Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-5: Fool’s mate

The Eighth twilight is now over. So many died, yet the culprit is nowhere to be seen.
Battler and everyone else can only helplessly wait for the resurrection of Beatrice. Will the journey to the Golden Land end as promised in the epitaph?


Battler, George, Jessica and Natsuhi are stunned to see such scene: Nanjo, Genji, Kumasawa are dead, while Maria is singing, facing a wall.

At the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
At the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
At the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.

Battler decides to stop Maria’s abnormal behaviour and asks Maria to explain herself. However, even in such situation, Maria claims the culprit is Beatrice. Battler doesn’t believe one bit, but George thinks differently and believes Maria is implying it is a 19th person. Battler wants to know how Genji and the rest were killed, but Maria doesn’t know.
This obviously pisses off Battler, but George remains composed and asks why Maria was singing facing a wall. As Maria says Beatriced asked her to do so, George concludes the other 3 were still alive at this point and Maria confirms Genji locked the door. However, Beatrice is a witch and can get through in a form of a butterfly.

Maria then laughs hysterically and even though everyone else doesn’t believe, she insists Beatrice exists and that she is a witch with magic that allows her to do what she pleases.
Maria explains Beatrice was annoyed because she couldn’t go past Kinzo’s study door no matter what. Thus she instead aimed for the banished group and Maria was “fine” because she was carrying the charm Battler gave her previously. Beatrice asks Maria to sing to the wall, and no matter what she see or hear, she won’t know.
Battler cannot believe such explanations at all and grabs Maria’s shoulders, losing patience.

What struck me instantly was how Maria’s design was very different all of a sudden. It isn’t exactly a problem per se, but the thing is that her face is much more round and her eyes are smaller, thus it really fell odd to see her that different.
Although I still think the facial expressions are exaggerated, at least it conveyed much better the “creepy” factor unlike all previous episodes together: a certain angle and expression can do the trick, instead of giving a complete facial distorsion and eye enlargement…

The other point was Ono: this time, Battler sounded really genuine, pissed off without “waiting” a damn timing to react. The result is really great: Battler is not only annoyed but flaring due to Maria’s irrational bullshit in such situation.

Suddenly, Jessica notices Natsuhi is nowhere to be seen, and Maria tells them that Natsuhi was in fact reading a letter and left suddenly the parlor.
The boys are completely speechless and Jessica quickly tries to join her mother, but the doors of the parlor are blocked by the candlestick Battler took from Kinzo’s study.

Urgh… why… WHY?? It is minor but… why did they have to enlarge Jessica’s chest and make it jiggle THAT obviously with such minimal body rotation? And to make things worse, a diving camera pan when she is beating at the doors? Honestly I don’t get this damn obsession to add female assets in this kind of mood…

Natsuhi is facing Beatrice’s portrait, ready for a final confrontation against the golden witch. A golden butterfly appears, as if the golden witch came for this duel. Prepared to settle everything herself, Natsuhi readies her winchester and shoots.

Nothing to complain about, except perhaps 2 missing things. Strangely enough, Natsuhi sees only a butterfly despite a woman silhouette, clad in gold should be seen instead, but it is pretty much the same kind of presence. The other thing is that Natsuhi doesn’t have the letter: she should be actually done reading with it and throwing it away as she arrives at the portrait though I guess that since they shortened the distance between the portrait and the parlor, they completely forget about the letter.

Battler manages to take down the door, but they are horrified to see Natsuhi collapsing. Jessica dashes towards her mother, but she is horrified to see her dead, with a gun wound on the forehead.

Jessica bursts in tears while Battler and George don’t understand why Natsuhi went alone and killed herself.
George is trying to find the letter, but there isn’t any to be seen.

At the ninth twilight, the witch shall be revived and none shall be left alive.
At the tenth twilight, the journey shall end and you should reach the village of gold.

One change that makes a lot of things difficult all of a sudden. Well, the thing is that the kids hear the gunshot after they break the doors, then they rush as the hall, and they only see Natsuhi’s corpse at this point. But here, Natsuhi’s corpse is seen collapsing as they manage to get out… well…

The journey is finally over. Maria congratulates Beatrice and asks her to bring Maria to the Golden Land.
Battler cannot understand what can be celebrated with such nightmarish situation: 14 persons died, only the 4 of them remain.
In a last ditch of effort, Battler picks up the winchester, stating he will definitely not die, until the typhoon goes away and the seagulls come back, he will definitely not die.
Maria laughs at Battler’s speech, telling him it is already over, pointing the clock.

It is midnight. The journey is over and the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.

So far, the pace was pretty neat: they took their time without dragging much things here and the transition from Natsuhi’s death with Maria’s congratulations was very good.
Again, Battler was really “alive” and clearly denying all this madness.
Meanwhile, using dead angle here was obvious choice for the BGM, and I’m glad: its timing and intensity are about right (unlike system0).

Suddenly, a golden butterfly appears next to Maria, who calls it Beatrice. Upon the sight of such phantasmagoric moment, the 3 cousins are completely mesmerized by the golden butterfly.

The witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Battler refuses to believe in this and shoots at the butterfly. However, as it is scattered, each pieces become butterflies at well, filling the hall with gold glittering.
Maria states bullets do nothing against Beatrice and laughs. Battler, George and Jessica can only remain speechless at the sigh of such impossible, inconceivable scenery.

Even so, Battler yells he will never believe in such preposterous situation.
Only Beatrice remains, sneering at the comment of a pathetic human.

They somehow extended the scene with “Beatrice finally appearing” but I don’t see any problem with that: Battler shooting at the portrait is an original material, but it fits pretty well the mood and his mindset. Something was “very wrong” here and it gives emphasis on this absurd situation.

In a distant future, a fisherman from a neighboor island finds a message bottle.
It is actually a message from Maria:

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

Even years after such incident, none knows what really happened on Rokkenjima during the timeframe of 4th and 5th october 1986…

I’m rather surprised how short they have made the ending: the lack of the ending scroll is a giant cut of hints for the anime watchers. I will anyway cover it with my analysis.

In the purgatory, the cousins are with Shannon and Kanon for a tea party. They all conclude what happened in this story was a blunt Bad End. George believes they should have given more importance to the letter Maria has read, so they could have tried to resolve the riddle instead of meaninglessly trying to catch the culprit.

Jessica laments how Shannon was killed, but while she isn’t that affected by it, Kanon comments how they didn’t meet a nice end either.
Battler though Kanon’s death was cool, but the later believes in the end it was meaningless. Shannon thinks that it is rather a big clue and George agress since it means there is definitely a 19th person.

Maria is pouting she was saying it was Beatrice from the very beginning. Jessica doesn’t want to believe it, but it has to be the witch considering the situation. Soon after everyone but Battler comments it is indeed the case. Maria is happy upon hearing this, but Battler can’t help but disagree, annoyed to see everyone else giving up like this.
Everyone else don’t understand why Battler still can’t believe in Beatrice at this point but Battler reverse the topic and wonders why they conclude it is Beatrice just because they can’t explain from a human perspective. Battler believes that even if they can’t explain with human tricks yet, he still can claim it is the doing of a human.
George thinks it is irrational to make such claim without explanations granted with it, but Battler is annoyed and states it is even more irrational to stop the thinking and claims it is a witch as soon no one can explain it.

4 things that bugged me here: since they didn’t show a “purgatorio” screen, I think the anime watchers will have some problems to understand why Shannon and Kanon are alive. There were … again too much emphasis on Shannon and Jessica assets: they forcefully made Shannon to squeeze her breasts with her arms, while Jessica gained 1-2 cups all of a sudden…
The other weird part is… why did they use the mansion parlor instead of Beatrice’s tea parlor? Finally, the total lack of BGM for the start.
Ah well, these are minor anyway.

That said, here is the biggest surprised: the faithful adaptation here is something I wouldn’t expect considering the previous episodes. Frankly, it convey exactly how the tea party happened, and how everyone but Battler were excited about Beatrice while Battler was really dumbfounded by their behaviours.
Using suspicion here is again a good BGM choice to put some mood in the whole problem of “proving it is the doing of a human”.

Maria stops him right there and tells him that Battler isn’t explaining anything so far. She states that none of them could explain from a human perspective, therefore it should be the witch as result. She then questions Battler and asks if it isn’t the witch, the 19th person, behind the murders, would it be one of the 18?
Battler doesn’t want to suspect any of his relatives, even so he wants to find the culprit, unable to forgive them. He then reminds the possible motivations for the rest about taking revenge for their loved ones. Thus, Battler claims the witch stuff only fool them, making them stop thinking.

Maria laughs at him and says that as long he doesn’t believe in magic, the miracle won’t occur. Battler concludes that if everyone accepts this lie, it will become the “truth”, and thus moreso, he claims again witches don’t exist.
Maria wonders why he can still claim that, but Battler then offer again to turn the chessboard one last time: There is one thing that can prove Beatrice without being indirect such as claiming “no human can do it => it is the witch”. Battler flately says the witch herself should simply appear before him and casts magic. This is outraging Shannon, Kanon and Maria but Battler taunts them regardless.

“Yes!” That’s how I felt when Battler was exposing his stance regarding the fact everyone else were freezing because of a lack of explanations. The dynamism of the discussion allow to see how Battler is all alone trying to solve this mystery, instead of believing in fantasy.

All of a sudden, a laughter can be heard, freaking out Battler. And much to his surprise, a woman, clad in golden butterflies, appears behind him. Startled by such appearance, Battler falls on the ground. Amused, “she” comments how it has been so long a human could entertain her that much.
Battler asks her who she is, but “she” wonders how come he could ignore the name of the host of the tea party he was invited to.
Kanon introduces her as the golden witch, Beatrice, who had lived for a thousand years.
Battler is shocked to learn this while George and Jessica tries to apology for such slander on Battler’s behalf.
Even so Beatrice cackles, saying any witch would be bored after a thousand years, so a man like Battler is perfect to break free from boredom. Maria mentions how he should be honored to be greeted by Beatrice herself.

Battler is up for this challenge and still says she is only the illusion created by everyone else. Battler considers her as a half/fake existence since if he doesn’t believe in her, she doesn’t exist.
Even though Battler doesn’t know anything about magic, Beatrice commends him for his ability to understand the situation. Beatrice realizes that Battler has a very strong resistance against magic ever since he was born, which makes him the natural enemy for witches. No matter how witches make the world upside down, he will not believe in them.

Battler declares that even if she shows herself before him, he won’t believe in her. Beatrice fancies his attitude and will relish the moment she will be able to make him surrender, praise her name and kiss her toes.

Battler denies her existence and declares he will explain everything with human tricks. Beatrice is interested and immediately questions how a human could do the following events: Maria’s letter, the receipt, the door chain, Genji and the rest’s murders, Natsuhi’s suicide. Battler cannot do anything but groan at this rapidfire offensive.

Beatrice finally made her first appearance, and I must say: holy crap, I know she was endowed, but DEEN was (again -_-) generous for her chest to the point they really made the camera giving favorable angle…
Aside of this, although I’m not really used by Ohara’s voice for Beatrice, the amused tone and the like fits well the character.
Again, they didn’t miss how Battler had to be (except maybe how he was startled at the start): he was interested by such turn of events but still staunch in his stance.
And they didn’t even forget his phoenix wright pose.
Truly, it will be interesting in Episode 2, especially regarding Beato’s sneer and Battler’s counters.

Although I was glad they used オルガン小曲_第6億番_ハ短調 for Beatrice (her signature BGM), they didn’t make it longer for the first part of her entreance… ah well.
Meanwhile, I’m not sure if using stupefaction for Battler’s ranting was that fitting but it wasn’t too out of place.
But the true service was 牢獄STRIP which almost sound better than the original, albeit slightly low in volume.

And then, Beatrice points also how Battler can explain the fate of Shannon, Kannon, George, Jessica and Maria.
Right then, Shannon and Kanon are struck by intense pain, respectively on the face and on the chest.
As Shannon is covering her face and Kanon is covering his chest, their respective “wounds” are bleeding and they then turns into lumps of meat before Battler. Soon after, the same fate happens to George and Jessica, the former explaining that since Battler doesn’t believe in magic, its effects vanish. And finally, Maria also turns into nothingness.

Shocked by such brutal scene, Battler still declares he won’t believe in this, claiming there has to be tricks behind these and he will disclose them. As Beatrice is interested by such development, Battler swears he will explain everything in a human way.

Ok, now I was totally surprised (in a good way) for everyone’s death. It was downright sudden (which it should be) and graphic despite being only “suggestive”. I thought they would chicken out and makes them vanish in anguish, but they really made everyone turning into blood and lumps of meat.
I would however complain a bit that Battler was shocked, but didn’t tell Beatrice to stop her cruel act, “killing” everyone. But at least, they counterbalanced it with him almost shedding tears.

But again, good work from Ono, displaying such an explosive and empathic emotion for Battler.

In another location, void of human, another witch is drinking tea, waiting for Beatrice. Beatrice appears, quite surprised that the legendary witch, Lady Bernkastel, could pay her a visit like this. Bernkastel states she is just a wandering witch without any intent to invade Beatrice’s territory. As Beatrice is surprised by such statement, Bernkastel adds that she is powerless against Beatrice, who has the power  to kill anyone “endlessly“.
Beatrice notes that the so called powerless witch was able to vainquish the witch who had the power to kill anyone “without fail“, the Witch of Certainty, Lady Lambdadelta. However, Bernkastel claims she only won an endurance contest and that Lambdadelta got tired.

Even so, Beatrice says Bernkastel’s power allows her to “create a miracle as long the probability isn’t zero“, so she herself wonders which power is actually the most dreadful.
Bernkastel describes herself as a simple traveler who goes through the kakera in order to flee from boredom. As she heard Beatrice was preparing something interesting, Bernkastel decided to come and so, she assures her that once Beatrice stops being interesting, she will leave on her own.

Beatrice, receiving such visit from the great Bernkastel, states she is honored and asks Bernkastel her impressions about her game.
Bernkastel says Beatrice has affection yet, she is unable to understand the later at all, which is why she is dreadful.
Beatrice can only be amused by such discussion between witches, as it cannot be boring. Following this, Bernkastel says only boredom is the poison that kills witches, so she asks Beatrice not to kill her, she who is Lady Beatrice, the Endless Witch.
Granting Bernkastel’s wish, Beatrice claims she will entertain her further. She then disappears, scattering into golden butterflies, laughing in delight.

???? or known as the ura tea party was also very nicely done.
Introducing Bernkastel with such elements were enough to have an idea what kind of character it is, especially if one knows Higurashi.
As expected from Tamura Yukari, her performance for Bernkastel is fitting and it could only work with her.
I’m surprised they used such bright background, as I was expecting much darker considering the VN. And I actually realized this background was supposed to be the one where Battler and the rest had their tea party in the purgatory. Not too bad, but it is a bit stingy in term of backgrounds.

I was surprised they used 黒のリリアナhere instead of オルガン小曲_第6億番_ハ短調 but I assume the later would loop a tad too much, and Liliana’s “elegant” touch matches both witches.

Though… again they really make “coincidental” that the camera is within the axe of Beatrice’s chest…

As she is left alone, Bernkastel is then facing… us. Bernkastel comments how unfortunate “we” are and will lend “us” some of her power.
However, Bernkastel asks “us” not to misunderstand her: she is not “our” ally as she will only intend to enjoy the endless tale Beatrice will prepare. Thus, she lend “us” her power so she will be certain she won’t be bored.
Bernkastel considers herself as the cruelest witch in the world, and no matter who is her opponent, she will definitely make them surrender, even if it is the Endless Witch, Beatrice.

Therefore, she encourages “us” to do “our” best in order not to make her bored.

Bernkastel remains as cynical and ambigous as she should be. Quite delightful how she is (sexy, I tell you). They sticked well with what she had to say to “us” or Battler. A very effective way to convey “who” she is.


Overal Thoughts:

As I promised, whenever I see something positive and the likes, I wouldn’t hesitate to say so, and it is the case.
Although I could complain about the quality at times, the fanservice and few odd changes, the rest was basically impressive in term of faithfulness and emotions conveyed.
This is why this episode earned a 9 from me, which is a far cry from the series of 6 and 5 I’ve awarded to the 4 previous episodes.

Really, they have proved they can do something fitting the original material without much troubles, so I really hope they will keep such direction and pace for the future Episodes, because the story will start to just go uphill from this point.

It was really (and finally) a total pleasure for me to watch an episode of Umineko, and it was reflected with much easy time for me to type this article.


12 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-5: Fool’s mate”

  1. 1 Haseo July 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Too fast, heh!
    I’m very pleased with th e pacing of this episdode, finally Deen really made me enjoy this anime

  2. 2 rev July 30, 2009 at 5:55 am

    If they go around about this pace, how they’re going to fit in all those wiki explanations about logical proofs (along w/ examples). That part lacks adaptability in anime medium. Not to mention how ridiculous they use such logical proofs to fit in into Batt v. Beato argument – it might bore viewers to death.

    Kazuki Akane (in Noein) assumed the viewers as having general knowledge of quantum physics, leaving us instances of events referring to them up to viewers’ interpretation (w/out explaining them, and hence, the subber’s endless notes at the end). I wonder how DEEN can adapt BattBeato banters that takes up more than half of the rest of VN.

  3. 3 klashikari July 30, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Actually no, the anime medium is certainly easier to adapt since you can illustrate example visually without being forced to explaining it thoroughly.
    Furthermore, they managed to make Battler explain his theories pretty well without resorting to complicated train of thought etc.

    And actually, it won’t bore anything if the pace and mood follow such battle of wits. it is the most entertaining part of the next episodes.

  4. 4 Anon July 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    “Actually no, the anime medium is certainly easier to adapt since you can illustrate example visually without being forced to explaining it thoroughly.
    Furthermore, they managed to make Battler explain his theories pretty well without resorting to complicated train of thought etc.”

    And actually, it won’t bore anything if the pace and mood follow such battle of wits. it is the most entertaining part of the next episodes.
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  5. 5 Digdri July 30, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Guess that right. The games already used many images to explain the logical stuff. For example the Battlers idea about the boxes and bombs. The anime could illustrate that even better and in shorter time and they already used this style when Kyrie talked to Battler showing those rotation pictures of 18+1. I guess they will provide much more of those animations in EP2. They don’t have a choice either. The logical explanations are so fundamental for later discussion that they have to provide them in detail.

    On the other hand I was really surprise how far the author took the explanations about logic. Sometimes this even bordered on logic statement transformations (eg. the contrapositions and negations). That’s not stuff everybody learns a school and might even confuse or irritate with additional visual help.
    Will be interesting to observe if the viewers like this brainy topics. 😛

  6. 6 RP July 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Ah, so they were in purgatory. I was wondering why they were all speaking as if the game had reset. So what exactly is going on? Are the witches are battling each other using the humans like pawns on a chessboard?

  7. 7 klashikari July 30, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    That’s basically the gist of it, yes.

  8. 8 Niltiacjoan July 31, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    One of the things that struck me is that the viewer can, in a way, relate to the witches. Why are we watching a show about people dieing? So we don’t get bored, of course.

  9. 9 Digdri August 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Nice thought, Niltiacjoan. Keep that in mind for later.

    There are indeed some parts in the story tries to put in the characters shoes. (Or is it the other way round? 😛 Well that sounds strange this way…)

    … but for now its just the “eternity is a bitch” motif… like all those vampire stories telling you how much “blessing” there is in never ending existence.

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  1. 1 Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 5 – WTF is going on!? | Rabbit Poets: Blogging about Anime Trackback on July 31, 2009 at 2:17 am
  2. 2 Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1-5: Analysis, Thoughts and Random Comments « When Anime Past Meets Present Trackback on August 3, 2009 at 12:14 am

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