Umineko Episode 5 Spoiler-Free General

As this also plays the red truth sound effect, I doubt it’s a slip-up. Well, I guess unless colored text was coded in a way that it always comes with the corresponding soundeffect, but for that we’d need to hack Umineko or something, and I don’t have the knowhow for that and also kinda wanna solve stuff without doing such things.

Why is it that I am always the last poster when I wanna say something? Oh well.

So while our Territory Lord is unavailable, I took the liberty to compile the OST playlist that can usually be found in these topics myself. Like always, it’s in order of appearance. Also like always, related videos and comments probably have a high likelyhood to contain spoilers.

There’s something else music related I wanna talk about. And that is how just the music introduces us to Erika as the arrogant character that she is. You see, so far especially the more strings-based tracks were inspired by pieces of the late classical and romantic era, which can be seen in their simple nature and for others having a high emphasis on the emotion they are supposed to carry. Now the three main pieces I’d associate with Erika in this episode however, Deep Blue Jeer, The Great Detective Knows, and Smile-less Soiree, are inspired by pieces of the baroque and early classical era. Especially baroque is a clear influence. Pieces of that era were often very ornamental, having lots of variations and decorations to the base melody. Furthermore, polyphonic pieces (so pieces where the melody can be in multiple voices, often at the same time) were often seen. In The Great Detective Knows, those decorations can be most easily heard, as there are many trills (quickly alternating between the base note and the one directly above it) in that piece. While one can argue if Deep Blue Jeer is truely polyphonic, the melody certainly jumps from one instrument to the next frequently. Smile-less Soiree has the least amount of ornaments and such, and as string quartetts are more of a thing from the classical period, I’d probably see it more influenced by the early classical era. Now what is my point with all that? Well, by having this type of ornamental music for a mere human (many of the witch pieces (the organ tracks) were also baroque inspired), the music already informs the reader, either subconciously or through a similar analysis like I just did, that Erika is an arrogant character.

There’s something else that is interesting about Erika. When she first appears, she’s built up as this little Miss Perfect, one would maybe even say that she’s kind of a Mary Sue at first. But that facade quickly crumbles as soon as we see that she has absolutely no compassion, and she is quickly disliked by the entire family. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. No, what is interesting is that we can arguably show that she exhibited all 7 deadly sins without really showing any of the virtues that are opposite to those. So let’s take those in order, shall we?

  1. Pride:
    Well, this is a no-brainer, pride and arrogance is basically the basis for her character.
  2. Envy:
    We see her envious when Battler presents his theory about how Kinzo could have disappeared from the study.
  3. Wrath:
    Both connected to this, but also later own, she’s basically teeming with rage whenever her theories are debunked.
  4. Sloth:
    For all her harping about how this is a third-rate mystery, she still went for the easiest and most obvious solution to the mystery, not bothering to think of any other. So I think there we see her lazyness.
  5. Greed:
    It is outright stated that she got too greedy with her Natsuhi culprit theory after trying to tack on that Kinzo adultery stuff.
  6. Hunger:
    It is shown on multiple occasions that she is an attention whore, so hunger in this case is more a figurative thing.
  7. Lust
    This is probably the most far-fetched, but we could argue that her deciding to tack on such an adultery/sex scandal tale for blaming Natsuhi is a representation of that.

So yeah, that’s interesting.


First off, @VyseGolbez, your musical analysis is really excellent and I love it.

Second-off … yeah, I agree, it seems unlikely to me that Natsuhi’s red truth is an authorial slip-up. Like @amenenee said, a witch can elevate a human statement to a red truth, which means I have to think about why a witch would do that.

It’s increasingly likely to me that Battler’s sin of six years ago involves making a promise to Shannon, and breaking it by not returning to the island after leaving the family register. This led to a great many deaths on the island … This doesn’t mean Shannon is the culprit, necessarily. But she might be involved with the culprit. We have this scene where the apparent culprit has knowledge only Shannon should have, and perhaps that’s our clue.

I also wonder if I abandoned the Kanon=Shannon theory a little too readily. The number of people on the island is never confirmed in red, is it? As I recall, the purpose of the Kanon=Shannon theory is twofold: 1, it reduces the number of known humans on the island from 17 to 16, allowing room for an unknown person X. 2, it allows for Kanon to revive in previous gameboards, slipping around the red truth of his death.

The major obstacle for this theory is that, in this episode, Battler finally sees Kanon and Shannon together. This is (as far as I can remember) the first episode where that happens. It’s as though the author is driving the final nail in that coffin. But if there’s a person X, and Shannon is involved with them, could that person dress up as Kanon and fill his role for those scenes? And let’s not forget, this is also the first episode where Battler is shown to be an unreliable narrator. In his narration he saw Kinzo, too, but of course that never happened.

Augh … I feel like I’m thinking in circles. I definitely won’t stop thinking, but I’m eager to see other people’s thoughts and theories.

EDIT: Okay, I thought of something else Kanon=Shannon might be able to help us with.

Before the family conference, Erika, George, Jessica, Maria, Nanjo, Gohda, and Kumasawa left the mansion and moved to the guesthouse.
Of those who remain, only Krauss, Natsuhi, and Genji were in the second floor corridor, while all others were in the dining hall.

Lambdadelta could have said ‘Krauss, Natsuhi, and Genji were in the second floor, while Kyrie, Rudolf, Eva, Kanon, Shannon, and Battler were in the dining hall.’ But she doesn’t. And she sticks to that wording. She refers to the Krauss, Natushi, and Genji by name, but evades naming the people in the dining hall.

Krauss, Natsuhi and Genji did not even touch that letter!
Not a single person in the dining hall…no, there’s a simpler way to say it. Among all those inside the mansion at 24:00, not a single person placed that letter in the corridor.

The ‘not a single person in the dining hall … no, there’s a simpler way to say it’ is a direct response to Bern proposing that Kanon could have left the letter. And she doesn’t deny it directly. Instead, she plays on the assumption that Kanon is in the dining hall. But what if he isn’t?

She then changes the wording to ‘those inside the mansion at 24:00’ but that specificity could just be another evasion. Kanon could place the letter in the hall before 24:00, become ‘Shannon’ to join the others in the dining hall, and not contradict the red truth. What do you think, everyone?

2ND EDIT: The riddle of the knock is trickier. If it was impossible for any character wihin the mansion to be the source of a knocking SOUND and also impossible for anyone outside the mansion to influence anything inside the mansion after the family conference began, then no one is left. You might be able to get around the second red truth if someone outside the mansion recorded a knock before the family conference and set it to play afterward, but Lambadelta makes it clear that no one misidentified a knocking sound and that a recording would be ‘the sound of the tape with a knocking sound on it’, and not a knocking sound.

There’s only one way I can think out of it, and it’s a desperate bid. Lambadelta uses the words ‘misidentify’ and ‘mistake’ and ‘misinterpret.’ No one would mishear another sound as a knock. But she never denies that someone could pretend to hear a knock. And I believe it’s the suspicious pair ‘Shannon’ and ‘Kanon’ who reacted to the knock first. Perhaps one of them pretended to hear a knock, and the others humored them? And once the door was open, they’d be too distracted by the letter and the ring to insist there wasn’t a knock in the first place.



Memes aside though, re-reading Episode 5 was an amazing experience. I knew it was good, but I didn’t remember it being THIS good. It’s easily the best Episode in all of Umineko up to this point imo. Guess we just need to wait and see if the following Episodes manage to top it or not?

On the music side, I’ve always been a big fan of proud-dust, but shoutouts to discolor. I have a whole new appreciation for that track now; feels like the new ‘Melody’ for me. All of the new music really helps elevate Episode 5 the feeling of something new, something intimidating. The whole episode has a very big “Final Battle” feel to it, even Battler wasn’t around for most of it. The gameboard is the most exciting yet (even if it lacks love), but the meta scenes with Battler are some of the most insightful to the overaching narrative in the whole story. I mean, look forward to more of that moving forward.

Not to say this episode was perfect, however. I take particular issue with how the Ura Tea Party panned out. In particular, it felt rushed. I get that they were trying to squeeze in a whole turnaround in the Ura to catch people who were thinking the game was settled off guard, but it ended up coming at a cost. The narrative surrounding Natsuhi was a big driving force of Episode 5, and while Battler comes to her rescue at the end here, her character and development are completely shafted. She gets like, one line thanking Battler, and that’s it, done with that piece, off to the next fragment. Feels kinda shitty for Natsuhi. She doesn’t even get the time under the spotlight to celebrate her redemption.

Another problem comes about during the battle between Battler and Dlanor. Out of nowhere, an argument starts up about Kinzo’s corpse, a corpse we’ve never seen before in-game, that’s just assumed to exist. It’s exactly like two people debating the contents of a box we can’t see. And then, again out of nowhere, Dlanor blocks the red truth. This really bugs me, because given all the rules we understand about this world, that shouldn’t be valid. Battler is the Territory Lord, and Dlanor isn’t even a witch. By what authority does Dlanor have the right to block the use of the red for Battler? And then the Gold Truth comes out… I won’t comment too much on this, but it kinda bugs me how this is presented.

How do you guys feel about the Gold Truth?

This whole scene feels like it would’ve benefited so much more if we actually got to see more of the gameboard. More of Natsuhi being defended by Battler, maybe Natsuhi admitting to Kinzo’s death and showing them the corpse, and make it a human argument rather than a witch one. I feel like I would’ve appreciated that a lot more than what we got.

But… I won’t deny what we got was hype AF. It’s like the closer we get to the truth, the more the debates represent DBZ fights.

So yeah, apart from those little concerns, I’d probably give this Episode a 10/10. I distinctly remember coming out of it in 2009 thinking it was one of the best things I’ve ever read, and today I can’t help but feel similarly.


You’re right, that is slightly problematic. Right now I have no real clue what the Gold Truth represents, and the blocking of the red truth feels to me as a plot device just to introduce the gold truth.

In retrospect, your critic on Natsuhi’s character closure is true as well, I agree there. It’s still a pretty damn great episode.

@mimsy Re:Kanon=Shannon stuff: Did you forget a red truth from episode 4, darling? No one else can go by Kanon’s name! A different person can’t claim that as their name! How do you plan to work around this? Since you’re now basically saying that both Shannon and person X were Kanon at some point, if I understand you correctly.


Hearing Vyse say ‘darling’ is extremely out-of-character :shock:


Let me know what you guys think of the cast so far~ any new or changed favorites?

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Shannon using Kanon’s name isn’t a problem at all. I’ll say it in blue. ’Kanon’ only exists through Shannon using the name ‘Kanon.’ Therefore, when Shannon goes by ‘Kanon,’ she is not a different person claiming that name, but the name’s only possible bearer, the servant known as Kanon.

The witches show their hand a little too eagerly in their ruthless pursuit of Natsuhi. They show how the red truth can be manipulated and distorted through petty word tricks. That’s how they can claim Kinzo couldn’t exist anywhere except for in Natsuhi’s bed, and keep the red truth — because Kinzo doesn’t exist anywhere. ’No one else can go by Kanon’s name’ is just a word trick.

Person X pretending to be Kanon is much harder to justify. However, person X could pretend to be Shannon with no problems.

Regarding the gold truth … My impression of it is that it’s the trust between the Game Master and their opponent, or between the author and the reader. Hence why Battler says ‘I guarantee’ and Dlanor accepts it. This could be stronger than red truth, which is sometimes misleading, but it could also be weaker.


I don’t really think I understand the gold truth right now.

I agree on Natsuhi’s shafted development.

However, as someone who doesn’t hold this one as high as some of the others, I thought the latter tea party was one of the high points of the episode.

Well this episode was certainly fun to read. It’s was a long wait but it was completely worth it. This episode focused on some of my favorite aspects of Umineko up to this point and explored them in ways that satisfied me. Battler and Beatrice’s relationship was interested me since Episode 3, and I think it was made even more interesting since a lot of their interactions this episode wasn’t actually them. The distinction between the “piece” versions of characters and the real ones were confusing to me at times, but I feel that added to the excitement of reading it.

The discussion of truth was a big part of this episode. I felt quite bad for Natsuhi when the red truth destroyed her teatime with Beatrice, perhaps an odd reaction seeing as the point of the story is to prove Beatrice didn’t exist on Rokkenjima. Well, I guess that’s not precisely it. Battler and Beatrice’s relationship is quite complex, as they have a mutual respect for each other that’s even clearer in this episode than previous one. Especially now that Battler has gained his new title, the narrowness of what Battler is trying to disprove is interesting to me. I’m excited to see how Battler acts in the next episode.

This episode was quite rich in things to ponder, while at the same time being super fun to read. I think I’ll have to think a little longer before putting forth any theories myself though.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Epitaph Theories (Episode 5 Spoilers)

My favorite parts of this episode were the romantic subtexts between Battler and Beatrice. His iron will to drive Bernkastel and Lambadelta from their game, him leaping from the window carrying her in his arms, and their tearful goodbye to each other during the trial were definitely the highlights. Ryukishi showcases his knowledge on how to warm my heart as well as crush it.

Speaking of Bernkastel and Lambdadelta, they seem to remind me a lot of the eldritch creatures in the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, but given human form in an effort to be comprehended by the reader. They are far beyond the scope of humanity, and look down on us as ants on the hills of time and space. They do use us for entertainment, unlike Yog-Sothoth or Cthulhu, but know that we can’t stop them. By fighting with wits and intelligence, and using the concept of “love”, something incredibly human, Battler manages to stand against them.

Again the epitaph is solved without actually showing us how. Beating around the bush like this seems like staple of Ryukishi’s writing, and honestly I don’t like it, especially more than halfway through the novel. While I don’t have a hair’s breadth of understanding what the answer is, I think it has something to do with the word “quadrillion” inscribed on the arch to the chapel. Eleven letters, and two L’s set close to each other. Just a random thought.

Cocytus is the ninth circle of Hell in The Divine Comedy. The home of those who have committed the ultimate sin: betrayal. Further cut into the four sections, denoting specific betrayal to country, relatives, masters, and guests. Perhaps this applies to Kinzo, who stepped over those above him until he stood on the top of Mount Purgatory to see the depths of knowledge and humanity from above?

That’s all I really have for this chapter, unfortunately. I’ll be honest, it was reading through this episode that I was beginning to lose interest in Umineko. It felt like it was dragging, and I felt like I was just rereading another chapter where Battler fails but strives to do better next time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad story at all, I see why it’s so loved; rather, you may call it a curse of who I am as a person. Maybe it is the result of experiencing two long and winding visual novels, blind, at the same time, las it is here on Rokkenjima with Umineko and with Little Busters! on Kazamatsuri. While having a good break from the much hyped Little Busters on Kazamatsuri, I decided to see if I could take a parting shot at Umineko in an effort to catch up with the tea party here. I sped through the question arcs, which I didn’t brake at all through. Perhaps that was a mistake, because I felt like I hit a wall here.

As a member of Rokkenjima, I felt like there were certain expectations of me when it came to experiencing Umineko. It’s very hyped, it’s highly regarded, and I was hesitant. It felt like a very complex novel that I’m supposed to think about, challenge, and theorize with; things I don’t really enjoy doing. I just want to read a good story. I still don’t understand it, and have trouble keeping up with it, so I feel kind of stupid because I don’t. Maybe I’m just lazy. I don’t intend to quit, of course, and I’m giving a massive berth to Umineko, since it wasn’t until the final three chapters of Higurashi did it skyrocket to my favorite story of all time. I want to love it, I want it to affect my life for the better, but I took off a bigger bite than I was ready for. Episode 3 is my favorite episode merely because of the emotional impact it had on me, and part of me feels like that’s wrong. I guess I stopped thinking, and that means I’m dead.

All that said, Ryukishi read my mind with the two screenshots above. Umineko is solvable, but I don’t have to fry my brain to do it. I just want to read a nice story, and Umineko is one so far. The tea parties once again fired me up, as I remembered how much I liked the characters even if the story lost me. I hope I grow to love it even more. I hope I can understand it.



I would just like to add, if you dislike your current approach, then try changing it it. If you’re not enjoying Umineko as much this way, or if it is too exhausting reading two long stories at the same time, take a break from one for your own sake. If you think that will make it a lot easier on you, go right ahead. ^^

And personally, I will be merely content if you express your opinions whenever you read an episode. I won’t ask for an analysis or an elaborate theory because the most important thing here is that you get to enjoy Umineko. You don’t have to solve everything at once, you don’t even have to solve anything. Simply…do things at your own pace and try to enjoy it for what it is. If you happen to solve something, great. If not, not a big deal. Umineko is a multi-layered story, so nobody will fault if you don’t manage to solve every single mystery there is.

I hope you can keep enjoying Umineko at your own pace. :slight_smile:

EDIT: I also want to add that during my first Umineko reading, I didn’t really theorize or understand much and yet I ended up falling in love with the story itself. So answering every mystery is not necessary to enjoy this story.


Your comments on Bern and Lambda are pretty interesting, hadn’t really thought about that. And with regards to the act of reading Umineko I understand completely. I’ve never been particularly good with mystery solving, the appeal to me is reading how the detective finds out how things happened. Reading and attempting to theorize about Umineko is quite a new experience for me that I haven’t completely gotten the hang of.


Actually, this conversation got me thinking about ‘what it means to enjoy a mystery’ … which probably is one of the central themes of Umineko.

To enjoy a mystery, you don’t have to solve everything yourself. I think there’s a satisfaction that comes from seeing the solution, and respecting the cleverness of the detective character for reaching the solution before you. But in order to truly feel that respect, the solution has to be possible for you to reach. When the clues are all there, when you see how everything fits perfectly together, then you can think the detective character is clever, and you can think the story they inhabit is clever. If the clues were hidden from you all along, if the pieces don’t fit together, you feel cheated. You feel like you never even had a chance. The detective character isn’t respectable anymore, because they’re an agent of almost supernatural insight. It isn’t pure reasoning that got them this far, but the grace of the author guiding them to the right answer.

I think I enjoy a mystery best when I give it my all, and concede when I know I’ve been bested. Finding the answer and proving yourself right is also enjoyable, but there’s a tension between ‘too easy’ solutions and a solution that’s truly fair. Isn’t that the nature of the contest between Beatrice and Battler? Whatever Beatrice is trying to show Battler with this cruel game, it isn’t something she can just tell him. If it’s too easy, it isn’t meaningful. But if it’s impossible, it also isn’t meaningful.

I also think Umineko is enjoyable because even if the characters aren’t the cleverest or the most perfect, they’re still characters you can love. Battler is incompetent and (if I’m right about my theory) couldn’t even remember the importance of a promise he made with his first love. But he’s passionate, determined, bold, and whenever he fails, he finds the spirit to try again. Natsuhi is a murderer no matter what, a woman who pushed an innocent servant and a child to their deaths, but there’s something admirable in her commitment to the honor of her newfound family and something pitiable in the fact that commitment will never be rewarded. Finding more about these characters and what drives them, even if I’m not the cleverest detective, is enjoyable in itself.

And I could probably get into how Erika is introduced to be the clever detective, but she’s so merciless that her cleverness doesn’t mean anything, but I think I’ve TL;DR-ed enough.


Preliminary poll analysis: Despite there being 11 fewer votes, Natsuhi already has as many votes as she did last time.

Ange has gone down, unless all 11 missing people come back and vote for her again.

Dlanor may have made an impression; she’s currently third, and only so many characters are going to pass 9.

Hideyoshi had 0 vote sin episode 4, but he will get at least one this time. Was it something he said? Or perhaps some other character on some person’s list got bumped down.

I shouldn’t be helping my enemy, but thanks to a discussion with Jokrono I had I thought of another way to claim Kanon=Shannon as possible. I’ll put it in a details box though so that those standing by that theory can still use that move themselves. See it as a hint you could take if you have no idea yourself. If you have, though, please ignore this post. Mainly talking to Jokrono (who will most likely state something like this anyway) and Seraphitic. @mimsy but maybe it gives you a reason to try to think of an explanation that doesn’t rely on person X?


When we see everyone in the parlor, we see that scene through Battler’s perspective. Since Battler is proven to be subjective and susceptible to Knox’ 9th, it is possible that he claimed Kanon and Shannon as different people even though they weren’t. The red truth in this scene doesn’t actually state a number. We don’t see Erika’s perspective in this scene. We also never see her outright perspective when both Kanon and Shannon are in the same room, or to be precise, her differientating between Kanon and Shannon existing at the same time in one room while she is there. Thus there is still room for the two being the same person without relying on some unknown person X that disguised themselves as one of them since episode 1.


Ohoho I’ll accept the challenge, @VyseGolbez. At this point in the game, I need to discard any reliance on ‘Person X,’ anyway.

I also have a theory about the letter, the knock, and the first twilight murders – one that won’t rely on a Person X. There are three keys, I think, to unlocking this mystery.

1 is Knox’s 9th: It is permitted for observers to let their own conclusions and interpretations be heard. That means characters can misinterpret, misremember, and misrepresent information, without violating the rules of fair play.

2 is a corollary to Knox’s 8th: In the world of Umineko, the narrator is also an observer. Unlike many other narratives and mysteries, Umineko is not told from an omniscient ‘eye of God’ perspective. The narrator can misinterpret, misremember, and misrepresent information, without violating the rules of fair play.

3 is something we’ve discussed in this thread: The red truth has a perspective. It’s spoken by a certain person, regarding a certain place, at a certain point in time. It must be true for that person, regarding that place and that time. But it can still be misinterpreted, and it can be used to mislead.

Let’s start with the riddle of the letter and the knock. Earlier in this thread, I tried to argue that Kanon could have placed the letter, become Shannon, and entered the room. I also argued that someone could lie about hearing the knock, and thus did not mishear it or mistake another sound for a knock.

These arguments more-or-less work. But the question I was trying to answer was ‘who was fooling the observers in the room, and how?’ I was limiting myself to ‘the observers in the room.’ I forgot the narrator is also an observer.

The narrator said there was a knocking sound. The narrator can misinterpret, misremember, and misrepresent information. Just because the narrator said there was a knocking sound doesn’t mean we have to believe there was a knocking sound. If we believed everything the narrator said, we’d believe in magic and illusions, too.

I’m not doubting the narrator just because I can. The people in the room all have a reason to maintain the illusion of a closed room (to put it poetically). Everyone in that room wants Battler to be named Successor, and they’d probably enjoy rattling Natsuhi and Krauss by claiming a witch named Battler the new Head and delivered him the Head’s signet ring. Maybe they all agreed to this, in the convenient moment when Natushi and Krauss left the room.

By the way, that also means I don’t need a Person X pretending to be Kanon. The narrator says Kanon is in that room, and the relatives can agree to lie about it. But since the red truth only says ‘all others were in the dining hall,’ there’s no need to place Kanon or a Kanon-pretender there, since I think Kanon doesn’t exist.

So! Let’s move on to the riddle of first twilight. This is where we have to remember the red truth has a perspective. Most importantly, the red truth is moored in time.

There’s a long series of red truths meant to show that the murders had to have happened in a certain timeframe. I think these red truths are equivalent to Erika running down the hallway of the mansion, looking in room after room, trying to prove that Kinzo isn’t in them and thus can be nowhere but in Natsuhi’s bed. The murders couldn’t have happened between 1:00 and 3:00, when Erika was in the parlor, or between 3:00 and Battler’s scream, when Erika was listening at the wall. And the murders couldn’t have happened before 24:00, because the red truth says that at 24:00 in the guesthouse, George, Jessica, and Maria were alive and in the second floor cousin room.

That all makes it sound like the murders had to take place between 24:00 and 1:00. But they simply couldn’t have – Rosa was among the victims of the first twilight. During the short break at 1:00 AM, the first two to leave the dining hall were Rosa and Eva. Rosa wasn’t in the guesthouse until well after 1:00, when Erika saw her pass through the parlor. So what gives?

I think it’s the same logic that lets Erika brazenly claim that Kinzo can’t be anywhere but in Natsuhi’s bed. There’s a hidden conditional: ‘if Kinzo exists anywhere, Kinzo exists in Natsuhi’s bed.’ But Kinzo doesn’t exist anywhere. Similarly, ‘if the murders of the first twilight happened, the murders happened between 24:00 and 1:00.’ The murders of the first twilight didn’t happen.

Erika didn’t inspect the corpses. She disdained the very idea. The red truth says anyone looking at George, Jessica, Maria, Rosa, or Genji’s corpses could confirm at a glance that they are dead and at a glance, anyone could confirm that these corpses are dead, so it’s absolutely impossible that they’re just playing dead. But that’s just like saying none of the characters misidentified a knocking sound or it’s totally impossible that any sounds except hitting that door directly would be misinterpreted as a knock. If someone lied about hearing a knocking sound, they didn’t misidentify it and they didn’t misinterpret. And if someone lied about there being ‘corpses,’ they could still confirm at a glance that a corpse was dead.

So my theory is this: After 1:00, Rosa returned to the guestroom and convinced the cousins to pretend to be dead. This was planned out with the other relatives during the short break in the family conference. Battler agreed to scream the next the morning and wake up the house, pretending to find the corpses of Rosa and the cousins. Because they weren’t really dead, they could leave when everyone left for the mansion, seeming to disappear.

As for the ‘whydunnit,’ I think this was all a plot to scare Natsuhi and Krauss into admitting Kinzo was gone and accepting Battler as the Successor. Battler was pressured to agree with the plot, in the same way he was pressured to sit silently at the family conference. However, I think this is a plot gone wrong. George, Jessica, Maria, Rosa, and Genji really are dead. The red truth has a perspective and this red truth was spoken on the 5th of October. We’re also told that after George’s/Jessica’s/Maria’s/Rosa’s/Genji’s death, his/her corpse never moved. Sometime between the mock first twilight and October 5th, the six encountered the culprit and were killed, and their corpses were left undiscovered. The same culprit killed Krauss, and later Hideyoshi.

Now, who was that culprit? … Well, this post is already TL;DR. I want to establish this much before I move on to Krauss and Hideyoshi. TL;DR – the knock and the first twilight were both lies that allowed the culprit to strike.


Well I certainly have a bit of catching up to do. Most of the participants in the Umineko podcast thus far have posted their theories over in the Episode 4 thread. For the sake of brevity, I’m definitely in the Seraphitic camp in terms of who I think is the culprit, as well as why they undertook these crimes, and for many of the same reasons. I think the most important difference between my opinion’s and @Seraphitic’s is that I think we can speculate more specifically on how each Twilight was carried out, and also what happened in ‘reality’. Also, much like Seraphitic, I’ve taken to calling the culprit ‘Sayo’, the alternate name that Shannon gives to George, for similar reasons he has posed already. If you want to understand my thinking on that topic, I’d really suggest reading Seraphitic’s last episode 4 post, since it covers most of what I would have said.

Since this is my first ‘in progress’ post on the forum other than my Epitaph Theory, I suppose it would be fitting to go through my full rundown on episodes 1 to 4.

Episode 1 Theories

You can watch this video to see my thoughts from when I read it the first time, and this video to see where I was at just after episode 3.

The Who
Sayo as the culprit, with Eva, Hideyoshi, Nanjo, Kumasawa and Genji as accomplices.

The How

  • Before: Sayo gives the letter to Maria. Maria is used to identifying this character as Beatrice. Sayo also bribes Eva and Hideyoshi in to working with them. The other accomplices are already on board.
  • Twilight 1: Sayo and accomplices murder Rosa, Rudolf, Kyrie, Gohda and Krauss. Natsuhi was likely an initial target but after discovering the scorpion charm the culprit decided to change plans to reinforce their magical narrative. Hideyoshi claims to also see the corpse of Shannon, but it is hidden from view for those who are not accomplices.
  • Twilight 2: Sayo goes to speak to Eva and Hideyoshi, being let in since they think they are safe with the culprit. The two are murdered, and then the scene is staged by Kanon and Genji such that it seems the room was locked.
  • Twilight 4: Kinzo was already dead so this was easy to set up before or during the staging of Eva and Hideyoshi’s locked room.
  • Twilight 5: Nanjo helps Kanon fake his death.
  • Twilight 6-8: One accomplice (since all three surviving accomplices were there, who is mostly insignificant, but for the sake of episode to episode consistency, I suspect Genji) places the letter on the table, so that they can go meet with the culprit. I am unclear on if they thought this would lead to their deaths, though it is likely they did know. Perhaps the culprit did not intend Maria to be caught up in this but uses it to her advantage when she kills the others and stages the phone call.
  • Twilight 9-10: Sayo left a letter to draw out Natsuhi, and shoots her. The culprit survives the shootout likely since Natsuhi’s gun has blanks. Since it had not been shot thus far, and since Natsuhi was only able to procure one of the four we can assume to exist, it is likely the culprit had tampered with or hidden the others. Soon the cousins come out, who see the culprit dressed as Beatrice before explosives below the island detonate at midnight.
Episode 2 Theories

You can watch this video to see my theories from when I read through the first time, and this video to see where my thinking was after episode 4.

The Who
Sayo as the culprit, with Rosa, Gohda, Nanjo, Kumasawa and Genji as accomplices.

The How

  • Before: Sayo gives the letters to Maria and Rosa. Rosa is an accomplice, and Maria is used to identifying this character as Beatrice. Sayo also bribes Rosa in to working with them. The other accomplices are already on board. When Kyrie sees the culprit with Genji, they are dressed as Beatrice, thus reinforcing the narrative of the extra person.
  • Twilight 1: Sayo and accomplices murder the adults after bringing them to the chapel to show them the gold. Rosa helps the culprit stage the scene with candy she bought. The door is not locked the whole time, as the culprit unlocked it before giving the key to Maria, and those there in the morning are accomplices.
  • Twilight 2: Sayo as Kanon goes with Jessica goes to her room, kills her and then flees, changing to be Shannon from now on.
  • Twilight 4-6: Sayo as Shannon goes with Gohda and George to Natsuhi’s room, under the pretense of getting the mirror, and then Sayo kills the other two and commits suicide by setting the gun such that it would fall behind the dresser, whilst the stake is at her feet to make it seem like that caused her death.
  • Twilight 7-8: Genji kills Nanjo and Kumasawa under orders from the culprit, in order to make it seem like Sayo is still alive, thus the large time he is absent. Before all of this, the other accomplices and culprit return to the survivors to try reinforce the narrative of the witch.
  • The Discord Letter: Rosa plants the letter to send Battler away such that she can find Sayo and escape.
  • Twilight 10: Genji invites Battler to the study whilst he is drunk, to tell him about what happened before the bomb again explodes at midnight. He likely told Battler the magic version of events, thus the banquet scene. Rosa, with Maria, look for Sayo, likely to help them escape or disable the bomb, but Rosa realises that the culprit has in fact died, and then tries and fails to flee the bomb (represented by goats and butterflies), by swimming away.
Episode 3 Theories

Videos coming soon. I think we’ll be up to the end by that point.

The Who
Sayo as the original culprit, with Genji and Nanjo as accomplices. Eva as another culprit, with Hideyoshi as her accomplice.

The How

  • Before: Sayo meets Maria and gives her the letter. Maria is used to identifying this character as Beatrice.
  • Twilight 1: Sayo sets up the closed room ring, so that Shannon is easiest to get to, and Kanon is furthest from Shannon. Kinzo is thrown in as a red herring. Nanjo falsifies the deaths of Shannon and Kanon.
  • Twilight 2: Eva has found the Gold, Rosa knows about it, and they get in to a scuffle over it, in which Rosa is killed by Eva, and Eva then kills Maria to silence the truth.
  • Twilight 4-6: Kyrie and Rudolf bait Hideyoshi in to going to the mansion to question him, as Battler and Beatrice reason out at the end of Ep3. Eva also goes over in case it is a trap, and in the gunfight that ensues, Kyrie, Rudolf and Hideyoshi are killed. Hideyoshi was killed by one of Kyrie or Rudolf.
  • Twilight 7-8: Using the sleeping pills presented earlier in the episode, Krauss and Natsuhi are sedated and then choked to death by Eva, before moving them elsewhere to try establish innocence.
  • Twilight 9: Nanjo is called by Sayo, who instructs George to go to the mansion, and closes the window behind him as he leaves. George sees ‘Shannon’ there alive, thus the scene of ressurrection, and then Sayo kills George to set up the second twilight (where Shannon has disappeared, the inverse of episode 2’s second twilight). Soon after Sayo realises that the epitaph has been solved, and leaves the PIN behind as pennance for breaking her promise.
  • Kanon’s Ghost: Sayo, still trying to resolve their mistake of breaking their promise, leads Jessica to safety, dressed as Shannon, thus why Jessica cannot touch ‘Kanon’, since it would break the illusion.
  • Twilight 10: Nanjo is killed by Sayo, perhaps in vengeance for him not informing Sayo that the epitaph had been solved. Eva kills Battler and flees to Kuwadorian.
Episode 4 Theories

Videos coming soon. I think we’ll be up to the end by that point.

The Who
Sayo as the culprit, with everyone except Battler as accomplices. The other cousins are likely not as informed as the adults are. I think Genji was a primary accomplice since he has been in the previous episodes, and also due to BRonove’s role in the magic scenes.

The How

  • Note: The gouge twilights aren’t separated clearly so I have separated them by the order I think they happened.
  • Before: Sayo tells Maria to tell the adults that she was met by Kinzo.
  • Twilight 1: Sayo reveals themselves and somehow convinces the adults to work with her on staging a crime for the cousins (or likely just Battler) to solve. No one is actually killed at this point, thus why everyone is willing to go along with it. Those who are ‘teleported’ by Gaap to Kuwadorian are in fact taken there by Sayo.
  • Twilight 2: George and Jessica are brought to their locations and told of this setup. George is killed, likely by Sayo as Shannon. Genji (represented by BRonove) meets with Jessica, gets her to make the phone call, still under the pretense that this is fake, and then soon after, either Sayo or Genji kills Jessica (more likely Sayo). Their ‘killing each other’ is indicative of them being forced to accept they loved the killer/same person.
  • Twilight 4: Kyrie by this point has realised what is going on, that they are actually all going to be killed. Whilst making the phone call with Sayo watching, Kyrie tries to tell Battler as much as she can so he might escape. She shoots the floor near the phone to produce the sound at the end of the call, and the markings Battler finds on the floor. Soon after this, Kyrie is killed by Sayo.
  • Twilight 5-6: Sayo kills Nanjo and Krauss, possibly with Kyrie. If with Kyrie, it is likely Kyrie offered to help in order to try save herself and/or Rudolf. It is possible this happened after the phone call, while the ruse was still being enforced.
  • Twilight 9: Kumasawa and Gohda were instructed to appear ‘hanged’ by the culprit as part of the ruse. At some point, Sayo returns, asks them to open up, kills them, then swaps the key on the tag before re-locking the door. Somewhere during this period, the first twilight is carried out, likely by Sayo and Genji. Maria is poisoned (or perhaps just sedated) by Genji and taken to the dining hall before he is killed to complete the first twilight. I think Genji since I find it unlikely that Sayo would directly harm Maria, especially after the large focus this episode had on Mariage Sorcière.
  • Twilight 7-8: Sayo returns to put the stakes in the gouge twilights, but has lost heart after Battler’s ‘test’, and doesn’t bother to set the stakes up in proper sequence. Then, Sayo as Shannon kills herself over the grate that Battler later tries to open. The gun falls through the grate and this is what is alluded to by Kanon ‘falling’.
  • Twilight 10: Battler is left alone on the island and is killed by the explosives again.
  • 1998: Ange abandons her former self, akin to Shannon and Kanon ‘dying’ on the gameboard, instead accepting herself to be ANGE. Flimsy I know but I just don’t want Ange to actually be dead guys. See my Meta theory below for more on this.
Other Notes for 1-4's Gameboards
  • Each of the magic characters created by Sayo are representative of Servants. BRonove is Genji, Virgilia is Kumasawa, the Stakes are the other Fukuin house servants, and Gohda is Gaap (I wish).
  • Each of the Chiester Sisters represent calibers, as well as Maria’s Rabbit Band.
  • I think those who see the Golden Butterflies are those who cannot or will not deny the witch; that being those who die before getting the chance to speak to a reliable perspective, or culprits/accomplices.
  • Battler is Kyrie’s son, at some point having been switched with Asumu’s son, inverting the claims made before Kyrie’s death in episode 3. This may be why he came back to the family in the ‘reality’ of the murders.

Episode 5 - Gameboard

Okay so now that all of that is out of the way, it’s on to the flavour of the moment, Episode 5. This one’s a monster. At the moment @MagusVerborum and I just finished the first chapter in which the Cathedral appears, but I figured I should get this done as early as I could, and instead modify and update it as we go forwards. I have three things I want to address in this; the first is my solution for the gameboard. I think this is a pretty tricky one but I think given how it reuses a lot of tricks and moments from earlier episodes, it would make sense that some of the solutions are the same too.

Episode 5's Gameboard

In the scenes with Natsuhi before the typhoon, I took a wild stab that since Lambda was the game master this time, it was likely that the least obvious possible character would be the one on the phone, and I thought this was clearly Battler. I wasn’t sure as of yet how this was going to work, but it was a stab in the dark that paid off. I honestly wasn’t expecting us to be outright told that Lambda was controlling Battler’s piece, but we got it, so I think it was useful to go in with that assumption.

The other thing to consider about the gameboard is how easily Natsuhi could have been the culprit. Even before we got the truth that Ushiromiya Natsuhi is not the culprit, I was fairly confident that this would be the case, especially after all of Erika’s talk of Natsuhi being a ‘third rate culprit’. I think a lot of people who took on the Sayo theory after episode 4 probably felt as though they were debunked the moment that Shannon and Kanon appeared in the same room. To me, this, in combination with my earlier guess just screamed that Battler was an accomplice, and that made this game pretty easy, I felt, but we’ll get to that.

First of all; Erika. Erika is a very bittersweet character to me. She is clearly mean to be an obnoxious, smug, awful, insensitive character, but she behaves a lot like a few villains I wrote for various reasons in the past, so as awful as she is and as much as I dislike her as a person, I feel a certain affection for how she’s written.

The Who
Sayo as the culprit, with everyone except Natsuhi, Krauss and Erika as accomplices.

The How

  • Phone Calls: Battler over the phone, participating in a scheme to corner Natsuhi in to confessing to hiding Kinzo’s deaths and embezzling funds. This was all a set up to frame Natsuhi as the culprit.
  • The Letter/Knock: The letter was never placed, the knock never happened. “Among all those inside the mansion at 24:00, not a single person placed that letter in the corridor” doesn’t just make it impossible; it also gives you the answer. In addition to this; at no point is it ever confirmed in red that the knock even happened, it merely refers to people ‘mishearing’ or ‘misinterpreting’ the knock. The scene we are shown contains only accomplices and culprits, so it is effectively a magical scene. This I think is a new take on Maria receiving letters in earlier episodes; the classic Devil’s Proof that no one can or will disprove how the letters were delivered.
  • Twilight 1: The deaths were initially faked, and Erika did not get to see the corpses directly since they had been covered by blankets before she arrived. This is a reference to, I think, how the crime from Episode 4 was committed. They moved away from the crime scene and were killed later.
  • Twilight 2: Hideyoshi’s death was faked. Everyone else was supposedly under the direct gaze of Erika, and Nanjo was amongst the first in to the room. This was both a reference to Hideyoshi and Kanon’s deaths from Episode 1; Nanjo helped to fake a death, and the appearance of the Mansion guest room.
  • Other notes: To claim that Sayo is Shannon and Kanon in one person, I would have to assume that Erika was aware that one of Shannon or Kanon were not in the room at the times where she claims everyone has an Alibi. I think this is intentional, Bern isn’t playing to get the truth. One of Bern’s original Blue Truths about the first twilight is what I am claiming to be the truth, yet she doesn’t press on it later. In addition to this; Bern spends most of the game bullying Natsuhi for seemingly no reason. She tears apart her magical reality, rubbing salt in the wound with the truth that the real Kinzo wouldn’t say that, even though it has next to no relevance to what she is trying to prove.

Episode 5 - Characters

The next thing I wanted to address is the characters. This is definitely my weakest point through the whole story, but it’s something I’ve been trying to focus on a lot as we get further in. Truth be told I’m not being terribly successful in this regard; rather than actually looking at why, I have a terrible habit of rephrasing ‘who’ and ‘how’ questions as ‘why questions’, and also looking too broadly on the story, rather than on the individual characters (more on that later :ryukishi:)
This character explanation is a relatively short one, partly because we’re not actually at the end of episode 5 yet, and also because the next dropdown is huge so I’m a bit burnt out after writing that.

Episode 5's Characters

I love Erika so much. She is the most smug, self-centred, repulsive, crazy, unlikeable sociopath, but she also hits a soft spot for me, in that she is a lot like the way that I write villains. Particularly as a GM for Dungeons and Dragons and other TRPGs, I write characters like her because it’s a very easy way for me to get people to hate the villains I want. I find they’re particularly useful for either introducing villains that you can flesh out later, or for short-burn villains that come and go, giving a quick and easy target for spite. The key ingredients are this; the villain is doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons and by all the wrong means.

Erika is still being a ‘good guy’ in her world; she’s solving crimes, catching criminals, saving the day! To us though; we see the bad side; she’s doing it to tout her own intelligence, because she likes to think and her ‘little grey cells’ need something to do, not because she has any moral obligation or any interest in actually stopping crimes, she just wants to be able to solve them. Then the final part, her absolutely awful methods; listening in all night, taping up entire houses with tape that is very prone to stripping paint, and constantly pointing out problems with the way things are being done.

The most interesting thing to me about Erika, though, is her role as a vessel of commentary. There was a conversation Magus and I had in episode 2 about how the golden age of detective fiction disappeared because detectives had no emotional stake in their stories, and that Battler was written in response to that. Check out a snippet of that discussion here, shoutout to @SleepingPliskin for inspiring that bit. Clearly though, Erika is part of that commentary; she is the exact opposite of an emotional stake in the story. Erika goes through Episode 5 as though she has a script for how things are meant to go, even asking Natsuhi to confess her motive because that would be when it ‘should’ happen in the story. Even when Natsuhi refuses to throw Kinzo under the bus because she respects him, Erika ignores that and continues to claim that Natsuhi’s motive was that she hated the family thoroughly. In particular, when Erika claimed that she knew Kinzo wasn’t outside the mansion because she ‘hadn’t found clues’ WHEN THERE IS AN ENTIRE FOREST, SEVERAL BUILDINGS AND INNUMERABLE HIDING PLACES ON THE ISLAND, is just hilarious because the fact is, she’s not wrong; if this is a Murder Mystery, not Fantasy, she must be able to find clues. It’s a brilliant take on many of the problems I undertand traditional detectives had; ignoring anything emotional about the story in favour of their ability to show off.

To twist that around again, I find it hilarious because Erika could also be taken as a commentary on readers who completely ignored the massive character detail and development the whole way through, in favour of trying to figure out the three core mystery questions; ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’. Even then; Erika also only chooses the ‘why’ that is most convenient for her narrative; she’s taking a why that is entirely based on the confirmation bias of finding these diaries from years ago, rather than actually looking at Natsuhi’s character. The most hilarious part of this to me is that THIS IS ME. I DID THIS. I came in to episode 1 fully expecting that everyone would die, and that Episodes 2-7 wouldn’t even be about the same time and place, but instead be about similar cases that would help us solve episode 1. Because of this, I didn’t even try to care about any of the characters, I made fun of writing quirks, ignored any character development unless it seemed to help me to solve what was going on. Fortunately, Episode 4 turned me around; because I understood what was going on in terms of how the story was being told, Ange absolutely hit home as an emotional connection to the story for me. I’ve noticed on the forum that Episode 4 seems to be lower down on people’s ‘favourite episode’ lists, largely because I think it tries to tell too much too quickly, but truth be told I would have completely missed the true element of the story if it wasn’t for Ange’s story, as poorly paced as it was.

This is before we even get in to the meta implications of Erika’s character? What does it mean that Bern is the one playing for the human side in this game? Why did this random extra person get thrown in? But I think I’ll leave that for now.

So again; I love Erika as a character. I think she serves an amazing purpose to this story, and is an incredible commentary on the genre. I’ve been told several times that Umineko is a swan song to the golden age of detective fiction, and I think that this is an amazing movement to that song.

Lambdadelta and Bernkastel
I’d kind of ignored Bern and Lambda up until Episode 5. Clearly they were very important to the story, but their ‘higher state of being’ had me not worrying about them for various reasons. This time though, it’s full bore. The most noticeable thing to me is that my perception of their characters has flipped. In the past, Bern was the helpful one who got Battler back on his feet, who helped Ange when she was lost, and Lambda was the devious one backing Beatrice, trying to keep the game going forever. In episode 5 though; Bern is cold, calculating and isn’t around to help anyone, whilst Lambda is having fun, telling a cool story for her friend. Of course, their personalities as we see them in Ep5 are definitely foreshadowed, such as in Lambda’s discussion with Ange in episode 4, but it definitely surprised me, despite that. The thing that really caught me though, was after the closed room of Kinzo’s study being broken open, Lambda has Beatrice and Battler embracing as they fly to the ground. It went completely over my head, but Magus pointed out to me that basically, Lambda ships Battler and Beatrice. That’s amazing to me. I love that Lambda’s self-proclaimed <pop, cute> style is coming out all over the place on this game; she’s just having a blast telling a fun story.

Then there’s Bern. What the hell is Bern up to? If Sayo is indeed the one person claimed by the culprit theory, it means Erika would have observed that one of Shannon or Kanon were missing at all times, yet at no point does this seem to factor in to her establishing of alibis. With this culprit theory in mind, it almost seems like Bern played the game purely from the perspective of winning and tearing Natsuhi down in the process. Bern is described as ruthless many times through the episode, but why is she bringing down Natsuhi? Is it because she’s just playing along with her friend’s fun game? Is it because she sees it as the quickest way to victory, even though there are holes in her reasoning? I think especially given that Erika is her ‘double’, it has to be the latter; Bern is part of the commentary on the genre, in that she is representing the ruthless one who pushes things to their conclusion. It would also explain her actions in helping Battler and Ange earlier, since it would just let the story play out further to entertain her.

We’d been shown Bern and Lambda as enemies for a lot of their appearance in the story before this, but this time (along with the end of episode 4), it seems like they’re just out for entertainment. This had definitely been mentioned in that they try more than anything else to avoid boredom, but this is the first time we’ve really seen Bern and Lambda conspiring, rather than fighting, to do so.

Natsuhi and Krauss
Natsuhi was definitely one of the characters that suffered most under my indiferent approach to the initial episodes, before Episode 4 turned it around. If anything; my willingness to just say ‘Kinzo was dead’ when theorising around the end of Episode 3 was largely triggered by the fact that I was so willing to call Kinzo’s ‘wear the crest on your heart’ comment as a delusion. So far we’ve had a ‘feature episode’ on a few members of the family, and this one seems to definitely be Natsuhi’s. Even at the start, when the first of Natsuhi’s ‘delusions’ is denied, I laughed it off as being ‘too easy’ to guess, rather than worrying about the implications of denying that reality to Natsuhi, even though I was right in the middle of writing up a theory founded off the claim that characters use ‘magic’ to cope with trauma.

What’s really incredible about Natsuhi in this episode is how all of her seeming stupidity and poor acting in previous episodes, her stress, particularly towards the end of episode 1, all gets justified to some extent by all of the pain she’s been forced to endure because of this family and her dimwitted husband. She was indeed dealing with what was in essence an impossible scenario; faking that Kinzo was still alive for two years to cover her husband’s mistakes. If her husband had followed her advice and not bought in to shady deals, it wouldn’t be necessary, but Natsuhi is loyal to the end. Despite the red truh that the real Kinzo wouldn’t say that, it’s arguably true that Natsuhi was the most loyal to the family and their honour of anyone in the story.

The other really interesting detail was hearing about how much Natsuhi hated the family at the start. Clearly, the family are pretty despicable people, from what we’ve been shown thus far, so it would make sense that upon being first introduced to the family, she would have hated the people she was around, but despite this she persevered and grew to love the family and fight for it above all else. Then there is the man from 19 years ago. What a crazy guilt to live with, and then after all of this, have it turned back on you all at once, along with being framed for murder, all in just a few days. I thought it was really tragic when Natsuhi’s diary description of her marriage as like being a ‘hostage’ was turned on her when she was being held hostage by the setup she had been put in .The track Discolor was a fantastic contrast to this moment. We’ve spoken a bit about it on video, but I really love scores that are brave enough to have music that doesn’t match the apparent mood of a scene. In a scene that is undeniably devestating, where everyone has cornered the person we know to be innocent, the music is just beautiful and hopeful, speaking not of what is happening, but instead of Natsuhi, and her will to be hopeful and fight through all of the hardship she’s had so far. What a fantastic moment that was.

Episode 5 - The Meta Theory

Okay, the third thing, this one’s the meat. I hope you’re all ready. I was having an easy time solving the gameboards at this point, so I decided to focus on something else. After the end of episode 4, I was determined to figure out what the Gameboards meant in the greater scope of the story. I’d been thinking for a long time about why Battler was Beatrice’s oponent, if he supposedly died at the end. For a while I’d given up and accepted that Purgatorio was a space outside the story where I didn’t have to worry about denying magic, but you know what, screw it, I’m going all out. Magic doesn’t exist anywhere in the reality of this story; only in the perceptions of the characters who use it to interpret their world. Let’s go.

The Meta Theory

This theory started with one question; after learning about the existence of the message bottles, should we assume that the Purgatorio scenes appear in these written versions?

I decided to ignore the possibility that they weren’t, since the idea that the Purgatory scenes were separate from the story had already been my working assumption, and I needed to go somewhere different if I was going to achieve anything. I decided to try come up with evidence for why we could claim the magic scenes to be part of the ‘real’ world story, and after hours of scouring our footage from my playthrough with @MagusVerborum, I found one key line that launched this to a whole new level. Higurashi.

Now there are two assumptions that I took from this; first of all, the author of the message bottles must have known about Higurashi, and that Battler likely also knew about it, and somehow the culprit knew that. There are definitely some holes in this logic (largely the word assumption), but it was a lead I was willing to chase up.

But how does the existence of Higurashi tell us anything? It could just be Ryukishi letting us know of his other ‘brilliant’ story! A throwback for the fans! I don’t think that’s it. There are already copious references to Higurashi through the story, including the entire structure of looping narratives with ‘tea partes’ (or so I’ve been told). I think there was no need to be so direct in these references unless it meant something in the greater narrative of the story. The next step I took was this; I know that Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are both references to Higurashi, in that they are heavily implied to have fought that story as a previous ‘gameboard’. I don’t know how heavily that connection goes beyond this, but it’s important for this theory. I do wonder how many more references to Higurashi there are, that I’m unaware of. I’m sure there are plenty but this is all I have to work with.

The next thing I had to work off was my theory of who was writing each episode. I was fairly confident that Episodes 1 and 2 were the message bottles, and thus written by the culprit, but during reading Episodes 3 and 4, I felt that the writing style was very different, most significantly indicated by Eva’s survival at the end of Ep3. This differing style also flowed in to episode 5. I think this tipping point is around when Virgilia tells Beatrice of the ‘North Wind and the Sun’ strategy. It’s honestly a bit hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it is that this stylistic change is; I think it’s largely to do with the willingness of the magic characters to cooperate. Now this could be claimed to be Ryukishi’s writing developing, but I feel it was likely intentional, signalling a different author, writing after the crimes had been committed. But who was this different author?


WHAT?! But none escape, all die! Well yes, but Eva lived. Shannon and Kanon ‘die’ all the time on the gameboard, but I’m still claiming that their body was alive. I think what is indicated by this is not that everyone actually dies, but rather that no one present will ever move past this in their lives. I think Battler’s body survived, and that after the event, he is writing to wrap his head around what happened.

If we take a step back, through Episode 4 we are shown something fairly comfortably, I think; Magic is used by those suffering trauma to interpret and cope with the world around them. This is how Maria copes with the cruel treatment from her mother, this is what Ange learns through episode 4 to cope with the loss of her family, this is how the culprit, who I claim to be Sayo, interpreted their suffering and created personalities for all of the people they lived with. As you can see in the notes above, for episodes 1-4, I think Sayo created these ‘magical’ personalities to cope with all the trauma of their life; their odd circumstance of birth, apparently being thrown off a cliff, sent to an orphanage, and then having their first love, Battler, leave them and not return like he promised. This is why Battler is the protagonist of the message bottles. This is why Battler is the one fighting Beatrice in Purgatory. Sayo’s love of Battler is the one true element that will let you understand the story of Rokkenjima.

So then we are back to Battler. Why do I think it is him writing? We’re told by the witch hunt in Episode 4 that many fake documents exist on the Rokkenjima Mass Murders, so why is it we’re being shown these ones in particular by Ryukishi? Surely it is someone connected to the story writing them, or at least someone who as access to the truth of who the culprit is. I think especially after the introduction of Knox’s rules, it would be peculiar to assume that the author isn’t someone introduced in the early part of the story. Battler is also the only other character in the story that has had clues presented claiming that he knew Higurashi, and thus be able to write using characters that reference Higurashi. Through all of the episodes thus far, we also get a lot of talk about how Murder Mysteries work; thus I think it is safe to claim that both Sayo and Battler knew a lot about detective fiction, both because the culprit is clearly referencing some in their crimes, and because the piece Battler seems to have some knowledge of these stories. Given that we are told that there are plenty of detective fiction stories in the Guesthouse’s library, it would make sense that perhaps Battler and Sayo used to read or discuss these together, thus why they are aware of each other’s understanding of mystery fiction in their writings.

So, the next question I had to ask myself was, what was the trauma that Battler suffered that started making him use magic to interpret the world? I was a bit stuck at this point until we got to the ‘Sea of Kakera’ in episode 5. I think he nearly drowned. Why is that? If I was writing that scene, of characters in a metaphysical world surrounded by realities, I would have just used space for the analogy. In the beginning, that’s even how Ryukishi seems to describe it; bringing up an ‘empty space’, ‘constellations’ and ‘falling endlessly’ but then the water imagery just keeps coming; there’s feelings of drowning, mention of seaweed. Something immediately struck me as odd by calling it a ‘sea’. ‘Sea’ and ‘Space’ have many of the same implications; take for example that astronauts use a water tank to practice for zero-gravity EVA (not the witch :ryukishi:), so I felt that there was something very particular about ‘sea’, such as when Battler starts to trust in the magic reality to let himself settle in this sea. The imagery didn’t really bother me too much, right up until when Lambda says ‘they might feel like memories to you’.

The other thing I noticed in this moment was Beatrice. At the end of Episode 4, when Beatrice was shackled, I had initially interpreted that as her leg being tied to the chair, but the rephrasing in episode 5 clarified that it was a large shackle hanging off her leg. This gave me the impression of a ball and chain. Directly alongside the ‘sea’, reminded me of many other uses of this motif in other stories, such as mutineers being sent to the depths with a cannonball chained to their leg. Also when we get Piece Beatrice talking in the cathedral, and being defeated, both times, Beatrice mentions ‘falling in to the depths’ and is thrown in to a ‘boiling pot’ of goats; further strengthening this connection between Beatrice’s ‘death’ and water. This claim of mutiny would also match with references to Dante’s Divine Comedy since the deepest levels of hell are reserved for traitors, and a mutineer sinking would match nicely with the theme of betrayal. I’m not entirely sure exactly how I think events happened in the ‘real’ world of the story, but I think Battler tried to save Sayo from drowning (and likely failed), causing this trauma that we now see reflected through his writings. I think this is indicated through Episode 5’s Golden Land cutaways being about Battler trying to re-awaken Beatrice from her comatose-like state. When I was initially thinking this up, I thought it odd that Beatrice was the one that had the shackle; if this is Battler’s trauma, why is Beatrice the one shackled? This hadn’t stopped me from drawing a conclusion, but in Kinzo’s study in episode 5, when Battler caught Beatrice, falling through the rain outside the mansion, it immediately redoubled my confidence in the claim that Battler is spending episode 5 reflecting on how he was unable to save Sayo from death, where Lambda’s story represents the fantasy that he would be able to save her.

Now the evident problem here is that I am claiming that Battler is still alive, yet 12 years later, it seems he has not returned to Ange, which in Purgatory he claims he will do once he escapes. Sorry Battler, time to turn this back on itself; none escape, all die. I think Battler developed some sort of memory loss, and his ‘new personality’ is having these traumatic memories and ideas from his past self, which he aims to resolve by writing about them. I think this is represented by the end of Episode 3; Beatrice denies everything, even herself as a witch, everything disappears, and then they reappear to fight again. I think that before his trauma, the original Battler discovered the truth, and then when the witch’s reality ‘goes black’, this represents his memory loss. I think it is likely that Battler’s knew personality is aware of the truth, and who he is; thus why he writes about Ange, and about the mysteries, and about Sayo’s magic characters, but these memories are too traumatic for him to return to what remains of his past life. My justifying moment for this is in the end of episode 4, where Battler could seemingly easily land the killing blow, but chooses not to (and then we are told by Lambda he was not close to the truth). I think Purgatory Battler’s actions represents the internal conflict in Battler’s ‘new self’ to accept who he is, and that Lambda & Bern in the end of Ep4 represents the fact that he knows the truth despite this. The other thing I think I can pair with this is Battler’s meta-death at the end of Episode 5; his author has thrown away this personality as a human, instead choosing to tackle their own trauma from a different point of view; through Knox, represented by Dlanor. I find this very interesing in paring with Erika; is it suggesting that the author is trying to be more disconnected from their own mystery, or is it their commentary on why they have to be more connected? If anything I think it’s actually that the author is trying to warn themselves that they will become heartless if they do behave like Erika about their own trauma. The other interesting connection in episode 5 specifically is how significantly the game seems to reference previous ones. Up until now, other than a few small sequences like the airport, beach and first dinner scenes, very few have repeated. This time though; we have dialogue quoted seemingly directly from episode 1, and crimes that take place in the same locations, such as Hideyoshi dying in what seems to be the same room, on the same twilight, as he did in Episode 1. This is very easily explained by Battler, the new author, re-exploring the story that kickstarted it all, Sayo’s first message bottle.

The next thing is something I really struggled with; I’m claiming Battler wrote none escape, all die. He believes so thoroughly that he would write in red, that he will never be able to return to this past life. Why is that? Supposedly Battler has this motive to return to Ange once he defeats the witch, but from the end of Episode 4, instead it seems that Battler is trying to save the witch. Now this is not the problem; to my mind it is clear to me that Battler came to love Sayo, but why has he not come back to Ange? The way that I tackled this was by looking at how Ange appeared in the story, but unfortunately I’m not quite sure about a conclusion on this one.

  • First thought: Ange died by falling from the tower at the end of Episode 3. Her appearence in the story is purely written of by Battler’s new personality, signifying his regret. His portrayal of her with magic and learning to cope with hardship was his hopes for his sister being able to live without her family. This would explain how Ange was able to be guided by ‘Bernkastel’, was saved by all manner of miracles, and was able to summon the stakes at the end of Episode 4. Also if she did die from falling from the tower that would explain why she became a pile of crushed meat in Episode 4’s ending. I think this is the theory that makes the most sense but I also doubt that it is the truth because I feel like Ryukishi intentionally left Ange’s status on a cliffhanger to pick it up later.

  • Second thought: Ange jumped from the tower and the author heard of this somehow, but not that she survived, thus why she is listed as ‘dead’ in the credits, since Ange was with Amakusa and thus not in the public eye. This explains Bernkastel saving Ange, since it was miraculous to the author that she could disappear. Battler’s new personality wrote Ange in to his Purgatory for the same reasons as above, except that Ange’s movements in 1998 were largely true. I think that this theory fits nicely, but it also brings in to question if Ange’s story in 1998 was the truth or Battler’s version of it, and that’s a weak ground to work from.

  • Third thought: Ange was saved from Kasumi’s toughs by some means (likely Amakusa’s intervention) on Rokkenjima and her ‘death’ instead signifies her throwing aside her original personality and becoming ‘ANGE’ in her mind, much like how I claim Sayo abandons the ‘Shannon’ and ‘Kanon’ identities on the gameboard. The problem with this one is that it would not make sense that the Author would be aware of this throwing aside of personality, or the events leading up to this.

The problem I have with these theories is that we do not have the same level of rules established about 1998’s world as we do the Gameboard. The other thing is that we have not seen any evidence of what has happened after Episode 4, or even that it is actually the truth. I have thought perhaps at some point in the story we have yet to see that maybe Ange meets with the author and tells her story thus far to them, thus why they appear in the story, but that’s just a thin attempt to get these theories to work, though I certainly won’t discount it.

The other thing I wanted to explore with this theory is the first two episodes; supposedly written by Sayo. I think it has more or less been confirmed by this point in the story that this is what the message bottles represent, and I’d really like to talk about what they represent in terms of Fantasy and Mystery, especiall after the focus we’ve had on that in Episode 5. What really intrigues me about these, is that what Sayo wrote all still seems to follow some sort of fair play when it comes to mystery. It could, of course, be said, that this is something we shouldn’t worry about too much, since clearly in writing a Murder Mystery, Ryukishi would want it to have a solution that the audience could reach, or that Ryukishi’s version is not exactly what exists in the world of the game, but that’s no fun to leave it at that. So; if Sayo is the author of the first two episodes, why did she not just write out a completely fantasy tale that is utterly undeniable? If she is trying to create this fantasy world that the mystery supposedly happened in, why leave room for doubt? Why not just make it objectively impossible? I think especially once the red truth becomes involved, it’s apparent that Sayo wanted the crimes to be solveable. It’s almost though Sayo wanted it to be known that she was the culprit (side note; I keep thinking of Sayo as female because of Beatrice and Shannon, but they’d likely physically be male, thus the ‘man’ from 19 years ago, plus the fact that they’re able to play Kanon, so forgive me if I keep switching that up). The other thing of note is that clearly, as mentioned earlier, Sayo had a stake in the mystery genre, so perhaps it’s just out of respect for the genre that it is written this way, but that’s still a flimsy motive for doing so. The other interesting note is the red scrawl we see at the end of episode 4. To me those are clearly meant to be words from the culprit, that by some means Battler saw and included in his tale, but why did the culprit state it, and where? I think especially given the motive and love connection established bothed in my culprit theory and meta theory, it’s clear there is an emotional connection between Beatrice and Sayo, but I struggle to consider the way that this relationship worked, and also how it actually lead to what happened. I could sit here for hours and spitball on all of this but it’d be just that for now, spitballing, I’d really have to go back and look further. I think the key pieces of evidence that we have thus far (other than those mentioned already for establishing this culprit theory and romance in the first place), is the turbulent early life it seems the culprit went through. Of course I don’t think it’s been confirmed outright, but I’ve taken it to be the case that the child who fell off a cliff with a servant is Sayo, and thus has been dealing with whatever wounds, both emotional and physical, remain from that incident, to this day. This also likely explains the origins and necessities of the personalities and magical characters that Sayo constructed; especially given that Beatrice, Sayo’s magical personality, has control over all of these magical characters. This would suggest to me that it is actually a thorough delusion, that the troublesome Stakes likely caused issues for Sayo, such as when in episode 2 Kanon bemoans that other servants only clean where it is inspected, whilst Shannon cleans everywhere. Was this a lifetime of hardship enough to warrant murder? I hope we’ll find out but that’s my guess for now.

Now I know that there’s a lot that I’m missing. There are a heap of magic scenes I haven’t covered, but truth be told I think this theory at the moment is unfalsifiable, and thus also impossible to prove. No matter what thing you throw at me, I could probably explain it away with some theme or emotion that the author was trying to convey. Since Umineko is itself is already a written work, it’s already trying to do, from Ryukishi’s perspective, something very similar to what I’m claiming Sayo and Battler as authors were trying to do. If anything the super interesting thing to me is that I was able to draw all of this meaning from Umineko, and I’m not even sure if that’s whay Ryukishi wrote intentionally. It’s like analysing any work, if you look hard enough you’ll be able to find meaning in things that were insignificant, even to the author. As I’m going forward, this meta theory definitely be how I reflect on the story, at least until something appeals to me more, but it might be an absolute pile of nonsense to Ryukishi, and I might never know.

I think the important thing to take from this, is that it’s not the point of the story. As much as what I claim might be the truth to me or anyone else (:ryukishi: pls bb), or might be an interesting way to consider the greater meaning of the story, this doesn’t invalidate or devalue a different interpretation. I don’t know what kind of answers (if any) we’ll get on this topic from here, but if you do take the tales of multiple realities, ancient witches bouncing between them, and great strategic battles between higher beings, this is a completely valid and awesome interpretation of what’s going on. Of course, to many of you reading this, you’ll think ‘duh, I know that’, but I just wanted to make sure I said it because I don’t want to discourage any other theorists from just having fun thinking about this story.

Final reminder; I’m not actually done with Ep5 (the last thing I saw was Erika’s accusation of Natsuhi sleeping with Kinzo), so I might avoid this topic unless anyone directly mentions me with questions or responses, until we have actually finished recording it.


It really is interesting how an interpretation I did at the end of episode 4 is still valid and perhaps even intended. I only hinted at that in an earlier post, but after ep 4 my impression of Lambda and Bern was that they’re an author avatar and a reader avatar respectively. It already fits the smaller things, like Bern entering as a supposed objective entity but actually aligning with Battler, which for a reader naturally happens because Battler, especially in episode 1, is the viewpoint character.

Then enter Lambda. What is her goal? Prolong this game for all eternity. What is an author’s goal, if you come down to it? Tell stories. Many, many stories. For all eternity, even, if death wouldn’t be a thing. So those were the initial parallels I used to come to the same conclusion. By now, Bern’s scope has narrowed, and the rest of this is in my earlier post so I’d just repeat myself.

I also love your meta theory. As for the Sayo vs. Shannon debate, in a chat with @MagusVerborum I said that I “don’t really care if it’s Shannon or Kanon actually killing people.” Right now, while I’m saying the two are individual people, I am also saying that they’re in on it together in every single episode. It’s basically quite similar to that tea allegory we got in this episode: Just like it’s not important if the tea was made with a hidden tea set or with magic, it doesn’t really matter if Shannon or Kanon carried out the crime. The important part is that Shannon planned the crime, and the message she wanted to convey with the crime.
My stance for the two is pretty much “As long as it is not 100% necessary to have them be one person, I will continue to view them as two individual people.”


Okay, I just read through @Jokrono’s post and @Seraphitic’s episode 4 post and I am excited. (Thanks for linking that post, by the way! I must have forgotten about it in the long break between Questions and Answers.) I think this is it! I think this is the key to unlocking the Rokkenjima mysteries!

As much as I’d like to keep fighting for my theory that Battler is Beato’s child … I like the implications of the culprit being Beato’s child better. It makes them a Ushiromiya, and this story a tragedy of the Ushiromiya family. It’s even more tragic because of that single element ‘love.’ The culprit has many people they could give their love to, but they’re all people it’s forbidden to love … because they’re family. And their beloved doesn’t know they’re family. I could see how that would make the culprit desperate to make someone discover the truth of their tragic story, no matter what.