But it happens. All it happens. Let it happens.
Once again. No dine. In other words it is to starve.
Starve while demanding the fair, and die.
Witch in gold, Beatrice.
Dear readers, welcome to another “when they cry” type of entry!
As you probably know, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni finished last year, in august 2006 with Matsuribayashi-hen. However, 07th Expansion created a brand new game which was released during the Comicket 72 (Summer 2007)
The third title from the “WHEN THEY CRY” franchise:
うみねこのなく頃に – Umineko no Naku Koro ni – When the Seagulls Cry.
Opening A: Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Opening B: Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Why third? This is because “Kai” was considered as the second “episode” of such franchise (while Rei is an “extension”, so 2+).
Well then, I will talk about this game which I finished quite recently… You liked Higurashi? I think you will love Umineko as well!
Here is the synopsis taken from the wikipedia article:
Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place in the year 1986 during the time frame of 4 October and 5 October on a secluded island named Rokkenjima (六軒島). The head of a wealthy family named Kinzō Ushiromiya, who lives on and owns Rokkenjima, is near death, and eleven of his family members arrive on the island to discuss how Kinzō’s assets will be divided once he is dead. Also on the island are five of Kinzō’s servants, and his personal physician. After the eleven family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island and shortly after people start to get mysteriously murdered.
A bit “deja vu” you said? Indeed, the setup of the plot is kinda similar to the usual “murder mystery” novel book, such like from the infamous Agatha Christie. However, as you might expect from the author of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Ryukishi07-san, the story isn’t involing simple murders…
Thriller, drama, mystery and even… horror…? Who knows…
In this story of the first episode (that’s right, Umineko “chapters” work exactly like Higurashi), we follow Ushiromiya Battler, the son of the third sibling of the Ushiromiya family. Much like our good ol’ K1, Battler will first be reunited for some happy moments with his cousins.
However, unexpected events will occur…
A certain Witch, Beatrice, imposed with Kinzo (Head of the family) a bizarre intellectual challenge. Though most people if not everyone disregard such riddle, their foolishness will make them pay the price with their blood.
Horror, murders, chaos, sorrow, hatred, revenge… and finally death. All of them will meet their fate in these horric days of 4 and 5 october 1986.
Does the Golden Witch Beatrice exist? Or is it a slander?
This is the challenge Ryukishi07 brought to us, readers. Will you be able to explain everything in a “human way” just like what Battler tried to do? Or will you succumb and extort the name of the thoudand years witch Beatrice?
As you can see, the setup dramatically changes from Higurashi: the main theme isn’t about friendship and trust and such, etc.
Rather… it resolves only on one question: Does the Golden Witch, Beatrice exists…?
In such case, Umineko impressed me a lot for this mix between occult mystery and mischevious human scheme. Frankly, the game simply gives new standards in the term of creeps, such like higurashi. But this time, mark my words: the game deserves to be praised just like its predecessor.
As a Higurashi “fanboy”, I must admit I was quite skeptical because of the uniqueness of Higurashi, its dense and complex plot, allied with absurdly likeable characters. Hence, Umineko had to prove its value, strong points and charms quite quickly, not to stay a “pale” different version of higurashi. Ryukishi won the bet, and the wager was probably an excellent game for us.
Umineko has a large cast, though they seem to be shallow or not as likeable as the characters. Even, I was proven wrong in the case of the cast itself is very interesting and colorful. Of course, you can’t expect such personality like Mion’s, Rena’s or Shion’s in such setup, but the characters are quite deep and you will be surprised to be quickly accutomed with them despite the very short “lifespan” of the story (I’m talking about the amount of time the characters are getting through the story, not the play time).
If you add the characters into a mastercrafted plot, you will surely revive the chills you got from Onikakushi-hen. As I said, the plot was extremely rich and thrilling, absolutely not failing or tainting the reputation of Higurashi.
If you add these excellent points the marvelous BGM made by Dai, Preholder, ZTS but also new and talented artists, you will probably be as immersed as I was.
The result is simply an explosive chemistry, and I can only recommend you to buy the game as soon as you can. If you loved Higurashi, there is no reason not to do so with Umineko. It would be a shame and a waste to miss this gem…
If you want to read more of my opinion, just have a look of my post on AnimeSuki. Of course, the spoilers are tagged, but much like Higurashi, please do not read these. Even if it isn’t revealing the culprit(s), it WILL affect your experience.
You can’t read Japanese you say…? Well… it isn’t a problem because of…THIS!
As you can see, just some patience is required… ^^