Review: Umineko No Naku Koro Ni

When The Seagulls Cry

Alex: Umineko is the second proper story from the jaw-droppingly talaneted Ryukshi07, and it’s also the anime i’ve seen the most heated debates about of well…pretty much the four or five years i’ve been watching anime. I have no idea if you want to take that as a good thing or not, but hey :b Oh, and yes, i’m going to discuss some spoilers for Higurashi, since this is pretty much the spiritual successor.

So, for starters. The similarities. Whilst it’s never confirmed, Burnkastel is assumed to be Rika, and Lambdadelta is assumed to be Takano. A lot of the voice actors return, and it takes them a while to stop trying to pull Higurashi scary-esque faces in the beginning. Oh, and it takes place over 3 days which constantly reset themselves, similar to Higurashi. That’s it. The culprit isn’t some unknown disease or a crazed women, it’s a human. Higurashi was horror-mystery? Umineko is fantasy-mystery, with emphasis on the mystery.Whilst you were only in the feet of the detective in the final of Higurashi, you’re constantly in the feet of the detective in Umineko.

I have to admit, the way it does it is very unique. It’s your classic Magic VS Reality battle, with a witch appearing in front of our rather incompetent main character and claiming that she’s behind the chain of deaths and closed rooms which killed his family, and he claims that it was a human who did it all because witches don’t exist. Putting aside the horribly obvious “She’s doing magical things and so are you, hypocrite” thing which a lot of people do say when the anime is called into question, the magic isn’t actually the main factor. The magic is more of…an aid to help you unravel the mystery, because it’s easily the hardest mystery i’ve encountered to date.

When I phrase it like that, you could assume that the magic is an illusion designed to help you find the truth, and that’s almost proven with the Red Truth and the Blue Truth, both of which are captured in screenshots above. The Red Truth is the “One Sole Truth”, as in, anything in red is the truth and there’s no room to argue against it. The Blue Truth is the humans version of the red, and so forth.

The source material. Umineko, like Higurashi, comes from a visual novel with contains 8 arcs. The majority of hate for the anime comes from the fact that it’s a terrible adaption, unlike Higurashi, which was almost a textbook adaption. Look at it this way: Studio Deen took a creative licence to the work, and whilst they kept the core parts of the story intact, they did an awful lot of cutting. That’s not really a bad thing. It does mean that at times, the pacing speeds up to a dizzying high and slows down, being very “all over the place”, but that doesn’t stop you enjoying the work.I’d love to know how they got a big breasted tsundere witch and so forth, but it’s probably just creativity…I hope.

By exposing it right down to it’s nitty-gritty roots, Umineko No Naku Koro Ni is a mystery series that’s trying to do something different to everything else. It’s an absolutely fantastic mystery, but your enjoyment of it comes down to how well you can cope with the magic elements, which force themselves onto the viewer time and time again. Just…don’t expect to get a full package, since this is only half a story, and with the modern anime syndrome claiming more and more studios than ever before, it’s looking less and less likely this anime will ever get the conclusion it deserves.

Alex’s Score: 9 Meeps out of 10 (Great)

Mimi’s Score: 8.5 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)

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