What a packed episode. There’s so much to pick apart! ANGE Beatrice is a fascinating piece – a witch made to deny witches. You could think of her as a thought experiment – a way of interrogating the premises of an argument by bearing out their logical consequences, even ‘a thousand years in the future.’ For the sake of a thought experiment, you can entertain the existence of witches, without accepting the existence of witches. In fact, that may be the best way to deny witches. Like the game says, you have to keep two eyes open.
The original Schrodinger’s Cat Box was a thought experiment to deny many worlds, by entertaining many worlds. (That’s a horrible simplification, but bear with me.) It was meant to be a reductio ad absurdum – a cat can’t be simultaneously alive and not-alive, therefore there’s something wrong with the premise of quantum entanglement – but now many people accept this as a strange but true feature of our existence. A cat can be simultaneously alive and not-alive until you look yourself. I think new players, like me, struggle with the Meta world of Umineko in the same way, then accept it as a strange feature of the game in order to keep playing.
Hmm maybe it’s something like this. By entertaining – and ultimately respecting – a world of magic, ANGE Beatrice discovers what true magic looks like and what true magic means. She uses it to revive Sakutarou for MARIA, and this is something Beatrice cannot do. Therefore, Beatrice must not have true magic. This doesn’t mean any sort of magic exists outside the Meta world or on the game board, but exploring the consequences of ‘magic exists’ gives her the tools to deny Beatrice’s power. With a display of magic, she can force Beatrice out of the Golden Land and back into the game.
There are two questions looming large for me, from the time Beatrice abandons the game.
**Who is Ushiromiya Battler? **
What is Ushiromiya Battler’s sin?
And a subquestion –
Do we know enough at this stage of the game to theorize about either?
At first, I thought Beatrice’s attempt to disqualify Battler would be the same kind of existential trick Lambdadelta uses to make ANGE Beatrice question who she is. She is Ushiromiya Ange, but she’s the Ushiromiya Ange whose family never returned from Rokkenjima. So even if Ushiromiya Ange’s family returns from Rokkenjima, they won’t return to her, because she was never that Ange. She both is and isn’t Ushiromiya Ange. So maybe there’s some way to say the Meta Battler, the one who can view the gameboard with Beatrice, is and isn’t Ushiromiya Battler … but then what is he, exactly?
Maybe I’m getting too metaphysical here. This isn’t the first time someone’s accused him of not being the Ushiromiya Battler of six years ago. Rosa did the same thing on the gameboard at the end of episode two. It makes a certain kind of paranoid sense. So what, Battler had no interest in the Ushiromiya name for six years, doesn’t come to any of the family conferences, and the year he does is the year they’re discussing the inheritance and everything goes wrong? And that would explain why, when Beatrice questioned him on the gameboard, he didn’t know his sin from six years ago – he wasn’t there.
But we’ve been in Battler’s perspective before, and he does remember things from six years ago, just not this supposed sin. Honestly, doesn’t it sound like a lover’s spat? ‘Just tell me what I did wrong so I can apologize!’ ‘Not knowing what you did wrong is part of what you did wrong!’ Battler’s sin may not have anything to do with this.
Well, it’s worth at least examining the exact line Beatrice uses to undermine Battler’s identity. She goes after his mother Asumu. She switches weapons with him, and challenges him to use the red truth to establish that he was born from Ushiromiya Asumu. When he can’t, this produces the illusion that he isn’t Kinzo’s grandchild Ushiromiya Battler, Beatrice’s opponent. But that’s an obvious equivocation! There are multiple ways he can be Kinzo’s grandchild Battler without being Asumu’s biological son. She isn’t the one with Kinzo’s blood, anyway. Battler only really falls for this because … well, love. He loved Asumu, and believed he was her faithful son, her last living defender. For him that’s what those six years were all about. So who was he when he wasn’t an Ushiromiya, if not Asumu’s son?
But it’s a red truth that he isn’t, at least not biologically. She was a mother to him, but he wasn’t born from her. So maybe the question we should be asking isn’t just who is Battler? It’s who was Battler born from?
Is she someone we know? Was it Kyrie after all? She was pregnant at the same time, though she claimed she had a miscarriage. Or maybe he was a homunculus created by alchemy in Kinzo’s laboratory to be the perfect opponent for Beatrice … Oh no, I’m getting sucked in by magical thinking.
And that still leaves the question of what his sin was. We do get lots of red truths about it.
Ushiromiya Battler has a sin.
Because of (this) sin, people die.
(…) A great many humans on this island die.
No one escapes, all die.
The sin (…) is not between Ushiromiya Battler and Beatrice.
Six years ago (for Battler) no person called Beatrice existed.
… Yeah, I have no clue what it is. I suspect whatever it is, it may be the key to the entire game. It’s the first thing we have approaching a motive, right? An underlying cause for all the deaths on this island. Even if we don’t really suspect Battler is the culprit, or anything like that … he could still be the catalyst for everything that happens.
Okay, this is a great big walloftext with no conclusions. I should wrap it up. One thing I do want to note – Beatrice’s final mystery is ‘who am I?’ It’s the same question the human Beatrice asked Kinzo in Kuwadorian, in a conversation which the red truth confirms happened. Or technically, those two actually had a conversation like that in this place. A conversation where Beatrice asked an Ushiromiya who she was. In this episode, Ange and Battler are also lead to ask that question of themselves. ‘Who am I?’
I don’t know what it all means. But it’s … a thing. In a wall of text.
Congratulations for scrolling down, here are your discussion questions: Who is Ushiromiya Battler? Who is the Meta Battler, and who is the Battler of the gameboard? Are they the same, or different, and how did they become different? Who was Battler born from, if not Asumu? Does it matter? What was Battler’s sin? Why doesn’t he remember it? How did it lead to the deaths on the island? And what has Beatrice so sulky?