Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode 1-3 – I prevented myself for whoring Mariashi constipation face screencaps all over this review.

After the huge reveal that six people were brutally murdered last chapter, I’m going into this episode with tons of thoughts and speculation in my bag. Let’s see just how many of those theories I throw out the window after this one…

We start off just as I had hope we would, and that’s with George’s reaction to finding out his lover Shannon is among one of the six murdered. Hideyoshi simply asked George what kind of face Shannon had the last time he saw her, and follows up by telling George to keep that beautiful image of her in his mind. George asks his father if Shannon has a ring on her hand and he prevents himself from breaking down in tears, and Hideyoshi confirms that the ring is on her left hand. There’s something beautifully tragic in this scene, and it would have affected me a lot more than it is right now if we only had more time to get to see their relationship better. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel really bad for George, but the impact could have have been stronger if Shannon died later in the series or something. There’s also the lack of emotion that I’m still not feeling from any of the other characters. Hideyoshi sounds weak considering the circumstances, and Eva was ready to bitch at his son over his engagement even during his suffering. Good parents right there.

I also laugh at Shannon’s tears, which kind of makes me feel bad. It was supposed to add dramatic effect and everything, but it just doesn’t make sense and kind of ruins the atmosphere also.

With everyone back inside the mansion, Nanjo tells Maria that her mother and five other people died; however this news doesn’t even faze the devil child, either because she’s too young to fully grasp what happened, or she just doesn’t care. Natsuhi decides to go tell Kinzo about what happened, and the very suspicious Eva decides to tag along with nothing but bad intentions. Nanjo calls them strong-willed, and I hope that’s really the case… because once again I feel a lack of emotion that should be here. I can understand Eva, since I feel that she’s behind this anyways, but Natsuhi seems to be taking the fact that her husband just got killed really well. Anyways, the old boobie lady comes running in as the two leave, and tells everyone to go to the dining hall in a state of panic. When they arrive, they see chairs knocked over and blood splatter on the table and floor. Hideyoshi explains that the murders probably happened after midnight, because that was when he and Eva went back to their room. As he examines the blood on the floor, Maria watches from behind with a sick smile on her face. They’re really going all out in trying to make us think Maria is the murderer huh? I’m not falling for your trap just yet. There is way more to Maria than meets the way, and I’m suspecting that she’s either working under or is possessed by Beatrice.

Shes gonna take that chip and EAT IT.

She's gonna take that chip and EAT IT.

Jessica, Battler, and George are trying to soak in everything that just happened. Jessica asks if Battler is all right, and Battler responds that he’s more pissed than anything. George says he feels the same way, even though he doesn’t act like it at all. Nanjo draws out the demonic circle they saw on the shed, and Hideyoshi shows it to Maria, asking if she knows anything about what it could mean. Maria suddenly goes into Higurashi mode and makes fun of them for not knowing something as simple as…

The seventh magic circle of the sun, which bestows the power to escape from restraints and gain freedom. It’s from the Old Testament of the Bible, Psalms 116:16-17… DUH!”

First off, does Maria really have to look like her head can turn 360 degrees at any second? Every time the focus is on her, it makes me believed that she’s possessed more and more. The thing is, she showed signs of being unstable when they first arrived on the island. Three possibilities come to mind: she was just showing signs of being vulnerable to the supernatural, Beatrice already got a hold of her before they technically “met”, or she was tortured as a child. There is also the possibility that she was an audition for Higurashi and got rejected. Why does this bother me so much? because everytime she breaks into her crazy face, I can’t help but think she’ll into some musical number, thus ruining any sense of mystery or creepiness that the certain scene was trying to enforce.

Just as Battler makes a disgusted face that just screams “I just religiously pwned”, Natsuhi and Eva return from their meet with the head honcho along with Genji. Genji informs everyone in the parlor that they won’t be able to contact anyone outside of the island until the boat arrives tomorrow. They realize that they’re stuck with the killer for another night, but Maria eases their mind (I think) by saying that the killer isn’t human. That loli is so considerate, I feel so much better now. natsuhi and Eva also tell them that Kinzo wasn’t in his study, so they should all stick together and search for Kinzo. Too bad for her that the killer is one of them.

As the Scooby Gang goes around looking from Kinzo randomly, they end up in the servant’s room. Battler rummages through where they keep all the keys, and he asks Genji if there is only one key to the garden shed. Genji confirms that there is one key, and Battler states the oddness in the killer going out of his way to return the key back to it’s proper position after the murder. From this, Battler implies that one of the family residents is the killer, much to Jessica’s surprise. At least we now know that she’s all boobs and no brains.

Their search now taking them to the main hall, Eva and Battler have a nice little conservation about the suspect. Eva points out that one of the servants has to be a culprit if Battler’s theory is to be true, and she also believes that more than one servant was involved in the murder. Battler counterattacks by saying it makes the servants look less suspicious because purposely doing this act would have made them look suspicious in the first place. In the end, they conclude that the culprit had some purpose to show off the crime like he did, and Eva toys around with Battler using reverse psychology. She says that all of the money belongs to her now that she’s the only sibling left, and that she wouldn’t commit a crime like this to put her under suspicion.

This show is screwing with my mind, as now I can’t believe Eva is the killer for the same reasons I can’t believe Maria is the killer. They trying to hard to make us point fingers at Maria, and now Eva pointed out every detail I found suspicious about her like she wants me to believe that she’s the killer. It all seems to easy, and now I’m having doubts that she would be so confident as to cast suspicion on herself like that.  If she really was the killer, that would be a really big gamble, as Battler wouldn’t have considered her a suspect if she didn’t bring it up. Mind games hurt.

In the kitchen, the servants are cleaning up after lunch. Kanon questions why Shannon was killed by Beatrice, and Genji responds by saying fate is everything. Kanon asks about the markings on Natsuhi’s door, and question why Natsuhi wasn’t sacrificed instead of Shannon. Battler barges into the kitchen all smug like and asks if he can join in on the conversation, much to the servants’ surprise. Kanon explains that Beatrice is a witch living in the forest of Rokkenjima, and is the person who gave the gold to Kinzo and served under him. They also tell battler that Beatrice has no form, but occasionally shows herself in the form of Golden Butterflies. As Battler struggles at their absolute belief of Beatrice’s existence, Maria joins in on the conversation and claims that Beatrice is in the room right now; however, the reason he can’t see or talk to her is because they don’t have matching wavelengths. She continues by saying that if he didn’t have the Scorpion Charm, he might have ended up dead like the others. Battler shakes it off and says that he lost the Scorpion Charm, so he doesn’t believe in the existence of Beatrice. This was a really interesting scene (that was once again kind of ruined by Mariashi), as I didn’t think anyone else on the island believed in Beatrice except for Maria and Kinzo. I feel like the battle lines have been drawn between the family in a way, a battle of logic vs. supernatural in a sense, and I’m curious to see how far Battler can go before finally giving in to the existence of Beatrice.

Sometime later, Natsuhi is seen carrying around a gun for the sake of protecting people in case the worst happens. Jessica tells Battler that she doesn’t believe in witches either, but she did hear a ghost story about Beatrice that the servants told her. Battler takes this opportunity to turn the chessboard over, and tells Jessica and George that that culprit wants them to believe that Beatrice exists. They go over the contents of Beatrice’s letter that Maria gave them (speaking of Maria, I like how she doesn’t jump in all creepy like and start blabbering about Beatrice again. Looks like TV is all that’s needed to keep that girl quiet), and speculate that if all of the people on the island were created from the gold Kinzo received, than the “collecting” of interest tying in with murder would make sense. From that, the message of the letter tells them to work together and find the gold if they don’t want to get killed.

The rest of the island residents join in on the conversation, and they theorized that Kinzo could have been kidnapped by the killer and threatened to kill the family if he didn’t give the location of the gold. At this point, Natsuhi return the study key to Genji, and Eva asks Genji if that door was the only way to get in and out on Kinzo’s study. Eva continues by saying that she wedged a folded receipt in the study door when she first met up with Natushi, but the receipt was still there when they searched for Kinzo after the murders. With that information, Eva concludes that no one left the room between that time, but it contradicts with the fact that Kinzo wasn’t in his study when they went there the second time. Nobody has a definite answer for her question, but Eva claims that Natsuhi killed Kinzo when she first visited him, threw his body out the window, then left the room. With the motivation being to claim the inheritance once Kinzo was declared legally dead after seven years, Eva points her fingers at Natsuhi for being a possible suspect, much to Jessica’s anger.

** Minor note, but I’m wondering why Maria and the servants seem to only act strange around Battler. There are many situations where they could have jumped in to defend the existence of Beatrice like they did with Battler, but I’ve never seen it happen yet. Well more of the servants than Maria, as Maria goes crazy no matter who’s she’s around. Why don’t they question her behavior either? It’s not exactly normal for a girl her age (or in general)…

Natsuhi says that she did meet with Kinzo, and the later told her that the Golden Eagle symbol was engraved into her heart. Infuriated at the fact that Eva denies that happening, she points her gun at her. Eva beckons Natsuhi to shoot her, but Battler steps in before things get out of hand and decides to go Phoenix Wright on everyone. Battler claims that Kinzo could have hid under his bed when Natsuhi and Eva visited, then left after they did, thus it completely blows away all of Eva’s accusations. Eva questions why Kinzo would do something like that, but Battler fires back by asking why would she wedge a receipt into the door in the first place. Battler also states that Hideyoshi and her alibis are weak, and that they could have possibly been the ones to kill the six people. Eva has no response to this, and simply…

Later that night, Eva and Hideyoshi are seen back in their room. Hideyoshi says that she shouldn’t jump at Natsuhi like she does, and Eva admits that she’s always hated Krauss since their childhood. Eva begins to wonder if George hates her for these things, but Hideyoshi believes that George understands she does everything for his sake. Hideyoshi says that in all the time he’s been with her, she has never regretted the way he’s lived. Eva responds by saying she’s glad she’s able to be with him, and they share a romantic moment during the rainy night.

A while later, Genji and Kanon attempt to tell them that dinner is prepared, but neither Eva or Hideyoshi was answering the door. Kanon eventually points out one of Kinzo’s letters snug below the door, and Genji knocks on the door with more ferocity. Not giving up, he attempts to open the door with his key, but is unsuccessful as the chain was hooked up. Genji tells Kanon to cut the chain with Kumasawa while he reports this to Natsuhi.

Returning with Kumasawa and a wire cutter (I’ll be honest, I thought Genji meant the wire cutter when he said Kumasawa, as I didn’t remember the lady’s name until now. Kumasawa would be a pretty badass name for a wire cutter though, I’ll take this into consideration for a real life situation. GOT A WIRE YOU JUST CAN’T CUT??? THEN BUST OUT THE KUMASAWA) they both are shocked to see more demonic markings on the door, despite not being there when Kanon left. Kanon cuts the chain using Kumasawa (yeah I’m sticking with this) and they enter the room to find Eva lying in bed with a knife piercing her forehead. In shock, Kanon questions the location of Hideyoshi, and they find him in the bathtub—sharing the same fate as his wife.

Overall thoughts:

Wow, all I can say is that…

I never would have imagined that I would miss Mariashi’s “Uuuu~” until now. Like really, these evil deformed faces that she keeps making feel so out of place, and I can’t take any scene seriously with her. At first I thought they were overusing those faces because they wanted to emphasize her being possessed by something sinister more, but apparently these faces are anime exclusive, so I don’t see why they’re necessary at all. If Mariashi ever goes UUUUUUUU~ while being in Higurashi mode, then I think I’m going to stab myself in the neck.

Now for the real deal, all I can say is that wow… this show is doing a good job of playing with my brain and turning everything on its head. As you know, my main suspects were Eva and Hideyoshi (the obvious choices), but they obviously made me think that on purpose just so they can laugh in my face this episode. In only one week, I’m back to square one, and I have to think of some new theories before the episode next week. Is that a bad thing? No it is not, I wouldn’t have it any other way actually. The fact that this series continues to tease you by making you think you’ve figured things out is one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed the show so much so far. Keep me guessing until the end, and this show would have done what it is intended to do.

One of the good things about this series is the music once again. Golden Slaughter is starting to become my favorite song, even if the use of it this episode wasn’t as good as the last episode (it’s more of the situation’s fault, not he song). Battler’s little theme when he was being Phoenix Wright during his confrontation with Maria and the servants were great too. I just wished the music was a little louder at times, or maybe I’m just going deaf.

One point that this episode emphasized is the battle of logic vs. supernatural. We now find out that the servants also believe in the existence of Beatrice, but Battler refuses to believe in her. It seems like it could be something that tears into two sides, and hopefully it will play a part in deciding who survives longer in this twisted game. As for me, I still don’t believe Beatrice is behind all of these murders, as much as the show wants me to believe that. I refuse to side with supernatural reasoning until the show has backed me into a corner and no other logical outcomes seem possible. It may seem that way right now, but I have an honest suspicion towards Natsuhi. Out of everyone left, I see a trickle of motive within her, and Eva’s recent actions before her death also aided to confirm this. Eva might have been a sneaky little female dog, but some of her actions make me wonder if there is more to her than meets the eye. When Eva placed wedged the receipt in the study door, was it really just a prank. Two theories come to mind: she either did that to throw suspicion onto Natsuhi just for fun, or she really did think Natsuhi was the killer. Something else doesn’t really click with Natsuhi as well, but I can’t put my finger on it right now.

As for how the murder happened, it’s true that the door to Eva and Hideyoshi’s room was locked the whole time; however, we already know that nothing is as it seems in this show. Natsuhi could have easily knocked on the door and forced herself into their room. The thing that doesn’t add up is the chain… those chains can easily be hooked on from the outside, but Kanon needed a chain cutter to break open. Why? It doesn’t add up.

It’s more or less Eva that makes me suspicious of Natsuhi. Why would Eva play around with Battler like she did anyways? She’s seems sneaky, but she’s not stupid. Nobody suspected her on the island after the murders, so why did she purposely make herself a suspect to Battler? That’s a dangerous risk with no real reward, especially since she didn’t murder anyone. It all just doesn’t add up to me.

Another point that confused me is Battler’s explanation to Kinzo’s disappearance. It seems quite silly for someone like Kinzo to hide under his bed like that; however, if Battler’s theory was actually correct, then why would Kinzo not want to be seen by anyone? Did he already know of the murders, thus his didn’t want his children questioning him? He didn’t seem like the type of man to fear his children, and he could have easily ignored them as well like he did in the previous episodes. Where is he located now? Did he want to go somewhere without being followed? There’s also the possibility that he could be dead now, or he could also be the killer.

At least not all of my theories were thrown out of the window. Glad to know I was right about Beatrice being able to transform herself into those Golden Butterflies (again, it was obvious, but don’t rain on my parade). I obviously don’t deny the existence of Beatrice, but I do deny her being behind these killings. I think she’s just floating around as butterflies to observe the chaotic events that’s happening on the island.

I have a lot more theories, but I might just make a separate post later on. For now, I’ll end it by saying this was a well-paced episode, and a great show overall. Keep the good times rolling Umineko.



6 Responses to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode 1-3 – I prevented myself for whoring Mariashi constipation face screencaps all over this review.”

  1. 1 koromaru July 17, 2009 at 1:55 AM

    I honestly believed Eva to be behind these murders regarding my logical theories since she seemed to have the most to gain from this. With her dead, I don’t have any evidence to back up saying anyone else could have done it out of the 10 remaining survivors. Ultimately, I can strongly rely back on my theory that Beatrice is forcibly making her epitaph come true with the aid of Maria as it would seem that she is on the same “wavelength” unlike everyone else. (Kinzo could be on that same wavelength since he received the gold bars and one is shown in episode 1 as well giving more concrete evidence.)

    The thing with Maria is, she does show signs of being sensitive to the supernatural as shown in all three episodes thus far and appears to have a vast knowledge in the supernatural seeing as how she knows her magic circles. I’m guessing she even knows what the blood marking means on Eva’s and Hideyoshi’s door. With this, she is likely to be the key that was stating to be the cause of all of this in the first line of the epitaph. She had some conflicts with Rosa and a few of the others as they clearly didn’t believe her. She likely pinpointed them due to their reactions towards the letter she got from “Beatrice” with Shannon replacing Natsuhi due to Jessica giving her the scorpion charm to prevent her death.

    I won’t deny that there is some evidence to support the claim that Natsuhi might be behind some of this, but until I get more evidence to back it up rather than having the simple motive of getting all the money to herself, then I can’t really label her as nothing more than a scapegoat for something bigger.

    • 2 Smankh July 17, 2009 at 5:09 PM

      Please, read the sound novel.

      • 3 Tamad July 17, 2009 at 6:29 PM

        For now, Koro and I don’t plan to get into the visual novels until the anime is done and over with. This way, we can enjoy the anime to the fullest, and won’t be bogged down by source material expectations. Once the anime is finished, we can continue to feed our Umineko crazy by playing the much more refined sound novel. Win/win situation.

        Plus it’s fun to make up theories in a week and see how many of those don’t hold anymore water in the upcoming week.

        I don’t know about Koro, but I probably won’t last very long considering how impatient I am.

  2. 4 Veldril July 17, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    The songs you mentioned are all from the original VN. The kitchen scene song is called shirabe and Battler’s song is called Core. You can search for original song in youtube (I guess, but beware some spoiler for Shirabe.)

    • 5 Tamad July 17, 2009 at 6:30 PM

      Thanks for the information regarding the songs. I’ll make sure to be wary when looking for Shirabe as well.

  3. 6 Shounen A July 18, 2009 at 6:07 AM

    I’m with you on thinking that Beatrice isn’t behind the murders (at least no directly). A supernatural explanation is just too easy an explanation that feels like a copout (off topic: that’s why I scoff at “it’s magic” explanations for real phenomenon). Not to mention that inscription next to Beatrice’s portrait says that it should be the person looking for the gold that should do all the killing, not Beatrice herself.

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