Heh, I said as much on Discord, but really, I think Ep5 in general is kinda rude to readers. That’s part of what makes it so interesting to reread, but I’ll be damned if things like Battler not being detective aren’t going to throw off first-time readers.
Anyways, let’s see… (note: this was written over several hours, so I haven’t read more recent posts in the topic, and it’s been a while since I last read Ep5 since I’m focusing on my Ep6 blog analysis right now, so I’m going off of memory here)
I should say before starting here that I do not like Erika very much at all. Maybe I’m guilty of not looking at her with enough love, but she grates on my nerves quite a lot, especially in Ep6. That’s probably going to colour a lot of my observations about her here.
Having said that, I don’t think she really cares about the truth so much as she cares about being “right the first time”. For instance, when Battler escapes from Kinzo’s study, she reacts incredibly negatively - not to him proving that Kinzo could still exist, but to being wrong, to everyone accepting Battler’s explanation over hers. I feel like this is part of her character as a deconstruction of the mystery genre - a criticism of the detective’s ability to pinpoint the culprit successfully on first guess, and/or of the readers to cling to their theory of choice even when it’s more or less disproven. Plus, since Battler’s red was given to him by a non-player, well… who cares?
Oooh… This is an interesting one that I hadn’t thought about before. I dunno about the gameboard mystery, but I imagine narratively it’d be a power trip for good 'ol Erika and her detective powers, and sort of a “finishing blow” to the image of Natsuhi as a woman who cares for her family.
I feel like this question has a lot to do with the nature of red and gold truths, so here’s my two cents:
Red truth exists as a “game” concept, usable by any player depending on the rules (up until Ep5, for instance, only the witch side is allowed to use it outside of a few situations (Battler trying to say Asumu is his mother and Ange’s red plea to Battler towards the end of Ep4), while after that it’s available for either side). The key thing about red is that it allows its users to say something that’s true from their perspective - Kanon was killed in this room, Kanon was the first of the group to escape the dungeon to die, Ushiromiya Battler is Ushiromiya Asumu’s son, Natsuhi only ever told Shannon about Fall being her favourite season, etc. In that sense, Battler saying “Ushiromiya Kinzo is already dead” in red is open to interpretation, and doesn’t necessarily prove anything.
Gold truth, on the other hand, exists as a concept that can only be used by someone if they know everything about what they’re talking about. We’ve got only two instances of gold truth being used - once by Battler here, and once by Elder Beato in Ep6 about magic - but we’ve also got Willard making reference to it in Ep7, so that’s where most of my thinking here comes from. The thing about gold truth that makes it tricky is that anything can be said in gold, so long as the speaker has the ability to use the gold in the first place. The reason I say this is because of Will’s explanations - “The gold truth locks the lock of illusions,” in reference to the chapel murders in Ep2, for instance. The solution is that the door wasn’t locked, but that Yasu and her accomplices agreed on a story where it was locked - that became their gold truth. In the context of TP5, “I guarantee, without a doubt, this is Ushiromiya Kinzo’s corpse!” proves that he understands everything about the gameboard, about Yasu’s heart, and thus knows for certain both that Kinzo’s dead and what Krauss and Natsuhi did with his corpse (I feel that they’d have found a way to preserve it as opposed to leaving it to rot in his study, since that would probably become obvious pretty damn quickly, but I’m still not 100% sure).
I’m… not sure I get what you mean by “completely inconsequential” here. As far as never being addressed goes… I’ve always felt that the explanation was kinda implicit in the Battler-culprit theory: As one of the cousins, he’d have a good chance to make them side with him as accomplices, and as the man from 19 years ago, I think he’d be able to convince the servants to side with him as well. He just has to tell them to play dead, then hide when everyone leaves.
As said above, I imagine Krauss and Natsuhi were hiding it somewhere to begin with. I’m not quite sure where that’d be, but wherever it is, I suspect it’d be somewhere normally only open to the servants, so none of the other family members can stumble on it by mistake.
From there, it’d be easy for Lion to dump Kinzo’s body in the boiler like what happens in the other Episodes, so… Yeah.
Uhhh… Good question! I honestly have no idea, haha.
If any of her motives took precedence here, I think she was just having fun messing around with Bern. She set up the board, so she knows that Natsuhi isn’t the culprit, but she’s perfectly happy to take that as an answer because that’s the kind of story Bern would find most interesting. When Battler revives and she realizes that he knows the truth, I think she changes her mind because she realizes that this is the miracle Beato was hoping for all along.
For one thing, to be honest, I don’t like the name “Answer Arcs” for Chiru. For Higurashi Kai, it made sense, because the answers were given to you pretty easily, but with Umineko, the reader still has to do a lot of work themselves. I much prefer either “Breakdown” or “Core” for Chiru’s English name (plus Core Arcs draws a fun parallel to Battler’s Ep1 theme being called Core).
Having said that, I don’t think I’d really consider Ep5 an “answer” arc anyways. The end of Episode 5 is arguably where our detective announces “all the clues have been presented,” by way of Battler arriving at the truth himself, even if we haven’t.
At any rate: While it’s true that there’s nothing to really hint at Natsuhi’s crime or the man from 19 years ago in Ep1-4, I do think there are enough hints scattered throughout for an attentive reader to hit on key parts of the truth. Things like Beato’s ranting at Shannon about sexuality, Kinzo’s sin being “something he can never take back,” Beatrice II’s death as a parallel to Lion’s “death” and Yasu’s “birth”… Thematically, it’s mostly there.
<Yes, your majesty.>