「episode III-VII – swindles」

Okay, totally random out of the blue post here, meant entirely for those watching this series. After watching this episode, I felt compelled to talk about a promising turn of events.

First off, let me start by saying that Umineko’s bothered me up until now with their continual use of locked room mysteries, paradoxical roundabout arguments, and acknowledgement/denial of the existence of witches. However, I didn’t mind those nearly as much as the inclusion of demons and blatant use of magic, which were really getting out of hand as of late. My main complaint about the whole Golden Witch bit is that it comes off nothing like the horror seen in Higurashi, where there was a real sense of suspense given the plausible nature of things. Aside from slaughtering all the characters and having them revived to “play again”, these two 07th Expansion series didn’t seem to have a whole lot in common. In short, Umineko felt like an anime about Clue, except with witches and magic. Pretty blah if you ask me.

Even with the end of this third arc, the witches and magic still seem to be getting out of hand, but they put a really good twist on things this time around. For that, we have to thank the introduction of Battler’s half-sister Ange Ushiromiya (Satou Rina!). Fast forward to twelve years later, where Eva (Itou Miki, a.k.a. Takano Miyo) is looking all sickly on her deathbed and Ange is demanding to know how everyone was killed on Rokkenjima. Add in the purple-haired Furude Rika lookalike witch Bernkastel (who’s also voiced by Tamura Yukari) trying to free the Ushiromiyas from reliving their final days for the past twelve years and we have the makings of Higurashi all over again, including the cast!

The whole, being locked in a hellish game for the past twelve years really put things into a similar perspective. It enlarges the scope of the problem by breaking out of the Rokkenjima/Purgatory worlds we’ve grown accustomed to. I would say it’s akin to when Higurashi revealed that they aren’t actually dealing with an Oyashiro curse, but a huge conspiracy behind the Hinamizawa disease. The lens is zoomed out so we can see the bigger picture now. We’re no longer following Battler alone in his battle against Beatrice, but Ange as well. She’s the Hanyuu of Umineko! Now this is an interesting turn of events. I’ve been quietly following this series in hopes of being pleasantly surprised and they’ve finally done that.

Speaking of twists, I was totally suckered by Virgilia (Inoue Kikuko) and Beatrice’s (Oohara Sayaka) “good witch” act to trick Battler into acknowledging the existence of witches. Despite being fooled, I still hated seeing Beatrice join the good side, especially when she started crying like I was supposed to feel sorry for her. After a few episodes of this, I just reconciled that this was the ending they were going for and went with it. Much to my shocking relief though, it turns out both Virgilia and Beatrice are still total bitches and now we can see them get beat down in their own twisted game. I take it all back, it’s way better for me to hate Beatrice! Die stupid witch, die!

The next episode marks the beginning of the fourth (and likely final) arc where the Rokkenjima cursed cycle should be broken. It looks like it’s finally time for Umineko no Naku Koro ni Kai (solution). (I’m just playing with title names if you don’t get it.)


  1. Next episode is the last episode of the question arc, Alliance of the Gold Witch. Umineko will have the second season like Higurashi, featuring core arc called Umineko no Naku Koro Ni Chiru (not Kai, since Ryuukishi07 doesn’t want to directly tell the solution of the mystery.)

  2. YES ANGE! Been waiting 18 episodes for her arrival. RINA SATOU!! Gonna bawl so much. Been looking forward for her since Umineko Motion Graphics.
    Ryuukishi07 personally worked on this episode didn’t he?

  3. Veldril:
    The “Kai” was just a joke on my part. Has an anime adaptation of Chiru even been confirmed?

    Omni had the opportunity to, but chose not to follow this series. You can bug him about it. =P

  4. Hmm, I wasn’t aware there were set guidelines on what I’m allowed to write about on a blog.

    So what you’re saying is that if I don’t write about a series from the very beginning, I’m never allowed to talk about it…?

  5. I don’t know why you feel overwhelmed with all the witches, magic and stuff.
    All the damn magic scenes are not real, It’s just a way to interpret things..
    There’s a human solution to every case.. Witches can exist in another kakera but that doesn’t mean they’re behind the Rokkenjima serial muder case..

    Anyway, this episode was fantastic.. I can’t wait for next week

  6. I was able to take a wild guess about who did it when I-II ended. In other words, they made it simply impossible for thoughtful people to not figure it out quite easily. Bah, they even try & throw everyone off by saying Eva did it right before the truth comes out. Typical BS from a series that couldn’t hold water from the start. I’ll enjoy my hamburgers while I’m at it. The only things that was great about this series was the OP, ED, & the wicked killings – But it FAILs as any kind of suspenseful murder case.

  7. “My main complaint about the whole Golden Witch bit is that it comes off nothing like the horror seen in Higurashi, where there was a real sense of suspense given the plausible nature of things.”

    See this is the problem.. it’s not suppose to feel anything like Higurashi.

  8. I wouldn’t say I’m overwhelmed, so much as underwhelmed by the lack of suspense from seeing everything done with magic. If I had a choice, I’d rather they hint that it may have been magic, instead of showing us demons appearing out of nowhere and talking down to the victims before killing them.

    I guess I enjoy mysterious deaths over the “showing you a murder, but it may not have happened like this” approach. I’ll admit that Umineko is unique though. However, I just find myself distrusting what I’m shown instead of getting into any sort of suspenseful mood.

  9. I freaking love this series there is a lot here and from someone who has gone through the first 4 episodes and the first of the answer arc I can tell you that there is a lot to be seen, and the next one is of course the best of the first four,one
    more thing

  10. I watch the series each week but get confused with all the bullshit going on with people being murdered over and over under different circumstances each time. Just trying to make some sort of sense with this series is NOT easy.

  11. Diveine, have you read the visual novels for Umineko? If you liked the end to this arc I highly suggest you do read them because like any book to film or television adaptation you have to sacrifice a lot of source material so I’d love to see your thoughts on what DEEN cut out.

  12. I never saw Hirugashi (or read either’s VNs), and I think that might be one of the reasons I’m loving this show. It’s not suspenseful about the deaths really, but the suspense for me is if Battler can figure out a way to refute the story we’re being told and maintain his convictions against the narrative the witches are weaving for him. We know everone is going to die (because it’s pretty much a metaphysical murder-fuelled groundhog day) in-game because that’s the set up of the game and it’s just the order and method that changes there. Even so, every scene that doesn’t have in-game Battler in, we can assume to be completely unreliable and that’s what’s really interesting to me.

    I think it’s refreshing to see a show that messes with the storytelling so overtly (I’m a big fan of Baccano! too for its structure) and so the utter curveballs it throws in your face are really enjoyable for me. This latest episode was great though, and Beato’s heelturn was brilliantly done. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

  13. Loved your linked picture for the “total bitches” line.

    “Speaking of twists, I was totally suckered by Virgilia (Inoue Kikuko) and Beatrice’s (Oohara Sayaka) “good witch” act to trick Battler into acknowledging the existence of witches.”

    And you certainly weren’t the only one.

  14. I was really glad to see this turn up on my LJ feed. It really bummed me out that you decided not to blog this anime. It’s so bizarre how so many people consistently underestimate this series and are totally resistant to making the mental leap required to understand it. It’s like, you tell people, “You need to see this in abstract terms. Magic is a metaphor. JUST BECAUSE THE MAGIC SCENES AREN’T REAL DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T CONTAIN SOME HINTS TO THE TRUTH.” And they are like, “Noooooo, I don’t want to. I’d rather just sit here and not enjoy the show.”

    The Umineko Bible, ie things people need to keep in mind about this universe:

    1) Just because a witch is not the culprit, doesn’t mean magic and witches don’t exist in some form! (I know Battler doesn’t believe in them, but the protagonist CAN be wrong! In fact, he should be if he’s going to have any character growth! Keiichi didn’t think Oyashiro-Sama didn’t exist either.)

    2) Schrodinger’s Cat. Is the cat in the box dead or alive? HE’S BOTH. That’s why we can see magic in this series. It’s really not a big deal, guys. Beatrice has put Rokkenjima in the box, and so until the box is open, “magic” can be just as real as “mystery”. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a TRUTH, it just means that FANTASY is, at the moment, just as real as truth is. (And “without love, the truth cannot be seen”.)

    3) If Battler is right, if witches DO NOT EXIST, THEN BEATRICE IS ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT THE CULPRIT. A lot of people tend to forget that. Hell, Battler tends to forget that, most of the time. Which brings you to the question, why is Beatrice doing what she is doing? What’s her motivation? The scene with Lambdadelta might hint at what’s going on. It leads you to speculate quite a bit about Beato’s personality. She’s a more complicated character than you can imagine; yes, she trolled you, but that doesn’t mean everything in this arc was total bullshit.

    One thing you should be aware is that the next arc is not the end of the series, just the first season/question arcs. Some things might become more clear, but essentially we are at the same point in the story that we were about 3/4s through the first season of Higurashi — to the point of Himatsubushi-hen.

  15. Now I’m confused. There’s a second season of this show ?!??!! I stuck with it to see were it was going and see magic. lol Give me plain easy anime to follow I can’t think.

    island esper
  16. The story is just BEGGINING next episode is the last question arc, next year the anime will start to adapt THE ANSWERCS ARCS.

    I like the umineko anime but is 100 times inferior to the sound novel that is extremely epic.

    Pd: Don’t compare this to higurashi, umineko and higurashi are COMPLETELLY DIFFERENT.

  17. Hai guyz!!
    By the power of Rule of Cool I hijack this blog!!!

    I already, managed to stop myself from falling in an impossible angle, fight goat monsters despite being a girl with normal human strength and no martial arts expirience, and break reality like it was glass all with the Rule of Cool. So anyway, this hijack should be easy for me by now.

    Anime Ange
  18. As you said, finally we got the critical moment of the plot and I am relieved that Beatrice is returned to her normal attitude because the moment she became guilty, the story became (to me) very confusing. Just because of a slap from Battler-dono, she realized her cruel acts: bullshit I said (and I was very confused at the moment). It was obvious that she was a sadistic witch and psychopathic sadists can’t biologically recovered compassion as easily as shown from her. I was clueless. I understand that power and invicibility corrupt people but making them sadistic…uh? But later an early hint made me realized something was wrong with her supposed to be compassion: when she strangled Maria-chan. Psychopaths like direct contact for killing and the most common method is strangling. Beatrice, in order to save Maria-chan from Eva Beatrice’s cruelty, strangled her. It wasn’t necessary. Since magical power could do anything, she just had to kill her instantly without any kind of torture. Beatrice just did not resist another session of torture, that’s why…and with a fake face of guilt-tortured person. WTF. Even though it’s a far-fetched theory, I did guess all her guilt was kinda a comedy.

    BTW, I was surprised to see one of my favorite music in this episode from the doujin album:

    (C76) (同人音楽) M.Graveyard + CODE ZTS LABEL – うみねこのなく頃に musicbox

    at the moment when Battler-dono was about to sign a contract where he had to accept the existence of witches. The song is “Happiness of Marionnette” and the moment I heard the song, the song’s title cropped up in my mind. It was at this moment I literally uncover the mask of beatrice and I realized it was really a comedy. The song’s title hinted me that someone is string-pulled like a marionnette: Battler-kun? I know it is another far-fetched theory. It can’t be helped; each time I uncover the secrets of a plot, it through far-fetched and insignificant details.

    Anyways, that episode was at first very confusing but the end was splendid. For I, this anime outdoes Higurashi franchise. Probably one of my favorite anime ever.
    Just one criticism towards the visual novel that is the cornerstone reference behind the anime, I don’t really like the furniture’s outfits(I mean furniture belonging to Eva-Beatrice or Beatrice itself). I know they are mere fan services…normally I shouldn’t care of it, but I think it doesn’t fit with the atmosphere created by these sadistic witches. I would see these kind of outfits in a normal comedy anime.

    Well ’nuff said.

  19. One of my fav shows from this season.
    Shame you haven’t been blogging it regularly rather than some of the fanservice nonsense.
    Either way, I SO hope they do another season with the solution arc. Completely deserves it.

  20. I can see why this isn’t being blogged actully.
    This episode is a great example why not too.
    This adaptation is so short,compressed and with low quality that dispite the story being great, the anime is just not that great…
    This episode showed, for me at least, some of the most epic moments in the VN right after another. But in the anime it was… boring.
    It felt like it was devoid of emotion for me, and like this whole episode was a shower of info. Though Im not really accuse the studio staff, because they really had too little time to cover this arc, and when you think about it they actually did a great job covering all the ending of arc 3. The tea party + ?? ?? segments were quite lacking though. But that’s already a trend for this adaptation so I won’t whine about it at the end of each arc.

    Anyways, besides this there are a lot of QUALITY shots in this anime.
    Beato and Maria, when they don’t have a disturbing scary face, they have a disturbing disfigured face. At times such blunders stop you from taking serious scenes seriously.
    How many of actually thought it was horrible Rosa was fed her family when you saw Maria laughing like that?

    Anyway, with all of this I’d say I can see why people wouldn’t find this anime to be anything too special, though the VN is definatly a work of art of the highest class.

  21. WOOHOOOOO!!!! Someone’s is blogging this finally! Also please let’s not drag VN discussions here. I’m already sick of the bickering of some VN readers in animesuki. That’s why I never try to original sources in advance. Also did the same for Clannad, and it was worth it. 🙂

    That aside I really am curious how much of it was conjured. 🙂

  22. we must deal with these witches like how we deal with their ancestors in warhammer we should fire, lots and lots of fire, and maybe the occassional 6 round rapid into their faces

  23. Woah, this episode really caught me by surprise. I was really puzzled when it seemed like it was the ending already, until that epic twist happened. Not bad indeed haha. Apparently using tsundere as a theme is very popular. I see it appear on most recent anime series haha. Looking forward to how they break the vicious cycle! Though its seriously quite mind boggling when I’m trying to understand the logics and contradictions. Their explanations weren’t so clear cut for me I guess. Glad I continued watching through it. We finally can see the BIGGER picture!!

  24. @ SomeKindaNick
    This is the problem when you’ve already read/seen/heard the source material first hand.
    With a manga it’s one thing, but with a VN it’s a completely different matter.
    How on earth can you expect them to cover endless hours of material and little details for a 26 ep series, with only about 20 mins of footage per ep? It’s impossible.
    If you go in with that mentality, then you’ll clearly come out feeling let down.
    This is what annoys me, as people can’t appreciate something for what it is.

    The one negative I will say is that this episode did indeed sum up why some people can’t get into the series; they have too much info to process at once compared to your average anime series.
    With the VN you have plenty of time to process things as the mystery is resolved piece by piece, but here, revelations are thrown at you one after another, and for some, it’s just impossible to comprehend.

    Personally, this is what I love about the series, as even if I do miss something first time around, I can go back and watch it again. It’s like a new experience and adds extra life to the series. Some people can’t be bothered and just want to come home from work, pop a mindless series on and turn the brain off.
    That’s fair enough, but this is what sets Umineko apart from all the other mindless drivel this season.

  25. I’ve found this to be a fairly enjoyable show so far. Granted, I haven’t played the sound novel yet, but I must check the games after.
    I probably won’t enjoy the SNs as much as I would have if I had played them first, but I’m still interested in hearing all the details and continuing the story.

  26. @Blinx01: Like I originally said; I don’t accuse the studio of anything I said.
    I realize that it’s impossible. I just comented on it’s bad-side from a neutral stand-point without pointing fingers or blaming anyone and just talking about it as it is.
    It saddens me you blame me of being such a narrow-minded person, just from that. Can you really say you arn’t as narrow-minded as those people you hate, after accusing me to be one so swiftly?

    @X-3: While it should probably still be intresting, I’d bet for the most part you won’t be surprised at all. They did a good job on getting the bottom line of each scene in this anime most of the time. So the loss and difference between media in terms of plot is really mostly the setting of moods rather than the info.
    Well except for the “Tea Party” and “????” segaments which are always way too short. (I sometimes wonder why they don’t spend more time on them at the sacrifice of other less important scenes.)
    In these you really do get a lot of important info not seen in the anime.

  27. I’m kind of confused. Is the Battler at the “tea party” scene the meta-Battler (the one on sideline) or is the one who got shot by Eva? Or is he both mished into one whole entity?

  28. >> Add in the purple-haired Furude Rika lookalike witch Bernkastel

    No offence intended, but…
    Lookalike? Bernkastel IS Furude Rika and vice versa. For more of a lookalike, I’d use… …but then again even she’s Bernkastel/Furude Rika.


  29. lost faith in this ever since they started having “CORNEY ASS GOAT MINIONS APPEARING!!” i mean WTF!?!?!?! gotta agree with Megas though, kick ass ed song. can you say Japanese rock opera?
    but i cant front all yall making me feel like I’m missing out, i think i dropped at 9 or 10, it just got so retardedly unbelievable.. yeah yeah, i know it was like that from the start , but give a nigga a little bit of believability please.

    BROOKLYN otaku
  30. YESSSS. At least some Umineko recognition. Beato’s gambit = awesome, regardless of the media it’s presented in.
    … I feel in the minority, though. I’ve played/read the VN, and I’m still enjoying the anime a lot, albeit I do notice the compressed adaptation-quality. Comes with the change on media, though, so it doesn’t bother me much…

    Looking forward to next arc! I’ve bought the Kleenex in advance.

  31. yeah i agree with Anonymous. Actually this is a good anime even though some time the story going down but really i like the plot of this anime. though i know not many people like this kind of anime which contain so much blood.

  32. @ Veldril

    what is your basis of your statements? or are you just saying it simply because you want it to be like that?

    also last time i checked the new arc starts with the new episode, 4-1 end game not 3-8.

  33. I’ve been pondering to myself for a long time why the hell I’ve been watching this show. I guess I picked it up initially because 07th’s Higurashi left such a deep impression on me, but I quickly realized (much as you did, Divine) that they are nothing alike. All the logical inconsistencies bug the hell out of me as well and I was on the verge of dropping it before I read this post.

    I’m gonna give it another shot, because it really does sound like the circumstances are taking on a deeper significance. It’s just a shame that they’ve only left themselves a few episodes to resolve things, that is, unless they plan to advance another series to neatly wrap things up as was the case with Higurashi.

    Much as yourself, I didn’t even begin to sympathize with Higurashi’s characters until Kai, but once the truth behind everything was revealed, the existence of the entire first season seemed justified, although I will say that it was a little more tactfully executed than Umineko. …Anyway, I’m gonna try and see this one through to the end.

    Thanks for the “encouragement”! ^_^

  34. Glad to know that I could help “My Pace” (マイペース). While I don’t understand what people have against comparing the two (since it’s pretty much inevitable), there are definitely (good) similarities even though the approach is different.

    When watching Umineko, I recommend just taking stuff at face value and not overthinking things too much until they decide to explain them. I find it much more enjoyable that way. You’re not constantly thinking about all the inconsistencies and trying to put them in some sensible order.

  35. yes yes divine you know i think this series is too dificult for you to enjoy, all the points you have critice are the best of umineko, so dont bother this clearly not your type of anime.

  36. This series isnt to difficult to enjoy nor its a suspenseful murder, all they are trying to do is proved murders is done by magic or not and acknowledged that Beato is a witch.

    To me it reminds me of Ace attonery and I love it, just as ridcolous as the murders in ace attonrery and ?I think you have to play one of these games to respect where the anime is coming from.

    It isnt serious to me I just keep on imagining ace there and all the tricks they play on him. He isnt to far from ace, hell he even got the same suit and points the same way when he says his version of objection 🙂

  37. Lol Battler’s version of objection is “Say it in red!”.

    But yeah like Lucky-Dan said this series isn’t so hard to understand (though trying to figure for yourself who the murder is, is hard.). All you gotta realize is that this whole anime is basically a court trial with the case in the court being Schrodinger’s cat.
    Battler is trying to prove magic dosen’t exist (the cat in the box lives).
    Beato is trying to prove that all murders were done by magic (the cat in the box is dead).
    There is no judge, so instead they both try to deny the other by saying stuff that are impossible for one side, and counter the other side’s denial by posing an explaintion for why what they said is impossible actually is possible.
    The court however, is Beato’s. So she gets some adventages like having the events in the game board (the RL events) seen through her theory. Thus we saw everyone dying by magic while it’s technicaly not so. Still, the events of before and after the murder are real and are facts. Why are the magic scenes important than?
    Well for one thing it adds lots of color don’t you think? I personally like al the magic background and characters in this story. The other reasons are:
    1) Beato is trying to make Battler accept magic, so of course she makes it seem to us and to Battler that there is no other way to explain stuff beside the magic theory. If she didn’t she would lose maybe even before we found out who the culprit is!!
    2) They all may have secret meaning to them.

    Well maybe I made it seem more diffcult to understand but that’s the best way I could put it.

  38. I admit that I also went into this series hoping for something similar to Higurashi. Everybody is saying that Umineko is (even) better than Higurashi.
    I am disappointed, since all the over the top magical stuff (goats, stakes etc.) isn’t what I expected. Apart from Battler, I prefer the Higurashi cast and their interactions. So far, at least. I am still enjoying the show, but not as much as Higurashi.

  39. “I wouldn’t say I’m overwhelmed, so much as underwhelmed by the lack of suspense from seeing everything done with magic. If I had a choice, I’d rather they hint that it may have been magic, instead of showing us demons appearing out of nowhere and talking down to the victims before killing them.”
    I’m not completely sure if I’m wrong by saying this, but one of the problems is the narration transition in the VN and the anime. From what I’ve gathered and the few parts I’ve seen from the VN, the narration switches between Battler’s POV (sometimes Ange’s as well) and third person POV. The thing is that this 3rd person POV is unreliable. The narrator may or may not tell the truth, so what we “see”, as in the witches’ battle might not be what actually happened. And I’ve learned to not take everything I see as the truth. It might but it might not be what I am seeing.
    And from what I’ve heard, the author doesn’t intend to explain clearly the answer. He’ll just give “clues”. How helpful they are is beyond me, though.

  40. Pukukukukukuku

    I had a feeling that this would be the common reaction. But you know, even though the hints were small, they were there. Remember, you won’t be able to see the truth without love. But when you learn what the truth is, you’ll probably be surprised, even though you’ll look back and think you should have seen it coming.


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