Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode I-IV

Random introductory babble (actual Umineko 04 episode review comes after the next few paragraphs so you can skip this if you want):

Hiya, this is Taiyaki from this dead place here called Four Flavors of Taiyaki. I’ve been blogging since, like… somewhere around last quarter of 2007, except I’ve been doing it on and off so I guess it doesn’t really count. Anyway, my previous attempt at getting back into anime blogging was around the last winter season when Junjou Romantica 2 was still airing, but once that TV series had finally ended I sorta lost my motivation to keep doing episodic reviews.

However, there’s a new anime show this season that I actually feel like writing about, and that is Umineko no Naku Koro ni. I’m such a big fan of the series, and I’ve read all of the VNs that have been released so far. So yeah, I’m gonna be writing episodic summaries for this one. As for the rest of the summer shows, frankly I’m not interested in any of them (except for maybe Sora no Manimani). In fact, this is the only anime I’m planning to blog in a weekly basis until… well, this site dies again. Honestly, I don’t really know how much I’ll last this time, but I figured I could try and find a different approach for my blog and that’s why I went and changed its name. Maybe I can actually start writing about, you know, stuff I actually like… instead of blogging some shitty show just because nobody else gave a damn.

You can find the rest of the introductory babble here. Now, onto this week’s episode…

Episode I-IV: Blunder.

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This episode starts off with George mourning the death of his parents. He and the rest of the survivors are quickly chased out of the room though, since Natsuhi decides it’d be better to leave it locked in order to preserve the crime scene until the police came the next morning.

Suddenly, everybody notices an horrible stench in the air. Kanon and Kumasawa manage to locate the source of the smell: the boiler room. However, before entering the room they hear a sound coming from inside the basement. There had to someone there, but everybody else was in the parlor so it could only mean one thing: the culprit was inside the boiler room! Kumasawa gets panicked but Kanon quickly grabs a hatchet and dashes into the basement. There, he meets with…

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A bunch of golden butterflies… (hmm, I guess this is one of the main reasons people think magic does exist on Rokkenjima. And in this episode there were lots of them! Certainly, it’d be hard to find a scientific explanation for creatures such as these, so the only piece of advice I can give you so far is that you shouldn’t believe everything you see, specially if it comes from the POV of someone like Kanon who’s been shown as being a strong believer of the existence of Beatrice.)

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Unfortunately, the next victim turns out to be Kanon. He was attacked by… uhh, ‘Beatrice’ and pierced on chest with a stake. After that, the others end up discovering the source of the awful stench: Kinzo’s burnt corpse in the incinerator. But how were they able to tell it was really him? Apparently, this old dude was born with polydactyly and the corpse definitely had six toes on each foot, so that’s how they managed to confirm his identity.

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Now that they know the culprit could be anywhere in the mansion, staying in the parlor doesn’t sound so safe anymore… so Genji suggests they spend the night in Kinzo’s room. There, they begin talking about Grandfather and Genji reveals something about Beatrice: She’s Kinzo’s dead lover. Apparently, he was so madly in love with her that, when he lost her, he divulged himself into black magic in order to find a way to bring her back. ^^

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And then the characters realize something most anime watchers had probably already figured out a long time ago: the murders are being carried out according to the Witch’s epitaph. The six killed inside the storehouse from the rose garden were victims of the first twilight. Eva and Hideyoshi’s deaths are connected to the second one. The letter they found earlier at Eva/Hideyoshi’s room contained the message ‘Praise my name.’ which is a reference to the third twilight. Lastly, Kinzo’s and Kanon’s murders were part of the fourth and fifth twilights respectively.

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While Natsuhi, Battler, Jessica and George kept staring at the witch’s portrait, Maria suddenly points out that a letter has been set on the table from Kinzo’s room. But, wait! Natsuhi had previously cheked the table and there wasn’t a letter before…!! Which obviously meant that one of the eight inside the room had placed it there. None of the people who were standing close to Beatrice’s portrait could have done it, so the responsible of this could only have been Genji, Nanjo, Kumasawa or Maria! One of these four was working with the culprit!

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In the end, it was decided that they couldn’t trust in any of them so they dashed them out of the room. Shortly after that, though, they find out that Beatrice’s third letter didn’t just have a message telling them that the time was almost up, but also included another magic circle which turned out to be a symbol for ‘discord’. Could it be that it had been a trap from the culprit all along…?!

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Suddenly, they get a phone call from somewhere inside the mansion. Natsuhi picks up the phone but nobody seems to answer. That finally convinces them to get out of the room and check out the parlor… where they find the corpses of Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa lying on the floor, while Maria is just standing there facing a wall, singing some eerie song…

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While I admit it wasn’t as enjoyable as last week’s episode, this one had a few great moments. My favorite scene was probably Kanon’s encounter with ‘Beatrice’, and I liked how they kept that “Ahahaha!” sound effect which was also in the game! Maria had a lot of ridiculous expressions this time as well, but I’ve already gotten used to them so they don’t really bother me anymore. I hate how anime watchers keep bitching about Maria’s funny gestures every time a new episode airs. It’s like, yeah, we know they look stupid but nothing can be done about them anymore, so get over it!

Anyways, next week’s episode is the conclusion for EP I, and it’s titled Fool’s mate. Now that this bizarre ceremony is almost over, will the Witch finally be revived and show up herself this time…?

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One response

  1. If you have already gotten used to Maria’s weird expressions after far less than two hours’ screen time, imagine how ordinary it must be for the characters who must have seen it so often. :p

    I feel the same about the critics who can’t stop complaining about her faces.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:47 am

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