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Old 2013-08-24, 04:30   Link #481
Drifloon
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Oh, episode rankings? I've been meaning to do that for a while. Wall of text likely incoming~

1. Requiem: Because I am way too in love with Yasu. But seriously, there is just a beautifully calm yet haunting atmosphere to the whole thing that is wonderful to behold...helped a huge amount by the soundtrack, of course. Every single scene was important and enjoyable to read, with very little filler. Also, Clair's whole narrative is undoubtedly the most interesting and creative use of Umineko's unique narration techniques. While I love the whole series, I feel like Requiem is the only episode that really lived up to its full potential; the build-up to the finale is amazing and I'd have totally been happy for the series to end there. My only complaint is the tea party; it was really gripping when I first read it, but on rereads it's hard to see what the point of it really is other than Bern just being pointlessly spiteful. (It also would have been nice if Will hadn't skipped over some of EP3 in the final battle...)

2. Alliance: Weirdly enough, when I first read this, I felt really disappointed and thought it was the weakest of the question arcs. It's grown on me more and more with each reread. It is by far the 'messiest' of the episodes, and on the first read I didn't really have a clue what was going on, but it does gain more coherence when one realises that the whole episode is built around the nature of "magic" and the various ways - good and bad - in which it can be used. I feel that it struck a better balance than EP8 did on the subject of escapism, highlighting the fact that "magic" is necessary for humanity's survival to some extent but also not shying away from the dangers of overindulgence in detaching oneself from reality. The actual gameboard itself was also a really fascinating and engaging story on the first read, and the whole sequence of the second to eighth twilights is definitely one of the most exciting fantasy scenes. It's over-the-top, but it's so over-the-top that it's just great to read. And the tea party/???? are fantastic. The only really glaring flaw is that a lot of Ange's narrative is redundant and slow (the scenes with the stakes drag on too long, and putting them all together in one stretch rather than interspersing them more with 1986/1998 scenes was a mistake). It was also a shame that Ange and Battler didn't ever get to team up against Beatrice in a meta-battle, since the beginning seemed to really be setting that up.

...I also really dislike the conclusion to the 1998 story, because of the jarring mood whiplash. One minute she's preaching about how Kasumi's black magic is only used to hurt people while real magic brings people happiness...and then she proves the existence of that magic by massacring Kasumi and all the blacksuits in a huge bloodbath. I literally facepalmed when I first read that, though it's sort of slightly better in hindsight knowing that it's a metaphor for Amakusa taking them all out with his sniper rifle. Still really out-of-place thematically though.

3. End: On my first readthrough, I thought this was my favourite episode. I've kind of had the reverse of my experience with EP4 though; I like it less and less every time I reread it. Regardless, my initial fondness for it was strong enough to keep it ranked solidly at third place. I do still believe that EP5 definitely has the best pacing of any episode, and is also the most consistent and "tight", I guess; the story has a few particular characters and themes that it decides to focus on, and does a pretty good job of sticking to those rather than veering all over the place like the other episodes. I guess that's both a pro and a con. I absolutely adore the whole "disrespectful fanfiction" theme; I was really enamoured with the idea of Lambda using the game as a playground from the very start. The prologue is extremely well executed; the events building up to the playing of the (amazing) opening movie are just brilliantly presented, acting as a great opening to Chiru. Natsuhi was one of my favourite characters since EP1, so I really enjoyed her further development, and I also really love Erika. The episode just contains so many really memorable "wow" moments, like the battle in the study, the Court of Illusions, "And then...I...knew", the introduction of the gold truth...Most of these don't really make much sense and seem poorly executed on reread, but it was all a really exciting ride the first time around. So I give this episode third place for being superbly entertaining, if somewhat mindless.

4. Banquet: This episode really wowed me on my first run because it was such a huge step up from the first two. I still find it amazing how much they managed to pack into this one episode...from the Kuwadorian Beatrice story, to Ronove and Virgilia's introductions, to EVA-Beatrice, to the Siestas, to Beatrice's suicide, to the apparent reaching of the Golden Land, to Ange's appearance at the end, the whole thing was a rollercoaster ride of unforeseeable twists. It was also great to see Battler finally learning how to fight, and actually solving some of the mysteries for once. Beatrice's characterisation being fleshed out was really enjoyable and yes, I was totally fooled; the ending twist just had me stunned. The main reason it isn't as high as it could be is because EVA-Beatrice's character arc had too much time spent on it and repeated itself too much, in my opinion. It got a little old going through the same old arguments where Beato would try to get her to kill more elegantly while EVA repeatedly ignored and insulted her. Also, this episode suffers from a few moments of really cringe-worthy writing at dramatic moments, particularly during Jessica and Kanon's reunion but also at the discovery of Rudolf, Kyrie and Hideyoshi's corpses, and at a few other points. The constant over-the-top goriness of EVA-Beatrice's antics was a little too much for me to stomach after a while as well, effective as it was in really making me hate her (although those aren't really the kinds of villains I particularly enjoy, and not really Ryukishi's style either). A really good episode overall, though, and definitely a huge turning point for the series.

5. Twilight: This is just a weird episode. I like to pretend EP7 is the final episode, and prefer to view this as some kind of epilogue or bonus chapter, because it's really got almost nothing to do with the rest of the series. That said, I have to say I really enjoyed it. I won't go into its obvious flaws because other people have already done plenty of that (and I basically agree), but...I have a huge amount of love for the whole opening part of the episode - everything with the humans, before the fantasy characters appear. Seeing the family actually getting along happily for once was just such a wonderful feeling, and I thought that the way it was written was really charming and beautiful. I know a lot of people dislike the riddle party, but it's one of my favourite parts of the series; the sequence where everyone says goodbye to Ange really made me realise how much love I had for all of the characters and came close to bringing me to tears. The part where Ange wakes up in the Golden Land and finally makes up with Eva is also really moving. For some reason, this episode just did an especially good job of making me care about the family, and that was a refreshing change from much of Chiru where the majority of them were little more than pieces to be used in logic puzzles. Unfortunately, the actual plot of the episode is quite weak and the huge stretch of fantasy battles in the middle doesn't really feel as epic as it's evidently supposed to be. I don't really like much of the second half of the episode, besides the purple truth game being sort of neat and Tohya's backstory being really interesting (though underplayed). The episode was adequately redeemed at the end, though, with the Magic Ending and the final scene at the Fukuin House being really beautiful scenes to end on. Also, Cocoon of White Dreams is just beyond words.

6. Turn: I'm a little reluctant to put this so low, since I was really impressed by the atmosphere of this episode...The fact that the episode in sixth place is still so strong just shows how consistently high-quality the series is, really. Rosa's gradual breaking down and suspicion of everyone really struck me as a wonderfully human portrayal on my first read, and I thought it painted a really realistic picture of how people might actually react in that situation...Though it's sadly a little dampened on rereads when one knows that Rosa is actually an accomplice. I was also totally taken in by the same "want to deny the witch, but can't bring myself to suspect any of the 18" trap that Battler was, which really made the episode incredibly gripping as I went through exactly the same dilemmas as he did. The part where he abandons all dignity and pleads with Beatrice to just tell Rosa that there are no more than 5 master keys was a really emotionally powerful moment, as is the part where he breaks down and accepts the witch, begging Maria for forgiveness. But on a completely different level, for reread material, the episode contains some of the most strikingly effective portrayals of Yasu as well. The scene with Beatrice yelling madly at Shannon is really painful to read when you know what's really going on, and all the scenes in which Shannon, Kanon and Beatrice talk with each other are just filled with so much meaning that goes completely over your head on the first read. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of great material here, the writing in this episode has a kind of amateur-ish feel to it a lot of the time; I think Ryukishi really improved as the series went on, and I also think Witch-Hunt were less effective at their job when they translated the first two episodes, so there is unfortunately a noticable lack of professionalism here compared to later arcs. ...Also, I'm sorry, but the tea party with Rosa really just has no reason to exist at all.

7. Dawn: This was the only episode where I was genuinely tempted to quit the series at one point. The entire love trial made me feel extremely uncomfortable; I get that it's probably meant to put across a "love can kill" message, which is perfectly valid, but the way it's presented really comes across more as "your love is only genuine if you're willing to kill for it" which makes the whole thing feel really off. Maybe it's supposed to, but if so then that wasn't put across well at all, as the whole thing is written as if you're expected to be rooting for the lovers all the way. It doesn't get any better on a reread either; ironically, even though this episode puts such a huge emphasis on Shannon, Kanon and Beatrice, it doesn't really say anything interesting or revealing about Yasu's character at all. All it does is just repeat the basic points of "Shannon and George love each other, Kanon and Jessica love each other, Beatrice and Battler love each other" over and over again in various different ways. Ryukishi seemed to be more concerned here with just drilling into everyone's heads that Shkanontrice was the right answer than anything. The rest of the episode isn't all that great either; the logic error plot is a good concept, but it jumps around too much and the way it's set up feels really contrived. I don't really like Beatrice the Younger's role either, as her relationship to Battler becomes pretty awkward. While I get that it's meant to parallel Kinzo and Kuwadorian Beatrice, I still don't really know why, because said parallels don't really add anything meaningful or say anything that EP3 and EP7 don't already. The episode does still have some really good moments that keep it from last place - the gun duel has a nice atmosphere to it, Ange and Featherine's conversations are mostly good, and there are a few interesting talks about the nature of magic and the rules of the game. Overall, though, it just feels like a weird mess and none of the various plots within it feel particularly satisfying.

8. Legend: Not really much to say here. It's a good opening arc, with an effective, tense atmosphere in the second half. It managed to make me care for almost everyone in the cast before anyone was killed off, which was nice. But it really doesn't do anything that the other episodes don't do better, and EP2 in particular just feels like a much better version of this episode, with many of the same themes pulled off in much more interesting ways. I don't really think that the meta-world's introduction necessarily needed to wait until the second arc; it would actually have been a really memorable moment if it had suddenly shifted into the meta-world when Battler first challenges Beatrice's existence on the second day, and that might even have been a better introduction to the series' main concept than the tea party was. Still, it did turn out okay the way it is. But yeah, there really isn't anything in particular to note about this episode.

...And on a final note, I have to stress that pretty much every episode is amazing in its own way, and the amount of times I was saying "best ___ in the series" even as far down as fifth place shows how much I really love all of them. Even though I'm pretty negative about EP6, I don't really hate it that much, but there is just a huge amount of wasted potential there. Overall, Umineko is definitely one of the most unique and fascinating things I've read, and I feel the sheer depth of imagination shown throughout the series more than makes up for the many flaws in execution. I really should have written an in-depth review long before this.
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Old 2013-08-24, 05:13   Link #482
Sauzer
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Originally Posted by Drifloon View Post
Rosa's gradual breaking down and suspicion of everyone really struck me as a wonderfully human portrayal on my first read, and I thought it painted a really realistic picture of how people might actually react in that situation...Though it's sadly a little dampened on rereads when one knows that Rosa is actually an accomplice.
Agreed. While Rosa still remains a somewhat twisted character, her whole morbid attitude gets watered down a lot and basically turns her into a hypocrite that episode.

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Originally Posted by Drifloon View Post
The entire love trial made me feel extremely uncomfortable; I get that it's probably meant to put across a "love can kill" message, which is perfectly valid, but the way it's presented really comes across more as "your love is only genuine if you're willing to kill for it" which makes the whole thing feel really off. Maybe it's supposed to, but if so then that wasn't put across well at all, as the whole thing is written as if you're expected to be rooting for the lovers all the way.
Actually was anyone rooting for the lovers? Becasue while George's "rebellion" against Eva at least made some sense, I genuinely hoped Jessica would get her head bashed in by Kyrie. And by the time Kanon's turn came I was just wishing that the whole thing would end faster.
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Old 2013-08-24, 09:27   Link #483
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Actually was anyone rooting for the lovers? Becasue while George's "rebellion" against Eva at least made some sense, I genuinely hoped Jessica would get her head bashed in by Kyrie. And by the time Kanon's turn came I was just wishing that the whole thing would end faster.
I wasn't rooting for them! The message was bad. I admit that I found the Love Duel the weakest part of that ep, despite recognising its value for helping to make the Shkanontrice thing clear, but yes, I really wanted Kyrie to win that one. Jessica was creepy and Kyrie was really quite sympathetic. (Maybe she would have killed Asumu if Asumu had lived...but she didn't.)

The George-Eva fight was something I didn't like either, but at least the conflict between them wasn't portrayed in the same way. It was George vs Evatrice in the end. But Jessica had supernatural power on her side and was killing a random auntie (albeit one with Leviathan on her side, but she still had no chance). It may have been a board within a board sort of thing, but it still didn't feel right, and it didn't feel in-character for Jessica. The only one of the Love Duel things I didn't mind so much was Battler vs Battler, as that felt more unreal. Beato vs Natsuhi was interesting on the grounds of their history.
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Old 2013-08-24, 10:59   Link #484
Renall
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The entire Jessica/George part of the Love Duel honestly makes no sense at all and I don't get what the message there was supposed to be. Is it, as Drifloon said, that you need to be willing to kill for love? Are we supposed to admire the young lovers' determination or mock their naive attitudes? Because that's what Kyrie does to Jessica and she's 100% right, Jessica doesn't know shit. Nevermind that it appears to have had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual "murders" in any way; normally the fantasy scenes actually relate in some manner to the actual outcome but it doesn't appear to be the case here at all and there's no ready explanation from the Love Duel bit why those six people decided to be the "victims." It's basically just a blatant Logic Error setup and the disconnect between the parts makes them each seem pointless in concert with the other. I threw out two years of progress on something just to address that problem, so it's easy to spot elsewhere.

Probably the only thing I think is instructive of Beatrice's character in that episode is the part where she can't bring herself to kill Natsuhi (I mean yes she's Younger Beatrice and stuff but still, the symbolism here). And after ep1 and ep5 we know Natsuhi deserves to be forgiven. Taken with ep8 I think it's some of the strongest evidence against a Yasu culprit in Prime. If you can't kill the person you believe rejected you and ruined your life, then the only person higher on the list is Battler himself and we know she didn't kill him either.
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Old 2013-08-24, 11:26   Link #485
Drifloon
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Probably the only thing I think is instructive of Beatrice's character in that episode is the part where she can't bring herself to kill Natsuhi (I mean yes she's Younger Beatrice and stuff but still, the symbolism here). And after ep1 and ep5 we know Natsuhi deserves to be forgiven. Taken with ep8 I think it's some of the strongest evidence against a Yasu culprit in Prime. If you can't kill the person you believe rejected you and ruined your life, then the only person higher on the list is Battler himself and we know she didn't kill him either.
I see where you're coming from, but I don't think that's actually how the scene plays out. Actually, Beatrice's initial words to Natsuhi there make her seem pretty resolved to kill her...It's the spirit mirror that interferes with that, more than any lack of determination on Beatrice's part.

Although pointing out her weakness to mirrors and questioning the reason behind it is more of a meaningful insight into her character than anything else in the love trial is, so I guess maybe that is the highlight.

......Looking through it, I guess there is this passage:

Quote:
`Her determination had come too late.`\

; その決意が、最初からあったなら、......怯むことなく直ちに夏妃の息の根を止めていた だろう。@
`If she had had it since the beginning, ......she would probably have finished Natsuhi off right then without any fear.`@
br
; それがあやふやだったから、夏妃を殺すのに手間取り、......このようなことになってし まった。\
`Because she had wavered, it had taken time to kill Natsuhi, ......and things had ended up like this.`\
...But then she does immediately follow that with "But now, I am resolved", so I don't think it's really all that indicative of anything. It's more or less the same structure as the other scenes, where the lovers seem to be winning, then the victim fights back a little and they seem to be on the defending side, and then some Deus Ex Machina shows up to give the lovers the victory. It's probably giving Ryukishi too much credit to say the scene was meant to show that Beatrice isn't really capable of killing people.
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Old 2013-08-24, 11:57   Link #486
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If we aren't giving him too much credit, there's not much left to say about things.

That said, I do still think the hesistation and the fact that Beatrice obeys rules are important indicators there. She "resolves" eventually, yet she still can't actually succeed on her own. Again, take it with ep8: She's not without resentment and anger, she just can't hold on to it in the face of Nasuhi's repentance. Repentance that is basically absent in that particular scene in ep6 though.

I read that as "maybe Yasu could've done it if she believed everyone was beyond saving, but she knows they're not and deep down she knows she isn't either." She does have a rather bad track record with mirrors in Natsuhi's room.
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Old 2013-08-24, 12:43   Link #487
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I suppose I can sort of see it, but I'm really not sure that angle is really there in the scene. I mean, the first thing Beatrice says when she appears to Natsuhi is that she doesn't hold her sin against her, and then she immediately follows that with "Therefore, ......please do not hold it against me when I kill you for the sake of my love". It doesn't seem like her decision to kill her has anything to do with anger or resentment.

Also, the thing that gives her the necessary 'determination' is the realisation of "I was born because I love Battler-san...and I want him to love me back.....", which is followed by Zepar and Furfur acknowledging her strength, and Lucifer coming to save the day. It's basically the same theme as the rest of the love trial, where the lovers can only succeed by acknowledging the strength of their feelings or whatever. It really seems to be twisting the scene too much to take the source of her weakness as being anything to do with sympathising with Natsuhi as a person. If anything, it's Jessica who's the only one of the lovers that actually expresses hesitation and regret over killing someone; Beatrice's problem here seemed more to be that she hadn't fully resolved to love Battler rather than that she hadn't fully resolved to kill.

I mean, I'd actually like the scene a lot more if it was something like what you're saying, but I just don't think it's there unfortunately. It is a valid point, though, that Beatrice is unable to kill Natsuhi by herself...But that seems to be more of a way to transition to BATTLER's appearance than anything. And it's pretty hard to try and translate "Beatrice can't kill her without Battler's help" to anything meaningful other than the same old 'love conquers everything' stuff that the whole episode is full of.
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Old 2013-08-24, 13:18   Link #488
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You realize she could have been acting there at the start, right? And probably was, given which Beato we're talking about.

Also, I'd just point out generally that Beatrice seems to know the difference between reversible and irreversible harm, and Battler seems to be the only thing that can resolve her to commit the latter. Granted that could be an argument in favor of a Prime culprit status but I think we're meant to take something from her continuous hesitation to do something that genuinely causes someone permanent harm. That is kind of the whole crux of the Love Duel, in fact, but it filters down to other actions in the episode (and elsewhere).

I don't know, I think there's more to it, even if it's unintentional.
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Old 2013-08-24, 13:54   Link #489
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I think the love duel is in more points, more representative of Beatrice than of the other characters involved. All the info we get, all the dilemmas, seems more fitting for Yasu.
Rosa regretting she let her love go= Yasu regretting she didn't immediately followed Battler
Kyrie's talk about how easy is to lose your loved one to another and the hell of losing love=Yasu's feeling Battler has forgotten her and her hell of being without him
Eva's talk about her handling George's life= Yasu's feeling about letting her life continue as it was.
Natsuhi waiting alone= Yasu waiting alone
Battler killing himself= Yasu wanting to die

Even the targets make more sense in regard to Yasu. The randomness might refer to how she said she would pick victims at random but are they really at random?

Eva= remarked she's a servant who can't hope for more
Kyrie= with her remaining pregnant she made clear Rudolf had been cheating Asumu causing Battler to leave home
Natsuhi= it was even mentioned she's chosen because she attempted to kill the baby
Rosa= is a bad mother to Maria
Maria= the only one who seems to be a death Yasu didn't want to cause as Maria turned against Shannon/Kanon because Kanon killed her mother and Shannon kills her by defending herself with a shield, which seems a subtle reference to why Maria was killed in Ep 3
Battler= the sinner. He's the one to blame if everything happened, though as he's 'killed' by MetaBattler it can be also viewed as a hint of how Tohya's existence killed 'Battler'.

Ep 6 is mostly symbolic though yes, the love duel is, in a way, pretty weak and seems to imply only that since Battler was missing the only love Yasu was determinated enough to carry on was Shannon's... while the cousins murdering someone might merely means the two had made clear they were willing to try and pursue Shannon/Kanon... although Jessica cracking after the murder might imply she was less determinate than George.

(in a way Jessica was advantaged to George as she supposedly saw Kanon much more and Yasu should have known her better... but in the end Yasu would pick George over her meaning she played poorly her apparently better cards to win Yasu's love)

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I suppose I can sort of see it, but I'm really not sure that angle is really there in the scene. I mean, the first thing Beatrice says when she appears to Natsuhi is that she doesn't hold her sin against her, and then she immediately follows that with "Therefore, ......please do not hold it against me when I kill you for the sake of my love". It doesn't seem like her decision to kill her has anything to do with anger or resentment.
Honestly that scene reminds me of Battler's promise.
Oh, no Battler the sin you committed wasn't against me, no, I wasn't even around...
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Old 2013-12-31, 13:17   Link #490
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I recently finished playing the PS3 patch version and reviewed it: http://www.gwern.net/Book%20reviews#...o-naku-koro-ni

I wound up agreeing with Renall about a lot of things.
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Old 2013-12-31, 17:40   Link #491
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I recently finished playing the PS3 patch version and reviewed it: http://www.gwern.net/Book%20reviews#...o-naku-koro-ni

I wound up agreeing with Renall about a lot of things.
Heh, that's an interesting negative interpretation of the series. I agree with parts of it and understand a lot of your frustration with the series. There are significant flaws in the way that Ryukishi presented the story.

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In retrospect, with the skeleton key to Umineko of Shkanontrice, I do admit that a lot of the mysteries had reasonable solutions and it is a satisfying overall resolution. But I find the work flawed in that no one could figure out the mystery before all was laid bare in the final episodes.
From what I've heard, that actually isn't true. It was apparently solvable. As far as the murder mysteries in the question arcs went, I believe that some people had already hit upon Shkanontrice as the solution to the murders at least as early as in episode 2, which is not unreasonable by any means given that the story is a long one. If you're talking about the Rokkenjima Prime mystery, then yes, that one is a bit woolier even if it appears likely that Ryukishi is going to reveal a bit more about it in the ep 8 manga.

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I thought I could trust Ryukishi07 to not pull a jerkwad move like that, given that in Umineko itself he takes pains to introduce Knoxís Decalogue which was a mystery-genre solution to hack writers undermining the integrity of mysteries with impossible and unsatisfying "solutions".
To be fair to Ryukishi, he did introduce the series early on as "No Dine. No Knox. No fair". More specifically in an opening sequence as...

Quote:
No Dine. No Knox. No fair. In other words it is not mystery.
But it happens. All it happens. Let it happens.

Once again. No Dine. In other words it is to starve.
Starve while demanding the fair, and die.

Witch in gold, Beatrice.
Those of us who were expecting a standard fair play mystery and the strict application of the Knox or Dine rules were thoroughly warned.

Quote:
Quote:
I happened to read ANNís review of the second volume of the Umineko manga and apparently the author remarks that most readers will be convinced that itís all supernatural and inexplicable (implying that itíll turn out to be like Higurashi, with naturalistic explanations for (almost) all the events) - which makes me angry since in the dozens of hours Iíve spent reading this, I was pretty sure that we were being shown all the events from third-person omniscient perspective, and one of the narrative rules of third-person omniscient is that you donít lie to the reader, and we see plenty of supernatural events from the omniscient perspective.
I felt it would be a deep break of the contract between reader and writer: that the reader can trust what he has read or seen. The reader may make an unwarranted inference or interpretation, the reader may choose to ignore framing effects indicating that something is unreliable (for example, if a character read from a diary and itís visualized on screen, we understand that the diary author may be misleading, misled, the diary a forgery, etc), but otherwise, we can trust what we see. Otherwise, the fiction enterprise falls to pieces. There can be no story where there is no trust.
I disagree with this in two ways and agree in one way. I agree that certainly in a mystery story which is meant to be solved, the writer must not engage in outright lies which destroy the trust between reader and writer. Where I disagree is that I don't believe that the existence of a fantasy narrative where the reader is shown something that isn't true is something which inherently, automatically destroys reader-writer trust and that in this case I don't believe that Ryukishi did destroy that trust.

Ryukishi did appear, in the situation of the gameboard mysteries to be working within a firm framework with rules, a few possible errors on his part aside. There's a solvable reality there. The situation in Umineko with the rules for solving the mystery using the parts of the story with limited reliable viewpoints and the many clues present in the fantasy segments does not feel like a dereliction of the duty of a mystery writer to me. Rather, I find that it's an interesting way of reasoning out the solutions, because the fantasy scenes were by no means pointless ones or of no use in solving what happened. So, at least for me, the trust is there and I don't feel betrayed by Ryukishi showing us fantasy scenes.

Whether all of the fantasy elements of the series aren't "real" in some way within the series isn't by any means confirmed, though, at least in regard to the meta world.
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Old 2013-12-31, 19:51   Link #492
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While a narrative that isn't reliable is a pain, at least two books from Agatha Christie, one of which is considered one of her best books, have the culprit as narrator (in this one he even seems to be Poirot's assistant!) and while the culprit doesn't say he saw witches he avoids to mention scenes about how he killed the victims conveniently making time skips without warning us so we see him talking to the victim and then saying byebye and we've no idea he just said bye to a corpse.

So it's not like Ryukishi invented a narrator that lied.
It's not a common trick. It's not a loved trick.
But it's an old trick.
They even used it in a couple of numbers of Dylan Dog (an Italian comic who's rather well known in Italy)... so really, just because it's not loved is it unfair to use it?
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Old 2013-12-31, 23:18   Link #493
haguruma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblue1 View Post
So it's not like Ryukishi invented a narrator that lied.
It's not a common trick. It's not a loved trick.
But it's an old trick.
Actually in Japan it's a SEVERELY loved trick! It's called Jojutsu-Trick or Description-Trick and uses the narrative perspective or style to trick the reader.
The question is, is it really LYING if it is a trick that is to be expected in the genre?! Yes, in the West, especially with the trend towards hard boiled mysteries, we have a tendency towards more realistic mysteries, and playing around with perspectives and using basically meta-tricks isn't considered fair-play...mostly because "it couldn't occur if this was real".

Let me use an example:
A man and a woman is entering a mansion-like building, the entrance hall is richly decorated and a woman beckons them into separate rooms in the back of the building. They pass through their individual doorway and he takes a seat, glances into the mirror and wonders what went wrong this day. He turns around and hopes for a little relaxation, while looking towards the mountain scenery, a crane flying above the snow-topped peak.
Suddenly the birds eye twinkles and the man stops his movement. He grips his chest and topples over, falls down dead. When they find him 20 minutes later, they find him shot, but the floor is clean.

Who was the culprit and how was he killed?
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Old 2014-01-01, 00:31   Link #494
GoldenLand
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Actually in Japan it's a SEVERELY loved trick! It's called Jojutsu-Trick or Description-Trick and uses the narrative perspective or style to trick the reader.
The question is, is it really LYING if it is a trick that is to be expected in the genre?! Yes, in the West, especially with the trend towards hard boiled mysteries, we have a tendency towards more realistic mysteries, and playing around with perspectives and using basically meta-tricks isn't considered fair-play...mostly because "it couldn't occur if this was real".
That sounds rather fun. I wish that more Japanese mysteries of that type would be translated. Maybe I should hit up the mystery/literature thread here for recommendations.

I think that the worst sort of trick an author can play is the one where the detective receives vital information which they use to solve the case and which it can't be solved without, but you don't get to see what it is until they're explaining what happened.

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Let me use an example:
A man and a woman is entering a mansion-like building, the entrance hall is richly decorated and a woman beckons them into separate rooms in the back of the building. They pass through their individual doorway and he takes a seat, glances into the mirror and wonders what went wrong this day. He turns around and hopes for a little relaxation, while looking towards the mountain scenery, a crane flying above the snow-topped peak.
Suddenly the birds eye twinkles and the man stops his movement. He grips his chest and topples over, falls down dead. When they find him 20 minutes later, they find him shot, but the floor is clean.

Who was the culprit and how was he killed?
This is the Umineko forum, so of course: a witch did it. The crane grew into a magical death bird torpedo with flaming wings, and dived down through the man's chest at the witch's command.

Or maybe someone shot him, and then left the room, or maybe they shot him from outside the room. Or he shot himself and someone else took the gun away. Or he had already been shot at an earlier time and maybe he died from something else. I'm surprisingly curious about this, please enlighten me!
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Old 2014-01-01, 02:31   Link #495
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Yeah, it depends on what kind of methods an author uses and what the idea behind the work actually is. For example with Sherlock Holmes, it was almost always more about admiring the genius of Holmes. We always missed one small piece of the puzzle that he already knew, all because we saw the story from Watson's perspective.

A mystery story that is supposed to be a challenge towards the reader has to have a certain kind of fair play between the author and the reader. But fair play doesn't necessarily mean that every reader has to be equal in terms of his capabilities to solve a story. If a story comments on mystery tropes then you are in an advantage if you know mystery tropes...and if it is written for a Japanese audience then it will likely play towards a Japanese audience.

That leads to one of the criticisms towards Umineko that I never supported, that it apparently broke with "mystery traditions". Most readers of the translated version don't even know most of the novels mentioned BY NAME in the story, besides maybe And Then There Were None.

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That sounds rather fun. I wish that more Japanese mysteries of that type would be translated. Maybe I should hit up the mystery/literature thread here for recommendations.
I can write you a private message with some recommendations. There really is not much translated yet, sadly. Maybe I will someday convince a publisher to let me translate something for them.

Quote:
This is the Umineko forum, so of course: a witch did it. The crane grew into a magical death bird torpedo with flaming wings, and dived down through the man's chest at the witch's command.
My fantasy solution would have been approximately that, thank you for reading me well

Quote:
I'm surprisingly curious about this, please enlighten me!
Nobody was in the same room when he died, and all doors and windows were closed when he died. It was neither suicide, nor an accident, he was killed out of hatred. The gun never left the culprits possession. The shot was fired from beyond the mountain.
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Old 2014-01-01, 09:20   Link #496
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I think the thing that makes Umineko an "unfair" mystery is the fact that the culprit never leaves behind any unwanted evidence, at least for the first two episodes. We never see any direct evidence as to what the murder weapon was, the culprit leaves no footprints, we never see how the culprit could have prevented blood from splattering on themselves, there are never any real witnesses, etc.

So you have to try and work out the "heart" of the story in order to get at the truth rather than relying on actual physical evidence like in a normal mystery. As such I think the solution was thematically appropriate and reasonably satisfying. Certainly I felt that Legend makes perfect sense with the solution in mind, and almost every scene carries some kind of new significance that wasn't there the first time around.

I'm not sure if the story was really fully solvable until after episode 5 though - the "Kinzo's heir" thing wasn't really emphasized enough until then, and without that it's hard to explain why the servants would go along with Shkannon.

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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Let me use an example:
A man and a woman is entering a mansion-like building, the entrance hall is richly decorated and a woman beckons them into separate rooms in the back of the building. They pass through their individual doorway and he takes a seat, glances into the mirror and wonders what went wrong this day. He turns around and hopes for a little relaxation, while looking towards the mountain scenery, a crane flying above the snow-topped peak.
Suddenly the birds eye twinkles and the man stops his movement. He grips his chest and topples over, falls down dead. When they find him 20 minutes later, they find him shot, but the floor is clean.

Who was the culprit and how was he killed?
Yay, strange meta puzzles! I guess we did have the magic unbreakable cheese in episode 5.

My answer: the "mountain scenery" is a painting. The woman fired a bullet through the crane's eye from the adjoining room. e: or possibly she was looking through the crane's eye and fired through the wall. It's unfair because we would know it was a painting if we were actually there and also that there was a hole in the wall - it's only the vagueness of the narrative that creates the trick. It basically amounts to a riddle rather than a mystery, kindof like in the episode 6 logic error solution.

I'm not so sure about the significance of the clean floor, though.
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Old 2014-01-01, 10:29   Link #497
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Originally Posted by Leafsnail View Post
I think the thing that makes Umineko an "unfair" mystery is the fact that the culprit never leaves behind any unwanted evidence, at least for the first two episodes.
Yes, in that sense it is clearly a meta-mystery...which btw also exists in several variations besides Umineko, which again makes it kind of impossible to call it an unfair mystery.
I know only some very minor meta-mysteries in the Western world (like Paul Auster's City of Glass or maybe a little Boileau-Narcejac's The Living and the Dead), but in Japan there are some quite famous entries. Starting with An Offering to Nothingness (虚無への供物), which I already mentioned a LOT of times on the forum here, Higashino Keigo's The Rule of the Great Detective (名探偵の掟), Happiness Lost Within the Box (匣の中の失楽), Takemoto Kenji's The Forgery of Uroboros (ウロボロスの偽書), Ayatsuji Yukito's Labyrinth Mansion Murder (迷路館の殺人), or Ashibe Taku's Castle Grand Guignol (グランギニョール城).

But for any person with a knowledge of meta-mystery the appearance of the message bottle at the end of EP1 would immediately send alarm-bells ringing like air-raid sirens...
So you wouldn't even search for HARD evidence, but rather for narrative evidence, description tricks, and things like that...something I only learned will growing with Umineko.

Quote:
My answer: the "mountain scenery" is a painting. The woman fired a bullet through the crane's eye from the adjoining room. e: or possibly she was looking through the crane's eye and fired through the wall. It's unfair because we would know it was a painting if we were actually there and also that there was a hole in the wall - it's only the vagueness of the narrative that creates the trick. It basically amounts to a riddle rather than a mystery, kindof like in the episode 6 logic error solution.

I'm not so sure about the significance of the clean floor, though.
Quite good, but it doesn't get the full implication and therefore looses a few points.
Spoiler for Solution:


This actually is basically a part of the plot of a meta mystery novel from 2009, called The Serial Locked Room Murder in the White Swan Mansion and Black Swan Mansion in Misaki (三崎白鳥館黒鳥館連続密室殺人), in which these events are packed into a novel within the novel.
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Old 2014-01-01, 20:32   Link #498
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One big problem with the Episode 7 motive:
If there is any serious doubt as to the authenticity of the cash card and/or gold, there's not much reason to kill. If there is significant reason to trust the authenticity, then one person's share of the gold is more than the entirety on the cash card, and doesn't involve being the prime suspect in a high-profile murder case. (Legal fees have a way of bankrupting even fairly wealthy people.) Kyrie is mentioned as being calculating while watching the argument, then chooses a bad plan.

gwern: What did you have for Rules X, Y, and Z?
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Old 2014-01-01, 21:30   Link #499
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The solution of The Serial Locked Room Murder in the White Swan Mansion and Black Swan Mansion in Misaki problem there is a fun one.

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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
I can write you a private message with some recommendations. There really is not much translated yet, sadly. Maybe I will someday convince a publisher to let me translate something for them.
Thank you, that would be great! I wish those publishers would let you translate something for them too.
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