Okay, so now that I’ve finally got some time to post something, I think I’m going to start with my own little ranking of the episodes like @pik3rob. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, so I’ll try to develop my opinion as much as possible. I’d be very glad to discuss it with you all as it seems we all have a very personal and strong point of view!
So, let’s start by the bottom! Btw, as I may consider this thread being full series spoilers, I’ll only write the name of the episode inside the spoiler to keep some sense of suspense. And, I may also add that I’ve currently read Umineko three times, plus all of the manga up to EP6.
Okay, let’s start for real!
N°8 Legend of the golden witch: So, we start with episode 1, which is, surprisingly (at least in my opinion), not ranked last most of the time, despite being near it. And I can understand why, it is a very good episode, and as the introduction to the series, it does a great job with its latter half full of intense moments and with a perfect murder mystery story atmosphere. The ending is really great with a lot of suspense and it has one hell of a climax when Dead Angle plays for the first time and everything ends at midnight without anything being resolved. And of course, the Tea Party is such a great and fundamental twist for the rest of the series. Despite that, I find that the first half of the episode really drags on sometimes, even though all of the information is necessary. Even on the second day, there are some moments of reflexion by the characters which I find a bit too long. However, these scenes are still really well-written, full of details (mostly on reread), so these are mostly the first two/three hours before we get on Rokkenjima (and reach the rose garden scene) that bring down this episode. So, I rank it last without a doubt, even though I already love it a lot and am somehow never tired of rereading through it. Btw, I just noticed something the other day, Nanjo must have already been on the island the day before the family conference since he never took any boat (or at least it was not shown). Krauss and Natsuhi don’t mention it, but that’d be logical since he has to play his part to keep the illusion of Kinzo alive.
N°7 Turn of the golden witch: I am somehow saddened to rank this one so low as it is so insightful on reread and I’ve come to greatly appreciate it over time. So this is only because all of the others are even better and because Turn still suffers from some pacing issues very much like Episode 1. All of that apart, I still can’t believe how much this episode puts us in the culprit’s shoes and we still utterly fail to notice it on first reading. 'Cause I’m gonna be honest, to me Turn feels like the real answer arc of Umineko along wih Requiem. All of the scenes before the family conference with Shannon, Kanon and Beatrice are so painful and so painfully clear on reread. The fact that this was written by Yasu even give it greater value, which is something Requiem does not have. Of course, everything is told in metaphors with the fantasy narrative that allows the different personas to be portrayed at the same time, but unlike what’s showed in Requiem, I feel like there is no embellishment in the feelings that are expressed. And this reaches its culmination in what has always been one of my favorite scenes even before I understood its meaning - the ultimate confrontation between Shannon and Beatrice. My god, this one scene is just as horrible as Requiem’s Tea Party. Once you understand it, you can just feel all of the pain tearing Yasu apart, and it’s one of the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever known. I can’t recall how many times I’ve wondered in what kind of extreme state of mind Yasu must have been when she killed George and maybe even revealed him what she really is, before killing herself. And the fact that this scene starts with the first apparition of Worldenddominator even make it greater. About the rest of the episode, I really love how it lays the stress on the question of who we can trust and plays a lot with the character’s psychology, as well as with the player. The second twilight is the perfect example of this, I think you’ll agree. This also leads to a ton of great scenes and the whole of the second day is such a ride, it still amazes me on reread. Moreover, Turn is one of the two Episode where Maria and Rosa’s relationship is really developed to its maximum, up until that ultimate scene of ‘best mom ever shows goats a golden dream’. When you realise that the truth of that scene is that they’re running away from the bomb, it even gets more intense. I think that’s part of why I love Episode 2 fantasy scenes so much, because in Yasu’s hands they really have a ton of meaning behind them. Just the other day I thought about Kanon revealing is ‘blade’ to Jessica in the second twilight to fight the goat… could that mean what I think? Did it really happen this way? That’d be even more horrible. Finally, Episode 2 really strikes me as being the cruelest episode of them all, I mean that it is the one with the most gore elements. The obvious examples are of course the 1st twilight, the banquet at the end with Battler reduced to being furniture and the Tea Party. I think this really reflects Yasu’s unimaginable distress and how she is disgusted of reality, of herself and even of magic in the end. So yeah, to sum up, this episode really lays the stress on mental distress, which is even more obvious on reread. I feel like there is so much material for analysis here, but I won’t expand any further.
Wow, I had not intented to write already that much! I’ll try to post the rest tomorrow or at least soon. There are so much things I want to say, and not only in this thread, but unfortunately I don’t have that much time right now, even though it shall be better this weekend. As I’ve said in the beginning, I’d really love to hear your opinions and discuss it all!