Umineko no Naku Koro ni II-III


In front of the chapel

Episode II-III of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “week square”, begins at 6:00AM. Kinzou is alive and well, and when he wakes up he notes that he has not been included in one of the sacrifices. Of course, he is looking forward to what Beatrice will do for the game. Outside at the chapel, Gouda, Shannon, Kanon, Rosa, Nanjo, and Genji are standing in front of the chapel, shocked by the bloody drawing on the door. Obviously a magic seal, this one also has an extra message: “Happy Halloween for Maria.”

Like the murders in the first round, the chapel is locked. But things are taken one step further, and there is only a single key to the chapel known to exist, and even this key has been lost. It is also a pretty bad sign that Klaus, Natsuhi, Eva, Hideyoshi, Rudolph, and Kirie are missing. Except for Rosa, everyone who had to admit that Beatrice was genuine in the chapel at the end of the previous episode is missing. A worried Rosa checks that Maria is OK, who is still sleeping along with Jessica, Battler, and George. She checks the envelope Maria received from Beatrice and finds a key, but when she heads back to the chapel Battler wakes up. Rosa tells Battler to stay, but who expects the grandchildren to stay put?

Sacrifices

Back at the chapel, Rosa confirms with Genji that the key indeed opens the door to the chapel. When they enter the chapel, they find the shocking sight of the missing people sitting at a dining table with their bellies gouged. It is not shown explicitly, but whoever was responsible also had the sick sense to fill the bellies with candy. There is also a jack-o’-lantern on the table containing three gold bars. After Genji and Shannon leave to report the situation to Kinzou, the grandchildren arrive at the chapel and the weeping and gnashing of teeth is repeated.

Time stops again, and the outside players Beatrice and Battler appear again (henceforth will be prefixed by “meta-“). Meta-Beatrice has learned to close some loopholes from the first round, and this time the victims’ faces have been left intact so that there can be no question about the identities of the bodies. On the other hand, I can’t help but note that this has just skipped over several twilights to the sixth twilight in the inscription: it doesn’t look like they have to be followed in order, or maybe it is unrelated to the sixth twilight in the first place. The gold on the table makes it sure that everyone would give some more credence to the story about Kinzou getting gold from Beatrice, even if not literally according to the story.

Jessica reading the sardonic letter from Beatrice

There is an obvious suspect, and Jessica immediately heads for Beatrice. Kanon and Gouda are sent after her. But when they reach Beatrice’s room and head inside with Kanon’s key, Beatrice is no longer there. There is only a letter left by Beatrice, and while Beatrice does not explicitly say she killed anyone, the letter is really sardonic and would provoke anyone who had learned of the murders in the chapel. The mention of the parents’ bellies being full with candy is especially evil. Jessica suffers an asthma attack from the emotional stress, so Kanon takes her to her room to deal with it while Gouda returns to the others with the letter.

Jessica uses the inhaler to calm her asthma attack in her room, but she would also like some emotional comfort from someone she has feelings for. Too bad that Kanon is deliberately trying to suppress those feelings. However, things get surreal as Beatrice appears before the two, wearing her medieval dress instead of the modern clothes she wore the previous day. For all I know, the Beatrice that had just appeared might not be the Beatrice of the previous day: it could be that the former is Beatrice, a player of the game, while the latter is Beatrice, a character inside the game.

Things don’t get any less surreal as Beatrice summons humanoid goats that extend what look like light blades from their arms. And the surreality just gets worse as Kanon extends his own red light blade from his right arm, to the disbelief of Jessica. This is the first indication that “furniture” really does mean something, although it is still not clear why the more typical term “doll” is not used. The humanoid goats begin the attack, with Kanon defending Jessica. The time is 6:43AM.

The battle commences

In the parlor, everyone else is gathered and talking about the letter that Gouda has just arrived with. It obviously raises the general level of anger. However, Nanjo had also found a letter on the table in the chapel, which says the same thing as the first letter from the first round: Beatrice is going to retrieve everything, but will forfeit if the mystery of the inscription were to be solved. Curiously, Rosa does not say anything about the letter she received from Beatrice the previous day.

Back in Jessica’s room, Kanon handily wins in battle as Jessica wonders if she is dreaming (I have to wonder if she is right). The next target is Beatrice herself, but he can’t touch her because she can dissolve into butterflies at will. Beatrice starts belittling Kanon, strongly emphasizing about him being “furniture”, which has Jessica argue in his defense that he is most definitely human. It’s pretty lovely how Kanon defends Jessica like a knight defending a damsel in distress and how Jessica defends Kanon’s humanity: maybe a relationship between them would not be so hopeless.

Asmodeus

Of course, Beatrice is just the sort of person that loves breaking up relationships like that. She summons her own “furniture” Asmodeus, who represents lust of the seven deadly sins. Kanon is unable to even touch Asmodeus, who eventually turns into one of the stakes that we saw in the first round. (Exactly seven stakes were used to kill Eva, Hideyoshi, Kinzou, Kanon, Genji, Nanjo, and Chiyo.) Kanon is almost killed, but Jessica protects him and is impaled from behind around the chest instead.

Satan

Jessica’s actions is not much of an impediment against Beatrice dealing with Kanon, however, and Beatrice summons another of her own “furniture”, Satan, who represents rage. Interestingly, Satan mentions having killed Kanon before: she must be the stake that impaled him in the first round, and she remembers it. This does raise the question of whether Kanon or Shannon remembers anything from the first round. It would explain Shannon’s chilly attitude towards Beatrice the previous day. Kanon is impaled by Satan the same way as before.

Mortally wounded, Jessica and Kanon exchange some last words and Kanon even tries to tell her his real name before the end (apparently he lied about having forgotten it), but they die before long. This was some amusement for Beatrice, but she is not done with Kanon and takes away his body to show him that there can be worse things even after death. The death of Jessica and Kanon would fulfill the second and fifth twilights of the inscription. I also suspect that Beatrice took away Kanon’s body so that even if Battler can devise a mundane explanation, he might be forced to suspect the terrible (and wrong) hypothesis that Kanon killed Jessica.

Meanwhile in Kinzou’s study, Genji and Shannon have just reported to Kinzou, who notes that things have started. Kinzou says that he will write his will, ordering Shannon to make preparations and telling Genji to get the usual alcoholic drink. There is obviously much more being said, with Shannon and Genji knowing quite a bit of what is going on, but I can’t figure out much more than what was explicitly said.

George ponders the mystery

In the parlor, Gouda reports that the phone lines are dead. As George ponders the horrible murder scene and the bloody drawings, Maria interjects that the drawing is the Seventh Magic Seal of the Sun that was also mentioned in episode I-III. Like before it is mentioned that it breaks bonds, but this time the part about offering sacrifice in gratitude is also emphasized. George continues to be bothered by how the chapel could have been locked when the only key was sealed in an envelope given to Maria.

Time stops again, and meta-Battler is exasperated at yet another locked room murder mystery. Meta-Beatrice wants meta-Battler to try to explain it away, but meta-Battler makes the reasonable point that there is not enough information to make any conclusions. To remove the lack of information as an excuse, meta-Beatrice is willing to make it so that whenever what she says is also shown in red letters, it will be the truth. And she is willing to answer questions about what happened, although not about any evidence that would support her answers.

Beatrice being truthful

Even with this new rule for the game, meta-Beatrice isn’t going to say anything about things happening by magic and her declaration being confirmed as truth, since it would make the game rather boring. I’m inclined to accept that she follows this new rule, and meta-Battler confirms the following facts:

  • Ignoring whether they were alive or dead, the six victims got into the chapel through the door.
  • Only one key to the chapel exists.
  • It is impossible for anything besides the key to the chapel to unlock or pick the lock on the door.
  • The key in the envelope given to Maria was indeed the key to the chapel.

An explanation with no magic

But when meta-Battler asks whether someone could have used the key in the interval between Maria putting the envelope in her bag and Rosa taking it out, meta-Beatrice is unable or unwilling to answer. Her silence in the matter leads Battler to the hypothesis that someone took the key, killed the six victims, and put it back where it was. And while this would avoid magic as an explanation, it doesn’t faze meta-Beatrice at all. She just sardonically points out that meta-Battler’s theory would implicate someone he knows, something he would rather not be the case. Meta-Battler might actually figure out a way to win, but it could be a bittersweet victory.

The time is 7:30AM. Back in the real word, Battler speculates whether Beatrice is trying to force them to find the gold. Maria rebuts him, saying that Beatrice only cares whether they solve the mystery of the inscription or not. Of course, Maria doesn’t have a clue about how to solve it, being satisfied to let someone else do it and just making sure she herself won’t interfere with Beatrice’s plans.

Arriving with a gun

Rosa then arrives at the parlor with Shannon and Genji. Rosa is carrying a gun that Kinzou gave her, although Kinzou himself is not willing to leave his study. The episode ends with Rosa determined to protect everyone. We would have to be doubtful about that: things didn’t go so well for Natsuhi after she made the same resolution. They don’t even know that Jessica and Kanon are dead yet.

Speculations

  • Five more people will die by being impaled by stakes in the head, belly, knee, and leg. The bellies gouged in the chapel do not count for the sixth twilight since they were not gouged by stakes.
  • The Beatrice that appeared in the previous day is indeed a fake, since contrary to her declaration, Shannon has not been included as one of the sacrifices. Beatrice’s body will be found with a stake in her head, exploding meta-Battler’s head to the amusement of meta-Beatrice.
  • Meta-Beatrice will kill some people directly with her furniture, but will make sure meta-Battler does not see it. She is making things consistent with a natural explanation that would have terrible implications for meta-Battler.
  • Rosa has a psychotic reaction to anything related to witches. Unable to bear the thought of Beatrice being declared a genuine witch, even though she had to admit it herself, she killed the six other people in the chapel. Rosa was shocked to find the dead people in the chapel, not because they were dead but because of the fancy arrangement she found them in. Someone else is going to kill the others.

Rosa

  1. #1 by Steven on August 25, 2009 - 3:32 pm

    Nice piece. I wonder though, does Jessica’s death count as a “pierce the chest”, or is the epitaph not being followed correctly this time around?

  2. #2 by Veldril on August 25, 2009 - 6:08 pm

    The first six are the first twilight. Jessica and Kanon are the second.

    • #3 by Ian on September 12, 2009 - 3:58 pm

      Tearing up the two that are close. How they are killed doesn’t matter.

      • #4 by Shounen A on September 13, 2009 - 9:21 am

        In fact, it is Kanon’s body being taken away would be relevant for the second twilight, rather than the killings of Jessica and Kanon by itself. (Remembering back to the first arc where only Shannon was killed …)

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