Umineko no Naku Koro Ni Episode 4 – Thoughts

By: NegativeZero

Feb 25 2010

tags: ,

Category: Games

1 Comment »

It’s been a while since I finished Episode 3 of Umineko no Naku Koro Ni. I actually started playing this ages ago, but didn’t get very far in and stopped because I had the completely misguided idea that maybe I could watch Deen’s utterly horrible anime adaption in lieu of playing the game. Damn you, hindsight! I wish I hadn’t held off on this for so long, because by now pretty much anything I say is already going to be old news and superseded by Episode 5 revelations, so as usual I’m probably wildly off. No episode 5 spoilers please, let me finish it first :)

Overall I don’t think Episode 4 was anywhere near as strong as 3 was. The plot, while more complex, had a lot of downtime and took an absolute age to get interesting. Additionally I think it lacked the same level of tightness that Episode 3 had, primarily because the story plays out in Maria’s past, Ange’s future, the Typhoon *and* the Meta-game. Probably the aspect I least liked was how much time was spent reinforcing that Maria and Ange both have shitty lives, though in the end this turned out to be fairly important to the plot, it was very heavy-handed in its execution and honestly made me dislike Maria even more than I already do. I almost ended up sympathising with Rosa more. Imagine having to deal with a child like Maria. uuu~ uuu~.

But I digress. This episode didn’t really solve or clarify the events of the previous episode. However it does end up cutting off several major theories, which is useful. I particularly like the new Blue Text / Red Text dynamic, it finally feels like the game between Battler and Beatrice is purposeful. It also contained a very important statement from Lambdadelta and Bernkastel in the reverse tea party at the end. Specifically, there is no way for Beatrice to win. This means that there *does* exist a physical, non-magical solution to the entire situation. This was fairly obvious already, but it is nice to have the game categorically confirm it in this manner because there was always an outside chance that there wasn’t a solution. We also know from their statements that the bulk of Battler’s theories are completely wrong, even though Beatrice hasn’t denied them herself. I suspect that some of them are fairly close to correct in a few cases, but there are some that are clearly off too.

This episode raised two very large and very important questions regarding the actual identities of our two game participants. Who is Beatrice? She – or someone called Beatrice at least – clearly existed at some point, and it was clear that her origin and identity is a major plot point which we lack most of the details regarding. Solving this will very likely get us much closer to the whole solution. Her deliberately asking Battler about this was a very major hint.

The other question is, of course, who is Battler? We’ve been led to believe so far that he’s the son of Rudolf and a woman who has not appeared in the games that passed away years before. However we’ve now found out that his parentage is not confirmed, which throws a lot of his backstory into doubt, as he now must be considered to be essentially an untrustworthy narrator. Additionally there’s the question about his ’sin’ which Beatrice seemed to be so upset about. From the context this was discussed, it clearly relates to his parents and something that he did in the past. It’s vitally important that we unlock this mystery, as we’ve been told that whatever it was that Battler did set everything into motion. However, despite Beatrice’s very negative response to Battler’s lack of knowledge, they are apparently not acquainted at all. Honestly I have no idea what is going on with this particular plot point, but I suspect that these two major questions are probably inter-related. It is entirely possible that her assertion that the two are not related is a case of splitting hairs.

We receive confirmation in this game that the hidden second mansion, Kuwadorian, does indeed exist hidden in the forests in Rokkenjima. Additionally, somewhere inside the main family mansion there is a path which leads to this secret mansion – Nanjo mentions specifically that he was taken there by Kinzo. In addition to this, we have the knowledge that, around 10 years before the family is murdered, the secret shipments of luxury goods to Kuwadorian suddenly ceased. This ties in very nicely with the general timeframe of the story which Rosa gave us during Episode 2, where she mentioned that she had found the secret mansion and met a girl there who died after falling from a cliff as they tried to make their way back to the main mansion together. I still have my doubts about the veracity of the details of her story – it seems to me to be entirely inside Rosa’s character to have pushed the girl off a cliff – but I think we can at least take elements of it as being true. Specifically, there was a hidden mansion, a girl lived there, Kinzo visited it regularly, and after the girl died the mansion was essentially sealed off.

My personal theory here is probably fairly simple and obvious but I think it ties into various hints and side comments we’ve had. I think Kinzo knew a Beatrice. She was probably a woman of around similar age to him, and lived in Kuwadorian. I think that Kinzo had a child with that Beatrice, and then she died. Beatrice II was raised in secret, and Kinzo probably raised her in the image of her mother. To Kinzo she was probably essentially Beatrice reincarnated. Recall his comments about having ‘bound Beatrice to him’ and so on. Her parentage would also explain why she would have a strong claim to the Ushiromiya fortune. But she died (escaped him), and Kinzo’s other children were a disappointment to him, leaving him with no one he felt worthy of continuing after him. If you consider Beato to be little more than a girl concieved in secret who died before her time and maybe haunts the island, then this also ties in with Lambdadelta’s remarks regarding her origins as a ‘pitiful soul’ that is essentially only using LD’s powers as a witch.

Returning now to Battler, it is very important to note that he is definitely the grand-child of Kinzo. This means that there are six (if you count the above theory) possible connections he may have to Kinzo. Rudolf, Krauss, Eva, Rosa, Beatrice I, or Beatrice II. The current facts laid out in red do not actually preclude any of these things. What was invalidated was Battler’s assumption that the woman he knew as his mother was his actual mother. His father being Rudolf has not been ruled out. Additionally there’s the splitting hairs issue I mentioned before. Beatrice says that she and Battler are not ‘acquainted’ with each other. This means they have not ever exchanged words, have not been formally introduced etc. If Beatrice was his mother, but died in childbirth, then Battler would not be acquainted with her. Similarly if he was given to his ‘mother’ immediately after birth. Beatrice and Battler could easily be related (mother/son or brother/sister) in the latter case, and the connection would be quite allowable within the confines of Beatrice’s assertion. If this is the case – and I’m not convinced of it myself, but I have to admit it seems plausible – then it might explain why she was so upset at Battler.

Of course, some kind of horribly melodramatic plot where Girl-Beatrice and Rudolf have some kind of secret love affair culminating in Battler, with Rosa following Rudolf to one of his secret meetings after and then pushing the girl off a cliff in rage or something seems to be needlessly convoluted, and a simple application of Occam’s razor probably would suggest that Battler is simply the son of Rudolph and Kyrie and there was some kind of cover-up and baby switch.

Either way, we know from this episode that Kinzo was definitely alive at the outset of each episode, that Shannon and Kanon somehow are able to remember previous iterations, and that Maria is even more irritating than we previously thought.

Image Source: Pixiv

One Response to “Umineko no Naku Koro Ni Episode 4 – Thoughts”

  1. It’s pretty rare and interesting to hear the opinion of someone who hasn’t been spoiled by the answer arcs these days. NegativeZero has had a history of guessing things right before reaching the Episode it’s revealed in, and I’m glad to see that hasn’t changed.
    …However, I’m pretty sure it confirms that Kinzo was dead at the start of each Episode, not alive.

    In case you weren’t aware, Ryuukishi claims that it’s possible to solve “the entirety of Beatrice’s game” from just Episodes 1-4, so you should feel free to make as many theories as you like before getting too far into EP5.

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