A couple weeks ago, after finishing Episode 3, I claimed I was hooked on Umineko. This was not true.
It was true that I was thereafter more interested in Umineko than I had ever been previously. It was true that I wanted to read Episode 4, not partially because of a book club, but because I genuinely 100% wanted to know what was going to happen. But I was not hooked.
I know what it is like to be hooked. I can’t stop thinking about it, and the more I think about it, the more I want to read more. It requires a sense of excitement. And I am here to say, I have finally found that sense of excitement toward Umineko.
In terms of pacing and negative points of this Episode, I did find myself a little bored with how drawn out (and at times repetitive) the Ange and Maria parts were. However, this has existed in every Episode, and is something that Ryukushi struggles with in general. I’ve seen it in every Umineko episode, Ive seen it in Higurashi, and Ive even seen it in Lucia’s route in Rewrite. Its just something I force myself to look past in order to enjoy all the other amazing parts of his writing.
Speaking of which, there were so many parts of this episode that literally made my jaw drop, usually out of awe for a new mystery. Namely
What did Ange see in the captain’s store that gave her a reason to go to Rokkenjima?
What was Battler’s ‘sin’ that brought about this terrible crime?
WHO IS BEATRICE?
The number of solid theories you all have come up with really amazes me. Many of them don’t sit well with me, but they’re very well thought out nonetheless. I personally haven’t been able to come up with a complete theory, but below are all my little comments and things I thought of while reading the episode and while reading all of your posts!
First, as related to “who is Beatrice” and “how is she related to Battler’s sin”:
In the lore of the Golden Witch Beatrice, the name “Beatrice” is passed down. We know for certain that at least 4 beings (Virgilia, Beato, EVA, ANGE) have had this name at some point. While, since witches are not real, we could be tempted to ignore this as part of the untrustworthy magic scenes, this name passing ritual is a main point in Ep 3 and cannot be overlooked.
Not only that, but Kinzo seemed to have recognized two separate human bodies as Beatrice. We cannot of course believe this homunculus, witch cage bullcrap. BUT we could see that situation as one Beatrice passing on her name to another Beatrice…
Furthermore, we see the concept of name-passing brought up again, when Battler proposes that people claimed they saw Kinzo, but Kinzo was dead. “The name Kinzo is passed down to the Head of the Ushiromiyas.” Beatrice accepts this as valid. But as we know from ???, most of the theories Beatrice accepted as valid were not true. And after all, who would all of the people in the dinning hall possibly all accept as the head of the family? But the theory was accepted nonetheless…
Now, lets take into consideration the red truths of Battler’s sin:
The sin (…) is not between Ushiromiya Battler and Beatrice.
Six years ago (for Battler) no person called Beatrice existed.
So, when Battler committed this sin, he did not commit it against a person who was called Beatrice. Yet, Beatrice is clearly distressed. This is a turning point in the episode. The person who is committing the murders goes by the name of Beatrice. She is doing so because of Battler’s sin. The fact that Battler cannot even remember the very reason she is committing the murders is of course upsetting.
I wonder, do you see what I am getting at? The person who Battler sinned against 6 years ago (or more?) was not named Beatrice at that time! The name Beatrice was, while Battler was gone, passed on to this person. This of course does not solve the mystery of Battler’s sin, or who it was against. However, it does explain why Beatrice was so upset, and why his sin could have caused people to be murdered by a person named Beatrice, which was particularly bugging me.
Because it ended up actually being disadvantageous for Battler to base all of his theories around Kinzos’ being dead. Although it provided us with new clues to look at character in different ways, it caused Battler to believe that there was an “18th person X” that was committing all the crimes, when in fact there were no more than 17 people on the island to begin with.
Im still a fan of Maria found the letter (and umbrella) in her bag. No one directly handed them to her. She proclaimed that Beatrice gave it to her because Beatrice has given her things before (e.g. candy).
In fact, perhaps let me go another step further: The Beatrice that Maria claims to know has never interacted with her directly! Through Maria’s wild imagination, and through indirect acts such as giving her candy and writing in her notebook, Maria believes and tells people that she has been interacting with a witch named Beatrice who looks out for her.
I was about to argue that this isn’t true for Episode 4, but then I thought of something. While Kanon is confirmed to have died nineth on that day, his specific time of death is not confirmed. We assume that he died when we saw him in the magic scene: before Kyrie called Battler… but we don’t know that for sure. This would mean that Kyrie didn’t actually die when her conversation was cut off either… but that actually makes sense. I don’t know if this was bugging anyone else, but Battler was supposedly on the phone with two people when they died, but neither time did he hear a sound; it just cut off. Kyrie was probably killed by a gun, but you’re telling me Battler didn’t hear it over the phone?
Here’s what actually happened: Kyrie did not die in that guest room. Or if she did, it was after Battler had hung up. Actually, we don’t even know if that phone call was made from the guest room. It could have been made from the dungeon. Or perhaps the five were never in a dungeon at all. The phone call could have come from any phone in the mansion, and Battler will never know.
Im not sure if Im fully on board with Beatrice on the game board = Kanon, but if that is so, this point certainly supports that.
Hmmm, I originally thought of Fragments as the worlds of the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics… but perhaps that is much more grand than reality. Starting in Episode 3 and again in this episode, the fact that “many different truths can exist at the same time,” and “the truth can differ for each person” has been emphasized constantly. The Braun tubes, Maria’s interpretation of Rosa being different than Ange’s…
So perhaps, could each Fragment be “the truth” for each person…? That would make it kinda hard to explain how drastically different things seem to be able to be in each Fragment (like a person being alive or dead), but I don’t think it is a completely impossible definition.
(Seems @pik3rob and @Aspirety seem to have come to the same conclusion as I)
Can we talk about the use of stakes in this Episode? Not only do they not follow the Epitaph as usual, but two of them are just laying on the ground next to the victim!! What could this mean!
Well, one, it could mean the killer was in a rush. This seems plausible… but if they were in so much of a rush that they couldn’t quickly stab the victims… why drop the stakes at all? Aha, why don’t we turn the chessboard around? Maybe the killer wanted it to seem like they were in a rush… I unfortunately don’t have any idea why they would want this…
Ok so most people here seem to be going along with the Kanon theory, so I just wanted to voice my main problem with it. What is Kanon’s motivation? I assume you’d say something like “He’s tired of being furniture, etc.” But here’s the problem: Ushiromiya Battler has a sin. Because of (this) sin, people die. Kanon did not work for the Ushiromiyas when Battler left, so I think we can assume Battler did not meet him until arriving on the island in 1986. So how is Battler’s sin connected to Kanon then?
I also really don’t like the “Kanon isn’t his real name” trick for getting around his being confirmed dead in read… but I guess with a lot of word play you could still get around that, so I don’t know…
That said, I do have something in support of the Kanon=Shannon theory, as well as the “Kanon is actually a girl” (as much as that theory doesn’t sit well with me either). Despite what someone said earlier, Kanon is not an uncommon Japanese name… but it is usually a girls name. Interpret that how you like.
Also, its easy to focus all on Battler’s sin know that we know that is a cause… but we still don’t know why the culprit is committing these murders in such an elaborate way. If the goal is to get some sort of revenge on Battler for his sin… then why mess around with all this Epitaph, closed room, etc. stuff? Even if the murder doesn’t actually consider themselves Beatrice, the Legend of the Golden Witch Beatrice is clearly very important to them for some reason.
I assume by “we” you’re referring to the podcast. I haven’t listened to that yet, but thats interesting because Ive been wondering about that kind of theory since the beginning, but especially in this episode. It seems very unlikely, but its interesting to think about: what if everyone except Battler (or maybe except the cousins) are in on it together? That of course begs the question, why the fuck would everyone agree to being killed like this. A prank gone bad… would explain it, but I really can’t come up with a reason for it “going bad.”
Of course it does. After all: No one escapes, all die. and The only one alive on this island is you. Unless we assume someone else with a death wish kills the original murderer… or could it be trap X, kihihhihi.
Speaking of No one escapes, all die.
Does this not conflict with the ending of Episode 3, in which Eva “escapes”? Im confused, because that would have huge implications on the Ange of 1998… but as @Aspirety said it would silly to completely disregard 1/3 of an episode. I guess this could only apply to Episode 4… but then, does Battler’s sin as well only apply to Episode 4? That doesn’t make sense either.
I guess we could argue semantics here. The red truth says Because of (this) sin, people die.
and A great many humans on this island die. It does not say that “a great many humans on this island die because of this sin.” And it does not say “a great many humans die on this island.” So of course, all of the humans on the island will die at some point, but not necessarily while on the island. That is the only argument I can come up with.
TL;DR: I comment/add to a few theories people have already proposed, and also bring up a few new discussion points people haven’t talked about in this thread yet (there is so much going on its no surprise we’ve missed stuff)