Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 4 – Maria is just one crazy loli

So we got some answers to a few questions this week, like is everyone oblivious to Maria or do they just think she’s mondo weird? (the latter) How did Eva and Hideyoshi die? Where is Kinzo? And also some answers to questions that no one was thinking of, like does Jessica have a thing for Kanon? (who knew) And what’s the deal with George’s Oedipus complex?

George cryingMaria smells something bad

I must admit, I don’t think even Jack Bauer has had a day as tough as George’s day has been. First he loses the girl he loves. Then he finds his parents brutally murdered. One can forgive him for his murderous exclamations. Although the bosom hug was awkward and totally uncalled for. However, I give George’s seiyuu, Kenichi Suzumura a lot of credit. I’m not familiar with most of his other work, but I think he’s done a real good job expressing George’s anguish.

While George struggles with the loss of his parents, the rest of the folks in the mansion notice an odd smell. Unfortunately, this was the only scene in which I think Maria had normal looking eyes. Kanon and Kumasawa head down to the boiler room to investigate the smell. As if it wasn’t clear that going below ground level typically leads to death.

Maria being weirdBattler bonks Maria

While Kanon and Kumasawa are investigating the smell, Battler and the rest of the group head back to the living room to try to figure how the killer could have gotten to Eva and Hideyoshi while the door was locked. While Battler’s thinking, Maria (or Beatrice) continues to taunt Battler and his unwillingness to accept that the murderer could be a family member. At this point, Battler gives Maria a good bonk on the head. This was a little bit of a weird scene. And while I liked the use of Maria’s Higurashi eyes before, in this case, it felt like overkill. Previously I thought Maria’s Higurashi eyes symbolized that she wasn’t acting on her own and was either in cahoots or being controlled by Beatrice to some degree. But now I can no longer tell whether the Higurashi eyes merely symbolize Maria’s weirdness. Jessica and Battler believe it’s the latter. And after Maria explains that the blood symbol on the door of Eva’s room was to allow the practitioner to get into any locked door, and then begins laughing again, Battler bonks her a second time for good measure. The tone felt all wrong during this scene. I’m not sure whether it was intended to be humorous or dramatic.

Kanon cosplaying as Rena RyuguuJessica finds Kanon

Meanwhile, Kanon goes ahead of Kumasawa and wields a billhook for old times’ sake, challenging Beatrice. I wonder if the servant staff really knows what Beatrice is. Kanon seems to know exactly what she is and what she intends to do, but none of the others have been very forthcoming with Battler or any of the Ushiromiya family. Kanon predictably loses the battle, getting mercilessly stabbed in the heart. The rest of the gang quickly arrive, and Jessica quickly rushes to Kanon’s side. Who knew she had a thing for him? They could’ve hinted at it a little more. As it was, I figured they just needed someone to freak out over Kanon. Battler sees an open door and heads out looking for the culprit, but finds nothing worthwhile. The group also discover that the bad smell had come from someone’s attempt to cremate Kinzo. Charring his body to the point where he would’ve been nearly unrecognizable, if not for his 6 toes. Between the open door and the cremation failure, it leads me to think that there’s some sort of human presence in addition to Beatrice.

The Umineko gangBattler and Beatrice

Nanjo’s attempt to save Kanon’s life is in vain, and the group retreats to Kinzo’s study. Arguably the one place where they should be safe, since Genji has all the keys and there’s also a magic seal on the door (although that didn’t stop Kinzo from biting the dust). While Natsuhi nonchalantly places a can of mackeral down on a table, Battler recalls the epitaph under Beatrice’s portrait. Reading again, he realizes that they’re sacrifices to Beatrice and all the deaths are happening just as it’s written.

Maria finds a letterNatsuhi points a gun

As Battler, Jessica, Natsuhi and George focus on the epitaph, Maria points out that there’s now a letter on the table along with the mackerel can. At which point, Natsuhi freaks on Genji, Kumasawa, Nanjo and Maria, pointing the shotgun at them and accusing them of placing the letter on the table, which had been empty when she put the mackerel can down on it.

Now I have to wonder, maybe I missed something, but where did Natsuhi get that mackerel can, and what is she doing carrying one of those cans around? I thought it was strange when she put the can on the table, and it seems like it was merely a big setup for Natsuhi’s imminent accusation. Furthermore, I’m a little surprised that the Geji, Kumasawa, Nanjo and Maria agreed to leave the room so easily. I mean, I know Natsuhi’s acting unhinged, but if I knew my life would be in danger by leaving that room, I would sure put up a heckuva fight before I agreed to leave. Hell, I’d take my chances with Natsuhi coming to her senses than being out alone with Beatrice.

Interestingly as Maria leaves, she mentions the last line of the epitaph. At the end of the tenth twilight, everyone will be revived, and everyone will be happy. Perhaps suggesting a Higurashi-esque loop sequence?

magic trap circlethree more dead

Beatrice’s letter doesn’t have much to it. Simply telling them to "revere" Beatrice and including a magic circle which Battler didn’t notice at first. After much research, the remaining group figure out that the circle is a sign of "discord," signifying the group turning on each other. Battler and co. realize that it was a trap, at which point the phone in the room rings. Natsuhi picks it up and hears a creepy song. The remaining 4 rush to the other 4 only to find that everyone except Maria has been killed.

This episode felt more discombobulated like the first episode did. Four more die and a couple new revelations. It’s hard to fit all the plot events in and also build depth around the characters – and that’s where I think this episode suffered a little bit. There was very little new revealed about the characters, very little we learn about them or why we should care about them. Still, the mystery has me on the edge of my seat and guessing what’ll happen next. I’m guessing everyone is fated to die in this arc, but I wonder if Battler will carry memories of each experience through like Rika and Hanyuu did. I also can’t figure Maria out. She was always a little weird, but the way she’s acting now is completely different from the way she acted before she met Beatrice. So I wonder how much of her act is real, and how much is it the hand of Beatrice forcing her will.

In case you’re wondering, Sono me, dare no me? has the transcriptions of the epitaph here. But in English:

My beloved hometown, the sweetfish river running through it.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream and seek the key.

If you follow the river downstream, you will find a village.
In the village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

He who lays hand upon the key shall travel under the rules below.

At the first twilight, you shall lift up as sacrifice the six chosen by the key.
At the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
At the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my honorable name on high.
At the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
At the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
At the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
At the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
At the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
At the ninth twilight, the witch shall be revived and none shall be left alive.
At the tenth twilight, the journey shall end and you should reach the village of gold.

The witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice.

Judging by the words above, the first 8 makes sense. If we assume that twilight stands for night. But then the deaths of Kinzo, Kanon, Nanjo, Genji and Kumasawa don’t seem to follow the timeline. I wonder if this is simply DEEN compressing the time window. But the 13 that are supposed to die have died. I’m not sure what "praising" Beatrice means, but theoretically we could see her and the last day of everyone as soon as next episode. The plot thickens…

6 Replies to “Umineko no Naku Koro ni, episode 4 – Maria is just one crazy loli”

  1. The killing of Kinzo, Kanon, Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa actually follow the epitaph closely.

    To cremate a body to that degree, it take 3-4 hours (at least more than 1 hours)with a boiler like that. That means Kinzo must die before Kanon. We just found the corpse of Kanon first.

    For the Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa, they are kill together and then gouge one by one according to the epitaph. They could just be gouged one after another after they were killed.

    1. The deaths’ order makes sense, but if “twilight” is supposed to stand for a night, it seems Kinzo, Kanon, Genji, Nanjo and Kumasawa went a little too quickly. Based on the epitaph it should’ve been 1 a day. Again, I dont know if that’s supposed to have any significance or if it’s just DEEN killing them all at once to be able to fit everything in.

  2. I thought ? referred to feet, not the leg, considering that the knee is part of the leg and so it would be odd to refer to the knee and then to the leg. Interpreting it as referring to the leg would fit with Kumasawa Chiyo’s death, though, so I’m probably wrong to expect someone else to die with a foot gouged.
    .-= Shounen A´s last blog ..Umineko no Naku Koro ni I-IV =-.

      1. The point that concerns me is that “gouging the leg” would be made redundant by “gouging the knee” (gouge the knee, and you would also be gouging the leg). This feels off, which is why I think ? should be translated as foot and not leg.

        On the other hand, it also does look like Chiyo was stabbed in the calf (it also looks like the knee to me), and if we exclude Eva and Hideyoshi, one victim would have been allocated for gouging each body part. Perhaps there is an entirely separate killer who killed Eva and Hideyoshi. Except the letter and bloody drawing argues against a separate killer …
        .-= Shounen A´s last blog ..Umineko no Naku Koro ni I-IV =-.

        1. I see what you’re saying. Yeah, the “knee” is a little strange. “Arm” or something of the sort, probably would’ve been more fitting. But I assume there’s some sort of significance behind choosing the knee.

          I’ve been assuming Eva and Hideyoshi fell under “At the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.”

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