Umineko – Legend of the Golden Witch – 10/4, 10 AM to 6 PM

Oh man here we go.

Umineko is set up similarly to Higurashi, with four ‘question’ and four ‘answer’ arcs, though if I recall correctly they’re not called Q and A. We begin, obviously, with the very first one, entitled “Legend of the Golden Witch.” All of the arcs end in the phrase “of the Golden Witch,” which ads a nice bit of rhyme to them and also implies, to me, they’re less self-contained than Higurashi’s arcs, which were specifically designated as isolated ‘arcs’ in the titles.

This brings us to an important point:

There are absolutely 100% going to be Higurashi spoilers in this LP. Go read Higurashi first. It’s 100% worth it.

At the time of posting, for the record, I have finished this entire arc. I took notes as I went and then went back after each section break to fill them out with my thoughts, so I’d have some context for what I said but not so much as to ruin the feeling of my reactions being genuine.

The opening of this route is a lot of setup and exposition, so this is a long post, but it’s largely pretty empty until the very end. I wanted to get as much of the preamble out of the way at once as I could, so I kept going until it seemed like all the groundwork was laid.

Anyway, the game.

The title screen has some seacat noises for ambiance.

God just reading this makes me anxious. Horrible things are going to happen and I’m going to have no clue what’s going on or why.

Oooh, neat, apparently you can enter the TIPS at any point during the game, and they keep track of things like character profiles and relationships. Oh shit, can you save whenever you want?! What a time to be alive!

Also, this is neither here nor there, but I can’t figure out how to change things to the old sprites? Fuck that’s a lie I just did it, you can only do it in-game. NEVERMIND I don’t own a delete key so this is staying.

Are you implying there *isn’t* an all-knowing force guiding the universe that looks like Furude Rika?

We open to an old guy who gets a sprite. He’s a doctor conducting an exam on a patient, who he laments is still drinking too much.

The old military-looking guy getting examed also gets character art.

“The bottle is my friend.”

The most reliable friend of all.

Now I want a drink.

The doctor, Nanjo, says he may feel well thanks to the medicine, but if he doesn’t stop drinking, the treatment will be for nothing shortly.

Military Guy, Kinzo, says lol screw you and tells his butler, who is also an old guy sprite, to get him a drink. Butler’s name is Genji.

Genji hesitates, but ultimately follows his master’s orders.

There was a smell filling up the room. That sweet, poisonous aroma that melts the heart, and inexorably, the soul… is the aroma of that venomous green liquor the master couldn’t bring himself to part from.

absinthe?

They banter about how long their friendship has endured, and Dr. Nanjo ultimately says Kinzo doesn’t have long to live, especially considering how much he likes to trip balls.

Nanjo suggests Kinzo write a will.

Kinzo starts flipping out, yelling that he has nothing and will leave nothing behind, especially not to his ingrate children.

Ah, plot.

He then says while he has nothing to leave behind, there is one more thing that must be done before he dies, before his soul is devoured by demons as per the contract.

“It’s useless, useless, useless!! It must be while I live, because if I die, my soul will be instantly devoured by the demon of the contract, will be erased, will disappear, for all time! I won’t have peace in the world beyond death! That’s why everything must be done while I’m alive!! That’s why I have no need for a will or any such thing!! If I had time to write such things… if I had time!!”

He keeps yelling, begging someone named Beatrice to appear to him one more time, saying he knows she’s there now, watching, waiting.

There’s a sudden crash of lightening, and–!!! OPENING THEME SONG!!!

It’s mostly just the character sprites zooming around the screen dramatically, but good for 7th Expansion for having the resources to comission a song.

Welcome to Rokkenjima!, it ends. A lovely place, I’m sure.

I actually do kind of wonder how and if R07 accounted for how suspicious people would be going into this. I knew nothing about Higurashi entering it, and so was willing to take things more at face value — and even during the answer arcs, when I had an idea, not knowing the solution meant not knowing how R07 plotted, which is a big deal in these types of stories. I would guess that the vast majority of people come to Umineko after Higurashi, and as such come assuming nothing is as it seems… which, if you anticipate it, is a fun expectation to play with. But you have to be ready for it.

The 80s sure do make mysteries better, eh? The invention of cell phones was the killer of a million plots.

Oddly enough, the story proper opens with the narrator marvelling at modern technology, saying having small jets to take him to Niijima is a massive improvement over the half-day on a boat he’s used to.

Someone laughs and says, “Don’t worry, Battler-kun,” which is a weird name.

The someone is George:

George is wearing a banana-yellow suit, apparently.

But he has nothing on Battler-narrator:

…who is apparently Ace Attorney or something?

Banana teases Ace for possibly being scared of the plane, and we learn it’s been six years since they last saw each other. Presumably they’re relatives heading to the island where the old guy died?

Ace says something about George being able to hold his liqour because he’s like his father, so I guess Banana is Kinzo’s kid? Ace is apparently still underage, even though he dresses like a 35-year-old cowboy.

Ace points out that his name is stupid and his parents were weirdos, so at least we agree, and I assume he won’t mind me continuing to call him Ace. George is his cousin, and is 23 years old, 5 years older than Ace, so Ace is 18.

I just looked up Ace Attorney and his hair is pointed in the other direction but I maintain the comparison.

Ace’s dad is apparently one of four children, two boys and two girls. Wow, this is going to be a big cast.

Someone else walks up and comments on how big Battler has gotten.

It’s, um, Gomez? (Okay, I’ll stop.) His real name is Hideyoshi. He’s George’s dad, so maybe Kinzo’s brother? Hmm.

He’s with a redheaded woman:

Battler’s Aunt Eva. She’s Battler’s dad’s older sister. So maybe Kinzo’s sister?

She teases him about dating, and then this woman comes up:

That’s, uh, one way to wear a tie. It’s Battler’s stepmom, Kyrie.

Apparently his mom died six years prior. He gets along with his stepmom, but in more of a friendly way than a family way. They’re both okay with it.

His dad, Rudolph, finally arrives:

Geez, lots of lift in this family.

They banter and fool around for a while.

Apparently Ace also has a younger sister, Ange, who is sick with a stomach bug and unable to make it.

Maria and Rosa arrive, presumably another aunt and cousin. They’re running late because of their train. They get fun piano music.

Maria is apparently 9 even though she looks 16. It’s weird, the Higurashi sprites didn’t have this problem of everyone looking too old.

Aunt Rosa is Rudolph’s younger sister.

Battler apparently hasn’t seen either of them since Maria was 3, which is getting a bit weird, since Maria apparently has seen Rudolph in this time. Ace says that Rosa is the calm, kind sibling, nothing like his energetic father and Aunt Eva. He points out how weird it is they all have Western names, and wonders why his grandfather did that.

They finally board the plane. The family name is ‘Ushiromiya,’ by the by. Including Eva and Rosa’s families. Hm.

We then get a plane-takeoff montage, with the name of all the characters, including those we haven’t met yet. So ends the first scene. No TIPS yet. Or do we not get those at scene breaks like last time?

They land, and everyone teases Ace for being terrified on the plane. They all take taxis to a harbor. When they get there, they meet another cousin, Jessica, the daughter of the oldest brother.

Ace then tries to grope her. And then she tries to grope him. Um, at least it’s egalitarian cousin-on-cousin action?

And the some old lady tries to get Ace to grope her?? What is happening right now.

This is Kumasawa, who’s into 18-year-old boys I guess?

They refer to her as a ‘servant’ so I guess she works at Kinzo’s house. The older generation here are presumably his children, and Ace’s generation his grandchildren.

Anyway, there’s more banter and then they get on a speedboat and head to an island, where presumably their estate is.

This whole setup is very Christie, very And Then There Were None. Heh.

Ah, finally on the boat we get some interesting information. Apparently Rudolph had an affair with Kyrie, and when he found out Battler left to live with his maternal grandparents. They recently passed away, forcing Battler back with his father. He and his father haven’t gotten on quite right since all this happened, although he doesn’t blame Kyrie. That explains why he’s been MIA for 6 years.

I was living a commoner’s life at my grandparents’ home these six years, so I had completely forgotten, but the old bastard’s house sure is awesome, and I think it feels like every single thing there is a gaudy display of wealthy tastes. Come to think of it, George-aniki, Jessica, Maria, and of course I, sorta turn into wealthy, high-class gentlemen and ladies. Needless to say, none of us feel that way at all. I don’t see myself as being rich, and George-aniki, who is quite spartan, doesn’t depend on anyone. Jessica doesn’t need money, so she’s always grumbling about how she wants to move to the city, and Maria’s still a kid who has no interest whatsoever in money.

The whole thing seems to make Ace uncomfortable.

As they get close, Maria points out that the Shinto gate near the boatlaunch is missing. Dun dun dun.

Kumasawa jokes that it’s a sign of great misfortune.

Maria repeats that word feverishly. Apparently, repeating a single word over and over is a habit that Maria’s had for a long time. However, since the word she’s saying is literally ‘misfortune’, it’s kinda creepy.

I was wondering before why Maria wasn’t saying much, but is she autistic, or something similar? This is a pretty common symptom of things like autism and Tourette’s.

“…Misfortune is coming…” she says ominously.

Ace asks just where it’s coming from, and Maria points at the sky. The weather’s started going bad, true to the Christie archetype.

Looking up, the sky was cloudy as usual, but it had gotten a great deal more leaden than in the morning.

I see, she was saying a typhoon’s drawing near… We’re gonna have to spend a night on the island, but if during that time things don’t go well, I’m not gonna be able to go to school on Monday. Well, I guess that’s a perfect excuse to be absent.

Ace points out, somewhat oddly, that children are said to be sensitive to the supernatural.

Everyone tries to comfort Maria, but she just gets more agitated and frustrated that she’s not communicating well.

“…Rumor has it… that long ago, Rokkenjima was–“ Kumasawa starts to say, but Jessica immediately cuts her off and tells her not to bring it up. This obviously just makes Ace really curious, but he doesn’t say anything because he figures it would upset Maria more.

George kneels down next to Maria and assures her that as long as they’re together, it’s going to be okay. This seems to make her feel better, but will obviously not be true for long.

They finally get ready to dock, and with that the scene ends.

This time, a clock appears on the scene-end screen and dings ominously. Looks like it says 10:30, presumably in the morning.

When they arrive, they’re greeted by a man named Gohda, who appears to be the butler.

He notes that he’s been with the family for just under two years.

As the boat disembarks, Battler says it’s super weird there are no seagulls around — he remembers them being really loud. I’m having mental flashbacks the the cicada noises from Higurashi and how oppressive they got.

Battler jokes that Jessica ate them, and he teases her. Maria chimes in, and he thinks she’s having some fun.

George says they probably just are laying low to avoid the storm.

Battler-kun. Maria-chan is a naive girl, so she takes even jokes seriously. You should choose your jokes more carefully.

She really does seem autistic.

Battler apologizes and assures Maria that George is right, they’re just sleeping through the storm. This makes Maria happy, and everyone praises George for how good he is with kids.

Gohda leads everyone to the guest house, where they’ll be staying. As they climb up the steps to the main estate, they see the house’s incredible rose gardens. Eva notes that they don’t look as good as last year, and Gohda attributes it to the heat. Maria notices one rose wilting in a field of blooms, and gets upset by it, so George ties a ribbon around it and suggests they come back later and give it some extra water. This makes Maria feel better. Aw.

As they continue on toward the house, they run into a young servant boy named Kanon.

He’s shy and doesn’t say much to introduce himself. When Gohda probs him to say more, he refuses.

 “…No. Because we… are furniture.”

That’s… bleak.

No one seems to notice how weird that is, and instead Jessica hops over and says he’s a great guy who’s been working there for 3 years now.

Kanon basically tries to flee, but as he does tips over a wheelbarrow. Battler helps him clean up, and he seems shocked by this. He finally leaves, miserable and embarrassed.

They all go to their rooms, and we find out the guest house is only a few years old. Battler can’t get over how ostentatious it is, basically a Western-style mansion of its own for people who rarely visit.

Eva asks how the old man is, and Jessica says, well, considering he has a few months to live, not good.

He’s shut himself up in his study again, probably doing nothing but that weird black magic of his. What he does for a hobby is his own damn business, but when he starts stinking up the house, it really gets on my nerves… And I wish he’d never come out of that study again.

Battler says his family is one of rich eccentrics, but even by those standard his grandfather is bizarre and violent.

From the stories Dad told me, the Head of the Family was a violent man who rained blows on his sons with his own fists and even beat his daughters mercilessly with a wooden sword. […] I remember that the room’s atmosphere got so tense whenever he was around, you couldn’t even breathe.

George tries to make nice, but now it’s pretty inappropriate:

“He does look frightening, but he’s not completely terrifying. He’s definitely never unfair. He’s just very direct and not a pretty talker, that’s all.”

Yeah, beating the shit out of your kids: totally fair.

They let that subject drop and find their rooms. Batty is rooming with George, and apparently it’s the biggest room.

The adults head over to the main house while the kids hang back to catch up. We also learn George has a crush on a servant girl named Shannon.

We jump over to the main house, where we meet Natsuhi, Jessica’s mother.

 

Natsuhi apparently deals with migraines. Rosa gives her some tea that’s supposed to help, but Eva isn’t so kind.

“That reminds me, you were always saying you get those headaches. Pull yourself together. Jessica-chan will have her exams this year, won’t she? Isn’t that a turning point in her life? Are you that unreliable as a mother? Besides, Natsuhi nee-san, you’re three years younger than me. Can’t you pull yourself together?”

Yeesh. In-laws.

Eva sometimes fails to choose her words carefully, but even though she hid it with a smile, her comments aimed at Natsuhi contained shards of obvious malice.

No shit, narration.

Shannon comes in with tea for everyone.

Hideyoshi greets her, but Natsuhi snaps at her to stop socializing and serve them.

She apologized like a small frightened animal, and, bumping against the serving cart, made a jarring racket as she dropped several tea spoons. Her clumsiness made Natsuhi’s expression even harsher, which made Shannon in turn quail even more.

So I guess the middle gen here are all terrible, and the kids have to save the day?

[Eva] “It’s alright, Natsuhi nee-san. It’s just one kind of greeting, no big deal. We’ve already been made to wait for so long, the tea must be cold. Heheheh.”

[Shannon] “It… it’s alright… It’s not cold yet…”

[Natsuhi] “…Shannon, finish setting the table, quickly.”

It’s like being around my relatives.

The ineptitude that delayed the tea, the clumsiness of the servant, everything pointed to the incompetence of Natsuhi’s everyday guidance, making her lose face.

Yep, my family.

Kyrie tries to lighten things by saying the tea smells great and asking what it is, but Shannon is so flustered she doesn’t know. By this point, Eva was audibly giggling.

Shannon is finally able to escape, and as she goes Kyrie quietly apologizes to her. Hideyoshi and Rudolf try to joke about Eva’s attitude to ease the tension, and it kind of works.

Shannon meets Kanon in the hall, and he tells her it wasn’t her fault, and that Eva and Gohda can go to hell. Apparently the tea being late was Gohda’s fault, and when he realized he’d get in trouble, he pawned the task off on Shannon. She insists to Kanon, who may be her little brother, that she’s fine, and then Genji walks up. He asks if everything’s okay, and Shannon just wants it to be done, so she says it is and they all get back to work.

Kumasawa looks on, thinking that she feels bad for them, and for Natsuhi, but that Gohda is an asshole.

With that, the scene ends, and the clock proceeds to noon.

Back with the cousins, they banter, and Shannon comes in. Ace tries to grope her and also threatens to grope Maria one day. I’m just going to move on from that.

That said, and I think the point of all this uncomfortableness, when Ace goes in for Shannon, she doesn’t react, and he pulls away, saying she’s gotta swat a dude away when she gets that close.

“I…I cannot obey your request. Because I’m furniture. But… if it’s an order, I’ll obey you. Because that is my duty.”

Sooo creepy. Purposefully, I think, but still.

Ace tries to make a joke out of it, but he’s kind of freaked out and hopefully that’s the end of this. George chimes in and says, if she has to listen to them, then he orders her not to let guests molest her. She looks relieved and agrees.

Ace wonders about her name. I did too. Maybe the servants are the old dude’s children/grandchildren too somehow?

Shannon asks if Kanon caused them any trouble, and waffles about whether they’re actually related. She apologizes for him being unsociable, which Maria catches:

“Uu-! Maria gets called that all the time too! Gets called unsociable! Like Kanon! Uu-!”

Shannon quickly says Maria isn’t unsociable at all, and she goes from happy to sad, saying she wanted to be like him. I really like her.

They head over to the main house to eat, and Genji greets them.

Genji-san, just like Kumasawa-san, stood in stark contrast to us young people who had grown beyond recognition over the last six years. His figure was exactly the same as in my memories of six years ago. It seemed like time had stopped since the last we met.

Hmm.

He was like Grandfather’s close aide or caregiver… in fact, you could even go so far as to say he was Grandfather’s companion of many years.

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Incidentally, it looks like one of the releases of that game changed “companion of many years” to “right-hand man.” It makes me wonder if there really was subtext intended one of the translators got weird about, or if the translator of this version just didn’t realize how the phrase would come across. Regardless, they’re now lovers in my head.

Actually, it seems that he was by Grandfather’s side more than my late Grandmother was. According to Jessica, Grandfather trusted him more than any of his blood relatives.

Hoookay, definitely intentional subtext, screw the other translator.

As Ace looks around, he notices something that’s definitely new: an absurdly creepy portrait of a woman he doesn’t know.

I would assume this is Beatrice. Creepy.

Ace asks who the woman is.

Maria pipes up and says it’s Beatrice. George says yes, Beatrice, the witch of the island.

Which reminds me, when I was little and stayed at this mansion, in the eerie nights where the wind and rain struck the windows, I got terrified by a story that the witch of the forest was roaming around searching for a sacrifice…

Ace remarks that he doesn’t recall her having the name ‘Beatrice,’ and Jessica chimes in.

Genji tells her not to say those things in front of her grandfather and she says I know, I know.

…Only a small portion of this island was controlled by the Ushiromiya family. All of the wild remainder… was the witch Beatrice’s domain.

One could say that she was the being who actually ruled over Rokkenjima. That slightly unsettling feeling of misfortune that I had felt when I learned the Tutelary God’s shrine had been struck by lightning on the boat trip revived within me a bit

He wonders if this was the story Jess stopped Kuma from telling.

They go sit down, and Ace explains that the seating is carefully arranged by rank, and it bothers him how misogynistic it is:

Maybe it’s a leftover of male chauvinism. If the system is predicated on the idea that a woman’s womb is just a borrowed thing, then the children of direct descent would have a much higher ranking, and the grandchildren would come next. Meaning that the spouses, with no blood ties, are considered the last in line. It’s terrible, but according to that ranking order, Grandmother, when she was alive, would have been in a position even lower than mine.

In their youth they obey their father; after they get married, their husband; after aging, their children. There’s the old saying, ‘Women have no home in any realm’. Long ago, when I was still incapable of figuring all this out, I’d thought it was so great that we could all chat, with the adult siblings in their group and us cousins in ours. However, now that I can reexamine the seating order after growing up a bit, it stirs up some very complicated feelings in me…

Battler sits next to Natsuhi, who he doesn’t know well and as a result doesn’t particularly like, though he doesn’t exactly dislike her, either. He tries to make a joke and she needs to be prompted into shallow laughter.

Ace notes that even though the head of the table decides when to start, his grandfather was usually very prompt and never made people wait. Jess says he’s been so loopy sometimes he doesn’t even show up now.

It’s also worth noting that Jess’ father, the oldest sibling, is MIA.

We jump up to Kinzo in the study. The clock strikes noon and he doesn’t even seem to notice. Krauss, Jess’ dad, is banging on the door, trying to remind him to come downstairs, but Kinzo just screams at him and tells him to go away. Krauss appeals that the whole family is waiting.

Hey, I was right about it being absinthe! I’m winning at Umineko, guys.

Outside, Krauss thinks, hey, he tried. He also gets a sprite:

Dude looks like a villain from an 80s move that’s going to turn the boardwalk into condos.

Dr. Nanjo is there, and he also tries to appeal to Kinzo through the door. This goes about as well.

Why do you not understand, you foolish sheep!!

Lol.

He yells about wanting to see Beatrice one more time and Krauss is like fuck this, the food is getting cold. Nanjo thinks Krauss is being a dick, but doesn’t know what else to do.

Genji finally shows up and enters the room as Kinzo screams for him.

Inside the study, the mysterious collection of books that Kinzo had gathered had grown into a mountain. They were bizarre ancient or banned books, all of them either forbidden, cursed, or sealed.

But then, if one were to call them old books, Kinzo would fly into a rage an say something like this: “Call them Grimoires!”

Also Lol.

That said, Kinzo’s sprite is crying right now, and I actually feel bad for him. I mean, he’s obviously not insane and Beatrice has cursed him, but he’s certainly acting insane and is so frustrated that no one gets it, and it is pitiful.

He laments that his children are all miserable people, and his grandchildren not much better — Krauss spends money like it’s nothing, Rudolf only cares about womanizing, Eva is obsessed with wealth, and Rosa got pregnant by a stranger. Jess he calls ‘incompetent and illiterate,’ George is unmasculine, Battler disgraced the family by running away, and Maria is ugly. He attributes this all to Beatrice’s curse.

 “Therefore… I have decided. I cannot stand spending my dimmed, remaining years procrastinating thus. In this body, if I have a coin to bet in the end, it seems I’ll entrust it to the roulette of the demons. The power of magic is always settled with a gamble.

He devolves into wailing about Beatrice again, and falls to the floor in tears.

Back with the family, Krauss arrives and tells them to just start dinner.

Lunch started with the family head’s seat still empty. …The man who should be sitting there was already old, and the brilliant glory which had rebuilt the Ushiromiya family in a single lifetime was being forgotten. Nobody seemed to feel uncomfortable when the meal began with that seat still empty…

And the clock moves to 1:30.

Ace says that the so-called family conference does really function like a business conference, since the children are all expected to have made money on the money lent by their father, and they basically come together to argue about business ventures.

He doesn’t know Krauss very well either, but has heard he’s spiteful and violent, and the other siblings detest him. Shocker. He also notes that Dr. Nanjo is reputed to be an accomplished and incredibly kind man, and is likely the only person not associated with the household allowed on the island.

Ace takes a moment to talk about his missing grandfather, and says that in the 1920s, an earthquake destroyed the main Ushiromiya family, and that the only living relative left was Kinzo, part of a far-flung branch of the family who previously would never have been considered in any inheritance. Suddenly, he became a very wealthy man. He was also violent toward his children and terrifying to everyone. No one expected much of him.

Even so, with an unbelievable amount of good luck and miracles, with coincidences piling up and every chance taken advantage of, before anyone knew it, he began to make connections with the occupying forces.

Sounds like he traded his soul for some dough, eh?

He says Kinzo was always obsessed with Western culture and everyone knew, but no one is quite sure when his obsession with the occult started.

Did his love of black magic begin way back when he became fascinated with everything western, or, possibly, did his miraculous stretch of good luck which allowed him to revive the family cause him to feel a mysterious power in himself? At some point, Grandfather began to make the research of black magic his life’s work. He filled his study up with suspicious books, chemicals, and magical items as he became increasingly bizarre.

We head back to dinner, and everyone talks about how great the meal is.

After dinner, they head to the sitting room for tea. The kids decide to go down to the beach, and Genji steps in with the adults. The conversation starts about how much the kids have grown, but quickly devolves into everyone taking pot-shots at each other. Rudy refers to all the children as ‘brats,’ and says they should get down to business.

Rudolf basically asks, “When is this guy going to die already?” Nanjo essentially says he has no idea, since this time last year he would have thought mere months. Krauss says he’s still so strong-willed it’s hard to picture him as someone about to die. Rudy says, let’s just hammer out who gets what.

Natushi can’t believe how crass they’re all being, and Hideyoshi is just being quiet.

Incidentally, this all reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode with the masks.

Eva and Natsuhi shout at each other, and Nanjo takes this opportunity to flee.

Then they start drilling into Krauss about his shitty real estate investments, and Natsuhi starts screaming at everyone. Somehow she’s coming off as the most unhinged here — the rest of them, except maybe the other in-laws, are awful people, but they’re awful in a sane, cold, calculating way, while Natsuhi is all over the place.

Krauss talking about how his shitty investments are definitely 100% going to work out also sounds like my family.

The long and short of the whole conversation is that the siblings have pretty legit evidence Krauss has been embezzling funds to finance new projects.

Natsuhi freaks the fuck out and tries to throw Eva out of the house. Eva regards her with cold distaste.

There’s a moment of silence, and then Krauss tells Natsuhi to go somewhere else and cool off.

Natsuhi flies upstairs, screaming in tears in rage, while her husband mocks her to Eva.

Kumasawa hears and pities her. Apparently Natsuhi had a hard time getting pregnant, and Krauss was cruel to her for not being able to produce an heir. Then Eva finagled her way into marrying but making her husband take the family name, thus staying in her position of power in the family, and was able to have a son before Natsuhi could have any children. Because she couldn’t get pregnant, she lost any hold over Eva she might have had.

The clock actually hits 2:00 and then moves back to 1:30, so I guess we’re seeing what happened to the kids during this time.

As they leave the house, Batty catches the portrait again and wonders aloud if she was a real person. Maria is adamant that Battler believe the story and gets quite agitated about it. She starts banging on the name plate hanging below the picture.

The plate did have the title of the portrait written on it, but it was much too big to contain only that. Beneath the title, what looked like an long epitaph was also written. If you just skimmed over it, several unnerving words would jump out at you.

George comes up and says the rumor is the epigraph is a hint to where Kinzo’s secret treasure horde is.

Apparently the lore of the family, from the time their parents were small children, is:

Grandfather then went on and on about how he continued to research alchemy and techniques for summoning demons in order to become a great magician… And the entity summoned as the result of the demon-calling ceremony was the Golden Witch Beatrice. He then said that he made a contract where, in exchange for his own soul, he would receive fortune and honor. The witch then granted Grandfather 10 tons of gold.

Clearly 100% true if genre savviness is any indication.

The kids talk a bit about what an absurd number “10 tons of gold” is. Ace notes that the epitaph is long, creepy, and weird, and it certainly could read like a puzzle. Jessica points out that since he was always a little bonkers, it’s totally possible he’d see any wealthy woman lending him seed-money as a nobody as a ‘generous witch,’ and have a portrait done of her in gratitude — hell, maybe his gratitude felt as thought it was worth 10 tons of gold. Batty agrees the story is most likely symbolic, because he didn’t read Higurashi, either.

Maria is clearly upset that they’ve concluded Bea doesn’t exist, and even starts to cry, insisting she does.

[George] “Come to think of it, Maria-chan, in social studies at your school, when you were asked to write what you wanted to be when you grew up, you wrote ‘a witch’, didn’t you?”

I am like 90% sure Maria’s father is some kind of supernatural entity and she’s actually a witch.

Shannon comes in, and brings up the alternate theory that a woman named Beatrice was Kinzo’s first love who he never got over. Jessica says that apparently their grandmother did believe he was having an affair with a blonde woman. No, he was having an affair with Genji, we covered this.

Anyway, Shannon reminds them they were planning to go to the beach, so they decide to go have a picnic and the scene ends.

We hop over to the adults, who are saying there actually is evidence their father has a horde of gold, though none of them think it’s 10 tons he got from a witch. Krauss is the only one who doesn’t believe any of it.

[Rudolf] “Aniki, the president of Marusoo definitely saw it. 10 tons of it, clearly with his own eyes. Even more, Father let the president take one ingot at random and have it examined. The results of the examination showed that the 10 kilogram ingot was 99.99 percent pure. He said that the Ushiromiya family crest, the One-winged Eagle, was carved into it.”

[Eva] “Almost instantly, the Ushiromiya Legend of the Gold spread amongst the fixers of the business world. Gold from an unknown foundry has a poor rate of conversion into money. Thinking that it was a chance for decisive profits, they accepted it as collateral, and as a result Father was able to receive a giant loan…”

Krauss says they’re all idiots, and Eva points out that if he’s denying the embezzlement, then there’s a huge amount of money he has that’s unaccounted for, and they’re willing to believe he found the stash and kept it all for himself. He insists it came from friends, and they say he should prove it, because if he refuses, they’ll sic lawyers on him when Kinzo croaks anyway, and it will come out that way.

The three younger siblings then essentially attempt to extort him for $7.5 million, framing it as a good-faith payment ensuring he’ll give them their fair share of the estate, in exchange for not going after him when he divides the assets.

However, Krauss can research too, and it turns out all three siblings need lots of money right now, and as he lays out their situations, they lose their negotiating power, though I don’t get why they can’t just still report him to the Japanese SEC for embezzlement of funds.

Krauss laughs maniacally and says, tell you what, we’ll have a few drinks and spend the night solving the riddle of Kinzo’s gold.

Up in Kinzo’s study, Kanon is reporting the entire exchange to Kinzo, who gets a kick out of the idea they’d solve the riddle.

“…Will the miracle be fulfilled first, or will those fools expose the gold first? What a sight. If those fools solve my puzzle, at that time I will be completely defeated. They can suck my corpse down to the last fragment of bone. Great magic can house a miracle from the fools’ greed. And yet!! If the fulfillment of the miracle comes first… If it comes first! Beatrice will be resurrected again!! That smile which I have been chasing half my life will be restored…! […] The sacred night when the miracle is wagered will come, and the devils’ game will begin…! I will definitely win, and will definitely remain alive!! I’ll give up the other people’s lives! I don’t need wealth or honor or assets or gold or anything! I only want to see your smile one more time!! *Coughcoughcough*!!”

Ah, so we’re going to play an evil murdergame. I approve.

Kinzo tells canon that everyone, even he, must attempt the riddle to give his ritual the highest chance of working out. Speaking of which, not that I’m shocked, but the servants are all spies for Kinzo, eh?

Out in the foyer, Nanjo and Genji also discuss the epitaph. Nanjo wonders the true purpose of it, and Genji has no opinion. Nanjo says he’s tried to solve it often, but has never been able to. We finally get to learn what it is:

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key

As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules
On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices. 
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells

The witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice.

Hmmm.

Well what it looks like from my perspective is the first two stanzas are a treasure map, and the second describes a ritual that has to be completed once solving the map and getting a ‘key,’ though likely not an actual key, quite literally by killing and maiming everyone in order to summon Beatrice, with the result that at the end, the one left gets the gold, everyone is revived, and Beatrice is gone for good.

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key

I assume the whole story takes place on the island, and so this isn’t referring to Kinzo’s hometown literally, but I don’t think I have enough information to make anything of it yet. I do know what sweetfish are thanks to Animal Crossing.

Incidentally, the epitaph is saved in the TIPS menu for our convenience.

On the beach, the kids also take their shot at the epigraph. They take it more literally than I did, assuming it is actually talking about Kinzo’s hometown and try to work it out from there, but without much success. The read the middle and ending parts similarly to how I did.

Maria gets upset as they talk about how crazy it is, and shows them all her drawings of witches.

It was not the normal sinister image of a crooked-nose hag flying around on a broom, but a dreamlike person with unnatural powers that could do anything and wore a beautiful dress. It was just what you would expect from an imaginative young girl. Dancing in the sky, crossing a rainbow, dancing around all night with a teacup and a teapot that would never get empty no matter how much you poured out of it. With a flourish of her staff, the stars in the sky would become candy and pour down, and flowers that produced sweets would bud by the roadside.

…To Maria, a witch was a unique concept, an embodiment of the magical dream that so captivated her. As she grew up, this was the last thing that gave richness to her dull and plain everyday life.

Aww. I really like Maria. I know I keep saying that, but she’s had so much personality so far.

Shannon pipes up and says she can tell servants’ stories about the witch. They’re all rather typical ghost stories, with things getting lost and people falling down being attributed to Beatrice.

Maria decides to give Batt and Jess charms to protect them from Beatrice, since not believing in her could invoke her wrath. Maria rifles around in her bag and pulls out two cheap-looking souvenir bracelets with scorpions on them, and says that since scorpions are said to have the ability to thwart magic, these should work. Shannon chimes in and says she’s heard that about scorpions, too. I would love if it turns out these actually work and Bat and Jess are the only ones who don’t die.

“Uu-! Wear it on your arm when you want a peaceful heart. If you put it in your wallet, your money won’t decrease! If you hang it from a doorknob, bad things can’t get in! It’s a really convenient charm!”

This is the most talking Maria’s ever done, and it’s super cute. As they eat their food, the older kids keep asking Maria about magic and charms, and she happily chats with them.

It starts to rain, so everyone hastily packs up and starts to head back.

The wind picks up as they head back, and they decide to look at the roses again for a minute, as the typhoon will likely ruin the garden. Maria remembers the sad rose she wanted to take care of, but when they go to look no one can find it. Maria starts to get upset, insisting it’s there and they don’t stop looking, when Rosa comes over.

“How many times do I have to tell you to stop saying ‘uu-uu-‘ before you will understand! Mama will look for it, so stay quiet!!”

Whoa. Batt is shocked about Rosa’s sudden anger as well.

Maria keeps crying, insisting it’s there, and then suddenly Rosa slaps her. Maria is stunned into silence, and no one can say anything. But then her tantrum starts up again.

 “Uu-uu-!! Uu-uu-uu-!! Maria’s rose! Maria’s rose!! Uu-uu-uu-uu-uu-uu-uu-!!!”

“Didn’t I tell you to stop that weird habit!! That’s why all of the kids in your class make fun of you!! Cut it out!!”

Once again, her palm slapped Maria’s cheek. This time she didn’t go silent. She choked as she started crying, and began to bawl in an increasingly louder voice… Aunt Rosa was clearly irritated, and lifted her hand once more to try and shut her daughter up…

Battler steps in to try to stop it, saying it’s no big deal, kids just get upset sometimes. Rosa looks at him coldly and tells the older children to leave, as she needs to have a talk with Maria. Shit, it really sounds like she’s going to beat the crap out of her. Rosa keeps shouting at her to stop, which obviously just makes her keep doing it, and hits Maria so hard she falls over. Batt tries to step in, but Rosa grabs him and shoves him away.

My back hit George-aniki.

“…A long time ago, Rosa-san also thought of it as nothing more than one of Maria-chan’s baby words… but she is now midway through elementary school, and the fact that it hasn’t been fixed has bothered her a lot recently…”

“It’s not like it matters what kind of words she uses…”

“You can’t grow up to be like that. Therefore, even though it’s not a pleasant scene to watch… this is a problem between parent and child”

What the actual fuck George. He’s so annoying, he’s like an awful Nice Guy who wants to schmooze everyone but in each situation where someone is getting hurt he justifies not doing anything.

Jessica looks uncomfortable and says they should just leave, and Bat still can’t really believe it. The kids slowly walk away. Finally, Rosa stomps off, telling Maria she can just stay out in the storm if she wants the rose that badly. So Maria stays.

Up with Kinzo, it’s raining.

“…So, shall we start? Let us begin banquet of miracles of ours. Even now this island has been cut off from the world. Now there is no one who can interrupt my ceremony. There are many fitting sacrifices for you. Four of my children. Three of their companions. Four of my grandchildren. Me and my guests and my servants! You may eat up as many as you please. The key of fate will obey the roulette of demons and choose the sacrifices. If that roulette chooses me, even I will become your sacrifice. However, because of that… because I will bet on that madness, I will definitely create a grand miracle.”

“What if we took And Then There Were None and combined it with a magic murdergame” is such an absurdly wonderful premise. Honestly, Ryukishi may be the writer I’ve read that most picks up the mantle of Christie as far as construction, characterization, and storytelling are concerned, even if their actual subject matter is so different. (Do you know how many times I’ve planned out my thesis paper about the influences of mid-century American detective fiction on modern Japanese serial storytelling? So many times.)

Anyway. The scene ends, and the clock strikes 6 PM.

… and with that, I think we’ll cut. It looks like we have all the necessary starting info now, so this seems like a good time.

I think the biggest difference right now between this and Higurashi is the tone, vis a vis the characters. Higurashi was very much about an idyllic setting with something sinister underneath, and part of the tragedy was just how much we liked the main characters and how much we wanted to believe they were good people.

Here, the opening is fraught with tension — Battler hasn’t seen his family in six years, and we quickly find out it’s because his father had an affair. All of the adults are detestable people whose every word is a weapon, and it’s unclear just how bad the kids are; George has a few moments where his goody-two-shoes thing breaks down and he endorses the fucked-up behavior of the family, to Battler’s shock. Jessica has been living on this island under Kinzo’s eye and training to take over the awful family, and there’s clearly something going on with Maria’s obsession with the occult (completely aside from the fact that she seems like she has some developmental issues). None of these people seem like good people, possibly even the ones who bother to put up that facade, and the tension here comes from the fact that the whole place is like a gas leak ready to ignite, rather than the interruption of something wonderful.

All of this is conveyed to us via Battler, who serves as our anchor to what’s normal and moral. When I rail on fiction for not having the reader-expy POV character, this is a prime example of why. Battler’s POV as an outsider is absurdly important, not just as a way to give us exposition, but to serve as someone outside the circular morality of the family as a whole. Without Battler, there’s no way to tell what the game feels is normal or abnormal, right or wrong, because the other characters are so fucked up. That Battler is disturbed by Rosa’s treatment of Maria, freaked out by Kinzo’s Beatrice obsession, hurt and angry over his father’s womanizing, serves to ensure the reader that they’re not supposed to gloss over those things either. The real purpose of this POV character isn’t just to highlight what information is important via exposition, but via their adverse reactions to it. The table scene is one of the most important in this regard — that he goes out of his way to be unsettled by the misogyny of the family’s hierarchy tells us we’re not in a universe where the normalcy of this is to be taken for granted, and it gives us important information going forward.

The most important information we get from Battler by far boils down to: if you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. And in any book, but most importantly a mystery, this is the most important information you can give a reader, because it is the information about how an author was trying to make the reader feel.

It’s also important in something with tinges of the supernatural, because it grounds us, and when shit hits the fan and it’s suddenly not possible to be grounded, not possible to have any frame of reference, it means something to be confused. A problem I see all the time in fiction is that the author doesn’t take care to make the reader feel comfortable before upending them, but if you never having firm footing, loosing your balance is meaningless. Battler’s levelheaded, empathetic readings of situations means that when that starts to waver, our ability to feel safe will waver, too. This is hugely important in horror and thrillers.

What this all boils down to, on a larger scale, is: a lot of conventions are conventions because they work, and before you buck them, you should ask what there is to gain by doing so, because often there’s a lot to lose, and that is why I constantly tell people it’s so important to have a character serve this function: the tradeoff is rarely, rarely worth it. The rewards for winning the Originality Race are just not going to be as grand as the ones for the Effective Communication Race.

tl;dr Ryukishi is a good writer

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112 Comments

  1. CrazyEd says:
    Should I read Higurashi before reading this? Logic dictates “yes”, but reading this post without having done so tells me “hah hah, no, but make sure to write down all your thoughts about this, for when you do go back and read Higurashi; it’ll be way funnier that way”.

    Egalitarian cousin-on-cousin groping, static cling ties, magic-thwarting scorpions, and oppressive cicada noises. Oh, my. With a premise like that, who needs context?

    (Actually, on the subject of the cicada noises, basically all I do know about Higurashi is the location its setting is based on, Shirakawa-go. Oh, and that there’s a witch who could give Yukari Yakumo a run for her money, and it’s Agatha Christie as fuck.)




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    1. Heatth says:

      Umineko is not a direct sequel, so you can read it without Higurashi no problem. It is what I did. But you do miss some references and stuff, so the ideal order is Higurashi first Umineko later. But, again, not necessary.

       

      That said, Act did read Higurashi and I am sure she will comment and contrast the two over the course of the live blog, so, if you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably read Higurashi first indeed.

       




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        I am immune to spoilers. I’m gonna drink me a whole bottle of demonic absinthe and burn this motherfucker down. Heaven and hell, final destination, full speed ahead.



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        1. It’s possible, I finished all of the seacats in about 4 days of nonstop reading. That made me lose the game tho, since I didn’t even try to solve any of the shit.

           

          It was great fun anyway but I wasn’t the right type of audience.

          vBurning the motherfucker down




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            What’s possible? I’m having more trouble figuring out what you’re trying to tell me than I did trying to figure out what was going on in this update, sorry.



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            1. Act says:

              He’s saying it’s possible to speed-read it, but you do lose something by not trying to think it through as you go.

              It is long, though. If we assume I’m taking twice as long as I would otherwise to take notes, the first route took me somewhere between 6 – 8 hours.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Oh, no. That’s not what I meant at all. I mean I’m gonna charge full speed ahead with reading this thread with practically zero knowledge of Higurashi, spoilers be damned.



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            3. Act says:

              I would say definitely try to read Higurashi first. In fact, you’ve brought up something important, which is that I didn’t think to mark Higurashi spoilers. 




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  2. David says:
    Nice, glad to be reading this. One thing I was wondering about was you using the original sprites here. I remember in your original post you said you were using the Steam release, which has the sprites from that pachinko game in it. This is how I experienced it too, so I’m not complaining. Just curious.



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    1. Heatth says:

      The steam release allow you to use the original sprites, thanks god.




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      1. illhousen says:

        I actually like to switch between the two. I feel the updated sprites better fit the atmosphere (rich people dying), but the old sprites are more charming and expressive. So, I guess my advice would be to use the original sprites in highly emotional scenes and updated as the default.




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        1. Act says:

          What I’ve learned is there’s two sets of updated sprites — one nice set, and one hideous caricature set. Unfortunately the Steam release has the latter — looks like the nice set is from the PS3 release.

          LPArchive and Nuzlocke’s LPs use the PS3 set and I’ve liked being able to compare and contrast them. In general though I do find the old ones more expressive.




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          1. Heatth says:

            The expressiveness of the original sprites is what make them my favorite. The PS3 ones are pretty, but I prefer expressive faces. That said, the PS3 ones do have more body language. At last some characters have more than a single pose, if I remember correctly.




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  3. Heatth says:

    The gif captures me feeling very well. =DD

    It’s mostly just the character sprites zooming around the screen dramatically, but good for 7th Expansion for having the resources to comission a song.

    They actually released a whole CD. They did it for Higurashi too, actually. In fact, since Kai, the soundtrack was being commissioned specifically for the games. IT was only the original 4 chapters that were made with license free music. 7th Expansion grew a lot over the course of these games.

    I would guess that the vast majority of people come to Umineko after Higurashi

    Most of the English fandom read Umineko first, actually, as it was fantranslated before the official releases. In fact I suspect Umineko’s popularity was one of the reasons Higurashi got an official release. Of course, a lot of them had watched Higurashi, so, indeed, the fandom as a whole wasn’t exactly blind.

    I actually watched Umineko first myself, without barely any exposure to Higurashi. I was, however, spoiled about a major thing, so I had an idea where things were going.

    Maria is apparently 9 even though she looks 16. It’s weird, the Higurashi sprites didn’t have this problem of everyone looking too old.

    Probably helped everyone’s age was so vague. Like, I personally assumed Keiichi and Reina were 13 and Min 14. But it seem a lot of people assumed they were in high school, so in the 15-17 range. Anyway, I think it is mostly the clothes that age everyone up.

    Incidentally, it looks like one of the releases of that game changed “companion of many years” to “right-hand man.” It makes me wonder if there really was subtext intended one of the translators got weird about, or if the translator of this version just didn’t realize how the phrase would come across. Regardless, they’re now lovers in my head.

    Do you know which version is which? The steam translation is an update of the original Witch Hunt fan translation. If you are comparing these two, the steam version is most likely the most accurate. However, I know there is alternate fan retranslations out there, which might be where you got that from, I don’t know.

    Man, I am super excited for this. Too bad I have to go out now, so I will have to finish the post later.

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    1. Act says:

      RE: Translations: the Steam version does in fact seem to be the most accurate. Honestly, some of the PS3 translations seem to lose major implications relative to the Steam version throughout this route and the next one. I’m glad this is the one I’m using; the other translation is strange.




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      1. illhousen says:

        Probably still better than anime.

        God, telling the whole arc in five episodes was such a bad idea. There is a particular scene with Krauss and Natsuhi that made zero sense in anime because it lacked any context or elaboration.

        Also, faces. You should watch some clips or something just for the faces. They make the most dramatic scenes into comedy (which seems like a running theme for R07: Higanbana manga had such  atrocious expressions as well).




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        1. Nerem says:
          I was disappointed by Higanbana, but it was my fault. Largely: I thought it was all going to be like the first chapter, about the first girl, instead of it actually being about everyone.



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          1. illhousen says:

            Higanbana is OK if you know what you’re getting into (though I do have issues with individual stories), but yeah, it’s very different from Higurashi and Umineko. Far less ambitious, just 16 short stories connected by setting and some of the characters instead of that grand gradually revealed mystery.

            I get how it could be disappointing to get into it expecting another Umineko, but I think on its own merits it stands alright.




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            1. Let’s be real here: it doesn’t matter what R07 does from now on, he’ll never reach to seacats’ heights again. Everything he’ll try will be compared to Umineko and fail to measure up (because of course not).

              Such is the curse of the masterpiece.




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            2. Heatth says:

              I don’t know, the same could have been said of Higurashi. And I actually don’t think Umineko is such a straight upgrade, there are something I like in Higurashi more. So I don’t think it is impossible Ryuukishi would make something as good or better then Umineko.




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            3. illhousen says:

              I feel that a bigger obstacle to writing When They Cry Tri is figuring out what animal to use as a motif next.

              I fully believe that the concept for Higanbana was created when R07 went “fuck it, next game is about spider lilies that don’t cry at all. Someone else can do it for a change.”




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  4. This is awesome and even better than what I hoped.

    Your reading is good as always and your speculations and thoughts are too darn amusing for reasons I can’t explain yet. I am the HYPE of my hype.

     

    Sounds like you watched the episode opening video thing, which is pretty great. I believe later ops will have spoilers in them for some reason, albeit made such that they’re usually (but not always) only recognizable as such in hindsight. I dunno if you should skip them or not, but that’s how it is.

    Lastly, I really wanna contribute to this readthru with choice fanarts but even when I filter them for spoilers, I’m left with stuff that’s gonna ruin the atmosphere and character images forever. So now instead of contributory, I’m mildly sad.

    (gonna post the shit out of seacats fanart when we’re done with the story tho, nobody will be able to stop me after readthru is over…)




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    1. CrazyEd says:
      How can something be a spoiler if you can only recognize it as such after you know what it’s supposed to be spoiling?



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        1. illhousen says:

          I reject that reason! There is nothing in spoiling that cannot be accomplished by human hands!




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        2. CrazyEd says:
          Don’t talk to me about magic, whippersnapper. I’ll have you know I’ve been doing magic since before I was born!



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    2. Heatth says:

      Sounds like you watched the episode opening video thing, which is pretty great. I believe later ops will have spoilers in them for some reason

      Not really, actually. The PS3 opening has scenes from all 4 chapters, but the original (and the Steam version, I am pretty sure) only have for the first. The opening video was created when only the first episode existed afterall. The video actually becoems a bit silly and outdate in later episodes, though it is replaced in episode 4. And, of course, since the author is the one who created the video, fully expecting people would watch them, they are not spoilers almost by definition.




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      1. The PS3 opening has scenes from all 4 chapters, but the original (and the Steam version, I am pretty sure) only have for the first.

        Well, if that’s the case everything’s peachy.




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  5. illhousen says:

    absinthe?

    Ah, the ol’ green snake. Drinks like water until you’re too drunk to move. My friend once got alcohol poisoning from it because he couldn’t feel himself getting drunk, and so drunk way more than his body could handle.

    “Don’t worry, Battler-kun,” which is a weird name.

    Battler did it! Sorry, just had to say it. You know you thought it too.

    Said not as a spoiler but as a riff on “a butler did it,” of course.

    …who is apparently Ace Attorney or something?

    …Yeah, he basically is, and I think it’s actually intentional.

    For what it’s worth, I actually like his color scheme: white on red with some gold.

    Fits his hair, too.

    And the some old lady tries to get Ace to grope her?? What is happening right now.

    Japanese Aristocrats!

    As they continue on toward the house, they run into a young servant boy named Kanon.

    Also known as Lelouch vi Britannia in updated sprites and anime.

    So I guess the middle gen here are all terrible, and the kids have to save the day?

    Well… Hideyoshi is OK?

    That said, and I think the point of all this uncomfortableness, when Ace goes in for Shannon, she doesn’t react, and he pulls away, saying she’s gotta swat a dude away when she gets that close.

    Oh, yeah, that scene. Wish you’d elaborated on it because it was super-uncomfortable.

    Like, for Battler it was a joke, a way to break ice. He expected to be rebuked and have a good laugh afterwards. And, well, if other people were to laugh uncomfortably, he wouldn’t notice.

    Jessica was there too and also told Shannon to be more assertive, but Jessica is filthy rich and lives on a fucking island, surrounded by people whose job is to cater to her. She probably rarely if ever faced bullshit like that from anyone but Battler.

    Shannon, meanwhile, is a servant dependent on Ushiromiya family. I don’t know if you know her backstory, so won’t tell, but there is some stuff that makes it worse. We already know that her immediate boss (Natsuhi) doesn’t like her much, and who the fuck knows what Kinzo thinks. Chances are good that if a guest of the family were to grope her or, well, something else and she complained, she would be the one to get in trouble.

    As such, I’m rather dubious as to how much worth the advice given to her has.

    Also, it’s interesting to compare Keiichi and Battler here. Keiichi was also pretty perverted and frequently would say or think something sexually-charged to the girls, but he generally came across as an OK guy where Battler… didn’t. I feel the issue is the power balance here: Keiichi stood on equal grounds with his friends and was the butt of the joke more often than not, while Battler basically bullies a servant.

    Fortunately, yeah, I think that’s the end of it. Battler becomes much better once shit hits the fan, and generally drops the attitude in future episodes.

    Kinzo just screams at him

    Kinzo has the best rants. The best.

    On that note, have some DESIIIIRUH:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQbbZVRW4A0

    Dude looks like a villain from an 80s move that’s going to turn the boardwalk into condos.

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he does.

    But then, if one were to call them old books, Kinzo would fly into a rage an say something like this: “Call them Grimoires!”

    Kinzo is basically a reverse weeaboo.

    Kinzo: Those are not fairy tales! They’re Grimoires! Grimoires! With a capital ‘G!’ Also, I’m going to call my children Western names, and if they know what’s good for them, they’ll do the same with their children!

    Krauss: I’m going to call my daughter Jessica.

    Kinzo: Good, good.

    Eva: My son’s name is George.

    Kinzo: Yes, very good.

    Rosa: Ah… m-uh… Maria?

    Kinzo: Good enough for you.

    Rudolph: I named my son Battler.

    Kinzo: …You’re no child of mine.

    No, he was having an affair with Genji, we covered this.

    I wouldn’t put it past Grandfather to have two affairs.

    (Alternatively, Genji in a blond wig.)

    However, Krauss can research too, and it turns out all three siblings need lots of money right now, and as he lays out their situations, they lose their negotiating power, though I don’t get why they can’t just still report him to the Japanese SEC for embezzlement of funds.

    Because investigation would take a lot of time, and they need money right now. Krauss is essentially saying that they could go ahead, and he would drag his feet on the issue, and they won’t get anything in any timely manner.

    Kinzo tells canon

    Kanon

    What the actual fuck George. He’s so annoying, he’s like an awful Nice Guy who wants to schmooze everyone but in each situation where someone is getting hurt he justifies not doing anything.

    Nice Guyism is strong in this one, yes.




    0
    1. Act says:

      Oh, yeah, that scene. Wish you’d elaborated on it because it was super-uncomfortable.

      Yeah, I wish I had too, in retrospect. It’s pretty clear that Batt’s weird grope habit was all a buildup to this, both because he’s so upset by what happens and because the joke drops out afterward. I think it’s an important character moment for both of them, but unfortunately at the time it was hard to tell and I ended up glossing over it.

      I do think the issue is that he forgot about the power imbalance, especially because it happens in the context of Shannon hanging out with them like a friend, but I don’t think it’s a reflection on him as a person, really? I mean, the ‘joke’ is weird but Kumasawa and Jess are both into it, and Bat has been away so long it’s understandable he’s not be used to the idea of class-based rules and servant expectations, so he makes a big mistake, but he does seem to learn from it and he’s so bothered by it it’s hard to hold it against him.

      Kinzo is basically a reverse weeaboo.

      Ahahaha that’s exactly what he is.

      Kinzo tells canon

      I made this typo so many goddamn times.




      0
      1. illhousen says:

        Hmm, your reading is more charitable than mine (what I wonder is if he joked like that with girls in his school and whether they were OK with it. I guess maybe he was in a Higurashi club as well?), but I can roll with it. Your reading seems closer to the authorial intent, at least.




        0
        1. Act says:

          That’s a good point, though for some reason I got the sense this was a family game? It seemed specifically like he and Jessica both expected it when they disembarked on the island (and Kumasawa, too) even though they haven’t seen each other for a while. I could be completely making that up though.




          0
          1. illhousen says:

            Well, the behavior does fit a twelve-year-old better than eighteen-year-one at least, so maybe it was a callback to their past. Don’t remember if it were implied, though.




            0
    2. EnviTheFool says:

      (Alternatively, Genji in a blond wig.)

      I mean, since he’s gone all gray and such, it is too soon to rule out the possibility oau naturel golden Fabio locks.




      1
  6. Keltena says:

    HAPPENING-CON 2: IT'S HAPPENING

    Man, I was so excited to wake up and see this. :D (And also mildly terrified that you’ve already played farther than I have and I’d better start catching up right now, but that’s my problem, not yours.) Your comments on how effective Battler’s POV is are spot-on, and pretty much the exact reason this game managed to grab me even from the opening: it sets up so much interesting, compelling tension with the train wreck that is the Ushiromiya family without you ever having to stop and worry about whether it’s actually intended that way. I always kind of sigh at how overused the “no, you’ll see eventually that [x] was intentional all along” defense can be—I mean, obviously there are cases where the story is set up that way for a good reason, but there’s a difference between deliberately setting up to pull the rug out from under the reader and just not knowing how to establish where you as a writer stand on an issue before you get to the part that explicitly resolves it, and a lot of people seem to not get that the latter problem is fixable.

    Also I’m really happy that you like Maria! I loved her right off the bat, but so far I’ve gotten the impression that a lot of people just think she’s annoying/creepy, which makes me sad because she’s great! UuU (<- Maria smiley)

    Also also, every time someone complains about what a creep George is my heart grows three sizes, because seriously, fuck that guy.

    By the way, does the version of the game you’re playing still have the CGs even when you use the old sprites, or no? I’m only far enough into the game myself to have seen a handful of the CGs, but the ones I’ve seen I actually have some fairly strong opinions on, which I might mention when they come up if no one else does. (I thought one CG set in EP1 basically killed the tone of the scene they were used in, but another actually made a scene I wouldn’t have cared about otherwise into one of the most memorable bits of EP1 for me by adding a subtext to it that—according to a friend who’s played both versions—wasn’t there at all in the original. It’s kind of interesting how that can happen.)

    … I have to say your comments on the translation differences + the option to switch sprites is really making me wish I had the Steam release, honestly. Ah well, someday.




    0
    1. illhousen says:

      Also I’m really happy that you like Maria! I loved her right off the bat, but so far I’ve gotten the impression that a lot of people just think she’s annoying/creepy, which makes me sad because she’s great! UuU (<- Maria smiley)

      Pretty sure those are anime crowd. Anime did few favors to anyone, and Maria does come across as more annoying there and less developed as a character.

      By the way, does the version of the game you’re playing still have the CGs even when you use the old sprites, or no?

      Pretty sure CGs are PS3 version only, and Steam uses different set of sprites.




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      1. Act says:

        The CGs are indeed exclusive to the PS3 version.




        0
      2. Heatth says:

        I’ve seem novel readers who dislike Maria. I can kinda see why some people get annoyed, but I’ve seem some vitrol towards her that makes me really unconfortable. Fortunately, most seem to sympathise more when she is being beaten.




        0
        1. Act says:

           I’ve seem some vitrol towards her that makes me really unconfortable.

          This is among the least surprising things.




          0
          1. Heatth says:

            I know, right? I mean, I do find Maria kinda annoying some times, I am not a very patient of kids myself. But hating a kid just because they are somewhat annoying is so weird and upseting. I find hard to trully hate even kids who are activelly assholes (bullies and such). Hating someone just because they are annoying is very disturbing. It doesn’t help Maria ultimately come across having some form of developmental issues.




            0
        2. illhousen says:

          Did they drop the attitude after reading beyond the first (number) of episodes? I can kinda see people finding her annoying in early episodes, but not after seeing everything relevant.




          0
          1. Heatth says:

            I’ve seem people who hate her all the way through the end, yeah. Though some did warm to her over time.




            0
            1. Nerem says:
              On the SA LP that’s going on right now. I was just reading it and one guy basically had the immediate reaction of wanting to beat Maria senseless (his words) until she stopped.

               

              And then Rosa came out and started beating him senseless and he grew outraged…

               

              Because she should have stopped beating her when it became clear it wouldn’t make her stop.

               

              Much later on he still gets whiny everytime someone brings up that he’s pro-child beating.




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            2. Act says:

              My inclination is that the combination of female + child + probable developmental issues is causing the neckbeard to come out. Having a little girl who’s not neurotypical play such a huge role in the story surely rubs that kind the wrong way.

              That said, I’m trying to think if this is the reaction people tend to have to little boys in fiction, or if I can think of examples of little boys with similar signs of dev problems and what the reception was. Absent that, it may just be me being prickly.




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              Nah, the typical otaku neckbeard loves autistic girls. I’ve seen entire series based on the concept of autism and mental illness being moe before.



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            4. Act says:

              Ah, but that’s the difference — Maria isn’t moe. She’s not sexualizd at all. In fact, her outfit is pretty great, in that it’s the kind of absurd thing a little girl really would pick out to wear. I agree that if she were a doe-eyed loli it’d be different, but I think that she’s not likely factors into it.




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            5. CrazyEd says:
              If you’re sexualizing moe, you’re using the concept incorrectly to begin with. Moe isn’t supposed to provoke a physical reaction any more perverted than, like… a pat on the head or a hug or something. Certainly not Battler’s “Imma grope you in a couple years” weirdness.

              If it does, that’s a whole other basket of degeneracy.




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            6. Act says:

              ?? Moe art is highly sexualized. The whole idea is to make women look childlike and innocent so the male audience can get off on protecting them. The helpless, doe-eyed waif is the otaku dream, and the dehumanization of these characters is a way to pander to that.

              I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% sure that’s not the stated motivation, but the stated motivations of dudebros are pretty meaningless.




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          2. CrazyEd says:
            I can’t stand to be around kids that age and even I think that, were I Battler, Maria would easily be my favourite cousin. C’mon, humour the little girl who wants to be a magical girl, you guys.

            I won’t rule out the possibility that she gets annoying later, as it starts to get old, but at this point, I think she’s the most likeable person in the family.

            I could definitely see her character archetype growing annoying in the hands of a less than skilled writer, but Ryukishi07 seems to have done a pretty good job of writing her endearingly childish without going “this is the Endearing Child Character, find her endearingly childish now”. I couldn’t stand Nanako in Persona 4 because of that, but if she was like Maria, I think I actually would’ve cared as much as the characters did when she disappeared.




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            1. Nerem says:
              She gets BETTER if anything.



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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Well damn, fuck the these magic assholes and their plot, I’m gonna go play witches with my austistic cousin.



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            3. Keltena says:

              I could definitely see her character archetype growing annoying in the hands of a less than skilled writer, but Ryukishi07 seems to have done a pretty good job of writing her endearingly childish without going “this is the Endearing Child Character, find her endearingly childish now”.

              Honestly, I’m guessing at least some of the people who just find Maria annoying are doing so because they see traits like her one-track mind and verbal tics and assume she is that cutesy anime child archetype (…or, well, that archetype combined with “creepy little girl”), and write her off. I mean, I would say the game makes it obvious in short order that those quirks are a matter of her own personality and her being autistic, but I’ve seen people miss much more obvious points in fiction, especially when they’re coming in with genre expectations.




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            4. Her uu is extremely annoying, voice actor did a great job. That also contributes to those negative impressions.




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            5. Keltena says:

              I can definitely see why a lot of people find it annoying, especially if you aren’t big on kids or noise in the first place, but I actually never found Maria’s “uu”s to be grating at all the way most anime kid voices are. Mainly because she sounds like an actual person and the “uu”s are genuinely pretty expressive rather than just a shoehorned-in quirk, I think.




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            6. CrazyEd says:
              Honestly, I’m guessing at least some of the people who just find Maria annoying are doing so because they see traits like her one-track mind and verbal tics and assume she isthat cutesy anime child archetype

              Yeah, exactly. When done improperly, this sort of charactere ends up like Nanako. Words can not explain how annoying I found Nanako Dojima. She also came off as kinda autistic to me, at times, mostly when obsessing over the local Not-Walmart. I still don’t get what the deal was with that character trait.

              But I think another part of it is Higurashi. The instant this character appears, in a sequel to somethinig with Higurashi’s reputation, the reader is going to ask themselves “what terrible thing does she do/happens to her”. She gets the reader to emphasize with her and then, bam, Battler is going to walk in on her feasting upon Shannon’s corpse.

              It’s like seeing a cute girl in a Gen Urobuchi work. Nothing good comes from being a cute girl in a Gen Urobuchi work.

              Mainly because she sounds like an actual person and the “uu”s are genuinely pretty expressive rather than just a shoehorned-in quirk, I think.

              I haven’t listened to the voice acting so this is all supposition, but I think it would also help that “uuu” sounds like a sound someone might actually make when annoyed. Based on the japanese pronunciation of the vowel “u”, I’m guessing it probably could easily have been localized as “ooh”, which is a legit thing people say in English all the time.

              I’m the kind of person who uses a ton of non-word vocalizations to indicate the bulk of his emotion (though I tend more towards things like “grawh” than “uuu” because I’m not a kawaii uguu anime girl), though, so I tend to be pretty forgiving about this, unless it sounds like something the character is intentionally saying as a catchphrase (like the infamous “uguu”) instead of a legitimate emotional response like I assume Maria’s uuu’s come off as.

              And just to be sure about this, let’s look up Maria’s VA, and use my vast encylopedia of mango animus to guess how well the VA would be at doing this… Maria is played by…

              Hahahah holy shit no fucking way.

              She’s voiced by Yui Horie.

              She shares a voice actress with the fucking uguu girl from fucking Kanon.

              This is amazing.




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    2. Heatth says:

      The CGs are not part of the original game and, as such, it is not part of the Steam version. If you didn’t go out of your way to add them yourself, it is likely you used the PS3 patch which add the PS3 CGs by default. The Steam version actually do have files for CGs, probably from the Pachinko version, but the script never calls for them, so you need a specific patch to add them in.

      Personally, I am not a fan of the CGs at all. As you noticed, a few of them actually kill the mood, which sucks. Some might improve the scene a bit, but I don’ think it is necessery. The game was written to not need visual aid, after all. And know some of them can actually add subtext where there is none is very dangerous in a work like When They Cry.




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      1. Keltena says:

        Personally, I am not a fan of the CGs at all. As you noticed, a few of them actually kill the mood, which sucks. Some might improve the scene a bit, but I don’ think it is necessery. The game was written to not need visual aid, after all. And know some of them can actually add subtext where there is none is very dangerous in a work like When They Cry.

        Yep, that’s my opinion as well. Judging by what my friend said, I’m reasonably certain the particular CG I mentioned doesn’t lead to any implications beyond (probably unintentionally) lending a single unremarkable moment a much more interesting subtext than it had originally, but seeing it before I learned the CGs were an after-the-fact addition made it an especially stark illustration of just how much even a very simple added visual can change the way a text gets read, which I thought was really interesting. Adding extra new touches like new CGs or animated cutscenes to a rerelease isn’t always a bad thing (though how well that sort of thing fits really depends on the game), but devs don’t always seem to realize it can change more than just “there’s a picture here now”, and if you’re clumsy enough about it you end up with things like this.




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  7. CrazyEd says:
    Okay, now that I’ve had a bit of time to brood over it, this. Remember, folks, I have absolutely no knowledge of Higurashi, and absolutely no regard for people telling me spoilers. Oh, and of course, I have even less knowledge of Umineko than Act, so any spoilers I say are unintentional because I have no clue what the fuck is going on.

    The title screen has some seacat noises for ambiance.

    Aaaah, the sound of stolen frenchfries. How it makes me long for the tacky t-shirts with crude slogans and saltwater taffy of The Shore.

    Horrible things are going to happen and I’m going to have no clue what’s going on or why.

    Please, take it easy and relax for the time being. There’s no need to think overly hard about any of this. Quietly accept all that is about to happen.

    Are you implying there *isn’t* an all-knowing force guiding the universe that looks like Furude Rika?

    Nah, it’s just implying that if there is, it’s a coincidence.

    He then says while he has nothing to leave behind, there is one more thing that must be done before he dies, before his soul is devoured by demons as per the contract.

    At first I thought Act was making a joke, but then the quoted text said exactly what Act said was happening. This is going to happen a lot, isn’t it?

    I do wonder precisely how everything will be lost, though. Will the witch come and take it all? It sounds kinda like he expects his entire private island to just disappear when he dies or something.

    That’s why everything must be done while I’m alive!!

    This also implies that he was assuming, without this contract, he’d be able to do things after death. Maybe he was planning on being a super spooky ghost before making the contract or something. I wonder if ghosts will appear during this story. There’s a spooky forest, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Apparently Ace also has a younger sister, Ange, who is sick with a stomach bug and unable to make it.

    She’s the killer. Or she’s already been killed. Or, I dunno man, maybe she’s both. Conservation of detail says she’s involved somehow. Or, since this is a mystery by a guy who wrote a beloved mystery, maybe she’s a deliberate red herring. Hm. So she’s either… involved, responsible, or uninvolved. Well, I’m glad I narrowed that down.

    Apparently Rudolph had an affair with Kyrie, and when he found out Battler left to live with his maternal grandparents.

    Hm… I wonder why Battler didn’t live with his mother. It says he had an “affair” with Kyrie, so I’d assume she was still alive six years ago at the least, and Battler doesn’t get along with his father because he dislikes him having cheated on his mother. So why does she go totally unmentioned? And why doesn’t he blame Kyrie, the other partner in the affair, at all? There’s gotta be more to this (because I’m such a clever detective).

    Come to think of it, George-aniki, Jessica, Maria, and of course I, sorta turn into wealthy, high-class gentlemen and ladies.

    Something about this line feels a bit clunky. Does it mean that, when you put them in this kind of setting, the four of them probably seem like high class gentlemen and ladies to the commoners? I get why Battler and George don’t feel rich. He’s lived with considerably poorer people for almost half his life and George doesn’t use the family incomes. But… Jessica doesn’t feel rich, even though she has absolutely no need for money? Or maybe that’s why she wants to move? Despite her money, she acts like a normal person? It says she’s in an important point of schooling so maybe she has normal friends who taught her to be normal.

    I was wondering before why Maria wasn’t saying much, but is she autistic, or something similar?

    I’m curious why you didn’t just assume she was being quiet because the adults were talking or something like that. Reading this entire post, yeah, she definitely comes off as having some degree of developmental disorder, but this is the first indication of it. Looking back on her sprite, she seems pretty outgoing and energetic. A more neutral expression probably would’ve suited her a lot better. I’d like to know if that art is a relic from when she was supposed to be older and more teenager-y. She definitely has the body language of a Typical Teenage Anime Girl.

    This makes Maria happy, and everyone praises George for how good he is with kids.

    This seem kind of at odd with the rest of what he does in this update. He’s a dick to basically everyone but Maria. I wonder if there’s some significance to that. She hasn’t done much yet, but I would’ve guessed that Jessica would’ve been the cousin that’s best with kids. I think that’s just because of the Cute Fang and general “Sports Club Captain” vibe of her artwork, though.

    Besides, Natsuhi nee-san, you’re three years younger than me.

    It feels kind of weird to see a younger sister referred to as nee-san by her older sister. I wonder what’s up with that. It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s because Natsuhi acts older despite being younger, that’s for sure. Perhaps it’s because she’s the wife of Eva’s older brother. Hm, I’m not really sure how the terminology works for siblings-in-law.

     

    Ace wonders about her name. I did too.

    Is Shannon really such an odd name for a Japanese girl compared to Eva, Rosa, or Jessica? Battler has a far weirder name, and it’s Kanon who’s the odd one out, with a Japanese one.

    Maria pipes up and says it’s Beatrice.

    So how does she know this? Does she come to the island more regularly than Battler, and if so, why? Who lives on the island and who is visiting?

    Meaning that the spouses, with no blood ties, are considered the last in line.

    Wouldn’t that also mean that the husbands of Kinzo’s daughters are last in line as well?

    Rudolf basically asks, “When is this guy going to die already?” […] Krauss says he’s still so strong-willed it’s hard to picture him as someone about to die.

    He doesn’t really seem like he’s about to die at all, does he? I doubt the demonic absinthe is the cause of his impending demise. It’s probably magic. Maybe that ten tons of gold Beatrice gave him was actually a loan, and he’s gotta pay it ba- ooh, maybe that’s why he’s not leaving anything to his kids. Beatrice is going to magic-repo his ass.

    Then they start drilling into Krauss about his shitty real estate investments

    “You’ve tried to buy ten boardwalks, and not a single one of them has been demolished to make way for your planned condos!”

    “It’s not my fault! It’s these damned rebellious youth underdogs and their fundraisers!”

    Thinking that it was a chance for decisive profits, they accepted it as collateral, and as a result Father was able to receive a giant loan…

    Taking out a loan on a loan? You fool! It’s one thing to have an evil witch coming after you for payment, but these are bankers we’re talking about! They’re no joke!

    I assume the whole story takes place on the island, and so this isn’t referring to Kinzo’s hometown literally

    Since the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a hometown is someone’s origin, I suspect it will have something to do with that. It’s something that has to do with either his literal or metaphorical origins on the island, and connected to positive memories, since it’s beloved. Perhaps either the first place he landed on the island or where he first discovered the witch, or something like that. Wherever it is, there’s a river running through it, and the key is at the end of the river.

    I do know what sweetfish are thanks to Animal Crossing.

    I didn’t know what a sweetfish was, so I googled it. Turns out they’re the fish known in Japanese as “ayu”. I know exactly what those are. Urgh. I’m just going to go away now. Forever.

    I would love if it turns out these actually work and Bat and Jess are the only ones who don’t die.

    And Maria. Don’t forget Maria. She should get to live too. George seems like a shithead to match the Kinzokids, but the grandkids seem like decent enough people. Though, as a kid in a murderstory… yeah, good luck with that, Maria.

    You can’t grow up to be like that.

    Kawaii culture says otherwise. Maria is nine, and this is 1986, so she’ll be 16 in 1993 or so. She could be a full-on gyaru in her late-teens and it’d fit the time frame perfectly. She could definitely get away with it.

    (Do you know how many times I’ve planned out my thesis paper about the influences of mid-century American detective fiction on modern Japanese serial storytelling? So many times.)

    This reminds me, I have to edit that post I made here into an article on how Pokemon are a modern continuation of the mythological tradition of youkai. And you have to write this. And post it here.

    Jessica has been living on this island under Kinzo’s eye and training to take over the awful family

    Jessica doesn’t really seem that bad from this post. Is there more to it in the actual text, or are you just assuming she’s capable of bad shit because she’s being trained to take over the family?

     




    0
    1. Heatth says:

      A more neutral expression probably would’ve suited her a lot better. I’d like to know if that art is a relic from when she was supposed to be older and more teenager-y. She definitely has the body language of a Typical Teenage Anime Girl.

      You are only experiencing the story through Act’s blog, right? Maria do have a a blank expression sprite, which is used quite a bit. And, if I remember correctly, Battler even comments on it.

      It feels kind of weird to see a younger sister referred to as nee-san by her older sister. I wonder what’s up with that. It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s because Natsuhi acts older despite being younger, that’s for sure. Perhaps it’s because she’s the wife of Eva’s older brother. Hm, I’m not really sure how the terminology works for siblings-in-law.

      Yeah, I always wondered about that. I did assume it is because she is married to the elder brother.

      So how does she know this? Does she come to the island more regularly than Battler, and if so, why? Who lives on the island and who is visiting?

      Maybe Act didn’t get that across, but that was a point that was emphasised earlier. Everyone comes to the island once an year for the family conference. Batler is the exception because he got mad at his father and left the family for 6 years.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
         

        You are only experiencing the story through Act’s blog, right?

        Yep! It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. I suppose it was a bit foolish of me to assume they’d only have the one sprite, given this is a visual novel but… I was tricked by the quality of the artwork. It’s…

        Why don’t people like the PS3 ones? They seem so much more… not… bad. I don’t have another way to describe it.

        Everyone comes to the island once an year for the family conference.

        Yeah, but who is there more often than that? That’s what I was wondering. Does Kinzo live alone but for his servants every other day of the year? It seems like, at the very least, Natsuhi is there more than once a year.




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        1. illhousen says:

          People don’t hate PS3 sprites, they’re lively enough (people hate Steam sprites). They’re just less expressive, faces more standard anime fair. People hate PS3 CGs, splash pictures that distract from the story or outright ruin the mood.

          As to who lives on the island, Krauss and his family does. That’s why they greet the rest of the family on the island itself rather than meeting them at the boat.

          Maria comes once a year, same as everyone else.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Wait, so the sprites Act is showing aren’t the sprites used by the Steam release? There’s a third set, besides this one and the set the wiki uses? Jeez. Currently, this is confusing me more than the game is.



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            1. Act says:

              So there are three releases, each with their own sprites:

              Original
              PS3
              Steam

              The PS3 sprites are the nice updated ones. Steam has the option to use either the original or shitty updated ones. Steam doesn’t have the CGs, though, thankfully.




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            2. illhousen says:

              Actually, I’m pretty sure that Kinzo ranting shows one of the updated sprites, though it’s hard to see behind the text.




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              Oh, yeah, it totally does. That’s one of the sprites that, from what I’ve seen, definitely is better than the original. The sharpness that hurts Battler’s sprite definitely helps Kinzo’s.



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        2. Heatth says:

          Most people really like the PS3 sprites actually (and PS3 graphics in general). I am personally prefer the expressiveness of the original sprites, but I am a minority there. Many actually outrite hate the originals.

          I think the popularity of the PS3 sprites, and hate for the original, is what made Mangagamer aquire the rights for the pachiko sprites they used in the Steam release. They probably couldn’t get a deal for the PS3 ones so they went to the next “best thing”.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            So these sprites are the original sprites, the PS3 sprites are the ones on the wiki, and the Steam/Pachinko sprites are the ones I can’t seem to find hide nor hair of anywhere?



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            1. Heatth says:

              Pretty much, yeah. Here a Battler comparison.

              Personally, I don’t find the steam sprites to be that ugly, but they aren’t an improvement over the originals, so I like to stick with them.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, I think I like the PS3 one the best out of those. The Steam sprite looks too bad guy playboyish to be the moral compass of the game. Too sharp, much too sharp.

              The original sprites aren’t as bad as the Higurashi ones that make ZUN look like a master artist in comparison, but there’s just something about the style that rubs me the wrong way. I think it might be the colour design.

              And while doing a bit more comparison (the steam sprites seem particularly hard to find for some reason), I find out Jessica is voiced by Marina Inoue in the anime (which seems like an odd choice), and she cosplays Marisa in the fighting game.

              And that there’s a fucking fighting game for this series.

              It’s amazing how, no matter what I google for this series, I find what must no doubt be spoilers but is such nonsense that I have absolutely no clue what it would possibly be spoiling. Half these CGs seem like silver age comic book covers- something that could never fit into an actual story, but are interesting enough to make you pick it up just to learn the context.




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            3. And that there’s a fucking fighting game for this series.

              Talk about spoilers…

              It’s amazing how, no matter what I google for this series, I find what must no doubt be spoilers but is such nonsense that I have absolutely no clue what it would possibly be spoiling.

              Told you it’s magic.

               

              Also why we told Act to not google anything at all. Seacats is prolly the most spoilable thing ever written, you can’t even say what it’s about without massive spoilers.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Having googled several seacats things, I can totally see why. Anyone not totally immune to spoilers would be horrified by what I saw (and not just because jesus christ this game is going to get fucking gross). Me, I’m just interested. I’m the kind of guy who, way back when SNAPE KILLED DUMBLEDORE, didn’t scream ARRGH WHY WOULD YOU RUIN THAT but “Oh, shit, I really want to get to that part, to know why”.

              Spoilers, to me, are more like teasers.

              (Though, really, in retrospect, we really should’ve seen it coming. The all-knowing protective mentor figure can’t stick around for the final battle.)




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    2. CrazyEd says:
      Oh, whoops! I forgot something I meant to say in this post (because it wasn’t long enough as-is).

      It’s like being around my relatives.

      Yep, my family.

      If your family is anything like the Ushiromiya family, then it’s no wonder you love Rin so much. Between the way they act and the game’s premise of magic, I’m going to go ahead and make a prediction that the Ushiromiyas wouldn’t be out of place as a magus family in the nasuverse.

      Growing up, did you ever notice you had a preference towards red turtlenecks? Do you enjoy jewellery and dislike technology?

      I’m onto your secret. It turns out that you’re not secretly Farla after all.




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      1. Act says:

        I was thinking the other day that Rin’s command spell would be a great tattoo idea.

        If your family is anything like the Ushiromiya family, then it’s no wonder you love Rin so much. 

        It’s weird how much like my life the family politics here are. Crazy-ass families know no borders.




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          Personally, I never really liked Rin’s command seals. I like the ones made up of three components that, when taken separately, are visually interesting. Ones like Shirou’s.

          I also like Kariya’s, but I like triskelions in general.

          And I wouldn’t get them tattooed on myself because anime tattoos are a bit over my weaboo weight class. Surprisingly, considering how heavy that weight class happens to be.




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    3. It feels kind of weird to see a younger sister referred to as nee-san by her older sister. I wonder what’s up with that.

      They’re not sisters. My assumption is that Eva is simply being a dick as usual, addressing (noticeably less fit/healthy) Natsuhi as if she’s older.




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    4. Keltena says:

      Something about this line feels a bit clunky. Does it mean that, when you put them in this kind of setting, the four of them probably seem like high class gentlemen and ladies to the commoners?

      It’s clunkily phrased, but I think Battler means more that, since he spends most of his life away from reminders of his family’s status, coming back to the family home and suddenly being surrounded by displays of wealth and status makes him feel like he and his cousins have “become” high-class ladies and gentleman instead of normal kids for the duration of the conference.

      This seem kind of at odd with the rest of what he does in this update. He’s a dick to basically everyone but Maria. I wonder if there’s some significance to that.

      Maybe it doesn’t come across just from a liveblog summary, but George being nice to/good with kids is honestly perfectly in line with the rest of his characterization we’ve seen. He’s a very friendly, polite, “likeable” guy throughout these scenes–the reason he comes off as a creep is because he seems more concerned with getting along nicely and smoothing over disagreements than actually addressing issues like his family beating the shit out of their kids. It’s not that he’s openly a dick to people, it’s that his reaction to his aunt beating her 9-year-old daughter in front of everyone is “well, I’m sure Aunt Rosa knows best, their family matters are none of our business”.

      Is Shannon really such an odd name for a Japanese girl compared to Eva, Rosa, or Jessica? Battler has a far weirder name, and it’s Kanon who’s the odd one out, with a Japanese one.

      Shannon might sound reasonably Japanese to an English-speaker, but it’s not actually a Japanese name at all, and it’s written the unusual way the Ushiromiya family writes their Western names–with a made-up Japanese kanji spelling rather than just writing it phonetically like sane people do. Battler is wondering why a normal Japanese person would have a weird name like theirs. In the next line he theorizes that maybe it’s a professional name of some sort, which would also explain why Shannon and Kanon have matching names (they’re written 紗音 and 嘉音 respectively).

      (A quick search tells me Kanon is a normal Japanese name, though apparently more common as a girl’s name if all the entries listing it as female are to be believed.)

      Wouldn’t that also mean that the husbands of Kinzo’s daughters are last in line as well?

      In Hideyoshi’s case yes, but I think Eva keeping her surname and Hideyoshi taking hers is mentioned as unusual? I got the impression married daughters were otherwise considered to have married out of the family, but it’s been long enough that I’m not positive if I’m remembering that right.

      Maria is nine, and this is 1986, so she’ll be 16 in 1993 or so. She could be a full-on gyaru in her late-teens and it’d fit the time frame perfectly. She could definitely get away with it.

      I’m not sure why I find this mental image so delightful, but I really do. (Is there a witch-themed gyaru style? If not, can Maria invent it?)

      Jessica doesn’t really seem that bad from this post. Is there more to it in the actual text, or are you just assuming she’s capable of bad shit because she’s being trained to take over the family?

      I read that less as “Jessica personally seems like bad news” and more as “Jessica’s right in the middle of all her family’s bullshit, so it must have some influence on her”. (Family background aside, Jessica comes across as a pretty typical teenager personality-wise.)




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        the reason he comes off as a creep is because he seems more concerned with getting along nicely and smoothing over disagreements than actually addressing issues like his family beating the shit out of their kids

        Yeah, but it seems like he’s legit nice to Maria. Is Act’s summary just making it seem like he is?

        Shannon might sound reasonably Japanese to an English-speaker, but it’s not actually a Japanese name at all

        My point was more “why is Shanon’s western sounding name weird when Ushiromiya Krauss’s name goes uncommented upon?”, but not being a member of the family might explain that. It’s one thing that his crazy eccentric family has a bunch of western names, but this seemingly normal Japanese girl also having one could be seen as weird, I guess.

        But fucking Ushiromiya Battler has no right to be wondering about the oddness about anyone else’s name.

        (A quick search tells me Kanon is a normal Japanese name, though apparently more common as a girl’s name if all the entries listing it as female are to be believed.)

        Yeah, I assumed there was something about that as well, especially since Kanon seems pretty feminine in general. Kanon’s name didn’t really ring particularly oddly to me. I just figured it was kind of like Sarah or Ashley. Technically unisex but so overwhelmingly used by women that it seems feminine to most people. I dunno, maybe Kanon’s actually just a girl who dresses in a male servant’s clothes for some reason, and everyone just thinks she’s a dude and she doesn’t correct them because she’s just furniture.

        I got the impression married daughters were otherwise considered to have married out of the family, but it’s been long enough that I’m not positive if I’m remembering that right.

        It’s not uncommon for prestigious families to use matrilinal marriages to daughters to provide heirs for the family name when needed. I assume that Hideyoshi probably comes from a far less rich and powerful family so there’s more worth to the Ushiromiya name than his own. This goes doubly so when you factor in Natsuhi’s problems with giving Krauss an heir. He might’ve been an arranged marriage brought in specifically to continue the bloodline.

        (Is there a witch-themed gyaru style? If not, can Maria invent it?)

        No (there is hime-gyaru, which could easily become a majo-gyaru, though that’s ahistoric for the time period), and yes. Also, think about when the original run of the Sailor Moon anime was in Japan, and compare that with Maria’s age.

        (Though she seems more of a Cardcaptor Sakura type to me.)

        I read that less as “Jessica personally seems like bad news” and more as “Jessica’s right in the middle of all her family’s bullshit, so it must have some influence on her”. (Family background aside, Jessica comes across as a pretty typical teenager personality-wise.)
         Yeah, that’s what I took away from it, especially given what Act said of how she acted, but I wanted to make sure this wasn’t also the result of the summarization. Jess seems pretty cool (and, if not for her age, would probably end up super-gyaru in the nineties). I think I might start reading the LP Archive’s Umineko LP before making these long ranting posts about my Higurashi-less take on the series.
        Until I do a huge marathon and end up finishing the thing in a day on accident because I’m a wizard who doesn’t know which update to stop on to keep pace with Act but not go further. I hope I don’t, though. I know I’ll end up spoiling absolutely everything (even the things Act has already gotten to, somehow) on accident if I do. I’m one of those people who just starts talking about things he likes and never fucking shuts up about it.
         
        SO ACT DON’T READ THE REST OF THIS POST BECAUSE I HAVE QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF SPOILERS THAT ARE PROBABLY SPOILERS THEMSELVES BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW SPOILERS WORK.
         
         
         
         
        I’m having a tough enough time not offhandedly mentioning anything about the things I’ve seen thanks to Google just in case. I don’t know what could and couldn’t count as a spoiler, so I don’t even want to do things like be all “man this shit is bonkers why does that one character end up wearing a cape” just in case cape-wearing turns out to be plot-significant.
        Is it a spoiler to say that, at one point, a character ends up wearing a cape in one of their sprites? How detailed does something have to be before it becomes a spoiler? Of course, saying “Eva killed Jess in the conservatory with the candlestick” would be a spoiler, but are capes enough to count as a spoiler?
        (I swear to god that if Jess ends up beaned in the head with a candlestick by her aunt I am going to screech so hard that Ryukishi’s eyes pop.)
         
         
         
         
        SERIOUSLY ACT DON’T DO IT.
        JUST PRETEND IT’S A HUGE TOTALLY BORING RANT ABOUT THE SUBTYPES OF TRENDY TEENAGE GIRLS IN THE JAPANESE NINETIES. YOU DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THAT, DO YOU?




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        1. Keltena says:

          Yeah, but it seems like he’s legit nice to Maria. Is Act’s summary just making it seem like he is?

          No, he is legitimately nice to Maria and everyone else. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, unfortunately, which is what makes his brand of skeeviness so insidious (and, for me at least, is why it inspires such a strong reaction compared to more blatant types of assholery). As far as both his family and the societal standards he lives in are concerned, George is genuinely a great guy: he’s a dutiful and respectful son, chivalrous, gets along with everyone, has a knack for smoothing over disagreements… And that’s all well and good when he’s just joking around with his family and helping to keep the peace by smoothing over the siblings’ arguments before they’re at each other’s throats or reassuring people who feel embarrassed so no one makes a fuss over it. But then you, as the reader, come to situations like (in the case of this post) the fact that Kinzo apparently beat his children, or Rosa actually beating her child right in the present, and you realize that he responds to that kind of conflict (i.e., the kind where someone really should make a fuss over it) the exact same way as he does to senseless family squabbling. And that realization casts an unsettling light over even his more benign behavior—not because there’s anything wrong with that behavior in and of itself, but because knowing George treats “my mom is picking fights with my aunt” and “my cousins are upset that my aunt is hitting and screaming at her daughter” as equivalent problems makes it look less like the behavior of a nice guy trying to keep things civil among his family, and more like the behavior of someone who just cares that everyone maintain nice relations and not rock the boat no matter what the reason.

          My point was more “why is Shanon’s western sounding name weird when Ushiromiya Krauss’s name goes uncommented upon?”, but not being a member of the family might explain that. It’s one thing that his crazy eccentric family has a bunch of western names, but this seemingly normal Japanese girl also having one could be seen as weird, I guess.

          That’s exactly it. Battler’s not criticizing or anything, just noticing it’s strange that a normal Japanese girl would have a name like theirs, because their names are extremely unusual.

          But fucking Ushiromiya Battler has no right to be wondering about the oddness about anyone else’s name.

          Haha. It might not be clear from just a summary, but no one rags on the Ushiromiya family’s names more than Battler. One of his first bits of narration is joking that his parents and the government official who let them name him that are “at the top of my to-kill list”, and basically every time a member of his family is introduced he comments on how bad their particular name is. (Battler pretty much objectively has it worst, because his name is literally impossible to pronounce correctly without already knowing it, but Jessica and Rudolf’s are pretty egregious too.)

          I dunno, maybe Kanon’s actually just a girl who dresses in a male servant’s clothes for some reason, and everyone just thinks she’s a dude and she doesn’t correct them because she’s just furniture.

          Well, technically he is voiced by a woman. :P




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Jesus, George, you have to put work into being that terrible.

            And Kanon is voiced by… Yu Kobayashi! Best known for… the boyish female samurai from Negima! Yeah, not surprised by that.

            Also, Kanon’s PS3 sprites have a ridiculously slender waist, and there’s something about his face that also seems like… hm, I’m not sure how to describe it. The look of one’a them “school princes” from the yuri animes.

            I highly doubt Kanon is actually a girl, but… there are definitely doujins where Battler learns the “truth” about Kanon’s gender.

            The kanji for Battler’s name is… well. Alright. At least the kanji for his name is just… a Japanese transliteration of “battler”. Jessica’s is… red… ambition… fragrance? Maybe it might just be my kanji dictionary translation and there’s some reading that when combined makes sense, but… yeah, definitely seems like hers was just picked for being pronounced the same (though I don’t know how you get the “Je” sound from that kanji), which is a thing that happens called “ateji” (look up some name translations of My Hero Academia and marvel at how many of them have names that are homophones for descriptions of their powers). The “ka” kanji is a fairly common ending for female names (like Haruka). But the “shi” is rated as a fifth grade kanji, which means Maria probably hasn’t even learned how to write Jessica’s name yet!

            Maria’s name is written with… “true”, “village”, and the pre-war form of a kanji meaning “rank” which could also be used phonetically to mean “a”. But she probably knows how to write it!

            Though something tells me that both Jessica and Maria would write their names in hiragana if given a chance. It’s cuter that way. Japanese girls with names in kanji (especially since both their names are three kanji and most girls names in kanji are only two) often chose to write their names in hiragana because hiragana is very cute and bubbly. I don’t think the fact you’re supposed to write romaji in katakana would stop them either. Katakana is even less cute than kanji.

            The Gyaru-Maria AU expands.




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            1. Heatth says:

              …definitely seems like hers was just picked for being pronounced the same (though I don’t know how you get the “Je” sound from that kanji), which is a thing that happens called “ateji”

              Pretty sure that is how everyone name was chosen, except for Battler, which is why his name is specially unnusual. It is not common nowadays, but back in the day it was very normal to use ateji for foreign names, that was how it is done. Writing a foreign name based on its meaning, instead of its pronuntiation, is very weird.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              I didn’t check anyone but Maria and Jessica, but that’s what I’d assume was done. I’m not sure how much more common it was to use ateji over katakana like this in the mid-twentieth century is, though.

              If I was Battler, I’d have gotten into the habit of writing my name with furigana to show it’s meaning whenever possible or just using the Japanese reading of the kanji as a nickname or… or, well, anything really. Anything’s better than having to introduce yourself as Battler.




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            3. Heatth says:

              Using ateji instead of katakana is not common at all, not since the war at the very least (may have fallen in disfavor earlier, I am not sure). What I was saying is that Battler’s name is even more unnusual.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, Kinzo’s children would’ve probably been born around the war (when Japan was doing all this language updating), and the grandkids in the late sixties, so if they were, they were probably among the first genrations to do so (assuming that katakana hadn’t already taken over by then, which I also don’t know, because my expertise in Japanese history dies in the decades just after the Boshin War). It wouldn’t be surprising for Maria’s generation to continue using some outdated characters in their names. The reform was only a generation old when she was born.



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            5. Heatth says:

              The Ushiromiya names are so unusual the reform probably didn’t matter much. It is not like it was common for Japanese people to give western names to their kids, even today. Even if Katakana was already the norm by the time Maria and the other kids were born, it would probably be written in kanji due to family tradition.




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        2. WHAT IS SPOILERS?

          Everything is spoilers. Literally everything you can say about seacats is a spoiler, we might’ve mentioned that a few times. When in doubt, don’t say anything, especially if it’s not something that was explicitly mentioned in the posts.

          It’s real hard being a seacats fan following a blind player. But we persevere because it’s the closest we’ll ever come to reading for the first time again. So we don’t risk it.




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          1. Falconix says:
            It’s real hard being a seacats fan following a blind player.

            Especially when the blind player makes some really on-point comments that you can’t follow on.




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            1. Keltena says:

              I’ve always found the best solution for that to be copying down their most on-point/hilarious in hindsight comments as they play, and then bring them back up at the end. (Sadly I’m currently as blind as Act, so I can’t, but maybe someone will.)




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    5. Heatth says:

      Something about this line feels a bit clunky. Does it mean that, when you put them in this kind of setting, the four of them probably seem like high class gentlemen and ladies to the commoners?

      I am rereading the episode and I remembered tha comment of yours. So, the reason the line feels clunky is because it is either some older or alternate translation. The steam version is much more clearer:

      Come to think of it, I guess that makes George-aniki, Jessica, Maria and me wealthy high-class gentlemen and ladies.

      This comes after Battler describes Rokkenjima and points out it is a private island. The idea is that, due to being 6 years alway, Battler never considered himself rich and, as such, didn’t consider his family on those terms either. But descriving Rokkenjima it hits him that, yeah, they are actually all really loaded.




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  8. Nerem says:
    Also fuck George. You basically twigged onto why I hated him from the start, and I never stop hating him.



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    1. Falconix says:
      I’m not surprised that Act figured George out so quickly, given past reviews and the site in general.

      That said, I think the general audience isn’t supposed to see through his bullshit so early. Most fans back in the day simply did as the preamble text suggested and took everyone’s praising of George at face value (how much of that is privilege and cultural difference is an exercise to the reader).




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      1. illhousen says:

        Sooo, what you’re saying is that Act has spoiled herself. Well, now she has to ban herself as well. 

        In regards to George, it’s interesting to analyze his behavior in the context of groping scene (because yes, I’m not over it). Aside from only getting involved once the actual issue was more or less resolved, one thing that’s interesting to note is that I get the feeling that, unlike Battler, George is very aware of his and Shannon respective status. It’s kind of a theme for him to bring up her servant status fairly often, playing the role of a benevolent master. He does it jokingly, granted, but it is still interesting to note for the future.




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        1. Act says:

          unlike Battler, George is very aware of his and Shannon respective status.

          Yeah, this comes up a couple of times later this route, starting next post, I think.




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          1. illhousen says:

            I see you’ve done the prologue for the second episode. Any comment on George in that context? Not full content, of course, that should be saved for when we get there, but a quick overview/general thoughts?




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            1. Act says:

              Let’s keep the discussions on-post.




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        2. Falconix says:
          Sooo, what you’re saying is that Act has spoiled herself. Well, now she has to ban herself as well. 

          Does it count as spoiling if the author left the hints in without expecting the general audience to pick up on them? I mean, this is supposed to be a mystery and mysteries have to be fair.




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  9. EnviTheFool says:

    And so… it begins.

    Hey, I was right about it being absinthe! I’m winning at Umineko, guys.

    A trifling victory… but a victory nonetheless.

    “Come to think of it, Maria-chan, in social studies at your school, when you were asked to write what you wanted to be when you grew up, you wrote ‘a witch’, didn’t you?”

    The point about Reader Expy was a nice read, and a good remainder on the fact that I generally should just read things more often.




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  10. Falconix says:
    This is everything I had dared dream and more. Great analysis/recap so far, Act; you’re off to a great start.



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  11. illhousen says:

    Also, on unrelated note, does anyone know a link to a working Umineko screenshot generator? Mine appears to be broken: the interface works fine, but the image fails to appear.




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    1. Heatth says:

      I trying looking for it and I found some links, but they were all broken. I think I found yours even, but as you said, the image failed to appear.




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  12. Heatth says:

    A small thing I forgot to comment earlier:

    …though I don’t get why they can’t just still report him to the Japanese SEC for embezzlement of funds.

    My understanding is that they could, but the process would take time and time is something they don’t have. I believe that was the whole point of Krauss laying down what he knew about what all the other siblings. Because they need money right now, and because Krauss is the only one who has access to money, they can’t effort entangling him in a legal battle. Even if the younger siblings ultimately win and Krauss is exposed as an embezzler, by then it would be too late for all of them.

    Also, btw, just to make sure: the list in the table of content is how you are going to divide the episode, right? So the next post will cover the rest of October 4 until midnight? I decided to reread the game and try to follow along with your posts, so I will be following that list week by week now.




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    1. Act says:

      RE: The TOC — yes, and I’ve been updating it as I finish posts, so it should be a good indicator of how much time you have to catch up with me.




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  13. illhousen says:

    For some reason I can’t see recent comments in this post despite them being shown on the sidebar and being shown OK in the dashboard.




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    1. Act says:

      Weird, I can’t either. I’ll look into it.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Huh, yeah, seems like I can’t see any of that huge nonsense about how fucked up the names of the Ushiromiya family are that I was rambling about today either. Well that’s annoying.

        I can still see the post I made on Pokeauthors 62, though. That was the first post I made after getting online today. I think every other comment since I got online today was in this one, though. So it seems like it’s either localized to after 12:58 AM EST or this thtread.

        I wonder if this has anything to do with that new spambot bombarding Pokeauthors 61. It made like twenty posts in eight hours.




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    2. Act says:

      Ah, just figured it out — one of Ed’s comments got ticked by spam, so everything under it was in moderation as well. Should be okay now.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Whoops, my bad :V Weird that it was ticked, though. It didn’t seem to have a problem with that post for the hours that it was being responded to. I wonder what changed.



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        1. Act says:

          Maybe someone reported it? Idek, our spam filter is a fickle beast. Aggressive enough to eat the posts of frequent commentors, but not so aggressive that I don’t have to clean up the Telepath post twice a day.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Oh, yeah, that could be. I was assuming it was auto-marked because of that thing you told me yesterday suggesting I make an account (and your use of the term “spam filter”).

            Eh, either way, I should really at least consider making one. Maybe I will after I finish these ASoIaF drabbles, post them to AOOO, and become a dark and twisted monster like the rest of the people here.

            Feel free to chant “one of us, one of us” until that time, though.




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          2. illhousen says:

            I kinda doubt it was reported. Reported comments don’t appear on the sidebar and are marked as awaiting moderation on the dashboard.

            A glitch is more likely.

            The moral here is to make an account before posting.




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            1. LazyEd says:
              [angry moth noises]

              (I know, I probably should.)




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      2. illhousen says:

        Yeah, I can see them now. Thanks.




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