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Old 2011-03-17, 18:42   Link #181
Jan-Poo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chron View Post
Jan-Poo just had high expectations.

As I've said before, "choose your own adventure" stories appeal to a very limited number of readers, and even fewer consider them to be capable of being considered good stories. But that doesn't mean that there isn't an audience that does enjoy them wholeheartedly. Different strokes and whatnot.
That's right I really had too high expectations, and that's really my fault.
Disappointment always comes after betrayed expectations, I have enjoyed stories that were worse than umineko.

So I didn't have such high expectations I wouldn't be disappointed now, though... I probably wouldn't have bothered reading the episodes in Japanese, and I wouldn't have discussed about theories so seriously.


That being said, the logic battles, the character development and the various epic scenes would have been unaffected by the knowledge of how this story would end. So I still enjoyed that part. Though I might say that the "replay value" is pretty much diminished when you know (or suspect) that many if not all of them aren't even happening, not even as metaphors of something else or are outright lies.

From that point of view then I wish shkanon was false.


As for visual/sound novel, I must confess that I always looked down on them. If four years ago someone told me that I would end making one I would have laughed at him.

After all the only visual novels I knew were date sim, galge, eroge and similar. I don't really like that genre, even though I recognized that among those there were really nice stories it seemed apparent to me that the format couldn't work without appealing the erotic/romantic fantasies of the readers.

What a shock when I learned that someone managed to gain such a great success not only without this almost universal element, but with poor graphic too and from a doujin artist no less.
Ryuukishi opened my eyes to a completely new world. I would have never thought that it could work.

Now higurashi still heavily relied on their female characters and I can't really say that it was totally free from the usual harem archetype. But it was quite clear that it has a lot more than that, and that's well reflected by the high number of female fans.

Umineko made even a step further, presenting a main cast that has absolutely nothing to do with what you can usually find in a visual novel. Then a lot of girls followed, but they were the side dish and not the main course. Nothing different from the usual fan service you can find in practically any anime from the past 20 years.

The other thing that fascinated me, was the absolutely linear structure. In other words: no choices. that's practically unheard of in visual novels. Ryuukishi really broke off from any convention.

It's as if he said: "screw it, I'm not even pretending this is a computer game, this is just a novel like any other novel but in a visual novel format".

At least that's what was my initial impression. Later it became apparent that he still considered umineko a "game", but it's no more of a "game" than any murder mystery novel.

But I wasn't expecting neither of those from Umineko, I wasn't expecting a murder mystery, nor I was expecting a game. I was just caught in it because HE made it look it that way, and don't say it isn't true.

But I was still expecting a good story that was worth being discussed and analyzed, that required logic and reasoning to be understood. Who said that only "mystery" allow that? That's really not true. I don't even think that Higurashi was a mystery. A "story with mystery elements" is a more appropriate definition.

I believe that in the end Higurashi was better constructed and definitely more clear than Umineko. Although I can't say that all the ideas were absolutely ingenious it was a pretty much satisfying story with a damn good execution and a compelling narrative style.

I expected that much and even more from Umineko since it seemed to promise an even higher seriousness, especially when it made fun of sci-fi illnesses. Plus you expect an author to get better with time, right?

Why Umineko had to be the complete opposite of that? Why it couldn't have an ending that would explain everything nicely? Or at least a 90% of it. Why the few explanations do not even sound right? Why it left me with the feeling that Ryuukishi lost himself in the confusing scenario he created?

Was it an experiment? If it was an experiment it didn't really go well, at least from what I'm seeing in this forum. I can only hope the japanese audience has more or less the same opinion so I can hope that Ryuukishi's next work will be something more similar to what Higurashi was.
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Old 2011-03-17, 18:46   Link #182
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You and I are in complete agreement on that, Jan-Poo. I also think Higurashi was the superior work.
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Old 2011-03-17, 18:58   Link #183
Judoh
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I've been saying the whole time that the I think the characters were done better in Higurashi. I think he writes smaller casts better, Umineko felt more like he was giving people character development because he had to not because he planned to. I still enjoyed both of them though.
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Old 2011-03-17, 19:13   Link #184
naikou
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Ryukishi's writing style has greatly improved between Higurashi and Umineko. Compare the beginning of Higurashi with the Chiru episodes of Umineko; there really is no comparison which is the better written of the two.

That's from a technical standpoint, anyway. As far as personal opinions go, I like Umineko better, though I also love Higurashi. I think 5 years from now, when people have had more time to forget Umineko's flaws, it will be more well-liked.
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Old 2011-03-17, 19:22   Link #185
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I think that a little unfair. It's more fair to compare the Higurashi's Kai episodes with the Chiru episodes. Onikakushi was a demo you know. He didn't really think it would take off the way it did.
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Old 2011-03-17, 19:34   Link #186
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I was just using that as an example to show that his writing has improved overall since Higurashi. Some of the Kai episodes are better than some of the episodes of Umineko (EP2 and EP4 of Umineko, for instance).

On average, I would say that an episode of Umineko is better written than an episode of Higurashi, wouldn't you agree? (not which do you like more, but which is the better written)
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Old 2011-03-17, 19:37   Link #187
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That depends on what you mean by better written.
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Old 2011-03-17, 19:59   Link #188
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Really, to sum up what we are feeling, it comes down to this:

Ryuukishi teased being a genius with his previously above average novel and confident statements about the genre, philosophic ramblings and such.

He then turned out to be bluffing and having Umineko end in a rather disappointing note.

It's not even a matter of what the novel actually was. I can rant about how it blasphemes against the mystery genre, but it's not even that. The problem is that he made us expect something really, really good, and what we got was either average or mediocre. It isn't THAT bad. It just isn't as good as what we were expecting it.

"Oh but you shouldn't have been expecting him to do things your way-"

None of us was. We were just expecting his way to be...well, competent.
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Old 2011-03-18, 00:23   Link #189
nevill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo
That's right I really had too high expectations, and that's really my fault.
I just thought that you of all peole knew where this was going, what with Erika screaming 'bad writing' every five minutes in W&W and the rest of the team accepting Beatrice as the best game master ever.

Quote:
Though I might say that the "replay value" is pretty much diminished when you know (or suspect) that many if not all of them aren't even happening, not even as metaphors of something else or are outright lies.
None of them were outright lies. Every scene was important to explore a catbox which is a human's soul. I'm not sure I can remember any scenes that were meaningless for the story.

And with no definite answer, you might come to different conclusions when you re-read the story, which is the whole point of 'truth from the future'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo
I was just caught in it because HE made it look it that way, and don't say it isn't true.
Anyway, I think that while the novel itself wasn't a mystery (you were warned in the beginning, weren't you?), it did benefit greatly from viewing it as such for a while. Without solving individual fragments, without Knox Rules, we would still be no closer to understanding the cast and would be putting blame on characters we didn't care about.
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Old 2011-03-18, 02:55   Link #190
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Please take all misplaced ideas of what a mystery consists of to the proper thread for that discussion. That being said, we expected more from ryuukishi, and he just went out of his way to build up our expectations, and then failed to deliver on it. If anything Jan-Poo has a right to feel let down. Meh.
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Old 2011-03-18, 08:16   Link #191
Jan-Poo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevill View Post
I just thought that you of all peole knew where this was going, what with Erika screaming 'bad writing' every five minutes in W&W and the rest of the team accepting Beatrice as the best game master ever.
I always assumed that the bad guys tell lies ad the good guys tell the truth. It worked in the beginning, but alas EP8 really made a U-turn on that matter.

I never really thought that I was supposed to trust Erika especially after she accused the innocent Natsuhi.

Well actually Erika could also be seen as the overly critic side which artists often have. Many artists are famous for never being fully satisfied with their works and those are often the bests. Ryuukishi might have used Erika as a way to vent out his doubts and negative feelings about his own story. But I'm not sure... it seems he didn't need a cynic character to vent out his negative feelings towards certain readers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nevill View Post
Anyway, I think that while the novel itself wasn't a mystery (you were warned in the beginning, weren't you?), it did benefit greatly from viewing it as such for a while. Without solving individual fragments, without Knox Rules, we would still be no closer to understanding the cast and would be putting blame on characters we didn't care about.
I never thought it had to be a mystery, but I really don't understand why it's either mystery or fantasy. Anything that isn't mystery is fantasy? What about plain reality? Just because it isn't a mystery it doesn't mean it doesn't need to be solvable.

As for the "warnings", it's easy to say they were "warnings" now after the facts. At the time it looked more like teasing to me.

It's as if you said that "you've been warned that it was all magic" in case Umineko made a clear fantasy turn in the end.
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Last edited by Jan-Poo; 2011-03-18 at 08:39.
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Old 2011-03-18, 08:27   Link #192
Renall
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Originally Posted by Sherringford View Post
None of us was. We were just expecting his way to be...well, competent.
He is competent. Better writers than him have flubbed themes or messed up the message or had bad endings. I'm certainly not willing to call him incompetent. Hell, compared to most VN writers he's downright brief and chipper in pace at times.

I don't get the sense that he's not competent. I do get the sense that he badly needs an editor, and I think his getting more into professional work can only be good for him... if only because it will get more levels of filtration involved in the process, I hope.

Then again, Ookami Kakushi didn't turn out great, but I don't think it's fair yet to count the projects he was merely involved in. Or projects involving Konami, because seriously, Konami. Actually, he might be a better director than he is a writer, assuming he's got a good writer to work with (which he didn't). The man definitely has a flair for theatrics, even with the limited options available in his chosen platform. He managed to make still images and bust-up portraits seem animated at times in Umineko, and some of the more famous fights in that and Higurashi feel remarkably kinetic when they often weren't actually that visually exciting.

So yeah... maybe he should team up with a better writer, direct and edit, and see how that goes. And if it doesn't go so hot, blame the writer for everything.

Oh yes, and please hire an artist. I know you got bags of money with Rena painted on the side with yen signs for eyes, dude.
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Old 2011-03-18, 08:59   Link #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
I always assumed that the bad guys tell lies ad the good guys tell the truth. It worked in the beginning, but alas EP8 really made a U-turn on that matter.
So you were okay with the solution to ep6 being "it's magic"?
When Beatrice defeated Erika I felt like Battler at the end of ep2, forced to accept a ridiculous interpretation and tormented by it.

Then in ep7 you have Will, that tries to tell as little truth as possible. Then tries to "shut the truth inside the cat box", i.e. making everything ambiguous, instead of denying it, if it's just a lie.

Seriously, ep8 was the most boring and predictable.
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Old 2011-03-18, 09:03   Link #194
Jan-Poo
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So you were okay with the solution to ep6 being "it's magic"?
The point is that earlier in that episode Battler made absolutely clear that there must be a human explanation for any riddle created in the gameboard.

Again I've interpreted Beatrice's claim of magic as teasing and not as a serious statement since it was a well established fact that it couldn't be magic. That can't really be considered a lie since there is Lambda who can confirm it isn't.
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Old 2011-03-18, 09:06   Link #195
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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
The point is that earlier in that episode Battler made absolutely clear that there must be a human explanation for any riddle created in the gameboard.

Again I've interpreted Beatrice's claim of magic as teasing and not as a serious statement since it was a well established fact that it couldn't be magic. That can't really be considered a lie since there is Lambda who can confirm it isn't.
Plus she's trolling Erika. Of course she'll say it's magic.

The problem is, he never revisited the idea, so we're left with a bunch of dumb or cheaty-feeling solution concepts that have never been confirmed or denied.
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Old 2011-03-18, 11:28   Link #196
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Plus she's trolling Erika. Of course she'll say it's magic.

The problem is, he never revisited the idea, so we're left with a bunch of dumb or cheaty-feeling solution concepts that have never been confirmed or denied.
Well, even Battler thinks the solution is a bit of a stretch (to me that means if Erika was actually opening the closet rather than attacking it with a Kanon-seeking blue missile, she'd find someone in there). It's probably going to be "cheaty" or "dumb".
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Old 2011-03-18, 12:10   Link #197
nevill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo
I really don't understand why it's either mystery or fantasy.
It is both and neither. Is Yasu Kanon or Shanon?
If you look at it from only one angle, you'll have to dismiss a good chunk of the story.

People seem to be put off by the lack of a definite solution and accuse Ryukishi of writing a cop-out ending. Well... I decided to go over EP6 for a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryuukishi's interview
Ryuukishi: This content is extremely venomous. Very powerful.
- Is this content deeply related to solving the crimes?
Ryuukishi: I think people who have found the "answer" probably won't have any problems. I wonder if they've realized it's a trick. It's a very dirty trick.
And then we have this scene when Erika was finally able to accept a certain idea:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erika
Even though either one would be right, I'd lose no matter which I chose. Unless I expose both at the same time, I can't checkmate her!

Incredible. I've never heard of such an unfair trick. If it was a sleight of hand, it'd just be a cheap one. If it was a mystery, it'd just be cheating. However, in this witch's game, it's a legitimate 'logic trick'...

For the first time, I felt honored at being allowed to participate in this game of truth and witches as a human. And, ironically, it taught me, the one who had always believed in a single truth, that there isn't necessarily just one truth. If I just broaden my perspective, I can see completely different truths. And though each of those truths are 'true', they are incomplete if they are all you can see.

...In my life until now, just how many truths have I missed because I was blinded by some trivial truth...

This is... the truth of the world.
You know the concept is nothing to sneeze at, when the Witch of Truth subscribes to the idea of multiple truths. If that wasn't a warning, I don't know what is.

Lastly, in the end, we have this bit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batler
"Heh, ......heheh, ......that's a nasty trick... You sure something like this counts? With a trick like this one, those humans will start complaining again about how this isn't mystery."
And just look at this thread.

You can't say that Ryukishi didn't plan things in advance if he devoted the whole episode to the idea (I remember those threads where people complained that he basically showed Shkannon down their throats, and Shkannon is the living embodyment of the concept). At best you could say he didn't handle it well. But feeling betrayed when he openly declared his intentions two episodes prior to the last is not something I can understand.

I don't believe there would be an answer session. The way I see it, that would run contrary to the core idea of the novel.

Last edited by nevill; 2011-03-18 at 12:40.
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Old 2011-03-18, 12:24   Link #198
Renall
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Telling someone you're going to do something stupid doesn't excuse you from being considered stupid for having done it.

"I'm going to go drink drain cleaner."
"That's a really stupid idea."
"Heh, now that I've told you that you'll probably think it's dumb if I do it."
"I would think it's dumb, because is is dumb."
*LATER*
"Heh... I totally did it."
"You're an idiot."
"Yeah, but I knew you were going to say that, so I win."
"No, you drank drain cleaner and are dying in a pool of your own vomit. And I still think you're an idiot."
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Old 2011-03-18, 12:42   Link #199
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Renall, xoxo

Just had to get that out there.
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Old 2011-03-18, 12:47   Link #200
LyricalAura
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Originally Posted by nevill View Post
And then we have this scene when Erika was finally able to accept a certain idea:

<SNIP>

You know the concept is nothing to sneeze at, when the Witch of Truth subscribes to the idea of multiple truths. If that wasn't a warning, I don't know what is.
Remember, though, that the Witch of Truth lost that fight. Because she was wrong, and Beato had a third solution planned the whole time.
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