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Old 2011-01-05, 16:03   Link #21261
Renall
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Originally Posted by Will Wright View Post
There are certain degrees of craziness. For example, a man who stabs himself thinking the devil will die if he has so has the rationale of "killing the devil" for doing that. There is method to his madness. If her craziness is limited to "believes to have different personalities without actually having them" it's stupid as all hell but not impossible.
Making up psychological conditions to justify interpretations has got to violate some rule out there, if not mystery rules then common sense writer rules.

It's like revealing the terrorist in a spy thriller was the Secretary of State, not because he's an evil double agent, but because he has a debilitating and long-undiagnosed destructive compulsion to demolish federal buildings, and that's why he was able to pass the polygraph test asking if he was working for terrorists or toward any terroristic goal!
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Old 2011-01-05, 16:09   Link #21262
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Moving my response to this thread.

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Originally Posted by Will Wright View Post
I wouldn't say that at all. I think that it's harder to find a Christie novel where the murderer is a jerk than one where the murderer is sympathetic. The why isn't "tacked on" in stories at all.
The murderers are sympathetic to the degree that the reader wants to believe all actions can be emotionally justified, if not lawfully justified. (Sometimes this goes to ridiculous lengths. I'm not going to feel bad for someone that burned down an amphitheater and tried to kill hundreds of people because he was no longer required to tune a particular piano.)

But pitying the criminal is still not the same thing that Ryukishi is talking about. I think we both know that the aim of the murder mystery is to present a brain teaser and that, especially in the Golden Age, everything about the plot tended to be devoted to that end. Battler is right, the approach is usually "how" did this person do it, or "who" did it in the first place.

In Umineko, the point is to literally figure out why the "criminal" is committing the crimes. We start off with both the who (Beatrice) and the how (with magic?) answered for us. Even trying to attack on those angles (figuring out who Beatrice is) and (the tricks behind the magic) eventually leads us directly to the "why". This is the very reason why Beatrice's confession is about her life story, not about how she planned to accomplish her goals.
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Old 2011-01-05, 16:27   Link #21263
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Originally Posted by musouka View Post
Moving my response to this thread.



The murderers are sympathetic to the degree that the reader wants to believe all actions can be emotionally justified, if not lawfully justified. (Sometimes this goes to ridiculous lengths. I'm not going to feel bad for someone that burned down an amphitheater and tried to kill hundreds of people because he was no longer required to tune a particular piano.)

But pitying the criminal is still not the same thing that Ryukishi is talking about. I think we both know that the aim of the murder mystery is to present a brain teaser and that, especially in the Golden Age, everything about the plot tended to be devoted to that end. Battler is right, the approach is usually "how" did this person do it, or "who" did it in the first place.

In Umineko, the point is to literally figure out why the "criminal" is committing the crimes. We start off with both the who (Beatrice) and the how (with magic?) answered for us. Even trying to attack on those angles (figuring out who Beatrice is) and (the tricks behind the magic) eventually leads us directly to the "why". This is the very reason why Beatrice's confession is about her life story, not about how she planned to accomplish her goals.
I disagree. In Umineko, we start off knowing nothing. Beatrice claims to be the one who did it, but at that point we don't even know who Beatrice really is. The how is also not given to us, unless we really do accept magic as an answer.

I get what you are saying that Ryuukishi tried to do, but in the Golden Age, there were often mysteries like that as well.

Spoiler for Death on the Nile:


Spoiler for Crooked House:


Basically, Ryuukishi asks us to find out who Beatrice is. In order to find out who she is, we need to find out why she would commit those crimes. In other words, we need to use the why to find out the who.

In Golden Age novels, there were often mysteries like that such as the ones I just mentioned. Miss Marple focused on psychology to understand the criminals, and often the motive was the only lead she had, leaving evidence for the deus ex machina at the end of the novel.

That's why I feel that his claim that the Golden Age didn't care about motive is wrong.
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Old 2011-01-05, 16:32   Link #21264
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I agree with your two examples to a certain extent, but I wouldn't say that's a defining trait of Golden Age mysteries in general, which is what we're talking about. Ryukishi doesn't say his story is the first or only mystery to ever attack the idea of mysteries through the "why", he just says its a relative rarity in mysteries.

It's not that people didn't care about motive or that motive didn't have its place in the books. It's that it's rare to read a mystery where all the clues and the entire focus is on why the criminal committed the crime.
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Old 2011-01-05, 16:46   Link #21265
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But the Golden Age was filled with mysteries like that. I can't agree with it being rare when basically every single Miss Marple story relies on motive, and there were so many of them.

Raymond Chandler specialized in writing about "real people" which sometimes made his plots quite a bit of a mess, but focused on motivations a lot.

I'm focusing on his claim when he said that many mysteries ignored the heart back in episode 7. I can sort of see where he is coming from, but that's wrong. Just because a writer doesn't go on and on for hours about backstories, it doesn't mean that they ignore the heart.

Let's take the most "heartless" Golden Age writer, S.S Van Dine.

Benson Murder case shows us an interesting cast, and the entire case is solved with psychology. A few of Vance's claims are a bit of a stretch, but he ultimately finds out who the killer was based on(arguably) the motive.

The entire case had no physical evidence. Vance himself said that motive did not truly matter, even if he contradicted himself a few times during the novel. Motive did matter.

Ryuukishi portrayed the mystery genre as one where the motive is never alluded to and can never be figured out before the end of a story. Those are, frankly, quite rare.
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Old 2011-01-05, 17:07   Link #21266
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Originally Posted by Will Wright View Post
But the Golden Age was filled with mysteries like that. I can't agree with it being rare when basically every single Miss Marple story relies on motive, and there were so many of them.

Raymond Chandler specialized in writing about "real people" which sometimes made his plots quite a bit of a mess, but focused on motivations a lot.

I'm focusing on his claim when he said that many mysteries ignored the heart back in episode 7. I can sort of see where he is coming from, but that's wrong. Just because a writer doesn't go on and on for hours about backstories, it doesn't mean that they ignore the heart.

Let's take the most "heartless" Golden Age writer, S.S Van Dine.

Benson Murder case shows us an interesting cast, and the entire case is solved with psychology. A few of Vance's claims are a bit of a stretch, but he ultimately finds out who the killer was based on(arguably) the motive.

The entire case had no physical evidence. Vance himself said that motive did not truly matter, even if he contradicted himself a few times during the novel. Motive did matter.

Ryuukishi portrayed the mystery genre as one where the motive is never alluded to and can never be figured out before the end of a story. Those are, frankly, quite rare.
If I may intrude,

I've read a share of mystery novels that have focused on only the who and the how.
The "how" and the "who" are both discovered, a lot of the time, by establishing alibis for the suspects.
Most of these books have been recent, and not in the "Golden Age" of detective literature. I'm not nearly as well-read as you are, though; perhaps Ryukishi was addressing the attitude of the fans?
Most of the people I've talked to (outside of Umineko) shared the same views as those at the beginning of EP7. "The motive is unnecessary when you have a competent detective, because enough evidence is presented to figure it out with hard facts."

Here is the myth that I think Ryukishi was trying to dispel about mystery:
The motive is unimportant in a mystery with evidence.
Elaboration:
I'll highlight three different possible mystery cases.

1.) There is a lot of physical evidence provided to the reader about the nature of the murder. The reader is expected to use the facts to come to a conclusion. No talk about motives from the suspects, so the only method of discerning the culprit is by using hard evidence. Culprit confesses the motive after he is discovered.

2.) There is almost no evidence provided. In cases like this, the motive is the only way to find out who the culprit is. This is what you seem to be addressing, Will Wright. The motive is only used because it's necessary to find the culprit. Usually, the rest is revealed afterwards.

3.) There is both hard evidence and motives presented. There is enough information regarding alibis, physical evidence, and motives that the reader should be able to use everything to find an answer.

This is where Ryukishi's viewpoints come into play.
Case 1 is probably not what he was talking about. Motives cannot always be found, just because that is how the novel is written. That's fine.

Case 2 is not what he was referring to. There is plenty of motive here, but it is lacking in hard facts. With these, the reader thinks since there is no evidence to go by, the answer can only be reached by analyzing motives. This is very similar to Case 1 in the aspect that you use what you think will get you the answer.

Case 3 is probably what Ryukishi was talking about. Why use motives when you have factual evidence to analyze? The readers of these usually think the motive is unecessary because there is hard evidence here. The motive can possibly have something to do with the solution, but I would much rather rely on information that I myself can confirm the validity of.

Theoretically, anybody can do a crime for any reason. They do not have to tell us this reason. We'll find out at the end, right?
People can lie. The detective cannot. This is the foundation of neglecting the "heart".

This is all just speculation of mine, but it may be worth considering. This is probably not a trend in Golden Age literature; rather, it's something I've noticed especially recently.

People trust evidence when evidence is given. Motives and emotions are inferior in comparison.
This is what Ryukishi was trying to say about the mystery genre, and subsequently disprove with Umineko.
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Old 2011-01-05, 17:33   Link #21267
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Quote:
If I may intrude,

I've read a share of mystery novels that have focused on only the who and the how.
The "how" and the "who" are both discovered, a lot of the time, by establishing alibis for the suspects.
Most of these books have been recent, and not in the "Golden Age" of detective literature. I'm not nearly as well-read as you are, though; perhaps Ryukishi was addressing the attitude of the fans?
Most of the people I've talked to (outside of Umineko) shared the same views as those at the beginning of EP7. "The motive is unnecessary when you have a competent detective, because enough evidence is presented to figure it out with hard facts."
I don't think he was talking about the attitude fans have towards it, considering how he makes Battler talk about how most novels don't focus on the motive. If it was a message directed at his fanbase, then I have no way way of judging its accuracy, since I don't exactly have much contact with his Japanese fanbase.

Quote:
Case 3 is probably what Ryukishi was talking about. Why use motives when you have factual evidence to analyze? The readers of these usually think the motive is unecessary because there is hard evidence here. The motive can possibly have something to do with the solution, but I would much rather rely on information that I myself can confirm the validity of.
I'll disagree with this, because Ryuukishi can't possibly be trying to make a point about stories that have both motive and evidence when his own story has no evidence and lots of motive. The only reason we can arrive at a possible culprit for games 1-4(without getting into "the truth") is that Yasu's motive is stronger than anyone else's. There is no physical evidence here, just pure motive.

If he had made a case where all physical evidence pointed towards George for example, but the killer turned out to be someone who had no evidence pointed towards him except pure motive, I could agree with that.

Quote:
Theoretically, anybody can do a crime for any reason. They do not have to tell us this reason. We'll find out at the end, right?
People can lie. The detective cannot. This is the foundation of neglecting the "heart".

This is all just speculation of mine, but it may be worth considering. This is probably not a trend in Golden Age literature; rather, it's something I've noticed especially recently.

People trust evidence when evidence is given. Motives and emotions are inferior in comparison.
This is what Ryukishi was trying to say about the mystery genre, and subsequently disprove with Umineko.
I will agree that it is definitely a recent trend in real life mysteries. The CSI effect where people want forensic evidence is saddening really. Juries ignore motive and perfectly feasible deductions because there is no physical evidence.

Motives are somewhat tacked on in recent mysteries, though still always present in the Golden Age inspired ones.
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Old 2011-01-05, 17:42   Link #21268
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Originally Posted by Will Wright View Post
I'll disagree with this, because Ryuukishi can't possibly be trying to make a point about stories that have both motive and evidence when his own story has no evidence and lots of motive. The only reason we can arrive at a possible culprit for games 1-4(without getting into "the truth") is that Yasu's motive is stronger than anyone else's. There is no physical evidence here, just pure motive.
I was going for the Red Truth as hard evidence (given you believe this game mechanic to be true, which you pretty much have to).

In a sense, the Red Truth is a trap. What I said about evidence holds true here especially: people rely on what is said in the Red enough to ignore everything else.
Even Fantasy scenes have important hints!

You cannot ignore non-Red words in Umineko and expect to reach the solution.

This is the same premise.
"Oh, well I think Shannon is the culprit."
"That's wrong, because a servant may not be the culprit."
"Didn't Shannon herself say that she would quit her job when Battler returned? She could be considered not a servant."
"That might have been totally made up by Bernkastel or Claire. You can't trust these fantasy scenes. The Red Truth is stronger."

If Ryukishi was referring to Golden Age literature when he said "mysteries ignore the heart", then he would be incorrect. I acknowledge this.

However, I think there is a little bit of truth behind what he said. I also think he vastly exaggerated, though.

Last edited by DaBackpack; 2011-01-05 at 17:43. Reason: Stupid Errors
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Old 2011-01-05, 17:42   Link #21269
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People trust evidence when evidence is given. Motives and emotions are inferior in comparison.
Interesting to note this is a very fictional theme unique to mystery novels. I'm no legal expert, but... in most cases, a crime is legally defined to be composed of two elements: "actus reus" (Latin for "guilty act") and "mens rea" (Latin for "guilty mind"). "Actus reas" refers to, of course, the act itself, whereas the mens rea refers to the intent (I think; the legal definition might be a little different). Knowing the motive is very helpful in proving both. Thus, finding the motive is very much in the interest of the prosecution. Without a provable motive, non-conclusive evidence loses a lot of its worth. (But of course, without a howdunnit, a motive is quite worthless).
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Old 2011-01-05, 17:48   Link #21270
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Interesting to note this is a very fictional element of mystery novels. I'm no legal expert, but... in most cases, a crime is legally defined to be composed of two elements: "actus reus" (Latin for "guilty act") and "mens rea" (Latin for "guilty mind"). "Actus reas" refers to, of course, the act itself, whereas the mens rea refers to the intent (I think; the legal definition might be a little different). Knowing the motive is very helpful in proving both. Thus, finding the motive is very much in the interest of the prosecution. Without a provable motive, non-conclusive evidence loses a lot of its worth. (But of course, without a howdunnit, a motive is quite worthless).
Yes, but they aren't "completely ignoring the motive", they're just "waiting to reveal it when the mystery is solved".

After all, it's much easier to find a motive after you know who to find a motive for.

But yeah, real-life is much different than these novels. You'd be hard pressed to have someone arrested if you relied on things like alibis or circumstantial evidence.

You can prove a case to a person, but proving it in the course of law is much more difficult.
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:00   Link #21271
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Bern's Role in Episode 8, anyone?

Ok, so apparently my first post was misplaced because I accidentally posted it in the wrong forum, my bad. I'll try to be more careful about where I post in the future.

But, on to the point, I would really love to know more about Bern's role in episode 8. I've heard several small details, most of which might be unconfirmed, and they are as follows:
Spoiler for Bern's role in ep8 (?):


If anyone has any details about any of this, I would really love to hear them. And the more details the better, especially if those details can be confirmed.

P.S. I would really like to confirm something: is it all right for spoilers to be unmarked in threads such as this?
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:05   Link #21272
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Yes, but they aren't "completely ignoring the motive", they're just "waiting to reveal it when the mystery is solved".
Again: motive is helpful in finding the culprit. I'd say waiting for it to be revealed in the end of the book is the very definition of ignoring it.

Quote:
After all, it's much easier to find a motive after you know who to find a motive for.
It's the opposite way round: unless immediate evidence implies a non-obvious culprit at work, the first people you'd suspect are people who have an apparent motive.
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:28   Link #21273
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Originally Posted by witchfan View Post
Interesting to note this is a very fictional theme unique to mystery novels. I'm no legal expert, but... in most cases, a crime is legally defined to be composed of two elements: "actus reus" (Latin for "guilty act") and "mens rea" (Latin for "guilty mind"). "Actus reas" refers to, of course, the act itself, whereas the mens rea refers to the intent (I think; the legal definition might be a little different). Knowing the motive is very helpful in proving both. Thus, finding the motive is very much in the interest of the prosecution. Without a provable motive, non-conclusive evidence loses a lot of its worth. (But of course, without a howdunnit, a motive is quite worthless).
Having presented evidence to juries, and having talked to juries, and having been both frequently surprised and constantly frustrated by the decisions juries make, I wouldn't even begin to compare a courtroom to the mystery genre or even to courtroom TV.

Juries care a remarkable degree about evidence, and they take the process seriously. Believe it or not, motive arguments rarely work without evidentiary support (and even circumstantial evidence will beat the old "I had no reason to kill him" chestnut). Juries really do care about proof.

Having said that, juries also care a lot about theater. They work off their gut reaction to witnesses, even if they don't acknowledge this. Most jurors, for example, give greater weight to the side that presents a police officer's testimony. This has held true for me even in cases where the officer did not witness the crime (he was only called to testify that he'd written a report on the crime and issued a citation for it, nothing more). A person who looks shifty or acts smug turns jurors off, even if he doesn't say anything obviously inconsistent.

The best example in Umineko I can point to of the "juror effect" is probably George. People didn't like him because he seemed shady. There wasn't any evidence, but people didn't believe a lot of what he said. Even though you could provably demonstrate that George couldn't commit not only many of the murders in the various games, but most of them. Why? Well, he doesn't sit right with people. It's an emotional response. People didn't trust him.

Why did opinion on Natsuhi change? We saw how tortured she was and how hard she tried in spite of her problems. Sympathy. Nothing about her reliability as a witness or the information she could provide really changed, but many people did a complete 180 (from suspecting her involvement to believing her perhaps the first completely innocent character, and this in spite of her role in a coverup!).

Juries are a strange beast, but believe it or not, motive is not nearly as important as the seemingly contradictory factors of gut emotional response and hard evidence. If I knew why that was, I'd have a perfect trial record. But I don't. And none of the other trial attorneys I work with do either.
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:42   Link #21274
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Making up psychological conditions to justify interpretations has got to violate some rule out there, if not mystery rules then common sense writer rules.

It's like revealing the terrorist in a spy thriller was the Secretary of State, not because he's an evil double agent, but because he has a debilitating and long-undiagnosed destructive compulsion to demolish federal buildings, and that's why he was able to pass the polygraph test asking if he was working for terrorists or toward any terroristic goal!
Oh it's awful writing alright. But it's technically not so much making up a condition as "picking your ridiculous interpretation" though.
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:45   Link #21275
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Originally Posted by WitchofCicadas View Post
Ok, so apparently my first post was misplaced because I accidentally posted it in the wrong forum, my bad. I'll try to be more careful about where I post in the future.

But, on to the point, I would really love to know more about Bern's role in episode 8. I've heard several small details, most of which might be unconfirmed, and they are as follows:
Spoiler for Bern's role in ep8 (?):


If anyone has any details about any of this, I would really love to hear them. And the more details the better, especially if those details can be confirmed.

P.S. I would really like to confirm something: is it all right for spoilers to be unmarked in threads such as this?
Corrections:
-It is Erika who is leading the invasion against the Golden Land and its denizens.
-Battler manages landing a punch on Bern, and since it has been ages she didn't get hit at all, that punch affected her a lot, to the point she instantly got enraged afterwards.
-Bern is super pissed off because Featherine support is utterly useless against Battler. She didn't feel particularly upset when Lambda was mauled down by Featherine
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Old 2011-01-05, 18:52   Link #21276
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Good to get firsthand info from someone who works in the field. I think your post actually points to a similarity between mystery (or thriller) novels and court. In the context of a mystery novel, the "juror effect" is one of the classic red herrings (but, amusingly, in a novel, we are so accustomed to being mislead that we sometimes consider a suspicious-looking character less suspicious than "clean" ones!).

In any case, when talking about the ironic combination of suspicious character and hard evidence, are you talking also about cases related to murder? I was actually talking only about these cases in my post (it would be hard to find a large enough sample of mystery novels that deal with jaywalking, to form an opinion about it!). I would think that, when dealing with serious offences, the standard of proof is placed a lot higher. So it follows that while a sympathetic character is more likely to be acquitted, there is still more focus on motive than character.
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Old 2011-01-05, 19:21   Link #21277
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Quote:
The best example in Umineko I can point to of the "juror effect" is probably George. People didn't like him because he seemed shady. There wasn't any evidence, but people didn't believe a lot of what he said. Even though you could provably demonstrate that George couldn't commit not only many of the murders in the various games, but most of them. Why? Well, he doesn't sit right with people. It's an emotional response. People didn't trust him.
Well, to be fair, George going "I'm totally willing to kill my whole family for Sayo" doesn't help.
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Old 2011-01-05, 19:46   Link #21278
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I'd like to ask everyone this following question:

Would Umineko improve as a whole if it had ended with Battler looking at his spinning top?
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Old 2011-01-05, 20:14   Link #21279
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Originally Posted by Klashikari View Post
Corrections:
-It is Erika who is leading the invasion against the Golden Land and its denizens.
-Battler manages landing a punch on Bern, and since it has been ages she didn't get hit at all, that punch affected her a lot, to the point she instantly got enraged afterwards.
-Bern is super pissed off because Featherine support is utterly useless against Battler. She didn't feel particularly upset when Lambda was mauled down by Featherine
I need to know something.

Spoiler for EP8:
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Old 2011-01-05, 20:14   Link #21280
WitchofCicadas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klashikari View Post
Corrections:
-It is Erika who is leading the invasion against the Golden Land and its denizens.
-Battler manages landing a punch on Bern, and since it has been ages she didn't get hit at all, that punch affected her a lot, to the point she instantly got enraged afterwards.
-Bern is super pissed off because Featherine support is utterly useless against Battler. She didn't feel particularly upset when Lambda was mauled down by Featherine
Thank you very much for the info. :3
This does raise a few more questions, though.
Under what circumstances does Battler hit Bern? Did she say/do anything particularly nasty beforehand (nastier than usual anyway)? And how exactly does she strike back, simply by yelling or does she slap him back?
Also, why exactly does Featherine maul down Lambda?
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