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.
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.