So, the ‘???’ section—the ‘tea party of the unhuman’.
This one starts off with a bang by advancing the clock past 1986 for the first time… probably at all! We get a twelve year timeskip to 1998.
This puts us in… a hospital!
Whoever is staying in this room is expected to stay there forever—and it’s expensive. Apparently it is Eva—but she looks ‘haggard and aged’ to the point of unrecognisability, and stares fixedly into space. She has a bodyguard present, who announces…
……Ange (縁寿)-san has arrived in the lobby below. Should we let her pass?
So that’s how you write Ange’s name. 22 strokes in total. Oof. The kanji individually mean ‘affinity, relation, edge, connection, brink’ and ‘longetivity, congratulations’.
So this is, I guess, what happens if you survive the game.
Eva manages to focus; we learn that she now sees nobody without appointment, keeps the curtains drawn, and always posts guards. The guard refers to Eva as 会長, chairman. (I had a moment of confusing mishearing it as 隊長, commanding officer!) Presumably having slaughtered her family and secured the gold, she was easily able to place herself at the head of whatever business she wanted.
This prompts an update to the character screen! First of all, we have Jessica…
She was indeed joined with Kanon in the Golden Land.
They apologized to each other for their cowardice, and told each other their true and honest feelings. And they hugged each other until the final moment.
Afterwards, she was chewed to bits by demons, and went to hell. It’s okay. Kanon is with her.
Honestly, Umineko’s hell doesn’t seem all that bad from what we’ve seen of it. Definitely not on the level of Dante’s Inferno, despite all the allusions. At most it seems to be dark and lonely.
We also have…
Corpse discovered in the hallway outside the servant room in the mansion.
The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
One last push and he too would probably have been home free.
But at the last possible moment, she did not permit him that.
This probably appeared around when we got Battler’s death report.
OK, now the new one! Here’s Ange’s card, and a full length portrait…
More zettai ryōiki designs huh! Here’s the full text:
- Ushiromiya Ange
Rudolf and Kyrie’s daughter. Battler’s younger half-sister.
She didn’t get to see Battler often, but they got on extremely well and she greatly respected him.
Since she was absent due to illness during the family conference, she always survives in solitude.
Unfortunately, she has become emotionally disturbed.
Always carries a huge amount of cash with her, and has the bad habit of throwing it around to make sure she never has to wait.
Eva’s character sheet has not changed.
Eva’s voice actress has changed (or her usual one is doing an incredible job of making an old, raspy voice). Ange here has the same model that she did in the final scene of the episode proper. Eva doesn’t get a talksprite.
Ange asks why not open a window, and Eva immediately suggests she’s trying to assassinate her. Ah. Ange responds deadpan saying that she’d rather be the one to take the hit, and she could pull it off by just sitting at home. This amuses Eva, so I guess they probably do this routine a lot…
The thought seems to be that if Eva died, it would be easy to snatch the huge amount of money (including the gold) from the young Ange. The narration says that Eva hated Ange—after losing George and learning that Ange would be the only one to inherit.
She isolated Ange in a special school, and separated her from the youth and happiness normal people have, trying to deprive her life of all opportunity.
But now she’s ill, with a life expectancy comparable to Kinzo. This has not led to any softening of the hatred between them! Oh, you Ushiromiyas… Eva’s convinced she was poisoned by an assassin using a secret drug used by spies, because of course she is.
We learn a little of the intervening period. Using ‘wild methods’ like Kinzo, she ‘made money by any means necessary, creating many enemies along the way’. Her strat would be to takeover growing businesses and then force them to buy back their shares at a high price, just like had been done to Hideyoshi. But now she’s reduced to obsessively reeling off the names of her likely enemies.
Eva: ………You know what? …………I really hate… you.
Ange: I’m honored. Same here.
Eva: ………I built this future for George’s sake. ……To think that it would be snatched away by you. …To think that it would be stolen by Rudolf’s daughter… ………I can’t bear it. ……To think that not only will I leave a child, …but even my fortune will be stolen, ………that, to me, is just……unforgivable…………!
She sounds just like Kinzo. I guess nobody tells you about all the regrets lying under the pile of gold!
The fact she’s so chewed up about George suggests a gap in our ‘mundane’ narrative. We’ve successfully been able to pin almost all the murders, except perhaps Nanjo, on Eva. And yet, George was killed, the one person we would expect Eva would try to keep alive at all costs. In the magical narrative, this is easy to solve, but given the collapse to a ‘mundane’ narrative at the end, what would be the motive for killing George?
Ange says, well, just give it to charity then. Apparently Eva’s frequently been sending for leaders of ‘strange new religious cults’, who largely tell her to give up her wealth. I was talking to some friends about this recently—Japan is unusual for the number of new religious movements (known as 新宗教) that developed in the 20th century and the amount of influence they have in government (e.g. Soka Gakkai, whose political party Komeito is in coalition with the LDP).
Under the new Constitution of Japan, the Diet had the supreme authority for decision making in state affairs and all its members were elected by the people. Especially in the House of Councillors, one third of whose members were elected through nationwide vote, nationwide organizations found they could influence national policy by supporting certain candidates. Major Shinshūkyō became one of the so-called “vote-gathering machines” in Japan, especially for the conservative parties which merged into the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955.
Of course, the scary far right ones like Aum Shinrikyo who attacked the Tokyo subway in 1995—still a painfully fresh memory in 1998—and Happy Science are best known abroad, but there are many others, and their presence is quite controversial despite their membership estimated at 20% of the population of Japan in 1999. Indeed, only in the last couple of weeks, former prime minister Shinzo Abe was killed by a man who believed it would would somehow get at the Unification Church (aka Moonies) from Korea—a Christian organisation with a lot in common with the NRMs.
So, all these NRMs are probably attempting to get Eva to fill their coffers.
Eva instead talks about how she might use her money to make Ange’s life miserable. What is this gonna be, Eva invents the Squid Game? She might for example just completely disown and disinherit Ange. She even manages an ahaha.wav!
Judging by Ange’s expression, she’s heard all this before far too many times. Eva informs Ange that she’s hit on a surprisingly simple way to torment her after her death.
Ange: I have midterms coming up. Keep it brief.
The answer turns out to be: Eva will do the opposite of disinheriting Ange. She’ll make Ange have to inherit the fortune, and further, inflate it as much as possible until her death. And then, “Every day, from morning till night, monsters from across Japan will come to play.”
The b-word is dropped:
Eva: From now on, your private life will be followed by talk shows and weekly magazines. The media critize me no matter what I do or don’t do! If I donate, they’ll attack me as a bourgeois, and if I begrudge them that money, I’ll be abused as a miser.
Oh boo hoo. If having loads of money is so bad… we should clearly not let anyone do it, for mercy’s sake, yes.
(I do think like. OK, if, say, Elon Musk wasn’t the richest man in the world, he’d just be some techbro. He’s not more emotionally developed for his wealth, and all the stupid shit he does is utterly unsurprising and I imagine if any of us got that much money we’d be just as cringe. Which is all the more reason he absolutely shouldn’t have it. I don’t have any sympathy for rich people.)
Rich people constructing bizarre self-victimisation narratives is definitely on point though.
Ange briefly refers to Eva as ‘the witch of Rokkenjima’ in narration. I imagine that’s a title the media have given her… Eva actually goes ahead and says she’s passing on the name of the witch Beatrice as well.
Hmm! Anyway, Ange doesn’t care. Finally, we see why she is really here…
Eva says she won’t tell, of course. She’ll take the truth to hell. This bitch lmao.
Interestingly, she drops the ‘why don’t you just give up and die forever’ catchphrase, with multiple ahaha.wavs around it. It seems like Eva Beatrice is still very much ‘around’.
Now, we learn what the version of events presented to the public has been. An “extremely unfortunate accident” wiped out the Ushiromiya family, and only Eva escaped “as good luck would have it”. But she was surrounded by suspicion, especially given her ‘unnatural actions’ at the time of the incident and the way she behaved after.
Rokkenjimagate! Whoah. Is the -gate scandalsuffix a thing in Japan, or is this a localisation? Unfortunately, there is no voice acting to compare in this part.
In any case, the media suspicion on Eva and her ruthlessness with her new fortune meant that she’s pretty villified regardless of what the courts showed. Hideyoshi and George catch some guilt by association as well. The narration says this has the effect of turning her into their image of her. Meanwhile, Ange lives her life surrounded by guards, who act to prevent her making any friends at all or enjoying any of the experiences typical of a 90s kid.
……All of them were strictly ordered not to let the peasants approach the daughter of the esteemed Ushiromiya family.
She got framed as another Eva, suspected as the mastermind behind everything bad at the school. This environment gives her ‘a heart as hardened as those around her feared.’ She’s determined, however, that she would be the very last head of the Ushiromiya family, and nobody else would have to be the Golden Witch…
So we move forward in time a bit.
Unable to see the sky because of shakes fist dat goddamn light pollution, she feels like she’s still closer to the world she belongs. She thinks of a recurring dream where she warns everyone not to go to the family conference. Is this about to be how she’s recruited as a ‘piece’?
Indeed, a ‘mysterious girl’ arrives in her dreams and urges her to get to the truth. So she… goes to kill herself by jumping off the building, facing up so she will be taken by the ‘world above’. But before she can take that step, Bernkastel manifests.
What for? Well…
Bernkastel: ………Your family needs it. …Your family is eternally imprisoned in the two-day span that began on this day twelve years ago.
She asks if that means she can save her family. Bernkastel is uncertain…
Bernkastel: ……I cannot promise that. The enemy is the Golden Witch Beatrice. …A mighty opponent. I cannot compete with her. ……But another Golden Witch might be able to manage something.
……The only one who can oppose the Beatrice of 1986…is the final Beatrice, of 1998. ………In other words, you. Ange. Ange Beatrice.
I’ve included the smallcaps here—I believe they represent katakana in game, i.e. 縁寿 to エンジェ. So, that’s one more to the pile of Beatrices, but also ostensibly the last one… if perhaps only in this fragment!
In return, an interesting promise…
So, that is rather metaphysically grim, isn’t it. Even if Ange is brought to a fragment where her family live, there’s nigh infinite others where they die?
One thing I had thought about the fragments was that perhaps they only simulate the parts of the world that are experienced by the people on the island, such as George and Sayo’s aquarium trip, rather than containing all of Earth. But I’m not so sure about that anymore. Either in the ‘real world’ Eva really was the only survivor, or this is from the same fragment as we’ve watched for this game, which has a future, and a broader Japanese society to interact with.
Bernkastel: ……I had planned on bringing you that ideal fragment as a present today, but I still can’t find it. …………It’s a very firm fate. I haven’t seen the likes of it since I fought with Lambdadelta.
Instead, she merely promises to find ‘the happiest resolution that it is possible for you to receive.’ And it might take a miraculous probability to bring even one person back.
Ange says she’s in. Bernkastel proclaims her a true witch. And the Witch Side character screen updates to give her new description, with her portrait appearing along the line of Beatrices at the top.
- Ange Beatrice (エンジェ・ベアトリーチェ)
The final witch, born in 1998.
Named by Eva as her successor, and accepted with Bernkastelas her guardian.
She is starting from zero as a witch, but as her body is located twelve years in the future, she possesses ultimate magic resistance that prevents her from being targeted by any of Beatrice’s magic.
Additionally, completely converse to her older brother’s magic resistance, she has a natural talent for attacks against magic types.
Her potential in both attack and defence is of the highest level. But the distance is great. Twelve years really is.
The proclamation effects an immediate change, a feeling of dizziness. Guards come on to the roof, and we get a rapid series of automatically progressing narration leading right into the credits song as they approach. Here is the full uncut version of the credits song, Activepain…
Afterwards, Bernkastel takes Ange’s hand and shows her how to fly.
Here are Ange’s last words to the people of this fragment…
駄目ね、全然駄目。じゃあ、またね。See you again.
The last part in English. Like father, like daughter… Her version of Battler’s catchphrase is still slightly different, since Battler used the masculine だ (da) to end clauses, while she uses ね (ne), which is kind of like ‘you know’ or ‘right?’, or nothing at all. She tells them to send a limo to pick everyone up…
…and we get a cool CG of her jumping off the roof, which then has a motion blur zoom as the guards call after her.
Fun fact: the moon was in fact almost full on October 4, 1998!
As usual, finishing the story gives us a few extra notes. So here’s the extra info:
- Chiester Sisters Imperial Guard Corps
An Imperial Guard Corps formed by the Dragon King Pendragon in celebration of the red dragon’s flight, and composed only of sisters. They were originally subordinates of the Dragon King, but because of a long relationship with past Beatrices, he permitted two of the Imperial Guard sisters to be lent out.
The sisters are beings with false life, created by magic. For that reason, sisters with a great variety of personalities are even now being created as their numbers continue to increase.
Manifesting into the human world requires a great cost, and summoning them is difficult even without taking their tremendous fighting power into consideration. For this reason, they are often summoned as honor guards in special ceremonies.
- The Chiesters’ Golden Bow
One of the pieces of sniping equipment belonging to the Chiester Sisters Imperial Guard Corps.
The arrow’s trajectory can be controlled at will, but it takes a special talent and special training to master its true potential. Therefore, the equipment itself is a sign of a high-class sniper’s prestige.
It is a masterpiece anti-armour sniping bow, capable of penetrating a wide variety of armour and barriers, and with a rich variety of selectable ammunition for the arrow’s warhead.
Furthermore the ones primarily used throughout the story were wire-guided winged piercing rounds.
- Regarding the Succession of the Witch
In the noble families of witches, family secretes are often inherited by a single child to prevent the unchecked propagation of hidden arts and the decline of quality.
It is the same with the Endless Witches, where the greatest hidden art goes to a single child, and the predecessor retires after passing it on, protecting even more strongly against the spread of the hidden art.
Custom dictates that a witch from another sect must make a recommendation for the succession.
Eva’s reference was Lambdadelta.
Ange’s reference was Bernkastel.
It is unknown who recommened Beato.
The final character screen is now available, but I believe I’ve already discussed all the changes.
And that concludes Episode 3 of Umineko.
My impressions of this episode haven’t changed too much by the tea parties. There are many tantalising hints, but I feel like the only way I can make them cohere is to speculate wildly.
Many major mysteries remain.
What exactly are Eva Beatrice and Ange Beatrice?
(The latter I will simply call Ange just because there’s no real need to distinguish her from another Ange.) Are they truly witches, the same type of entity as Eva, Beatrice and Lambdadelta, but just less advanced? We didn’t see Eva Beatrice in the Tea Party, so is she dead? I’m still not sure if she was a ‘real person’ (perhaps plucked from another world by Lambadadelta, the same way that Bernkastel plucked Ange), or just a puppet that Beatrice was operating in order to set up her fake tsundere heel turn.
But at that point we might as well suspect that any character is a puppet of the omnipotent Beatrice, so let us suppose Beatrice has at least some restrictions.
Is there truly an ‘ur-Rokkenjima’ from which all the fragments derive?
There’s no real direct indication one way or another this way, but it is a way of squaring the circle that ‘magic is real and obeys rules’ and ‘there is an underlying mundane reality’.
What exactly is the ‘shabby’ form that Beatrice was before she became Beatrice?
Could it be one of the other 18 characters on Rokkenjima? I admit I have seen some spoiler posts that give me some indication to the answer to this particular question, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense as an answer, and I want to reason as if I didn’t see them…
Is magic real?
Oh yes, absolutely.
Is magic fake as shit?
Oh, fuck you then.
That’s not a question.
Do you accept the axiom of the excluded middle?
Wouldn’t it be funny if this visual novel liveblog took a constructivist turn? But no, I have no strong opinions on the axiomatic basis of logic.
What’s the solution to the riddle of the gold?
Probably unsolvable without the key, which can be found in an atlas somehow. Unfortunately, I have no more idea what to look for in the atlas now than I did before. But I think it has something to do with Taiwan, maybe.
Who killed Nanjo?
Now this is the real puzzle. This is the ostensible ‘checkmate’ presented by Eva Beatrice—yet we know that it’s possible to deny it, somehow.
Leaving aside all the questions of goalpost-shifting—the idea that there was a time limit never came up before!—Eva Beatrice’s statements do seem to be pretty watertight. By all rights, Nanjo should be alive. Still, let’s see if we can lay them all out and have another go around.
- After Jessica was injured, Eva was constantly under Battler’s supervision.
- Battler is neither the culprit nor an accomplice.
- By this, we can establish a perfect alibi for Eva.
- There are no more than 18 humans on this island.
- No life forms other than humans have any connection to this game.
- Kinzo is dead.
- Krauss is dead.
- Natsuhi is dead.
- Hideyoshi is dead.
- George is dead.
- Rudolf is dead.
- Kyrie is dead.
- Rosa is dead.
- Maria is dead.
- Genji is dead.
- Shannon is dead.
- Kanon is dead.
- Gohda is dead.
- Kumasawa is dead.
- Nanjo is dead.
- Battler is alive.
- Eva is alive.
- Jessica is alive.
- Eva was with you the whole time.
- So committing a crime was impossible for her.
- Of course, Battler-kun isn’t the culprit.
- He wasn’t forging an alibi for her, and he took the possibility that she was the culprit into account, watching her actions carefully.
- No chance existed for her to do anything suspicious!
- In short, at the time of the crime, only Nanjo and Jessica were in the servant room.
- Ushiromiya Jessica has not committed murder!
- She was not involved with Nanjo’s murder!!
- Her eyes were completely blocked.
- It’s impossible for her to carry out a murder like that!
- Neither Eva nor Battler killed Nanjo, nor where they involved!!
- The culprit who killed Nanjo was neither Battler nor Eva nor Jessica
- No actions caused by Jessica’s body had any relation to or influence on the murder of Nanjo!
- This also applies to Battler and Eva.
- Nanjo’s death was a homicide (他殺).
- …Of course, it was with a direct method of murder, not a trap.
- They readied their weapon, and killed him with it directly from the front at point-blank range!
- The culprit appeared openly before Nanjo’s eyes, and as they both looked at each other’s faces, the culprit killed him…!!
- Absolutely no factors other than humans participate in this game board
- The one who killed Nanjo was definitely a human
- A human, with their feet on the ground, held up a weapon and killed with it
- Right before his eyes!
So, the rather cheap pedantic idea I had back then was that Nanjo still committed suicide, on the idea that suicide could be considered a type of homicide, and did so in front of a reflective surface so the culprit could be ‘before his eyes’. Looking into it further, however, homicide broadly seems to be defined as a human killing another human, not simply a human killing a human, so I think that’s a non-starter. I believe the same is probably true of 他殺.
So here’s a different theory. Remember that Kinzo’s special ‘furniture’ servants from the orphanage have two names, e.g. Shannon is really called Sayo? Here, axiom 16 says Shannon is dead, but this could be interpreted metaphorically. Perhaps the personality of Shannon, the meek servant girl, ‘died’, but Sayo still committed the murder. We’re told that ‘no actions caused by Jessica’s body’ caused the murder, nor Battler nor Eva. But no such stipulation has been applied to the other 15 characters. The same argument could apply to Kanon… or really any ‘dead’ character.
A second line of attack. We know that, at the current moment in time, everyone except Battler, Eva and Jessica are dead. This statement clearly takes place after Nanjo’s murder, since per axiom 20, Nanjo is dead. However, we have not been told when any of these other characters died. We think we know when, after previous rounds of the game, but it’s possible that there’s a loophole somewhere and a character we thought was dead lived long enough to kill Nanjo and then promptly die themselves.
Basically, Eva Beatrice’s checkmate leads us to think that the only plausible culprits are Battler, Eva and Jessica, then systematically rules them out. Battler was not the culprit (26), committing a crime was ‘impossible’ for Eva (25), and Jessica was not involved in it either (30). So, we’re left with no other culprits. Our attack vector is to find a reason that we’ve been deceived about one of the ‘dead’ characters through some weasely choice of words.
Could those candidate guesses be shot down? Easily, with an appropriate red text. This is the big disadvantage we human players have in this game. For example, instead of ‘is dead’, we could have ‘died at xyz time’. We could say ‘Sayo’ instead of ‘Shannon’.
Unfortunately, having come up with this answer, I’m unable to have it verified. I can only hope one of the later episodes comes back to review this case…
Can you give me some interesting numbers?
- This episode of the liveblog took 350 screengrabs + 4 segments of credits + a gif of John from Homestuck being named Zoosmell Pooplord.
- The in-game click counter is currently on 50281. Good work, mouse-kun.
With that, we’re done with episode 3. We’ll press on to Episode 4 within the next few days, all being well! Until then…
<see you again>