Umineko no Naku Koro ni II-II


Rosa

Episode II-II of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “early queen move”, begins on the day the Ushiromiya family are to gather at Rokkenjima. Rosa and Maria are taking a train to the boat terminal, but Maria is being a nuisance and demanding treats for the Halloween that is still almost a month away. Rosa won’t indulge Maria, even going so far as stopping Maria from receiving candy from a kind old lady. However, Rosa crosses the line and slaps Maria silly, and she’s aware something is wrong with herself after the fact. Not getting any treats must have pushed Maria to play the trick of killing everyone on Rokkenjima …

At Rokkenjima, Klaus is sighing in front of the portrait of Beatrice when Natsuhi arrives to report that things have been prepared. Whatever they are planning, it involves keeping the other siblings away from Kinzou, and they have enlisted the cooperation of Genji and Nanjo. Elsewhere in the mansion, while Shannon is daydreaming, Kanon reminds her to keep her wits about because of the very important guest that is about to arrive.

Trick or treat

In a restroom at the boat terminal, George is trying to rehearse his proposal to Shannon, so it is hugely embarrassing to him when it turns out uncle Rudolph was in one of the stalls. Back in the terminal, Rosa buys Maria a bunch of jack-o’-lantern candy to cover the embarrassment on the train. Rosa must have just saved everyone’s lives by giving Maria, the evil loli from hell, a treat instead of letting her trick … They join the rest of the Ushiromiya relatives waiting to get on the boat to Rokkenjima.

Back at Rokkenjima, it is Jessica’s turn to stand in front of Beatrice’s portrait, where she wonders who Beatrice really was and asks Chiyo about it. Chiyo explains that Beatrice is the golden witch and the ruler of the island’s night. Jessica obviously replies that it’s a story by Kinzou, so Chiyo goes into more details of the story, where she explains that Rokkenjima used to be known as Azukijima because of the gathered evil spirits that caused frequent maritime accidents. Jessica knows this part of the story as well, as she continues it with how a traveling magician sealed the evil spirits with a shrine. The shrine had been destroyed by a storm this summer, so Chiyo wonders what might happen if the the revived Beatrice would appear. As noted by Jessica, Chiyo seems to be the sort that enjoys scary stories, although the first arc showed how terrified she is when encountering actual blood and death.

Battler doesn't think he is going to lose

The rest of the relatives have also arrived at Rokkenjima by now. As Gouda leads Hideyoshi, Eva, Rudolph, Kirie, Battler, Maria, and Rosa to the mansion, Battler talks with Maria about Halloween and how it is an important day for witches. The moment that Maria says Beatrice is bound to come is when time stops: Beatrice appears looking forward to the new game, along with another Battler who is determined not to lose. The Battler and Beatrice that appear here are obviously players of the game from episode I-V that are distinct from the characters inside the game itself.

Back to Battler and other characters within the game itself, Battler tries to ask Maria about Beatrice, but Rosa stops the topic in its tracks. Letting the others go ahead to the mansion, Rosa violently tries to stop Maria talking about witches, crushing the jack-o’-lantern candy and showing a vitriolic reaction to all things witches and Halloween. Maria’s reaction is peculiar: she wants her mother back, hoping that Rosa can overcome a witch. Rosa treats Maria’s reaction as ridiculous and walks off by herself. Kanon was watching the interaction, but when he approaches Maria to comfort her, the sad Maria is immediately gone and we see the creepy Maria again. Kanon is also surprised to learn that Maria seems to know Beatrice quite well, where Maria says that she is friends with the witch and will even play with her later that day.

Inside, the parents are talking about Kinzou, who supposedly refuses to meet everyone because he is busy with research as is usual for every annual meeting. When Kirie mentions that the typhoon is nearly upon them, this seems to trigger something in Rosa, who immediately runs out to find Maria. When Rosa finds a dejected Maria alone in the garden, Rosa acts very differently from before and asks forgiveness from Maria for how she has been acting. Maria reacts peculiarly again, as she does not blame Rosa at all and is just glad that she has her mother back from a bad witch.

Beatrice appears

This is when Maria is happy to see Beatrice, and Rosa can’t believe her eyes. When Maria gives Beatrice a jack-o’-lantern candy, Beatrice notices Maria’s crushed candy, and she turns it back to pristine condition in front of Rosa’s disbelieving eyes. Beatrice gives Maria a letter which is not to be opened until some unspecified time and would supposedly be a invitation for Maria to the golden land, while she gives another letter to Rosa to be read with the other siblings. There is no doubt that someone called Beatrice exists in this iteration.

Beatrice heads inside the mansion and is greeted by Genji, who has been waiting for her. As Genji leads Beatrice to her room, they pass by Kirie who notices the unfamiliar guest, who quickly realizes that the guest has an uncanny resemblance to Beatrice’s portrait. Time then stops again, and Beatrice and Battler the game players appear again. Noting the lack of her presence contributing to Battler’s disbelief in the first round, Beatrice has made sure to make herself appear in this round, but Battler is still defiant. Beatrice has something else up her sleeves, however. The time is now 11:30AM.

Beatrice versus Battler

Later, Beatrice is in her own private room being served tea by Kanon. She gloats to him about it finally being time to return everything to the golden land and how Kanon’s humiliating days as furniture are about to end. The lack of reaction from Kanon isn’t much fun, however, so she considers using Shannon as one of the sacrifices. This does solicit a reaction from Kanon, and Beatrice humiliates him by forcing Kanon to kiss her boots if he wants to prevent Shannon from being sacrificed.

Shannon

In the kitchen, Gouda complains to Genji why he can’t go near Beatrice’s room, and Genji replies that Beatrice is ranked the same as Kinzou and so the same rules apply. Shannon is listening to the commotion in the corridor, which is when Kanon appears. Informing Shannon that the ritual is indeed to go as planned on that day, Kanon blames her for being able to fall in love, so that what is supposed to be a happy day for them where they might have been able to go to the golden land and be promoted from furniture to humans, won’t be. Apparently Beatrice had told them in the intervening months about what would happen and what would be entailed.

The time is now 6:00PM. Beatrice asks Shannon whether she is angry about Beatrice setting up relationships purely for her own amusement. Shannon is considerably colder towards Beatrice than she was in the previous episode, and she states that she will pretend she does not know Beatrice and attempt to control her own destiny as the only way she can fight back. Beatrice seems to be surprised by Shannon’s response, but she gets back in a cruel mood as soon as Shannon leaves, declaring that she would kill Shannon and her love.

Kirie: "Let's ask Genji."

At dinner, Kirie asks Gouda about the guest, who is having dinner in her own room. The others are unaware of any extra guests, and they are shocked to learn that it is Beatrice. They soon recover their wits, and while Eva and Rudolph immediately accuse Klaus of bringing over an impostor, Klaus’ firm denial leads them to the conclusion that Kinzou must have brought over an impostor. The suspicion is that the impostor is a lover who has involved herself with Kinzou’s life to gain his wealth, although Natsuhi vehemently denies that Kinzou could do something as shameful as to have a lover. Kirie suggests that they ask the details from Genji, who knows much more about Beatrice and Kinzou, while the grandchildren are sent off to the guest house.

With Nanjo accompanying the grandchildren to the guest house, he confirms that Kinzou had a lover called Beatrice, although with the caveat that he had never actually met her, having heard about it from Kinzou himself. To his knowledge, Beatrice had died a very long time ago, although he does not know if there were any children from the relationship. Nanjo is aware that Kinzou is obsessed with research into reviving Beatrice through black magic. Battler speculates if the Beatrice that appeared is wishing for vengeance, presumably as an abandoned child of Beatrice, but does not expect she could do much as she would be a normal human. Maria has to quip about whether Battler would believe in witches if he were to be shown things that cannot be done by normal humans, and Battler lightheartedly agrees that he would.

Shannon accepts George's proposal

The time is 10:00PM. George proposes to Shannon, with sappy words about being together even if they were to become no more than spirits, and like in episode I-II, he expects an answer with her wearing the ring in the morning. This time Shannon seems to have some knowledge of what might be coming, since she shows no hesitation and puts on the ring immediately, accepting George’s proposal. Kanon is watching the couple from afar, and he laments how idiotic she is being.

Meanwhile in the Rokkenjima chapel, Klaus, Natsuhi, Hideyoshi, Eva, Rosa, and Rudolph very reluctantly accept that Beatrice is indeed Beatrice the witch, apparently because she had somehow provided the devil’s proof. Beatrice notices the irony in an impossible proof being not so impossible. The supposedly impossible proof of the devil must have been demanded by Kirie, as she also cannot help but accept that the Beatrice is indeed Beatrice the witch, the alchemist for the Ushiromiya dynasty and a great master of magic. Whatever happened, it must have been incredibly convincing for everyone to have accepted that Beatrice is indeed Beatrice despite their strong resistance to the idea.

Beatrice convinced everyone she is indeed Beatrice

The second arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni is happening very differently from the first arc. While the Ushiromiyas gathering at Rokkenjima is just the same, the storm has arrived earlier and Shannon responds much more quickly to George’s proposal. As for George, I wonder if there is any special significance about him not being with the rest when walking to the mansion after arriving on the island. And of course, there is the huge bombshell of Beatrice’s personal presence, regardless of whether she is real or an impostor. What was in the letter Beatrice gave Rosa? How will the sequence of events outlined in the inscription be different?

Speculations

  • Maria only thinks that her mother is being possessed by an evil witch during her violent phases as a coping mechanism. Rosa is not actually being controlled by a witch.
  • On the other hand, Rosa actually has a real reason, with knowledge about a real witch, for being so sensitive to Maria’s preoccupation with witches and being so violently suppressive. She might be fearing losing her daughter to a witch or the occult.
  • The past before October 4, 1986 is not quite the same as in the first arc, with Kanon and Shannon directly encountering Beatrice and a plan being enacted by Klaus and Natsuhi.
  • The Beatrice that appeared is an illusionist, who has a remarkable resemblance to Beatrice the witch, hired by Klaus and Natsuhi in order to monopolize the inheritance. They are just pretending to be in disbelief when they know full well that it is an impostor. Genji’s cooperation enhances the credibility, while Nanjo’s cooperation ensures that Kinzou would not appear to spoil the entire plan. But things are about to spiral far beyond their control …
  • Beatrice only appears to everyone because they as players gained a belief in her from their deaths in the first arc, whereas in the first arc she only appeared to Maria who had been the only one to firmly believe in the existence of Beatrice. The exception will be Battler, who will be the only one not to encounter Beatrice, and events will proceed that seem humanly impossible but will ultimately be consistent with a natural explanation (otherwise it won’t be much of a game).

Beatrice

  1. #1 by Steven on August 14, 2009 - 3:19 pm

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your work on Umineko. Thanks again for this enlightening piece, and here’s to next week’s episode!

    • #2 by Shounen A on August 15, 2009 - 1:00 pm

      I appreciate the words, it gives me another reason to keep on blogging. :)

      Besides it being fun, of course. :D

  2. #3 by Taiyaki on August 14, 2009 - 4:01 pm

    “Whatever happened, it must have been incredibly convincing for everyone to have accepted that Beatrice is indeed Beatrice despite their strong resistance to the idea.”

    Yeah, we don’t really know what happened in the chapel. I was thinking she probably showed them the hidden gold or something, but who knows.

    • #4 by Shounen A on August 15, 2009 - 1:03 pm

      Beatrice showing them the gold would fit the theory that Klaus and Natsuhi are trying to pull a fast one. (Remembers Klaus showing Natsuhi a gold bar back in the first arc …) On the other hand, it does seem lackluster as ironclad proof.

      I just can’t imagine what the devil’s proof was …

  3. #5 by RP on August 14, 2009 - 11:52 pm

    It’s interesting that Maria blamed her mom’s bitchiness on “evil witches,” yet she’s quite cozy with Beatrice. Does she think Beatrice is a “good” witch then?

    • #6 by Shounen A on August 15, 2009 - 1:10 pm

      Maria obviously thinks that Beatrice is her evil witch. :p

  4. #7 by Veldril on August 15, 2009 - 2:11 am

    @RP: Yeah exactly, because she believes Beatrice in the end will bring her the Golden Land, where everyone, including her mother, is nice and caring.

    • #8 by Shounen A on August 15, 2009 - 1:13 pm

      I wonder about that: all the first nine twilights were fulfilled, so the tenth twilight about reaching the golden land would presumably have been fulfilled as well, but there didn’t seem to much in the way of a golden land.

      Unless the tea party was part of the golden land, in which case it doesn’t seem to be all it’s cracked up to be …

      • #9 by Taiyaki on August 15, 2009 - 7:38 pm

        If I’m not mistaken, last time they weren’t able to reach the Golden Land because Battler alone didn’t believe in magic/witches.

Comments are closed.