Good evening everyone. This week I have a horrible cough, but this chapter is about Kinzo, so you see it’s actually method acting!
This chapter opens in the rose garden of Rokkenjima, after the typhoon has set in. I assume the opening acts of this game proceeded in the usual way since we last left them arguing over whether Kinzo is alive: the kids heading off for afternoon fun, Rosa berating Maria in the rose garden, etc. Then again, we now join those kids…
Perhaps the beach hangout ran so late this time that Maria didn’t have a chance to notice her missing rose?
Battler tells Sayo she can go rest, but she demurs; Jessica points out that letting her off early could get her in trouble with Genji and Natsuhi. That reminds me that I watched a very in-depth video on the duties of Victorian servants recently, which just undermines my feeling that this kind of service work is up there with the worst institutions that humans have ever devised. How many lives have been burned up waiting on the perfectionist whim of some bourgeois trying to win a status game?
Tense music intervenes as the kids turn to the subject of the family conference. Beat by beat: Jessica scoffs at the endless talk of money, and suggests it should just be pooled and split evenly between everyone; Battler turns this into a suggestion that he’d split his share with Sayo (not sure how much it’s flirtatious vs. playing up to his ideal of chivalrous, generous cousin—both I guess!); Sayo gives the expected response of “that’s all right” which George turns into a chance to praise her lack of materialism, which is a bit fucking rich coming from Ushiromiya George!
Sayo, in any case, says what she wants can’t be bought; Jessica naturally picks up on the subtext immediately (Battler not so much!) and teases the very obvious Sayo and George.
George plays a reverse card and brings up Jessica/Kanon. It is really weird that two of the Ushiromiya siblings are hot for their servants isn’t it? Like, not just on a ‘that’s kinda skeevy’ level, but also on the fact that it suggests they barely have lives outside of Rokkenjima in which they might find partners. Sure, Jessica lives on the island, but she does go to school as we’ve seen. However, maybe it’s not so weird if we suppose that the narrative we’re reading is a fantasised version of events authored by one of the servants?
In any case, after quickly reminding us of the Ushiromiya sibling and servant relationship web, we move on to the subject of Kinzo’s big announcement. Meta!Battler drops in to express his surprise at the course the story is taking this time. Ange recognises it as a gambit of Beatrice, which she confirms.
I guess our game metaphor is euchre this time. Beatrices declares this will destroy Battler’s theory that Kinzo was dead from the start. However, surely that only applies to this game? The games have obviously had contradictory courses; Kinzo could have been dead in game 3 easily. Well, anyway. As Battler blusters, Ange points out that Beatrice hasn’t actually stated this in red; we don’t yet have definitive statement that Kinzo is alive.
We return to the narrative, joining Nanjo and the adult Ushiromiyas—sans Krauss and Natsuhi, I think?—in the dining hall. This time, it seems we had a different version of the umbrella scene in the garden…
Interesting… previously, this was one of the first declarations by Beatrice of her presence on the island. Now she’s ceding that to Kinzo.
Trying to reconstruct the events, this suggests that Maria was berated by Rosa, and then she did spend some time standing alone in the garden looking for her lost rose; she was given an umbrella by Kinzo. It’s not then clear how she ended up with the rest of the cousins. Might not be important.
Kyrie suggests that Kinzo’s goal was probably to probe the siblings’ behaviour and motives before he made his own declaration of his will. Eva fully panics, thinking that Kinzo will look unfavourably on assuming he’s on the verge of death and disinherit the rest of the family.
And Kyrie has another sharp suggestion in her pocket. She proposes that someone was deceiving Maria, and whoever she met, it wasn’t Kinzo. Amusing to see the same beats as when it was ‘Beatrice’. They argue over Maria’s exact words, which I shall reproduce here:
Grandfather came and handed me an umbrella.
…getting the Japanese is a little unecessary here since it’s a pretty simple sentence lol. The part I find a little odd is the use of the te-iru form, which indicates an ongoing action (i.e. grandpa was handing over an umbrella), but I assume that’s just some weird little language quirk.
Anyway, Kyrie says, it only really matters who gave her the umbrella if Kinzo doesn’t show up in person as promised. So they shouldn’t worry about it. One way, they have to beg Kinzo for money; the other, they go back to pressing Krauss.
Funnily enough, Krauss and Natsuhi are there after all. The rest of the Ushiromiya siblings are just having this strategy discussion in the same room. Sure, OK! He’s just there! He tells Natsuhi to sit tight and wait for Genji. Hmm. The obvious meaning is to wait for Genji to fetch Kinzo, but what if some other scheme is afoot?
The appointed time comes, and Gohda and Kumasawa appear to announce they’ve closed up the mansion. Apparently Kinzo’s order was to gather all the servants as well as the adults, to act as ‘observers’.
Honestly, it’s good to have Kumasawa and her mackerel jokes back! I assume she won’t be the shell containing an ancient, dormant witch in this run.
Sayo arrives next, confirming that she left the kids in the guesthouse. I wonder where the slaughter will begin this time? The kids dying first would be quite a twist.
That leaves Genji, Kanon and Kinzo himself. Eva needles Krauss about their tardiness. Rudolf declares that they’ll barge into the study if Kinzo doesn’t show in thirty minutes. Krauss also seems worried about something, but both he and Eva are cagey with their suspicions for now.
Then Genji enters. He orders everyone to sit down with the authoritative tone associated with Kinzo’s direct orders.
Genji acts as kind of a herald. This is how he introduces Kinzo:
……The head of the glorious Ushiromiya family, and lord of Rokkenjima, the island that sparkles gold. Lord Ushiromiya Kinzo is present.
There’s a crack of thunder SFX to accompany Kinzo appearing onscreen, leading into a baroque organ piece. Some ceremony! Kinzo is really pushing the whole wizard thing. ‘His cape fluttering majestically’ indeed!
Kinzo leads with welcoming everyone to Rokkenjima (continuing the wizard vibe) and then mocking Eva for being so terrified to see him. He seems to be in a very cheerful mood. He starts with, what else, the riddle…
Kinzo: But first! I think I will mention how incredibly disappointed I am. I refer to the fact that, to this very day, not a single one of you has been able to solve the riddle of the epitaph.
…but maybe someone else has? Presumably, Eva Beatrice solving it in the last game does not roll over then!
We get a new Kinzo Expression with great big bugged out pupils. It looks really funky lmao.
On the one hand: coming out to bang on about witch riddles while everyone is going knives out over the inheritance is kind of a swagful move. On the other hand, with this guy as their dad, you can see why all the Ushiromiyas are so messed up.
Anyway, Kinzo announces it’s time up on solving the riddle. Well, that sure saves us a job! I’m sure it will never come up again. Ha ha ha.
His next move is to disinherit Krauss.
Kinzo: In that case, will the headship be succeeded by my oldest son, Krauss…? *cackle*cackle*cackle*! The answer is <no>!!
‘No’ here is spoken in English, because yeah Kinzo is still a westaboo. It’s much more endearing when Ange does it OK.
Instead, the successor will be chosen by… hmm let’s see if we can guess. Straight-up battle royale? Literal roulette?
Hold that thought, Kinzo is not done berating Krauss yet. You see, being head of the Ushiromiya family is basically decided on fantasy orc rules.
This is straight up the Nazi spin on Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’ isn’t it? Not exactly surprising given Kinzo’s passion for Western occultism. Anyway, Krauss you see wasn’t strong enough of a bully. We can only imagine what Kinzo’s ideal Ushiromiya family would look like. Kinzo further extends this concept to ideas of wealth and genius, both a reflection of their personal strength to dominate others.
Kinzo: It’s the same with talent. A ‘genius’ is not what you call a person blessed with talent! It means a person who crushes everyone with more talent than themselves! A person who can coerce all other people to call them that by using their strength and charisma!
As for his other three children, none of them were worth either, by virtue of the fact they couldn’t overcome Krauss’s position as successor, or even manage to extort money from him. They were not greedy enough, as he puts it (with various synonyms). Mammon would be proud, I’m sure.
So if nobody inherits, then… who does the money go to? The not-Krauss siblings have a hushed dicussion over whether he’ll give the money to charity. Kinzo continues…
Honestly that would be for the best! Knowing Kinzo though he probably has some horrible thing up his sleeve to follow.
Kinzo declares the current Ushiromiya family nothing but a dream of gold; the real family was ruined in the earthquake. And then he abruptly segues into talking Beatrice, announcing that tonight he will capture her and escape the curse that she laid to lose everything at his death.
At this point, Nanjo attempts to intervene to resolve the conflict a bit, and speak in defence of the Ushiromiya adults. This proves predictably fruitless.
Kinzo: Money is the crystallization of everything in this world. If you cannot grasp that, then you cannot grasp the world! If a soul cannot keep a tight grasp on this world, it doesn’t deserve to live!! Disappear!! Begone from my life and reality!!
Money as a the universal equivalent huh Kinzo, almost like a solvent, an alkahest perhaps? You old wizard bitch.
Nanjo, as the one person in the room capable of talking back to Kinzo, keeps pushing. He argues that there are things money can’t buy, like time spent playing chess together. He’s on pretty good form actually, pointing out 1. the Ushiromiyas are rich by normal people standards 2. they also have a lot of these priceless things—family relationships and happiness. Grandchildren, to carry on Kinzo’s legacy.
Which, man, just lol. Real happy families you got there.
Anyway Kinzo twists this around and says it’s a bad deal.
Honestly, Kinzo is such a stupidly fun character. I’m screenshotting so many of his lines because the way he speaks is just so hilarious theatrical. Here he starts making the alchemy analogies for me…
Kinzo: Hahhahahahahahahahahahaha!! This is wonderful! So, I have created a single life at a cost of ten billion yen! That’s how it is! Interesting, thinking of it from the perspective of alchemy truly makes for an interesting analogy, don’t you agree…?!
Hohh, what valuable grandchildren! Wonderful, ……wonderful!! Wah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!! Is that right, Krauss? ……Is your daughter worth ten billion…?
Natsuhi, not Krauss, steps up to say no, she wouldn’t sell her daughter for ten billion yen. This means the rest of the family has to follow suit as well. Eva is especially funny.
Eva: And that’s not in the abstract sense of things money can’t buy. George will certainly build up a fortune equal to his worth. I am sure he will become a grandson worthy of carrying on your great works…!
Reproductive futurism for the win. Eva just spooling out the rope to hang herself there.
But this is the Ushiromiyas so if you think it’s gonna stop there without getting even worse, lol. Here’s Rudolf:
Rudolf: Compared to George-kun, ……there’s nothing about Battler I can brag about. If he was kidnapped and we were threatened with a ransom of ten billion, I’d feel like sticking a bow on the guy and letting him have him.
Rudolf: On top of that, he’s an idiot and reckless. He dreams way too big and talks about things he hasn’t got a snowball’s hope of doing. ……I guess in that respect, he’s a super idiot worth the equivalent of ten billion normal idiots.
But if you look at the average person who hasn’t even got the balls to be an idiot, and I’ll bet that guy is gonna try things that ten billion of them couldn’t do put together. Well, I’m pretty sure he’ll fall flat on his face. The world isn’t easy.
……But at the very least, there’s no doubt in my mind that watching over his life will be more entertaining than looking at ten billion average people.
Father of the year right here lmao. One thing I note is that Kyrie is all too happy to laugh along with this. One thing that pochapal noted in her liveblog is how often Kyrie manipulates Battler—she’s much better at not showing her hand than the other Ushiromiyas, but still very much someone who gets what she wants. And of course we saw her real feelings back in Episode 3.
Anyway, this is very like Rudolf: he’s trying to play off a joke by insulting Battler to contrast himself against stick-in-the-mud Natsuhi and Eva, but also basically going along with the same game as the rest of the siblings. He’s also directly trying to cosy up to Kinzo and his way of looking at the world. The siblings definitely think they’re about to win Kinzo around at this point. They’re assuming he has the memory of a goldfish…
Also worth noting: how quickly numbers disappear into abstractly ‘big’. Ten billion people is larger than the entire population of Earth. But it really doesn’t matter what the number is for the rhetorical moves in this convo.
Last, Kinzo asks about Maria. I’m… curious to see what Rosa is gonna say. In the end it’s pretty boilerplate, but also comes across as relatively honest and genuine.
Rosa: M-……Maria is my darling only daughter. Her value cannot be measured with money. ……That is all.
As we’ve seen, Rosa has an ideal of herself as a doting, caring parent, and this is what she thinks such a parent would say. She’s extremely good at compartmentalising her feelings about Maria, oblivious to how little she lives up to her ideal, and endlessly punitive when Maria doesn’t act as her perfect daughter. Of course, she won’t air that out in front of Kinzo?
Kinzo seems to acquiesce to this defence, and says that, if he can’t expect more from the adults, when ‘dreams and the future’ are the source of magical power, perhaps the kids might yet produce a miracle. God man, leave them kids alone…
So, Kinzo’s decision is this: he’ll pass over the adult siblings, but he’ll question the kids—individually—to see if any of them deserve to inherit by virtue of a ‘glimmer of unpolished brilliance’. This is not a game I’d be in a hurry to win, frankly. Because I imagine being designated Kinzo’s successor means he’s going to start trying to ‘polish that brilliance’ and you’ll get pretty much undivided attention.
But it’s certainly an interesting development…
The siblings rush to defer to Kinzo on this one. They really just fall over like wet tissue paper to whatever Kinzo says. Kinzo declares he’ll think of a suitable test, and that’s that as far as the headship is concerned.
He abruptly changes topic. And announces… he wants their assistance for the roulette ritual! Wow, we’re having that in the open right from the start, huh?
Previously we’ve taken it as given that the epitaph describes the ritual performed by Beatrice; it was an assumption of the characters in episode 1, and then explicitly stated by meta!Beatrice in episode 2 and 3, with references to the various twilights. But I think this may be the first time that Kinzo himself, the author of the epitaph, has described it as instructions for a ritual and not just a riddle to the location of the gold?
Anyway this time Kinzo straight up tells everyone he’s going to kill 13 people.
Kinzo: That witch, who escaped her cage of flesh and sneeringly slipped through my fingers, I will finally be able to capture, and subjugate, with my greatest hidden art. ………Only, I must sacrifice thirteen people for that purpose.
So this time, Kinzo straight up declares he’s going to have dunnit. He never asked for assistance before, and this seems like it will be a big problem for Beatrice’s case that a witch dunnit with magic! Further, this time he declares that he will choose 13 people, not leave it up to the magic roulette. Which seems to undermine the whole basis of the ritual: that Kinzo’s survival isn’t guaranteed so he’s gambling on living to see Beatrice revive?
Of course, as spineless as they have been, I don’t really expect the siblings to go along with this without objection…
Here’s how he frames the game this time…
Kinzo: Yes, this is a game! If gaining my fortune and leaving this island is your goal, then there are only two ways to achieve it!
Successfully survive being chosen as one of the thirteen sacrifices, and stop the ritual by finally solving the riddle of the epitaph, ……or kill me! And stop the ritual in that manner. Those are the only two ways!!
Wasn’t he just saying that the time was up to solve the riddle? Anyway, we’ve added a new victory condition this time: kill Kinzo.
Anyway, Rudolf is the first to break ranks and not just play it off as “oh, he’s going nuts again”. Rudolf declares he won’t be part of a ritual and certainly not as a sacrifice, even as he scoffs at the word. Eva meanwhile is still trying to figure out how to play along with whatever ‘test’ Kinzo is imposing and tries to shush him.
Now we can reprise the dialethism theme:
Kinzo: I will simply awaken from my dream in which I have four failures for children. To all of you, what wil occur now before your very eyes will no doubt seem like a dream, an illusion, an unearthly world that defies understanding.
But that itself is my reality!! Now I will finally awaken from the fleeting and useless dream that all of you are!!
And in order to begin the ritual… Kinzo calls on the Pendragon Memorial Troops. Oh shit. Bunny girls time! In fact this time we get a whole new bunny girl in the form of Chiester00…
This seems like an excellent time to check the character screen. Sure enough, at some point we got a new lore drop on Kinzo and the Chiesters.
Here’s what we learn…
- Goldsmith (ゴールドスミス)
Kinzo’s name as a mage is Goldsmith. His skills as a summoner are legendary for the modern age. In terms of summoning ability, there are times when he surpasses even Beatrice.
However, he is very mismatched, and while he does excel in some areas, he is fatally lacking as a mage in others.
He cannot even perform the trifling magic to reheat a cup of tea, yet he can summon demons capable of using magic to boil the oceans.
His system of magic is his own, and has its origins in mathematical miracles. Beatrice later reworked her own system of magic based on this.
- Chiester45 (チエスタ４５)
A weapon in a contract with Beatrice.
45 has an extremely meticulous and timid personality, and is fairly paranoid. For that reason, she compensates well for the weaknesses of 410’s slapdash personality when they work as a pair.
Cannot bear silence, and even becomes emotionally unstable unless she is constantly being given orders.
45 excels in enemy search and being decisive. The sisters’ battle power is doubled by her support.
- Chiester410 (チエスタ４１０)
A weapon in a contract with Beatrice.
410 is a kid with character, who has a unique and brazen way of speaking.
Her hobby is teasing serious and uptight people, which is why she likes 45 and Lucifer.
Rough-spoken, but loves company and easily succumbs to loneliness. Gets depressed unless there is someone constantly giving her attention.
- Chiester00 (チエスタ００)
A weapon of the Sisters’ Cavalry, which serves Pendragon.
00 has the position of their calm and composed leader. However, that is merely the role that was sought of her; her true self is far more of a weakling.
00 excels in reconnaissance and as a vanguard, and has enormous power to bring the enemy under control during encounters.
However, her excessive power level has been criticised as inhumane, and it is not rare for her to be lynched and abused upon surrendering on the battlefield.
Her one eye tells of this without words.
You may also notice Sakutarō’s portrait is red, indicating that he’s dead. I forgot to transcribe that a few chapters ago, but here’s the updated description for him:
- Sakutarou (さくたろう)
Lady Maria’s pure white heart, torn asunder.
His broken vessel can only be regenerated by Rosa, the Meister who made him.
However, Rosa disposed of all the vessel’s scraps, and even lost the sewing pattern. On top of this, because his existence was denied by the Meister herself, resurrecting him is impossible.
With the Meister’s death in 1986, his resurrection was lost forever.
Resureccting him is impossible even for the Endless Witch, Beatrice……
So, hell of a lore dump there. It seems that Beatrice is going to be sitting this episode out, and Kinzo will be directly performing most of the magic.
There’s a notable transition point in this scene, when Kinzo goes from musing over how he might test the kids for the right to inherit, to when he starts talking about the magic ritual. It is as if the ‘Beatrice truth’ or ‘witch side’ is taking over the narration for a little while. So I’m not sure we can trust that anything Kinzo said there actually ‘happened’ if we’re trying to deny the witch side.
Anyway, enough dallying, let’s watch some bunnygirls massacre the Ushiromiyas. Kinzo isn’t fucking about, he’s going for the big guns right off the bat.
Does ‘free choice’ include Kinzo himself? You wouldn’t expect so, but where’s the gamble here? The whole point of a sacrifice is that the person performing the ritual is giving up something valuable. Kinzo has spent the rest of this scene declaring that the siblings hold no value to him whatsoever, so their deaths are a pretty paltry sacrifice!
The first shot from 410 blasts off half of Natsuhi’s face. The second shot from 00 does the same to Rudolf. It takes this long for everyone to understand the situation and panic. Hideyoshi starts trying to run and gets shot down by 45… also taking out half of his head. Rather consistent so far. The narration has some fun describing the gory insides of people’s heads.
Given that we know in Ange’s world, Eva survives, I wonder if that’s a guarantee we can rely on for this game?
Krauss actually tries to attack Kinzo, but gets completely no-selled by 00, who picks him up and jams her thumb into his adam’s apple. This is shown visually by blowing up his sprite lol to the point that it starts to blur… which you can’t see when I downscale it again to include in this post…
Anyway, this suggests that this particular shot is from the POV of Chiester00. Which is interesting! Of course ‘shots’ are rather notional in a visual novel, where there’s no requirement that talksprites be placed anywhere in the actual perspective of the background, but all the same.
The others stampede for the exit but 410 teleports in front of them. She doesn’t say “nothing personal kid nye~h” though, so missed a trick there. Kyrie has a go at 410 with a chair, but she smashes it with the ‘golden snake’ weapon.
Meanwhile, the One-winged Eagle servants are just kind of… chilling, or rather standing impassively by the wall. Something funky there. In previous episodes, they might have been fatalistic, but neither Kanon nor Sayo were the type to stand by impassively when murders are happening. Kanon would full on pull out his beam sword and Sayo would use her shield. But I guess their power stems from Kinzo, and they can’t use it here? Or rather, they are Kinzo’s furniture, and they can’t disobey him no matter what?
Loyalty doesn’t save them though—the next to die is Genji, shot by 45. Same pattern, half his head destroyed. Kinzo is less contemptuous, but still pretty blasé about it.
Kinzo: ……Hohoh, Genji, now that is unfortunate. ……Rest in peace, my friend. *cackle*cackle*cackle*, your death will not be wasted. You will become one of the thirteen keys essential to the resurrection of my beloved witch. Fuhhahahahahahahaha……
As for what the One-winged Eagle servants think of all this, well, here’s Kanon:
Kanon: ………..We’re nothing more…than the witch’s pieces. ………Nothing more…………nothing more……
Piece as in game piece, or piece as in fragment? Probably the former, but… I guess we can check the Japanese:
bokutachi nante, …josen wa majo no koma nan da. ………josen, ………josen……
駒 means piece as in chess piece. This is an interesting statement from Kanon though, referring to the witch and suggesting he’s somehow aware of the broader context of the game. 所詮 ‘josen’ according to my dictionary means ‘in the end’ , but I think the translation ‘nothing more’ is close enough works better in English?
Next to die is Eva, shot by 410 over Kyrie’s shoulder! Well, well, we truly are on a different course this time. Either Ange’s future is only one possible future, or Beatrice has more freedom in constructing her scenarios.
Rosa picks up another chair and demands Kinzo end the slaughter. Kinzo says she must stop him by her own power, showing a final bit of ‘self-mastery’ (克己) instead of hiding behind others. Bit rich for a man who’s having superpowered rabbit girls do all the killing for him.
But even though Rosa really does go for him, it’s too late, and she gets shot down by 00. This makes the first sacrifices Eva, Rudolf, Rosa, Natsuhi, Hideyoshi and Genji, all headshots. Having met his quota, Kinzo now summons another familiar face… Ronove! I guess we now know why he’s wearing the One Winged Eagle? I wonder if this is closer to how the original version of Episode 3 was planned to go before it was scrapped and revised?
Anyway, Kanon and Sayo seem to recognise Ronove. Ronove remarks that it’s a shame he couldn’t see Genji again.
Next, Kinzo summons… Virgilia! Out of thin air, not Kumasawa’s body. I’m not sure if I noted it before, but her sash has a very stretched-out pattern that might be the Eagle?
Kinzo introduces her thus:
Kinzo: Allow me to introduce her too. This is my friend and reliable counselor both, Virgilia. ……I want to borrow your power as a great Finite Witch for my ritual. Lend me that power!
Is Virgilia a servant of Kinzo? He introduces her as a friend, but that could be a friend in the sense of Nanjo, also someone who provides a paid service to him. Virgilia clarifies, in any case:
Virgilia: ……As someone under your powerful summoning subordination, I would not be permitted to refuse even if I tried. As you wish, my lord.
If Virgilia was indeed Beatrice’s teacher back in the day, presumably they had a similar arrangement. This is interesting, it suggests that witches can be summoned in the same manner as ‘furniture’. We might wonder if Maria was effectively summoned in the same way by Ange in the Ange Side?
Ronove remarks that this is an incredible feat of summoning, and he seems to still acknowledge Beatrice as ‘Milady’, so I guess he’s only temporarily subordinated to Kinzo? Here’s what he says:
Ronove: ……Even though it is only in the area of summoning, to think that he far surpasses Milady is……frightening. The Ushiromiya blood makes my own run cold.
And Kinzo isn’t even done yet. He calls up another one of the 72 Goetic demons: Gaap. Quick primer on Gaap before we see the Umineko version:
Gaap (also Tap, Coap, Taob, Goap) is a demon that is described in demonological grimoires such as the Lesser Key of Solomon, Johann Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, and the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, as well as Jacques Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal.
These works describe Gaap as a prince in human form who incites love. The Munich Manual also says that “Taob” also provides medical care for women, transforms them to make it easier to get to a lover, renders them infertile, and rules twenty-five legions of spirits. The other sources instead describe Gaap as a president, giving him the power to teach philosophy and liberal arts, make others invisible, steal familiars from other magicians, make men stupid, and carry men between kingdoms; in addition to ruling sixty-six legions of demons. Johann Weyer also connects Gaap to necromancers, and states that he was first called upon by Noah’s son Ham, along with Beleth. He was of the order of potestates.
They really go places in the Christianity Extended Universe huh.
Virgilia is surprised; Ronove justifies this by remarking that the ‘corrosion’ has advanced even more on Rokkenjima, presumably relative to previous games. Now demons and witches can walk about openly like this. (Presumably the survivors of the massacre are just standing about mouths agape at this point.)
The dialogue states Gaap is a girl. Odds on zetta ryōiki through the roof I reckon.
Virgilia remarks further on how this relates to the game state:
Virgilia: Then Rokkenjima has already been completely sucked into a parallel world? …………I hope he doesn’t surrender.
Virgilia literally uses the word ‘isekai’ here! Also, it sounds like she is actually opposing Beatrice in the game here? Bizarre given the ending to the previous episode. In any case, Ronove assures her that Battler is made of sterner stuff than this.
Meanwhile, on ‘this stage’ (hypersensitive to the word ‘butai’ after Revstar y’know!), our new ‘main character’ Kinzo is doing some Key of Solomon type magic.
Let’s crack open our online copy of the Lesser Key and find out what we’re looking at. Sure enough this is the seal corresponding to Gaap on this list of the 72 spirits. The Lesser Key remarks:
The Thirty-third Spirit is Gaap. He is a Great President and a Mighty Prince. He appeareth when the Sun is in some of the Southern Signs, in a Human Shape, going before Four Great and Mighty Kings, as if he were a Guide to conduct them along on their way. His Office is to make men Insensible or Ignorant; as also in Philosophy to make them Knowing, and in all the Liberal Sciences. He can cause Love or Hatred, also he can teach thee to consecrate those things that belong to the Dominion of AMAYMON his King. He can deliver Familiars out of the Custody of other Magicians, and answereth truly and perfectly of things Past, Present, and to Come. He can carry and re-carry men very speedily from one Kingdom to another, at the Will and Pleasure of the Exorcist. He ruleth over 66 Legions of Spirits, and he was of the Order of Potentates. His Seal is this to be made and to be worn as aforesaid, etc.
It turns out I seriously underestimated how horny a design we could expect for Gaap. You can see her sprite on the right. That’s less of a dress and more an apron arranged for maximum sideboob lmao.
But I suppose… yes, technically it does have zettai ryōiki.
Here’s her description:
- Gaap (ガァプ)
One of the 72 Great Demons. She is also Beatrice’s friend. Grants the power of teleportation as the mage requests it.
She uses this wonderful power only for pranks. Her favorite trick is hiding keys and bags on busy mornings.
However, this power of hers is an ultimate weapon that risks delivering the lethal blow to a locked-room mystery. Her queen-bee-like strikes would probably penetrate all famous detectives, and make them surrender.
Penetrate all famous detectives, huh. Too fucking easy come on!
It’s also worth noting at this point that the Seven Stakes of Purgatory and the goats have appeared on the Witch Side as well. The blue lines connect them to Virgilia and Ronove, suggesting that there’s a kind of furniture-of-furniture thing going on here.
Gaap’s theme is a kind of circus-like organ grinder reel. She has a relatively low, mature voice and speaks contemptuously to Kinzo. She acknowledges the various assembled supernatural beings; Virgilia seems to recognise her as an old acquaintance.
She says there’s no way she could resist Kinzo’s summoning, but that she will be demanding a fitting price for her assistance. She finds the relatively trivial task Kinzo assigns her—capturing the surviving Ushiromiya siblings and servants until the time comes to sacrifice them (there is explicitly a schedule then?)—to be rather beneath her, picking up Ronove’s joke about using a cashmere scarf as a mop.
So, Gaap sets about storing the various Ushiromiyas in, essentially, portals that she opens on the floor. I don’t know if they lead physically underground or into some kind of extradimensional space. But she fails to capture Gohda and Kumasawa, who leg it the moment 410 steps away from the door—apparently ‘leading targets’ is not a skill that Gaap has! She says she’s gotten rusty. Kinzo doesn’t seem too bothered.
The Chiesters lock on to them, but Kinzo declares it’s not time for the Second Twilight just yet, so he’ll let them go. A little bit of risk to fuel magic, or just his whims, suggests Virgilia.
Having dealt with matters here, Kinzo declares he will go ahead with testing the kids for potential to succeed him. And he’ll even give up resurrecting Beatrice if they have the potential. Women just can’t understand his insanity, he says… so I guess that’s it for me getting anywhere with understanding Umineko 🤪
Gaap replies that yes, men are insane like that. Which she likes…
Not sure what I make of Gaap just yet. I guess we need to wait and see how she fits into the Ronove-Virgilia dynamic.
And with that, we finally pull back to the meta-layer. Beatrice acts as MC, talking up Kinzo a bit…
Given we are presently seeing her as orchestrating the scenarios, I think maybe someone knew.
We should probably have death reports by now. Let’s take a look… in fact we don’t. Come to think of it, we normally don’t see them until someone finds the bodies, so these deaths don’t really “count” just yet.
Battler is perturbed by the gore. Honestly this seems relatively tame by Umineko standards, but sure, it’s very direct and brutal. Ange, meanwhile, takes the expected analytic angle; she says that destroying half the head was the ‘most ideal’ method of killing in previous games. What, says Battler.
Gaap shows up in the meta-layer to explain. Battler has some comments on her outfit.
Yeah Battler, get any further towards believing in magic and this will become a straight up eroge. …We probably shouldn’t say that if we want Battler to win huh.
Gapp addresses Beatrice as Riiche. Cute abbreviation. She praises Beato’s appearance, and suggests it’s because Battler’s there.
Beatrice uses the term ‘closed circle’, which prompts an explanation from Ange.
Ange: Having new possible suspects added on one after another from outside the circle goes against the etiquette of mystery novels. ……Basically, the witch is probably trying to desecrate humans and the mystery genre.
Gaap responds with a flirtatious cannibalism joke. Or a cannibalism-inflected flirtation. Your call!
Gaap: ………So you are Gretel? I see, you look like a wise kid, ……*giggle*. I like that kind of kid. ……Their tongues just melt in the mouth.
Ange: Gross. ……Keep the jokes to just your clothing.
Gaap: It’s Devilish Pretty’s newest, ‘Jack the Ripper: Christmas Blood’. ……Sorry for having a style that a country bumpkin from the human world can’t understand.
So it’s specifically a horny halloween costume lmao. OK sure. That about fits. This conversation prompts a cultural note about lolita fashion:
These are references to modern Japanese fashion subcultures.
“Alice and the Graveyard” references “Alice and the Pirates”, a gothic/pirate-punk lolita fashion brand.
“666” references the famous department and fashion store “109” in Shibuya, Japan’s popular youth culture district.
Finally, “Devilish Pretty” is a reference to “Angelic Pretty”, a very famous sweet lolita fashion brand.
Lmao that’s so dumb I love it. Beatrice says she’ll try out one of these styles after the game. …I kinda want to see if that gets followed through on in the next episode. I want to see a Beatrice redesign in gothic/pirate-punk lolita.
Ange brings up the first game, in which the First Twilight had seen all the characters have their heads either partly or fully pulverised, which made it possible to suggest that the fully smashed corpses were actually someone else. So by smashing only half the heads, when the bodies show up, there’s no room to pin the subsequent murders on someone who faked their own death.
Beatrice confirms that she’s being more judicious in the red this game, so she has to use moves like this which give unimpeachable physical evidence. That’s interesting—despite her winning streak, she’s starting to play more defensively.
She also declares she got the idea from Gaap—suggesting they’d been talking before the game. Beatrice isn’t trying to pretend that Kinzo is somehow acting independently now, the way she did with Eva Beatrice.
Battler: I’ll bet you love two-flavor bread and two-flavor ice cream. Your greedy childish tastes are so obvious…
You…tell her Battler?
Anyway, Battler isn’t going to accept what we saw on screen, and Beatrice encourages him to theorise wildly; she’ll drop the red at her convenience. And with that… the end of this monster of a chapter!
I say this often but what a chapter that was. Breaking down the liveblog by chapter really lets me appreciate the dramatic structure of Umineko. Each chapter is a complete arc of its own, as well as a section in a wider arc.
So, to summarise, here’s a kishōtenketsu.
- ki 起 (setup)
- The siblings are waiting for Kinzo to make an appearance, and argue about what will happen if he doesn’t show.
- shō 承 (development)
- Kinzo appears, and announces they are all disinherited. But he’s talked round to be more sympathetic to the kids…
- ten 転 (twist—introduction of unexpected element, climax of the story)
- Kinzo announces that he will be the one to perform the ritual and massacres six people using the Chiesters. He summons demons to do his bidding, including new character Gaap.
- ketsu 結 (conclusion)
- Battler and Ange comment on the moves being made by Beatrice. Gaap introduces herself on the meta layer.
Now, to comment on this.
The parameters of the magic ritual seem to have changed. There is still some element of a roulette, but Kinzo has reduced the amount of randomness considerably. He’s no longer putting himself at risk, which was previously presented as a key element of the ritual, and he’s reduced the possibility space of murders by limiting targets to the 13 in the room when he started the ritual and not the kids.
We have a new subplot: Kinzo is going to test the kids to see if any are worthy of being his successor. Given the supernatural aspect, this presumably means his magical successor as well as a suitably determined businessman. Of the four siblings, Maria is the one with the most obvious current magical skill, but Battler is the protagonist, so who knows? Hoping for a left field twist in which Kinzo selects Jessica, just because I think it would be interesting to have a new dimension to her character!
Now, how about making a case for a non-magical version of events? We have two approaches: we can take the bait and blame it on Kinzo, or try and make a case for a 19th person, or some other person. Given the lack of red text, the possibility space is essentially undefined, so we’re going to have to choose what we consider acceptable evidence to treat as axiomatic.
So far in all previous games, after we watched a magical death, the body would be found in short order. Especially after the discussion of half-smashed heads, I think we can reasonably anticipate that we’ll find the six bodies in that condition. That means we can expect to find that…
- Eva, Rudolf, Rosa, Natsuhi, Hideyoshi and Genji will show up dead
- Kyrie, Krauss, Nanjo, Kanon and Sayo will not be seen in a ‘nonmagical’ scene for a while, awaiting the next twilight
- Gohda and Kumasawa are likely to show up in ‘nonmagical’ scenes, and may be the ones to report the murders to the kids
- Kinzo may present himself to the kids
Supposing we accept Kinzo as the culprit so far, the biggest question is how an old man could kill six people. It’s possible he could have used a gun, although this isn’t some FPS with gibs and the dramatic splatter would be rather extreme for a normal gun. It’s also possible he might have mutilated the corpses after killing them. We could blame one or more of the servants as accomplices, or suppose that Kinzo has some additional force at his disposal—we don’t yet have any declaration of how many people are on Rokkenjima in this run.
So here’s one scenario. Events play out as depicted up until the point where Kinzo would summon the Chiesters. Instead, he pulls the classic movie villain move of strapping on a gasmask and filling the room with anaesthetic gas. Once all the Ushiromiyas are knocked out (which outside the movies has a high risk of killing someone, as in the 2002 Moscow theater siege, but that isn’t really a concern for Kinzo), Kinzo and any accomplices select six targets and kill them with hard blows to the head, then mutilate the corpses. He secures the other victims somewhere to kill later for the sake of the ritual. Or, alternatively, he kills everyone at this point and then selectively deposits corpses later. Gohda and Kumasawa are not knocked out, and escape.
Here’s another scenario. After Kinzo’s declaration of disinheritance, the argument over succession becomes so heated that it comes to violence. Or, Kinzo declares that something like a battle royale or Russian roulette is in effect and whoever survives gets to succeed him. The Ushiromiyas kill each other, and Genji either objects to his boss’s actions or gets caught in the crossfire. Gohda and Kumasawa escape the carnage, but Kinzo imprisons the other survivors, perhaps to subject them to further games.
Honestly, starved for definitive evidence and red text, all we can do is speculate wildly at this point. Presumably Beatrice’s next move will be to take the corpses and construct a locked-room mystery, so we’ll have something to sink our teeth into.
Apart from that, we have a new demon in the cast! Gaap’s characterisation so far has been ‘as horny as her outfit’, but she’s barely had any lines yet. Still, Ronove’s one of my favourite characters, so I have high hopes for her. The jokes about lolita fashion were amusing. Ronove’s role was something of a neutral (or ostensibly neutral) referee, as well as being able to gently tease Beatrice about her foibles; Virgilia has played the role of Battler’s advisor at times and referee at others, before turning traitor at the end. Gaap seems like more of a direct, in your face (lol) sort of player so far. But we’ll see.
The other major turn is that Eva died. This means we can’t necessarily accept the Ange Side as a definitive future of this game—unless we want to somehow make a case that Eva survived! What does that mean? I’ve been assuming that the Ange Side is a window into the ‘real truth’ of what happened post-Rokkenjima Incident, but perhaps we could instead see it as another narrative concocted by Beatrice (which might explain some of its more outlandish turns, like the dastardly Sumaderas, or the stunts.) I made a case that Battler isn’t ‘real’, but what about Ange?
Alternatively, we could assume that the one spinning Ange’s narrative isn’t Beatrice but… Bernkastel. If Ange is a game piece inserted into the board by Bernkastel, then Bernkastel has the job of establishing a convincing backstory for her. Beatrice might be the narrator, or GM perhaps, for Rokkenjima, but maybe Bernkastel gets to have narrator rights over some other domain.
In any case, Ange’s superpower is supposed to be that she has access to information from the future, information that Battler et al. could not know. But it’s hard to see how this would be relevant if the information she’s drawing on comes from a different future, in which Eva dunnit. Possibly whatever Ange will discover will be relevant across all timelines and variations. For example, if Ange discovers a place exists—maybe wherever the gold is hidden!—we can factor the existence of that location into this and future games, even if the specific events are different.
Alternatively maybe Eva’s death is faked this time and she was an accomplice after all! Beatrice is trying to go to some lengths to rule out that possibility, but is it possible that with ingenious makeup, one of the other Ushiromiyas could be presented as Eva’s corpse? Rosa is probably the most plausible candidate as a member of the family, but she’s also dead, so that’s probably a non-starter… hmm… that still leaves the idea of wax dummies and other such fake-corpse props, though that’s kind of strained.
All in all, I’m so excited for the game proper to finally be getting going. I can’t wait to see what tricks Beatrice has up her sleeve, and what a twisting story Ryuukishi has planned, this time around!
OK, that’s all from me. <See you next time>.