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Old 2011-03-09, 14:37   Link #1
Klashikari
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Umineko - Mystery/Literature discussion

This thread is to be used for discussing the aspects of the mystery genre that are heavily used in Umineko no Naku Koro ni.

A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
  • Discussing how certain mystery novels might have influenced Umineko.
  • Discussing and recommending novels that are similar in thematic or plot to the series.
  • Discussing references made in the series to mystery novels
  • Comparing structure, setup, setting and detectives to other more well known novels.
Important Note: as the guidelines suggest, this thread serve as grounds to discuss the mystery elements/fundations regarding the Franchise, which include references and the like.

As such, this thread does -not- serve as a thread to discuss whether or not Umineko is a proper Mystery Novel, nor discussing the plot or "what really happened" whatsoever (the later should be discussed in the spoiler thread or the appropriate episode thread).

[Warning]: As this thread is meant to discuss critical plot portions of the tale, it will probably cover everything that the PC doujin games have unfolded. Therefore, for those who have followed the anime or english translated episodes only, I wholeheartedly discourage you to proceed, unless you are willing to spoil yourself.
Please be aware this is not supposed to be a spoiler thread, therefore, please do not start asking about how the ending was done and so forth.

Last edited by Klashikari; 2011-03-13 at 11:38.
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Old 2011-03-09, 14:37   Link #2
Sherringford
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Umineko - Mystery/Literature discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudscream View Post
So is it OK for us to ignore Japanese sensibilities (and references to Japanese pop culture ["Uooooaaaaaaaaaah!"]) and compare Japanese works with Western ones?

Are you serious? You waste your time criticizing a doujin game sold in Akihabara for otakus, using the lens of Western literature? That sounds annoying. Overthinking, perhaps?
So your point is that "It is made for Otakus" means we cannot criticize it? Okay. But frankly, saying it's so bad we can't criticize it sounds worse than pointing out the problems with something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naikou View Post
Not to mention the extreme amounts of punctuation...................

But I can forgive the weird onomatopoeias. After all, it's a novel translated from Japanese, perhaps "Uooooaaaaaah" is more acceptable in that particular language. I wouldn't know.
And how characters use "...." during dialogue. But you are right, perhaps it is more acceptable in Japanese. I can barely skim over Japanese text so I wouldn't know either.

I do wish Witch-Hunt would localize the ellipsis abuse sometimes though.

I feel bad for the poor ellipsis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naikou View Post
I always found Umineko's pace to be fairly brisk, with a few notable exceptions. The romance scenes in EP2, the beginning of Ange's story in EP4, a few others.

The Chiru episodes especially move fairly quickly.
I felt the pace in episode 1 was pretty bad. He had a lot of characters and settings to introduce, true, but I think he could've handled the infodumps a bit better.

Quote:

You use Christie, of all people, as an example? The only characters she ever managed to develop were Marple and Poirot, and even then, only because they get so many novels (Poirot would be what... a 50 story skyscraper, to use your metaphor?).
I would actually say that Poirot's character was never developed. The only thing Christie developed was his ego, which definitely went well beyond 50 floors.

I was referring to the suspects more so than the characters. For example, Death on the Nile is one of her great stories where the characters are well developed and reading it for the second time is very enjoyable once you understand the novel a bit more.

She rarely developed her detectives(save for Tommy & Tuppence) but she generally developed her cast pretty well.

Miss Marple probably got the most development out of all her detectives. Poirot didn't because she hated him, which I always found hilarious.

Quote:
Even then, I cared far more about the cast of Umineko in EP1 than I do about most the victims in most mystery novels. Which is to say, still not very much, but more than "not at all". And by EP2 I had a vested interest in several of the characters - Rosa, Maria, Shannon, Battler, Kinzo.
Oh, I agree that most novels are pretty bad at making you care for the victims, since they usually after the murder has occurred already.

Christie(very much so during the Marple books, not so much with the Poirot ones) made the victim sympathetic a lot. With Poirot she was more of a fan of the "make the victim a jerk so that the murderer is sympathetic" approach.

Strangely, And Then There Were None did make the victims sympathetic while remaining terrible people.

Quote:
I'll add that onto my reading list, though I haven't had good experiences with Queen novels in the past.
Be careful, some of Queens novels weren't actually written by him but by people he allowed to use the Queen penname. Those aren't really worth reading unless you really love Queen.

Queen can be pretty hit and miss sometimes, but oh boy when he hits it, it's one hell of a hit.

Quote:
Carr is probably my favorite mystery author (yes, over Ryukishi), so kudos for that. But I wouldn't take his extremely clever locked rooms as the same kind of thing that Ryukishi accomplishes with Umineko. I don't know how much of a backing in philosophy you have, but one of my favorite parts about Umineko is that it goes for interesting, but rarely discussed issues in epistemology, and steers clear of boring and done-to-death metaphysics. And it actually discusses them well!
I've taken a few philosophy courses before and I'm currently taking another one in University. I know what you mean, but I think what I preferred about Carr's approach is that his talk about philosophy was usually hidden between the lines, but you could see it. Umineko talks about a bit too much, and some of Ryu's analogies make me cringe sometimes. Hempel's raven, Devil's proof, and the poor schrondinger and his cat box had its meaning basically redefined.

Sometimes when he talked about the meaning behind the truth, it was pretty, it was clever, but to me it felt out of place. His thematics were good but they sometimes got in the way of the story.

Quote:


Many mystery writers do point out the challenges. Every Queen novel I've read has an aside where Queen says, "Alright, you can solve the mystery now! Go ahead! Re-read as many times as you like!"
Almost forgot about EQ's challenge to the reader. He did that for his first...I wanna say 8 novels, but it might have been 7 or 9.

When I referred to the challenge though, I meant the challenge to ask yourself the meaning behind the fairness of the game rather than the actual game.

Ever read Carr's essay on the mystery genre? To me, it seems like it's what Ryu based it on. Either that or they are similar by accident.

Quote:
But that's beside the point. Umineko isn't a mystery novel at it's heart - if anything it's a story about mysteries. It isn't for lack of subtlety that Ryukishi explains the mechanics of mystery novels - it's so that he can analyze them and build them back into something new. See EP5, in particular, with its rare evil detective.
Agreed, but I would contest how successful Ryuukishi's understanding of the mystery genre is. Sometimes it comes across as a bit annoying, like in episode 7.

I understand his point about motives and I do agree with him, sort of. Buuuuut the way he chose to demonstrate it was terrible. I'll spoiler tag it just in case since this is the translation topic, not the episode 7 one.

Spoiler for episode 7:


Quote:
Umineko is amateur, yes, and I agree that a few more rewrites would have helped. However, I do think it is an original concept. The mystery contained inside it is not original (the remote island during a storm is intentionally lampooning mystery novels, not mimicing them, I think), but Umineko is not only it's mystery aspect. That's only one component. There are way more interesting and important issues at stake than "whodunit".
The problem is that once you lock people inside an island with an old mystery trick of an oncoming storm and have them all die, saying the mystery isn't important is like giving the middle finger to some fans. I think he could definitely do better if he ever were to rewrite the series though. Sometimes he tried to give too much emphasis to the mystery part, then went on to talk about how the mystery isn't all that matters.

The writing felt like, for the lack of a better expression, a girl on pms. You could hear loud and clear her announce she had changed her mind, but she had done that so many times already and so often too that you weren't sure whether to take her seriously or not when she said that X wasn't important anymore.

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Agreed. Although I hadn't seen a few of them before. The first twilight murders of EP3 come to mind.
True, even Ryu gave himself a pat on the back with that one, and I think that one is deserved.

Quote:
The ideas are not original, but the presentation is very much so, which is really the most important part. Most of Shakespeare's work is "unoriginal", he got all of his plots from old folk stories, or other plays. But no one cares, because it's execution that counts.
Oh I agree with that. His execution motif was interesting. The meta-world was very clever, but I think that he sort of shot himself in the foot with the red text and the introduction of Erika.

Her tactics, shown as despicable but valid, undermined what he had accomplished in the last 4 episodes.
Quote:
And I should clarify, I don't think all fantasy novels merely imitate LotR, only bad ones do that. My personal favorite fantasy author, George R. R. Martin, has been stuck with writer's block for over 5 years, which is why I am even more impressed with Ryukishi's quick speed. It is probably too quick, as you say, but it is nonetheless impressive how good Umineko is for a first draft
Oh my bad, I misinterpreted you. I agree that for a first draft Umineko is definitely good. I do wonder why he leaves it for last minute though. I understand the winter conference is rather close to the summer one, but he has 6 or so months to write the rough draft for the summer conference. He should have time to finish everything and go over it once or twice.

Quote:

Well, mystery is a very big genre, Golden Age mysteries are a very small part of that genre. And that particular sub-genre has been out of steam since the 1930's. It's almost impossible to write a traditional mystery these days without sounding tongue-in-cheek. And I don't think Umineko belongs to that genre, which is the point I was trying to make earlier.
The genre is still popular in Japan(which is...ironic considering Umineko) and the cozy mystery genre has been slowly coming back from the dead.

"The Cat Who" series is pretty decent, if cheesy at times.

Quote:
And I never intended to disparage the fantasy genre at all, only the idea that fantasy is 70% describing scenery, and 30% throwing characters in a blender, or however VladD put it. That's seriously, seriously misjudging how difficult the writing process is.
Sorry, I misunderstood you then. I agree that the writing process is hard. It's a bit easier for Ryu since he's self publishing, but even then it's still....yeah.

Both fantasy and mystery require an absurd amount of thought and world building, and are only rivaled by each other on that aspect.

For a fantasy you need to create a believable world, motivations and character interaction. For a mystery, you need one devilish(yet fair) trick up your sleeve, which can be very, very hard at times.

Even if you decide to throw some old tricks in a blender like in Umineko, you still have to manage alibis, clue dropping, it's a very complicated scenario.

I'd say that the only genre where the blender formula actually works is "things that rip off Twilight."

Quote:
I really don't get why this discussion has emerged in the damn "translation thread", either. Please drop the offtopic for now.
What, never talked with someone and had a conversation that went from "this beer is good" to "you know what else is good? DINOSAURS!" Things that are even remotely related pop up like this.

But fiiiine we'll drop the off topic.
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Old 2011-03-09, 16:32   Link #3
incko
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oh come on, please continue

personally I'm a total noob when it comes to mystery novels

and I really enjoyed reading your comments :-/
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Old 2011-03-09, 17:09   Link #4
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Ellery Queen had his Challenge to the Reader in 9 of the first 10 novels. (They accidentally left it out of _The Siamese Twin Mystery_.) _The Finishing Stroke_ (25th anniversary, 25th book, probably meant as a full-circle conclusion) also has a Challenge.

And I really doubt that Ryu has read JDC. Considering that JDC is known as the master of the locked-room mystery, and is especially known for making mysteries that seem to have magical explanations, I think he'd have some sort of direct reference. Also, I think that too many of the "impossible" events depend on the red text for nonexistence of keys to be convincing. (Kinzo's disappearance and the second twilight, both from Ep. 1, are the only exceptions I can think of offhand.)
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Old 2011-03-09, 17:27   Link #5
Sherringford
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10 novels total? Ah, I was close. I think Ryu has read JDC. I refuse to believe that someone trying to write a series about "magical impossible murders" didn't read JDC. That would be the same as attempting to pass a history exam without attending any lectures or reading your textbook.

He probably didn't reference him because he was aware of how much JDC overshadows him when it comes down to talent. Not to throw the guy to the sharks or anything, but Umineko and its magical murders come off as him trying too hard to be JDC. They both have the same style(supernatural murders) but JDC was leagues ahead of Ryu in that regard.

Kanon's death in episode 2 was also ''impossible'' unless you went with "a secret passage is hidden somewhere!"

Not counting that, I think only Kinzo's disappearances count.
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Old 2011-03-09, 17:38   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klashikari View Post
I really don't get why this discussion has emerged in the damn "translation thread", either. Please drop the offtopic for now.
Come now, it's at least marginally related, right? The main topic at hand is Ryukishi's incredible writing speed, and how it affects his writing style. That's a topic that's naturally related to the translation itself, is it not?

And by the way, it's a testament to the Witch Hunt team that Ryukishi's style is a topic of discussion in the first place! If we were talking about MangaGamer's Higurashi translation, I think we'd all have to assume that Ryukishi was a near-illiterate bumpkin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VladD
Actually, the writing process is only difficult for the people that only read books, and dream of writing one. If you are totally committed to an action, like writing, it becomes not only easy, but fun.
Beg to differ. The vast majority of the best writers had a difficult time with their work, and revised their writing endlessly. Tolstoy, for instance, was known for rewriting his novels 50 times! Fitzgerald, Joyce, and Dostoevsky are similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Christie(very much so during the Marple books, not so much with the Poirot ones) made the victim sympathetic a lot. With Poirot she was more of a fan of the "make the victim a jerk so that the murderer is sympathetic" approach.

Strangely, And Then There Were None did make the victims sympathetic while remaining terrible people.
This is just personal experience, but I have never been attached to a character in an Agatha Christie novel. Her formula seems to be: "Introduce as many hairpin twists in the plot as possible!" Once you realize this, you'll either guess the twist miles in advance, or you'll stumble upon a twist which makes no sense in the context of the story. See: "Postern of Fate", "Thirteen at Dinner", and "Murder on the Orient Express".

And for my money, Christie is even worse at writing romance than Mr. Ryukishi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Be careful, some of Queens novels weren't actually written by him but by people he allowed to use the Queen penname. Those aren't really worth reading unless you really love Queen.
I was under the impression that Queen was a pseudonym for two different authors who jointly wrote most of the novels. Are there even more than those two?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Umineko talks about a bit too much, and some of Ryu's analogies make me cringe sometimes. Hempel's raven, Devil's proof, and the poor schrondinger and his cat box had its meaning basically redefined.
Hempel's Raven and Devil's Proof are mostly accurate. But yeah, Schroedinger's Cat Box is not really the same thing as the quantum mechanics term. It's doubly bad, because the Cat Box explanation was itself a ridiculous metaphor to explain why the Coppenhagen School of Thought doesn't make any sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Ever read Carr's essay on the mystery genre? To me, it seems like it's what Ryu based it on. Either that or they are similar by accident.
I have not, I'll look it up.

But, I would actually be surprised if Ryukishi hadn't read Carr. He seems like a very well-read person in general, and a fan of the mystery genre in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Then there is his lecture about the Knox rules in episode 5, where he says that using them is like magic, despite the fact that many mystery readers don't even know about them. They are something writers use to limit themselves a bit, and not all writers do that. I got his basic point about how Erika was an undesirable kind of reader, but it still felt a bit...eh.
I've always found the Knox rules to be, well... blatantly obvious. Every rule (except the "no chinamen" one) is basically a general case of "We cannot reason about that which we do not know." It's more of a guide for mystery writers than readers. Van Dine's set of rules are the same, except with more emphasis on mystery cliches.

As for Erika, I found her to be pretty hilarious, personally. But eh, different tastes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
The genre is still popular in Japan(which is...ironic considering Umineko) and the cozy mystery genre has been slowly coming back from the dead.
They've been saying that for 50 years. But part of the problem is that classic mysteries were never considered art in the first place, even by the authors themselves. They were high-class games, intended for high-society (hence why mysteries nearly always feature wealthy characters).

Mystery novelists today have to struggle with the old formula, but also create something which is more than just a game, something which can be called art. It's a difficult task, and rarely pulled off well. Most modern authors prefer to bend the genre into something new.

Edit:
Forgot to comment on this
Spoiler for Episode 7:

Last edited by naikou; 2011-03-09 at 17:50.
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Old 2011-03-09, 17:50   Link #7
rogerpepitone
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naikou: "Ellery Queen" primarily refers to cousins Frederick Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, but about half the books were ghost-written by others.

Officially, IIRC, all four books about Drury Lane, most of the books about Ellery and/or Richard Queen, and two nonseries books (_Cop Out_ and _The Glass Village_) were by Dannay and Lee.

_The Player on the Other Side_, _The Fourth Side of the Triangle_, _And On The Eighth Day_, and _House of Brass_, plus the rest of the nonseries books, were ghost-written by others under the Queen byline.
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Old 2011-03-09, 18:12   Link #8
Sherringford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naikou View Post
This is just personal experience, but I have never been attached to a character in an Agatha Christie novel. Her formula seems to be: "Introduce as many hairpin twists in the plot as possible!" Once you realize this, you'll either guess the twist miles in advance, or you'll stumble upon a twist which makes no sense in the context of the story. See: "Postern of Fate", "Thirteen at Dinner", and "Murder on the Orient Express".
I think the character I got the most attached to and felt like I just took a punch from Christie when something happened to him was a certain character from Roger Ackroyd. You know the one.

...I still hate myself for not figuring that one out.
Quote:
And for my money, Christie is even worse at writing romance than Mr. Ryukishi.
Hmm, I don't know. Her usual mysteries are not so good with romance, but her thrillers with Tommy & Tuppence were pretty decent, romance wise.

Ryu's romance is...too melodramatic for my taste. I like my murders cozy and my explosions to somehow not affect the detectives thank you very much.

It's probably just my taste though. They are both pretty bad at romance at times, though I do have a soft spot for Christie's romance.

Quote:
I was under the impression that Queen was a pseudonym for two different authors who jointly wrote most of the novels. Are there even more than those two?
Roger already mentioned the other writers, so I'll just add that those two used to have "deduction battles" between themselves since the public didn't know Ellery Queen was a penname two people shared.

Quote:
I have not, I'll look it up.

But, I would actually be surprised if Ryukishi hadn't read Carr. He seems like a very well-read person in general, and a fan of the mystery genre in particular.
It's really hard to find his essay anywhere(took me an eternity and a half to get a physical copy), the only blog that seemed to have it was deleted. But here's a copy:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...=www.google.ca

Quote:
I've always found the Knox rules to be, well... blatantly obvious. Every rule (except the "no chinamen" one) is basically a general case of "We cannot reason about that which we do not know." It's more of a guide for mystery writers than readers. Van Dine's set of rules are the same, except with more emphasis on mystery cliches.
Knox's rules come down to "don't screw around with your reader" while Van Dine's came down to "be clever."

I agree about it being more of a guide for writers than for readers, which is why I felt that his lecture about them felt...pointless.

Quote:
As for Erika, I found her to be pretty hilarious, personally. But eh, different tastes.
She was funny, it's just that she didn't seem like a detective to me.

Quote:
They've been saying that for 50 years. But part of the problem is that classic mysteries were never considered art in the first place, even by the authors themselves. They were high-class games, intended for high-society (hence why mysteries nearly always feature wealthy characters).

Mystery novelists today have to struggle with the old formula, but also create something which is more than just a game, something which can be called art. It's a difficult task, and rarely pulled off well. Most modern authors prefer to bend the genre into something new.
I disagree about one thing. The murder mystery, by itself, is not just a game. It's the grandest game in the world.

It is hard for a pure game to go continue living on, but it is doing its best. For example, Edward Hoch's stories are almost impossible to find nowadays, and he is one of the best contemporary mystery writers. I wish his work was more accessible, and with his somewhat recent death they'll just become harder to find.

Quote:
Edit:
Forgot to comment on this
Spoiler for Episode 7:

Spoiler:
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Old 2011-03-09, 18:43   Link #9
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Good to know, thanks for the info about Queen rogerpepitone and Sherringford. I'll have to remember that when picking out my next Queen novel.

And much obliged for the link to Carr's essay, I'll check it out tonight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
I think the character I got the most attached to and felt like I just took a punch from Christie when something happened to him was a certain character from Roger Ackroyd. You know the one.
heh, it's been years since I read Roger Ackroyd, but I will admit that that one got me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Ryu's romance is...too melodramatic for my taste. I like my murders cozy and my explosions to somehow not affect the detectives thank you very much.
I'm afraid I'm more of a fan of the American hard-boiled school. Coffee and mysterious dames and seamy underbellies of the corrupt city. And gunfights, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
She was funny, it's just that she didn't seem like a detective to me.
I thought she was a rather good impression of Philo Vance! With an extra dose of evil to go along with the phony, arrogant detective posturings.

Spoiler for Episode 7:
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Old 2011-03-09, 19:01   Link #10
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Erika being a good Vance impression? Nah, she's far too active. She tries too hard to solve everything. Vance's only reason for getting involved with his cases is that he likes to play around with Markham, but he's way too lazy to go sealing windows and everything.

Will is a better Vance, since
Spoiler for Benson Murder Case:
. And Bern is an evil Markham.

Spoiler for episode 7:
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Old 2011-03-09, 19:13   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerpepitone View Post
Ellery Queen had his Challenge to the Reader in 9 of the first 10 novels. (They accidentally left it out of _The Siamese Twin Mystery_.) _The Finishing Stroke_ (25th anniversary, 25th book, probably meant as a full-circle conclusion) also has a Challenge.
As I recall, Souji Shimada's "Tokyo Zodiac Murders" had not one but two challenges. In the second one he actually chides the reader for not solving it yet and gives huge hints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naikou View Post
Hempel's Raven and Devil's Proof are mostly accurate. But yeah, Schroedinger's Cat Box is not really the same thing as the quantum mechanics term. It's doubly bad, because the Cat Box explanation was itself a ridiculous metaphor to explain why the Coppenhagen School of Thought doesn't make any sense.
I don't understand why people keep criticizing Ryukishi for this. Despite what Schrodinger's Cat was originally, it's really common nowadays to set it up in different interpretations to see what their response is and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, applying the Copenhagen Interpretation to it gives you a weird result, but Ryukishi's cat box ideas seem to be inspired by the Many Worlds or Relational interpretations, both of which resolve the experiment cleanly.
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Old 2011-03-09, 20:07   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford View Post
It is hard for a pure game to go continue living on, but it is doing its best. For example, Edward Hoch's stories are almost impossible to find nowadays, and he is one of the best contemporary mystery writers. I wish his work was more accessible, and with his somewhat recent death they'll just become harder to find.
Probably because he primarily wrote short stories. (Probably for the best; the Hoch novels I've have been weak.)

Go to the microfilm section of your local library and pick a random back issue of EQMM. Or go to Crippen & Landru.

As for your comments about episode 7:
Spoiler:


By the way, anybody wonder whether Ryu knew that Knox had converted to Catholocism from Anglicanism, or was that coincidental Fridge Brilliance? (He presumably knew that Knox was Catholic, given that Dlanor is part of the Inquisition.)
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Old 2011-03-09, 20:43   Link #13
naikou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyricalAura
I don't understand why people keep criticizing Ryukishi for this. Despite what Schrodinger's Cat was originally, it's really common nowadays to set it up in different interpretations to see what their response is and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, applying the Copenhagen Interpretation to it gives you a weird result, but Ryukishi's cat box ideas seem to be inspired by the Many Worlds or Relational interpretations, both of which resolve the experiment cleanly.
It's just weird that he's using a metaphor from quantum mechanics at all. Is "many worlds theory" supposed to be the metaphor for Beato's game? In that case, why bring the cat box in? Or is he just taking the catbox and applying it to Beato's Game, regardless of the actual quantum mechanics connotations? In that case, why not just make up a new metaphor? (oh wait, he did - Braun tubes. And then he introduced the cat box... why?)

Then again, quantum mechanics is not my area of expertise, so maybe I'm the only one who's confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerpepitone
By the way, anybody wonder whether Ryu knew that Knox had converted to Catholocism from Anglicanism, or was that coincidental Fridge Brilliance? (He presumably knew that Knox was Catholic, given that Dlanor is part of the Inquisition.)
Well, he's widely known as "Father Knox", right? I don't believe that term is used outside of the Catholic Church.
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Old 2011-03-09, 20:57   Link #14
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Originally Posted by VladD View Post

Spoiler for Umineko:

Spoiler for Huge Umineko EP7-ish Spoilers:
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Old 2011-03-09, 20:59   Link #15
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Leading by example and taking the translation thread discussion here. Fits under "plot devices".

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Originally Posted by LyricalAura View Post
I don't understand why people keep criticizing Ryukishi for this. Despite what Schrodinger's Cat was originally, it's really common nowadays to set it up in different interpretations to see what their response is and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
I don't like how it's commonly set up that way by other authors either. So I won't excuse it because other authors do it. if you don't tell them they'll never learn not to make this mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyricalAura View Post
Yes, applying the Copenhagen Interpretation to it gives you a weird result, but Ryukishi's cat box ideas seem to be inspired by the Many Worlds or Relational interpretations, both of which resolve the experiment cleanly.
True, but he explained it backwards with the multiple worlds interpretation first, and his readers didn't understand that. Hence the criticism. It was badly executed.
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Old 2011-03-09, 21:11   Link #16
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Originally Posted by Judoh View Post
I don't like how it's commonly set up that way by other authors either. So I won't excuse it because other authors do it. if you don't tell them they'll never learn not to make this mistake.
But I wasn't talking about authors. I was talking about physicists.

There are lots of different ways to interpret quantum mechanics, and some of those interpretations have weird consequences. Schrodinger's Cat is just a way of illustrating each interpretation's version of weird consequences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judoh
True, but he explained it backwards with the multiple worlds interpretation first, and his readers didn't understand that. Hence the criticism. It was badly executed.
Explained what backwards? Ryukishi isn't obligated to explain fine details of quantum physics, he's just using one of the consequences that "cat box" happens to illustrate as a story idea. "If you don't know what happened, then there were multiple possibilities consistent with the facts you know, and each of those possibilities is a world." That seems pretty concise, and it hasn't changed at all since he first introduced it in EP3, so I don't know what the problem is.
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Old 2011-03-09, 22:02   Link #17
Judoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyricalAura View Post
Explained what backwards? Ryukishi isn't obligated to explain fine details of quantum physics, he's just using one of the consequences that "cat box" happens to illustrate as a story idea. "If you don't know what happened, then there were multiple possibilities consistent with the facts you know, and each of those possibilities is a world." That seems pretty concise, and it hasn't changed at all since he first introduced it in EP3, so I don't know what the problem is.
At the same time it's evident that there is only one truth inside the catbox?

He's not obligated to explain all of the interpretations and consequences, and I don't want him to. But It's not hard to explain what the analogy illustrates accurately at all. Just say "by the way this analogy doesn't actually say all these truths exist at the same time in the same catbox just that you don't know which one is on the inside when it's opened."

If he can explain how alchemy progressed into science in the same episode then its not that hard to explain one little detail about the analogy that clarifies what he's getting at.

Last edited by Judoh; 2011-03-09 at 22:15.
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Old 2011-03-09, 23:12   Link #18
naikou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyricalAura
I don't understand why people keep criticizing Ryukishi for this. Despite what Schrodinger's Cat was originally, it's really common nowadays to set it up in different interpretations to see what their response is and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
I responded to this earlier, so I'll try to piece together what I wrote from memory.

The problem is that I don't understand why he would choose to use a metaphor from quantum mechanics in the first place. Is he using "multiple worlds theory" as a metaphor? If so, why mention the cat box, but not multiple worlds theory? Or is he simply borrowing a metaphor from quantum mechanics, and applying it to Umineko? In that case, why not just use a similar but different metaphor, to avoid the confusing quantum mechanics connotations? (oh wait he did - Braun tubes... and then he brought the cat box in, why exactly?)

Though, I'm no expert in quantum mechanics, so maybe it's just me who's confused. I got the point in the end. I just think it could have been explained more effectively. A flawed, but not fatally flawed metaphor.
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Old 2011-03-09, 23:54   Link #19
Chron
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Originally Posted by naikou View Post
Not to mention the extreme amounts of punctuation...................

But I can forgive the weird onomatopoeias. After all, it's a novel translated from Japanese, perhaps "Uooooaaaaaah" is more acceptable in that particular language. I wouldn't know.

I always found Umineko's pace to be fairly brisk, with a few notable exceptions. The romance scenes in EP2, the beginning of Ange's story in EP4, a few others.

The Chiru episodes especially move fairly quickly.

You use Christie, of all people, as an example? The only characters she ever managed to develop were Marple and Poirot, and even then, only because they get so many novels (Poirot would be what... a 50 story skyscraper, to use your metaphor?).

Even then, I cared far more about the cast of Umineko in EP1 than I do about most the victims in most mystery novels. Which is to say, still not very much, but more than "not at all". And by EP2 I had a vested interest in several of the characters - Rosa, Maria, Shannon, Battler, Kinzo.

I'll add that onto my reading list, though I haven't had good experiences with Queen novels in the past.

Carr is probably my favorite mystery author (yes, over Ryukishi), so kudos for that. But I wouldn't take his extremely clever locked rooms as the same kind of thing that Ryukishi accomplishes with Umineko. I don't know how much of a backing in philosophy you have, but one of my favorite parts about Umineko is that it goes for interesting, but rarely discussed issues in epistemology, and steers clear of boring and done-to-death metaphysics. And it actually discusses them well!

Many mystery writers do point out the challenges. Every Queen novel I've read has an aside where Queen says, "Alright, you can solve the mystery now! Go ahead! Re-read as many times as you like!"

But that's beside the point. Umineko isn't a mystery novel at it's heart - if anything it's a story about mysteries. It isn't for lack of subtlety that Ryukishi explains the mechanics of mystery novels - it's so that he can analyze them and build them back into something new. See EP5, in particular, with its rare evil detective.

Umineko is amateur, yes, and I agree that a few more rewrites would have helped. However, I do think it is an original concept. The mystery contained inside it is not original (the remote island during a storm is intentionally lampooning mystery novels, not mimicing them, I think), but Umineko is not only it's mystery aspect. That's only one component. There are way more interesting and important issues at stake than "whodunit".

Agreed. Although I hadn't seen a few of them before. The first twilight murders of EP3 come to mind.

The ideas are not original, but the presentation is very much so, which is really the most important part. Most of Shakespeare's work is "unoriginal", he got all of his plots from old folk stories, or other plays. But no one cares, because it's execution that counts.

And I should clarify, I don't think all fantasy novels merely imitate LotR, only bad ones do that. My personal favorite fantasy author, George R. R. Martin, has been stuck with writer's block for over 5 years, which is why I am even more impressed with Ryukishi's quick speed. It is probably too quick, as you say, but it is nonetheless impressive how good Umineko is for a first draft.

Well, mystery is a very big genre, Golden Age mysteries are a very small part of that genre. And that particular sub-genre has been out of steam since the 1930's. It's almost impossible to write a traditional mystery these days without sounding tongue-in-cheek. And I don't think Umineko belongs to that genre, which is the point I was trying to make earlier.

And I never intended to disparage the fantasy genre at all, only the idea that fantasy is 70% describing scenery, and 30% throwing characters in a blender, or however VladD put it. That's seriously, seriously misjudging how difficult the writing process is.
Regarding this in the translation thread, I've got to take some issue with what's asserted here. For example, the claim about Christie's characters being undeveloped.

Christie was a master of brevity. That's the difference between a plodding, overlong writer like Robert Jordan and someone like Patrick Rothfuss (Shortest 1000 page book I've ever read). Christie was able to fit more psychological characterization into a 200-page novel than Ryuukishi was able to over the course of four episodes.

To put it bluntly, And Then There Were None was a masterwork of character. In less than 200 pages a reader could understand the motivations of each individual character, their mindset, and justifying their actions even after their own demise.

And with as much clarity as most of the oversized cast of Umineko over 4 novels. Most of the fantasy cast is tacked on, or just there to serve as plot devices. We get no real insight into their states of mind, and even some of the core cast members, such as Hideyoshi, and most of the servants, get no character development over the course of the entire series.

Rather than develop characters, Ryuukishi just took our focus off of them by throwing new shinies to distract us from how shallow they were. In that regard, you could say that Umineko has inferior characterization to even Higurashi. Due to it's more limited cast, Ryuukishi spent each episode showing us the inner workings of most of the relevant cast members state of mind.

Saying that Dame Christie can't do characterization is a stunningly ignorant statement.
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Old 2011-03-10, 00:14   Link #20
naikou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chron
Christie was able to fit more psychological characterization into a 200-page novel than Ryuukishi was able to over the course of four episodes.
Eh. No.

You have a point about Ryukishi leaving many members of his cast undeveloped (Hideyoshi is a good example), but I would say that most of them are very well developed, which is impressive considering how many there are.

Part of the problem with Christie is that she often sacrifices character development for the sake of a plot twist or two. Frequently, there will be a last-minute villain who you never saw coming... because being a villain goes completely against the character that had been developed so far. Think the defendant (whatever his name was) in "Witness for the Prosecution", or the entire supporting cast of "Murder on the Orient Express".

Contrast this with EP7:
Spoiler:


I have no problem with Christie fans, but her novels do not work for me. I enjoyed them back when I read them in junior high, but now, looking back on them... ehhhh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chron
And with as much clarity as most of the oversized cast of Umineko over 4 novels. Most of the fantasy cast is tacked on, or just there to serve as plot devices. We get no real insight into their states of mind, and even some of the core cast members, such as Hideyoshi, and most of the servants, get no character development over the course of the entire series.
It's fine to have a few background characters, is it not? In terms of sheer volume, Christie's novels have far more undeveloped characters than Umineko. "And Then There Were None" is the exception to her work, rather than the rule, and there's a reason that novel is often cited as her best work.
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