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Old 2010-05-06, 00:35   Link #9801
Renall
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Presumably by this accounting Featherinne is on level 5? Or is she on a level purporting to be a level 7 (where the author is), but not really, because she's not the actual author?
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Old 2010-05-06, 00:37   Link #9802
Kylon99
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Don't forget in EP6 that people can traverse up these levels. For example Moetrice and Virgilia going into the meta level and Featherine's level. Yay.

Except the characters can't come up to our level. I hope.
/me looks at the cosplay board.

EDIT: If Hachijou is not lying or is real and Featherine is her character then she's yet another level by herself...
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Old 2010-05-06, 00:48   Link #9803
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I'm not sure about this different levels thing. Maybe the different backgrounds have something to do with that? There is the bright tea room that Beatrice normally uses and then there is dark tea room that Lambda and Bern mostly appear in. There's also the voyager space where there are "fragments" from past games.

That and Beato does seem to have some oversight over the board. How much I don't know. I think she at least has control over perspectives about the murders, but maybe if someone who is not supposed to be a murderer (Erika) murders someone than the GM doesn't have oversight over that, but a different player controlling that piece does.

There are also the flashbacks that Beato takes Battler to in episode 3 so I think she has some control over what her opponent is allowed to see. In fact maybe Battler never saw any scenes from the meta world that Beato didn't show to him.
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Old 2010-05-06, 00:50   Link #9804
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Presumably by this accounting Featherinne is on level 5? Or is she on a level purporting to be a level 7 (where the author is), but not really, because she's not the actual author?
Well, to quote, "it's turtles all the way down" -- I actually forgot about Featherinne.

In particular Bernkastel, though, seems to be engaged in some kind of daydreaming process, which associates her with a character -- always only one, Bernkastel herself. This is why she is able to know that 'someone wrote what happens now to me', (not an exact quote, but seen in Ep5) and still comment on it and enjoy the process -- she is detached as if reading. At the same time, we are capable of seeing that so we're either above a layer or two in this meta-ladder, or at least sideways. Lambdadelta does not exhibit such a level of awareness, and her attempts to catch Bernkastel resemble attempts to capture a reader indefinitely by presenting her a chess match she isn't even playing in herself or writing about herself, but can present to the author's eye.

I think that Erika works in a similar manner, but much closer down to earth -- it's not just that only Meta-Erika exists, but that's two layers of Meta-Erika. One is an interpretation of events on layer 1, another is the one who does the interpreting.
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Old 2010-05-06, 00:56   Link #9805
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I'm not sure that by now, Ryukishi himself knows how many layers of reality he plastered one over another, for that matter. He clearly doesn't think of them as very rigid.

But I'm sure that the level where the onboard magic happens and the level where Meta-Battler drinks tea with a Beatrice are clearly distinct, so there's at least three.
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Old 2010-05-06, 01:02   Link #9806
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
I'm not sure that by now, Ryukishi himself knows how many layers of reality he plastered one over another, for that matter. He clearly doesn't think of them as very rigid.
Well, when I read him scrambling the layers up, and now that he's suggested that EP5 and 6 are answers, I tend to think of this as validation that it all doesn't matter. He's intentionally piling it and messing it up because if it collapses it will either serve his purpose (in messing with our heads) or have no consequences to the story.

I certainly don't believe he did this by accident or that it's grown out of control...
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Old 2010-05-06, 01:11   Link #9807
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Originally Posted by Kylon99 View Post
He's intentionally piling it and messing it up because if it collapses it will either serve his purpose (in messing with our heads) or have no consequences to the story.

I certainly don't believe he did this by accident or that it's grown out of control...
This happens in every game though. Fact after fact piles up until it reaches a distorted climax where shocking the readers is it's main function. It's milder in the earlier games, but it's more profound in the later games. Particularly the ones since 3 and 4 because that's where it starts becoming obvious.
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Old 2010-05-06, 01:28   Link #9808
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Originally Posted by Judoh View Post
This happens in every game though. Fact after fact piles up until it reaches a distorted climax where shocking the readers is it's main function. It's milder in the earlier games, but it's more profound in the later games. Particularly the ones after 3 and 4 because that's where it starts becoming obvious.
Oh that's true. I think I've become numb to the shocks at the end of the games since I'm ready for them, though. 8)

If you're talking about game-spanning anti-theories though, I might cite the Shkannon theory. I'm thinking that he can make it as blatant as he wants because in the end it's actually something else or it has no effect on the murders.

So, I'm thinking the theories that he builds up into a big pile of mess are the wrong ones. And the ones he just gives us the answer to are the right ones. (Although it's too late if he just gives us the answer.)
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Old 2010-05-06, 08:08   Link #9809
Raiza Sunozaki
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
It should be. But it's possible we're dealing with a much thicker layered cake:
  1. Where things really happen. Where Piece-Battler lives.
  2. Where interpretations happen. This is what Meta-Battler sees and where Virgilia and Ronove live, peeking one or two layers up from time to time. Virgilia, in particular, practically ascends in Ep5.
  3. Where interpretations are constructed. This is where Meta-Battler actually is drinking tea with Meta-Beatrice, somewhere very virtual.
  4. Where the interpretations can be judged to fit or not fit the truth and are focused into a complete theory. This is where Lambdadelta seems to live and normally a layer where the Gamemaster is.
  5. Where the first layer of the readers, us, should be, but instead, Bernkastel seems to be sitting alone, reading about what she herself is doing one level below.
  6. That's where us the readers are.

Bernkastel is on level 5, but is normally seen on level 4, and never sees the board directly at all. Erika 'dips down' one level further, and is on level 3 while being seen on level 2, never actually getting down to the bare metal. Battler and Beatrice actually exist simultaneously on the first three, which is why their meta versions can interact with the board sort of directly, but Erika can't.

Or some other convoluted mess along those lines.
I like your layers Oliver. It does a pretty good job of sorting out the meta-mess of Umineko. Another layer you forgot though. The mini-meta that Jessica, George, Shannon and Kanon have access to in Episode 6. Borrowing your list for a moment, I'd place it on the same level as Level 2, but as a seperate one.

From looking at various meta-characters though, it seems that most characters can move two levels lower. Meta-Battler spends most of his time on Level 3 with Beato, but both of them can move down to Level 1. If you're right, and Erika doesn't interact with Level 1, then her level of origin would be Level 4 or 5.

Sorry, I'm just having a bit of fun with this idea.
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Old 2010-05-06, 10:51   Link #9810
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Raiza Sunozaki View Post
From looking at various meta-characters though, it seems that most characters can move two levels lower. Meta-Battler spends most of his time on Level 3 with Beato, but both of them can move down to Level 1. If you're right, and Erika doesn't interact with Level 1, then her level of origin would be Level 4 or 5.
Well, if you follow the layer idea, notice that Meta-Battler, when he descends to layer 1, does not actually interact with it, he sees it in paused time -- like stopping the storyteller's narrative to ask a question. This is a prerequisite to forming an interpretation -- collating all knowledge that seeps to him from the first-person Piece-Battler into a non-space non-time worldlike environment. Nobody actually sees Meta-Battler down there. Just like an idea about what happened cannot interact with what really happened until it is put into words or used to decide on actions, as long as it does not affect things it's existence is too virtual to notice. Also notice that Piece-Battler pretty unambiguously exists, just like Beatrice has at least one and possibly more physical hosts that are 'her'. And once in Ep4, when Lambdadelta addresses ANGE who is wandering around on what I presume is layer 3, notice that it is also described as time stopping...

The only three layers I'm sure in are the first three -- physical layer 1, intersubjective interpretational layer 2, referential reasoning layer 3, and what shows in the narrative in non-meta scenes is inevitably layer 2. Everything above that is a meta-meta-mess that is only very roughly structured.

I should also note that all of the layers in this cake are in some senses real, even the ones from Bernkastel and up. Atoms are not the only reality, because the really important human things are intersubjective cultural entities, completely virtual in nature -- starting with money and the concept of value and ending with friendship and love, there's very little material about being human. These things objectively exist, because their consequences can be seen in material objects and events when humans act, but the space they exist in is virtual space that isn't even contained in an individual person's brain.

Sorry, I'm on a roll. Let me expand some more on the topic of Erika as a virtual character...

I'm not sure which layer Erika really is supposed to be from and how deep down to the atoms she can really reach, but she's referred to as 'being in a different dimension' several times, does meta-things in what we think should be layer 1 but is probably layer 2, (like those screams relating to Battler's Kinzo Escape Theory -- in layer 1 but in blue) employs blue and calls upon Dlanor's red in what is unambiguously layer 2, but curiously seldom does anything physical that we can certainly see. She starts with the introduction scene where she is seen eating with the family and offers lines that cannot be easily ascribed to anyone else, but very soon after -- once the gold is found -- completely transforms into a magic-style phantom, seen and talked to, but even more ambiguous than Kanon, who's best claim to definitely existing is also his introduction scene when Battler sees him. In particular, none of Erika's seals are ever seen practically in the narrative, there is only one seal clearly described in the text of Ep5, and that's the seal on the servant waiting room door where Genji is. As is later revealed, Eva made that one.

Other stuff Erika is claimed to do is either physically impossible in the time allotted, highly impractical, or simply too vague -- like her 'scientific examinations' that never go into real detail. Comparing two sets of fingerprints to conclusively tell if they match is easy, takes just a magnifying glass and a few pages worth of instructions to follow. I did that myself once. Lifting clear, readable prints off objects takes considerably more practice. Ensuring you have a set of prints you definitely know are Genji's or Kinzo's to compare with when their owners are missing is art, if it's at all possible. I'm pretty certain that while Battler reaches up the layers from the humble Piece-Battler where he originates, Erika reaches down, the red truth she 'supports' with physical evidence is really just red truth she needs an excuse to call upon.

The real problem with Erika being a magical/meta character that is seen in the narrative we get from layer 2 up, but does not exist on layer 1, instead of a normal person, only arise when her name is used in red, because that raises the usual problem of ambiguity of the red regarding names. If it weren't for the red, it would not require to make sense, or at least, I wouldn't need to put the particular layer relationship system into words to talk about it -- expressing it through feelings and metaphor would suffice.

The only way red can be objective truth to be relied on is if it's independent of interpretation and refers to layer 1 objects, even when it uses layer 2 entities (which names are -- there is nothing physical that attaches a name to a human body) to refer to them. If red actually refers to layer 2 objects, there would be nothing sporting about it -- Beatrice could lie in red because she would be expressing someone's subjective truth. But if a layer 2 name-entity is allowed to attach itself to multiple layer 1 objects, like Erika's name being somehow transferable, or if a corpse does not need to be called a corpse in red, red is simply too ambiguous to use because we have no way of telling where else that happened. Either way, boom, we don't have axioms anymore.

It may be that the only practical way to make it all make sense is when Erika actually has an object present on level 1 that she is always attached to, but this object is not a human body -- i.e. if a literal 'Erika Ball' exists. Which reminds me that before Ep5 came out, when an image existed but even the name wasn't yet known, Erika was widely speculated to be a magical character who's vessel is Maria's rose in this very thread.

I don't think there's any seriously good hints regarding what that could be, though.
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Old 2010-05-07, 08:39   Link #9811
Raiza Sunozaki
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I agree that the red would refer to the Layer 1 objects, but I also think it can also refer to Layer 2 objects. To be more specific, I think the red is the absolute truth of the Layers below the Layer it is used in. Since most of the red is used in Layer 3, then most of the absolute truth in the games is of Layer 1 and 2.
Along with this, I believe that names, Layer 2 objects, are permanently affixed to the Layer 1 objects they are attached to. Let me use a chessboard for example (because I feel like cliched metaphors today). The Layer 1 of the chessboard would be the world of the pieces, the board of the game. Here, the pieces are moved around, and assuming consciousness of the pieces, are likely not aware they are being controlled by players, like the characters on Rokkenjima. Secondly, Layer 2, where the names that are assigned by us to the pieces, like bishop, pawn or rook, exist. These names are assigned to specific pieces and cannot be changed. Thirdly, Layer 3, the players. Here, the players move the pieces, whether or not the pieces in Layer 1 must comply to their movements or are coincidently matching the game the players are playing. Say a player moved his rook and took the other player's bishop. Then, he stated in red "Left Rook has killed White Bishop." In context, this is correct, as by the rules of chess a piece cannot be returned to the game once it is taken, and the rook really has killed the bishop on Layer 1. And the red holds for both Layer 1 and 2, as the piece is dead on Layer 1, and the assigned name to that piece on Layer 2, White Bishop, has been used to describe it in it's death.
Well, that's my attempt to solve your problem with the red and layers.

Off topic, is there anything you haven't done Oliver? You seem to have quite repertoire of experiences.
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Old 2010-05-07, 10:33   Link #9812
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Raiza Sunozaki View Post
Say a player moved his rook and took the other player's bishop. Then, he stated in red "Left Rook has killed White Bishop." In context, this is correct, as by the rules of chess a piece cannot be returned to the game once it is taken, and the rook really has killed the bishop on Layer 1. And the red holds for both Layer 1 and 2, as the piece is dead on Layer 1, and the assigned name to that piece on Layer 2, White Bishop, has been used to describe it in it's death.
Well, that's my attempt to solve your problem with the red and layers.
Unfortunately it doesn't quite end with that. Here's the problem more formally:
  • We are aware that at least two pieces, and possibly more, have more than one legit name. In particular, we have the Shannon/Sayo and Kanon/Yoshua (or whatever the proper spelling is).
  • These names are clearly also non-transferrable, like the normal ones seen in the family register -- "The only one who can claim Kanon's name is the person himself!". It would not be a problem to treat them as perfectly equivalent just like "Battler" and "Battler-kun", which aren't even different names but the same name with an extra honorific, grammatically not part of a name.
  • Normally, when the statement "Shannon is dead" is true, it is necessary that "Sayo is dead" is true too, as "being dead" is a biological property of a physical object on layer 1 that both of these names, layer 2 objects, are attached to.
  • It has been posed that at least some of these names actually refer not to biological objects but to layer 2 objects of their own. I.e. that "Shannon" is the same entity type as "Virgilia" and it is possible to say that "Shannon is dead" in red without necessitating that "Sayo is dead" is also true. This is one of the bases of the Shkanon theory with numerous variants.
  • In a proper formal system that would be quite silly, since it would make 'being dead' a property of objects other than physical layer 1 objects. A name can't be dead, just like a sub-personality of any kind is not forever dead, being never properly alive in the first place.
  • No entities that unambiguously belong to layer 2 are normally referred to in red -- you never see "Virgilia" mentioned in red text, nor do you see "Ronove" in there. But some clear exceptions exist. In particular, Beatrice refers to herself in red ("I keep my promises.") and in Ep5 onward, Virgilia refers to Beatrice in red. ("Beato never committed murder for the sake of pleasure.")
  • Generally, since only layer 1 objects can 'commit murder' (No court will let you get away with claiming demonic possession.) or 'be dead', even though one of the things required for a murder definition ("intent") is an interpretational layer 2 property, we should assume that "Beatrice" as used in red is an alias, an extra name, that applies to one specific layer 1 person, who can 'commit murder', but probably doesn't, following from that red. There is no problem with other people doing any things attributed to 'Beatrice' as long as it's not said in red she is the one responsible. As long as this name is not reassignable in red, it works fine, and 'Beatrice' seen by Battler can be more than 'one individual woman' as Bernkastel hints all the way back in Ep1.
  • But in particular, Erika is referred to in red in location lists along with people, and then, in the end of Ep6, is extinguished by restating the number of people on the island in red: "Sorry, but even counting, you there are 17 people." ("申し訳ないが、 そなたを迎えても、17人だ。").
  • It is reasonable to read the red by Lambdadelta in the beginning of Ep5, "Furudo Erika only increases it by one person." as increasing the "there is no more than X people on the island" counter, as before, that's what it has been, an upper limit rather than a clear statement. Then, it is no problem to say that "now that Erika is here, there's no more than 18 people on the island." even if the real number of people is 17. But Erika's own red continues posing a problem: "I am the visitor, the 18th person on Rokkenjima!!" ("我こそは来訪者ッ、六軒島の18人目の人間ッ!!!")
  • We bump into a translation problem here because I think the original Japanese may not necessarily imply Erika stating she's a person, just that she is a character. Characters can be layer 2 entities if the author wants them to be, while people need to have a layer 1 foundation, a body. Then this exchange of red would amount to Battler and Beatrice indirectly saying Erika does not have a human body to call her own, which would be nothing unusual from the hints I listed above.
  • Except for one thing. Erika has a location defined in red in multiple cases, and a location is a property of a layer 1 object! Names don't have a location, and even "Virgilia" doesn't. Going with that chess metaphor you used, it would essentially translate into a physical wooden rook appearing on the board and then disappearing.
  • This can be avoided by treating the name "Erika" as an extra alias of someone else on the board, i.e. a new name that is permanently attached to a layer 1 body.
  • But there's very few bodies this name can be attached to, and permanently doing that seems to cause contradictions in the red, the easiest way to solve which is to make it reassignable. Then we don't know if any other names are also reassignable, which impedes our ability to use red in reasoning as an axiom...
  • A strict variant of 'Erika Ball' theory is possible, in which the name is attached to a material object that is not a human body, that can be transferred between people. That would make the 'red' interpretable strictly again sacrificing very little. But I don't see such an object listed in the text. In fact, the list of things people give each other in Umineko is rather short, and mostly contains various keys, guns, and the head ring...
Finding the correct solution to that is important to 'clean up' the red that refers to Shannon and Kanon in earlier episodes and understanding what it's really meant to say.

It may, ofcourse, be better to ignore the whole Erika issue and assume it's there to confuse us, the mystery is supposed to be solvable with episodes 1-4 only. But it's not like complete working theories of the entire Umineko have not been proposed before, and none of them seems to win -- which means that while the correct solution is probably reachable, the clues required to see it as the only correct one are not yet present and will only show up piece by piece in Chiru.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiza Sunozaki View Post
Off topic, is there anything you haven't done Oliver? You seem to have quite repertoire of experiences.
I'm much less of a man of adventure than I come out to be, but being a social scientist studying subcultures tends to offer opportunities to see and participate in things normally considered bizarre.
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Old 2010-05-07, 21:14   Link #9813
Kairi_Jenn
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Originally Posted by Thunder Book View Post
In Episode 5, when Battler says

Spoiler for Episode 5 Spoilers I guess:


What is is that he's referencing?
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni... I think. There are so many Higurashi references that I can't see it being something else. xD
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Old 2010-05-07, 23:13   Link #9814
Shiro Kaisen
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
Unfortunately it doesn't quite end with that. Here's the problem more formally:
  • This can be avoided by treating the name "Erika" as an extra alias of someone else on the board, i.e. a new name that is permanently attached to a layer 1 body.
  • But there's very few bodies this name can be attached to, and permanently doing that seems to cause contradictions in the red, the easiest way to solve which is to make it reassignable. Then we don't know if any other names are also reassignable, which impedes our ability to use red in reasoning as an axiom...
  • A strict variant of 'Erika Ball' theory is possible, in which the name is attached to a material object that is not a human body, that can be transferred between people. That would make the 'red' interpretable strictly again sacrificing very little. But I don't see such an object listed in the text. In fact, the list of things people give each other in Umineko is rather short, and mostly contains various keys, guns, and the head ring...

I proclaim that Erika Furudo is the detective. It's entirely possible that this does not imply "Erika=Detective" but "Detective=Erika!" In other words, whatever piece Bernkastel chooses to be her detective for that game gains the title "Erika!" In other words, if Bernkastel had chosen Eva, for example, as the detective, then any time that "Erika" was referred to in red, it would refer to Eva! Because "Erika" would be the detective's title, if a new character was chosen by Bernkastel in the Sixth Game, a different character would be able to be called "Erika!" Additionally, what if Bernkastel can switch what piece she controls? Then multiple characters would be able to be referred to as "Erika" even during the course of one game!

(Yes, this causes a contradiction regarding the sealed room in Episode 6, due to the people being sealed inside. But still, it's worth considering, especially since the red is very intriguing in its possible implications)
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Old 2010-05-08, 00:08   Link #9815
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So then who is Battler's favorite character?
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Old 2010-05-08, 01:10   Link #9816
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Originally Posted by Kairi_Jenn View Post
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni... I think. There are so many Higurashi references that I can't see it being something else. xD
I'm pretty sure this one isn't a Higurashi reference. Unless his favorite character is Takano and she said something I'm not aware of. I don't remember anyone saying anything this descriptive.

It's possible that this is a reference from an actual novel novel instead of a sound novel. He had to read at least one right?
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Old 2010-05-08, 01:49   Link #9817
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Originally Posted by Shiro Kaisen View Post
(Yes, this causes a contradiction regarding the sealed room in Episode 6, due to the people being sealed inside. But still, it's worth considering, especially since the red is very intriguing in its possible implications)
Depends. Arguably, it is self-evident that Erika is not inside either room by the construction of the scene. Certainly even if Erika did have a physical body she wouldn't have intended herself to count as "all other persons." If we want to think on the context, we can argue that the definition of "all other persons" acknowleged by Battler means all people who are not:
  • The "victims" of the First Twilight.
  • The people specifically enumerated in the other room.
  • Erika or the piece assigned the identity "Erika."
  • Kinzo.
The definition of "all other persons" seems to take these points into account. This was, if nothing else, what Erika intended. Whether this is what Battler actually acknowledged I couldn't say.
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Old 2010-05-08, 15:49   Link #9818
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As far as these levels go, what level do the witch tea parties from episode 1-4 take place?
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Old 2010-05-08, 16:21   Link #9819
Oliver
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Originally Posted by CainSonozaki View Post
As far as these levels go, what level do the witch tea parties from episode 1-4 take place?
The layer where Battler interacts with Beatrice is layer 3, the one above the interpretational layer 2 where interpretations of events happen.

That with the exception of the very first tea party, which actually marks a transition from a dual-layer 'human' view of the world ("there are things, (1) and there are things we think about things (2)") to a triple or more layer view ("there are things, (1) there are things we think about things, (2) and there are things we think about whether what we just thought is true. (3) ").

Interactions with Bernkastel and Lambdadelta mostly occur with them peeking down from layer 4 into layer 3.

Mind you, I'm not sure Ryukishi thinks of them in such a structured manner.
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Old 2010-05-08, 19:27   Link #9820
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It probably could be something a Japanese person would be really familiar with, and not a Western person.

Still, it bothers me not knowing.
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