They can act OOC, but they can’t do anything that is 100% impossible for their original character.
Which makes me realize just how messed up this cast is, tbh.
They can act OOC, but they can’t do anything that is 100% impossible for their original character.
You’re correct that pieces can’t do things that they would never do, but I don’t think that really negates what I’m saying. The only piece of information we actually have on Erika pre-series is the discussion between here and Dlanor regarding her ex-boyfriend, which paints an already obsessive, emotiona, and despondent person. It doesn’t seem impossible to me that Bernkastel took those traits, amped them up to the extreme, throw out the more human parts of her and leave the Erika we have now.
Although it’s probably already said in bits and pieces, personally I felt that Erika had been a stand-in for the negative aspects of all the other characters. As we know, in the actual massacre, Erika doesn’t appear at all, further confirming the notion that she’s more of a concept than an actual person in the game.
By stand-in, I of course mean that Erika is kind of like Clair in more ways than one. Well, two, actually. Firstly, she’s, in my opinion, a representation of all of the negative aspects of the Ushiromiya family. Secondly, her death seems very similar to Clair’s first death after being laid to rest by Willard. Of course, this could be entirely coincidental.
I noted something particularly interesting in all the novels featuring her and it was that all of the characters’ negative habits and their mutual dislike was largely reduced when compared to the amount directed towards Erika. In fact, the only people that probably just acknowledged her and little else was Kyrie, and the mansion servants. Notably, Kyrie seemed to be the least volatile in her exchanges with her, whereas Natsuhi was understandably in an opposite position.
It’s possible that Bernkastel created Erika by imparting her negative characteristics as a person (the real Erika being probably dead, sadly), coupled with the mutual dislike and vanity of all the Ushiromiya siblings, barring Eva who probably saw her as a useful tool or a kindred spirit in the most strained manner imaginable. This created a character everyone could direct their hatred towards, and it was a very smart move by Ryukishi07 to introduce the character at that time itself, since we got to see much more of the siblings’ interactions than before, where most of them died by the first Twilight in the Witch version of the events at least. On the other hand, the cousins die early since they were significantly fleshed out already in the first four episodes, and we even get to see conflicts similar to those amongst the siblings between the cousins and Erika.
Furthermore, like I said, it was also such a clever move to introduce the character then and there alone since it completely misdirected the readers’ emotions. It made the readers, at least quite a few based on the posts in this thread, direct all their hatred towards her and in the bargain made the readers forget, if only momentarily, that one of the Ushiromiyas, who by this point in the story have become endeared to the readers, is responsible for the murder of almost all of the Rokkenjima inhabitants. Episodes 5 and 6 were kind-of ‘breaks’ from all the twilights and rather featured hints that touch the ‘heart’ of the mystery of the Rokkenjima murders.
Episode 8 was, in my opinion, made to leave at least some semblance of a happy ending to the story, and given that so many while hating Erika also loved her character, it would have been too bad to single her character out. Not to mention the Battle of the Golden Land was probably one of her most dramatic moments where she even tries to murder Dlanor who probably is her only friend in the world. We may also consider Battler to be somewhat endeared to her by the end of Episode 8 but again, that may just be a method of leaving a happy ending.
I personally believe that Ange just liked Erika’s dialogues in Episode 5 and hence quoted her in the trick ending. A lot of evidence may show her to be a shadow Ange, but Erika is inhumanly dedicated to her craft whereas Ange was after a ‘truth’ that satisfied her, not THE truth which Erika had been unabashedly pursuing since the beginning. Also, the ambition between the two differed: Erika wanted to be the Territory Lord of the fragment whereas I doubt Ange had any inclination other than finding evidence to incriminate Eva. It’s also because of the previous point that Ange perseveres as a Witch of Truth while Erika suffers as one.
Of course, this almost entirely built up upon circumstantial evidence, but to conclude I’d say Erika has to be one of the most pathbreaking detectives in any series I’ve read so far.
So, one interesting thing about her is the mystery of how she came to be at the island to begin with. That is, we know she was on a boat as part of a school trip. We know she went overboard. And we know that when she shows up on the island she washes ashore in her school swimsuit. But the details here are pretty sketchy. I mean, what kind of person is going around in a swimsuit in the middle of the night in stormy weather? How does that happen?
So, maybe she was a jumper? She had clearly just gone through a bad break-up and was not in a good place emotionally. It’s not impossible. But normally someone doing that would leave a note of some sort. I kind of doubt the witch-hunters would overlook that in their rampant clawing into every little thing around Rokkenjima Prime.
But Erika is never really written as a quitter. It seems pretty inconsistent with her personality on the island. Maybe she was bullied into it? If she was swimming in the storm as a ‘test of courage’ or something like that but it went too far?
Or maybe the breakup was even worse than Erika lets on, and it ended with her being thrown from the boat by the guy?
But I don’t think there are many clues to unravel this particular mystery.
As I said before, if we’re going with the canon set of events of Umineko, that means Erika doesn’t appear on the island at all. I agree, her origins in her appearance at Rokkenjima were quite enshrouded in mystery, but I personally think that Hachijo included her in the story mainly for the sake of a role as a detective and nothing more. In a way, this may also support the theory that she was invented on a whim. Her appearance may be considered likened to Bernkastel’s for the same reason: a whim. Her real appearance may be quite different, or maybe it works on the same principle that Natsuhi’s ‘Kinzo’ works on, i.e. assigning a name to something that isn’t what it’s called in actuality.
Hachijo probably wanted a detective that really defied all expectation, and although creating a character that virtually challenged the limits of one’s humanity, and hence assigned the character to Erika. Don’t forget, Erika might have been known as Virgilius if events hadn’t gone down the path it has now.
Even if we consider that Erika by some miracle got on the island, she’d be more likely to land in Kuwadorian than the Ushiromiya Mansion, due to the sea inlet in Kuwadorian. This in turn may have led her to look for means to survive within the mansion before happening upon the secret passage on October 5 and getting caught up in the explosion.
You have a Devil’s Proof regarding the reasons for falling off the cruise. Maybe she was wearing her swimsuit under her regular clothes when she fell. Or maybe someone pushed her. There are endless possibilities for the unknown.
But normally someone doing that would leave a note of some sort.
I’m just here to let you know that that’s not really true. The cop show logic of: “there’s no note, it isn’t a suicide” doesn’t hold up in reality, plenty of people kill themselves without leaving notes.
I think there’s a good chance that Erika killed herself, partically due to a brief scene in the episode 8 manga where manga spoilers: Erika and Ange have a conversation about self-esteem. Ange asks Erika whether she has any worth and Erika laughs hysterically at that. Ange then thinks that “this is another girl who threw her life away to become a witch.”. I think it makes sense, especially based upon her parallels with Ange and Bern’s tendency to take on really vulnerable people.
It’s off-topic compared to the rest of how the thread developed, but Lifeboat’s a really good song for her, no pun intended. (A bit unrelated, but due to a vent video I made, I heavily associate Shine a Light-Reprise with Ange.)
So I had a little ramble in the discord today and I was told I should bring it to the forum. And bring it I have! Apologies if some context is, as these were originally responses to other people, lost in copy-pasting.
1. Erika and The Mystery Genre
I feel that Erika’s view [that a mystery is all about forcing the culprit out] is correct, if we’re looking at the typical mystery genre. If we look at the classic Howdunnit mysteries, they were typically about shock value (take Poe, for example. Or even certain Christie works like ATTWN which was basically created purely based on the idea of "how could I do the biggest bodycount ever) or the puzzle in and of itself (most of your christies, carr, queen, etc.) The idea of a sympathetic killer, or a character study, is something more for the social school of detective fiction, which erupted post-WW2 with things like Noir and the police procedural and the like, which came with less of a focus on the puzzle itself. Certainly, some novels have made a point to present motives that the reader can agree with or come to understand (Orient Express being the most famous) but the majority of classic mystery novels are, if one was to be blunt, intellectual masturbation. All about beating the culprit, and forcing out the truth. It’s why the genre is far more prone to flat or static characters and is more often compared to games than others (the “rules” making this more apparent, and the fact that explicit puzzle/riddle books also count as mystery books definitely aids this.)
Erika doesn’t desecrate the genre, she’s a great satire in that she’s the logical endpoint of the Holmes-ian mindset, and has nice metaworth as a critique of the values and general ideas of the mystery genre.
tl;dr: Erika doesn’t desecrate the genre, she is the genre
also this is absolutely why detective conan only has one motive in it recycled ad infinitum
2. Erika as a Detective
I don’t find Erika one-dimensional. I feel part of the point, part of the deconstruction, is that she’s got the mindset that would most “realistically” produce this sort of person. I mean, she’s this sort-of pathetic character who’s lost all ability to feel pleasure except when she’s beating someone, in that sense she’s actually quite insecure despite her haughtiness. We can also see in her backstory how her role as the detective actually hurts her, which of course flows into Umineko’s ideas regarding truth, but here I think it provides a nice point that Erika didn’t really “choose” to be the Detective. She’s simply got that role designated to her, and she can’t really escape it even when it goes against what she wishes or wants. Even if she does normally embrace it, she’s been forced into a role and has no option to be anything else really.
Of course, once you get into the meta-stuff, she becomes even more tragic/interesting. She’s a bastardisation of a person to basically force people’s own perceptions of the event. She has no real will, because she’s essentially just a puppet of overzealous theorists. Erika isn’t even really the true Erika, and the line between herself and reality is so vague that the real thing may not have even been… well, A Detective. If she seems one-dimensional, I think that’s part of the point of illustrating the real tragedy of her character.
I just realized ‘English Murder Mystery’ by the Lucksmiths is the perfect song for Furudo Erika, and now I have to share it with you all.
I love her but she loves Agatha Christie
And she’s so wrapped up in the English Murder Mystery […]
What’s prosecution and defence?
What’s common law and common sense?
What’s a barbed wire electrified fence between friends?
The more I think about Erika as a representation of either the classical mystery genre or its readers, the less sense it makes to me. Granted, that might be because it’s been a while since I’ve read Umineko so I might forget key things about her character.
The reason why I don’t think Erika is valid commentary on the mystery genre is because her goal, as far as I can tell, isn’t to find the truth about what happened in Rokkenjima. Instead, it seems to be finding the most horrible and degrading (and thus most entertaining) answer to the riddles presented, and force that through as the truth, regardless of whether it is the true solution or not. In Episode 5, she constructs her theory specifically to torment Natsuhi as much as she can, and uses Kinzo as a key part of her theory, even though according to her own words, from the very beginning she didn’t really believe Kinzo was alive anymore but she wanted to exploit his ghost to make her theory work. Clearly, if she was using assumptions she didn’t believe in herself to make her theories work, she was not concerned with finding the true solution.
Her maliciousness disqualifies her as a representation of in-universe detectives (what kind of Golden Age detective does not make finding the truth their highest priority?) or mystery readers (what kind of reader ignores clues to make a theory that is as degrading as possible towards fictional characters?). Sure, Erika makes copious use of the conventions of the mystery genre to get what she wants, but what she tries to accomplish is directly opposed to what the mystery genre is about. Looking at her this way, she’s more of a representation of the predatory tabloid journalism surrounding the Rokkenjima scandal, twisting the truth to create the most lurid explanations for the entertainment of the masses.
Dlanor makes for a far more accurate representation of the mystery genre, in my opinion. Indeed, Erika treating Dlanor as a tool for her to use mirrors how I perceive Erika uses the conventions of the mystery genre to drive her own agenda. If Ryukishi wanted to criticise the lack of “heart” in classical mystery, he could’ve written a character who completely ignores it, instead of writing Erika who is outright hostile towards it. I feel that would’ve been a more accurate representation of how authors and readers might have approached mystery novels at that time.
Nah, I think Bernkastel is the actual representation of a mystery reader who only cares for carving out the solution. Erika herself is more or less just a vicious parody of Self Insert Sues prevalent in fanfiction, who can bend the rules of their universe to get what they want. And in her case, it’s just solving mysteries for the sake of solving mysteries, utterly regardless of whether her constructed theory is a meaningful truth or not. I totally agree that she doesn’t care about her theories being true, she only cares about them not being possible to be refuted, just to torment the characters around her.
As someone who regularly gets jumped at by some of the more nasty Rosatricers while commenting on Youtube videos about Yasu, I’m afraid I have to differ. -.-
On the other hand, those arguments I got myself dragged into, made me think that Erika actually does represent that type of reader very specific to Umineko. There are people, who got very… disappointed when Battler learned the truth and came to the conclusion that it is a truth that needs to be protected. They expected Umineko to end with him slaying Beatrice, exposing the truth and concluding the story this way, so him siding with the witch felt like a betrayal to them. That’s why there are still ever more hostile people out there still denying Yasu and in their reasoning you can see that all they care about is solving mysteries (because they are convinced that is all Umineko should be about), uncaring of whether there is a heart to the story or whether their theories make sense when applied to the motives of the characters. In the end, all they have is mysteries they solve for the sake of mysteries, just like Erika does. As long as you are incapable to refute them with the red, they are happy and feel vindicated, even when you point out that they missed the point of the story.
Even though Erika was born with episode 5, I find it difficult to imagine that Ryukishi wasn’t trying to criticize his readers with Erika, didn’t want to hold a mirror in front of them to show just how heartless they are with some of their theory-making. The goats in episode 8 are a clear indication that he grew very, very annoyed with that after all.
Doesn’t change my own opinion though that I find Erika utterly amazing! As a character and as a commentary to Mary Sues written by unpleasable fans.