How did I miss this thread omg!
Aside for @danpmss kind of summerizing the big parts of how it was, I will try to think of some more stuff that were spicy and interesting!
I joined this fandom around the time EP5’s translation came out. The little time before every episode was released was precious, because we always recieved the portrait of that episode, the title, and eventually fake screenshots started flowing in and you had to guess whether it’s real or not. It was part of the fun, until the part where you had to wait 5-6 months for translation, escaping the spoilers as much as you can.
Few things I remember really well from that time:
When Erika’s portrait was out, people started guessing maybe it’s Asumu, Asumu’s Battler, or anything else. Bonus point: people once started theorizing Erika is Maria’s rose I shit you not.
When recieving screenshots of Zepar and Furfur, and later on Clair, Bice and young Kinzo, people were SURE it’s fake, we were shocked when it wasn’t LOL
When EP7 portrait came out the art-tags of Will and Lion on Pixiv were “Cliff-san” and “Itomimizu” (some kind of a red worm because of the red streak he has). People got it pretty fast.
One of the best parts though, were reading and taking part in theories. By the time of the end of EP6 I was still SOOOO anti Shkanon. I actually worked really hard to explain how it can be possible without it by then.
Aside for Moon-chan and Shkanontrice danpmss mentioned, I remember a theory I liked called “Fusiontrice” (where Shannon and Kanon are seperate but both play Beatrice’s role, it was brilliant, I can search it!), or crack theories like “Gohda poisoned everyone” and “Teatrice” or “Kawabata did it, he murders them, and then goes back to the boat so he’s not counted on the island”, or “Asumu is alive and killed Kyrie”. Honestly, sometimes the line between crack theories and real theories was so thin because people put so much effort in it.
The “Pony theory, I want to believe” and the amount of memes running all the time were amazing. I actually still have exclusive Schroedinger comics and art he posted on theards in 4chan and never posted on his Deviantart.
In general, while reading passively on Animesuki, I think the best threads I enjoyed taking part in were in /jp/ on 4chan. I still can’t believe to this day that people solved the Epitaph after EP5 (they realized Kinzo’s hometown is Taiwan because someone mentioned a food he likes from Taiwan for like ONE TIME). It was crazy, when I read the solution in EP7 I was like “HOLY SHIT they were right!!!” (Also nick named “Taiwan theory”)
I also had tons of theories myself, revised theories I could argue about, and meeting people through this fandom was my favorite thing. Some of my best friends to this day are people I met through this fandom. There WAS a lot of toxic, sure, but Umineko isn’t something anyone can read. It’s long and requires something from you, so there WAS some kind of a filter on people. The good side of the fandom was totally worth it.
By the time EP8 came out I already had solid theories and pretty much every time someone was exposed it was me yelling “I FUCKING CALLED IT” out loud. I think I was most proud about the fact there were blank bullets in Prime Yasu mixed up and played “Russian roullette”. I can still find somewhere on Tumblr I wrote it back in 2011 and I never read it anywhere else, so I was super proud I reached it myself.
There was a lot of hate too. Hating on Shkanontrice confirmed, hating on the gender issue, a lot of Yasutrice VS Rosatrice at some point (mainly 2013~ I think), and a lot a lot more. But even with all the shit going around, I was just so happy the fandom is still alive. One of the reasons this forum makes me so happy is because it gives me a feeling of a bit of the “simulator” it was back then. Sure, the fandom is less lively than it was before, but people “keep” Umineko with them. Not long ago I opened a thread in 4chan about Umineko and it was like watching everyone reviving back to comment, it was charming.