Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-3: 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!
____________________________________________________________________

Things are on the roll, and I assume the recent events started to make you speculate some theories, didn’t they?

This week will be much more dense on the mystery, so I hope you have your own idea on your side as well!

Legend of the Golden Witch Analysis: [Episode 1-2]

Be sure to have watched the episode before reading this !

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

  1. The storehouse
  2. Occult
  3. Receipt
  4. Random comment: Battler

_______________________________________________________________

[Analysis]


I. The storehouse

Well, let’s start with what we ended last week: the first twilight.

We have learned some interesting details in this week’s episode: according to Genji, there is only 1 key for the storehouse of the rose garden. This means that, unless the culprit was oddly well prepared for their crime (replica in advance or whatever), they had to pick up the key from the key box of the servant room (or another method explained below).

Kanon had to fetch the key of the storehouse first before opening it. Consequently, the storehouse was locked properly at the given time.
Also, we know from the VN that the servants are certain the shutter is always locked when they don’t need to takes any objects from there.
From this point, there is no way to speculate that the shutter wasn’t locked and/or the culprit destroyed the padlock and replaced it with another one.

It leaves us with what Battler (or originally, Hideyoshi) thought about this problem:
The culprit took the key from the key box in the servant room, opened the shutter, stuffed the corpses in there, closed the shutter, painted the circle and then put back the key in the box.

Now let’s summary a bit what Eva and Battler thought about this matter:
1) the servant’s room is definitely not a location that the family members would visit. This is very true since usually, they just call the servants through the phone.
2) the key is impossible to distinguish from others by its looks. One has to know exactly its location in the key box.

Thus, all these facts would lead us to believe a servant (or several / all of them) was the culprit.
However, as Battler already figured out, this choice is very poor because it becomes very obvious who are the culprits and their range of actions. If you also add the problem of confining corpses in “‘not so concealed” fashion, it makes the whole thing moot.

The other method is much more straightforward: lock picking the padlock.
There are however points that go against this theory:

First, regardless if the culprit prepared the storehouse before or after the crime, they had a very tight “schedule”: moving 6 corpses, even if they aren’t alone is absolutely not an easy job. That would also include all extra stuff required (like hiding the weapon(s) of murders and/or those used to smash the faces, the circle etc).
Second, they have to lock pick a padlock that is obviously close to the ground, so it is kinda awkward with such angle.
And finally, the weather is pretty bad: Rokkenjima is engulfed in a typhoon, and it is probably pitch black. Thus, spending time on lock picking is arguably not safe: to the contrary, it would certainly make things even harder than it can be.

Thus, this method might be considered as unlikely, but it is still possible, and conveniently avoid thinking too much about the key.

II. Occult

Maria’s explanations regarding the first sigil were quite surprising and blunt. Here are the full explanations about it though:

George: “……That’s incredible, I’m surprised… …So, what meaning does this magic circle have?”

Maria: “It’s a magic circle to borrow the power of the sun.  ……He who wears it as a talisman drawn in gold shall be able to break free from the bonds of any prison, and receive the power to gain freedom.”

Jessica: “…Break free from the bonds, ……gain freedom…?  It sounds deep…”

Maria: “The word ‘bonds’ is not limited in its interpretation to some kind of physical object.  …Therefore it does not only hold meaning for people locked up in an actual jail.  It can also refer to the release from mental bonds such as ties of obligation and inescapable fate.”

Battler: “……Ties of obligation and, inescapable fate, ……you say?  …That’s also pretty deep.”


Hideyoshi: “But I really don’t understand…  What does this have to do with those six bodies?  …Far from bein’ released, they were killed and stuffed in a storehouse, weren’t they?!”


Maria: “It’s not like the magic circle was drawn for their sakes.  The six of them were there for the sake of the magic circle.  It is truly pitiable. …Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi.”

George: “What do you mean…?  What in the world do you mean when you say the six of them were there for the sake of the magic circle?”

Maria lifted up her pointer finger and waggled it as if she were making fun of us.

Maria: “That’s written around the circumference.  Can’t you read it?  Psalms, chapter 116, verses 16 and 17.  ……I’ll read it for you.  ‘The Lord has freed me from my chains.  I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on the name of the Lord‘  ……See?”

Maria’s explanations regarding the circle are kinda ominous and leave a lot to be reconsidered. First, regardless if it was just for show or a real magic circle, what is the real meaning of such message?
Maria implies that the practitioner sacrificed the first 6 in order to benefit freedom due to the magic of this formula. Therefore, something doesn’t exactly sound right: if it is really the case, how would Beatrice be trapped in this shed to begin with? One would rather expect a specific ground, be it cursed, (un)holy… yet an area filled with casual tools for humans?

Even if it is only “spiritually” freeing Beatrice, meaning anywhere will do (if we accept the existence of witches that is), it is rather unconvincing for the practitioner to make such ridiculous ceremony in that kind of place. (we can imagine fancy hall with various contraptions etc… indeed, cliché but more convincing than this).

We can conclude from this detail that the culprit doesn’t exactly care much about how it is done, so long the setup is what they expect to be. However, it is interesting to note that this circle and definition DO exist:

The Seventh and last Pentacle of the Sun.–If any be by chance imprisoned or detained in fetters of iron, at the presence of this Pentacle, which should be engraved in Gold on the day and hour of the Sun, he will be immediately delivered and set at liberty.

Note.–On the Arms of the Cross are written the Names of Chasan, Angel of Air; Arel, Angel of Fire; Phorlakh, Angel of Earth; and Taliahad, Angel of Water. Between the four Arms of the Cross are written the names of the four Rulers of the Elements: Ariel, Seraph, Tharshis, and Cherub. The versicle is from Psalm cxvi. 16, 17:–‘Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the Name of IHVH.’

Maria’s explanations are matching perfectly and the symbol itself is arguably the same painted by the culprit.
The fact the culprit had drawn a genuine magical circle is kinda troubling: why would they go as far as replicating an intricate figure that almost no one can confirm its authenticity?
This kind of detail doesn’t make much sense because it would take much more time to neatly draw this kind of circle instead of pulling a random cryptic and nonsensical “magical drawing”.

As result, the purpose of such action is to be “decrypted” and considered as genuine. And this can only be done with either Kinzo or Maria.
Therefore, the culprit planned that Maria will be with them at this point (which gives even more credit to the theory that the culprit contacted Maria even before the family conference). We can go further: it is very likely that Maria will be kept as a “seed of deception”, that will disrupt the rest of the survivors, because of the creepy occult stuff.

Here is Battler’s monologue regarding this point:

The next thing that had me concerned was the shape of the magic circle on the shutter. As Maria, who had shown that her knowledge of the occult rivaled Grandfather’s, had recognized, that magic circle was genuine.

They must have drawn that thing in pitch-black darkness, taking a lot of time and holding an umbrella in one hand.  Isn’t that amount of hard work and perfectionism impressive? What purpose would have been worth all of that effort?

…If we were looking for a fan of the occult in this mansion, most likely, all of us would naturally doubt Grandfather.

Did they want to ‘make us think Grandfather was involved?’
But if that was all they wanted, they could have just drawn any old scribble that looked like a magic circle. It wasn’t like any of us amateurs could be able to tell the difference between genuine and fake. …However, this magic circle was genuine, and furthermore, it had even been written in Hebrew.

………So this magic circle had a message ‘that could only be understood by someone with knowledge of the occult’.

This message was a form of communication. ……By sending it, they were hoping for a reaction. …Reaction?

………For some reason, we couldn’t find Grandfather now. I couldn’t know how Grandfather might have seen the magic circle on the shutter, but had he chosen to hide himself in reaction to that sign…?

No, was it a trap to make us suspect that Grandfather had participated? …You could read it either way, damn that’s annoying. …..What kind of reaction was the culprit hoping to get out of us by showing this imitation of the occult…? Somehow, that felt like the culprit’s weak point…

The letter from Beatrice that Maria had read aloud during last night’s dinner sprang back into my mind.
……This person was satisfied with playing a battle of wits. Isn’t that interesting? This is a battle of wits between us and the witch-sama.
Will we be sucked up by her occult game first?
Or will we pull off her fake skin first?

……There’s a whole day until the typhoon passes.
Why not enjoy ourselves…?!

Unlike what Battler might be thinking, it is very hard to conclude Kinzo himself did this. Why? Because, aside of his poor health, it is difficult to imagine him doing this because he himself believes he might be chosen by the “roulette” of the game. This is what we can gather in the VN, when Kinzo was relinquishing his ring:

Kinzo: “……So, shall we begin? Mine and yours, the miraculous banquet.  ……Even now this island has been cut off from the world.  Now there is no one who can interrupt my ceremony.  There are many fitting sacrifices for you.  Four of my children.  Three of their companions.  Four of my grandchildren.  Me and my guests and my servants!  You may eat up as many as you please.  The key of fate will obey the devil’s roulette and choose the sacrifices.  If that roulette chooses me, even I will become your sacrifice.  …However, because of that…  because I will bet on that madness, ……I will definitely create a grand miracle. …Well then, eat as much as you would like..!!  I will probably overcome that roulette.  Well then, I’ll bet everything.  First, I’ll return the inheritance of the Ushiromiya family.  You can have it!!”

It is true that Kinzo is  a madman, but this is exactly because of this point that it is difficult to expect him doing anything.
Furthermore, using again the chessboard thinking, the whole point of this “made up” ceremony doesn’t work if Kinzo himself believes that Beatrice definitely exists and took his ring: why would he try to deceive the rest that Beatrice exists if he believes she does exist? It is quite contradictory here.

Now back with Maria: if we have to reconsider her performance with the magic circle, it becomes more creepy than anything else: she is 9 years old, and even though she is indeed well versed in occult stuff, this level is quite too much for a girl of her age (perfectly drawn circles, hebrew lines, etc).
So, it is rather difficult to expect Maria anything “normal” from this point, but it seems George has a totally different idea : As explained in the VN, Maria’s creepy behaviour wasn’t anything new but because of Rosa, Maria progressively stopped acting like this in front of her.
George believes that the difference between children and adults is experience which is the reason why adults can look down on children and actually teach them so they can grow up. But as one is growing up, they tend not to act like everyone else and each of them wish to be independent with skills and knowledge that nobody knows.
Consequently, adopting another personality allows to forge one’s identity. In Maria’s case, adopting a witch’s personality allows her to get a +1000 years which is conveniently a shortcut for her “experience”.

Although he brought many good points regarding how personality and identity can interact with each other, in Maria’s case, something is way too off.
It isn’t a pure issue regarding personality but also knowledge: in this case, Maria indeed has trustworthy knowledge which isn’t something she would naturally learn, especially if we consider Rosa being overly annoyed by this kind of hobby.
Thus, there has to be something… or rather someone who provides that kind of knowledge to her. If we consider the fact only Maria “met” Beatrice, it is very likely that, with this magical knowledge and whatnot, she knows the culprit from a long time.
If we consider this point, it might be the reason why the culprit had to go through such perfectionism in their act: it wouldn’t really be possible to convince Maria with random crap about magic and the like. Thus, if they had to brainwash Maria with genuine occult knowledge, they would be forced to go through such perfectionism in order to make Maria plays along with them.

III. Receipt

Eva’s whim took everyone off guard, and this is interesting to say the least. So let’s summary what happened so far:

1) Around 7:00AM, Eva and Hideyoshi shows up in the parlor and they meet Natsuhi who is looking for Krauss and the rest. Soon enough, Eva wonders if they are with Kinzo and Natsuhi goes to check, and tries to convince Kinzo to join for breakfast in the same time
2) Few moments later, Natsuhi leaves the study, and Eva meets her in the corridor.
3) between 8:00AM and 9:00AM, the survivors found the corpses of the first 6
4) Around 9:00AM, both Natsuhi and Eva go to the study, but Kinzo is absent.

Eva claims she wedged the door of the study with a folded receipt when Natsuhi left the study for the first time.
What we know from the VN are also the following points:
1) when Eva and Natsuhi checked the study for the second time, Natsuhi found some trash as she was entering and threw it away, which was the folded receipt (confirmed by Natsuhi)
2) Eva states the receipt was folded small and could not be noticed at the first glance
3) Before Natsuhi opened the door, Eva stared at the receipt and it was at the exact same location.

There is little room to doubt the existence of the receipt. Now, does it prove anything really substantial? I don’t think so.
Battler’s theory can be taken at face value, even if it sounds a bit weird but, there is something else:
What if it was Eva’s conspiracy to frame Natsuhi? There is no proof Eva is the culprit whatsoever, however it wouldn’t be strange for her to take advantage of this situation in order to pull a checkmate on Natsuhi (not only it will clear any possible issue with the inheritance, but it can also prevent her to be accused for this incident. two birds with one stone).

For starters, Battler’s comment (a very good food for thought even for an original anime content, even for the bad reasons) marks a fundamental point: why would Eva wedge the door with a receipt?
There is something wrong here: they discovered the corpses AFTER Natsuhi’s first visit to Kinzo…
Thus, why? The whole receipt stuff only makes sense if Eva wants to be sure that Kinzo will stay in his room. Therefore, the reason behind this action can only be one thing: that Eva expected Kinzo to be missing.
It doesn’t make sense in term of purpose or timing at all.

Thus, one would really question the existence of the receipt itself.
It does exist, but is there ANY rock solid proof, aside of Eva’s own words, that the receipt was stuck in there before?
Eva claims she could see the receipt and its location when Natsuhi’s was getting the key of the study, but what makes her sure that it wasn’t “even 1 milimeter off” of the mark?
Furthermore, what prevents Eva to stealthily throws the folded receipt AFTER Natsuhi opens the door, so the later can testify the receipt exists?

No matter how you look at this problem, the reason behind this receipt is way too fishy.

Now, if we admit the receipt was really set, thus a perfect seal, and that Eva didn’t lie at all… well, there is another loophole aside of Battler’s crazy theory:
Regardless the medium, who can testify that no one was observing Natsuhi and Eva when they went back to the parlor?
Any culprit wouldn’t have any problem to replace the receipt right where it was if they saw Eva setting it.
From this point, they could simply lure Kinzo out (pretending to be Beatrice or whatever) so he himself jumps out of the study and get abducted. And only afterwards, the culprit puts the receipt back where it was.

Another possibility is that Kinzo left through the window and Eva might have noticed the opened window but carefully closed it so Natsuhi wouldn’t notice, in order to frame her (In the VN, it is confirmed that all windows were shut, and they have to be closed from the inside).

Again, another possibility would be a secret door or anything of that kind, but it has been denied by Genji, Kanon, Kumasawa and even Nanjo.

There are too many loopholes in this “closed room”, especially if you reconsider the possible ulterior motives Eva has, because of her enmity towards Natsuhi. From this point, it isn’t even impossible to think that Eva made a mistake but nevertheless believed the receipt is at the exact same location… out of malice, greed or her own delusion, who knows.

In any case, the receipt seal is absolutely not flawless which pretty much means anything and nothing at the same time. The only sure fact is that Kinzo disappeared without anybody knowing (unless we speculate that Eva is in cahoots because she had that “hunch”).

IV. Battler

As I explained in my review of Episode 1-3, I was downright annoyed how they portrayed Battler.
What’s actually interesting and touching with Battler is the fact he is torn with the eternal “18 or 19 persons on Rokkenjima?”.

Thorough Episode 1, Battler was really not fancying the slightest idea that one of his relatives or even the servants could do such atrocities. However, he wasn’t able to surrender either, so believing in a witch is also out of question.
As result, this engimatic situation is taking a toll on his morale. You can have a peek of what was his thoughts after Eva and Natsuhi’s arguments, after Eva left with Hideyoshi. In fact, he “tells” Maria he believes in the witch (as he refuses to consider one of the 18 to be the culprit) and Maria, sneering at him, accepts his request and will “tell” to Beatrice the next murder will be done, in such a way that no human can do that.

Crap…  Nothing’s made sense to me for a while now…
Just when I want to believe in a nineteenth person, I deny it, and just when I want to believe that there are only eighteen people, I deny that too.

Even though I wish that there were more than just the eighteen people here, I couldn’t accept the existence of that nineteenth person.
……In short, even though there are more than 18 people, there are less than 19 people.
……The number of people in this mansion is 19>X>18.
So the number of people can’t be represented by an integer. ……However, it’s impossible for there to be anything after the decimal point. You shouldn’t be able to show the number of people with anything but an integer.
…And yet, 19>X>18. How do you explain the fraction less than 1…!

It’s no wonder. …That nineteenth person was something that couldn’t be seen.
That’s why, since you can only write the number of people as an integer, you couldn’t see that person

That witch cannot be seen. Because Beatrice has no body. Therefore, she is invisible.
Is there a nineteenth person, or not? Does the witch exist, or not?

19>X>18.

…The witch exists somewhere in that X…!

This is why Battler’s mindset is very important, because it makes him emotional and really empathic and sympathic to the other characters and the readers alike.

In the midst of such chaos, even if Battler dearly wish to beat the crap out of the culprit, he remains human and doesn’t want to neither hurt the other 17 with suspicions, nor imagine them even a bit as the culprit.
This is the very reason his behaviour during the faceoff between Eva and Natsuhi was almost a contradiction to Battler’s essence and spirit, because wouldn’t go as far as declaring out loud that one of the 18 would be the culprit nor he would cross examinate one of them.
Battler did ask about Eva’s alibi, however the method and purpose were clearly different. In fact, Battler first concludes regardless how reckless his argument is, it definitely render Eva’s receipt not so almighty. Then, Battler is pissed off and tells Eva he really dislikes her forcing Natsuhi a proper explanation, and reverse the tables with her own alibi for the previous night.

Here is what happened:

Eva: “Wh, what is this!?  Why would Father want to do something that weird and then escape the room?!  Don’t be so absurd!”

Battler: “Yeah, it might be absurd.  However, it still shows that the there is a possibility that Natsuhi oba-san is being accused falsely.  Your receipt wasn’t perfect.  In chess, we might call that check,  but it isn’t checkmate!!
And the thing that I like least is your argument, pressuring Natsuhi oba-san to explain it, and then claiming that, if she doesn’t, she must be guilty!  If you’re asking me to let that slide, then why don’t you let me, Ushiromiya Battler turn the chessboard over one more time!!
Eva oba-san, according to your argument,  ……you must explain to us why you and Hideyoshi oji-san couldn’t have killed those six last night and then casually returned to the guesthouse…! You’ve been trying to force Natsuhi oba-san to explain.  I’m sure you can prove your own innocence, right?!  You, who’s had all of Grandfather’s wealth suddenly plopped down right into your hands!!”

Jessica: “Th, that’s right, you are suspicious enough yourself, aren’t you!!?`  If you say Mom’s suspicious because she was the last person to see him,  then what about you, Eva oba-san, who were the last person to see Dad and the rest?!!  Just like Battler said, prove that you two weren’t the ones that killed them!!”

George: “………Mother, I also think that your reasoning was a little overeager.  ……I’m sure that the receipt was an important hint.  But, like Battler-kun said, that’s not enough to prove that Natsuhi oba-san is this culprit.  ……I think everyone’s equally suspicious.  It’s not right for only Natsuhi oba-san to be persecuted.”

Eva: “O, our great Father, crawling under his bed?  You call nonsense like that an explanation?!”

Jessica: “In that case, why don’t you explain first!!?  Who killed those six, and how, and then try showing us proof that you weren’t involved!!”

After this whole argument, Jessica suddenly has a asthma fit after yelling so much. While she is taken care by Nanjo and Kanon, the mood was rather settled.
Then, Battler and Eva had a short dicussion:

Eva: ” ………But don’t you want to know too, Battler-kun?  Who the culprit is?  …Don’t you want to let them know the pain you feel from losing someone precious to you, as soon as possible?”

Battler: “………I won’t deny that.  Even one day would be too long to let the wonderful bastard who’s behind this go. …But that doesn’t mean that I want to doubt one of the eighteen.  Even though I said what I said earlier, I don’t even want to doubt you, Eva oba-san.  …To me, you are an awesome aunt who’s always fun, if a little playful. ……I don’t want to trade insults with an aunt like that.  I wouldn’t want to do that with anyone here.  ………Right?  Everyone?”

George: “……………I feel the same way as Battler-kun.  …It’s pointless to trade insults.  ……It’s probably just the stress built up because so many people have been crammed in one place since morning.”

Nanjo: “……That is true.  It is not surprising…  I know I have no right to say it, but I think everyone should relax…”

And right after that, Hideyoshi suggests to Eva they should cool down their head a bit, and this is where Eva admits there is no point to go further in such kind of unproductive discussion, as the police investigation will solve the incident, “when the seagulls cry”.
And here comes why Eva and Hideyoshi are in a room: because Eva is still certain of her evidence, so left the group for her family’s safety, but George doesn’t follow them, since, just like Battler, he can’t suspect any of the 18 either, which explains why he was also trying to reason Eva as well.

Truly a pity they just made Battler more like a detective, than a very empathic individual (downplaying his sadness and shock over the first six death, arguments etc). Ah well…

_______________________________________________________________

Fuhaaa… finally done. This article was much harder than the previous ones, since I tried to pull most theories I had without tainting them with future knowledge… which was harder because I wasn’t all that much convinced at some points, but some proofreaders proved me otherwise.
You might think it is weird I didn’t write anything about the second twilight, but since Episode 1-4 will cover few missing information, it is rather moot to go high heels on it, to have more stuff to be detailed with this episode.

Hopefully, I hope this article was yet another good guidance and food for thought for you all.
Episode 1-4 review article will certainly be available soon enough, don’t worry.

5 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-3: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments”


  1. 1 Ruka July 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    You never dissapoint🙂 I’m waiting for episode’s 4 review.

  2. 2 sadakups July 23, 2009 at 4:00 am

    LOL at “Possibly Related Posts”. Eva Longoria, WTF?

    After reading the thing with Eva and the receipt, I became more confused. Did the anime screw that scene up?

  3. 3 deathkillz July 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

    What part of the receipt scene don’t you understand? (And yes, they missed out lots of stuff there).

  4. 4 secret lingerie October 18, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Currently it seems like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your
    blog?


  1. 1 Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-4: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments « When Anime Past Meets Present Trackback on July 28, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




July 2009
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Archives

Present


%d bloggers like this: