Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 22 – I am (not) thankful for Maria’s deformed faces

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Or at least an exciting Thursday if you’re in one of those places that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. This Umineko post notwithstanding, I’m basically taking a weeklong break from writing to spend some quality family time. I’m also looking forward to the winter season kicking off soon. There’s a handful of possibly excellent shows that I’m looking forward to following.

Kinzo returnsKinzo plans to end the lie

Kinzo agrees to show himself to his children, who are aghast at actually seeing him alive. I don’t know if that’s more because they doubted Krauss specifically, or because they hadn’t seen Kinzo in so long, they couldn’t believe he was still a pretty spry guy. Kinzo takes the decidedly more cynical route.

Kinzo has a change of heartKinzo summons the troops

So Kinzo has two reasons for coming of hiding – and it’s not to make Krauss seem like an upstanding guy. Firstly, he berates his kids, completely disgusted that none of them have been able to solve the riddle of the Epitaph and that all of them have failed at building their own miniature empires of wealth. At first he plans to not leave a successor and have the Ushiromiya legacy die with him, but Nanjo gets Kinzo to consider otherwise, explaining that his kids have been able to create things beyond material wealth… like families. Which may be true and heartwarming in a Disney sort of way, but even that’s a bit shaky. Rosa has a child she doesn’t want. Rudolf is a philanderer and has two kids with two different wives (who knows how many other kids he may have in hiding). And George is a good child but continually makes his momma not very happy by shacking up with the maid. Jessica, Krauss and Natsuhi may be the most traditionally nuclear family… but Krauss has already screwed things up with Kinzo. Plus, Jessica has poor physical health and an unhealthy fetish towards well-dressed furniture. Regardless, Kinzo buys the argument and decides to possibly leave it up to his grandchildren, if they can prove themselves. The second reason for his appearance is to get the killing started. Yep, he’s staying true to Beatrice and her revival.

The Siesta sistersRonove and Virgilia

Kinzo, or Lord Goldsmith, or master villain #2 – whatever you want to call him – apparently has summoning powers that go above and beyond what I expected of him. Not only does he have the Siestas with him (with a new Siesta sister, Siesta 00), he’s apparently got Ronove and Virgilia on his side too. I remember seeing something like this done by someone else before… their true masters… Beatrice. Is this Kinzo truely Kinzo? Or a creation like EvaBeatrice?

Gaap, the new kid on the blockBlack holes are fun

Not only does he have Ronove and Virgilia on his side, apparently, he’s got the ability to introduce new characters too. A demon named Gaap, who despite her gothic loli attire, has a surprisingly sultry voice. It wasn’t bad, but surprised me at first. Gaap has a thing for curls, bows, and black holes. It’s quite possible she’s been playing a bit too much portal. But after the Siestas kill Rosa, Hideyoshi, Eva, Rudolf, Genji and Natsuhi in bloody fashion, Gaap sends the rest of them (sans Kumasawa and Gohda), hurdling into the ether.

Battler hates Beatrice's fashion senseBeatrice plays the game

Cut to the meta world, were Battler again notices Beatrice’s distasteful choice of killing methods. Sadly, this is the only game related meta scene we see. And there’s nothing revealed. And only a brief moment with Ange. I don’t know how the game went, but I can’t help but wonder if the pacing was compromised in this episode, because of all the setup in the last three episodes.

Rosa's hand shattersMaria wants answers

Now flashback to Maria’s memories. Sort of an abrupt transition here. I assume they’re picking up the story from the last episode, but I wonder if there was any significant to its placement here. I’ll get to that a little later. As Rosa raises her hand for a wicked slapfest, she’s shocked to suddenly find her hand shatter like a dropped piece of porcelain. Next thing she knows, she’s in another meta world of sorts with Maria dressed as a witch and with Beatrice next to her.

Rosa's angerBeatrice dislikes Rosa's ugliness

Maria hysterically asks why Rosa never treated her well, and Rosa hysterically replies that Maria had was an obstacle to her happiness, and that she hated her even before she was born. It’s interesting that Beatrice references the ugliness of Rosa’s lust. I hadn’t given much thought to it before, but considering her Hokkaido dalliances, the baby born out of wedlock, it’s seems highly likely that Rosa is a raging whore, and Maria was a huge mistake that was never meant to be. Where does Rosa’s true happiness lie? It’s does not appear to be in her “family.” Perhaps it’s in her lustful desires.

Maria gets some satisfactionMaria realizes she's broken

Sadly, the Maria deformed faces are back, and again, I’m not sure they’re terribly fitting here. Like EvaBeatrice, Maria kills Rosa over and over, punishing her (or the bad witch controlling her) until Maria can feel better about herself and ready to forgive. But it’s clear that this wasn’t what she wanted either. I think Beatrice realizes that as well. Because unlike EvaBeatrice’s repeated killing scenes, Beatrice seems to be getting no pleasure out of this scene and keeps a much more solemn look. It’s a pitiable scene for all involved: the unhappy child, and the unhappy mother, and the Endless Witch that appears to want to make her colleague feel better.

Maria throws a tantrumMaria the witch

Now cut back to the game board. And this is interesting, because the transition between the last meta world and the game world was Maria waking up from her sleep. Clearly, Rosa was alive when she entered the island. The Maria torture scene would have taken place before the game began. I suppose it’s possible that she had Beatrice resurrect Rosa, and made her forget the details, but that seems a little too convenient. Coupled with my thoughts from last episode that Maria has always been optimistic about her situation in the notes she left in the grimoire and in the conversations she had with Ange, it’s hard for me to reconcile that with the scenes above. Was that meta world a dream? Or a fear that just manifested itself in her thoughts? I think it’s more than a dream, but I’m skeptical that the incident actually occurred. While Rosa was shocked at her broken hand, she seemed unperturbed by the change of scenery into the meta world. And the way she was verbally attacking Maria, I thought was too in-sync with Maria’s fears (the Maria who asked “was I useful?” while her head rolled around on a serving plate) to be more than coincidence.

One phone call from prisonJessica gets a call

Apparently, Gaap’s portals are a one-way ticket to a dungeon. Heh, the joke’s on Krauss though. Who in their right mind would stick a phone in a dungeon and not remember doing something that inane? Krauss calls Jessica, who along with the rest of the kids has basically learned everything from Gohda and Kumasawa. Unsurprisingly (or maybe surprisingly) none of the kids seemed too torn up about their deceased parents. Maybe they’re just getting used to this. I thought Krauss’ warning to Jessica about not avenging her mom, was an implicit challenge to do so, but apparently, she decides to follow the law of the letter, barricading the kids inside the room with them.

Nanjo realizes where they areKrauss makes a demand

Eventually, Kinzo meets with the prisoners informing them that they’re locked up in the dungeon below the hidden mansion where Beatrice used to live. And then sets the stage for a possible battle royale amongst the grandchildren next week.

Couple interesting points to mention – again, Krass does not mention how the victims were killed. Presumably, either Gohda or Kumasawa mention it either. You would figure that if Kinzo is able to summon demons who can shoot portals at you, that recommending a barricade would be folly. There’s not many good options, but I think the most obvious one would be to tell them to run and hide somewhere. Those omissions make me pretty confident that we shouldn’t believe what we saw happen in the dining room. Not to mention, at this point, I’m skeptical of everything that happens on the game board that Battler doesn’t see directly. Could Kinzo have just been on a one-man Winchester rifle rampage? I guess it’s possible.

Another interesting thing was Shannon telling Kanon that the Golden Land is indeed a very nice place. Is it that Shannon remembers things from previous arcs, as zilch supposes? If so, does this make her a potential ally for game piece Battler? Or did she get a sneak preview from Beatrice after breaking the magic mirror for her (assuming that applies in this arc as well)?

19 Replies to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 22 – I am (not) thankful for Maria’s deformed faces”

  1. What was Krauss suppose to say – oh your mom got killed by a sniper rabbit. I don’t think it’s that the kids don’t care about their parents dying, but rather it’s a surreal shock to them. Sometimes the death of a loved one, especially unexpected, doesn’t register in someone’s mind for a while because of how shocking it is.

    My problem with Krauss being behind it all is that he has no real reason to kill everyone. It’s not like he needs to compete with his siblings for the larger slice of the inheritance – when Kinzo dies he automatically gets it, unless a will or something says otherwise (this is going with the scenario that Kinzo is already dead). Plus…in my opinion he’s not all to smart – he pretty much fails in every business venture he has ever undertook. Natsuhi is a more competent person than him, from what I see.

    Kyrie on the other hand is obviously smart – although she’s my favorite character she’s also my top suspect, especially in this arc.

    1. No, maybe not. But “know your enemy” would be good advice. Watch out, your grandpa’s got a gun is different from, watch out your grandpa’s got a gun and he’s got some professional help with him. To know that he’s got some help, whether it’s of the magical or non-magical kind would be a key detail to mention, IMO.

      I don’t consider Krauss as a possible culprit either (hope I didn’t come across as pointing the finger at him). Like you mentioned, I don’t think he’s the most competent of the siblings. And for the most part, Kinzo seems to be playing him like a cheap parlor game.

      However, my curiosity towards Nanjo was raised a bit. I was surprised that he was the one to suggest considering the grandchildren as alternatives, and that he also recognized it as the basement of the secret mansion. Add that to his off-camera death in the last arc, I wonder if he’s more than he seems.

      1. Well Nanjo is one of the only people Kinzo considers to be a good personal friend and doesn’t hate his guts. Nanjo has also been the family physician for a quiet a couple decades now. I think he was just trying to calm Kinzo down and give an alternative, since arguing about the siblings not getting the inheritance probably wouldn’t have done any good.

        And despite the off camera death he DID die. The anime didn’t show it, but in the VN Battler and Eva both find his corpse. There is also his sick grandchild. As far as recognizing the secret mansion – we know that a Beatrice was kept in there until 1967. It’s not hard to believe that he might have been told about her being there or even treat her if she got sick (since she can’t exactly go off the island to a clinic).

  2. Regardless of if the dream really did happen or not, I believe that Rosa DOES think that Maria is the reason she can’t get her “happiness as a woman” (AKA, getting more cock). She probably told her that herself in one of her Mother of The Year moments. If the scene was a dream, Maria was probably reminded of it then. Dreams are normally models of the world around us, so it could make more sense.

    I’m also guessing that Maria’s L5 faces and her crazy with obsession also comes from Rosa leaving her alone all the time and the abuse she gives her. Look at how she made Sakutaro come to be. The world of magic could give her a happy life with her mother that she wants more than anything else, and the faces that keeps making is just her trying to be more witch-like. Remember in episode 7 when she told Kanon that she was all right right after Rosa gave her a beating? She probably was just trying to keep herself from bursting into tears.

    1. There’s a disconnect between some of the happy scenes we see, and some of the bad parenting scenes we see. I wouldn’t be surprised if Maria’s fears about Rosa were close to reality. But I also think that perhaps the fears are taken to the worst case scenario in Maria’s mind.

      I interpreted the crazy faces as DEEN’s attempt at trying to show that Maria’s a weird kid. But I think they’re meant to throw us off. The weird thing is Maria sees the good in witchcraft. She sees the Golden Land as a wonderful place. And even her power is the power to create, not the more destructive powers the other witches have. The distorted faces don’t seem to fit with that line of thinking.

      1. She started going into the dark side of witchcraft after the Sakutaro incident. The same time the “kihihihihi” laugh and the faces started. Even her entire diary began filling up with the “evil” magic right after it happened (how to bring misfortune onto people, those magic circles, the designs on the stakes, etc). It became split into two halfs, in other words. If Rosa never ripped Sakutaro’s head off, she probably would still be cheerful 100% of the time.

        1. But why then would the “good” Maria be the one talking to Ange? Since that conversation occurs well after the Sakutarou incident, shouldn’t Ange have been talking with the much more jaded, vengeful Maria?

          1. She was talking to the Maria of the pre-Sakutaro incident. During the scene where she was denying the existence of the him and the stakes, she had a flashback to when she was 6 and made fun of Maria for having him. Before that, she and Ange had a similar relationship that the she and the 1998 Ange had. After that happened, she continued to read through the diary and found out what had happened to him. She had no idea of knowing any of it before, due to her death the next year. The Maria she was talking to was still modeled in the image of how she used to know her. I’m assuming this was the same thing that happened with Mammon when she talked to her in the Meta-World.

            The whole thing will probably be cleared up in the answer arc for this chapter when it comes out.

          2. Except Maria didn’t become completely twisted from Sakutarou’s death. It should probably be noted that while it DOES mention that the pages in her grimoire darkened after that day, her curses were still always towards bad people. She didn’t want to hurt people indiscriminately, she wrote that she wanted to hurt people who hurt others. This is an important distinction, because it’s not as though she “turned evil”. Secondly, we’ve still seen the happy, kind Maria in scenes that take place after Sakutarou’s death. We even see her declare her love for Rosa. I think we’re meant to witness that the event gave birth to a darker, hateful side of Maria, but that’s all it is – one new aspect to her character. It’s not her entirety; the sweet little girl is still there too.

            Also, I’m assuming that the Stakes of Purgatory were in her grimoire well before Sakutarou’s death, considering Ange learned how to summon them from it while she was still envisioning Happy Maria and Shotatarou.

            I guess it’s worth mentioning that Ryukishi07 tried to explain that the “Chiru” Arcs to Umineko are not answer arcs like Higurashi Kai was, and that they just delve further into the “core story”.

          3. The hypothetical second season is Chiru, I think–the first 4 arcs are the first half of the story.

  3. Good observations with the Rosa scene. The very beginning of that scene was cut, which helps place it a bit better. It starts with Rosa waking up in a black meta-world (this is after we see her death in the first twilight), where Meta-Sakutarou is trying to urge her to escape before Maria finds her. Sakutarou’s presence causes Rosa tremendous pain and sends her into a flashback of when she tore him apart. We then see how that scene fully proceeded, except this time while beating on Maria’s head, Rosa’s hand shatters, which then segues the scene back to the meta-world and things proceed as you’ve seen. So, whether or not Rosa is dead at this point (I believe she is), Rosa’s torture from Maria did NOT happen at the same time she tore Sakutarou up.

    Also, as for characters caring about or reacting to the deaths of their loved ones… That’s just a casualty of the adaptation, unfortunately. 🙁

    1. Ah, ok. The chronology of that scene then makes a lot more sense… That’s interesting though, is the black meta-world the same meta-world that Battler’s in? Or does it occur in another meta-world layer? Then again, if Battler didn’t view it, did it actually happen?

      I was more amused by the character’s lack of reactions to their parents deaths more than anything. It seems to be a pretty common casualty throughout the season so I’m pretty used to it.

      1. It’s really difficult to know how to interpret the meta worlds without more information. I’d assume, though, that it took place in the same meta world as Beato and Battler’s game, but in a different place (although “place” may be abstract in this case), just like when Ange stormed out of the “game room”, only to be encountered by Lambdadelta.

        As for how the meta world is layered… It might be best to interpret there only being two main worlds right now, both of which are Beatrice’s. Beato’s real world (of which there are many instances), and Beato’s meta world (which is where our confrontation is taking place). The combination of these two realities is “Beatrice’s territory”, and it is implied that only within here can she exist. The world of Higurashi (both meta and real) was the territory of Bernkastel, but unlike Beatrice, she and 34 can traverse between realities and territories at will. (The VN calls the witches with this capability “voyagers” and infers that they are much greater than the witches who cannot.) As for 34 freezing even the meta-world time, you could also take that as an abstract interpretation of what might have even been just mental communication between Ange and 34. Or it’s that since she holds more power than Beatrice, she can manipulate even Beato’s world at will.

        But, really, I dunno. It’s still all wrapped in mystery. I wonder just how much of it will ever be explained…?

        1. I think the toughest part is realizing that anything Battler doesn’t see in the game board isn’t trustworthy, and then wondering whether that applies to the things he doesn’t see in the metaworld as well. It makes you question everything.

          Heh, I think it’ll be a long while until all this will be explained… if at all. 🙂

  4. My theory about the weird chronology is that magic beings perceive time in the exact order the show is presenting it–so, 1986 Mammon has memories of 1998 Ange because that occurred ‘earlier’ for her.

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