Umineko – Turn of the Golden Witch – Prologue, Part 1

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Oh god I can’t even imagine what a mindfuck is in store when R07 says “the difficulty is extreme.”

We start with Shannon and George on a date at an aquarium, with George as our narrator. They’re both happy as can be. They talk about how great their lives are, and the opening cast list plays to happy music.

Incidentally, they’re at the Okinawa Aquarium, which is at the top of my bucket list.

They banter for a bit, and he teases her.

When I was in elementary school, I was always the kid that got bullied. 

Shocker.

Back then, I wondered why everyone teased me. But now, teasing Shannon like this, I understand why. This is so much fun. I can play with her emotions however I please, and I can have them all to myself. Right now, I can’t think of any higher pleasure.

…what the fuck, George. “Oh, well this is nice,” I thought, “It will humanize George a bit for me.” Nope, still a douchebag.

After they’re done with the fish, they go for a walk on the beach.

“……Somehow, I’m so happy, …I’m getting scared. […] ...I’m… a servant of the Ushiromiya family. For someone like me, to be hanging out with a member of the Ushiromiya family… Umm… It just seems like too much for me.”

He says it was inevitable they end up together, but she says, no, it’s magic.

“Yes, magic. I doubt you’d believe me if I explained, so I won’t. But… this bit of magic definitely had the power to grant the miracle that brought us together.”

Hmm.

She continues to insist it was real magic, so yeah, something is going on. He says, hey, if it makes her happy — he believes it.

“You know how you call me ‘George-sama’? It’s not that I dislike it, but would you not call me that anymore?”

Hmm, so we’re prior to the events of last route right now.

The scene ends, and we reopen on a stormy beach. Shannon appears to be narrating.

In the past, tomorrows were literally like a mirror to me. The person I am now, was always projected there. It was a tomorrow absolutely no different from today. That was my old fate. But at that moment, for the first time, I saw a different fate beyond the mirror.

The witch whispers. She tempts me to take a bite out of the fruit of knowledge. She torments me, saying that as long as I stay in the paradise of god, I’ll remain furniture. So I try to choose to know love, and become a person.

…Those days were like sweetly melting honey, but then, I hadn’t realized that they were the beginning of the days filled with a new kind of suffering…

DUN DUN DUN

Shannon takes a boat to a small island with a shinto shrine on it.

Even in a place like this, I took just one more look around to see if there was someone who’d find fault with me being here. The only things I could see were the stormy ocean, Niijima looming in the distance, and the waves breaking against Rokkenjima’s steep cliffside. I readied myself, timidly approached the small shrine, and took the mirror that was offered to that place.

It was an old-looking mirror, dim and dirty. If it were an ordinary mirror, that’d probably give you a terribly bad impression of its value. However, since the mirror had been offered to this small shrine, it made you feel some kind of divinity. And I noticed. This was not merely a mirror. Even if it would have been nothing more than an old-looking mirror to a non-believer like myself, it was actually a mirror that had an important meaning.

[…] …No, this is not really a mirror. This is my life that I could not escape until today, and my fate.

I’ll break it. I’ll break it, and seize a life from beyond the mirror. If I don’t break it, my life will forever be a pair of facing mirrors. Nothing will ever change in the slightest…

Hmmm.

There’s nothing but this. Come, have courage. I’ll free myself from being mere furniture. And I’ll receive new sufferings, and become human. These are surely the small and large trials I must impose on myself.

Come on, break it. Break the eternally unchangeable fate that imprisons me, into pieces…!

I raise the mirror high… and think back on the preceding days of conflict… and, finishing my reflections in the blink of an eye… I throw it.

It breaks. Shannon says she kept her promise… now Beatrice has to keep hers. She cries out to Beatrice, and the opening cinematic rolls.

Back to the days when I could barely imagine the happiness I have today.

I was a middle schooler at the time. A normal girl, who imagined about love, as is normal at that age. But I really should not have seen that dream… Because I am furniture. Furniture is nothing more than a tool, and is not human. To a person less than human such as myself, just receiving my education was more than enough to make me happy. So even thinking about love was more than I deserved…

I suppose this is the route where we find out details about the servants’ situation.

She thinks about a time Eva’s family came to visit. Kinzo is MIA, so the three chat with Krauss, Natsuhi, and Jessica as Shannon waits on them.

Jessica and her mother argue while Eva goads them on, talking about how good George’s test scores are compared to Jess’.

Shannon starts to make mistakes as Natsuhi gets upset, but George swoops in to save the day, and the conversation turns pleasant.

Thanks to George’s concern, Shannon was somehow able to get a hold of herself and finish serving everything safely. If she was calm when she worked, she could easily carry out her tasks elegantly and flawlessly.

Out in the garden, Shannon chats with Jessica about how kind George is.

“He’s really good at reading between the lines in those kinds of situations. Well, maybe that’s George nii-san aesthetic take on things. That guy’s more of a show-off than he looks. Ahahahahaha.”

No kidding.

 “Th, that’s not true… I think he is a really wonderful person.”

 “Hmmmm..?! Shannon, you haven’t fallen in love with George nii-san, have you?”

Oh, she has!

Jess needles her for a bit, and then George comes out. The adults had started talking money and shooed him. George wanted to stay, but Jess says Kinzo still treats his children like children and Eva probably didn’t want him to see that.

Shannon tries to thank George and he acts like he has no idea what she’s talking about, and Jess is like, see, he’s an attention whore but Shannon is all swoony anyway.

The three chat and Shannon is all tee-hee the whole time. She fawns and fawns and he’s all about being fawned over.

Maybe George thought that Shannon was listening to his stories intently, because he kept on talking about himself.

Shut up, George.

George looked fairly pleased about hearing his own charm described, but he was just a little surprised at this high praise. 

(;¬_¬)

Jessica can’t take watching them be awkward at each other anymore and decides to go nuclear.

“Then George nii-san, as long as you’re okay with it, why not practice a bit with Shannon? You’ll keep Shannon entertained all day long on a date! What do you think?!”

I appreciate Jessica’s expediency.

It seemed that Jessica, who knew how Shannon normally was, found that really comical. She couldn’t hide her cackling laugh anymore.

Heh, Jess is great.

Just when it gets truly unbearable, Eva comes out and calls George inside. Apparently whenever they come they attempt to arrange an advantageous marriage for him and he has to go meet the latest suit…ress. Suitress? Suitorre? IDK.

“Marriage isn’t something you do after you start liking someone. You fall in love after you do it, right? If you marry just based on emotions, you’ll definitely regret it. There’s definitely nothing wrong with choosing a person with a secure background for your partner in life, and then building up emotions of love.”

She’s not entirely wrong here. I said last time that George trying to run off with the servant girl was incredibly unfair to Shannon, and it is. Just because they’re ~in love~ doesn’t mean it’s wise to get married. As my dad said at our wedding, “The right person isn’t always good and a good person isn’t always right.” The suitors likely fall into the first category; Shannon is the second.

Ideally, he’ll eventually meet a family-chosen candidate who he really hits it off with and have a truly loving marriage. The price of these kind of aristocratic family politics is that you have to make these kind of concessions. If George doesn’t like that, he should disavow the family. If he’s too cowardly to deal with the fallout, he needs to suffer the consequences of that, too. There’s no scenario here where he gets everything he wants with no consequences.

Eva points out that she loves her husband dearly, even if their marriage was political. Indeed, they seem to really care for other; it’s been one of her few redeeming attributes.

“Still, I don’t think you can use that to argue that it’s okay to marry someone you don’t even like.”

“But it also doesn’t mean it’s okay to marry anyone, as long as you like them.”

Yes, this is a much less rambling version of my point. Thank you, Eva.

“A wedding is instantaneous. But your life as a married could after that is very, very long. So you should search with prudence, and not leave it up to momentary emotions.”

I didn’t even have to type up my explanation, dammit.

Eva tells the girls they’ll surely find someone, too, and says goodbye, but she takes time to go back to being a truly horrible person.

“Did you really think you could snatch George away, you uneducated, incompetent, unqualified, uncultured servaaaant?”

Eva, the only person in your family who has made any case for themselves as a prize is Natsuhi.

Later, Shannon mopes about how furniture doesn’t have feelings etc etc. Natsuhi yells at her for dilly-dallying and she fantasizes about George-chan coming to save her.

As she does her punishment-cleaning, she mulls over Beatrice’s portrait.

The witch, Beatrice, master of the night on Rokkenjima. She was gracious to those who respected her, but she would surely curse those that made light of her. It was in Shannon’s character not to neglect rules and beliefs such as those. So she thought of the portrait of her other master as that person herself, and always treated it carefully, treasuring it. And telling the witch that only existed inside the portrait the secrets of her heart had become part of her daily routine.

As she cleans, she unloads.

……I am not a person. …So maybe I have no right to love… ……But in that case, why was I given a heart which can know love? […] If it’s going to be this painful and this harsh… I wish I was never given a heart like this…!”

That… seems like an ill-informed thing to express to the vengeful witch.

Sure enough, we hear cackling.

….I see. So a heart was given to furniture. It would seem that even that man is capable of some quite amusing things, every now and then…. *cackle**cackle*

Confirming Kinzo created them somehow?

Shannon is obviously like wtf is going on.

Beatrice rambles about what makes someone human and then actually appears to Shannon, marking the first time we’ve seen her in-game. She gets her own funky evil music.

Obviously the answer to her ‘what is the essential element’ question is love.

Oooh her music just got really cool. Funky pianos.

Shannon realized that she had met with a being that mustn’t be met with, and she took a step backwards. That’s where the wall and the portrait were, so even as she gazed at the witch, she supported the witch’s portrait on her back.

That’s a good detail.

Beatrice raves for a while about the nature of love.

“Understand? What Adam and Eve learned when they put the fruit of knowledge to their lips was love. Because of that, humans were chased out of the garden and became ‘human’. Which means that what makes one human is knowing love and suffering. You are a girl with a kind heart. You should be praised. Now that you have known that, you are no longer furniture. You are now ‘human’. I recognize that upon my name.”

It’s a lot of talking along those lines.

Predictably, Beatrice then offers to grant her wish. This can’t possibly go wrong, Shannon, you should definitely agree. Any time someone cackles you can tell they’re totally honest and have no ulterior motives.

“I am offering to bring you and the one you love together. Normally, I would demand a corresponding compensation for that. [But]  I am in a good mood. And, you have done well in not forgetting to pay me respect. That is something worth rewarding.”

Shannon at least has the wherewithal to realize this is likely a trick. But then Beatrice is like “there are totally no strings attached you should go for it” and this is enough of a convincer.

Beatrice says all she wants her to do is… break a mirror.

“Do you know of the small torii and shrine that have been constructed on the ocean very near this island, which you can see when you gaze at the cliffs? […] “I will not explain everything from square one to a person who does not know of demons. To make a long story short, it is restraining me. Actually, there is mirror kept inside that shrine. I want you to break that.”

100% a good idea, go for it Shannon.

Shannon thinks that’s suspicious, and refuses. Good for you, Shannon. Beatrice doesn’t take kindly to this. Shannon says thing have generally been good, and she’d like them to stay that way, so no risk-taking.

“Hmm… I see, I see, that is quite right. It’s just as you say. If you don’t break that, the same unbreakable days that have passed until today will continue into tomorrow and the next day. Why don’t I give you an absolute guarantee? […] The unbreakable days before this time will continue into tomorrow and the next day. And for eternity, in perpetuity.”

Shannon also picks up that this sounds like a threat.

Shannon was trapped by a creepy hallucination. The mirror was probably something to restrain the witch. So breaking the mirror should have been something done for the witch’s sake. But it felt as though Shannon had to do it for her own sake. It seemed like some premise had been switched…

[…] The witch spoke. She was pressing Shannon, saying that if she wanted to be joined with George, break the mirror. And she was announcing that if Shannon didn’t break it, then her feelings would definitely never be fulfilled…

Shannon still tries to defy her.

“I didn’t want to cause you pain. Oh well. Feeling madness from love is the best thing about humans. You should enjoy that emotion to your heart’s content.”

Won’t lie, I love how much fun Beatrice has being evil.

“However, if you wish to borrow my power, you can break that mirror at any time. And you can yell my name and awaken me. I will definitely keep my promise. This way, you should have no complaints, right? I won’t force you to decide right now. Are you comfortable?”

Shannon thinks, no, I am absolutely not comfortable. Beatrice tells Shannon that the only stipulation is she won’t break up a relationship… so if George starts seeing someone, the deal is off.

Beatrice goes on to mock Shannon with Eva’s words.

As Shannon resists with all her willpower, Kanon runs in.

“Disappear…!! I don’t know who you are, but you’re threatening Shannon! Don’t ever show yourself again!!”

It seemed that Kanon’s words made the witch horribly displeased.

“…So, you do not choose your words carefully, lowborn? I am gracious to those who respect me, but brutal to those who do not, right…?”

While she still smiled, the witch’s face began to twist itself… And, there was a oppressive feeling that couldn’t be noticed with any of the five senses, which gradually filled the room… Even though they couldn’t understand it, they immediately realized that it was something terrifying…

An understandable but stupid mistake from Kanon. Shannon begs Beatrice to forgive him.

…She didn’t even need to lift a finger. By just twisting her own smile, she had Kanon’s fate in the palm of her hand, so that she could easily crush it…

Kanon also understood that. So he started sweating. His knees felt weak… However, Beatrice abruptly released that feeling of tension, and laughed.

She says out of respect to Shannon, she’ll let this one slide. Then she summons her butterflies from her pipe and has them leave a mark on the palm of both of their hands. This way, she says, they’ll know their meeting was real.

“I do not use coercion for anything. You should freely decide your future, by your own will. However, to think that the object of desire could be satisfied with compensation such as this… It would annoy the great artists who write plays about blighted love to no end. *cackle*cackle*cackle*!”

The best kind of evil, really. She disappears, and the two stand there in shock, wondering if it was even real. But the marks are still on their hands.

As we know, Shannon does end up breaking the mirror, which presumably leads into their aquarium date and such. It presumably also leads to 18 grisly murders.

We get our first major scene break of the route, and jump to Jess and Shannon talking about the aquarium date.

“What a turning point! It was your first overnight trip!! Shouldn’t there have been lots of progress?! And even so, separate rooms for the guy and girl?! A couple taking two single rooms?! Aah, geez, really, what’s wrong with you!”

Lol, Jess. Jess seems to need a boyfriend of her own.

“Aah, I want a boyfriend toooo!! I can’t believe Shannon got ahead of me!! Even though we promised that we would find boyfriends at the same time, you beat me, Aarrrrrrgh!”

She starts having an asthma attack. Girl, just get a vibrator! Much less work.

“I was so sure I’d have a boyfriend before that day and said it so impressivly…I can’t find a boyfriend. Only me, only me…”

Before she realized it, Jessica was shedding huge tears. Jessica didn’t really feel like crying, and of course, she felt like supporting Shannon’s progress in love as a friend. However, as she had cheered Shannon on, her true feelings had suddenly gotten mixed in, and she couldn’t help but shed tears…

Awww, you’re perfect Jess, don’t worry.

Shannon tells her she’s great and makes a quiet exit, and Jess wishes she could find love, too. Poor Jess.

Shannon is working in the gardens when Beatrice appears to rub it all in her face.

The witch was calling attention to something. Two things, actually. Originally, her relationship with George had been completely impossible… And the power of magic was so great that it could distort that.

It does make me wonder how George would feel about this if he knew… like, was he bewitched to like her more, or were the circumstances bewitched to allow them to get together? One of those things is super creepy, while the other is just a thing.

“Sorry, sorry. It’s not like I came here to bully you. Talking rudely is just my personality. Do forgive me. More importantly, I heard, I heard! About your trip alone with him. I’m sure it was quite fun.”

Huh. I like person!Beatrice.

“Th… that’s right. Umm, Beatrice-sama. I bought some sweets as a souvenir from our trip. Would you, umm… like some?”

“Hoh??? A souvenir for a witch…?”

It seemed that even a witch who boasted of living for one thousand years hadn’t been able to predict that she would receive a souvenir from a pair of sweet lovers. When she saw that surprised expression, Shannon thought of the witch as a friend for the first time.

That’s very sweet. Stupid as all hell, but sweet.

“Umm… here. I truly wish to thank you so much. I believe you have done more than enough for me already, so I’m returning this.”

It’s a golden brooch in the shape of a butterfly.

“There is no need to return it. If you continue holding that, your relationship should remain firm in perpetuity.”

That… does sounds mindrapey.

 “…Maybe I was given a chance to meet him by the power of magic. But I think the effort that will make that meeting eternal will come from the two of us cooperating together.”

At least Shannon gets that it’d be creepy.

Regardless, Beatrice says it was a gift, so she should keep it, even if she just puts it away, or even gives it to someone else who needs help in love.

“*cackle*cackle*. No harm has been done. That brooch is already yours. If you treasure that proof of our friendship, that would comfort me a bit.”

[…] According what Beatrice said, several times in the distant past, she had been called by people and given them an tool imbued with some kind of magic power. However, when most people used that power to resolve their worries, they quickly came to think of that power as creepy, and, forgetting their feelings of thanks, they threw the tools they had been given away with disgust.

“So I haven’t often received thanks for my good will. Let’s see, is this the first time? *cackle*cackle* *cackle*cackle*.”

[…] Maybe she really liked the sweets. Beatrice, who normally spoke abusively, praised the black tea that Shannon served her, and looked to be in remarkably high spirits. After doing that for a while, the witch and the servant grew animated talking about the trip with George. 

Why is this so cute, this is the weirdest cute scene ever.

Beatrice laments that Shannon and Kinzo are the only people in the household with enough magical acumen to see her at all, nevermind speaking with her.

Previously, when Shannon had messed up and Natsuhi had gotten really mad at her, Beatrice had started playing around, hitting Natsuhi on the head with her pipe. Indeed, Natsuhi really hadn’t noticed at all. But Shannon, watching that, had burst out laughing without thinking, and had gotten scolded even more.

i’m going to ship shannon and bea omg

Shannon asks about Kinzo, and Bea says actually, he succeeded by sheer force of will, not actual talent.

“Hmm. Well, I only answered the summons on a whim. In this period where magic has long been denied, those without a scrap of talent give it their all. I decided to come and laugh at him, and that’s when my luck ran out. *cackle*cackle*cackle*.”

That’s… bleak. Shannon picks up on this, too, and doesn’t say anything, but Bea keeps talking. She tells about answering the summons and agreeing to give him the gold. Shannon is beside herself hearing this story from the horse’s mouth.

Bea says that, later, after having obtained all the material wealth anyone could have, he decided his life was lacking love.

“…I underestimated Kinzo a little. I truly hadn’t thought that he would display such power….And thanks to that, I’m in this state. I’ve been sewn in place on this island for several decades now, without even a friend to drink tea with. No matter who I try to talk to, my voice doesn’t reach them, and no matter where I go, I cannot do anything. Such boring decades.”

Damn. Speaking of rape metaphors.

Shannon thinks quietly for a bit, and then asks what the mirror actually was.

Bea says the mirror actually had nothing to do with her; it was a magical item wandering priests had put in the shrine. But the type of magic interfered with hers anyway, and ended up screwing her over. Smashing it has allowed her to start recovering, though she’s still relatively weak.

She and Shannon laugh and talk.

“…Although I may not look it, I was known for doing extremely brutal things in the past. I’ve gotten soft. Now I can even have a foolish discussion while drinking tea with a human.”

She doesn’t seem regretful though, just musy.

Shannon thinks about how her new dating life has resulting in more confidence in herself in general, to the point that even the family is taking notice.

Suddenly, Beatrice says she thinks it’s time to end the picnic.

“…After all, someone doesn’t like it when you drink tea with me, right?”

Kanon has been hiding in the bushes. Bea flings a spoon at him with dangerous force.

“Shannon. Tell me more about George at our next tea party. There are no snacks sweeter than a person’s love life. *cackle*cackle*cackle*. See you again.”

With that, she vanishes.

Kanon stomps up and scolds Shannon for chilling with Bea. Normally I’d be on his side but I was enjoying learning about Beatrice-the-person.

“It’s true that Beatrice-sama is different from humans. She has a terrifying power, so I think she is to be feared and respected. But just because she’s different from a human, doesn’t mean that it isn’t really rude to loathe her like that.”

“…I understand what you’re trying to say, Nee-san. You’ve changed since she gave you that brooch. It’s like you’re the witch’s prisoner. She mediated your relationship with George-sama, and now you’re indebted to her.”

I mean, in Bea’s defense, she’s literally asked Shannon for nothing, and Shannon has freely offered companionship.

“…Don’t say stuff like that.”

“That person isn’t human. We don’t know what she’s thinking. You mustn’t trust her. And we aren’t humans either, Nee-san.”

All the more reason to give her a chance, no?

Kanon’s words became more serious. Those words probably gouged at Shannon’s heart. Shannon bit her lower lip and hung her head.

“We are furniture. Even if we receive names and are treated as humans, that won’t change how we were born.”

But do the circumstances of your birth determine your fate? That’s shaping up to be a big theme here, actually.

“Listen, Kanon-kun. We certainly are furniture. Lesser beings, inferior to humans. But if we could replace that unfulfilled part… wouldn’t that mean that we could become human?”

Kanon scoffs, and Shannon insists even he could be a real person.

“Yes. Beatrice-sama taught me. By gaining the single element of the world, we can become human. No, nobody’s human if that isn’t satisfied. So people spend their entire lives trying to gain that single element.”

She tries to explain, but he’s somewhere between ‘can’t understand’ and ‘doesn’t want to listen.’ In the end… she gives him the brooch. Shit, is this why Jess is suddenly in love with him? Fuck.

Kanon couldn’t be cold-hearted towards something Shannon was pressing on him. In the end, Kanon took it and agreed reluctantly, as though saying he would prove that he wouldn’t surrender to the witch’s power. Shannon smiled and nodded back.

She tells him she’s sure he’ll find love, too.

The scene ends, and later, Kanon finds Kinzo in the gardens. Uh-oh.

But Kinzo just dismisses Kanon and starts raving about Beatrice.

Right behind Kinzo, as he repeated the witch’s name over and over, desiring to be reunited with her more than anything else, was the witch herself. And yet, Kinzo didn’t notice anything. When Beatrice tried to rest her hand on his shoulder, he didn’t notice anything.

Kanon is about to shout, but he notices that Bea looks truly sad.

“…It’s useless, Kinzo. …Without love, it cannot be seen.”

Kanon took the brooch he had received from Shannon out of his pocket. Would he also be able see something that couldn’t be seen now, by learning something?

Bea spoke of Kinzo like a huge mistake, but… does she love him? Or does she just pity him, and regret what he’s done to both of them?

He looked at Kinzo’s back once more.

The witch could no longer be seen there.

I think we’ll cut here. This character stuff is really what R07 is so good at; I thoroughly enjoy it, even more than the mystery and horror elements. He just strikes me as a truly empathetic person that he’s able to create such amazingly human characters.

<3

54 Comments

  1. Sceptile says:
    Yessss. Super happy to see the continuation of this.

    The second episode takes its time establishing character motivations and such, so it can come off as dull to people who want to see more magical murders right away, but I’m glad that you’re continuing to analyze it even then.

    1. Act says:

      A few people mentioned that this route is considered a slow starter, which I find really surprising. I actually think the pacing is just right: after the nonstop wtf-fest that the previous route was, it takes a brief breath for some character development of people we didn’t get to know particularly well, which is a good decision. And it’s not like nothing is going on… the reveal that Beatrice all along was someone the servants knew existed is huge.

      1. Falconix says:
        Wasn’t that revealed in the previous route, though? The servants definitely acted like Beatrice was a known quantity, and not in a way that implied they were just humoring Kinzo and/or Maria.
        1. Keltena says:

          They definitely spoke as though that was the case, but most of those scenes were still pretty firmly in that deliberately ambiguous zone, where there was no proof and it was possible to interpret it as either genuinely supernatural or pure superstition/playacting on the servants’ parts. A genre-savvy reader like Act might have no trouble coming to the conclusion that of course Beatrice is real, but the servants’ behavior on its own wasn’t proof she is.

        2. Act says:

          They definitely acted that way — and even appeared to speak to her — but we don’t literally see Beatrice speaking to them until here.

      2. Heatth says:

        One reason this route is considered slow is because of how long it takes to reach Battler and the island. It has a large prologue and take it time to reach the “meat” of the story.

        But, yeah, this is important character stuff. And it is not like Ryuukishi is famous for speeding things along. Half of last episode was character introduction and Higurashi pretty much always started with a good long section of gaming nonsense. It is part of his style, it is how he establish the characters and the story.

  2. illhousen says:



     

    …what the fuck, George. “Oh, well this is nice,” I thought, “It will humanize George a bit for me.” Nope, still a douchebag.

    George continues to be George.

    Oooh her music just got really cool. Funky pianos.

    The music is, frankly, the best part of the game.

    Shit, is this why Jess is suddenly in love with him?

    Well, I mean, it could be that, or it could be that Jessica felt lonely, especially now that Shannon is glowing with newfound love, and went for Kanon because he’s close to her age and is always around, so she knows him the best…

    Nah, it’s totally witch mojo.

    1. Act says:

      Was there a seperate OST released? I’d be so curious to listen through every track, just because I feel like in the moment it’s hard to focus on the music with everything else going on.

      1. illhousen says:

        I think so, though I’m not sure. Either way, you should be able to listen to all tracks from the BGM folder of the game. I’ve checked, Steam version has it.

      2. Keltena says:

        As far as I’m aware there’s not a single complete soundtrack release, unfortunately, I’m guessing because so many artists are involved; I pretty much had to cobble the soundtrack together from a handful of official releases and the in-game music folder. There’s a “musicbox blue” and “musicbox red” collection for both the question and answer arcs, which respectively collect the tracks by dai (the main artist) and zts (the artist behind a bunch of the coolest tracks, like goldenslaughterer and dead angle), but for the most part the other artists’ work seems hard to find. There’s an in-game sound check feature, but it doesn’t unlock until you’ve beaten it, so just looking through the game files is probably your best bet. (I could send you what I have if you want, but I’m not sure if that’s actually less trouble for you.)

  3. Keltena says:

    …what the fuck, George. “Oh, well this is nice,” I thought, “It will humanize George a bit for me.” Nope, still a douchebag.

    hahahahaha

    Gonna be honest, I’ve been waiting to see your reaction to… well, all of this, but I was especially thinking of that line.

    On a more serious note, I’ve always thought these opening scenes do a great job showing exactly what Shannon sees in George and what each of them wants out of/feels they’re getting out of this relationship. Obviously from my point of view as a reader, George primarily comes off as a thoughtless, self-absorbed creep whose positive qualities really do not make up for it, but I can 100% understand why Shannon is so taken with him and why any chance to actually be with him would be such an amazing, irreplaceable opportunity from her point of view. And, vice versa, why it’s so important to George and what he feels he’s getting out of it, despite the numerous levels on which his entire approach to the relationship is a disaster.

    Beatrice rambles about what makes someone human and then actually appears to Shannon, marking the first time we’ve seen her in-game.

    Wow, you’re saying that after she went to the effort of personally hosting that tea party last episode? Rude. :P

    Oooh her music just got really cool. Funky pianos.

    Golden Sneer! By Luck Ganriki, who’s responsible for most of the tracks with that funky sound you’re hearing. This one’s one of my favorites on the soundtrack, honestly.

    i’m going to ship shannon and bea omg

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who had that immediate reaction.

    And I’m glad you’re enjoying these opening scenes! A lot of people can’t stand the slow start to EP2, and while I don’t entirely disagree with them that Umineko has some serious pacing issues, I’ve also always personally felt more in line with what you’re saying here about how great and standout the purely character-focused parts are. Ryukishi is so good at writing people.

    1. illhousen says:

      hahahahaha

      I think you meant ahaha.wav

      1
      1. Keltena says:

        Ah, you’re right, of course. I knew it was too early in the morning for me to try talking about Umineko…

      2. CrazyEd says:

        yo but for reals though this loop actually kinda starts making a pretty banging beat after awhile

        or maybe it’s just the five minutes of ahahaha are getting to me

      3. Act says:

        I got 60 seconds in before I too was ahahahaing and had to turn it off.

    2. Falconix says:

      Wow, you’re saying that after she went to the effort of personally hosting that tea party last episode? Rude. :P

      In fairness, that was “out-of-game”. The characters were even discussing the events of the game when she showed up.

      1. illhousen says:

        The tea party is totally canon.

          1. illhousen says:

            More a joke. Should have said “tots” maybe, to make the tone clearer?

            Though it is more important than Higurashi ones since it establishes Beatrice’s character (which we see confirmed here as legit) and codifies the conflict instead of just summarizing the events and pointing out stuff the readers might have missed.

    3. Act says:

      I can 100% understand why Shannon is so taken with him and why any chance to actually be with him would be such an amazing, irreplaceable opportunity from her point of view. And, vice versa, why it’s so important to George and what he feels he’s getting out of it, despite the numerous levels on which his entire approach to the relationship is a disaster.

      I agree! I think Shannon’s feelings and actions are completely understandable. In fact, I think the ways she gets in over her head is really realistic: while I continue to expect George to know better, someone who’s had a sheltered life like she has would very much believe in the love-conquers-all aspect of romances, especially when it’s her only real ticket to freedom.

      I think the he and Shannon both also very much want intimacy and compansionship, but part of what makes George so ehhhh is that he views those things in a very traditional-family-values way. Which may be totally compatible with what Shannon wants, but still isn’t particularly endearing, and it does lead him to be shortsighted.

  4. Hurray it’s back! Hopefully the passing of time hasn’t killed the acceleration. Doesn’t seem like it. How further are you in from your posts? Though it’s prolly best readers assume you’re no further in than this to lower spoiling chances so maybe don’t answer that.

    Let’s go with the textwall:

    what a mindfuck is in store when R07 says “the difficulty is extreme.”

    Hopefully you took my advice and are keeping a text file on the side for jotting down clues and theories. It’s not too late to start, you still have until the hypothetical parlor scene (or its equivalent) to figure everything out. You are a mystery fan after all (unless you were a noir detective fan and not a general mystery fan and I’m misremembering it).

    …what the fuck, George…Nope, still a douchebag.

    A pattern is starting to emerge here in these blogposts.

    Also screw Jooji. Jooji sucks.

    He says, hey, if it makes her happy — he believes it.

    Not before going lol gurls.

    Jessica and her mother argue while Eva goads them on, talking about how good George’s test scores are compared to Jess’.

    “Did you really think you could snatch George away, you uneducated, incompetent, unqualified, uncultured servaaaant?”

    Eva trying to outeva herself, in between dispensing sagely wisdom. Gotta balance that slight buildup of likability.

    Jess is like, see, he’s an attention whore but Shannon is all swoony anyway

    She fawns and fawns and he’s all about being fawned over

    Shut up, George

    (;¬_¬)

    It’s slightly surprising how much you’re catching the full extent of Jooji’s suckage on the first go. A lot of people (me but also most LP followers I saw elsewhere) miss the subtler bits.

    If George doesn’t like that, he should disavow the family. If he’s too cowardly to deal with the fallout, he needs to suffer the consequences of that, too.

    He’ll just go with plan c: get killed alongside the whole family.

    he has to go meet the latest suit…ress. Suitress? Suitorre?

    Gownor.

    That… seems like an ill-informed thing to express to the vengeful witch.

    Nah. Witches don’t exist.

    She gets her own funky evil music.

    There’s no music that ain’t funky round here.

    Won’t lie, I love how much fun Beatrice has being evil.

    We all knew she was your type.

    Girl, just get a vibrator! Much less work.

    Try to imagine what Natsuhi’d tell you if she heard this to imagine my entertainment over here.

    …I knew following this blog would be worth it.

    Why is this so cute, this is the weirdest cute scene ever.

    Beatrice is cute af. Can confirm.

    i’m going to ship shannon and bea omg

    Already giving her cutesy monikers. If you keep this up, we just might start shipping you* with Beatrice…

     

    *spoiler alert: Beatrice ships with everyone.

    Kanon scoffs, and Shannon insists even he could be a real person.

    The Pinocchio is strong with this one. Beatrice doesn’t wear blue but I’m sure she’d look good.

    Bea spoke of Kinzo like a huge mistake, but… does she love him? Or does she just pity him, and regret what he’s done to both of them?

    It’s magic. She ain’t gotta explain shit.

    Can’t wait to see where Mr Kinzo’s Wild Ride will take us next.

    1. illhousen says:

      He’ll just go with plan c: get killed alongside the whole family.

      George: It’s a foolproof solution!

      Try to imagine what Natsuhi’d tell you if she heard this to imagine my entertainment over here.

      Natsuhi: *starts going on indignant rant. Remembers she’s married to Krauss and his many, many financial “projects”*

      Natsuhi: Actually, maybe it’s not such a bad idea…

      Jessica: Mom!

      If you keep this up, we just might start shipping you* with Beatrice…

      I mean, in the context of Umineko, it wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing.

    2. Keltena says:

      Already giving her cutesy monikers. If you keep this up, we just might start shipping you* with Beatrice…

      I mean, “Bea” is only one letter away from “Bae”…

      1. illhousen says:

        It’s also one letter away from Beat

        1. Keltena says:

          Act specifically requested no spoilers, illhousen, and this is how you repay her trust? We had one job, come on.

          1. illhousen says:

            Oh, come on, the connection with TWEWY should be obvious by now. It’s not like I revealed that Shannon is going to die by shark swimming out of that broken mirror into her room or anything.

            1. CrazyEd says:

              I don’t even fucking know how serious this post is goddamn it.

              1
              Reply
            2. Keltena says:

              Without love, the true spoilers cannot be seen.

              Reply
    3. Act says:

      How further are you in from your posts?

      I’m about 2/3 through right now and proceeding rather quickly. I’m about a month ahead in posts.

      If you keep this up, we just might start shipping you* with Beatrice…

      I’m open to this.

      Mr Kinzo’s Wild Ride

      I believe this is the official subtitle.

  5. EnviTheFool says:

    It begins.

    I kinda get where George is coming from with the cycle of teasing thing, unfortunately enough, but in my case it took on a “bully the bullies” kind of mindset, instead of… that. (But then again, he was raised by Eva).

    I suppose this is the route where we find out details about the servants’ situation.

    Following the pattern so far, “situation” translates to “luuuvvv”.
    So we know that it’s Shannon/George (/Beatrice?), Kanon/Jessica and Genji/Kinzo. Will be curious to see who that leaves for Kumazawa.

    And while Beatrice making friends is nice and all…

  6. CrazyEd says:

    Incidentally, they’re at the Okinawa Aquarium, which is at the top of my bucket list.

    A new episode, and already I am scoffing at your choices.

    f it were an ordinary mirror, that’d probably give you a terribly bad impression of its value. However, since the mirror had been offered to this small shrine, it made you feel some kind of divinity. And I noticed. This was not merely a mirror. Even if it would have been nothing more than an old-looking mirror to a non-believer like myself, it was actually a mirror that had an important meaning.

    … Did Nasu write this episode?

    She fawns and fawns and he’s all about being fawned over.

    Yeah, that about sums it up, doesn’t it?

    “Then George nii-san, as long as you’re okay with it, why not practice a bit with Shannon? You’ll keep Shannon entertained all day long on a date! What do you think?!”

    Jess remains my favourite character.

    Ideally, he’ll eventually meet a family-chosen candidate who he really hits it off with and have a truly loving marriage.

    And, except for truly exceptionally politically important cases, this was generally the case. Matchmaking was almost as much about making a stable household as it was a stable alliance (though alliance would always win out over household in matters of dispute).

    There’s no scenario here where he gets everything he wants with no consequences.

    Does the age-old aristocratic option of boinking the maid on the side count?

    And telling the witch that only existed inside the portrait the secrets of her heart had become part of her daily routine.

    Even money on this ending like how Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did.

    What Adam and Eve learned when they put the fruit of knowledge to their lips was love. 

    Your love is doomed, Shannon. It’s Adam and Eve, not George and the coffee table.

    100% a good idea, go for it Shannon.

    I see absolutely no problem with getting on the good side of a witch by helping her out. Maybe she’ll give her a huge pile of gold.

    This reminds me, I have to find my copy of the Key of Solomon again. It’s been so long since the last episode I’ve misplaced it. That was the grimoire used in the last episode, right?

    Won’t lie, I love how much fun Beatrice has being evil.

    Beatrice’s kind of villainy helpfulness is my second favourite type, after “literally the only halfway competent person in the organization”, like the guy in The Mummy who has to tell his mook to not let Brendan Fraiser go just because he asked.

    “Disappear…!! I don’t know who you are, but you’re threatening Shannon! Don’t ever show yourself again!!”

    Witches are like stray cats, apparently.

    And even so, separate rooms for the guy and girl?! A couple taking two single rooms?! Aah, geez, really, what’s wrong with you!”

    Jess is an enthusiastic meddler, but not a very good one. The proper course of action would be to say you booked two singles for them, but when they get to the desk, there’s only the one room.

    She starts having an asthma attack. Girl, just get a vibrator! Much less work.

    Vibrators can’t love you back, though.

    “Sorry, sorry. It’s not like I came here to bully you. Talking rudely is just my personality. Do forgive me. More importantly, I heard, I heard! About your trip alone with him. I’m sure it was quite fun.”

    I can’t describe how much I identify with this mentality.

    Why is this so cute, this is the weirdest cute scene ever.

    It’s Girls Talk over dating in a visual novel. Of course it’s cute. Even Fate had cute Girls Talk, even if it was just Rin and Taiga getting mad at all of Sakura’s fat going to her boobs. Because of course it was.

    1. Act says:

      A new episode, and already I am scoffing at your choices.

      Well, you’ll find that most of my life goals have to do with animals. Sorry to disappoint. I’m not like, a skydivey person. I just want to pet furry mammals and see giant marine life.

      Does the age-old aristocratic option of boinking the maid on the side count?

      On one hand, I’m surprised Eva hasn’t broached this with him. On the other, I’m grateful for how desexed these games are.

  7. Cosmogone says:
    An update! Thank you so much! (^▽^)

    >>This is so much fun. I can play with her emotions however I please, and I can have them all to myself.

    *dull surprise* …I wonder what’s up with this bit, though. I don’t think we were supposed to see George as an upstanding guy before, because otherwise this comes a little too soon. So far, he’s not actively hateable, as we can understand where this shit comes from, but he doesn’t exactly have any humanising characteristics, either. Is R07 building up to something bigger here or am I overthinking it?

    >>Confirming Kinzo created them somehow?

    I wonder if “furniture” are literal furniture-based yōkai? If that’s the case, I wonder how the mirror and the brooch tie into this. Going with a less magical explanation, maybe they’re Kinzo’s bastard children or something. That would explain their ambiguous status among other servants.

    >>Right behind Kinzo, as he repeated the witch’s name over and over, desiring to be reunited with her more than anything else, was the witch herself. And yet, Kinzo didn’t notice anything. […] “…It’s useless, Kinzo. …Without love, it cannot be seen.”

    Oh god, is there a rape metaphor somewhere in here.

    Other things:

    1) Shannon is such an unbearable sweetheart so far. Wanna bet she’s tied to at least some of the murders?

    2) I, ah, can’t help but notice that, brrooch or not, Beatrice didn’t promise a happily ever after for her, just some vagueness about love.

    3) I must say, I’m sort of in love with Bea. She’s just the right mix of cute and vicious to make a perfect witch.

    1. Act says:

       

      Going with a less magical explanation, maybe they’re Kinzo’s bastard children or something. That would explain their ambiguous status among other servants.

      I believe the in-universe non-magic explanation is that Kinzo has like, an orphan farm where he pulls from for servants. Though illegitimate children would make more sense, because the whole orphan labor thing is weird even by this game’s standards.

      I must say, I’m sort of in love with Bea. She’s just the right mix of cute and vicious to make a perfect witch.

      Right??? She’s great.

      1. Cosmogone says:
        >>I believe the in-universe non-magic explanation is that Kinzo has like, an orphan farm where he pulls from for servants.

        Yep. I just assumed the orphanage was a way to conceal Kinzo’s illegitimate children among others. To be honest, my reasoning is a bit shaky here: I initially wondered if elite servants are meant to be homunculi (who are made from alchemist’s sperm) and then translated this idea into more mundane terms, so this might be combletely off-base.

        1. Hyatt says:
          He’d have to have a lot of illegitimate children in a continuing supply for someone who’s Beatrice-sexual.
          1. Cosmogone says:
            Kinzo strikes me as a guy who cries about his purest love for one true waifu while also sticking his dick in anything that moves, though.
            1. Act says:

              Yeah, Bea was already his mistress and he clearly gives no fucks about anyone but himself, so that he had other mistresses would be the least surprising thing ever.

              Reply
      2. illhousen says:

        I believe the in-universe non-magic explanation is that Kinzo has like, an orphan farm where he pulls from for servants.

        More precisely, the in-universe explanation is that he supports an orphanage financially as a charity and has a sort of internship agreement with it, where orphans may come to work for him as servants, which earns them money and helps fill out the resumes for future work.

        It’s a system I can see being established, even if in practice it would be hilariously open to abuse, should Kinzo feel so inclined. In particular, it does not contradict the illegitimate children theory since sending your bastards to an orphanage that’s basically under your control does seem like something Kinzo would do.

        (Where the “furniture” talk came from and whether it’s something all orphans do or all of Kinzo’s personal servants or what, is another question.)

        1. Cosmogone says:
          ^ The whole deal is fo over the top and ridiculously fishy. I would almost cheer for Kinzo’s antics if this chapter didn’t hint at something far more disturbing.

          >>Where the “furniture” talk came from and whether it’s something all orphans do or all of Kinzo’s personal servants or what, is another question.

          Hmm. I initially assumed it was translation weirdness, but what if the servants are literally brainwashed from childhood for some crazy goal? Maybe Kinzo grooms them for his personal cult/coven/whatever? Still, the wording seems off.

          1. Nerem says:
            The translation is pretty good. Hell, the author actually put shoutouts to them because of the work they did, and it was originally a fan translation.
             
            1. Heatth says:

              To be fair, I don’t think the author actually know enough English to tell if their translation is good or not. I think it was more a matter of being happy his work was being enjoyed all over the world.

              That said, pretty sure the translation is good. Apparently the very first episodes were a bit awkward and overly literal at parts, but the group improved over time. And the current Steam version is a retranslation including professional editors.

              Reply
    2. CrazyEd says:

      Yeah, I assumed they were either tsukumogami or shikigami as well.

      1. illhousen says:

        Ehhhh, Kinzo is very pro-West occultism, so think along those lines. Homunculi are more likely. Maybe golems, what with the furniture talk.

        1. Act says:

          IDK what’s up with my reading but I’ve only ever seen homunculi mentioned in Japanese media.

          1. illhousen says:

            I’ve seen homunculi in a Faust video game adaptation, Unknown Armies and Mage: the Awakening that I can recall. It does appear that they’re more popular in japanese media, though, for whatever reason. 

            Occultism-wise, though, they’re definitely Western in the same way as fire-water-earth-air plus fifth element (be it divine breath or love) elemental structure is Western. Which is to say, it can be traced back to Ancient Greece tradition. Specifically in this case, to Paracelsus’ interpretation thereof.

            The version I’ve read of homunculus creation involves horse’s womb, four kinds of clay to imitate the humours and sorcerer’s sperm to give the creature an animating force.

            1. Act says:

              Yeah, the tough thing is that once you trace it back to like medeival Europe you lose me because it’s a place and era I give no fucks about and have never seriously studied. I know absolute shit about euromyth.

              Reply
            2. Socordya says:

              It’s possible they aren’t very common in western pop culture because they have been ‘replaced’ by other fictional creature who occupy the same CREATING LIFE!!!! (insert thunder) niche but are newer and more famous, like golems, Frankenstein or zombies.

              Reply
            3. illhousen says:

              Could be. Homunculi as described are tiny people living in bottles, which kinda lacks the gravitas of golems or other created life. You have to change them massively for them to be impressive to the modern audience.

              Reply
          2. EC says:

            The Japanese sure love their 16th century alchemy. Western works usually opt to call them simulacra instead, though I think it’s true they tend to crop up less often under any name. 

            The only one that comes to mind that’s actually called a homonculus is the slightly odd version in D&D (ugly & with wings) that’s nonetheless truer to the original tiny alchemical people of lore than usual. Then again, D&D has pretty much everything in there somewhere. 

            Oh, and the haemonculi of 40K, but they don’t really count, being more on the supply side of mad science.

        2. CrazyEd says:

          Kinzo also seems like the kind of person who would employ tsukumogami as familiars but call them golems or homunculi for aesthetic reasons, though.

    3. Heatth says:

      I must say, I’m sort of in love with Bea. She’s just the right mix of cute and vicious to make a perfect witch.

      Beatrice is masterfully wonderful character. She is basically The Best no matter the context. Gloating evil witch? Awkward tea companion? Sorrowful ghost? These are such dispare roles and she is great in all of them. Without feeling she is ooc in any of them. It is great.

  8. Falconix says:
    Very glad to see this returning! Looking forward to your thoughts, musings and theories in the build-up for the game proper to start.

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