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Old 2013-05-16, 06:01   Link #32321
Dormin
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Originally Posted by Witch of Uncertainty View Post
Hey guys, sorry for going completely off topic, but I'm not quite sure where to ask.
How popular is the Umineko visual novel in Japan? I gathered that the PS3 versions sold about 10-15k each, but anyone knows about the original Visual novel?
Ehh that's interesting question. At least I know the anime sold shitly everywhere, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. I was actually very surprised that umineko got ps3fication, as I always thought higurashi was the mainstream when they cry and nobody even knew umineko. But I guess the fact it was remade should mean that at least SOMEONE bought the originals. Still surprised me project got greenlighted after the anime though.

Where I come from umineko is actually fairly known, as a vn, but that could be because the circles are relatively small

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Honestly I'm not very prone in seeing Battler as a jerk for hiding the truth from Ange
Welcome to the club.

But now speaking of the character depth and fleshing-out, I felt that actually very small portion of characters got the treatment. The writing concentrated on people like eva, rosa and maria, maybe even kinzo and to some degree natsuhi and ange. I don't mind because the character writing in my opinion is very top quality, even in the characters that are left with relatively small attention. And for battler, he has indeed character development, but to me he always felt like the "main character" alongside with beatrice (characters that were very interesting but compared to others couldn't actually carry the torch). With the meta-characters like beatrice and other witches I still don't know if they and their quality of writing should be considered as "characters", as I prefer the interpretation that they are only metaphors and indicators of yasu and her worldview, thus not being even real characters that should feel very "human".

For example I thought chiesters were well executed as characters, because they really are not even characters, thus filling their role in the story with minimalistic appearances.

But going again any topics, and hopefully not discussed to death:

1) What the hell did ange see in the corner in episode 4?

2) Didn't ryu pretty much confirm the gender of lion as a man in one of the interviews or whatever saying something like "lion likes to cook despite that being normal to his gender"

Last edited by Dormin; 2013-05-16 at 06:16.
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Old 2013-05-16, 07:30   Link #32322
theacefrehley
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Originally Posted by Dormin View Post
1) What the hell did ange see in the corner in episode 4?
If you mean at the shop of captain Kawabata, I remember they show it in the anime, and it's a stuffed toy of the same kind of Sakutaro (if not Sakutaro itself, who knows)

EDIT: There's also a TIP about Sakutaro, that points out that it's him
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Old 2013-05-16, 08:29   Link #32323
Renall
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I've actually often wondered whether Ryukishi has some kind of gender identity issues, since he seems so interested in writing about the female state of mind and in several interviews he gives the impression that he's thought a lot about the differences between the traditional worldviews of men and women. Heck, he even said once that he would imagine that most people who'd be able to understand Umineko would be women, which is interesting because why would a man expect women to understand his work better than other men? Not to mention the whole Yasu thing would suggest he's at least somewhat interested in the subject of gender confusion. I dunno, could be just my imagination, but I have gotten this impression quite a few times. It's probably kind of rude to even speculate about this kind of stuff, but I can't help but wonder occasionally.
For me, I think it's interesting, but I also think he doesn't understand "the female mindset" (which is a bit insulting to begin with, but let's not get mired in that just yet) as well as he seems to either want to or thinks that he does.

Worse yet, he kind of... contradicts himself? He talked a lot in interviews about the differences in what men and women desire, what they value, and so forth. He says men are concerned about their legacy more... yet it's Natsuhi more than anyone who values family pride and children. It's Eva more than anyone who values status and power. It's Kyrie more than anyone who values intellect and control. The men (and Rosa) are actually portrayed as more impulsive and emotionally-driven. I mean, hell, the most powerful masculine forces in the entire novel (Kinzo and to some extent Battler) are weepy, emotionally-charged maniacs ruled by their passions and consumed by other people. By contrast, Ange is cynical and intellectual and largely interested in herself. If one imagines "traditional" gender assignments as a 19th Century psychologist would, the men and women in Umineko appear to generally have atypically reversed roles. Of course these roles fit, because the notion that women are always emotional is a crock of shit and the idea that men can control themselves is laughable, and women can be intellectually self-absorbed as much as men can be emotionally self-sacrificing, but I wonder if that's something Ryukishi actually believes or not.

Either he did this accidentally as an artifact of the female characters having better development in general, or he doesn't understand his own thoughts on the issue, or he did it on purpose as an intentional subversion, but then for whatever reason played it straight with Yasu (maybe). The problem is, these surface-level observations are really about as far as we get, and his interview responses tend to be distressingly (but subtly) misogynistic. I've always found his interview personality a bit at odds with the actual text thematically. Is he trolling whenever he's interviewed? Does he just not understand his own writing? Is he ducking the question for personal reasons, or to avoid giving a controversial opinion?

I'm not actually sure what, if anything, he's trying to say about gender. Could it just be what happened to be on his mind at the time and not an intentional theme? Was he trying to make a point that he just never quite fully developed, either out of lack of ability or fear that it might alienate some readers? It wouldn't entirely surprise me if it's something to do with the author personally, but how could I know that?
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Old 2013-05-16, 09:46   Link #32324
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If I had to guess, his responses about the "female mindset" were primarily directed towards the Yasu story and had nothing to do with... every other female in the story. I don't think he thought that part of his interview very well. To be honest, I don't think the gender difference "theme" was even a part of his consideration when writing the characters. It's something he pulled out of his ass to try to justify and rationalize Yasu's actions.

As you say, the other females' actions don't really follow this at all, and I honestly don't think he was attempting anything clever like subversion either.
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Old 2013-05-16, 11:19   Link #32325
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I'm not actually sure what, if anything, he's trying to say about gender. Could it just be what happened to be on his mind at the time and not an intentional theme?
Mm, yeah, thinking on this, I actually feel like this is a pretty good description of Ryukishi's writing style in general really. I think that he prioritises writing what he particularly wants to write at the time or whatever happens to come to him, rather than particularly trying to put across a consistent message. There's a lot of points in Umineko where I get the feeling that Ryukishi just felt like writing about a particular topic even though it doesn't really fit particularly well within the context of the story. That part in EP1 where the cousins are calmly discussing psychology not long after the brutal murder of six people comes to mind. Well, I kind of sympathise with this, because it's how I tend to write too, but objectively it's not exactly what would generally be considered good writing, and there are a lot of points where it's genuinely really jarring.

Still, as weird as it is, I do find it sort of refreshing in a way, and Ryukishi's writing is generally good at bringing up interesting points for me to reflect on which is honestly all I ask from a story in the end. Actually coming to a conclusion on the issues raised is kinda optional in my view; it's not like there are actual objective answers to most of the issues Umineko talks about (although maybe you'd disagree on that) and I think you're probably absolutely right that Ryukishi doesn't really know what his own opinion is on a lot of them, which is why he seems to fluctuate from one theme to another throughout the series, constantly questioning himself. I find this unique style kind of endearing and "genuine", I guess, but consistent it is certainly not. But still, I don't think it's necessarily bad if the goal of a story is to raise questions rather than to provide answers. It's kind of a shame that EP8 ended on the note that it did, though, because he genuinely does come across as pushing a particular viewpoint on the reader with the final decision (the trick ending is seriously just insulting, and not an adequate way to give the reader a choice at all), and I have to wonder if he regrets doing that in hindsight. I really do have a lot of problems with EP8 in general; despite a lot of the themes resonating with me in and of themselves, the episode is pretty poorly constructed by any standard. In some ways I think I'd have preferred the series to end at Breakdown of the Witch's Illusion, but there you go. I have high hopes that the manga will do it better, though.
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Old 2013-05-16, 12:51   Link #32326
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I actually wonder how the manga will address the Trick/Magic thing. It's basically two distinct endings, and portrayed the way it is doesn't really make any sense in context in much the same way the riddle contest wouldn't have worked (thus leading them to change it).

Of course given the pace of things it's going to be a hell of a long time before the manga gets that far, I'd assume.
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Old 2013-05-16, 13:54   Link #32327
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I actually wonder how the manga will address the Trick/Magic thing. It's basically two distinct endings, and portrayed the way it is doesn't really make any sense in context in much the same way the riddle contest wouldn't have worked (thus leading them to change it).

Of course given the pace of things it's going to be a hell of a long time before the manga gets that far, I'd assume.
I would say the manga will end with the magic ending if only an ending will be presented as Ryukishi said that's the ENDING for him though I wouldn't be surprised if he were to show us something else. I mean... presenting us only the good ending would rip the manga of the other one making the point in which Amakusa plotted with Okonogi in EP 6 pointless...

As for at which point it is we've reached the point in which Bern returns Ange to the party (chap 16). If Ep 8 is as long as the others (6 volumes) we should be halfway.

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Originally Posted by Dormin View Post

But going again any topics, and hopefully not discussed to death:

1) What the hell did ange see in the corner in episode 4?

2) Didn't ryu pretty much confirm the gender of lion as a man in one of the interviews or whatever saying something like "lion likes to cook despite that being normal to his gender"
1) a bag full of Sakutarou. It's shown in the PSP version

2) Yes, he said so on his forum in response to something if I'm not wrong.
It seems Yasu though perceives himself/herself as a female as he believed to be female for most of his/her life.
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Old 2013-05-16, 15:57   Link #32328
Dormin
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
I'm not actually sure what, if anything, he's trying to say about gender. Could it just be what happened to be on his mind at the time and not an intentional theme? Was he trying to make a point that he just never quite fully developed, either out of lack of ability or fear that it might alienate some readers? It wouldn't entirely surprise me if it's something to do with the author personally, but how could I know that?
Now for a change I completely agree with renall. And I always though the interview where he said that "women probably understand the story better" or so, I thought that he didn't actually mean so very clear message. It could be that he just thought as the mind of yasu and his/her conflicts are very much about love and resulting confusion (or at least if we want to believe in that kind of yasu), he could have simply thought that generally females are considered the more romantic sex thus could have better understanding of the story.

When I described umineko to one of my friends, I told that it could be improved very much by hiring someone that can actually draw (and maybe let ryu do the character design, as some of the dresses are simply gorgeous) and hire someone that could actually write (most of the time the tempo and pacing of ryu's writing is terrible, even though I personally like the bit boring slice-of-life-stylish writing that many of the events have, I can easily see why that is considered terribly bad writing). So in other words, in order to next when they cry to achieve perfection, ryu should be doing much more work as a background supervisor or something.

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If you mean at the shop of captain Kawabata, I remember they show it in the anime, and it's a stuffed toy of the same kind of Sakutaro (if not Sakutaro itself, who knows)
Thank you kindly to everyone who shared this with me. I don't think it was ever shown in the original VN and I was always very confused.

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Of course given the pace of things it's going to be a hell of a long time before the manga gets that far, I'd assume.
I know it's a plot in my general seacats-knowledge, but I never actually got around reading the manga. I personally don't like the drawings. I think the drawer is different for every chapter or so because I have seen some very stunning screencaps of trollfaces in the latter episodes, but the first drawer is just too generic and maybe simple for me to appreciate his drawings.

Is the manga any good? Closer to VN or anime?
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Old 2013-05-16, 16:26   Link #32329
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It's not exactly a problem of writing. He can be a good writer sometimes and there are certain things he does do well, like suspense.

He needs to simply play to the areas where is a strong writer and get several very good editors. People not afraid to tell him that long tangents about tea need to be excised from the story if they don't add anything to it.
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Old 2013-05-16, 17:13   Link #32330
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Pretty much yeah. There are times when I genuinely enjoyed his writing. But things like mentioned pacing can make it pretty difficult to bear with sometimes.

But what I like in ryu and generally in most of the projects he has been included in, even if there are some problems, he is very good at writing stories. And by stories I mean like umineko, every 8 chapters included, and how it creates somewhat consistent story. Even if there are some inconsistencies (like yasu, if you decide to start analyzing things) most of the things fit together beautifully, and when progressing with the story and gaining information everything you have read previously makes gradually more sense. That's why I believe he would be much better at writing scripts and such, while someone else writes the actual text or at least someone keeps him in check.

But VNs in general seem to have poor pacing, at least the ones I have been playing, even if that is a harsh generalization. Usually the plot and sometimes the characters keep the story interesting, but too many times games consist only out of poor dialog: I understand the dialog-heaviness is one trait of most VNs as they tend to focus on character interaction, but poorly executed makes hard to classify games as games or even any form of literature. When they crys at least have been written in a way that they seem more like a book than actual game, being officially "sound novels" and all. Maybe the difficulties and poor execution with some VNs is because the format offers change to convert stories into some form with fairly small job, as most of the tools are easy to use and create with, making it easy to share even though the maker would have nearly zero writing skills.
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Old 2013-05-16, 19:15   Link #32331
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Originally Posted by Dormin View Post
I know it's a plot in my general seacats-knowledge, but I never actually got around reading the manga. I personally don't like the drawings. I think the drawer is different for every chapter or so because I have seen some very stunning screencaps of trollfaces in the latter episodes, but the first drawer is just too generic and maybe simple for me to appreciate his drawings.

Is the manga any good? Closer to VN or anime?
Let's say some episodes of the manga are good while others are not so good.
The Chiru ones are definitely good so far and even give extra hints. So far Ep 8, plot wise, is definitely better in the manga version than in the VN version as far as I'm involved. The plot had been changed slightly and it works much better this way. I've also liked quite a bit Ep 5 for how he represented certain things and some extra bits. Ep 7 is still ongoing but so far seems good (even if it's more or less as the VN plot wise). Ep 6 is pretty and close to the VN.

Ep 3 & 4 are closer to the visual novel plot wise compared to the anime and with extra hints. I'm not particularly fond of Ep 3 drawing and in Ep 4 Ange has a bigger brother complex than in the VN. Ep 1 is the less good as far as I'm involved both in plot and draws. If you ask me it's the only manga chapter which is clearly less good than the anime.
On Ep 2 there are contrasting opinions.
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Old 2013-05-17, 21:08   Link #32332
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Whether he was was right or wrong, Ryu seems to have thought Ange was better not knowing the truth. I mean, she essentially committed suicide after learning what was in Eva's diary, and not in a "my quest is done" sort of way.

Also, since there are only two ways for Ange to go back to Rokkenjima (Battler to tell her or Eva's diary), I wonder if at least most of Ep 8 isn't Ange deciding whether or not to read Eva's diary. All of your past character development about not knowing the truth would fall apart if someone handed you the key to finally reaching it. If taken literally, you could read ep 8 as Tohya sending Ange the book (or deciding to) and hoping she doesn't read it.


Also in an unrelated note, I recently began to wonder if the red truth Beatrice whispered to Eva-beatrice was in fact "Neither you or Eva is the culprit", or something like that.
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Old 2013-05-17, 21:18   Link #32333
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Also did anyone else see the episode of the Big Bang theory relating to Howard's letter from his father? It was so umineko themed. To summarise:

- Howard's father abandoned his family when Howard was a child
- He sent a letter to Howard on his 18th birthday, Howard decided not to read it as his father didn't deserve understanding
- YEARS later, one of his friend's accidentally finds and reads it
- Howard, still sure he doesn't want to know what is in it, burns the letter
- All of his friends soon learn what was in the letter by asking the one who read it
- Howard is torn between wanting to know what it could have said, and sticking to his resolution that he never needed to know. Especially since his friends all know. He also worries about what it might actually have said.
- His friends decide they can't tell him outright as he doesn't want to know, but can't keep him in the dark because it is weighing so heavily on him. So all six offer him a possible account of what had been in the letter, but do not let him know which is true.
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Old 2013-05-17, 23:40   Link #32334
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He needs to simply play to the areas where is a strong writer and get several very good editors.
I actually completely agree with you there. I think he has editors, but they don't seem to be the most fit people for the job. We can assume from what he said about EP7 and 8 during the writing process that a lot of it landed on the cutting room's floor after discussing it, so somebody is doing the decisions on how to edit.

He would need an editor who is equally passionate about the project, but I sometimes almost think that maybe even Ryukishi should be a little more vocal about what he wants in his game and what not, he seems to waver easily.

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For me, I think it's interesting, but I also think he doesn't understand "the female mindset" (which is a bit insulting to begin with, but let's not get mired in that just yet) as well as he seems to either want to or thinks that he does.
I think he understands gender identity problems pretty well, just again gender identity from the Japanese 1980's, which is very important when you for example say that it sometimes goes against "traditional" gender assignments as a 19th Century psychologist. I kind of gathered that you hate the "Japan is different" card, I do to, but Japanese people often also regard themselves as "inherently different" so this exists is in a kind of half-state.

Emotionality is not necessarily as highlighted as it was in 19th, early 20th century Western discourse, with women being deemed "hysterical" at every corner.
When looking at how the construction of self-image for many Japanese people proceeds it's interesting to note that there is, to a certain degree, still a larger focus on the division of roles based on sex and less on the "performance". This is often found in the claim that Japanese men behave "womanly" compared to their Western counterparts.
Eva's struggle as a person for example stems from the fact that she wants to take on the role that is traditionally assigned to a man, which is providing for the family and thus ensuring that the lineage is able to carry on. Natsuhi's struggle stems from her incapability to ensure the two things a woman is supposed to carry out, which is producing an heir (which might or might not have been her fault), raising a proper heir (not raising Jessica into what she is supposed to be) and caring for the household (which is why she is so angry at servants not doing their expected work).

I wouldn't say though that this is played as a "these women should behave inside their social roles" but rather to highlight how much stress was put on people in these social circumstances.

The same goes for his depiction of masculinity as well though, as he shows the constant stress that is put on the husbands and the escapism that both George and Battler move towards. Men are supposed to provide for the family and ensure it's stability, which is why he terms them as "traditionally more interested in legacy and lineage" because it is the only thing they pass on in terms of family. The raising of children is to be carried out by women and a man who does not provide is useless.

It is this division of the spheres of life, the home- and the work-space, which creates the dilemma of Japanese gender identity. This was also why Kyrie was admitting that she was beaten by Asumu, because she existed in both spheres and thus could not provide Rudolph with escapism from his worries when he came home. She had to become cunning and sly in order to hide her ambitious persona from her own husband to chain him to herself.

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Also in an unrelated note, I recently began to wonder if the red truth Beatrice whispered to Eva-beatrice was in fact "Neither you or Eva is the culprit", or something like that.
I think she just needed to claim Yasu's existence in Red.
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Old 2013-05-18, 00:51   Link #32335
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I actually completely agree with you there. I think he has editors, but they don't seem to be the most fit people for the job. We can assume from what he said about EP7 and 8 during the writing process that a lot of it landed on the cutting room's floor after discussing it, so somebody is doing the decisions on how to edit.

He would need an editor who is equally passionate about the project, but I sometimes almost think that maybe even Ryukishi should be a little more vocal about what he wants in his game and what not, he seems to waver easily.
If his editors made him cut a bunch of undeveloped or unfinished stuff to make the release, he really should've stopped them (or dismissed them). If ep7 or ep8 wasn't ready, it should've been pushed back. As essentially an independent doujin group, they aren't exactly beholden to anyone but themselves. I think people would understand if he were to switch to a yearly schedule given length and everything.

If these episodes are going to grow in size to such an extent, is a delay really unreasonable? I suppose they've still got their booth or whatever booked, but I'm sure they can figure out what to do about that.

It's reaaaaaaally obvious from internal file extraction that ep8 was rushed out the door. Just guessing, but I would imagine that the writing got bogged down somewhere, some sort of "just get it finished" situation came up between him and his editors, and the scripting was dashed out as quickly as humanly possible (hence the lack of even assigning portrait expression names to the Young Ange and Tohya portraits).

It's possible the ep8 manga contains bits and pieces that were actually mostly written and just not properly presentable for the VN. Maybe with more delays we would've gotten the "proper" ep8 from the start, and some of the problems we've discussed wouldn't exist because he could get his proper point across.
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I think he understands gender identity problems pretty well, just again gender identity from the Japanese 1980's, which is very important when you for example say that it sometimes goes against "traditional" gender assignments as a 19th Century psychologist. I kind of gathered that you hate the "Japan is different" card, I do to, but Japanese people often also regard themselves as "inherently different" so this exists is in a kind of half-state...
Okay but like... what does any of that have to do with the actual primary identity conflict in the story? Because Yasu's self-imagery issues are a lot more personal. Again, this is something that simply was not adequately explored or explained.

I stand by my statements though. People ain't that different. Especially since your interpretation of Eva seems entirely at odds with her actual objective at pretty much all times.
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Old 2013-05-18, 01:18   Link #32336
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If these episodes are going to grow in size to such an extent, is a delay really unreasonable? I suppose they've still got their booth or whatever booked, but I'm sure they can figure out what to do about that.
The problem is that the Comiket is a highly competitive market by themselves. 07th Expansion has risen to a point where they actually gained a wall-spot. I wouldn't wonder if the "Angel of 17 years" TIP was actually also a little comment on how discussions in the group worked during those days.

I would also be torn between the aspect of quality and answering to the current demand, I think. Yes, the delay back in the time of Higurashi didn't completely shatter their fanbase, but they probably lost sales to a certain degree and (alluding back to the curry shop example that Ryukishi used) once you gain a certain level of fame it's hard not to meet the demands, because the backlash will be much bigger.

I would have probably been able to wait half a year or maybe even a year longer for the last Episode had it been a more polished result than what we got.
Not only the technical side you mentioned reveals this, also the fact that many scenes transition without much rhyme or reason, some things are pretty much discarded mid-sentence and certain events are alluded to but never fully explained. It's as if this Episode was merely a best-of of what could have been.

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Okay but like... what does any of that have to do with the actual primary identity conflict in the story? Because Yasu's self-imagery issues are a lot more personal. Again, this is something that simply was not adequately explored or explained.

I stand by my statements though. People ain't that different. Especially since your interpretation of Eva seems entirely at odds with her actual objective at pretty much all times.
No, people aren't that different. It is social frameworks that often function in slightly different ways from each other, which creates the idea of completely different personality types. I agree that the idea of "the Japanese mentality", "the American mentality" or "the German mentality" is a myth created to spin a grand narrative around a very heterogenic group.

I also agree with you that Yasu's issues are a lot more personal than the society-based issues of the other family members, yet I'd say that it revealed to a large degree what kind of a world she was presented with and it poses the question of what an impact this would make on a person with identity problems in the first place.
It also reveals that Yasu is not the only person with a conflicting identity in the story, all the characters are basically broken by being forced into what society appears to request of them. The dual identity is not only a problem for Yasu. I agree on the other hand that most of these conflicts are more alluded to than being a center focus, but it is questionable whether they have to be drawn to the front in order to be functional devices within the whole of they story.

I would be interested though in what way Eva's objective is at odds with my interpretation. Her conflict is basically wanting to inherit the family, to beat her brother and become the one to carry on the family, which is traditionally not what is expected of a woman (of her circles). To counter this she pushes her dreams unto George and basically makes him what she wanted for herself. She forces herself into the role of woman and mother, but can't let go of her wish for being in power, which creates her controlling and often very vile personality.
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Old 2013-05-18, 22:12   Link #32337
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While you cannot expect every person in the heterogeneous group that is "the Japanese" to conform to an idea, surely you must except that there were societal norms at the time? Like how even today medicine in Japan is much more focused on the good of the group than on autonomy (which is a huge part of medicine here).

E.g., over there it is considered acceptable for families to make decisions for sick patients against their wishes, while here we expect that any person who can should make their own decisions.

And sometimes this also extends to a mindset of a sorts, like how many Japanese strongly believed that dying for the country (e.g. Kamikaze pilots) was more important than their own lives, while this was never a popular tactic in Western minds.
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Old 2013-05-18, 23:17   Link #32338
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While you cannot expect every person in the heterogeneous group that is "the Japanese" to conform to an idea, surely you must except that there were societal norms at the time? Like how even today medicine in Japan is much more focused on the good of the group than on autonomy (which is a huge part of medicine here).
Nobody is stupid enough to choose certain death over possible ruin, and people no not allow for the murder of their entire goddamn family for vague promises. It stretches suspension of disbelief to the breaking point to even imagine such a thing is possible, so it can only possibly make sense in Yasu's stories (where people can agree to whatever the hell she writes them to agree to).

Now, convincing them to agree to something fake that you or someone else intends to exploit for real murder, even if the fakery itself is mean-spirited or potentially criminal? I could see that. But you'd have to absolutely not be aware of a huge number of explosives and an implicit threat to detonate them while your entire family is in the blast radius. That's just... unfathomably silly.
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Old 2013-05-19, 01:44   Link #32339
haguruma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Nobody is stupid enough to choose certain death over possible ruin, and people no not allow for the murder of their entire goddamn family for vague promises.
Then explain to me the concept of killing your whole family in ritual suicide?
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Old 2013-05-19, 12:19   Link #32340
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Then explain to me the concept of killing your whole family in ritual suicide?
It's insanity. And insanity becomes harder and harder to swallow the more people you start trying to drag into it.
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This story is a redacted confession.

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