Umineko When They Cry [Intro and TOC]

 

:D

I think I’ve been promising this for years at this point, eh?

Umineko When They Cry aka Umineko no Naku Koro Ni is the successor to Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, likely my favorite VN of all time, and I’m very excited to get into it. Consider this your last chance to weigh in on the format of Umineko. Right now, my plan is to hold posts until I’m done with a section, then post weekly, so by the time something goes live you can be sure I’ve at least finished that portion of it. I’m going to be extremely strict with spoilers for this, y’all. Please don’t make me have to issue bans. Please report offending comments ASAP, preferably to Farla or Mini-Farla so I don’t accidentally read them as I deal with them.

All I know going in: It’s a mystery structured like Higurashi involving Christie-style ‘rich people come together, bad things happen’, and Frederica Bernkastel is in it, meaning it takes place in the Higurashi multiverse. Which 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.

There are also spoilers here for Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I highly rec reading that first as well, since I reference it under the assumption that everyone knows something of the plot. Also it’s very good.

I’ll be using the Steam release for this LP.

START THE LP


Table of Contents

Legend of the Golden Witch

October 4: 10 AM to 6 PM
October 4: 6 PM to 12 AM
October 5: 6 AM to 1 PM
October 5: 1 PM to 8 PM
October 5: 8 PM to 12 AM
Tea Party
Extras
Character Roundup
Conclusion

Turn of the Golden Witch

Prologue Part 1
Prologue Part 2
Tea Party
Extras
Character Roundup
Conclusion

Banquet of the Golden Witch

Alliance of the Golden Witch

End of the Golden Witch

Dawn of the Golden Witch

Requiem of the Golden Witch

Twilight of the Golden Witch

27 Comments

  1. illhousen says:

    I think I’ve been promising this for years at this point, eh?

    Literally.

    On format: I think you should write your posts as you go along, but don’t actually publish them until you’re done with the current episode. Umineko is one of those games where it shall be really, really amusing to watch your undiluted reactions.

    Frederica Bernkastel is in it

    That she is, and saying more would be spoilers, but I’m really looking forward to you meeting her. That shall be a blast.

    I’ve heard some good things about side materials involving her, you may want to look into it at a later date.

    I’ll be using the Steam release for this LP.

    ‘Tis good, based on the Witch Hunt translation, which was a big fan project that got official endorsement from R07. Though currently only the question arcs are released.

    You may want to switch to the original sprites from time to time. Unlike Higurashi, they don’t cause spontaneous eye bleeding and are kinda charming in their own way. There is also an unofficial patch porting console sprites into the PC version, which you can get through alternate means. It comes with voices, too, though they’re rather hit and miss.

    Oh, also, when I’m old and gray and you’re done with the fifth episode, I should have a surprise for everyone. Remind me of it in case of senility.

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    1. Socordya says:

      ‘Tis good, based on the Witch Hunt translation, which was a big fan project that got official endorsement from R07.

      Though it still insists on leaving Japanese words untranslated for no reasons. Without even leaving a translation note. Because screw people who don’t already know Japanese honorifics.




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      1. Keltena says:

        Oh jeez, does the Steam release do that? D: I have the original WH translation, I believe, and it includes a whole translation notes section for stuff like honorofics and Japanese cultural references. Still unnecessarily heavy on untranslated words at times, but at least it does explain them. Does the Steam version take that out? I can’t even imagine having to deal with that.




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        1. Socordya says:

          Indeed, no translation notes. I’m fine personally, because I have been around under-translated Japanese media for a while now, but it’s the principle of the thing. Moreover, it got to be really annoying if you don’t know the common untranslated Japanes words. I know that whenever I read Korean or Chinese stuff (who have their own sets of honorifics I am not very familiar with) I get pretty confused.




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          1. Keltena says:

            Wow, that’s an awful idea. Why did they even do that? The translation notes were right there; you’d think they’d have to go to extra effort to remove them.




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            1. Socordya says:

              I’ll say one thing for the steam translation, though, which I just noticed: they had the guts to alter the epitath a little (compared to the Witch Hunt translation) so that’s it actually solvable without having a Phd in Japanes language fuckery (kind of, sorta, if you squint your brain hard enough).




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            2. Keltena says:

              Whoa, really??

              Do you know if there’s anywhere I could find the Steam version? I’m really curious now.




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            3. Socordya says:

              Here’s the new version. Only one line change, but it eliminates a good part of the Japanese language fuckery, and you can bypass the rest of it, more or less (I am not saying it’s easy, mind you)

              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 attain to the power of the Golden Land’s treasure, once and for the last time.

              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.




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            4. Keltena says:

              Thanks! I’m not kidding myself that I’m likely to solve any form of this thing, but it’s still nice to have a technically possible version, heh.




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  2. sophiecognito says:

    I’m so excited to see you dig into umineko!




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  3. Heatth says:

    Oh, shit, I am exited! I really loved Umineko back then so I am really curious about your opinion on it.

     

    Right now, my plan is to hold posts until I’m done with a section, then post weekly, so by the time something goes live you can be sure I’ve at least finished that portion of it. I’m going to be extremely strict with spoilers for this, y’all.

    By section you mean an episode, right? So, if I understood right, you will be reading and writing your opinions as you go, but only make such opinions public when you are finished with the episode. I think that is probably a good format. It keeps the bit by bit reaction/analysis while still being more or less safe for.

    I do have a concern, though. This approach can lead to accidental spoilers, as people think something is safe to comment when it is not. I will suggest the official policy for comments is to never comment on anything you haven’t talked about yet, even if theoretically you have already read it. For one thing, if someone simply misremembered at which episode a certain bit of information was revealed, they won’t accidentally spill the beans thinking it is something you have already know. More importantly, though, if people only comment you what you directly mentioned, there is less risk of someone misunderstanding what is common knowledge and what is not.

    Like, for example, in Higurashi some people (kinda like you) guessed correctly that Keiichi was hallucinating at the end of the first chapter. They might mistakenly assume this is a guess everyone will automatically take when finish that chapter and treat this as known information. But not everyone will reach that conclusion at that point, so that information then becomes a spoiler. If people are only allowed to comment on what you directly mention in your posts, hopefully this sort of stuff won’t happen.

     

    I’ll be using the Steam release for this LP.

    Original sprites or Steam sprites (you can toggle in that version, if you don’t know)? I honestly recommend the originals. Ryuukishi really improved since Higurashi and his new sprites have a certain charm to them. The Steam sprites aren’t bad, but I personally don’t like that much.

    If you are using a PS3 mod then the situation is different, I suppose. The sprites there are definitively prettier (though I am not a fan of certain facial expressions). I actually recommend against such a mod, though. I like the original art fine anyway (specially the backgrounds) but, most importantly, I really dislike the use of splash images in important scenes. Without going into details, I think they are detrimental to the story. The voices are good, though. If there is such a mod that only port voices, that is what I would use. (I also hate the traditional VN textbox most PS3 mod impose, but is solely personal opinion).

    Anyway, I hope you will enjoy it. I honestly not sure if I like it over Higurashi, but it is still one of my favorite stories of all times.

    PS:Keep an eye out for the translation. I’ve seem the Witch Hunt translation (which the Steam version uses) to be criticized for being a bit stiff and literal at times. I never noticed any of that, but that is not my native language and I am not lit critic. I know this is more your area, though, so I am curious if you will think the same. If you dislike the translation, know there is another group that retranslated everything in a manner that they think it is more natural. You might want to give it a look if the official translation is not of your liking (the patch only works with the Japanese version, though).

    PPS: Oh, yeah, another problem with the PS3 version. The opening video(there is an opening video) uses scene from the first 4 episodes, including some important scenes from way later on. Mostly context less but, still, it is clearly made with those who have already played the original game in mind. Fortunatelly, even if you do use a PS3 patch, this sort of thing is probably easy to remove. If nothing else, it is easy to skip.




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    1. illhousen says:

      I do have a concern, though. This approach can lead to accidental spoilers, as people think something is safe to comment when it is not. I will suggest the official policy for comments is to never comment on anything you haven’t talked about yet, even if theoretically you have already read it.

      That’s a good point, seconded.

      It would also probably be a good idea to write up a copypasta about spoiler policy and past it on every Umineko post to remind people about it as I think someone spoiled either Higurashi or Fate because they were a newcomer who missed the spoiler policy.




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      1. Heatth says:

        Or maybe just link to the official spoiler policy at the end of every post.




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      2. Act says:

        I know that’d be the smart thing to do, but I don’t want to on principle because I feel like it’s just common courtesy. Nose, face, spite, etc.

         




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        1. Heatth says:

          Fair enough. I still think it might be enough to just give a link in the end of the posts, though. Like, if the posts are structured the same way as Fate, you could just bundle it together with the table of content links.




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  4. David says:
    Oh baby. I enjoyed your comments on Higurashi a great deal. This is going to be awesome. There seems like there’s a tendency for people to try to post ‘well-intentioned’ spoilers when a reviewer is confused or is trying to figure things out for themselves, so I hope that does not happen.



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  5. Yesss. My favorite reader is gonna read my favorite reading thing. This is a glorious day.

    Consider this your last chance to weigh in on the format of Umineko. Right now, my plan is to hold posts until I’m done with a section, then post weekly, so by the time something goes live you can be sure I’ve at least finished that portion of it.

    Those sections, assuming  you mean the breaks inside the episodes, may not be very effective at spoiler preventing because they’re statistically insignificant compared to the blackhole that is the Crying Seacats. It’s spoilers all the way down with Umineko, we can’t even describe it without spoiling a certain thing.

    Your only surefire way of avoiding spoilage is to do your thing but not post any until you finish the entire series. That doesn’t seem very feasible tho. And some of us may not live that long.

    I’ll suggest, as I did previously, to keep a separate, extremely low effort stream of consciousness txt as you read to keep track of clues, record your first reactions and your suspicions and whatnot. It’d be entertaining to have a gigantic actreadsseacats.txt for posterity full of the equivalent of the spinning scorpion gif after we’re done, and you would have a lot of fun going back to see how wrong you were about all the things (we would too).

    Also unlike Higurashi, (I’m not considering this one spoilers for your own good) Umineko has some real detectivery happening in it, with actual clues and alibis and so on. Cicadas were mostly horror and suspense with only a veneer of mystery but Seacats has an actual mystery you can (theoretically) solve before the parlor scene*. Which is why taking notes and rereading previous bits is important and I keep insisting about that stream of consciousness backup text. I was ignorant and impatient and didn’t try to solve anything, just plowed on until I reached the end, so missed the real game of Umineko (the detectoring). Since you’re hopefully gonna be blogging the whole damn thing for the internet, you should try to take a crack at solving the various mysteries. It’s worth a try at least.

    Also also, I too recommend the original sprites. The animified PS sprites and splash pages kinda ruin some bits and old R07 faces are simply better at being facey. The voices though… You must have the voices, they’re as awesome as musics. Under no circumstances the music and VA of Seacats should be skipped. This is a sound novel.

     

     

    *There may or may not be an actual parlor scene. I ain’t telling.

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    1. illhousen says:

      Under no circumstances the music and VA of Seacats should be skipped.

      I’m not so keen on voices, actually. Some of them are quite good, but others I found rather bland and unispired.

      Agreed on music, though. It must be on at all times, otherwise there is no point in reading Seacats.




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  6. Keltena says:

    Ooh, I hope you enjoy it a lot! :D I’m only midway into the second episode myself (…speaking of which, I’d better get back on the horse soon so I can keep up with you), but I’m already loving almost everything about it, and I’ll be excited to see what you think of some of the characters and subject matter.

    Crossing my fingers for both of our continued luck with spoiler avoidance. :P




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  7. EnviTheFool says:

    Welp, time to finish the last third of EP8 I suppose.

    Being slightly ahead from what you’re posting does seem like a good plan, but I unfortunately don’t have more input on the matter than that.

    This should be good.




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  8. Aumanor says:

    If you want a source of some screens, ProfessorProf’s LP of episodes 1-4 is finished and archived here: https://lparchive.org/Umineko-no-Naku-Koro-ni/

     

    L

     




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    1. Heatth says:

      Please, in the future don’t link to something awful without an warning. If you are not willing to give them money (which I sure as hell am not) all this does is link to an obnoxious and loud add.

       




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      1. Act says:

        Thanks for the heads-up, removed the link.




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      2. Aumanor says:
        My bad, forgot to check if the paywall was up.



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        1. Heatth says:

          Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. The link will stay up in the future, and SA does this shit frequently. Even if the paywall happened to not be up today, it would be eventually.




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      3. CrazyEd says:
        don’t link to something awful without a warning

        Somewhere, Mini-Farla screeched in pain, and explained to the nearest person how important proper capitalization is, without knowing why. I didn’t realize you were talking about Something Awful, the site, and not something awful the awful thing that someone posted, until I read your next post.




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        1. Heatth says:

          In my defense, I was kinda doing it on purpose (SA is awful).

           

          But, yeah, it does get confusing once the link got removed. My bad.




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