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Old 2012-12-24, 12:16   Link #31501
Renall
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Non-insane killers exist. I would dispute that highly. Now, a mass killer is far harder to believe. Possible yes, just hard.

The problem with Yasu is I can't even see a kinda-sane reason to kill anybody individually, but there are characters I could see with motive to kill at least one other (George, Kyrie) or themselves (Krauss, Yasu). Maybe. And nobody has an especially great reason to kill everyone.

If then the alternative is to embrace error, escalating passions, or accident, I will gladly prefer those to ridiculous insanity.
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Old 2012-12-24, 18:25   Link #31502
Kiltias
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
And nobody has an especially great reason to kill everyone.
What about killing everyone part the Servants?
As in the target being the Family, the servants being killed simply due to being servants, furniture, looked down upon by the culprit as well as wanting no survivors or simply to silence them.

Put yourself into the Culprit's shoes, would you keep them alive if you plan to kill the family?

Or for all we know it's like the A,B,C Murders from Agatha Christie.
Spoiler for ABC:



As in:
Spoiler for Perhaps:
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Old 2012-12-24, 19:47   Link #31503
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No one in the family really benefits from killing the family. In fact, doing so largely makes the situation worse.

And killing the servants for being in the way is needlessly psychotic and sloppy.
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Old 2012-12-24, 20:34   Link #31504
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
The problem with Will's theory is, as is the core of the Later Queen Problem, we have no choice but to believe that his theory is correct, at least if we want a sympathetic outcome of everything. It is still obvious though that he either chose to ignore certain aspects which we learned in the course of Umineko as a narrative presented to us or he simply was not aware of them.
Honestly I don't believe Ryukishi was planning for Will's solution to be 'wrong'.
It's possible in the gameboards of Umineko there's space for another solution but I think that, up to the moment in which he finished Ep 7, Will's solution was the right one, the one he wanted us to reach. After all an extra Umineko series wasn't planned in the same way as it isn't planned a follow up to Meakashi-hen.

So, for me, Will's solution of the gameboard is correct not for a matter of being sympathetic but merely because it's a matter of putting a end to things. If I don't plan to disclose extra material that will lead me to a different way I don't need to come up with a different solution.

Of course, in the future, Ryukishi might decide to revise his original idea and write a new Umineko in which we'll learn that the culprit wasn't Yasu but... character X... or actually there was a 19/18 person or actually the murderer were the members of Kyrie's family or whatever.

It's not a problem I feel like worrying about now as, as of now, as far as we know, no such thing exist/will exist.

What however I think can exist are hints about what happened really in Rokkenjima Prime at least in the books Tohya wrote as he probably knows the truth and Ryukishi said it's possible to figure it out.

And, as a third option, it can be it's possible to create a solution Ryukishi hadn't planned and that would still be 'correct' with the datas at hands. It still wouldn't be the intended solution, the one we were supposed to find but I guess there's a possibility it exists.

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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
I think this is something we have to consider.
I would heavily dislike the idea of just discarding a large portion of Umineko, which is displaying the potential of evil in people, just because the display of good seemed more sympathetic. Sure, Bern's game hyped the "everybody is a potential murderer" aspect up by 100, but I think it is something that has to be considered in the context of Umineko and also in the context of Yasu.
It's not because it's more sympathetic, at least as far as I'm involved.
It's because Yasu as a killer is poorly presented while she's more effective as a writer. For me it's a matter of characterization, not of sympathy.

It's entirely possible to write a story about a person that kills many people and make the reader feel like... well, that guy did something wrong but he had his own reasons. The litterature is plenty of characters like those.

I wouldn't need Yasu to be innocent to feel 'understanding' with her as long as she could have a reason I could grasp and that lead her to snap and do something so wrong.
For example, I can understand how Natsuhi lost it and pushed the servant, although i don't condone her actions.
However Yasu's reasons are so blurry I can't say 'well, in her place I might have lost it as well and done it'.

Plus there's the whole bit of Battler saying that Beato didn't kill anyone in Ep 8, which I like to think is a reference to how the real Yasu didn't kill anyone in the real world (if she inadvertitely caused someone's death, well, that's another matter).

Also, in Ep 6, Beato wasn't capable to kill anyone by herself, not even Natsuhi. It was Battler who did the work for her.
(it'll be pretty ironic if in Prime Yasu tried to kill someone but failed and was attacked, Battler thought that someone was trying to kill her and killed that person to protect her...)

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You don't write fiction like this JUST to reach somebody. I think that is also what Dlanor was hinting at in Our Confession, the frustration and hatred for certain aspects of people that 'Beatrice' did not want to admit of having. We also have the depiction of Maria in EP4, who also carried both, the potential of endless good and also the wish for destruction and death (she created magic to hurt her classmates, teachers, she even dreamt of killing her own mother a thousand times). I think Maria depicts how Yasu grew up to a great deal and also shows how Yasu got twisted through all the stories she lived out.
Undoubtely in the fiction Yasu wrote there was part of her frustration but this doesn't necessarily means there was murdering intent otherwise all the mystery writers would also be killers. Also considering she's a pretty young girl with little experience of the world outside Rokkenjima it makes sense she placed her stories on Rokkenjima and used the people she knew as character instead of having to make up place and characters from nothing.

After all it's Maria the one that can give life from 0, not her.

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I don't believe Yasu to be the culprit of the 1986 Rokkenjima incident, but he was an important trigger to events that created such a tragedy.
Undoubtely Yasu did something. Apparently she paid people, if what we learn about Ange's world from Ep 4 is to be taken into account and someone handed to Eva the ring and the way to Kuwadorian, someone who probably passed that information to Battler as well as he expected to reach Kuwadorian, although he ended up in the wrong place. Yasu also wrote the messages in the bottles who, along with the books Eva sold, created in the public the idea 'a witch did it' and also, prior to the tragedy, she fed the idea a witch existed, so we likely had Maria and the servants who worked on Rokkenjima spreading this rumour.


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I think here you have to distinguish between BlackBattler (the meta incarnation of every Battler-culprit ever created) and the Battler culprit on a gameboard (e.g. Forgery No.xxx). The one we witness talking in that TIP is the meta incarnation, which is similar to MetaBeatrice in the sense that he not only encompasses all possible Battler-culprits, he is constructed from them and exists because of them. Similar to how Eva-Beatrice exists because of Ange's and other people's Eva-culprit theories.
Honestly I don't know if he's the meta incarnation or the fantasy incarnation. To me he seems more like the fantasy incarnation than the meta one, sort of like the Beato of Ep 5 who defended herself on the trial more than the MetaBeato of Ep 5 who was comatose. BlackBattler himself defines himself as a piece, after all.

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I think murder is always a sign of a certain amount of insanity. Even if it is a cry for help, desperation alone is mostly not enough to kill a person, a certain degree of insanity is necessary, because people in countries like Europe, the US and also Japan are brought up to despise killing too much to simply choose it as a conscious option.
Undoubtely but it has been proved that under a certain strain even a normal mind can break and push you toward the temporal (or permanent) insanity that will make you commit murder and that this breaking of a normal person can be 'understandable' by other normal people if not justifiable.

Ep 7 apparently would want us to follow Yasu's story and learn of what broke her and turned her into a killer however as far as I'm involved it fails. It sugar coat the story too much so that when I try to picture in mind mind the extent of Yasu's desperation that pushed her to do so I don't feel like I'm merely following the canon, but as if I'm giving her an extra backstory, as if I'm making up things.

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Thus, searching for a motive that makes our killer NOT insane (or what our society would refer to as insane) on any level is extremely hard and leads us to the question if murder can ever be justified.
It's not a matter of justifying murder, it's more a matter of explaining how a person can reach the insanity level required to commit it.

Higurashi in this sense handled things much better in Onikakushi and Meakashi or in the first two murders at the beginning of Tsumihoroboshi. You can see that the characters reached the necessary stress to break and do what they didn't want to do.

In Umineko however it's pretty difficult to rationalize what Yasu did.

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Originally Posted by Kiltias View Post
What about killing everyone part the Servants?
As in the target being the Family, the servants being killed simply due to being servants, furniture, looked down upon by the culprit as well as wanting no survivors or simply to silence them.

Put yourself into the Culprit's shoes, would you keep them alive if you plan to kill the family?

Or for all we know it's like the A,B,C Murders from Agatha Christie.
Spoiler for ABC:



As in:
Spoiler for Perhaps:
I've been considering the idea the servants were killed so that they wouldn't be able to talk about it. Problem is that once the bomb comes into picture everything seems meaningless. All the culprit had to do was to turn it on and leave the island while making sure the others couldn't leave as well.

In short if, for example, the scenery of EP 7 Teaparty took place Kyrie didn't have to go around killing everyone. She could have said they were having a reunion than wait for the night and escape after turning the bomb on. If she had played well her cards she could have waited enough to have the time to check if the credit card worked and even to hid some ingots in Kuwadorian.



By the way is someone familiar with the movie Knight Moves?

It has a bunch of things that are pretty similar to Umineko. First of all the culprit and the 'detective' knew each other from childhood. The culprit deliberately sent messages to the detective, challenging him to stop him/solve the mystery. The story takes place on an island that, for the culprit, is the world. There's a chess motive and murders follow a certain order (a chess game instead than the epitaph but still). In the taglines the whole thing is referred as a 'game'. The murders take place to send a message to the detective and there's more but it's escaping from my mind right now.
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Old 2012-12-24, 20:53   Link #31505
Renall
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I went over this before, but I see Black Battler as the meta version of a particular type of piece. That is, he represents a "culprit Battler." We distinguish him thus from the "detective Battler" we know from the series. In any given story you can't tell the two apart visually; each is merely "Battler." However, only one can exist at a given point as each story has just one Battler.

He's given a new representation for our purposes, and arguably may have his own meta-existence. He probably wouldn't be a magic character though, as that would kind of give the game away.
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Old 2012-12-24, 21:25   Link #31506
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I went over this before, but I see Black Battler as the meta version of a particular type of piece. That is, he represents a "culprit Battler." We distinguish him thus from the "detective Battler" we know from the series. In any given story you can't tell the two apart visually; each is merely "Battler." However, only one can exist at a given point as each story has just one Battler.

He's given a new representation for our purposes, and arguably may have his own meta-existence. He probably wouldn't be a magic character though, as that would kind of give the game away.
I wonder though if BlackBattler is actually like Eva-Beatrice. Eva wasn't the real culprit in the story and Eva-Beatrice is sort of a different person. So maybe in Land we would be presented with an apparent Battler culprit theory that could have given life to Black Battler but Piece Battler would have been innocent... sort of like how Battler proposed a Battler culprit theory in Ep 5 although Battler wasn't the culprit and we could have seen MetaBattler having to deal with BlackBattler (though to see this Battler shouldn't have been the detective... but wasn't there an Erika-like character planned as well? If Land planned to use a detective different from Battler we could be allowed to see things from Black Battler's perspective...).

Note that in the beginning Beato made clear that Eva-Beatrice and Battler weren't supposed to interact as they were in different worlds.

It'll be interesting to make a division of the characters according to their position:

Bern and Lambda for example are solely meta.
Beato is meta but she's also... 'fantasy' and a piece on the gameboard as she technically resides in Yasu's body.
Gaap is meta and fantasy but she has not a matching piece on the gameboard.
Battler and Erika are pieces but also meta.

hum... it's a bit confusing...
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Old 2012-12-24, 21:31   Link #31507
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Black Battler takes unusual pleasure in it though and in Forgery No. XXX sort of casts himself in the POV of the piece Battler. It'd be rather confusing if he were nevertheless innocent.

Not that you couldn't do what you described... but anyway.
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Old 2012-12-24, 22:03   Link #31508
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Black Battler takes unusual pleasure in it though and in Forgery No. XXX sort of casts himself in the POV of the piece Battler. It'd be rather confusing if he were nevertheless innocent.
In the end it's also a depiction of the limitless potential of how to fill Pieces. BlackBattler is, I would say, not the Piece but the way it is drawn...a more abstract concept, while Pieces are entirely hollow.

I think this also comments on how the way things are depicted on the gameboard is just limited by one thing, it has to be in order with outside elements. Maria's diary, Eva being alive, the truth being kept from Ange, those are limiters to how to draw Pieces and gameboards. All the elements where any evidence has been lost though is free to design however you want.
There is a truth of the gameboards, but they do not have to be The One Truth...as a human you are allowed to doubt even that.
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Old 2012-12-24, 22:06   Link #31509
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Black Battler takes unusual pleasure in it though and in Forgery No. XXX sort of casts himself in the POV of the piece Battler. It'd be rather confusing if he were nevertheless innocent.

Not that you couldn't do what you described... but anyway.
Well, Eva-Beatrice surely seemed to have fun in killing people over and over and we know if PieceBattler isn't the detective his point of view isn't reliable plus is possible to insert fantasy scenes in which BlackBattler instead than PieceBattler could have the starring role. Who knows, maybe BlackBattler could be introduced as Battler's split second personality as, if I'm not wrong, Battler suggested that a character could have a split personality more than once.

It'll be interesting also to think to an Ep 5 from Erika's point of view with an embodiement of the Natsuhi-culprit theory or a black Natsuhi or a Natsuhi-Beatrice running lose...
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Old 2012-12-24, 22:47   Link #31510
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Regarding all the ongoing talk about how shitty it is not to have a solution, I found it funny to go overthe Anti mystery vs Anti fantasy TIP again and comparing it with what was said about Mystery literature over the course of time.

I recommend everybody to read it again and consider it.
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Old 2012-12-25, 00:01   Link #31511
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Regarding all the ongoing talk about how shitty it is not to have a solution, I found it funny to go overthe Anti mystery vs Anti fantasy TIP again and comparing it with what was said about Mystery literature over the course of time.

I recommend everybody to read it again and consider it.
Him talking about it doesn't make it less shitty. Explaining what the Later Queen Problem is doesn't mean it becomes okay to write a story where you intentionally don't provide information. To say "Well, I could change the answer any time I want by writing something new" doesn't necessarily raise meaningful points, nor does it excuse lazy behavior, nor does it necessarily have philosophical relevance. What do I mean by this? I feel it does warrant my explaining further, so...

What he seems to be saying (or hinting at) in the TIP is something along the lines of "Suppose I wrote an answer, and later I changed it. Obviously, that might be right. But suppose I wasn't the one who wrote the new answer. What if some fan came up with an answer that seemed better than mine and everyone became sure that was what I really meant and that answer became 'truth?' Since that can always happen, can you really know 'the answer?'" He's right about this, but he's also wrong about its specific application to Umineko and he's ignoring a very important issue from a literary standpoint.

He uses the example of Higurashi. It should be immediately apparent that the difference he's discussing while writing about his prior work around the time he was partway into writing his current (for the time) work is that, at the time of that writing, Higurashi had an ending. Moreover, it had a rather definite ending; he points out that by the end of the final arc he's revealed who the culprit is and gone over most of their motivations. What he's suggesting is that later he could introduce "undiscovered evidence X" which suddenly proves the culprit's innocence and convicts a new culprit. He suggests we can go on doing this forever because of the uncertainty of truth in an anti-mystery setting.

He is wrong on two points:
  • His conclusion is nihilism. "Truth doesn't exist, therefore you must either reject the ability to know anything or at least partially embrace fantasy," which is essentially an argument for faith as the only counter to nihilistic thought. This is immensely narrowminded as it discounts the entire point of scientific rationality being about eliminating impossibility through self-correction with the understanding that you get increasingly closer to the most probably true outcome over time. In other words, the Later Queen Problem isn't actually a problem; it's the goddamn Scientific Method. Learning that Relativity is a better model than Newtonian physics does not make Newtonian physics a waste of time, nor does the possibility that something will replace Relativity make learning about it a waste of time. Should we learn in 2050 that the true culprit of Higurashi was Satoko all along... who gives a shit? Now we know. Of course his counter-argument will be that he could then prove she isn't the culprit and keep doing this forever. He's wrong, because...
  • Even a work of fiction is ultimately limited in this capacity in two critical ways. The first is that there is normally a finite amount of source information, so at some point it becomes impossible to keep revealing a "new" true ending. The second is that literature faces an insurmountable plausibility and credibility issue when it does this too often. The audience may tolerate a twist in the resolution, or even several... but if you go to great lengths to eliminate every subject and bring in a new character to blame... then do that again... then do that again... at some point the audience says "You know what? I don't care anymore." How long an author can keep doing this is highly dependent upon his own skill and the expectations of the audience. The author of a very silly comedy battle manga can probably pull it off for a long time, but sooner or later even his audience will grow bored.
Ultimately, every story is beholden to this, even the ones that aren't challenging the readers with obvious questions. Traditional-style mystery writers do not create a sporting "arithmetic" puzzle because of any particular belief that the world ought to be that predictable, but as an assurance to the reader that what is being read is worth bothering with. Promising self-contained evidence and a definitive answer is essentially not a factual conceit, but a literary one.

Authors who make fewer promises, who raise fewer questions, have a right to answer less and are subject to less scrutiny about ambiguities. "Truth" is not necessarily their objective. In a story about a man's trip to the bank, a mysterious woman he runs into along the way isn't necessarily something that demands an answer. It can act as a source of wonder of course, but it isn't a literary necessity that the author actually identify this person.

Where Umineko runs afoul of this is in cloaking itself in mystery trappings, making affectations of facts and truth being important, touting the value of rationality, and then refusing to actually follow through on confirmation and then reveling in the unsatisfactory approach it took to these things. Had it not styled itself in the manner it did, some of these things would not be that important. Ultimately, a lot of the things I do care about are things I would not care about if the story presented itself philosophically and thematically as something different. You can kill a man in front of the narrator in a war story and not expect me to want to know where that shot came from, because the story is asking me to think about its meaning in a context other than a rational exploration of causes. If you have the narrator rant about those causes immediately after it happens, of course I want to know! And more important, I'm trusting that you as the author are going somewhere with that point.

Resolution itself isn't even necessarily the point. I'm okay with No Country For Old Men. It's a matter of execution and expectations, and I think Ryukishi is trying to hide behind this notion that he was somehow doing something philosophically when I don't believe he actually tried very hard at that kind of thing. I know exactly where he could have taken his points, and I am obligated to fault him for not doing so properly. That's literary criticism and you can disagree, but I don't think my point is invalid and I do think there are significant weaknesses in the story from a literary standpoint, primarily in the second half.

I might have been kinder on Chiru had it been hammering home from the start something along the lines of: "So, you've seen all the evidence already... yep, that's all of it. Can you guess the culprit? You can? Are you sure? After all, there are a number of explanations and there are many things missing. You don't even have a motive. ...You're still sure? Then there's something I want to show you... not facts; we don't have any more of those. But there is still something you haven't yet seen, and it may change your mind..." Essentially, had Chiru been a true "anti-mystery" bookend to the first series's "anti-fantasy" segment, providing an answer to a different question and not concerning itself with the mystery themes it had already tread, I might be inclined to think "Hmm, maybe he's right that saying 'you need to answer X' isn't really the point here, because that was all to make a greater point he's shown me in Chiru."

Now, some of you might well say that what I described is what Chiru is. I think at times it tries to be this, and I think those are the better moments in it. But I do believe it's too hung up on the elements that were laid out before, too focused on information that it really didn't need to give us, and ultimately it feels a bit halfassed and wastes a lot of time. If he didn't want us to have a certain answer and wanted us to be okay with this, Chiru is the point where he can say "OK, I want to present to you this thought through the second half of the story, and see if by the end 'what I want out of this story' is different than it was at the end of Alliance when you were cheering for Battler to strike down the witch." That's essentially Battler's transformative arc between the end of Alliance and the midpoint of End... but the journey becomes muddled and interrupted and distracted. I really, really wanted to follow Battler through the rabbit hole from anti-fantasy to anti-mystery (and maybe to some other point beyond both), but Ryukishi made him too unapproachable, too dissociated. Losing the meta-level dynamic that had carried the series so well ultimately harmed it greatly.

So I don't really want an "arithmetic puzzle game," as he puts it, but I do want a work of literature that is actually worth my time to read and that walks with me to a satisfactory conclusion. Episodes 1-4 gave me that and a ton of promise for what was to come and episodes 5-8 did not deliver. I wouldn't fault Chiru for being "something else," as long as it led me to a coherent and clear point (not necessarily a factual one) using ep1-4 as a proper contrast. It didn't do that; in fact, it toyed with those very same expectations pretty much the whole way through. I'm dissatisfied because it was neither a meaningful explanation of facts and proofs nor a philosophically interesting meditation on the importance of truth in a situation where critical facts are unrecoverable. Either would've worked; treading a middling ground does not.
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Old 2012-12-25, 00:25   Link #31512
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And by this you've shown me that you have not the slightest clue what the anti-mystery genre is about. Either that or your stance is so rigid that Umineko is simply not your cup of tea, because it sees merrits in that what you refuse as pure nihilism.
You see only chaos and destruction in this but Ryukishi saw the endless potential this brings to a genre that was said to have run out of ideas almost 100 years ago.

Going back to that TIP, you are exactly one of those people who approach the world with te idea that everything is a step closer to the truth. I say that we are basically just stumbling about and have to choose what we believe and THAT is what Umineko is about.
You are approaching things in expectation of the conclusion...but honestly, that conclusion might never come.
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Old 2012-12-25, 00:27   Link #31513
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In regards to Yasu's character in general, I've been following this recently. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...UtKwtM754/edit
It's a liveblog/analysis / reread of EP 1 that heavily tries to focus on seeing things from Yasu's perspective, and while a bit unstructured, offers some really interesting insights on who she was as a person, as well as pointing out a lot of seemingly random bits in the narrative that take on a whole new meaning with hindsight.
Sorry for bringing up an old post (and not to mention makes it kinda oot too)... but does anyone have the continuation of this? This provides to be quite entertaining and some points actually broaden my views towards this series.

....I especially like that part where he keeps downplaying George. It really remind me on why I stopped trying to re-read the whole series.
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Old 2012-12-25, 01:20   Link #31514
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And by this you've shown me that you have not the slightest clue what the anti-mystery genre is about. Either that or your stance is so rigid that Umineko is simply not your cup of tea, because it sees merrits in that what you refuse as pure nihilism.
You see only chaos and destruction in this but Ryukishi saw the endless potential this brings to a genre that was said to have run out of ideas almost 100 years ago.
You didn't read what I actually put up there, and just stopped when you saw the world "nihilism" without actually trying to put any effort into addressing the criticism. I fully concede you can disagree with because I'm commenting on why something does not stand up for me. It makes your response no less hilarious though, because you proceeded to ignore my point that I don't even care if he wants to specifically address all the facts he's presented, as long as he does what he does intend to do competently (which he did not do to my satisfaction, and personally I believe he did not do period).

I'm not sure Ryukishi means what you seem to think he means. If you want to talk platitudes about the "endless potential" that Ryukishi saw but was apparently too incompetent to actually bring forth in his own work, that's really unacceptable. You seem to genuinely believe - or at least are trying to say - that he is a Good Writer making Important Points, yet you are doing nothing but empty name dropping and offering smug suggestions that people go back and look at things without telling them what they're supposed to be looking for. I can no longer tolerate this. It isn't fair to people who throw opinions and suggestions on the line - even stupid ones that they know are stupid - to have people dancing around ever making a point while being so excessively critical of other people that they can't even be assed to read what they write.

If you have a point, then make it. If you want to defend the work, then defend it. If you believe it has done something genuinely praiseworthy, explain what about it deserves praise. If you think it's altering genres, what genre is it altering and how and why is what it's doing admirable? If I don't understand anti-mystery, how about you get off your ass and explain how you define it and why it's important? These are the points on which an argument must turn. If you won't engage them, there's no point in engaging you. We're already quarreling, so it's not like it'd suddenly get ugly if you presented your point in full (and honestly, why should you care what I say?).

If all you're saying is that Ryukishi is observing some things about mysteries and criticizing them... uh, so have lots of people. He isn't special and his ideas are not new. And that by itself is fine. What he does with them is what matters. His work is what he has "done" in that respect. If you want to defend that, go right ahead. If you want to compare it to other works, don't assume we've read them and go in-depth. Maybe you're right. Maybe you're wrong. If you're going to be intentionally vague, how am I ever going to know?

You are not a professor and we do not get assigned homework. Stop saying "I recommend rereading this TIP and comparing it to x and y" and make the comparison yourself. That is unbelievably patronizing and lazy. Make your point and stand behind it, then we can have a discussion about it. I know you're capable of this because you have done so in the past. You really appear to want to say something that you think is important with respect to his earlier essay regarding his objectives for his work. Say it then. But if my position remains that I don't think he actually met his objectives, you cannot just dismiss me as someone for whom the work clearly was not intended. That's not how it works. I already read it and I'm entitled to form an opinion about it. I'm nobody special, but who the hell are you?
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Old 2012-12-25, 03:17   Link #31515
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Say it then. But if my position remains that I don't think he actually met his objectives, you cannot just dismiss me as someone for whom the work clearly was not intended. That's not how it works. I already read it and I'm entitled to form an opinion about it. I'm nobody special, but who the hell are you?
Now let's not get aggressive. I apologize if my message was so short that it kinda seemed like an attack on you, that was not my intention.
My problem is that I have often started laying out my position, or wanted to initiate a discussion on what I think could be considered one of the core merits (which is not the same as the intention of the author) of Umineko as a whole. Every time I did that I was either ignored or it seems I expressed it too cryptically, which I am sorry for then.

I'm researching mystery and suspense literature on a cultural comparative level for almost 3 years now, so I assume I have kind of lost the ability to speak of this topic without expecting too much knowledge of my partners in conversation. I should try to better myself in that department, there you are correct.

To make it short, because I'm a little short on time now, I think Umineko is deeply lodged into a very difficult history of genre development in Japan. I understand that especially people outside Japan cannot be expected to know this kind of background, but just as well Umineko can't be blamed to base itself on a background for which it was at least partly constructed. The Western audience was not an immediate aim.

The development of mystery literature in the West within the mainstream is rather easily structured. After Classical Mysteries in the sense of the Golden Age classics (Carr, Queen, Christie etc.) had been deemed old fashioned they were pretty much replaced by hard-boiled fiction and then by the modern police thriller. There is more going on on the independent book-market, but mystery as a puzzler in English fiction mainly exists only as a callback to the Golden Age.
In Japan the classical, orthodox mystery (honkaku misuteri) kept on existing, even though social-critique mysteries (shakai-ha misuteri) started emerging (similar to hard-boiled in the West. But those were not the only ones, next to it exists a large range of different sub-genre to mystery, which never really caught on on the English-speaking market.
There is a huge assortment of research done on mystery fiction in Japan and Ryukishi also seems to draw largely from Kasai Kiyoshi, a famous critic and analyst who released a series of books on topics, themes and literary as well as social commentary in the genre.
For that reason alone I think it is hard to speak about Umineko "in a Western context", because it is removed from many things that the meta-text (not the meta-narrative) refers to. This does make Umineko a locally limited story, but I think it doesn't actually limit it's possibilities.

The term Anti-Mystery in itself, as used by Ryukishi, is a term that was coined in Japan by the critics and philosophers Sato Shinji and Haniya Yutaka, to refer to the 3 Big Strange Novels, Dogura Magura (which creates a perspective-riddled loop-narrative that defies a solution), The Mansion of the Black Death (which goes into the detective being being able to form a 'perfect solution' that is not the 'truth') and An Offering to Nothingness (which brings up the story-within-a-story meta-structure and is therefore often likened to Umineko). It was used to refer to a style of mystery novels that used the form of a reasoning-based mystery story (suiri shousetsu) to criticize this subgenre.
You are therefore correct when you say that Umineko was not the first to do this, but it was among the first (if not the first) to actually include the reader as a narrative device into the text and that's what makes it fascinating for me. Due to the meta-narrative being bound to our world we are connected to the narrative itself and become a powerful influence on the way we and others view the text.

In that sense, likening the comparison Ryukishi made in the aforementioned TIP to science is wrong, I think. This is not about denying the progress of science, it is denying the absoluteness of human made truth, which is not the same as denying truth in itself.
Jaques Lacan, a french philosopher and psychoanalyist (who is often used in analysis of mystery literature), divided reality and real into two separate realms. Reality is that which we construct, the momentary truth that we built from the evidence we have at our hands, the real is that which exists around us, the culmination of everything in the world. No human can have access to everything and in a narrative the author is God and decides which elements of this real we have access to.
Even if our solution is wrong in the grand scheme of things that does not make it wrong at this very moment. Or to liken it to prosecution, sentencing somebody based on evidence is not wrong, but it can always turn out later that the evidence was incomplete, faked or just analyzed in a wrong way.

It boils down to the question, what is a fair game and who are actually the opponents.
If we readers among each other are opponents, as in the case of most classical mystery stories, then the author is obligated to present all clues necessary to reach the intended solution, because else it could happen that no winner comes out in the end. In that case the author is merely the judge of a race.
If the author is our opponent, wouldn't it be like hacking of your legs at the beginning of a race to ensure that your opponent has a definite chance of winning? This is just my opinion, so people who prefer the classical mystery where the chance to win is definitely given are entitled to their concept, but I think Umineko's take on a game between the reader and the author casts this into a new light not often considered before (because before the advent of the internet author-reader communication was limited).

If people actually answer to this post I'll gladly reply or even take this to another place. If not I'll just gladly stop
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Old 2012-12-25, 03:54   Link #31516
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I'm dissatisfied because it was neither a meaningful explanation of facts and proofs nor a philosophically interesting meditation on the importance of truth in a situation where critical facts are unrecoverable. Either would've worked; treading a middling ground does not.
I enjoyed reading such a comprehensive explanation of your opinion, but here is where mine diverts. I am in no way stating that Umineko is a perfect piece or that no mistakes were made, but I wasn't as unhappy with the middle ground. I WAS a little annoyed that I had to go to the internet to discuss the more specific possible solutions to some of the mysteries (though I am willing to except that maybe he wanted to spur discussion over the mysteries, there certainly was a lot about how this was the fun part of mystery novels in Umineko, and I just don't know anyone else reading it), but I thought 7 rapped up the mystery pretty well and 8 taught me the lesson about truths I had never really thought of.

I suppose the difference is that I am willing to accept things like the flimsy motives (either as me not being made to understood or them being genuinely flimsy) because I felt knowing the motive of the gameboard was good enough, even if it sucked for a real life reason. I guess this is where all criticism runs into opinion. I enjoyed the novel enough and thought it had some fresh ideas (maybe just my lack of experience) that I can forgive the remaining problems. I can even justify them by saying something like "well, the point from the start was you can only truly solve games" (though I'd be making it up). You are disappointed because you thought it could have been amazing, and I am happy because I thought it was great

Of course obviously you still thought it was pretty good yourself, otherwise you wouldn't stalk the halls of this forum like the well-read inquisitor you are. (Oh god, I guess that makes me early Battler, all heart and no brain).
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Old 2012-12-25, 07:15   Link #31517
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Originally Posted by jjblue1 View Post
Eva-Beatrice is sort of a different person.
I said this some time ago already, in the manga Ange states Evatrice is THE Black Witch.
A chain that is passed down from one person to another which can only be seen with love instead of hate.

Quote:
Sumadera Kasumi, huh...the life you followed was similiar to mine.I too suffered with bullying from Eva Oba-san that she'd rather call education and discipline, telling me to act proper like her.I'm sure that made Eva Oba-san suffer herself as well.Just like Sumadera Kasumi is now.I'm sure Rosa Oba-san was too....
People thrust the pain they were made to bear onto others.Otherwise, they can't escape from their own pain.Since Eva Oba-san had to taste the pain of being the eldest daughter of the Ushiromiya Family, she pushed that pain onto her younger sister Rosa Oba-san.And Rosa Oba-san pushed her own anger onto Maria Onee-chan.
That's why Maria Onee-chans magic was so amazing....she did not push her own anger onto anyone.She healed everything with magic and filled the world with happiness....I don't know for how long that pain and sadness has been passed and pushed from one person to another but those chains were severed by Maria Onee-chans magic.
I see....then Eva Oba-san too...the truth is that maybe she was a being I should feel sympathy for.Now that I understood the magic I can see....she's just like me.The shade of a sad person who lost the family and carries a deep scar in the heart.
Perhaps I was the only one in the world who could comprehend her and should become her ally,no...?
And yet, being so young I behaved as though she killed my family and come back home alone.I wonder...if I shouldn't have fixed that attitude?
Eva Oba-san certainly had nothing left anymore.That's why she could only howl and cry in order to forget her pain and sadness even if for a while.That's why...the black witch taught her how to howl.That witch certainly possessed Rosa Oba-san as well.I should not have hated Eva Oba-san.The one I should hate is the Black Witch.Eva Oba-san who was nothing but the target of my hate in my life...is becoming a "Human Being" I can understand.
If a proper Witch who knew white magic were near Eva Oba-san maybe she could have been saved.
*Image of Maria appears*
Wasn't that....supposed to be me....?
I learned from Maria Onee-chan a magic that makes people happy.If I had saved her with that magic...wouldn't we have built a future with a completely different relationship?I've been hating Eva Oba-san.That's why I could not notice the Black Witch by her side, since I didn't have love for Eva Oba-san.I couldn't see her....
Evatrice: My what is it?Can you see me?

The Black Witch Appears.


Kasumi: Do you hate me?I hate you too.
Ange: I can see it...Just like me she was forced to have an unreasonable life.Gasping with the pain of the thorn that can't be removed, can't be healed, the shape of Kasumi Oba-san is...
Evatrice: Hey!Sumadera Kasumi take a look will you?The former you is over there!Your mood is clear right?It's very pleasant to do what was done to you to weaker people isn't it?
Ange: The Black Witch!
Evatrice: The only thing that can warm you while you freeze on a snow field of anger and sadness is the hatred!Go, scream!?
How about burning yourself in the flames of hatred!?
Kasumi: ANGEEE USHIROOMIYAAA IF I DON'T HATE YOU I CAN'T GO ON LIVING!!
Ange: The Black Witch that takes advantage of unhealed anger and sadness...I can't forgive her!

Last edited by Kiltias; 2012-12-25 at 07:34.
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Old 2012-12-25, 09:17   Link #31518
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Well, that part isn't unique to the manga; it's in the VN too. And I don't think the point is that the black witch is actually meant to correspond to Eva specifically; the black witch represents the concept of 'black magic' (people trying to make themselves happy by pushing their pain on to others) itself, and it's implied that Ange only sees this witch as Eva because she is still the person that Ange most associates with that kind of hatred.

In fact, in the VN it's flat out stated that the black witch is not Eva herself. It's just a representation of the destructive hatred of Eva, Kasumi and humanity in general.

Quote:
Up until now, .........I've hated Eva oba-san the whole time. ...So I didn't notice the black witch beside her. ......Without love, it could not be seen. I did not......have any love for her...... So now, finally... .........I'll glare at the black witch, ......the one I truly should hate.

"......Oh. .........Whaat's this? You can see me? Uffufufufufu...!"
"...............I can see you. ......The one I should've hated wasn't Eva oba-san. ......It's you."
And also...

Quote:
".........Next is you. ...........The black witch. ......By now, I think even the fact that you look like Eva oba-san is inexcusable to her."

"Fu, ......fuffufufufufu. ...If my form still looks like Ushiromiya Eva, that means you still haven't been able to forgive 'me' inside yourself."
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Old 2012-12-25, 10:42   Link #31519
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Even if our solution is wrong in the grand scheme of things that does not make it wrong at this very moment. Or to liken it to prosecution, sentencing somebody based on evidence is not wrong, but it can always turn out later that the evidence was incomplete, faked or just analyzed in a wrong way.
Believe me, I'm entirely aware of that. I question, however, whether you understand the difference between "complete understanding" and "a more complete understanding." If you did, you would recognize that science itself denies the absoluteness of human truth, as does the legal system. There's a reason we rejected lost continents for tectonic drift without complaining, or why we accept that the burden to have a courtroom full of ordinary people decide what truth is in an accident case is merely "who is more likely than not to be right?"

It is possible to criticize the mystery genre in particular ways in light of this kind of understanding or merely in challenge to the type of understanding the genre presents. But that's not by itself what I'm talking about. My question is more what is the point that's being made in the text about this and how well does it follow through on making that point.

It's not sufficient (for an author; it's sufficient for you) to merely say "here's a genre work that is critical of the genre." What is it criticizing? Is it right? What exactly does it want me to think about? Looking at Umineko through this lens, I think I can see the various points the author did want to provide this sort of running dialogue... but I also fault the answers he did and didn't provide. I honestly don't think it's really fair to compare it to the examples you've given (although I've not read most of them), because I think we're dealing with an author who at best tried to convey some of these better-explored-by-others notions to an audience he knew would be largely less familiar with them. That may not have been his original intention up until Turn came out.

The point is, whatever he did do, I'm not convinced he did it well. You're speaking here very generally, so it's difficult for me to point to a specific example of a thing you think he did do well and explain why I agree or disagree (as I don't think he did everything badly). But my point is that if you're arguing that he wrote the work in a manner that only someone like you could fully appreciate it... then he still failed even if you appreciate it, because he had other readers and he wasn't very good at warning those people away. In fact, it seems like he tried very hard to win them back at the cost of compromise.
Quote:
It boils down to the question, what is a fair game and who are actually the opponents.
If we readers among each other are opponents, as in the case of most classical mystery stories, then the author is obligated to present all clues necessary to reach the intended solution, because else it could happen that no winner comes out in the end. In that case the author is merely the judge of a race.
If the author is our opponent, wouldn't it be like hacking of your legs at the beginning of a race to ensure that your opponent has a definite chance of winning? This is just my opinion, so people who prefer the classical mystery where the chance to win is definitely given are entitled to their concept, but I think Umineko's take on a game between the reader and the author casts this into a new light not often considered before (because before the advent of the internet author-reader communication was limited).
The problem here is that you seem to be referring to this over and over as something that is either akin to a game or was meant to be viewed as such. Now, maybe that is the expectation of some of the more mystery-genre-educated readers in one very specific segment of the fanbase, but I somewhat doubt that was the case for all of his readers even in Japan. It seems he realized that as well, as he did something relatively early on to shift gears and either appeal to one of these audiences more or to shut another one out (I don't pretend to know which was which). I don't know his exact intentions, of course, so I have to guess based upon what was actually published.

More to the point, I also don't care. If his goal was to introduce a genre and dialogue about it, he didn't do enough of it. If his goal was merely to write a satisfactory story, I wasn't particularly satisfied. I can see bits and pieces of the story that could have been, but I have no idea if it's the story he would have done or if this was his intention all along. I was fine with his limited-scale criticism on the genre by the end of Alliance, but in End and Dawn he reduced it to a caricature of itself and kept beating up on it when I'd already long since gotten his point. Maybe a lot of readers didn't, but I think it was made competently by ep4 or so.

I was expecting him to do something with that from that point on. And at times he seemed to be teasing that spectacularly (at least in parts of Requiem and Twilight). The more experimental, ephemeral, uncertain and criticized parts of ep7 were in fact my favorites, like Will's investigation, the stage play, or the Tea Party; parts that convey "information," like the interviews, submarine story, or Yasu narration, were largely groaners. I wanted to see some Young Kinzo stuff, but mostly to get a sense of his motives. I really didn't need an origin story for the gold, especially not a ridiculous one. Now, it would've been interesting were that story significantly challenged to make a point (would you accept such a ridiculous thing if this was its origin, but if not, why would you accept it really existing 40 years later?), but we get like one panel to even touch upon that very intriguing idea.

Maybe that's something he wanted to do, but it doesn't appear he did. Whatever his ultimate objective was, however, he seems to have pursued it in opposition to writing a coherent overall story. He took too many of his enjoyably-crafted literary devices away from us and what he replaced it with was often less complex and not very well challenged. Roles became more stark, characters became less approachable and apprehensible, and he ignored a large chunk of complexity until Twilight, where I feel he just didn't do enough. Again, there could have been a point intended in doing this; it isn't wrong to break up the main interaction dynamic halfway in, but you have to be doing something with that. I get his plan to some extent but I don't think he executed it, and then it got patched up in a very strange way.

None of these criticisms are about Umineko and its relationship to the mystery genre. These are about Umineko solely as a work of fiction in isolation. Obviously you're claiming it's a work of fiction with things to say about a genre, and I don't deny it. But I'm honestly not seeing what it actually says that's so impressive, and apparently you're the only person who has enough background to know. So by all means, tell me. I just don't know that it will do much to alter my perspective on the overall work, because what you're talking about and what I'm talking about don't appear to really be the same issues. Still, perhaps I'm missing the point that he actually did make, and you can convince me he did so competently, even if I don't like it.
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Old 2012-12-25, 11:27   Link #31520
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Regarding all the ongoing talk about how shitty it is not to have a solution, I found it funny to go overthe Anti mystery vs Anti fantasy TIP again and comparing it with what was said about Mystery literature over the course of time.

I recommend everybody to read it again and consider it.
That's not the problem as far as I'm involved. I can accept Ryukishi didn't want to give us the solution for what happened to Prime, honestly I wish he'd played it better so that readers would have had at least the same info as Ange but I can accept he wanted to make a point of how, not existing red truth in the real world, we might never get to know it.

My problem is with the gameboard world.
He gives us a solution for it and the solution is the culprit is Yasu. This solution have a point in reference to the meta layout, it has a motive but... if we look solely the gameboards the motive becomes way too weak.

To make things clearer: I could have figured Kyrie wanted to kill Asumu to get Rudolf but I would have never figured out Shannon, who have already two people courting her, wanted to kill everyone in such an elaborate manner due to holding a grudge about a promise Battler made when he was 12.

I'm not saying she couldn't, just that there weren't elements enough to think that she would do this. It feels as if I went to talk to a medieval time man and wanted him to guess I've a computer at home. Once I'll tell him I've one he can believe I've a box that's not magic but that can show me pictures, audio and datas from other places but it's hard he would guess it and, even if it did, it would be more like trying out a fantasy answer to him that making a guess or a reasoning using logic.

As if this wasn't bad enough some things in the dynamic of his solution still seems not to make sense.

I'm fine with him not presenting all the elements to the solution as long as I could figure them out.

In Ep 1 Shannon wasn't really in the shed? I could have thought at it, I could have figured out Hideyoshi was an accomplice, I could have figured out whatever Battler saw that made him think there was a body there could have actually be something else.

In Ep 2 I could have figured out that the stomachs had been carved to hide the people had been shot. In Ep 3 there's also some rambling about how it's better if a witch doesn't use guns which could be viewed as a hint about how, when a witch uses guns, she has to hide this fact with tricks.

However I can't figure out how Yasu managed to play the role of Shannon and Kanon for 3 years, the first of them surely without accomplices.
I offered a solution that, for me, could work but... there's nothing in Umineko to support or deny it, especially in the first 4 episodes, and it's not minor problem to prove if ShKanon was possible (In fact I reasoned it out after Ep 7, when I learnt about how Yasu created her fantasy friends).

Ryukishi invited us to try and find the solution to Umineko, he even said we could have done it after Ep 4, Chiru being all extra hints, so I think, in his own mind it was possible to reach the solution he intended without waiting for additional info and that he didn't plan to create a late queen problem however when I watch Umineko I feel that in some things I'm like a first grade who's presented with an equation by an older kid.
To him it can be pretty easy to solve it but, for me, I miss the necessary knowledge and if that kid was a teacher he should know he handed me a problem I couldn't solve.

Ironically in Ep 8 manga version when George and Jessica makes the same quiz they did to Ange in the visual novel, Ange choses the wrong answer as expected.

It's not that she hadn't thought at the answer, it's that with her knowledge she could find the right answer only out of random luck and not out of reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
To make it short, because I'm a little short on time now, I think Umineko is deeply lodged into a very difficult history of genre development in Japan. I understand that especially people outside Japan cannot be expected to know this kind of background, but just as well Umineko can't be blamed to base itself on a background for which it was at least partly constructed. The Western audience was not an immediate aim.
Yes, it can entirely be that part of me being a member of the western audience stop me from understanding some base points of Umineko that are really simple for the Japanese audience.
I can completely accept that I would have never managed to solve the epitaph. I would have never figured where Kinzo's beloved hometown was witht he first 4 episodes, in the atlas we've here there's no info about railways and anyway part of the quiz involved kanji and my Japanese knowledge is way too low to make things work.

If that's why I'm unsatisfied by some parts of Umineko who instead seem very clear and simple to a Japanese audience well, I guess there's no way around it.

It's nobody's fault if I wasn't Umineko's intended audience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
For that reason alone I think it is hard to speak about Umineko "in a Western context", because it is removed from many things that the meta-text (not the meta-narrative) refers to. This does make Umineko a locally limited story, but I think it doesn't actually limit it's possibilities.

...

It boils down to the question, what is a fair game and who are actually the opponents.
If we readers among each other are opponents, as in the case of most classical mystery stories, then the author is obligated to present all clues necessary to reach the intended solution, because else it could happen that no winner comes out in the end. In that case the author is merely the judge of a race.
If the author is our opponent, wouldn't it be like hacking of your legs at the beginning of a race to ensure that your opponent has a definite chance of winning? This is just my opinion, so people who prefer the classical mystery where the chance to win is definitely given are entitled to their concept, but I think Umineko's take on a game between the reader and the author casts this into a new light not often considered before (because before the advent of the internet author-reader communication was limited).

If people actually answer to this post I'll gladly reply or even take this to another place. If not I'll just gladly stop
I sense a wide knowledge behind your post, one I wish I have and that I find very interesting but that, often I find hard to follow as mine is much more limited and, often, the works and authors you mention make no sense to me as I don't know them and I can't find their work here.

For example you've gotten me definitely curious about 'An Offering to Nothingness' but sadly this book hasn't been translated it so I can't really use it to improve my judgement of Umineko.

So it's not that I don't want to answer to your posts or that I find them boring, it's simply you're talking of something I don't know, I can't get to know as of now and over which therefore I can't reply.

Any chance you can further semplificate things for people who can't get such a wide mystery knowledge or is it asking too much?
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