Umineko no Naku Koro ni 20-26 [END]: More Questions than Answers
Charging forth into the finale!
Miken: I’m almost definitely sure anyone reading this at this point has already finished the series or is just plain looking to be spoiled, so I’m going to forgo the usual summaries and just leave it to commentary for each episode. I know that this is a lazy move (then again, half the time my commentary becomes summary), but I’m writing 6 papers right now and I need to take as many shortcuts as I can get. The general rule is that I wrote after watching each successive episode — one at a time, though we might watch a few at a time and then comment on them in batches. Either way, let’s wrap up this series…At least until Chiru is hopefully announced~!
Greed Has Never Been this Cute Before!
Miken: Best part of this episode was the “only my railgun” commercial gg left in there between breaks. The episode was broken up between Maria being cute with Sakutaro and staying strong in her mother’s long vacation absence and Ange re-re-reaffirming that her life has been utter crap since the Rokkenjima incident. Oh yeah, and the Stakes going crazy over Sakutaro. Still, Ange and Mammon’s blooming “frienship” was quite nice since the Stakes have gotten something like…only a few seconds of screentime before this. Uhhh…other comments? Well, I do like Maria’s witch costume, it looks so cute on her~ Then again everything she wears is so dang cute! <3
Miken’s Episode Rating: 6.7/10
Miken: (Flashback) Ange went and did it…She made the Stakes more likable as characters than herself. The denying of magic, and therefore the Stakes’ existence once they decide not to cross the moral event horizon for her really is a kick the dog moment, especially when she ends up shattering Mammon. While the stakes have killed pretty heartlessly before, they know that Beato herself is resolve to kill whereas Ange’s just using them to clear up her problems without dirtying her own hands. Sure, Ange does have a good reason to want to kill those horrible classmates of hers, but using her “mere delusions” to kill others when she herself is not ready to… While she does make up for some this later by believing in magic once more, it really doesn’t redeem her much. Though bringing back Sakutaro? I’ll give her points on that.
As for the Maria portion of the episode…I wonder why the hell the Child Services lady didn’t outright call the cops the moment she was kicked out by a very angry Rosa. Hell, Maria crying should have been audible even outside the house. Even if that would be too late for Sakutaro, something should have happened, right? And yet years later, she’s still in Rosa’s “care”. Rosa destroying Sakutaro completely crossed the line — she herself is ruining her own image, leaving Maria to care for herself while she goes on vacation and all. Thus, Maria finds solace in the company of Sakutaro, making it pretty obvious why she’d drag him around even without seeing all the magic about him. You also can’t really blame Maria for taking up darker magic after that either…
Miken’s Episode Rating: 7.4/10
Ep22: Problem Child
Miken: Back to island this episode (finally!) — Kinzo proves that he’s completely gone nutters and calls for the suspension of the use of the epitaph to find his successor and nearly calls off the whole heir selection process. It takes an interruption by Nanjo to make him decide to use his grandkids this time around. Honestly, the introduction of Siesta 00 and Gaap really don’t seem necessary. Though I suppose this is in order not to confuse the viewers with the Stakes currently accompanying Ange? As usual for the first bloodbath, 6 people die.
Then there’s Maria, Beato and Rosa in the Meta-World. With how Rosa’s been portrayed in recent episodes, I really can’t blame Maria for wanting to tear her to bits. The little girl’s got obvious mental issues because she doesn’t want to accept that her previously kind mother is this “witch” despite not doing anything to deserve such a mean mother. Actually, seeing Rosa being torn apart over and over again was oddly refreshing~ I could feel my rage rising with Maria’s as Rosa continued to lie and then start to blame her for everything wrong in her life. Even with this entire venting-out of epic proportions, Maria still isn’t fully satisfied. Even if she’s had her vengeance against Rosa, you still have to feel for her, since not only does she still lack Sakutaro, but she also lacks the acknowledgment as a daughter from Rosa.
Oh yeah, now there’s a test being set up for the kiddies to take. I suppose it’ll be harder than any SAT College Entrance Exam they’ll ever take.
Miken’s Episode Rating: 8.3/10
Miken: Oh goodness, the silliness of Nanjo and Kurosawa’s respective children. I know they’re suppose to resemble their parents, but goodness do they look weird. I also sort of like this splitting up of the grandchildren for the “test”. Kinzo’s playing it much smarter than letting it become an all-out verbal brawl as he did with his immediate children. Still, since he’s got the support of the witches on the island (Bern and Lambda don’t count since they do almost nothing 99% of the time), the conclusion’s pretty much forgone…As in, even if they do manage to show a respectable amount of resolve, this will end in total and utter bloodshed. The essence of the questions also make this conclusion pretty obvious. Additionally, I was slightly confused and very interested in what Ronove said about Genji sorta being his true form in this world or something akin to a vessel. Hopefully, that get explained later. As for Jessica’s and George’s answers.
- Jessica: It’s nice to see her split her decision as a girl and as the successor — she knows what she wants, but she also knows what’s needed of her and she’s not about to let things slide without landing a punch first. As head, she would probably make for a pragmatic but more amiable leader…until she brings out those steel knuckles at the very least.
- George: Easily chooses to kill everyone else, though this can pretty much be explained by the effects of Shannon’s deal with Beato pre-series. Of course, there’s his decision to kill Gaap first and keep his “assets” (aka family) alive. Should he become head, I could see him making enemies out of everyone that gawks at Shannon’s boobs…Errr I mean everyone who stands in his way. However, George’s sudden power-up by actually knowing martial arts that he didn’t use all those times before felt like an ass-pull.
Also determination = magic? If that was so, then magic would’ve happened tons of times before. -_-;;
Miken’s Episode Rating: 8.6/10
Miken: It was really amusing seeing Virgilia lose her temper at the start of the episode when she learned that Gap used her Goat Butlers and therefore left the cell unguarded, leading to a jailbreak. It just sounds so…out of character for her. Then again, with these witches, there really is no telling what their character’s nature really is. It’s also nice to see Jessica and George gaining some bit of ground against their opponents, though they end up right where we expected them…dead. Though having them both teleport and kill one another was a nice twist.
Battler and Kyrie sort of mending their relationship was touching too, since she apologized for being rough on him for being Asumu’s son and he went past his first-name basis deal once and called her his mother.
Later, Beatrice calls Battler out on some forgotten sin from six years ago as his test. Seeing as I just marathoned Pandora Hearts, it gives a nice connection of “why the hell am I being punished again?” between both series. Battler’s situation is further exacerbated by the fact that he has no idea what she’s talking about and she’s freaking pissed off. Then we break to the Meta World and Battler asks if this is a sin between the two of them, since Beatrice actually looks genuinely upset. Though apparently this isn’t the case…Which rules out all my guesses. Back to Rokkenjima, Battler still can’t come up with anything. Thus, Beatrice exits the game and relinquishes her attachments, saying so to the Meta Battler as well. This also means that the game is in permanent deadlock until Battler figures out what the hell his sin was…
And somehow, Battler is not Asumu’s son after all? I know that Rudolph’s a womanizer, but where’d Battler’s mother go between him courting Asumu and Kyrie? Beato also uses his inability to respond to strip him of his qualifications to be her opponent.
Beato genuinely crying can’t be good either…
Miken’s Episode Rating: 8.8/10
Ep25: Forced Move
Miken: Kasumi Sumadera’s life was seriously f*cked up by her sister’s decision to go off with Rudolph, huh? I can’t blame Kyrie though, since her journey to even get with Rudolph wasn’t exactly lined with roses. I kind of have to agree with Ange here too — Kasumi was left unprepared for the slightest prospect that her sister wouldn’t take up the position as head of the family. If she says she had to endure harsh lessons since her sister’s marriage with Rudolph, then wouldn’t Kyrie have also endured harsh lessons daily since pretty much her birth? I mean, even Ange went through similar “training” with the mess that is Eva and she isn’t even half as spiteful as Kasumi.
Ange’s little monologue on the cycle of anger was interesting too — it almost makes sense if you flip the chessboard -shot-. Eva took her pain out on Rosa who took her pain out on Maria who in turn unconsciously used it to make her magic stronger. It’s nice to see her starting to see Eva as more of a (very faulty) human too…
Though it seems like Evatrice — I mean the black witch, has been manipulating Kasumi’s hatred. That makes much more sense. It’s still so aggravating to see her tear apart all of Maria’s magic like that and make fun of her…Though it does make all of Maria’s “Uuuuuu”ing make sense. Apparently, that was her spell to have Rosa always get along with her. Though that didn’t work too well, did it? Baaaaaw, poor Maria. D:
Good job to Ange for putting an end to Kasumi and the black witch~ Glad to see the Seven Stakes getting more action too! Between her denying of magic back at the academy and now, she’s developed the resolve to use magic. She’s lived up to the title of Ange-Beatrice. By the end, Ange has emotionally reconciled with Eva and even takes the fact that the black witch resembles her aunt as an insult. Though Eva coming back in spite was a bit sad, though her affiliation with the black witch pretty much meant that she still held a grudge and wasn’t just going to take Ange shopping.
Miken’s Episode Rating: 7.2/10
Miken: Ange going to the Golden Land to show up Beato by resurrecting Sakutaro and forcing her to rejoin the game was awesome~ Though the whole two sides of the coin of magic needing love and sadness does seem kind of corny, it works well in showing just how different and more p0werful Ange is. Her use of the blue truth to point out the obvious loophole in Beato’s exclusion of Battler from the game works perfectly, since Battler is still Kinzo’s grandson, since Asumu married into the family anyways. Ange bringing Battler out of his funk by remind him that blood isn’t as important as bonds was touching too, as was her finally telling him who she is and the reason why he has to win this game and get home…though it comes at a high price.
Finally getting to see the Blue Truth in full action is nice too — and seeing Battler consider Rosa as an accomplice in the 2nd round and Eva in the 3rd also means that he’s now opening suspicion to those of the Ushiromiya household, not just blindly denying witches, also opening up numerous explanations that he could not use before. He also builds up a huge wall of truths concerning Kinzo being dead from the start and there being the mysterious 18th person. With the who Kinzo issue dealt with, he takes on Beatrice’s existence with the 18th person theory with good results, though it’s frustrating that he lets the win slip away by digging deeper into another secret she’s holding. But even with Beato denying the 18th person by stating in red that there are only 17, he still manages to take her head on with his wit, explaining who could’ve done what during each murder, leaving no one out of suspicion.
In the end, Beato reveals her motive as just plain wanting to die and her final riddle to Battler is to find out just who she is. Only then can she die. It makes sense — as the Endless witch, living endlessly while killing endlessly would make someone want to die at least eventually. Also, Bern and Lambda finally do something by declaring that Beato cannot win…though that doesn’t exactly mean Battler will absolutely win, right?
Miken’s Episode Rating: 8.5/10
Miken: Over the course of this series, the characters either stuck to me or bored me out of my mind. I really liked Battler, Beato, Ronove, Eva (non-witch) and Maria while I generally overlooked the others and became flat out bored with George and Shannon repeating their deal pretty much every cycle. While a number of characters have yet to be fleshed out, what we do know of the characters with the most focus is interesting to say the very least. For an obvious example, there’s Maria, who despite being very creepy, becomes a more sympathetic character after her backstory in the last arc. Even an almost undeveloped character like Ronove sticks out well with his character quirks of being not 100% subservient despite being quite loyal to Beato — I also like that he’s pretty clever and unlike the Stakes/Siestas who pretty much exist to be ordered around. On the flip side, though, I do think that while Ange and her journey in the final arc was interesting to a point, her presence and the countless flashbacks took control of the arc and took away screentime from what I really wanted to see: Everyone running for their lives on Rokkenjima. Still, I did come to enjoy her character by the end.
As for the plot, though I cannot say for certain, since the answer arcs are not presented, it is a very workable mystery/horror-ish story. The third arc stood out very well in terms of plot and gore and the series ends with enough open ends to warrant Chiru being adapted. I’m dying to know just what Battler’s sin is, since it seems like the topic was dropped. It was stated that it was 6 years ago specifically, so it can’t be the not being Asumu’s son problem, right? Still, the last quarter of the series did take a nose dive in terms of my enjoyment — a good number of the episodes centered around Ange and her search to find the truth and understand magic. While i do suppose this is necessary to make her death at the end emotional, it really doesn’t pay off and ends up just dragging the series. There’s also more questions as to Beato’s background, while some was revealed in the 3rd arc, it’s still questionable and only reaching so far back…it doesn’t answer Beato’s own question about herself.
Overall, this was one of the more interesting series of this year — while it doesn’t reach its full potential and is a tad strange at times, it manages to be generally entertaining. I would probably recommend this series to friends, though I’d be cautious as to the person’s tastes…Well, I hope I’ll still be able to blog once Chiru comes around~ (hopefully)
Miken’s Final Series Rating: 8.3/10