Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 26 – Opening the door to Chiru (Fin)

Perhaps the only thing “Endless” about Beatrice is the gallons and gallons of blood she gushes after being gashed by Battler’s truths. Otherwise, if anything, the last episode of the question arcs should be how limited Beatrice is, and how far under Lambdadelta’s (and Bernkastel’s) thumb she’s pinned.

Beatrice stands up for MariaSakutaro returns

The episode starts off with Ange confronting Beatrice and Maria in the “Golden Land.” While Beatrice admits her shortcomings in her inability to resurrect Sakutaro, Ange uses the opportunity to show the limits of Beato’s powers by resurrecting Sakutaro herself. Thankfully, Ange resurrects cute, stuffed Sakutaro, and not pimp, shota Sakutaro. Personally, I just think Sakutaro should stay in stuffed form. Having been reunited with her friend, Maria then leaves the Golden Land apparently having found peace. The anime leaves Maria’s state in limbo, but in the VN she’s found dead in the game world by game piece Battler. What struck me about this scene wasn’t how great the Golden Land was, but how it served as a refuge for both Maria and Beatrice. For Maria, a chance to be with a loving mother. For Beatrice, (ostensibly) a place to get away from the oppression of Lambdadelta and Bernkastel.

Ange's blue truthBattler returns to the game

With Maria gone, Beatrice is sucked back into the game, along with Battler. Although Ange acknowledges that Battler isn’t the son of Asumu, she challenges Beatrice with the blue (welcome back, it’s been a while!) to prove that Battler isn’t Kinzo’s grandson and qualified to be Beatrice’s opponent. Beatrice, stuck by that bit of logic (which was pretty damn obvious to begin with) is left to accept Battler as her opponent. Although Battler himself is a shell of himself, still unsure of who he is. On a completely separate note, I never realized how short Bern and Lambda were. They’re like little kids.

Ange's sacrificeBeatrice tells Battler what happened to Ange

With Battler’s fighting spirit in shambles, and an inadvertently amusing play-by-play of Battler’s shonen spirit provided by Bern and Lambda, Ange pulls her trump card by admitting to Battler that she’s his sister, and imploring him to fight for his family and come back to her. Unfortunately for Ange, she had to break the one rule applied to her, and it turns her into a gruesome pile of ground meat that we didn’t get to see (thus, the angeburger meme). I now understand Ange’s “sacrifice” I’d heard mentioned before, and to be honest, it didn’t have the impact I’d hoped. Maybe it was because of the way DEEN paced the last few episodes, but it lacked that OOMPH. It certainly didn’t feel like any of the sacrifices made during Higurashi.

Battler versus Kinzo-zillaBeatrice mocks Battler

With Battler’s fighting spirit back, the second half of the episode begins with basically a rapid fire exchange of blue and red truths. Battler declares that:

  • Kinzo is already dead, meaning there was only 17 people on the island to begin with. Meaning an 18th person X could commit the murders.
  • When questioned by Beatrice about the closed room deaths in arc 2, Battler proposes that Rosa was in cahoots with the real killer and may have swapped the key with them
  • He then proposes that it was Aunt Eva who was in cahoots with the real killer during arc 3
  • And finally, a crazy guy with a gun mowed down the initial 6, as well as those who escaped the jail
  • Beatrice points out that the family had met Kinzo during the 4th arc, and accepted him, which results in Kinzo-zilla attacking Battler on the game board. But Battler brushes it aside by claiming that there was someone who assumed his name, and was recognized by everyone in the family. Thus, the existence of a nominal Kinzo (pretty sharp thinking, IMO)

Beatrice decides to accept all of the above without much of a fight, even though it would’ve been easy to cut those blue hypotheses down, and asks Battler to end the game by denying witches. But Battler shows off his shonen spirit by declaring that he won’t accept victory by submission, but he’ll take it from her by force. At which point Beatrice chides him for his stupidity and begins her counterattack.

Battler's final Phoenix Wright poseBattler and his small bombs theory

Beatrice decimates Battler’s 18th person X theory by declaring in red that there were only 17 people on the island to begin with. Now if this were any of the other arcs, DEEN would’ve done a close-up of Battler’s shocked and broken face, while another couple episodes would’ve been spent on Ange or Virgilia or whomever building his fighting spirit back up, but since this is the last episode, Battler takes it pretty much in stride. Unfortunately, his rebuttals become even more outlandish at this point. To wit:

  • In arc 1, he explains Nanjo, Kumasawa and Shannon’s deaths by claiming that someone who had been previously killed could’ve faked their death and gone back to kill these three
  • He also explains the above deaths with Nanjo, Shannon and Kumasawa engaging in a mexican gunfight, killing each other simultaneously, while Maria hid the guns afterwards. For what possible reason these four would’ve acted this way, I don’t know. But Battler’s grasping at straws here, but Beatrice accepts the theories for their entertainment value and loses round 1
  • In arc 2, Battler postulates that the 6 in the chapel ingested small bombs, which exploded in their stomachs. Sort of silly, but I suppose it’s a possibility. Not one that I would’ve thought of at least. Either way, Beatrice thinks it’s even more amusing than the last theories and declines to challenge it
  • Finally, in arc 3, Battler explains Nanjo’s murder by suggesting that someone faked their death earlier to return to kill Nanjo, before dying themselves shortly after for whatever reason, allowing EvaBeatrice to tick off all the names of the dead in red without being incorrect.

Beatrice is amusedBeatrice gets staked

Beatrice accept the final blue challenge without a fight, which causes a huge stake to drive through her. At this point, she’s lost more blood than the human body can hold. Perhaps a witch’s heart pumps more blood than a normal human’s heart. Perhaps this biological reason is why Beatrice then asks Battler to crush her heart and kill her. See, I can throw out ridiculous hypotheses too.

Beatrice's last requestWho is Beatrice?

But Battler accepts, and Beatrice, with a final wistful look, and a sad smile, leaves Battle with one final riddle to solve: “Ushiromiya Battler. Right now on this island, no one exists except for you. You’re the only one alive on this island. However, I’m here right now and about to kill you. Who am I?”

Lambdadelta makes fun of BattlerLambdadelta and Bernkastel's vow

Cut to the epilogue, and we see Lambda and Bern talking about the game, with Lambda lambasting Battler for his ridiculous blue truths, trap X’s, person X’s and whatnot (I’m glad she called that out). This suggests that everything can be explained rationally and logically, without resorting to trap X and person X. While Bern muses that she thought Battler was pretty spot on. I’d originally thought they had a much more antagonistic relationship, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, as the anime ends with both agreeing that Beatrice has no chance to win.

So, I posted my initial thoughts in my last post. I don’t know if the VN progressed the same way, but the Battler vs. Beatrice fight felt rushed to me. Maybe Beatrice was just tired of playing the game and wanted to finish it as soon as possible, but the way the anime was laid out, it felt more like she was giving a pass to Battler because she realized there was only about 10 minutes left in the show when they started trading barbs.

I knew we weren’t going to get satisfactory answers, since the VN is ongoing, but I think you could’ve felt a sense of completion with Higurashi even if there wasn’t a second season. Oh, you’d still have big question marks, but it had a stronger sense of endgame. However, here, it feels much more like the show’s just getting started. Almost none of the questions remain answered, and whereas you had that big Keiichi x Rena breakthrough in Higurahsi, there’s none of that here. Battler and Beato are still in limbo, and neither are closer to the truth than when the show began.

Finally, who would you consider the most sympathetic character? Is it Ange, who’s been waiting for her family to return from the dead? Is it Battler, who was unwittingly pulled into this sick game to help his family. Or is it Beatrice, who appears to be a puppet subject to Lambda and Bern’s whims? Maybe I’m bespelled by Moetrice, but I empathize with her the most. Battler can and will win one day. Ange will have her family returned to her and live a normal life. But Beatrice? Even if she beats Battler, she then faces Bern and Lambda. She has no hope, no future.

All in all, Umineko was pretty solid, but the great moments were few and far between. The mystery was good, and definitely made you think. But my original fears of the large cast resulting in paper-thin characters, were realized. Still, I look forward to a new Chiru season. One day, I hope.

22 Replies to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 26 – Opening the door to Chiru (Fin)”

    1. I wouldn’t say the Angeburger meme was a spoiler… actually it wouldn’t have made any sense from the anime alone. It only made sense after I went back and read some of the VN recaps.

      For me, I think what was missing about Ange’s sacrifice was a sense of connection between Battler and her. We went 2 arcs with Battler not making a peep about her, and then once they introduced her, we barely had any interaction between the two. While we got to see Ange’s history of anguish, it felt one-sided to me. Still, it was a sad scene, just not as powerful as I’d hoped.

  1. Whelp.

    I give the series a 6/10. Terrible pacing all around and the characters (sans a handful) got little to no development.

    Ah well. I also found out that Battler made so many ridiculous theories especially regarding the first game, Like Kanon’s murder and the closed room with Hideyoshi and Eva, and of course, Natsuhi’s death at the end of the first game.

    And dealing with the second game, Kanon’s disappearance and seeming reappearance.

    The third game covered the George murder, where he somehow managed to get out of the guest house and get to the mansion, only to be found dead there.

    Overall, this show’s been highly entertaining for me and it had one hell of a mystery. It was just executed poorly here and there.
    .-= Jubbz´s last blog ..The Decade in Anime: A Retrospect – 2006 =-.

    1. IMO, Battler should’ve been making those theories in each of the games previous. He was too quick to succumb to a check by Beatrice, and unwilling to think outside the box. In this case, he did think outside the box, it just seemed ridiculous, because Beatrice refused to challenge him and well… because they were ridiculous. But definitely agree, highly entertaining, and one helluva mystery. I’m looking forward to checking out the VN.

      1. Yeah, which is one of the things he’s berated by Ange for. “What the heck is wrong with you just ACCEPTING things?” not in those exact words. The VN’s definitely MUCH better paced, allowing you, as the reader, to not only develop a connection with Ange’s character (and not just look at her as the random angsty female character as the anime portrayed her as,) but also realize just how strong a bond she and Battler DO have, along with her and Maria. Aside from the art in the VN, everything far surpasses the anime. Especially in the plot development and character development departments.

  2. My opinion is that all the characters (okay maybe not bern and lambda) are sympathetic in some way. Some more than others. Out of Battler, Ange and Beato I can’t decide. I want to say Beato, but then there’s Ange who always has her family torn away from her, gets adopted by Kasumi and probably dies very early on in life (since it’s implied Kasumi adopts Ange after every game ends, excluding the case when Eva survived and took her in). Ange and Beatrice are actually very similar characters in many ways and almost parallel each other.

    But I say Beato in the end, because she’s basically had no freedom of her own for a long time.
    .-= Marion´s last blog ..Battler – Competent or Incompetent (Episode 26) =-.

    1. I’d agree. Even the adults have their points of sympathies, but I felt most sympathetic towards Ange, Battler and Beato. Maybe Maria deserves to be in the top 3 in place of Battler, but I’m glad she achieved some sense of peace with the return of Sakutaro, and her unyielding faith in the Golden Land.

      That’s an interesting tidbit about Ange though. I hadn’t thought of what happened to the non-Eva-adopted versions of her.

  3. I think part of the reason that Higurashi felt more resolved after its first season was because the first season actually covered 6 (of 8) arcs, versus Umineko’s 4. If Higurashi had ended after its 4th Arc (Episode 15), it would have felt just as cut off and answerless. That said, even though Umineko had “more time”, I think it still felt more rushed than Higurashi just because it is more complicated and had more to lose in adaptation.

    I’m sad they cut out Bernkastel’s Trollkastel face from the final scene. 🙁 It was delightfully ominous in the VN and could have worked well with DEEN’s love of L5 expressions.

    There’s a final, supplemental scene released as text that adds some additional (though perhaps unwanted..?) closure to the 4th Arc, called “The Witches’ Tanabata”. Since it is from the actual creator of Umineko, Ryukishi07, it is considered canon, and might change your perspective on a character or two. For anyone curious enough, the translation can be read at: http://community.livejournal.com/witchhunters/6549.html

    Or, some fans also put the text into a pseudo-VN format which can instead be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLXFznTLM58

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing that. My opinion of Bern has really taken quite a swing, since what I thought I knew of her from even the Higurashi mentions. I don’t dislike Bern, but she’s obviously nowhere near the compassionate character I’d thought her to be. Meanwhile, I really felt bad for Eva reading that. It was always too easy to point to her as the culprit in that 3rd arc, but it’s hard to even consider her after reading the pain she obviously must have been feeling when she took in Ange.

  4. well i think it was a very great anime, with some flaws but still a great one, i think this first season was good enough since there is a greater mistery within all the storyline thats only being pointed out a few couple of times including at the end of the season, so this first episodes may be a prelude to what the real mistery really is introducing us to the game and cast without showing the real main plot. And yea some of Batller’s theories are well not that great but its as Beatrice counters it with magic-based theories, if no one is there to see what actually happened u can make up any random theory u want just as it has some logic in them, or for Beatrice a magic-based logic, as they usually like to use the Schrödinger’s Cat analogy, so Battler can use it and make up theories like crazy :P. As far as comparing it to Higurashi it does feel very different since the first season of it was very confusing and full of unclear stories and we didnt get to know that someone is resetting time XD unlike umineko which we know almost at the beginning that its a twisted game :S… so we have to wait for the second season to come out which is very likely to happen. As for the most sympathetic chars i would go for Beatrice, Ange and maybe Battler coz he’s trapped in the game, but i definetly like Beatrice’s and Ange’s role better. i want to see more development to Bernkastel since well Rikka was my favourite character in higurashi hehe i want see what she is plotting 😛 anyways overall i would give umineko a 7/10 – or 8 just coz i love the “When they cry” series…

    1. Yeah definitely. Bernkastel is such a mystery to me. She’s obviously not “good” like I thought she was when I learned of her in Higurashi, but we know almost nothing more besides that. I would love to see more development with Bern.

  5. you can’t say it has the same ending as higurashi because there’s also a second and third season from it, where they everything explane in.
    that’s why the 2 series are so diffrent and btw a lot of people think umineko was before higurashi what is certain not true.
    I think umineko is a great anime, but they have to make a second season for everyone to understand it.

  6. As for Ange, the last we’ve seen of her in the real world was she jumping off a skyscraper after accepting Bernkastel’s offer…

    I beleive her gushing blood before disappearing might mean that she was somehow suspended between life and her eventual death on the pavement, and as she had to leave the game world, her time moved on, and she now died properly.

  7. Personally, this anime has been my favourite so far and it bugs me when people complain about Battler’s hypotheses. The fact is he managed to prove all the deaths were possible without magic and that is all he needed to do. Yes, he could have thought harder and managed to come up with something more realistic, but why bother? As his original goal was to prove not only that witches don’t exist, but also that none of the related characters were the culprit, I have to admit I was disappointed when he gave up on the latter. Especially considering the fact that you can’t prove something doesn’t exist and hence, he was technically destined to lose right from the start. I understand it may not be a show for everyone, I’m sorry if you felt you wasted your time watching it and you have every right to share your own opinion, but I feel it deserves a good review and still hope to be able to see a second season.
    (^)u(^)_V

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