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Umineko No Naku Koro Ni Episode 4

July 23, 2009

You know, despite the supposed details that are left out from the original Umineko, I’m really enjoying this series. Even Maria is getting better if we consider her as the culprit, or one thing very much related to the culprit, but that’s where the mystery comes in: perhaps she has a very good reason to act the way she does? I mean, this is a fantasy-series: we’ve got glowing butterflies, so a bit of a mental delusion also might fit.

Anyway, what really struck me about this series is the amount of fans from the visual novel that complain about the details that were left out. I’ve been blogging for more than three and a half years now, and I’ve covered lots of series that had the same “the manga/novel/game is so much better”-vibe. The thing however, is that I haven’t played the original novels. I’m simply trying to watch an anime here, and without all the comments on the things that were left out, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. The only thing that would have annoyed me was how the anime creators tried to overplay Maria’s Higurash-faces, but even that would have been a small detail that’s easily overlooked.

While I haven’t read Umineko, I do want to try and put this into a bit of perspective. If I recall correctly, the first episode of this series lasted a whole three hours. With four episodes, the anime has now been going on for let’s say an hour and 20 minutes (assuming that every episode is 20 minutes long, plus 3 minutes of OP and ED). Within that hour and twenty minutes in the game, was the storyline already this exciting, intriguing and mysterious in the game? I really doubt it.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Take any anime A, it doesn’t matter which one it is, as long as it’s really, really good; amazing in every single way. Now, ask yourself the question: would that series have been even better if we knew every single detail about the cast? How they spent their exact life, what their hobbies are, their entire wardrobe, childhood sweat-hearts, whatever. In my opinion, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so.

This of course is an extreme example, but the same principle goes for Umineko: according to the comments I’ve read on the previous episode, Ryukishi decided to go for the far end of the spectrum by adding lots of background, but that’s not the only way to achieve a deep cast, in my opinion. I’m of course not saying that the anime does have a deep cast, but we’re only four episodes in. There is NO way to tell whether the cast is going to be deep or not at this point.

Anyway, as for this episode, I’m really curious to where the creators are going with this: there are only five people alive at this point. Are the creators going to pull the same thing as Higurashi, and keep pulling a time loop over and over? There are a multiple amount of different arcs, after all.

Remember that the Higurashi anime was also incredibly inconsistent. Every arc was different, and even within each arc there were huge mood-changes. what if this goes the same in Umineko? We’re now at the point at which the story is building up, using the past slaughters in order to create a sense of despair. However, with so many episodes left, there still is enough time for the characters to either die and revive, or regroup and try to figure out what the heck is going on, and who Beatrice is. The thing I liked best of this episode was the atmosphere. It was a really tight one, especially considering we’re only four episodes in.

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