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Old 2011-03-10, 00:43   Link #21
Sherringford
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I feel like hating myself for saying the same thing twice, but since my post got deleted...Christie's characterization was specifically good for her thrillers. It went Thrillers>Marple novels>Poirot novels about characterization.

Her characters were more interesting to me than Umineko's almost every time, but it's a matter of personal

Christies' characters weren't as overblown as Ryuukishi's, which made them more real to me.
Spoiler:
's psycho rant felt hilariously cheesy to me. It didn't feel like a turn against her character, but it felt too easy.

Sure, some of the twists Christie put did make her characters seem like liars all the time, but it made for entertaining stories. Ryu's character wasn't so much a revelation as a silly declaration.

The villain revelation, while random at times(from a character development point of view, not an evidence based one), made certain novels feel much better when reading them a second time. Death on the Nile becomes very interesting once you know who the killer is. I recall having a reaction that went like this.

->Finding out who the killer is(before Poirot explained everything)
->Going "...son of a...but if that's true then..."
->Re-reading a few key scenes with him and screaming DAMN LIAAAAAAR
->Being satisfied at having cracked his lies.

Also, I dare say that a killer who isn't trying to hide his true character feels much more cheap to me than the other way around. Why, the bastard can plan a locked room that can puzzle god knows how many people but can't act like a regular person? Sure, I suppose that's realistic. But it feels boring to me.

To me, finding out that the creepy man who ate things that resembled human heads for his whole life is the killer isn't nearly as entertaining as being invited to a person's house, seeing how normal he is, and then finding a skeleton in his closet.

That's where taste comes in. I prefer that everyone appears perfectly normal until the clues give you enough power to crack their lies, and as such I prefer Christie. If I wanted to focus on character development, I probably wouldn't like her as much.

I suppose Ryu's work falls more into Chandler's style than Christie's, for the sake of comparison.
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Old 2011-03-10, 01:09   Link #22
naikou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford View Post
Spoiler:
's psycho rant felt hilariously cheesy to me. It didn't feel like a turn against her character, but it felt too easy.
For the record
Spoiler:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Sure, some of the twists Christie put did make her characters seem like liars all the time, but it made for entertaining stories.
For me, it's that there is ALWAYS a guaranteed blind-side twist in a Christie novel. But if you know it's coming, that half-ruins the surprise! It's sort of the same problem M. Night Shyamalan has - your work becomes about the twist, and everything else falls by the wayside. And if you don't include a twist, then all your fans are disappointed. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, to use an old phrase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
To me, finding out that the creepy man who ate things that resembled human heads for his whole life is the killer isn't nearly as entertaining as being invited to a person's house, seeing how normal he is, and then finding a skeleton in his closet.
Well, there's a balance to be found here. On the other extreme, there's finding out that your own grandfather, who you have lived with night and day for your entire life and has never shown any signs of derangement is actually a serial killer... it's surprising yeah, but it's so unbelievable.

From the JDC essay you showed me earlier:
"The fine detective story, be it repeated, does not consist of "a" clue, It is a ladder of clues, a pattern of evidence, joined together with such cunning that even the experienced reader may be deceived: untill, in the blaze of the surprise-ending, he suddenly sees the whole design"

The characters themselves, above all, should be a part of that design! You can't just write a mystery novel, and then draw a name out of the hat at the end for the culprit.

But then, I am being too harsh on poor Christie. She is certainly not that bad. Her novels just frustrate me at times, is all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
I suppose Ryu's work falls more into Chandler's style than Christie's, for the sake of comparison.
As an interesting aside, I know that Chandler and Hitchcock hated one another, because Chandler considered Hitchcock's stories to be too unbelievable (and Hitchcock thought he was a hack, but that aside). Now, don't get me wrong, I love Hitch - but Christie is even less believable than he is, I would think.

In terms of writing "real" characters, Ryukishi is probably closer to Chandler. But in terms of style, Umineko is naturally more similar to Christie, of course.

Last edited by naikou; 2011-03-10 at 01:22.
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Old 2011-03-10, 01:29   Link #23
Sherringford
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Originally Posted by naikou View Post
For the record
Spoiler:
Spoiler:


Quote:
For me, it's that there is ALWAYS a guaranteed blind-side twist in a Christie novel. But if you know it's coming, that half-ruins the surprise! It's sort of the same problem M. Night Shyamalan has - your work becomes about the twist, and everything else falls by the wayside. And if you don't include a twist, then all your fans are disappointed. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, to use an old phrase.
That is true. I kinda wish she had used a few pennames here and there, that might have helped her novels to be less predictable on the basis of not being predictable.

That "twist effect" did have the weird side-effect of making her more normal novels come off as a surprise to her fans though.

Quote:
Well, there's a balance to be found here. On the other extreme, there's finding out that your own grandfather, who you have lived with night and day for your entire life and has never shown any signs of derangement is actually a serial killer... it's surprising yeah, but it's so unbelievable.
True, but if you have evidence and unshakable logic(which Christie provided more often than not) to make the impossible possible, then you are left only surprised and astounded instead of doubtful.

Quote:
From the JDC essay you showed me earlier:
"The fine detective story, be it repeated, does not consist of "a" clue, It is a ladder of clues, a pattern of evidence, joined together with such cunning that even the experienced reader may be deceived: untill, in the blaze of the surprise-ending, he suddenly sees the whole design"

The characters themselves, above all, should be a part of that design! You can't just write a mystery novel, and then draw a name out of the hat at the end for the culprit.
That is fair, of course. But even the most normal of Christie's characters has some depth after a while. Admittedly, she admitted herself that she wrote her novels first, figured out who the reader would suspect the least, rewrote it to add clues and repacked it a bit.

But more often than not she has the good sense to also rewrite the characters to give off hints of their true nature. Sure she isn't Van Dine(who I'd say, despite his hatred for anything that wasn't related to puzzles, was quite good at making believable characters) but her characters did come off well at times.

There were times(Poirot's Christmas) when the twist felt so...twisty that I disliked the book. But she made me praise her more often than curse her(and in the case of Ackroyd, she made me do both).

Quote:
As an interesting aside, I know that Chandler and Hitchcock hated one another, because Chandler considered Hitchcock's stories to be too unbelievable (and Hitchcock thought he was a hack, but that aside). Now, down get me wrong, I love Hitch - but Christie is even less believable than he is, I would think.
Remember, Chandler hated absolutely everyone. Carr, Hitch, Van Dine, the list goes on. Chandler's poverty probably played a part in his hatred of the aristocratic detective/suspense genre, and the more-rich-than-him hardboiled writers earned their fair share of hatred from him as well.

His essay "the simple art of murder" is absolutely hilarious. He went on and on about how he hated both Golden Age and "the hardboiled babies" and just wrote detective fiction because it was the "only genre of fiction that wasn't pretentious."

I know this sounds stupid, but Chandler was completely tsundere about the genre. He wrote mysteries, he read them, he probably liked them, then went "I hate EVERYTHING!"

Quote:
In terms of writing "real" characters, Ryukishi is probably closer to Chandler. But in terms of style, Umineko is naturally more similar to Christie, of course.
I think it would probably be a mixture. Episodes 1-4 feel like a detectiveless Christie story while episode 5 feels like what Chandler would do to one of Christie's stories if he had the chance. The man really despised the Golden Age.

The puzzle plotting does match Christie better, that is true. His characters match Chandler's ideas better, which is true as well.

Shame those two ideas didn't mix that well. In theory, Chandler's complex characters and Christie's complex plots put together sounds like the day mankind invented the sandwich. But those two often get in the way of each other, as Umineko unfortunately demonstrated.
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Old 2011-03-10, 07:53   Link #24
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Agatha Christie wrote romances under the name "Mary Westmacott". The copies I've seen (printed long after her death) all had the byline "Agatha Christie writing as Mary Westmacott"; I'm not sure whether they were originally done without her real name.
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Old 2011-03-10, 12:40   Link #25
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Old 2011-03-14, 16:54   Link #26
naikou
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Now that we've got our thread, let's discuss some mystery!

Most important topic of discussion: Why did Knox and Van Dine get supporting characters, but not John Dickson Carr? :\
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Old 2011-03-14, 17:38   Link #27
Sherringford
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Now that we've got our thread, let's discuss some mystery!

Most important topic of discussion: Why did Knox and Van Dine get supporting characters, but not John Dickson Carr? :\
Clearly because anything based on him would cause the entire universe to shatter, even if he never spoke one single word. Just one word would be enough to kill absolutely everything that was related to fantasy.

Bernkastel would show up and claim to be the witch of miracles. The JDC character would show up and say "I am so much better than all of you it hurts. I AM THE MAN WHO CAN EXPLAIN MIRACLES!"

Then Bernkastel would die immediately and melt in the face of his amazing powers.

But seriously though, I kind of wish that each Chiru episode had a character based on one famous ruleset.

Episode 5 could be Knox, episode 6 could be Chandler, episode 7 could be Van Dine, and episode 8 could be Carr.

Carr's philosophy about how rules were just prejudices would be interesting. He could even use a different colored text. His definition of rules would even fit with gold!

Out of the two pieces that we do have though, I'd say Will is the best one. Dlanor is too much "appealing to loli fans despite being actually freaking tall if you look at her tip" and not enough mystery based, even if she does have her cool moments. Will on the other hand is the mystery genre incarnate so that's awesome.

Also, important question:

Is it just me or does it bother anyone else that Umineko refers to locked rooms as closed rooms? It's just that...I'm used to locked rooms! I don't know if it was a translating convention or if I just conditioned myself to the wrong term, but personally I've never heard "closed room" outside of Umineko. It's always "locked room."
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Old 2011-03-14, 19:39   Link #28
naikou
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I've always heard it as "locked room", as well. I have heard of "closed circles" before (which Umineko also features): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ClosedCircle

Dlanor's character design is terrible. I hated her when I first saw her... but after the tea party with Battler, Virgilia, and Dlanor, I actually kind of liked her character! Though there's no doubt Will is the better representative of mystery.

...except for the fact that he's really bad at the whole "explaining the mystery" thing at the end. D:
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Old 2011-03-14, 20:07   Link #29
Sherringford
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Yeah I've heard of closed circles before. Just not closed rooms.

I thought Dlanor was a pretty annoying character at first, but she got more interesting after that tea party. Will was great, but unfortunately Ryu limited him too much.

Seriously, Erika is okay and all but she got way, way too much screentime. If he wanted to make a point about the genre, he should have used Will for longer.

We never got a Battler vs Will fight as well, which I found rather disappointing.

Another thing I found weird is how Ryu went for basically every cliche except the dying message one.
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Old 2011-03-14, 21:41   Link #30
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"Closed room" has a very specific definition in Umineko which is supposed to differentiate it from a "locked room." Presumably one can be one, but not the other.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beatrice, ep3
The term closed room refers to a room where the inside and the outside of the room are completely separated. Obviously, for any form of intrusion or escape, no intervention is possible. That comprehensively includes a denial of hidden doors, as well as all margin for intervention from the outside.
I suppose he wanted to use "closed room" because later he would create rooms which were effectively only "locked" by authorial fiat. Nothing actually makes the Logic Error room a locked room, for example, except that Erika says it is.

Unfortunately, the dialogue in ep1-4 appears to use the terms interchangeably, including before Beatrice actually defines it (it's used in ep1 by the actual characters) so I think Ryukishi just forgot.

It could also be a translation thing, I dunno.
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Old 2011-03-15, 00:33   Link #31
naikou
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Originally Posted by Renall
I suppose he wanted to use "closed room" because later he would create rooms which were effectively only "locked" by authorial fiat. Nothing actually makes the Logic Error room a locked room, for example, except that Erika says it is.
Even "locked room" in the traditional mystery sense doesn't always mean "locked". Often, mystery authors will simply have a door that is watched for the entire time by a neutral party, like the detective. This means no one could have possibly entered or exited that door, even though it wasn't technically locked, but they are still referred to as "locked rooms" by genre convention.

So even in that sense, the terms mean the same thing.

It's possible, though, that "closed room" and "locked room" have evolved as separate synonyms in Japan, now that I think about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherringford
Another thing I found weird is how Ryu went for basically every cliche except the dying message one.
That is a little bit strange, there weren't any cryptic messages in blood throughout the series, were there? Well, the bank account numbers, and the magic runes, I guess. But those were obviously not dying messages.
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Old 2011-03-15, 03:22   Link #32
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There was that paint that was supposed to resemble blood. But rather than Ryu going for a cliche message, it was one of his characters that was going for it. Which was meant for us to understand as an attempt to fake some blood...
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Old 2011-03-16, 09:48   Link #33
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Ep4 has something vaguely similar when Jessica and Kyrie give what are supposedly their dying messages to Battler over the phone.
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Old 2011-03-16, 14:50   Link #34
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"By the time you have read this, I will probably be dead. Please find out the truth. That's my only wish" in-a-bottle sounds a lot like the standard dying message to me... Well, at least before ep4, when things start getting complicated. Although, I think Ange was the only one to ever read that and she's not exactly a detective, so maybe it doesn't count?

Last edited by naever; 2011-03-16 at 15:33.
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Old 2011-03-16, 17:22   Link #35
Sherringford
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A dying message isn't just a message someone gives before dying. In the mystery genre, it's something with a hidden meaning said as cryptically and weirdly as possible. So I wouldn't count the "find out the truth" one as a dying message.
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Old 2011-03-16, 19:48   Link #36
Chron
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A dying message isn't just a message someone gives before dying. In the mystery genre, it's something with a hidden meaning said as cryptically and weirdly as possible. So I wouldn't count the "find out the truth" one as a dying message.
That felt like more of a reference to Higurashi than any kind of mystery novel throwback, to be honest.

He closes the first chapter by challenging us to discover the truth, and then finishes the story by telling us "Yeah, about that, total waste of time."

...
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Old 2011-03-16, 20:15   Link #37
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In the mystery genre, it's something with a hidden meaning said as cryptically and weirdly as possible.
So you're saying that the message bottles definitely do not have a hidden meaning that's hidden in a cryptical and weird way within, say, a bizarre fantasy/ mystery story?
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Old 2011-03-16, 20:26   Link #38
Sherringford
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So you're saying that the message bottles definitely do not have a hidden meaning that's hidden in a cryptical and weird way within, say, a bizarre fantasy/ mystery story?
That doesn't count as a dying message. If you want to count it as one, go ahead. No one is stopping you. But to me it feels like really pushing it.

...Especially since the message bottles were written before the incidents.
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Old 2011-03-16, 21:01   Link #39
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Shhh don't say that to Renall.

Anyway it's not like it's a bad thing that Umineko missed one of the most overused cliche, why do you even want to find a way to claim it's there?
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Old 2011-03-16, 21:20   Link #40
Sherringford
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I'm not, I'm just noting how he went for basically every cliche except that one(which admittedly just wouldn't work in Umineko).

Unless you are talking to Leaf in which case "woops, my bad."
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