How has Umineko affected your thinking? (Full Spoilers, just to be sure)

After careful use of the search function I found it odd that such a simple question seems to not have been asked as of yet. Therefore here I am, maybe a little influenced by Aspirety’s old blog post about Umineko’s meaning to him, asking the big question: In what situations have you noticed that the themes of Umineko have changed your way of understanding the world?

It can be about big philosophical observations, about the understanding you have of other people, but also about the small and seemingly irrelevant things.

Let’s start with me: One thing that always reminds me of Umineko in a way is the question of subjectivity. As I had already stated in my introduction post a few months ago, I was already somewhat aware that all of history is more or less a construct of theories build around the facts we take for granted. But after reading Umineko, my perspective on what I take for granted somewhat changed and I became even more critical of my sources, not only looking for the personal bias of the authors but their lack of knowledge as well. And yet it’s not that I’m starting to question away the branch I’m sitting on, in fact I grow ever more certain of what I know and what I don’t due to that approach. Umineko with its nature as a fictional story written by fictional characters with their own bias and limitations really opened my eyes when it comes to challenging subjectivity.

On the other hand… as a funny tidbit, I’m starting this thread because I stumbled about an old forum post of mine that I made while I was reading Umineko. Does anyone know “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction”? An old show hosted by Jonathan Frakes about urban legends and creepy bedtime stories which had the nice touch that it was built around challenging the audience to guess whether the story told is true or not:
For some reason it never disappered from German TV and is still to this day re-running forever… In any case, even as a child I always approached that show by looking for rational explanations for the seemingly supernatural stories… and indeed, most of the times I was pretty successful with that approach and managed to find the true ones by just looking at the possible ones. The only difference when approaching this show nowadays seems to be that I spice it up by challenging people to Truth Battles. In that thread someone insisted that one of the true stories there is proof that the supernatural exists, I really couldn’t help myself and started to color my counters in blue. XD
Come to think of it, a “Beyond Belief” watch could be a nice activity for this board, couldn’t it?

Well, anyway… I likely have a lot of other small things to share, but for now I eagerly await your stories!


Without love, it cannot be seen.

Putting that beautiful quote aside, I think Umineko is the story that taught me of the value of proactively engaging with a story. It denied me the pleasure of just taking things for granted and then having the message laid out to me on a silver platter. I missed out on much of what made Umineko affect people so deeply about the characters, and its musings on about the seeking of truth, but at least I got my own thing from it.

It’s the game that made me want to delve deep into understanding what I read. Also, I feel like Umineko was the game that made me truly cherish characters- the previous VNs I read, chief of them Zero Escape, paid much more attention to a character’s place in how the plot fits together than the emotions and rationale of that person. It was with Umineko that I first ventured into a journey about humans as humans are.


While my contribution isn’t exactly groundbreaking or philosophical, I still find it amusing so I figure I might share.

I played Umineko fairly young. And even then, I didn’t “play” the Question arcs - what I’d done was watch the anime and then hop on to Chiru (mistake 1). I was one of those people that scoffed at the ending and EP8 in general and thought it was just a waste of time. (I never got to the point of attempting to Rosatrice the solution, thankfully.)

Unfortunately, rejecting EP8 ended up forcing me to reject the core principles of the story itself. A lot of the seeds of the Question arcs hadn’t been planted in me, either, so I ended up walking out of the entire thing going:

“Whoa… Those were some cool mysteries! Especially the WorDplaYs jUsT thInk of ALl the FuN thIngs yOu couLd do WitH thEM”.

So yes, in a story set around the heart, I walked out of it wanting to create a bunch of extremely contrived logic puzzles presented as mysteries.

Good times.

The damage ended up being undone. Eventually. I hope. (At the very least, I’m nowhere as bad as I once was.) A lot of that undoing had to do with me creating a gameboard years later, actually, in which I presented the story from the point of view of the culprit and had to think about and consider a lot of the details that I wouldn’t have, under normal circumstances.

And in spite of that falling out with EP8 and completely missing the key themes of the story, I still appreciated the series, and I still ultimately walked out of it with a clearer of understanding of dialogue writing and story structure, which ultimately helped me with the parts outside of mystery (the ones that had the potential to be any good at the time).


Oh yes, the love for character-driven narratives is something I could have mentioned as well!
Though admittedly, in my case “A Song of Ice and Fire” awoke my desire to analyse every little detail of its characters even before I’ve read Umineko. It’s just absolutely brilliant to read a narrative that acts like a complex clockwork with all the little gears biting into each other, which seems erratic and confusing from the outside, but makes ever more sense the more you interact with it.

I suppose it also rekindled a love for fair-play whodunnits that I hadn’t felt ever since I watched Detective Conan as a kid. In fact, I rewatched a large chunk of its episodes over the last few years, trying to hone my detective skills by deducing the solutions, something I never seriously undertook before.


For me, Umineko (and those I experienced it with) have taught me quite a bit of things. First and foremost, it taught me that no matter how much I wanted to sit back and just enjoy the story, my brain wouldn’t let me. I didn’t acknowledge that I was trying to solve the story the minute I started it. I wanted to feel more than think, because that’s just the type of reader I am. I felt pressured that if I didn’t solve it, I was just an idiot. If I didn’t make theories, I wasn’t enjoying it correctly. Those were the seeds budding in the foreboding darkness of my heart. I rejected them, but it still grew. At some point, I snapped, and I had no choice but to accept it. I tried solving it, and I found an answer. I know myself better now, I suppose. I am not a fool, and no story can tell me how to enjoy it. I am unbound by the chains that others lash toward me. It’s hard to explain.

Secondly, I realized in Episode 7 that mystery novels are a drop in the bucket. Every story, every person, and all of life itself is a mystery waiting to be solved. I knew my purpose, but now I feel much better knowing that I’m not just drifting with the tide, but eagerly going with it.


Beyond what Umineko showed me about life, it managed to show me much more about writing. As someone who’s trying to get published, I am forever grateful to Ryukishi for teaching me about:

  • The importance of theme and how it’s like a neural system for a story. It’s the theme itself and how the characters relate to it that makes the story flow and be coherent. A few months/years after digesting a story, you may forget about its events and characters, but you will remember the theme if it challenged you and taught you something new about life that you previously had not been able to put into words.

  • The importance of whydunnit, or character motivation. No character is inherently good or evil, and even a character that was first written as irredeemable becomes human when you see things from their point of view. (The same applies to real life humans, too.)

  • The fact that an objective truth does not exist. You may interpret facts differently according to how closely you are involved in them. The same event can be seen from endless different points of view that can be manipulated according to distinct, sometimes extreme agendas. It’s both Without love, the truth cannot be seen and With love, you see things that are not there.

  • The fun fun fun you can have with unreliable narration. Especially if you use multiple points of view.

  • Analyzing a good story over and over will always teach you something new. Discussing it with friends will show you things you had missed or interpreted differently. You may choose to dissect a story up to its guts or reconstruct it with magic. Both are valid methods.

  • The courage to push your own boundaries when experiencing stories, whether you are reading/watching/playing/writing them. I got the push to try out books out of my comfort zone, out of my usual genres and interests. I got the push to try stories that bend genres, that are parodies or deconstructions of tropes. I got the push to write stories that deal with deeper subjects that I had been afraid to tackle before.

  • This was from an interview with Ryukishi:
    “…a story should be like a roller coaster. That is to say before writing a really cruel scene, I have to lift the people’s spirits, for example, with a fun scene… Before writing a scene of pure despair, we must go through scenes of hope. And indeed, when I write, all of this amuses me very much.”

    So, how to manipulate the audience and sit back and cackle while doing so.

  • There has to be a bit of magic in all of us to continue living. And by that magic, I mean attributing our own vision over the world and encasing it in our own truth in order for life to make sense. Same applies to stories: you need to add a deeper meaning beyond their events to make sense of them.


As someone who also dabbles in writing, I couldn’t have phrased it better. Yes! So many of Ryukishi’s stylistic and thematic choices are absolutely stunning. His trademark use of unreliable narration is one of them. Admittedly, I have yet to write something with an outright lying narrator myself, but biased narration should be a given for every character, given that it is always more interesting when they have their own read on the situation. Though… it could also backfire a bit. I remember my frustration when I made a POV rant about his mother’s meddling in his affairs even though I thought I made it clear from the situation that she was just helping him to get a way out of a hopeless situation he created through his very own stubbornness and lack of decisionmaking. When the readers sided immediately with the POV character and started to complain about his mother just like he did, you can imagine my annoyance.

Regarding deconstructions: There it also tought me that a deconstruction doesn’t necessarily mean making everything horrifically dark and gritty. Many writers who try to deconstruct a genre think themselves totally edgy by pulling it down with what they think is ‘realism’, by making everything and everyone awful. That may bring some interesting takes, given that it generates a lot of conflict, but in the end it can become dreary and overly pessimistic. Umineko, even though it was always dark, deconstructs on a very meta-level and in the end contains a strong message of love for the genre, reconstructing it on the way. This switch of deconstruction and reconstruction shows that a deconstruction really doesn’t need to only take pot-shots at the genre, but can turn into a love-declaration instead. This way you have all the grittiness and the playing with expectations and genre-tropes that make deconstructions so amazing, while you also can make use of your love for it to turn things right in the end.