The Ushiromiya family is finally reunited on Rokkenjima on the 4th october 1986. However, as the typhoon is engulfing the island, an harbringer is sealing this family meeting into madness and mystery.
During dinner, Rosa is trying to find the person who lent the umbrella to Maria. However, it was none of her siblings as they were still having a “friendly” chat regarding the inheritance. The servants were also busy with their work so it wasn’t them either, while doctor Nanjo was playing chess with Kinzo for the whole time. As everyone remains clueless about this matter, Maria happily states it was Beatrice who lend her that umbrella. Of course, this answer leaves everyone perplexed and Krauss just let the matter slide, amused by Maria’s innocence.
After Maria is done with the dinner and dessert, she pulls out from her bag an enveloppe which bears the crest of the Ushiromiya family along with a sealing wax, in which Kinzo’s seal is engraved. This unexpected event surprises most guests at the table and Maria explains she received from Beatrice and that she should read its content only when they are done with dinner.
As Maria is about to read the letter, Hideyoshi and Nanjo have a quick glance at the enveloppe and it is indeed the crest of the Ushiromiya Head’s ring that Kinzo always bears.
Maria reads the letter and its content was written by “Beatrice”. Welcoming the whole Ushiromiya family, Beatrice explains she was Kinzo’s advisor and Alchemist. Because of the end of the contract, Beatrice is now claiming back the gold she had bestowed to Kinzo along with an interest. However, she states that everyone has a chance to keep the inheritance should they disclose the location of the gold. In order to do this, she invites them to resolve the riddle of the epitaph that Kinzo had displayed for 2 years.
There is really one thing that disturb me in this scene and… it is Maria’s facial expression. At some point, I was wondering if DEEN tried to make her look like L5 Rena and it wasn’t pretty at all if you ask me.
Whilst Horie’s voice pretty much nails how Maria should sound “abnormal” and “dead serious”, the animators decided to pull an erratic face that makes Maria insane, instead of being serious and in trance.
The other problem I would say in this scene is actually how the adults’ behaviour was: originally, the plain sight of the enveloppe would have turned all of them in jeopardy and here, only Natsuhi and Rosa has a remote reaction to this.
Hideyoshi also tried to snatch the enveloppe, upseting Maria until Kyrie manage to calm everyone and convincing all of them to listen to the letter since it isn’t Kinzo’s message but “beatrice”‘s. That is why I believe the scene with Maria crying a bit letter doesn’t exactly work well: almost all of them ignored her and were just going totally in panic…
After such smashing revelation, the adults are trying to figure out who “Beatrice” is and if the gold really exists.
After much fruitless discussion, the siblings are rushing at Kinzo’s study, begging him to explain himself regarding the content of this letter. However, this plea ends on deaf ears and Kinzo doesn’t pay heed to this, ready for the game between him and Beatrice.
Again, although I think the time allowed for this is fine, the whole discussion with the siblings looks a bit underwhelming, not conveying the urgency of the situation but also their greed (but since they completely removed Jessica’s indignation…).
Also, again, I will sound like a broken record, but Kinzo lost yet another charisma point: here, he is just mumbling again about Beatrice. Originally, he was totally ignoring his offspring, managing to “eat in silence” with dignity, instead of pulling a tantrum. A small detail indeed, but it does change the extent of how you can perceive a character.
Using Closed my Heart wasn’t bad at all for the end of the letter, though, like many VN readers, I would hav preferred 犯行の予告状読み上げ（ラック眼力) for the whole scene
Moments later, Battler and Kyrie have a little discussion regarding the possible author of this letter. Kyrie is straight and start wondering if they are really 19 on Rokkenjima.
To explain her point, Kyrie uses her “flip the chessboard over” reasoning and starts pointing few inconsistencies: if a 19th person is trying to manifest their existence, why would they use such a roundabout way, using Maria as their messenger?
There is no point for that person to remains hidden considering their utmost advantage with Kinzo’s inheritance. Therefore, Kyrie believes Beatrice is among the 18 of them and that person is actually trying to create an illusion that a 19th person exists.
Battler and Kyrie are then joined by Rudolf. As the later wants to have a talk with Kyrie, he explains that they couldn’t have a word with Kinzo at all. Then as the thunder is roaring, Rudolf announce that he will be killed tonight.
The discussion between Kyrie and Battler was shortened in a good way: there was no way for Kyrie to elaborate all details that make the existence of a 19th person void, so the primary element of it is fine.
However, what I didn’t like here is how Rudolf announced he was going to die tonight, in a very nonchalant way. It was underplayed and seriously not conveying the bizarre mood of this scene and how he really mean it (as he was supposed to be nervous and dejected).
Meanwhile, Krauss beckons Natsuhi in a locked room. In there, she is shocked to learn that Krauss does own a gold ingot of 99,99%, with the family crest carved in it. Absolutely in shock, Natsuhi can only accept that the gold of the legend does exist.
This is probably one of the scenes I disliked the most. The ingot scene was strictly speaking, used to show a big lump of gold, which, by extension, should make think to the audience that the gold exist. Certainly, it was the primary objective of this.
That said, I believe the lack of explanations in Episode 1-1 make it a bit random. Back with the adults discussion, Eva, Hideyoshi, Rudolf were claiming Krauss found the gold, but why would they suddenly use a myth to state that Krauss managed to save his investment without any supporter? The missing element in this discussion is the fact that Hideyoshi explained that the business world knew about Kinzo and that the later presented to a certain president the gold he received from Beatrice. That businessman took 1 ingot at random and upon inspection it was pure gold at 99,99%. From this point, Kinzo won the trust of many from the business world.
And here, Krauss actually explain that he managed to find with great efforts that ingot before his siblings could. This little explanation could only needed 15 seconds in the last episode and like 4-5 here. Not totally important but it would have made this scene less random.
Now my real gripe here is the fact they totally mauled down again Natsuhi’s development here: originally, Natsuhi was indeed shocked upon the sight of the gold but… what horrified her the most is that Krauss shows her that ingot only now, after the whole letter mess. Natsuhi felt so dejected by her own husband despite she took care of the household the best she could and always supported Krauss. Therefore, the fact Krauss didn’t tell her anything just shattered her again as she felt her own husband doesn’t trust her. That is actually a snowball effect with what happened earlier with Eva.
Few moment later, Jessica finds her mom in a poor state and wonders what’s going on. Trying not to worry her daughter, Natsuhi tells her that she just has yet another headache and asks Jessica to leave her alone as she is fine. Concerned about her mother, Jessica offers her the scorpion talisman Maria gave her during the picnic. Touched by this, Natsuhi gladly accepts it.
And here come the very touching moment. Despite the cuts, they managed to convey a nice mood between Natsuhi and Jessica, but the extent is totally flattened.
As I explained above, Natsuhi was actually completely depressed after what Krauss did. Furthermore, Natsuhi KNOWS that Jessica hates her because she is strict and really wants her to become the heir of the Ushiromiya, even if it goes against her own wishes.
Conversively, they skipped from the start all elementd that made Jessica “hate” her parents: to begin with, after the whole letter chaos, Jessica was indignate to see the adults going all greedy over the money, but she learned a very nice lesson from George. This is why, upon seeing her mother like this, Jessica rememebers of what George said (that even if they have their hands dirty, parents are doing their best to assure the future of their children), she starts being considerate about Natsuhi, even if she didn’t express much love towards her.
This is also the reason why Natsuhi is very deeply touched by Jessica’s concern.
As you can see, the mood is a bit the same, but the context and extent are totally different.
The cousins are going back to the guesthouse with Shannon.
As they arrive, George and Jessica ask Shannon if she wouldn’t mind joining them in playing some trump cards along with Kanon. Interested by it, Shannon goes to the servant room in order to check the schedule but she encounters Kanon and Genji. It seems the whole schedule changed due to the recent event at the Mansion and the three of them are assigned to the guesthouse by Krauss. Genji leaves the room and Shannon tells Kanon that the cousins invited them to play together but Kanon obviously think they have to decline the offer since they are furniture.
Shannon doesn’t go against this decision and leaves to decline the cousins offer. In the process she bumps on George and both are acting intimately. Meanwhile, Battler learns from Jessica that both George and Shannon are dating.
Did they REALLY need to make that closeup to Shannon’s breast? Actually I wonder why they wasted like 20 seconds on this sequence despite they could have save it and start when they are arriving at the guesthouse, with George asking Shannon to join them.
Same goes for Jessica: do they need to insert such blatant fanservice pose? She could be just next to Maria, instead of being bend like this, with a view on her butt *sigh*.
Regarding Kanon and Shannon, I’m not sure if Kanon should be as tall or taller than Shannon but that’s an unecessary concern. What worried me a bit is the total lack of Kanon “nee-san” or anything that points out that he considers Shannon as his elder sister. Actually, from this scene, one would rather expect Kanon to be more “mature” or “older” than Shannon which isn’t the case at all.
That said, I’m not sure if removing Genji from this scene was the best idea: I must admit that it was nice to see Kanon with that reaction after Shannon left, but it is kinda ambiguous to figure what he is feeling. Originally, Genji doesn’t leave the room yet and when Shannon does, Genji tells him that he should sometimes act like someone of his age, but again Kanon insists in a depressed way that he is furniture so there is no need for that. That might be the same message with Kanon sighing afterwards, but that also removes a “bound” between Genji and Kanon. The fact they removed yet another element of this relationship confirm why Shannon and Kanon don’t call Genji “Genji-sama” in the anime. Truly disheartening that few words can change completely the mood and relationship between characters yet they don’t do that (despite they do have the time for this).
At the arbor of the garden, George gives to Shannon a ring. Bewildered, Shannon is unable to accept such present but George tells her it isn’t a request but an order. From this point though, it is up to Shannon to choose which finger she will wear her ring on, which will be her answer tomorrow.
Completely overwhelmed by this situation, Shannon pretends she has things to do at the mansion. Fine with it, George goes back to the guesthouse.
Shannon is back to the mansion and check if all windows are closed. As she thought noticing something, she walks off, completely clueless that a golden butterfly is following her.
As the clock is about to reach midnight, the 18 persons on Rokkenjima are either busy with mundane things or sleeping already. However, none would expect a tragedy to occur the very next day… none expect Kinzo.
You know what is scary? Taken out of context, the “it is an order” turns George into a narcissit borderline playa here XD.
This is where I believe they should have kept that whole “boob joke” with Battler: not only to give more comic aspect to Battler instead of being a perv, but to give some sense to this scene.
To explain further what really happened, when Battler was about to gropes Shannon, he was expecting to be slapped soon but it was his “way” to communicate with girls. However, he was shocked to see that Shannon was only bashful and didn’t move one bit, so he was about to really grope her. Jessica intervenes and hit Battler’s head with her elbow. And here comes Battler’s famous “nahahaha, thanks Jessica!” which surprises everyone. Then Battler explains to Shannon it is no good and she has to retaliate. However, Shannon, being overly kind and serious in her maid role, says Battler is a very important guest this year and she cannot abide to this request, unless if it is an order. And there we hav George saying it is an order and everyone is happy with that.
That’s why the “it is an order” in the ring scene looks a bit out of place even with the romantic mood ( I think it BREAKS the romantic mood as George is kinda forceful as result, even if he doesn’t mean it in the anime).
The BGM used for the end of October 4th was sasorinoharawata which was also a good choice by itself.
October 5th, 6:00AM. Kanon and Genji are leaving the guesthouse to start their morning chores at the mansion. Kanon is going to the kitchen, greeting Gohda who should be preparing breakfast. However, he is absent and Kanon wonders if Gohda just overslept. Kanon picks up the phone and tries to contact him but it seems the phone is out of service.
Meanwhile, Natsuhi wakes up from her slumber and contemplates the talisman Jessica gave her previously. Suddenly, she hears someone knocking at her door: it is Genji. The later apologies for waking up her early, and reports her that because of the lightning during the night, the phone is unusable.
Furthermore, he is unable to find Gohda and thus, the preparations of breakfast haven’t started yet. As he is reporting this, Natsuhi notices Genji’s troubled face and upon checking where he was staring to, she is shocked to see the door of her own room covered by blood red fingerprints. Bewildered by this “bad taste prank”, Natsuhi puts the priority on the preparation of breakfast.
Now, I must say the scripters had a good idea to shorten the time needed for Natsuhi to notice the fingerprints on the door. Even if it is Genji, something like this probably disturbs him a bit, which makes this subtle hint for Natsuhi working.
Natsuhi finds Kanon in the parlor but not only he still couldn’t find Gohda, but more people are missing: Krauss, Rudolf, Rosa and Shannon are nowhere to be seen. As Kanon is leaving with Genji, Eva and Hideyoshi arrive from their room and Eva wonders if Krauss and the rest aren’t with Kinzo.
Natsuhi is going to check but Genji was waiting for her and spontaneously lends her the key of Kinzo’s study.
Again, I will not discredit how they shortened this scene: it went straight to the point and all characters had their idea of where the rest are. 2 other subtle relationship hints were given as well: the way how Natsuhi stares at Eva when she questions her gives away how she suspect Eva to be behind that prank.
As for the other good execution: the way how Natsuhi expressed her gratitude and how the seiyuu said it managed to convey how she was thankful. By extension that also means the key of Kinzo’s study is something that not even the masters of the household would be able to have.
Even if anime watchers wouldn’t realize how having this key is a privilege, they can have an idea how it isn’t something they can be granted like this (especially that Krauss was forced to knock as Kinzo’s door at several occasions instead of asking the key to Genji).
Natsuhi is knocking at Kinzo’s room door but there is no response. So she opens the door and is surprised to see Kinzo awake, facing a window. Natsuhi tries convincing him to attend breakfast with the family but Kinzo refuses in a dry way.
Disheartened by his decision, Natsuhi apologies and is about to leave but Kinzo stops her and asks if she sometimes longs for her family. Natsuhi declares she is Ushiromiya Natsuhi, and therefore is devoted to this family only. Contemplating this answer, Kinzo wonders how the situation would be if Natsuhi and Krauss had their position switched but quickly stop mumbling. Natsuhi, deeply touched by it, swears she will protect the name of the Ushiromiya. Kinzo acknowledges this and states that even if she isn’t able to bear the crest of the family due to her blood, she has the one winged eagle carved in her heart, which is the real proof of her being Kinzo’s family. Struck by a tremendous emotions, Natsuhi shed few tears.
The early part of this scene was also a good way to build up the bound between Genji and Kinzo. Kinzo was shown as a madman and always in his study, however, we were shown that Genji has the key and that Kinzo even called him “my friend”. I was worried they would skip this important part as they didn’t show that Genji and Kinzo had a drink together but it is fine like this.
However, I’m still concerned that they made Kinzo really “obsessed” with Beatrice without giving him some common sense: Kinzo “knows” his sons and daughters are just lurking around to get his inheritance, hence why he feels stupid and unecessary to show up: not only it will disrupt his preparations for the ceremony with Beatrice, but also, he doesn’t consider them as family, since they are just slaves of money.
Aside of that, the scene was left pretty much intact which was very important for the plot and Natsuhi’s development. No complain about it except the little nitpicking earlier.
Natsuhi leaves Kinzo’s study and bumps on Eva who was wondering if Krauss and the rest was with him, but it wasn’t the case. They are soon joined by Genji who still couldn’t find them but reports to Natsuhi that the garden storagehouse is kinda weird.
Later, Natsuhi, Eva, Hideyoshi, Genji and Kanon go over there and are shocked to see a big magical circle on the storagehouse. Hideyoshi notes that it is similar to those used in demonic ceremonies.
Kanon tells everyone that the sigil wasn’t present the other day and Eva orders him to take care of it. Kanon then opens the storagehouse.
It is a pity they had to shorten this scene as Natsuhi could have the “upper hand” after such warming moment. In fact, both She and Eva were going back to the parlor. The other change is that Eva was actually expecting Natsuhi to make Kinzo leave his study, as Natsuhi believes she isn’t hated by him. Therefore, Eva was ready to sneer at Natsuhi and her failure but Natsuhi actually kept her dignity and stated she understood Kinzo’s feelings regarding how his children. Eva is taken aback and Natsuhi, completely “reborn”, suggest some tea. Eva was unable to criticize anything in Natsuhi’s behaviour and could only follow her.
As for the shed, I’m a bit displeased that they insist “could they be in the shed?”. That was actually a nonsense and original, Eva was saying it as if it was impossible. The thing is that Eva asked Kanon clean this sigil as it wasn’t pleasant at all, especially since it is part of where she has grown up. Therefore, Kanon checks the shed, not because they think they are inside, but because there are tools that would allow them to temporarily repaint the shed.
The children are in the mansion with Nanjo but suddenly, Genji arrives and whispers something to Nanjo, horrifying the later. Both are quickly leaving the mansion which picks the curiosity of the cousins.
George asks if Maria wants to go with them but she prefers watching TV.
I really didn’t expect some Ura Higu (special bonus for each DVD of Higurashi Kai) to be “airing” there, but heh XD. That said, I believe Chiaki Kon needs to be a bit more humble here: I mean, showing the Ura Higu where she appears as a hornless Hanyuu? well…
As the cousins are approaching the storagehouse, Natsuhi spreads her arms and orders them to go back to the mansion. Intrigued by her mother’s behaviour, Jessica ignores this and rushes to see what’s going on.
Struck by horror, Jessica screams. Battler and George approach and discover the gruesome scene: corpses are in the storagehouse, their head smashed brutally.
Eva orders George to take everyone back to the mansion, but both he and Battler are completely dumbstruck, while Jessica desperately tries to reach Krauss.
Now, this was one of the scenes that I was expecting the most and the mood felt a bit mixed here.
I must admit I didn’t expect them to show that much, even with the usual “darkned area” censor method. That being said, I wasn’t even expecting Golden Slaugtherer to be played there and that could have pleased me like no tomorrow… If they timed it better :s.
I believe they should have started it when Jessica screamed, but they should have also shortened a bit the “intro” part of the BGM so the pumping element would reach the said scene.
Nanjo performs and autopsy and states that probably more than 6 hours had passed after their death, and the damage on the skulls were done after they were killed. Upon hearing this, Hideyoshi can only lament that it was the work of the devil while Battler collapses, letting loose a scream.
George then asks if there are 5 corpses but Hideyoshi confirms there is a sixth victim. George is horrified to see a lifeless arm whose ring finger wore a diamond ring.
Now that is the part that makes me annoyed a lot: They completely downplayed everyone shock: most if not all were silent except Jessica being right on the spot.
Nanjo’s behaviour was fine and they didn’t forget to make him sweating considering the insane situation. However, what really looked silly is how Hideyoshi and Battler reacted…
First Hideyoshi, for obscure reasons, start STANDING UP and watch the others, as if to insist how it is insane… I mean, why didn’t they just make him smash the ground with his hands in his despair, instead of overdramatizing him?
Battler was much worse, because there was a pure lag: from the moment he said “what kind of joke it is?!” he remained silent like a damn statue. And only when Hideyoshi said ALL of his stuff, Battler drops his umbrella and starts bending himself once, then a second time before screaming.
Honestly, they totally watered down his reaction and he was absolutely scripted: the timing was bad and him to react only way much later despite his own dad is lying there, dead and his face smashed!
Having heard the drama CD makes me wonder… why didn’t they allow Ono to shine like this?! Battler was totally struck by this which was a big contrast with how he was interacting with Rudolf from the start. Then our big guy really went insane and totally freaked out that all the victims have no face anymore, like bunch of monsters. This was important to really give emphasis on how gruesome and horrifying this sight is.
This is the reason why I wonder they used the remaining time for George and Shannon. George didn’t even wait a sole second and asked Hideyoshi if there are only 5 corpses. I wasn’t too pleased by that because George also is concerned a lot about Battler and originally tried to “comfort” him. It needed few moments for everyone to regain a bit their spirits before going forth with another matter.
Also, although the whole ring thing is easier for the watchers to realize how painful the scene is for George, it actually turned the scene into a blunt “shock” instead of a quick descent in despair.
After Battler had his crying share, George asks if there are 5 corpses, but Hideyoshi confirms there is another. At this point, George was almost killed emotionally and in tears asked if it is Shannon, which Hideyoshi confirmed. And this is one of themost heartwrenching part of Episode 1, because George realized his fiance died, but he also asked Hideyoshi if he could see her again, even if she is smashed like the others, and the whole question regarding “did shannon accepted his proposal?” was also on delay until we got a depressing confirmation from Hideyoshi. Due to this, I wonder if they will let Hideyoshi shine with the matter regarding the ring.
If you want to see (or rather listen) how the scene should be, I made a video of the first twilight with screencaps of the episode and the said scene from the Drama CD:
and with the original BGM, golden slaughterer:
I really hope they will redo the scene for the start of 1-3 because they really went very blunt on Shannon’s death which doesn’t allow George and the rest to realize how cruel it was…
Episode 1-2 didn’t exactly win me that much because, as you could read above, I believe they slaughtered a lot of character development and relationship for obscure reason. This is why I couldn’t give more than 6/10 even if the pace is arguably much better than Episode 1-1.
But again, I believe the scripters could have done a much better job in conveying the emotions of several characters. For starters, there was many way to gain several precious seconds here and there (i.e: various unecessary animated sequence like Maria eating her cake, etc but especially the cousins going back to the guest house with Shannon). With this, they could have extended more lines for few characters that would change a lot of their depth.
But the real problem was the first twilight that got cramped way too much, which totally killed the emotions of the characters, especially Battler’s.
I really believe they should have cut right when they discovered the corpses or when Battler started to scream for Rudolf and Kyrie, sayign “there is no face, there is no face !!!!”. That would have given the episode a big touch of big shock, while here, they bluntly show that Shannon died, which lessen the impact and the possible lingering emotions regarding Shannon and George.
Aside of the last scene, again, various instances weren’t animated in a proper way (Maria’s witch face was really ridiculous) and the sheer number of stillshot doesn’t help in that regard. I’m a bit afraid of the whole quality of this show because Higurashi was much more tricky due to the background (which were very detailed, even in Season 1) and the colors used. Even if Umineko has much more characters, most of them don’t have many motions/movements which make me wonder if the budget isn’t anything lower than Kai…
Or perhaps it is because the budget was cashed big time with the large seiyuu cast? Who knows but that doesn’t exactly justify everything, especially if we consider how little many characters talked during the first 2 episodes (who said Gohda…?).
I was pleased to hear more of the original BGM but these certainly don’t make up for all the characters cuts they have done… Hopefully, if they can keep a better timing for these, without cutting that much, it would be an excellent treat for the VN readers.
Anyway, now that there are still 3 episodes for the rest of Episode 1, the pace should be settled better than both Episode 1-1 and 1-2, but I’m still concerned by the lack of character develpment and depth which will make various hints and elements void without prior knowledge or explanation…