Battler’s Battle in Umineko: Disbelieving His Lying Eyes

With encouragement from several readers, I’ve been continuing through Umineko no Naku Koro ni. And this show certainly isn’t easy to watch, in spite of its compelling and attractive characters, unusual psychological overtones, and high quality voice acting. Not that I mind the occasional show that is hard for me to watch: I would include both Death Note and Mirai Nikki in this group. On another note, Battler indeed looks more and more like Phoenix Wright with each episode.

Witches don’t exist, therefore your argument is invalid!

When I say this show isn’t easy for me to watch, I don’t simply mean because of the violence. After all, I’ve seen Berserk in its entirety, along with Mirai Nikki more recently, and was almost able to watch Gantz. I am OK with violence if it isn’t simply gratuitous, which so far it seems to be in this show. Granted that I still have one more “course” or “act” to watch, in which it may very well come together for me. Granted also that readers are almost unanimous in suggesting that I read the visual novel instead of watching the anime, since apparently I’m missing a lot this way. And granted, last of all, that the violence certainly serves to show up Beatrice’s character: she is a witch who has become so bored even with her own power, so twisted compared to whatever humanity she might once have had, that she will even kill people, gruesomely and over and over again, just to amuse herself (and in pursuit of some status that I, as of yet, cannot imagine).

No, my difficulty goes beyond the violence. It is more due to the psychological tension between Beatrice and her “opponent” in this “game,” Battler. Beatrice wants Battler to acknowledge her existence, as though killing his family members over and over is an ordinary way to encourage someone to acknowledge you. Battler is steadfast, however, in refusing to give Beatrice this acknowledgement. Or more exactly, in the ending of one of the “courses,” we get to see what happens when Battler gives in. And it isn’t pretty.

As I see it, these are the two main questions crying out for an answer in this show: First, what is Battler to believe, his preconceived and dearly held notions or his lying eyes? And next, is there any hope of redemption for Beatrice, or for any of her magic-using colleagues? Do I dare to hope that there is a way for both Battler and Beatrice to win? (OK, I guess that’s three questions.)

These questions are worth answering, and so I will keep watching. That being said, once I’ve “recovered” from watching this show, I will reconsider watching Higurashi. After all, I’ve heard that Higurashi is the best of the three “When They Cry” series.

7/10 at MAL, still. It’s actually gone down from 7.5 to 6.5 probably, but the sharp art style and compelling characters make me want to round up rather than down. My guess is that it will end up at either 6/10 or 8/10, depending on how it ends.

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About R86

R86 is a chemistry professor, which is the sort of job that probably made you stop reading already. He lives in Minnesota during the cold months and Texas during the hot months (true story). In his spare time, he enjoys music (flute/saxophone/clarinet and MIDI/Vocaloid synthesis), drawing, writing, and watching anime. Besides his posts here at Beneath The Tangles, he also keeps a deviantART journal, updated roughly once per week.

Posted on 10.23.2012, in Anime and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Ritsuioko23

    Nah Umineko is the best, just the visual novel though. If you watch Higurashi don’t forget to watch Higurashi Kai, it’s the second season.

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    • Well, as I said to ZZZ below, I will certainly consider watching Higurashi if I see a good sale. I have been on quite the DVD buying spree lately. :D

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      • I wish you all the luck in finding a good sale, since it’s been out-of-print for about a year now (currently unlicensed). And the second season was never licensed to begin with, but it’s not too hard to find in the end.

        And you might do yourself a favor by never risking hearing the dub – it’s enough to make ears bleed!

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        • Thanks for the heads-up about Higurashi being out of print — that certainly saves me some time. And as for the dub, no worries — I’m already well known for being That Guy (you know, the one who votes for subs every time in the age-old subs-vs.-dubs argument). :)

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  2. The problem with the end is that it’s the end of the fourth EP of the VN… and there are four more ! You might be disappointed by a lack of resolution, as the last EPs haven’t been adapted in Anime (yet?). Also, Battler isn’t the only one who must try not to trust his lying eyes…

    All in all, Higurashi is less meta and thus easier to follow while still making your little brain cells ticking (most of the mysteries can be at least partly solved before the answers are revealed if you manage to pick the hints scattered in the first season), so you may have a better time with it.

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    • Well, that’s one vote for and one against Higurashi so far. I do like mysteries, so I’ll keep an eye out for a sale.

      With all the negative comparisons of the anime to the visual novel, I will be curious to see whether Umineko ends in a way that I can buy into. Code Geass managed to do so after all. :)

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      • And meanwhile, I’m curious to see whether R86 will go ballistic & hunt for the VN right after he finished (and presumably got super-trolled) ep #26 … LOL

        As for Higurashi, it’s easier to follow than Umineko. Basically, you only need to figure out “what actually happens in Hinamizawa”. In Umineko, you need to figure out “what actually happens in Rokkenjima” and eventually “what actually happens in Umineko”.

        Oh, and Higurashi can be considered some kind of back story for certain Umineko character(s), depending on how you see it.

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        • Well, I was already under the suspicion that I’m being trolled (by the show, not by the readers) (OK, maybe a tiny bit by the readers too), and depending on whether the ending intrigues me, I might very well go look for the VN too. As for going ballistic, that remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be the first time an anime had that effect on me. :D

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