Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 2-1: Middle game

The first “game” ended, and the door of the Golden Land had been opened. However, this is not the end but rather the start of the journey. Will Battler prove that the witch doesn’t exist? Or does she exist?
But before that, the stories behind Shannon, George, Jessica and Kanon are about to be unfolded first.

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Shannon and George are seen in a trip in Okinawa, during summer 86. After a little visit in an aquarium, both are having lunch and Shannon has still some trouble to be completely casual with George, as the situation is unbelievable for her. George believes there was magic behind their relationship and Shannon bashfully agrees.

In december 1985, Shannon is seen around the shrine that was struck by the lightning during summer 86. Shannon picks up the sacred mirror that lies in the shrine and throw it down, smashing it into pieces, hoping it will smash her fate as well.
After keeping her promise, Shannon yells Beatrice to do the same.

Tomitake flash! I didn’t expect them to keep the fanservice there, but if they are going that far for such trivial detail, it isn’t that bad… as long they don’t use these as strategem to minimize the effects of some bad scripting.
Anyway, that portion was quite interesting since it sets how Shannon and George are actually mushy mushy when alone.
And for your instance, yes the shrine where the mirror was is the said shrine which was struck by lightning later during summer 86, before the family conference.

October 1984. Jessica and George’s parents are having a little discussion over George’s future and upon listening such diligence from Eva’s son, Natsuhi suggests Jessica to learn from her cousin. However, this doesn’t exactly rub her on the good way and Jessica decides to go outside for a bit, almost bumping on Shannon who was coming with the tea cart.
As Shannon is serving tea, she is still startled a bit with what happened earlier and as result, drops a spoon, and thus, got scolded by Natsuhi.
However, George changes quickly the atmosphere and figures out Shannon was serving Earl Grey.

Looks like DEEN chose to use later episodes to show more characterization… That’s okay by itself, but it will take a long time for some characters and they will be forgotten before long if they don’t do anything (Gohda and Kumasawa notably).
So here, we finally got a glimpse of Jessica being not so great in her academic profile. Meanwhile, it is good to see Shannon having problems with Natsuhi though there isn’t any real reason for her to make such blunder like this. Well it isn’t anything minor anyway, so just for the information: Shannon is a very efficient maid, but as soon as she is stressed by anything unpredictable etc, it will just escalate the number of blunders.
Good to see that they have shown George at the rescue.

In the rose garden, Shannon and Jessica are discussing how George is considerate though Jessica believes she is showing off a bit. As Shannon is disagreeing with this, Jessica teases her even more, implying Shannon is the girl type George likes. Speaking of the devil, the later joins them. Shannon thanks him about what he did, but George plays dumb. Amused by this, Jessica insists George is posing, but Shannon disagrees, embarassing the playboy even more.

Eva was watching the scene from afar and comes, asking George to follow her, as they have to discuss with Kinzo regarding the marriage meeting she is planning. This news shock both Jessica and Shannon while George is trying to dismiss it. Eva doesn’t stop there and mentions how this girl is from a good family and diligent at school.
Without waiting much from Shannon, Eva approaches her and whispers her that as a lowly servant she cannot interfer.

A complaint here: they rather had shown Eva as a very nasty vixen, instead of being an overportective mother. Certainly, she did mention to Shannon that she is only a servant, but the discussion changes the context, as Eva mentions how Jessica and Shannon are good girls, just that she whispered about George and his future.
It is rather how she is rather protective regarding her son, than really hating Shannon in fact.

A while later, Shannon is in front of Beatrice’s portrait. While she is aware she isn’t “human” but “furniture” to this household, she laments the reason why she has a heart that makes her suffer that much.
Upon hearing this plight, Beatrice shows herself much to Shannon’s surprise and asks to the servant about what is the element that makes the world that every man was looking for. The answer is simple: love.
Beatrice believes that if it is missing, something is then missing in one’s world. So, Beatrice concludes that Shannon now becomes human and she claims she can grants the maid’s wish.
There is only one thing she will have to do for the witch: breaking the mirror inside the shrine on the reef. Surprisingly though, Shannon declines and explains that if everything is left as it is, their everyday will remain peaceful while there is nothing that can tell what would happen if Beatrice is let loose.
Beatrice agrees to this statement though she puts emphasis how things would remain like this eternally as result.
And so, she lets Shannon know that if she changes her mind, she can always break the mirror and call forth Beatrice’s name.

Kanon then interfers in the discussion but realizes that the one tormenting Shannon right now is the golden witch, Beatrice.
As Beatrice mentions how she is gracious with those who respect her, but cruel with those who don’t; she walks towards him but she is then stopped by Shannon, pleading grace as Kanon is still a child.
Upon hearing this request, Beatrice is fine with this. Taking a liking to Shannon, Beatrice decides to leave her a present before parting from her: as she forces Shannon to shows her hands with magic, she sends her a golden butterfly that transforms into a butterfly brooch. The witch explains the brooch will grants her wish as long as Shannon keeps it, but it won’t have any effect if she doesn’t break the mirror.
She leaves Shannon the time to think though she is alluring her, asking her if she is really seeking for the continuation of such everyday or if she rather wants changes.
Amused, Beatrice leaves them in a burst of butterflies.

Although Beatrice’s neck didn’t have much fix, her eyes did! She doesn’t have these exaggeratedly squinted eyes in this ep, which was good. The same goes with Ohara’s acting, being less “Eva-like”.
I definitely liked how they executed this scene, giving the essence of what Beatrice is offering to Shannon and why she would be hesitant.
It was a good idea to use Beatrice other signature bgm, 黄金の影修正版(ラック眼力), but again, they don’t exactly make a BGM last long enough and thus it ends a bit randomly (not a real momentum).

August 1986. Jessica is baffled to learn that Shannon and George didn’t hug nor kiss during their trip to Okinawa. Although nothing like this happened, Shannon was very happy with that.
Extremely frustrated by this, Jessica pulls a tantrum and wishes she had also a boyfriend. After being so loud, Jessica then has an asthma fit and Shannon gives her her inhaler.

After recovering a bit, Jessica asks Shannon if she is looking anything weird or if her speech style is really wrong or something. However, Shannon tells her she is splendid as she is. Shannon then guesses Jessica is in love with someone and the later can only remains silent and nods.

Yep, they definitely chose to expand the backgrounds later on, but it doesn’t make Episode 1-4 any better: now first time watchers know Jessica has asthma, yet Nanjo was just patting her back? Humm yeah…
Anyway, this scene was again well executed: Jessica’s reactions were priceless while her own problem and Shannon being her friend and confidant were hinted quite appropriately.

They used Moon here for the BGM… A bit early, but since it is associated with that kind of predicament, it isn’t bad either.

Later at the beach, Shannon is having tea with Beatrice and offers her some treats from Okinawa. Shannon wants to give Beatrice’s brooch back, but the witch is fine with her keeping it, as it would be a symbol of their friendship.
As Shannon is puzzled by this comment, Beatrice states that very rare were those who had shown gratitude after she granted their wishes.

As Beatrice explains that only Shannon and Kanon can see her, Shannon wonders about Kinzo since people say he summoned her.
Beatrice says that Kinzo didn’t have any talent but because he was do desperate, she appeared on her own to laugh at him, but much to her surprise, she was then stuck on Rokkenjima for many years.

As the weather is getting bad, Beatrice comments how the ocean looks plain grey when the clouds show up but Shannon thinks the sea looks deep blue regardless of the weather to her.
Beatrice believes that this is the proof Shannon is now human.

As expected, Ohara managed to use much softer tones for Beatrice, which was very necessary for her interactions with Shannon. Once again, even with many cuts regarding this scene, it really conveyed downright the idea of such little tea party.

Shannon gives the brooch to Kanon, but the later is pretty reluctant to receive something that belonged to the witch and questions why Shannon could be deceived by her.
Shannon doesn’t answer his question and rather asks him to tell her what is the color of the sea right now. Clueless about what Shannon is expecting, Kanon bluntly says it is dark, but Shannon states it is blue which leaves the young butler even more clueless.
Afterwards, Shannon has something to talk regarding Jessica and…

It is unfortunate that Kanon’s development was cut that short in the anime, but considering how they had to cramp that much in only 20 minutes, I will give them some slack (as the transitions aren’t bad at all, unlike the first 2 cursed episodes).
If you have the possibility to read the VN or listen to the drama, I suggest you to do so.
The missing “empathic” Beatrice towards Kinzo while Kanon is spying was unfortunately missing:/

…Kanon is asked to go to a festival at Jessica’s school.
Kanon meets Jessica in the maid cafe stand, but as he keeps being utterly polite and formal, Jessica becomes uneasy while her friends are excited to see her “boyfriend”.
Unable to bear her friends acting like fangirls, Jessica asks Kanon to outside while she deal with them, equipped with some brass knuckles.

As she is done, Jessica apologizes for making him pretending to be her boyfriend and since she is the student council president, she will be busy, so she asks him to enjoy himself.

What an ugly uniform. I’m glad they made some efforts, but really the colors are absolutely atrocious.
Meanwhile, glad to see they left Jessica’s knuckle duster scene. It had to be done.

A bit later, Jessica is on stage. While the crowd is on fire, Kanon is brooding, not exactly fancying the crowd. However, he does notice how Jessica is acting completely differently compared to her behaviour at the mansion.

After the festival, Jessica and Kanon are back to Rokkenjima, loitering around the rose garden. Surprisingly, Kanon compliment Jessica for her performance on stage. While she is embarassed, Kanon adds he can’t sing because of being furniture. Jessica asks him to stop calling himself furniture as she believes both of them are humans, and even if she doesn’t fancy the life on Rokkenjima, being the next successor and the like, Jessica created another self so she can live to the fullest.
Believing it is possible for Kanon as well, she asks about his real name, but Kanon coldly claims he doesn’t remember and believes it is unecessary as furniture. Ignoring her request to stop with this “furniture” stuff, Kanon insists he cannot create another self like she can, because he is furniture. Likewise, he doesn’t have any future nor dreams.
Going straight to the subject, Kanon says he knows from Shannon that Jessica loves him but bluntly states there is no love possible between a human and furniture. Due to this claim, Kanon believes George and Shannon will definitely break up at some point.
Kanon then ends this discussion, claiming he cannot love anyone as furniture but thanks her to have considered him as human.

I really don’t care if Tsurupettan was removed or whatnot. Personally, I think it shouldn’t have been there because it doesn’t make sense with Jessica’s… assets. But this new song isn’t anything better, it is really bad despite Inoue Marina sing very well in normal circumstances. To make things a bit more on the lol side, the song isn’t exactly sync, but well.
Well anyway, I was truly surprised they kept the Touhou cosplay, and even expanded to show girls cosplaying Reimu, Sakuya etc.
As for Kanon… Well maybe because he is a bishi in the anime, but while he was indeed emo in the game, he is really the super emo type of your usual fujoshi fiction.

As for the later part, I’m rather disappointed how they again watered down Jessica’s personality: she is more on the tsundere and passionate girl side, so her being simply shocked instead of being pissed off by Kanon’s furniture complex again change the scope of her character (remember that she actually wanted to kill the culprit with her own hands and almost assaulted Maria during the later parts in the first arc).

On his way back, Kanon meets Beatrice who is sneering at him, “regretting” there wasn’t a second couple formed through her magic.
Annoyed, Kanon stromps on the butterfly brooch, claiming Beatrice isn’t trying to play cupid but rather having fun with couples, giving them false hope.

Amused by this, Beatrice declares her powers will rise whatever happens, and soon enough as the true ruler of the island, she will control everything and the door to the Golden Land will open again.

Meanwhile, Kinzo is once again wailing by the lack of answer from Beatrice despite all his efforts, and Jessica can only weep in her bed after such rejection from Kanon.
Beatrice has sown three seed of love, and she is impatient to see how it will turn out.

Finally a scene where Beatrice shines with her sneering attitude. A very well done conclusion for people who were almost fooled by her “kindness” with Shannon during the first half.
Oh and, DEEN are definitely fans of sasori no harawata it seems. That is good taste so.

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Overal Thoughts:

A very nicely paced Episode. If DEEN keep such kind of execution, it won’t be as disappointing as the very jerky start of Legend of the golden witch.
I must commend how they were able to cram so many backstory in a mere episode, so it makes them able to start the real deal of Turn of the golden witch right with next episode, which will throw many of you off guard I believe.

That said, this episode still had few problems, notably the animation quality and design consistency. At least, Beatrice’s design became more “normal” here.
And I’m still rather unimpressed by the lack of any BGM (not necesseraly game BGM): in many instances, it is awkwardly silent, but well that’s me.

Still, this episode earns a 8/10 in my books. If they keep going like this, it will certainly compensate the outraging stuff they did with the first 4 episodes.

By the way, considering how the episode went, there won’t be any analysis for episode 2-1: I believe trying to debate about Beatrice right now is rather moot and too dependant of one’s interpretation and point of view, which will be affected by my game knowledge if I have to go too far. So it is better to wait for more episodes before starting to “attack” the witch, but considering the next episode title “early queen move”, Beatrice will be the first to strike instead.

3 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 2-1: Middle game”


  1. 1 okinawa August 7, 2009 at 3:57 am

    Do you know where I can get a hold of a copy online?

  2. 2 Consumer Unit 5012 August 12, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Try Animesuki.com?

  3. 3 Tye The Czar August 29, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Jessica stole the precious thing! I just had to let that out.


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