What genre is Umineko? Full-Series Spoilers

I’m curious, what genre would you all say Umineko is? A romance? A tragedy? A tragic romance? Family drama? A mystery? A fantasy despite everything we learn in the back half? All of the above might be the most likely, but I’m not certain.

I’m pretty curious about how to define this series.

Since Umineko has multiple major plot strings all interwoven with one another - primarily the meta story of Battler and Beatrice, the future story of Ange, and the story of the people on Rokkenjima in 1986 and prior to that, and of course the individual gameboards - I don’t think any particular genre is suited to describing it, although you could apply genres to any of the individual plot threads if you wanted to, which would be Fantasy/Romance, Drama, Tragedy and Mystery respectively IMO. And precisely because it’s all of these things at the same time I like to just call it a story about stories. A story about how and why people write and perceive stories the way they do.


Tv-Tropes has a pretty good description of the series on the Genre-Busting page: (…) a fantastical romantic mystery with a tinge of horror and Jungian-psychological elements.

But overall I’d argue that it is what you want it to be and for me it is a Romance. First it’s a love-letter from one person begging to be understood, then it turns into another love-letter from someone else who did understand but realized it too late. Finally it’s also a love-letter from a mystery-author to his fans about the love that must exist between them for the mystery to be solved.

So for me, while the events in the series is either based on mystery and/or fantasy, the story itself is romantic in nature. Because like the series often repeats “Without love, it cannot be seen”.


Technically I would say that Umineko is essentially bringing to the next level a thing that isn’t unique to it : An anti-mystery (under the meaning that while it is a mystery, it’s resolution is not the central plot of the narrative we are following) thriller that heavily uses metafictional literary devices. I’m not sure there’s a specific name for this, but it’s more common than most people seem to think in general. In fact I would say that “Scream” is kinda under a similar premise, but the “genre” is a lot more famous in japan and better elaborated into stories that are easier to call masterpieces. Umineko essentially just jumped it to a new level by splitting these various elements into entirely separate narratives through the creation of the meta-world primarily but also through it’s evolution in later arcs where the non-meta focus itself changes drastically.


From my perspective, Umineko is firmly in the Tragedy genre. It pretty much has all the hallmarks and tropes of a Shakespearean tragedy (with the exception of Good v Evil).
If I were to speak in a more broader sense, then Umineko is obviously multi-genred, with the genres being mystery, fantasy, tragedy, romance and post-modern.
Though, if I wanted to make my own genre for Umineko, it’d be a Romanticist mystery with many themes from the Enlightenment Age. I could go further by calling it a Post-modern mystery, even if it does end in a pretty objective way as so to speak.


I suppose I would call Umineko a mystery drama with ambiguous amounts of fantasy in the mix. For the first six episodes or so, I’d say the story is mostly an unorthodox mystery told through several orthodox (well, by comparison, at least) mysteries. There’s enough character focused drama in there to warrant calling it a drama as well, but for the most part, all the character building serves the mystery - everything fits neatly into place in the bigger picture of the mystery of what is going on, why, and how.

The last episodes mix things up a bit, though. Especially episode 8 seems to focus on themes related to the mystery - whether some truths should be left undiscovered, gossiping over the tragedies of others, moving on - but not the mystery itself. The series as a whole also carries some strong themes, such as how perspective makes a world of difference, the exploration of which makes Umineko more than just a mystery to be solved. However, as the journey of the reader is largely a journey to understand, the series has its feet firmly planted in mystery as well.

So, the best I can come up with is “mystery drama”, though “drama” is such a nonspecific term that it can be used to describe most anything. It could also be specified that it is a postmodern mystery drama, but I’m not sure if I’d call postmodern a genre.


I agree with everything, but what Jungian themes does Umineko have, if I may ask? I thought the penultimate Japanese work with Jungian themes was the Persona series (i.e. Shadow selves, the idea of a Persona, and so forth). Umineko is pretty psychological, so I don’t doubt it.

Sure beats it being Freudian themes, since Jung was a student of Freud.

Romance+murder mystery/fantasy.

A Romance disguised as a murder mystery with fantasy added to it.

Postmodernistic detective on crack.

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