thus, Rika could often end to a very familiar Kakera where the same style of “dead end” is occuring.
Over time, “Rika” started to change and became jaded of her life: since her memories and soul are imprinting what she is doing, she is arguably living more than anyone of her surroundings. But because she is unable to escape from this doomed fate, her vision of life and fate becomes twisted: what is good in struggling when you know you will die anyway? What is good to have fun with your friends, when you will witness them falling in madness before you get killed?

This was the awful torture that Rika was going through. Because of this, her personality changed over time, but her existence as well in this occasion.
Generally speaking, it is memories of several lives overlapping each other. as result, the collected memories cannot be considered as “Furude Rika” anymore, because they were easily past the scope of one life.

This is the entity we can call “Frederica Bernkastel” (which is a pun as, in katakana, Frederica would turn into: Furuderika (フルデリカ), while Bernkastel is a wine “Rika” is fond of).
Frederica is still a “Rika” by herself, but she is rather the “collective” personality of all Rika who died to far and overlapped their memories into one. As result, she is the one who got this cynical and nihilist personality due to the countless failure and lack of progression despite a century worth of loop occurred.

However, after the events of Higurashi kai, Frederica finally obtained the happiness of Furude Rika and her friends. This was the conclusion that everyone would expect to be sealed.
But, an unfortunate accident occurred after the events of Higurashi Kai. In Higurashi Rei (the OAV, a sort of epilogue), “Rika” has a traffic accident and dies. As result she is transported in another world. Not only she has to start again to break free despite she really had a struck of great miracles and efforts, but the world she landed in was totally twisted.
After finding how to come back to the previous “good end world”, Frederica became hesitant, because the said twisted world is also a “perfect” one. Even if she didn’t have the same “friends” in there, she can renew her relationships with efforts, while she can still have people who died already due to fated incidents in the previous worlds.

In the end, Frederica chose to come back. However, Frederica was awfully affected by the choice, because there wasn’t any “clear” answer which was the better one.
In the end, with a simple reasoning from one of her friend, Rena, Frederica understood she step too far from her boundary.
Seeking your own happiness if what is everyone is striving for. However, Rika was beyond the human perspective and was always striving for a happy end that could not be attain normally. And with this “twisted world” incident, she had the luxury to gauge the “happiness” of both.
The example was simple: Rena had candies, then put one in her hands, and do a little shuffle in her back.
Afterwards, Rena asks Rika to choose one of them. Rika got a candy and was happy with that. But Rena asks her why she thinks it was her victory. As Rika remains dumfounded, Rena opens her other hand: there was 2 candies in there.

Rena says that what Rika felt was genuine, it was the happiness that came from the feelings she had at that given time. Rena believes that comparing worlds isn’t within their reach, as it is rather the job of God. The world given to them is always unique and that it is possible to try finding happiness in that given world. In the dream (as Rika pretended it was just a dream), Rena thinks that Rika was God, that could go through 2 different worlds, but now she actually shouldn’t worry about the other hand.

Because of such lesson, Frederica understood that she went too far and always considered herself unconsciously as special, since she was given an incredible amount of choices, even if it often turned into her demise.
And now, as she chose this world, she recklessly contemplates about the twisted one she just left, as if she was running from reality and unable to fix herself to a choice, grabbing her happiness.
Using the Schrödinger’s cat analogy, the box with the cat inside had 2 possible future when it remained closed, but once she made her decision and opened it, the 2 futures become only 1 answer.

This is from this point that Frederica stopped considering herself as a witch who traveled for a hundred years through the Kakera to find happiness. From now on, she is “Furude Rika” and she will strive for her happiness.

This was the story of Furude Rika, who became a witch due to her ability to step out of the boundaries of human. Even so she remained human to the very end and remained as the human, Rika.

This is what the tale is, but now… we have  Bernkastel in Umineko, heh?
Now this is only my own personal view, but I believe it is worth some truth:

I believe that in Higurashi, there weren’t 2 “Rika”, but 3.
1) Furude Rika
2) Frederica Bernkastel
3) Bernkastel

The first one, Furude Rika, is what I believe is the “original Rika” of each world, the human who shall be killed if nothing is done.
Frederica Bernkastel is the entity that is the collective consciousness of all Rika who passed away, relaying the will to grasp an happiness.
And finally Bernkastel.

Why do I think there is another one? That is because Minagoroshi hinted that the “Frederica” who was remaining in the Kakera space was actually a blunt observer. As seen in the manga of Minagoroshi, or the Minagoroshi prologue from the VN, there is that “Frederica” who is narrating everything and doesn’t refer herself as a “I” but often points “Furude Rika” who is actually already “Frederica”.
Thus, this is that “second Frederica” that I believes she is Bernkastel.
Berkastel was born as well from this collective consciousness of the Rika’s, but unlike Frederica, she remained in the Kakera space as an observer, rather unconcerned by the outcome but more interested how it will go, even if it should concern her.
But since she has no “body” to go back, she is rather a sentient being that has her own definition of existence, not bound to the human, Furude Rika.

This is where I believe Bernkastel already existed. But I believe she really started to be on her own, once Frederica finally understood the meaning of “happiness” and remained in the end world as “Furude Rika”, stopping being a witch.
Since the fate of Furude Rika was solved, the sentient being, the witch, Bernkastel, has absolutely nothing to observe anymore: the girl will live for 100 years, but that’s ridiculous in the perspective of an immortal being, a witch. Of course, she just had defeated Lambdadelta in this game, so it is probably during her “birth” she encountered Lambda during many loops and both were competiting against each other. Rika’s victory was also Bernkastel’s, so nothing resulted afterwards.

Therefore, why not traveling through the kakera to find something entertaining? And this is WHERE that ending for “Higurashi Kai” came from! Bernkastel was traveling after Rika finally got her happiness. Since everyone got theirs, why not the other side, hence Tanashi Miyoko? However, there is no way for Bernkastel to “jump in the time” or it will lead to inconsistency. Hence, why not just manipulating another Kakera to give Tanashi Miyoko a happy end as well? There you go.

This is why I believe the answer for “Is Bernkastel the same as Frederica/Rika from Higurashi?” is like this:
Yes and No.
Yes because both have the same origin, Furude Rika. No because Bernkastel is an existence on her own, definitely unaffected by Rika anymore and having her own “life” as result. This is also why I believe the “Frederica” was discarded as result: that name has its root from Rika, so Bernkastel being “herself” should cut the ties of her “former self”.

This is quite important to know because it will prevent misunderstanding like Bernkastel declared already: even if her former self went through to a torture and that Battler will most likely go to the same predicament, it isn’t because of empathizing that much, especially she is NOT Rika.
Ergo, it is a very big mistake to think Bernkastel would strive the same way for Battler, she has to be considered as another person completely with a possible background that will help or NOT in such situation.
At least, it explains the power of Miracles Bernkastel possesses: her human form had to go through so many unfortunate events that it was literally a “miracle”. That is because: she was grasping the possibility against all odds. Even if her demise was fated all the time, the probability for her to gain her happiness wasn’t zero!

______________________________________________________________
Whoa, that was a unholy big article I typed here… I was really concerned about how many first time viewers were totally lost because of this episode, so I tried my best to explain most things regarding this peculiar part.
I hope it was clear enough! If you have any questions and requests, please feel free to put that in your comments!

*looks at the word count* 7200… no way XD!

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33 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-5: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments”


  1. 1 deathkillz August 3, 2009 at 12:37 am

    7.2k words, one hell of a post on my watch XD

    But listen to Klash, he knows his stuff! :3

    Especially the last section, hm hm~

  2. 2 Ssol August 3, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Good write up Klashikari. It’s a long read for just 1 episode but definitely worth the time to clear up any confusion with the new character introduced.

    The main disagreement I have is that you don’t mention the possibility that Natsuhi could have been kidnapped from the room while the cousins were questioning Maria.

    My theory:
    The culprit may have done it quietly and then secured the door the with candlestick. Natsuhi then rebels, regains control of the gun, but before she can get a shot off she gets shot by the culprit. Since the door to the parlor was closed the noise from the struggle would have been reduced so no one could hear it while they were yelling at Maria. This would explain why she left the room. It wasn’t by her own will which, I agree, would have been strange.

  3. 3 silzvez August 3, 2009 at 8:42 am

    wow, thannks for the Rika/Bern/Frederica explanation ! that clears up a lot of stuffs for me :D

  4. 4 Unentschieden August 3, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I think the Schroedinger Quantum state is a basic premise of the series. Basically something becomes true if it´s observed or accepted. As Battler stated Beatrice is a illusion that needs to be confirmed to exist.
    It´s indirectly referenced to in a very “real” way: the Gold. A single ingot was enough for Kinzo a provide a security equal to 1000 ingots of which there is no proof of the other 999. The credit was apparently very real even if the Gold wasn´t, it was enough that the bank THOUGHT the Gold esisted.

    I´m not to shure on the Bernkastel stuff. Her role in that context is a percieved connection with Higurashi. But she is also a Witch a uncertain existance – is she just a “red Herring”? She could be a VERY tricky way to trick Battler/us viewers.
    And even if she is “geniue” (aka the character is what we think she is) her agenda isn´t equal to Battlers/ours (solving the mystery).
    I don´t trust her.

  5. 5 Steve August 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Interestingly enough the letter that got Natsuhi out of the room was missing when the children arrived. But what forced her to lock the children in the room in the first place? Interestingly, I speculate that the possibility is she saw who the letter was from (I suspect the grandfather faked his death).
    Its purely speculation at this point.

  6. 6 j.wu August 6, 2009 at 1:23 am

    it sounds unlikely natsuhi was kidnapped from the room, since the next scene of when jessica cannot open the door was Natsuhi holding up a gun calling Beatrice to show up. If she was kidnapped, she might be unconscious or would be running after the person who kidnapped her.

  7. 7 Haya August 6, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I must thank you for all the explanations, possible theories and for the Rika/Frederika/Bernkastel explanation. It sure helped me understand a few things, especially since I, unfortunately, haven’t played the VN.

    I’ll be looking forward to your next analysis!

  8. 8 Tai August 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I enjoy your rants but I think the Berkanstel topic is waaaay simpler than that: Higurashi was a game being played by Bernkastel and Lambadelta. Rika was Bern’s piece, while Takano was Lamba’s. It may appear incorrect something so simple, but it’s even hinted in the ??? of EP4.

  9. 9 klashikari August 8, 2009 at 11:01 am

    No, it isn’t that simple.
    First, I had to use knowledge from Episode 1 alone (so explaining the game with Lambda is not for now), and it is rather hinted in the ura tea party of EP2, not 4.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense to state it this way considering Rei 4: “Rika” says she will stop with the bernkastel witch thing, confusing everything even more if you have to factor the real Bernkastel. Hence the explanations regarding the 3 “Rika”.

    Plus, you need to explain the link: sure Rika was a piece, but she was also the origin, otherwise, people will make a big misconception with Lambdadelta.

  10. 10 Roger Pepitone August 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    What evidence do you have that there was a letter in the parlor in the first place? We have only Maria’s word that it ever existed in the first place. She was facing the wall when everyone entered; Battler was standing between her and Natsuhi and drawing her attention after she turned around, and somehow she still noticed Natsuhi read a letter. That’s not very credible. Could there be another reason for Natsuhi to leave?

    The risk of locking the parlor door is minimal.
    X has to lock one door and move, say, 100 feet.
    Natsuhi and the cousins have to:
    – Realize that it’s Maria singing on the other line.
    – Work up the courage to leave the room.
    – Decide she’d be in the parlor.
    – Make their way through the halls and down two flights of stairs.

    If that’s too risky, how about this:
    – X kills Nanjo, Kumasawa, Genji, takes the phone off the hook, tells Maria to start singing (and to say the Natsuhi left reading a letter), and locks the parlor.
    – X goes to the switchboard and fixes whatever he did earlier
    – X calls Kinzo’s room.
    – Optionally: When Natsuhi answers, X tells her something.
    – X then switches the connection to the parlor phone.

  11. 11 klashikari August 15, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Simply put: the VN and tbe manga.
    The vn describes that Natsuhi was reading a letter then heading to the hall. Meanwhile, the manga had shown the letter on a table, then Natsuhi was seen outside of the parlor with one.

    And I don’t see how it wouldn’t be credible for Maria to notice Natsuhi considering her size and that battler doesn’t cover her whole sight either.

  12. 12 moks September 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Okay, now I understand. I’m just curious why is there a similar face of Rika in Umineko. Now I know. Thanks for the long explanation there. Kudos for you! =D

    btw did you notice Kanon and the part where he gets a hatchet in the boiler? I really remember Rena-chan for that.

  13. 13 ayumi September 21, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Just a few questions to clarify.

    1) Is Lamdadelta Takano Miyo? Cause they look really alike and what was the game she lost?

    2)Ushiromiya Maria requested for people to uncover the truth? That sounds strange to me since i thought she is always the pro-Beatrice person and that she believes in witchcraft so everything should be due to magic in her opinion. So why would she want other to uncover the ‘truth’?

    3)Battler wanted to prove that Beatrice doesn’t exist right? I understand that he thinks that Beatrice only appears to be there because everyone believes that she exist, but isn’t it redundant in the anime to show that she is talking to other witches? Which certainly reaffirm the fact that there is magic and she is a witch herself? So why must the game between her and Battler continues?

  14. 14 klashikari September 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

    1) Althought she bears a lot of resemblance to Takano, Lambdadelta is definitely NOT her. She is the embodiement of the rules behind the fate of Higurashi, a pure witch that was NOT born from a human.

    2) Yes, this is exactly a odd point at the end of Episode 1. But aside of the contradiction in Maria’s stance, it is hardly practical for Maria to write that much (this note is the END of her letter), while chased by the culprit. Ergo, you can start to doubt about the author of the letter.

    3) The tea party and ura tea party (witches) are unrelated. Basically, the existence of the witches is confirmed, but for the meta world only. That does NOT mean a witch exist in the real world, where Battler and his family were murdered.
    There is no contradiction.

  15. 15 Luna Amatista October 2, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Hi, remember me?
    I am that girl at Animesuki who asked you for permission to translate this. :)

    Today, I finally finished this analysis, which took me a lot longer to translate than any of the previous three (school didn’t help either).
    However, all through the two weeks I wasn’t able to work on this, I kept linking to this article and quoting bits on a discussion regarding Bern. I just wanted to thank you for how useful this article was.

    I’ll leave you a link to the translation, in case you want to see: http://docs.google.com/View?docID=0AZHrj6Q-fPUrZGM5ejZ2eF8yNmRkdnhzamM1&revision=_latest&hgd=1
    Huge disclaimer is the first thing on it. xD

  16. 16 Ki October 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Wow… Amazing. This is simply amazing.

    I thought Higurashi’s story was complicatedly interesting enough already. But who knew this would come…

  17. 17 Inaba October 26, 2009 at 4:01 am

    FINALLY. I’ve been sufering on figuring out what had happened at the end of higurashi into umineko. from your point of view, this all makes perfect sense. god, now i can finally files the higurashi folder understood. now to wait for umineko no naku koro ni episode 18 to come out

  18. 18 Ano April 5, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Hey Klash

    I just wondered how you could be so sure that Lambdadelta has nothing to do with Takano Miyo, when she has everything to do with Takano Miyo in my opinion. A lot of the Umineko universe is built on Greek poetry – mostly work of Dante and Virgil – as far as I know right now. And did you know that Lambdadelta represents 34 when using Greek numerals? (λδ)
    Do you remember “File no. 34″ from Higurashi? In Higurashi it was clearly stated that 34 can or is pronounced Miyo when spoken in Japanese – which is also why this file was called no. 34 as far as I recall.
    So it may just be as simple as Tai puts it in my opinion.
    That Rika and Miyo are “(chess)pieces” placed on a game board by Bernkastel and Lambdadelta.
    Now with all this being said, I do in no way intend to deny your theory about how Bernkastel was “created” or maybe one should call it “defined”.

  19. 19 klashikari April 8, 2011 at 8:48 am

    There are various elements that indicate that Takano =/= Lambda

    1) In the tips “Lambda’s Memoires”, she is explaining what kind of humans she basically ignore. She then describes that time when a “girl asked her to be a god”.

    2) Lambda complained to Bern that the latter took way too much advantage when Lambda deliberately let Bern putting her pieces anywhere in Matsuribayashi.
    Takano obviously didn’t have that luxury and was always doing the same things in order to exact her vengeance (leading to rule Y)

    Lambdadelta name is of course a very obvious pun as a reference to Takano Miyo. However, considering the personality, roles etc, they do not match at all to say it plainly.

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  1. 1 Umineko 05 ~ Bern =/= Rika « Sono me, dare no me? Trackback on August 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm
  2. 2 Anonymous Trackback on August 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm
  3. 3 Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 2-2: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments « When Anime Past Meets Present Trackback on August 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm

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