Umineko Spoilers General

General discussion topic for the entirety of the Umineko series free from spoiler restrictions. Feel free to use this topic to bounce thoughts off others who have finished the series and use it as a launching pad for more specific discussion.

You are free to discuss the entirety of Umineko without tagging spoilers in this thread, but please tag spoilers to other works.

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That song is amazing and I shed tears to it.

Anyway.

Since this is apparently meant to be a general discussion for the entire series… well let’s go then. A first entry of possibly a few other things I either noticed or wanted to ask/address and didn’t really know where to put it.

First, an observation. This could be put into a character discussion but frankly… do we really need separate discussions for individual characters if most of those topics tend to be dead? And for some we need two for spoiler-free and spoilerish discussions, both of which are then dead? I’ll leave that to the staff. In any case, there isn’t even a topic for this character yet.

Let me list a few aspects of a certain psychological disorder (I won’t list everything, only things that seem relevant to me):

  • impairment of social interactions (in at least two areas, like: failure to develop peer relationships, lack of modulation of behavior according to social context, weak integration of social emotional and communicative behaviors)
  • abnormalities in communication (in at least one area, like: delay of the development of spoken language, not accompanied by attempts to compensate with gestures; stereotyped and repetitive use of language)
  • restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests or activities (in at least one area, like: abnormal interests or abnormal intensity of interest; compulsive adherence to specific routines or rituals)

Those are common behavioral characteristics of children with autism (according to ICD-10). This list would be enough to consider giving the diagnosis (though there’s also a portion about the behavior before the age of 3 which we don’t know anything about AND of course one should never just look at a list of symptoms to make a decision, but you get my point).

The character I am thinking of is Maria. Heck, just rereading EP1 I realised how much she just parrots what others say (which is also common, often seen as a sign of stunted/delayed language development), the whole “Uu”-thing (aside its emotional significance from EP4, she uses it just too much for it to be a conscious decision, it seems more like a habit… or a stereotype behavior), her inability to make friends (and somewhat: the lack of care on her side), the strong fixation on magic/witches (with all those rules like “magical defense bestowed upon ye by Scorpion” [get over… … away from here?]). Although I guess a case could be made that her behavior might be closer to the Asperger-syndrome than having the ‘full’ autism.

Intended by Ryukishi or not? Just me connecting things that weren’t meant to be connected?

Psychotherapy in Japan is, from what I know (which is little) a touchy subject, even today. Considering we’re in the middle of the 80s, it was probably even worse. So in a way it is not surprising that no one in her environment really addressed it, since it was just such a taboo topic. So Rosa has got a point: with this behavior she will have tremendous problems in society. And if this is really autism, the chance of it just “going away” is pretty slim. Though beating and deceiving her daughter is a pretty bad way to ‘fix’ this.

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I never thought about that, but you’re right, she does exhibit a lot of the symptoms. She might be an autistic savant, too, because apparently she taught herself Hebrew and shit.

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I’m still not convinced she actually knows Hebrew. Like I said in the podcast, she’s likely memorised the translations of each of the magic circles, so maybe she has brilliant memory, but I don’t equate that to knowing the language.

I’ve thought Maria had Autism Spectrum Disorder for a while, it makes too much sense. But there are many characters in Umineko which exhibit disturbed psychological development. Look at Kinzo in his later life, or even Yasu. Maybe the reason Beatrice and Maria are friends is because Yasu sees something of herself in Maria.

You’re right, others might have psychological issues too. Take Yasu - gender identity disorder (among others!)? Maybe. A complicated case. Rudolf and Kyrie - Antisocial Personality Disorder? Eva and Krauss - Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Possible.

But Maria is the only one I can think of that really shows an entire very characteristic behavioral pattern. And once we enter personality disorders it is really hard to say what is just a pretty defined personality and what is “not normal” anymore.

If anything I am surprised I didn’t notice it sooner.

@Aspirety: Where would you place Kinzo, since you mentioned him?

Some kind of dissociation after the death of his beloved Beatrice, enough to lock up his daughter and pretend she’s her mother.

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Yeah, that dissociation might fit there. I could even go as far as a (general) psychosis, given the often depicted abrupt change of his behavior. From raging madman to the quiet sobbing drunkard. Let’s quote the most reliable source, wikipedia, for a sec: “People experiencing psychosis may exhibit some personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unsual or bizarre behavior [I wouldn’t put it past Kinzo!], …”. And yes, a psychosis can be a chronic or semi-chronic affair, and no it is not limited to schizophrenia. Actually gonna take some of my notes from university (and translate a few notes real quick):

"Delusional Disorders (F22.0 in ICD-10)

  • can be chronic
  • the delusion tends to be systematic (so there are rules and such)
  • people with this tend to have had a conspicuous personality before the onset of the delusion
  • isolation does benefit the delusion
  • intellectual abilities are NOT affected"

What could be the delusion? That he is a wizard, that Beatrice’s soul is his and can be resurrected, Beatrice II inheriting the very soul of Castiglioni, etc. . Maybe it is even a process, that began with his inability to cope with the loss of Beatrice Castiglioni, beginning as a dissociation (emotional kind, “she reincarnated in her daughter therefore I do not need to grieve”) and got worse over time, coupled with his regret over having forced his own daughter into sex (at least if we trust the scene in which he just wanted to apologize).
However, he qualifies for a set of different symptom clusters so I find it more difficult to really pin just one thing on him.

In regards to Maria and Hebrew: I am with Aspi on this one, probably memorization, same as with the letter (considering that she can barely follow conversations earlier I don’t buy it that she really knows what she is reading there).
You ask for hints, indicating that she might be good at remembering things? I quote, from her character description in EP1 of the steam release: “[…] but she is very interested in things concerning the occult and black magic. Thanks to her excellent powers of memorization, she knows all kinds of obscure trivia.”

edit: I really need to learn how to write smaller posts. I apologize.

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Maria very much seems autistic (or, if not autistic, she certainly has some kind of neurological disorder) and I’m fairly certain that Ryukishi intended her to be interpreted that way. I think this partially because Ryukishi seems very concerned with the treatment of the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill in society, and partially because Maria is a witch. The only people that would want to become witches are those who are so rejected by society that they don’t see any other way to be released from their problems but pure escapism: Maria primarily turns to magic due to abuse but it is also repeatedly stated and shown that she is fundamentally different from other people because of how she acts and how she sees the world. Because she is different she cannot conform to what society wants her to be and she has to find a new way to deal with life.

Magic is primarily used in this series not only by those who have had terrible lives (because there are many people who have had terrible abusive lives that never seek out magic in any way: see all the adults but Eva) but by those who would be rejected by society on the basis of who or how they are. Ange uses magic to escape from her depression (depression that would clearly be treated if she lived in a different time and place) and Kinzo only resorts to magic after his complete psychotic breakdown. Maria is developmentally delayed and severely abused and both are channeled into a desire to use magic. Sayo is convinced that both society and the people that she loves will reject her for her psychical form and her suicidal thoughts, gender dysphoria, and plummeting self-esteem drive her reliance on magic from a copping mechanism into an obsession.

I also find it interesting that the only clearly gay or bisexual characters exist only in the magical world, as another group that is rejected by society.

Note: The only exception I see to this general rule for the nature witches is Virgilia and episode 7 implies that Virgilia is more one of Sayo’s imaginary friends than a genuine reflection of Kumasawa. So, less a witch and more like Ronove and the Seven Sisters.

In any case, magic exists as an extreme form of escapism from a world where people are told, explicitly or implicitly, that they are wrong for being how they are. Maria’s autism is probably written the way it is to show that this includes neurodevelopmentally disabled as well.

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The idea that Maria was autistic was bought up actually very long ago.
However rather then approaching it from an ICD or DSM way, I think it needs to be approached from a japanese pov. In most asian countries, autism is considered the result of parental negligence rather then the north american approach of it being a natural thing. Even in north america, it should be mentioned, autism was considered the “refrigerator mother” syndrome in the past.
I’m not really here to debate which theory is correct, but given a japanese paradigm and the relation of Maria and Rosa, this seems a lot more fitting an approach. Ultimately it comes down to what Ryuukishi’s view on the matter is rather then an agreement of science on the matter.

For labelling other people I would be careful. They all have issues, that’s sorta the entire concept of the “dark witch” to begin with anyway, but none of them fits perfectly any given disorder. Remember that disorders listed in the DSM and ICD are stereotypes that are just common enough that they are practical enough in most cases, but that it’s not because someone has enough symptoms to fit a given diagnostic that they necessarily have it, otherwise a simple electronic survey could replace an actual professional psychiatrist.

I could potentially argue that Rosa more or less fits a Borderline diagnostic. Everyone else beside Kinzo would avoid a clear diagnostic as far as I can tell. They may at best/worst be considered to have temperaments that manifests heavily under the current circumstances. That being a key point : we mostly see them during the situation of that family conference but in most cases we’re given to understand that this is not representative of their typical behaviour.

Rather then that I was under the impression a while ago that the 16 actual people on Rokkenjima may be attempts at creating the 16 personalities of MBTI, a tool that is often more popular in character creation for writers then having any actual value in personality testing.

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That. That’s why I wouldn’t address anyone else with any certainty. The only three people of which we know that a certain behavior happened over extended periods of time are Maria, Kinzo and Yasu. The latter is a difficult case that I’d rather not even open - there are many things happening but given the ciricumstances a lot of that behavior is justified.

Even for Kinzo we could say that EP8 directly addresses that: he probably had psychotic episodes, but there is no proof that he always showed this behavior (as opposed to the question arcs usually showing him like that). Maria however is a case that is never refuted, as far as I am aware of (see EP1 Rosa talking about Maria’s social life, EP4 about Maria’s past).

Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

@samus: sorry I really cannot remember. Knowing Kinzo it would be a riddle combining Japanese and English. Either it is a wordgame (“9” being ‘kyuu’ and one word for emergency being 急 [which can be pronounced ‘kyuu’ as well] or a play on the telefon numbers you have to enter for a certain type of emergency. Or I am completely wrong.

How about a new topic? Maybe not the most exciting question in the story but this came to me while reading EP1 again. I’ll hold on to my own thoughts for now.

How about the last part of the epitaph. At least I cannot remember that it got addressed in EP7 (but if it is so, my apologies).

[quote]The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my beloved witch, Beatrice.[/quote]

a) What did Kinzo think when he wrote those lines (since it isn’t part of the riddle, he could’ve added this later)?
b) How did it influence Yasu?
c) Can certain episodes be attributed in their themes to a certain treasure?

This reminds me of something else kinda…

I’ve had this conversation with some people before but it may be worth adding on the forum.
… but the epitaph starts with lines about -My beloved homeland- which we know refers to Kinzo’s original hometown in Taiwan, before he became the Ushiromiya heir. It’s also repeatedly said that this was a time where he enjoyed his youth, in contrast with after he was chosen as a heir. The one remnant from that era is Genji, his enigmatic childhood friend.

That same epitaph is also about Beatrice, yet he supposedly met Beatrice during the end of WW2. Very distant and unrelated to his beloved homeland.

I’m not going to like throw into question what is pretty much accepted as an answer universally and confirmed by now, but even nowaday I can’t help but feel that Beatrice is basically Rosebud of Citizen Kane. It may as well be mentionned that the actual game script makes a few references to this. Even at the very start of arc1 Battler comments that Rokkenjima is like Kinzo’s child dream coming true (or something like that, forgot the phrasing sorry).

If anyone saw Citizen Kane the comparison between Kane and Kinzo is really striking. Children who had their childhood stolen away from them to be thrown into a world of finance where they attained great success yet never felt fulfilled and constantly longed back to this childhood. The one difference is that Kinzo’s -Rosebud- was met later, and is an actual human named Beatrice (at least, as far as arc7 says).

Add to this how the whole idea of magic is often referenced to as relating to childhood (such as the prime example of believing in santa clauss). I can see there having a possibility that the entire thing was meant to basically have like Kinzo wanting to feel the magic of childhood again before dying, which was somehow embodied or personified with the name Beatrice.

If anything I really wonder if Kinzo’s past wasn’t fleshed out in details until later arcs. It’s not like Yasu was there to observe it anyway so even she has nothing but second hand information, and so as far as -the answer- goes the specific details of Kinzo’s past are not really that important until much later. The only thing really necessary to have been fleshed out early is relating to Yasu’s view of Kinzo, not the absolute truth of Kinzo.

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People have theorized but we’re ultimately debunked as to the last part of the riddle you have there. With such a thing resembling like a book dedication, you would think it’d have far more significance.

It makes me wonder how people solved the epitaph before EP7 (I have to hand it to that Umineko fan who traveled to Taiwan to understand the epitaph). The only reference to Kinzo having spent time in Taiwan was in EP5 where in a flashback, Krauss says something about Kinzo while he and Natsumi were traveling together (and it wasn’t even the focus of the scene, rather it was more about how the two that were recently married were trying to connect with each other). I honestly wonder how Tohya also discovered it to write about it, was everything about the family released after the tragedy?

I will attempt to transfer some of discord’s topics into posts here, slowly as I have time.
Someone more motivated could probably pull it off better.

So to start with something simple and because I need to continue being annoying with touhou… Tsurupettan.
As you may be aware of, the song’s lyrics talks essentially about Suika (a touhou character)'s total flat-chested-ness (and stalker tendencies).
We know that Yasu has a lot of complexes about her body, and her flat-chest is one of these things. Shannon does quite the overcompensation there as well with her pads (or perhaps pillows). It’s a sensitive matter to her, especially considering the women around her.
So I’m bringing attention to how Yasu must’ve felt after her near idol, Jessica, who herself has no reasons to feel insecure about her breast size, invited her (in the form of Kanon) to witness a show of herself singing a song about flat-chests. Yeah it sounds stupid, but I seriously doubt this was unintended by ryuukishi.
This is more then just nonsense. I’m fairly certain pretty much everyone has some topics that are sensitive for them. They may at time look pretty silly for others, but they remain sensitive topic. Having your only friend suddenly making a song about it that seems to rub dirt in the wound, while being aware she doesn’t have any idea about how it affects you.
Even worst that you’d be so flat and unfeminine that you’d be currently pretending to be a guy…
Well, that would definitively make her hate the world just a notch further.

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That reminds me, I’ve heard quite a few complaints that the epitaph was ridiculous. I thought it served its purpose perfectly well. I mean yes it can hardly be figured out but… that’s kind of the point isn’t it? If it was more easily solvable it wouldn’t have served its purpose in the story. Do you guys agree or do you think the epitaph was too stupidly difficult to figure out?

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@Karifean: I think judging the difficulty is going to be difficult for non-japanese people (or at least people without knowledge of the language). Without knowledge of the Japanese language the epitaph certainly is unfairly difficult.

Alright, I will just address my own thoughts towards the end of the epitaph. While it might be just meant as a dedication, as WitchofGames said, I tried to see whether more can be read into it.

[quote]
The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my beloved witch, Beatrice.[/quote]

a) What did Kinzo think when he wrote those lines (since it isn’t part of the riddle, he could’ve added this later)?

From what I remember, Kinzo suspected that the child from Beatrice 2 was still alive and closeby. So under that assumption I will look at the four treasures.

Treasure 1, the gold: obvious
Treasure 2 & 3, the resurrection of the dead and of the lost love: Kinzo wanted a person that he could project his regrets regarding his deeds towards Beatrice 2 unto. Thus he wanted his fifth child to serve as a stand-in for Beatrice (resurrection of the dead) and project his love unto that person as well (resurrection of the lost love). A very selfish request, as soon as Yasu solved the epitaph, Beatrice’s dress was forced on her to serve as the “resurrected lost love”.
Treasure 4, to put the witch to sleep: However, Kinzo wants only one thing, to express his regret to “his lost love” and thus put those unresolved feelings to rest. In a way, the witch Beatrice is the personification of his regrets (so Beatrice is a being in his mind, similar to the Kinzo in Natsuhi’s mind in EP1) and by gaining the chance to apologize, he can put the Beatrice in his mind to rest.

Sleep Peacefully: Consequence of the fourth treasure.

While all of this is incredibly selfish of him, his interaction seemed to me as if he would’ve left Yasu alone after saying his piece (even had he not died immediately after) and putting the Beatrice in his mind to rest. He wanted to say sorry, that is all. But as it happened so many times in the story, things were forced upon another person without regard for his or her circumstances.

This kind of mirrors the magic ending as well. Tohya also wanted to put the Battler in his mind to rest, and Ange eventually gave him the chance. Although it is no where near as destructive as what Kinzo did to Yasu.

b) How did it influence Yasu?

Probably not much of a question, of course it laid the foundation to the “lore” that would eventually be integrated into the Legend of the Witch. Although it could be questioned whether Yasu had figured out all of the “lore” regarding the Golden Land, or whether it is more a product of the meta-world and developed during the course of the story itself (Usagi could surely say more about this aspect in general).

c) Can certain episodes be attributed in their themes to a certain treasure?

More a random thought. EP7 and EP8 are pretty clear that they are about laying the witch to rest, thematically speaking EP6 is about the lost love, the gold is found in EP3 and EP5. Probably nothing.

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Kinda want to reply to both Qno and Karifean here, but that may have to wait a bit, sorry.

I`m just going to transcript a discord text I wrote, so it may be rather confusing and messy in term of form, I am sorry about this.

Well, here we go…

a certain line of thought is making me consider hmm
that -rokkenjima prime- is basically pointless
tho technically it’s a mystery that came up later, I’m unsure if ryuukishi dwelved into it only due to the fanbase’s obcession with it, basically
its more of something like
mystery fiction always needs to be solved on the premise that it is a fiction : reality is not nearly as convenient, does not follow -knox rules- and is not necessarily fair either, and there’s no author trying to make a good story
but normally that’s a sort of implied assumption that is not tackled within the story itself
and I guess it’s like umineko’s mystery relies on -this is a fiction- in order to solve it a lot more then your typical mystery
and due to this sort of fourth wall breaking occuring within the canon of the game
the need of a -prime reality- from which the fictions are written necessarily arose
but ultimately it goes to wether that prime reality is a sort of -necessary evil- or if its actually what the story was about to begin with
and considering this does not get tackled on directly until the end of arc3, slightly, and mostly arc4 onward, Im lead to believe that this is suggestive of it’s… actual lack of importance
it sorta feels more like it’s a -not really important issue- as far as ryuukishi is concerned but that somehow ended up taking more place then what umineko is actually about, and ryuukishi sorta indulged the fans as well in this matter as a result
but that in particular battler, once solving everything at the end of arc5, both forgot about ange altogether and also never basically seemed to care about prime (and on the contrary, in the later arcs, seems rather surprised about it)
it seems to be pretty fitting to me to understand that -rokkenjima prime- is just a sort of
necessary convenience from which the original tales were written that kinda got out of hand in importance among the fandom
of course, the entire thing may have been planned by ryuukishi to exactly go that way, but I don’t think that changes what I’m trying to communicate there
that basically when dwelving about october 4-5 of -rokkenjima prime-, we’re trying to answer a question that was never asked to us
and that only exists due to the -form- umineko takes requiring the arcs to be tales even within the setting

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This is by no means a full response to all that you’ve raised, but:

I actually kinda talked about this with Karifaen and wondered, whether this entire angle only developed from the rewriting of EP3. However, if that is the case, why was Ange even introduced in EP1?
Although I do agree that Rokkenjima Prime was never the mystery we were supposed to solve, we (or at least many or at least I did) merely assumed that the message bottles had something to do with the actual event.

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I am really incredibly curious which characters would fall under which because that sounds fascinating.

Forever later but meh, it’ll have to do.

First of all I need to say a lot of platitudes I feel like, and some may come out arrogantly.
MBTI is… the testing part of it is basically a failure. That does not mean that the personality types described in MBTI are inherently wrong, but that the “test” part of it is essentially not working. It has as such a rather limited potential. As I said it’s a tool that is often more used to create characters then as a valid personality test.
It’s also something that is sorta based on Jungian psychology, but wether or not it really correlates with Carl Jung’s identified “function” is another matter. I sorta understand that Jungian psychology is more popular in Japan then it is in occidental countries, tho that’s not something I’m 100% certain about, at least in practical psychology…
All to say that ultimately it’s pretty much up to a writer to portray them the way they understand them to be, this isn’t like a hard science. Furthermore MBTI is supposed to related to “natural” personality traits, in contrast with what comes out of nurture, which can create larger differences. This will be only a list of my own speculation on the matter, and some chars I’m far less confident then others. I’ll put (high) in the case where I’m pretty confident about and (low) in those that I’m having rather low confidence about.

ESTP - Hideyoshi
ESTJ - Eva
ESFP - Jessica (high)
ESFJ - Gohda
ENTP - Krauss (high)
ENTJ - Rudolf
ENFP - Battler (high)
ENFJ - Kumasawa (high)
ISTP - Genji (high)
ISTJ - Natsuhi
ISFP - Rosa (high)
ISFJ - George
INTP - Kyrie (low)
INTJ - Nanjo (low)
INFP - Maria
INFJ - Yasu

Nanjo as an INTJ only falls under the “scientist” stereotype, overall I’d say that INTJ is a better description of Kyrie, but INTJ are supposed to have a low tendency to second guess themselves which kinda fits with Nanjo. The “love of speculation for the sake of it” of the INTP seems to fit into Kyrie in many aspects, still that choice for these two is the one I’m less confident about.

Rudolf as ENTJ similarly seems to fit mostly under the stereotype as “executive”, but I’d think some people would consider him to be ESTP instead, especially under the “con artist” aspect. I’d think someone who’d switch Eva as ENTJ and Rudolf as ESTJ wouldn’t be very bad either, maybe even better… I could probably elaborate on every choice I made out there but I’d rather not do so entirely on my own. I’ll bring up that I am rather confident about Yasu being an INFJ and Maria being INFP, but I think some people would view these two as switched as well. I’ll admit I have a hard time even beginning to understand Yasu outside of the lens of INFJ personally, and the whole “personification of objects” that leads to some magical furniture is often portrayed as an INFP thing, which I’m lead to understand has it’s point of origin in Maria - tho that itself could be under debate.

That’s ultimately just my take of “what ryuukishi’s take on it” is, assuming this is even right to begin with, so I guess take it for what it’s worth. It remains an interesting thing to think about to me.

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One thing I’ve found interesting for a while is that if you take a look at the overarching theme for EP8, it seems to be heavily deconstructed in Higanbana. Like, for example, the idea is that Ange and Sayo are happy because they live in delusions, and if that illusion were to break, it’d end with suicide. Come The third arc of Higanbana with Midori, and you can immediately tell it’s a commentary on Umineko with the whole fact that they are putting on a play called Rokkenjima and Midori is to play the Witch, who is the most important role. Not to mention the Black Tea Gentleman looks like a mixture of Battler and Ronove. Come Marie breaking the illusion for Midori, we find that she’s heavily bullied by her classmates to where she sold her soul to BTG to play the role of everybody’s favorite, so she could live on without wanting to kill herself. The reveal shows that Midori is absolutely delusional, and that it’s an extremely unhealthy behavior. And the other overarching theme of “Is the truth worth pursuing if it’s so unpleasant that it hurts you?” was something that was handled quite differently in Persona 4, which had come out before EP8. In Umineko, it’s tied into the living in delusions to be happy theme, and in Persona 4, the idea that you were friends with a killer, that a lot of humanity would be fine with the destruction of the world if they were apathetic to it, or that one has done bad things in their life, are treated with a “Yeah, the truth sucks, but you aren’t alone. You have people by your side who care about you, so you can pretend everything is fine and prove the villains right, or FACE OUT AND REACH OUT TO THE TRUTH, and show those liars that because you’ve got real friends, you can face those cruel truths.” So having those two themes work out in contradiction to each other and yet seeing somebody who had worked just as hard as the P4 characters but ultimately not being rewarded for that effort… it left a bad taste in my mouth, which is a huge part of why EP8 is my least favorite of the games in spite of having scenes and music I love.

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