Umineko no Naku Koro ni: And Then There Were 18<X<19

Battler and Ange together will be too much to handle, I can already tell.

Battler and Ange together will be too much to handle, I can already tell.

I really hope you meant to be here, for spoilers for Umineko up to episode 3 are about to be afoot, and if not you might want to take Battler and Ange’s advice and [<-].

Rather than pose a grand unified theory constructed out of intricate crystallatice (at episode 3 of 8, there is no telling what will happen in the remaining 5 episodes), I think I’ll simply hit upon, via bullet points (insert reference to the Siesta Sisters here), things that strike me as odd, important, or something that needs to be considered for the grand intricate crystal lattice theory. If you have a pet theory/rebuttal/Phoenix Wright-style callout, feel free to leave a comment, but tag it as such to at least allay inadvertent spoiling.

  • It seems significant that, of the three episodes I’ve played thus far,  only one of the seven adults (Krauss, Natsuhi, Eva, Hideyoshi, Rudolf, Kyrie, and Rosa) managed to survive until the stroke of midnight–Natsuhi in ep1, Rosa in ep2, and Eva in ep3. I also note that especially the first twilight sacrifices tend to reflect the attitude of the one who remains at the end. I take this to mean that either Beatrice, as a separate entity, responds to the unconscious desires of one of the seven, or that a Beatrice construct in their head (think Eva-Beatrice here) kills the sacrifices while the actual person remains unaware.
  • In that sense, I expect ep4-ep7 to “revolve” around Rudolf, Kyrie, Hideyoshi, and Krauss, and, for ep8, either Battler, Ange, or Maria will solve the epitaph and therefore attempt to exert control over the twilight ceremonies. That is the only way Battler can truly take the fight to Beatrice, and the only chance at victory he has. Probably.
  • Taken from there, it would also seem as though Beatrice is less a magical entity than an incorporeal manifestation of the sins of the Ushiromiya family. None of the seven adults seem to trust one another (not even their own spouses, it seems) and the wages of Kinzo’s contract with Beatrice would seem to be poverty, both in a monetary sense and in a personality sense. Beatrice’s interest, therefore, would be the seething pot of emotions and rage that course through most of those associated with the Ushiromiya name. I think of the gold that is to be inherited is not the physical gold Eva found, but love and/or respect for the family members.
  • Although much of the information in ep3 can easily be though a giant scheme, there are some bits I don’t feel are worthy of being discarded just yet, most importantly being the theorizing about the role of an Endless Witch and how to handle that power.  If we think of an Endless Witch as omnisicient, then it would stand to follow that an Endless Witch is capable of doing evil, but just as capable of not doing evil. In other words: a Golden Witch is capable of good and evil, and must elect to do one or the other. Our Lady Beatrice tends to do the “evil” thing a lot.
  •  On that note, again assuming that ep3 has some truth in it (this being Ryukishi07, I am sure there is some) then Eva-Beatrice might have siphoned off (most) of Beatrice’s penchant for sadism and (most) of Eva’s cruelty into one entity. Which means that when Beatrice sacrificed herself to defeat Eva-Beatrice, the cruelty was restored to her in the Golden Land. If Beatrice is dual-natured, then it seems that Battler must reject her sadistic cruelty (i.e. the negative feelings in the hearts of his relatives) but simultaneously accept her more kind side (the kindness and good nature that exists in them all) in order to attain an advantageous victory.
  • Assuming that Beatrice’s intentions with toying with Battler is fundamentally to bring about Kinzo’s wished-for miracle (or at least leave the option there to power her own revival), this will result in both conditions for victory being fulfilled, and seems to me to be the way out. This is rather similar to the ending of Higurashi where Rika had to get everyone to stop doubting and start trusting one another to work together as a team to overcome Miyo/Lambdadelta.
  • It is possible Ange, who inherited the title of Golden Witch and Beatrice from the hollow shell remaining of Eva at the end of ep3, represents the splitting of Beatrice’s good side from her, since Beatrice sacrificed her good side in ep3. Which could mean that Battler could accept Ange as the “witch” but deny Beatrice, filling important conditions for an advantageous victory. I have no idea how ep4, where she probably takes a forthstanding role, might address this though. 

The only things I feel confident about are: one of the 18 (and, specifically, one of the seven adults) is consciously or unconsciously controlling the twilight sequence of murders through Beatrice as an supernatural intermediary; the “gold” promised in the epitaph is not physical but intangible and most likely is the familial love Kinzo’s bargain with Beatrice has deprived the Ushiromiyas of; the Golden Land is a false illusion of happiness, but it is possible to regain the Golden Land (i.e. happiness) by the hands of the Ushiromiyas themselves without having to invoke Beatrice; finally:

the only good ending is the one where Maria isn’t sad. Or dead. Since it’s her wish for everyone to be truly happy in the Golden Land, then she can’t actually be not-sad unless everyone is in the Golden Land with her–of course, it doesn’t really matter if it’s Evil Golden Land or not.

I swear that she’s one of the most important characters. I am not colored by irrational adoration at all when I say that.

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4 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni: And Then There Were 18<X<19”

  1. 1 Honya 30 May 2009 at 2:01 am

    Yay! More Umineko Fans!


    You raised some interesting points especially with your meta-verse interpretations that I haven’t really thought of which could honestly be on the right track. Of course I have some points of my own.

    I think that whoever the killer(s) is well aware of their actions and not necessarily controlled by the “Beatrice” in the meta-verse. Eva seemed well-aware of her actions and I believe that Eva-Beatrice is an illusion shown to meta-verse Battler in place of the real Eva (that actually committed some of the killings) in order to deceive him. Rather I think Beatrice in the game boards refers to a fictional entity or just merely a code-name for the killer. Witches definitely exist in some form BUT I really doubt they are directly responsible for any of the murders. Instead it seems like they merely facilitate the game that Beato and Battler play.

    I also believe that none of the 18 initial characters are the true mastermind behind the plot. In Episode 4 we learn that Kinzo is actually dead at the start of the story. Since Beato told Battler in red that there are exactly 18 people on the island, that would mean there is someone else on the island that Battler doesn’t know about meaning that that unknown person could be the real culprit. Judging by the meta-verse conversations between all the Endless Witches and Lambdadelta concerning the use of puppets, I believe that this 18th person is somehow manipulating the others into killing each other.

    On a lighter note Episode 4 goes into more detail concerning the Endless Power and as demonstrated by Maria and Ange does not actually have to be used maliciously as you have conjectured.

    I also agree that Maria is crucial for Battler to be able to defeat Beato. I’m really curious since it seems you like Maria, have thought about any theories regarding her existence? She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the occult and changes personalities occasionally. We could use the Rika argument but that would not make any sense considering that we know that the game has only been iterated four times so far not giving Maria the time to develop in a similar fashion as Rika. I’m honestly at a loss to explain her. The only real explanation I can come up with is that in some kakera Maria actually becomes a witch and in order to help other versions of herself and family temporarily takes control of in-game Maria as a hidden game piece. I don’t really like that idea though.


    Anyway, thank you for this great post.

    • 2 Hisui 1 June 2009 at 1:51 pm

      For some reason Hokuto Hyakuretsuken of cute just makes me think of Maria dressed as Ken (but still with pointless crown and purse) taping you 100 times saying uu~uu~ instead of yatata. Then when she is done she starts to walk away but then turn as says, “You are already moe.” Then your heart explodes with moe passion. Oh and her purse has been significant so far if you think back. Crown less so.

      I feel one of the major differences between Higurashi and Umineko is that you go into Higurashi thinking it’s a horror game but it turns out to be a mystery game with horror elements. (Well actually you go in thinks it’s a moe school drama game, then you think it’s a horror game, and then ultimately you realize it’s a mystery game.) Umineko pretty much states what type of animal it is up front. I’m a mind screw mystery game with horror elements. It then waves it’s hand at you saying, “Bring It!” This makes the narratives feel very different despite similar motifs.

      Having not finished Episode 4 but I have a feeling so far Episode 4 is much more Ange’s chapter than anyone else in the family’s by leaps and bounds. I think your theory about parents is valid. To that effect I think that means we might get a chapter that combines two parents. I’m thinking a Rudolf and Kyrie chapter. They seem the two most likely to be a package deal. Unless poor Hideyoshi just got lumped in with Eva and we did not know it. I also wonder if each of the first 7 chapters is also related to a sin. Episode 1 being pride, Episode 2 being wrath (Maybe), Episode 3 being greed, and I will venture a guess that the sin of 4 is envy but don’t quote me on that. I will be more sure when I finished episode 4.

      Also whichever chapter Rudolf is the star will deal with lust. This is a fact I would place money on.

      Building on what Honya is saying I wonder if Beatrice is not somewhat a reflection of those who speak with her. We get the distinct impression later on the Stakes of Purgatory are only as evil as the people who summon them are. Mammon can be the greed to destroy other to get what you want just as much as the desire to improve one to get ahead. I wonder if Beatrice is just a higher level of this. What if Beatrice is also a reflection of those who have summoned her? Maybe not necessarily of just Kinzo but of all the participants of the ritual. Essentially she grows and wanes in evil depending on the collective soul of all the people on the island.

      I’m not sure how much I believe this theory but I’m throwing it out there to see how people build on it or tear it apart. Also this discounts Beatrice’s own will, which I’m not sure you can do.

      My personal pet theory is the Maria’s power is to tap into the power of any other Maria that exists. Basically Maria is a Network of Marias all over the multiverse and each one is able consciously or unconsciously to pass information back and forth. Since we have not see a Maria that does not get killed/spirited away we don’t know if she ever grows into someone who can use this power at will. The ability to pass info between the worlds would easily make her a key to the puzzle.

      This is once again my personal crazy theory. If it’s wrong I would hardly be shocked.

      Also I am firmly of the conviction by what I have seen that the only way to really win is from Battler and Beato to team up. Basically the marriage of magic and science. Both of them agree that the other one’s world view is equally valid in Schrödinger’s cat bubble that is Rokkenjima. The real person to defeat is of course Lambdadelta. I have more theories on that but they are post episode 4 discussions.

      I am also wondering if the initial setup of the island change with each universe. Battler and to a certain degree I think the audience believes this as well. I’m not sure how true this is. Kinzo might be dead in the beginning of Chapter 4 but that does not necessarily mean he is dead at the beginning of each chapter. Red text from Chapter three might not be red text from Chapter 2. I think it’s an easy logical fallacy to make.

      Oh well I have rambled on enough. Good post.

  2. 3 OGT 2 June 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Okay, happy fun theory time. Still haven’t played ep4 yet (oops) but here goes:

    Eva was very aware of Eva-Beatrice’s actions–in some ways, we could think of Beatrice as a kind of multiple-personality entity, and those who control her/it are dissociated, Jekyll and Hyde style. It may only be a metaphysical manifestation, though. I think the answer lies (as Hisui does) in a synergy between the scientific and the fantastic explanations. How this works I cannot say, but the two co-exist and that has to be important.

    Maria’s own bipolar nature (Happy Maria! and IHIHIHIHIHI Maria) might point towards this “Beatrice as controlled by the user” theory. I don’t think a GOOD END is possible without Maria being happy–and Maria wants everyone to be happy for her to be happy–which leads me to think that the whole situation is supposed to be a trial by fire to force the Ushiromiyas to cooperate and regain trust for one another, which was lost when Kinzo re-established the family name.

    Whatever IS going on, though, love is the answer. You may start singing Barry Manilow songs now.

  3. 4 Rin 7 June 2009 at 12:27 pm

    “Without love, the truth cannot be seen” I bet this little sentence is fundamental on the story. Not just love in a romantic way, also friendly and maternal/family love. It is stated on the Opening and by Beato herself, though its meaning is more explained on the development of the plot :3

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