Episode III-II of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “gambit”, begins at 9:04PM with Rosa claiming that she is responsible for the death of the Beatrice that had lived in a hidden mansion about twenty years ago. The young Rosa was running away from her parents and had believed in Beatrice the witch at the time, which is how she came across the hidden mansion where she found Beatrice. The witch indeed confirmed that she was Beatrice the witch, although Rosa’s impression of her was that she was rather innocent and childlike.
Beatrice welcomed the visit of the young Rosa, and they talked about things in the garden. Beatrice talked about how Kinzou visited her every few days and that it is too dangerous to go out because of the wolves in the forest. So it was a surprise for Beatrice when she learned that there really were not any wolves. When Rosa brought up how she had never seen a wolf even in a zoo, where she had to clarify what a zoo was, Beatrice found her own situation similar to an animal caged in a zoo.
Beatrice reveals that while everyone called her Beatrice the witch, she only thought of herself as a human who was not even sure who she was and would always be caged. So Rosa suggested that they leave the grounds, which Beatrice was quite eager to do. She was tired of fancy dresses and tea, strongly preferring freedom. Interestingly, we see Beatrice wearing the Ushiromiya family ring on her left hand: either there is more than one of them, or Kinzou would later take it as his own, and it might not have started out as the family ring.
It is at this point in Rosa’s story that meta-Battler wonders out loud about the weird story. An unusually contemplative meta-Beatrice explains that she had been summoned by a Kinzou who loved her and then trapped in a physical body, a restraint that could not be overcome except by abandoning the body. Of course, meta-Battler does not believe in meta-Beatrice’s surreal story, but the subdued meta-Beatrice does not try to convince him otherwise and just goes away. Oddly enough, they appeared within Rosa’s flashback itself rather than in the real world where Rosa is explaining things to the other parents.
Not getting any answers from a melancholy meta-Beatrice, meta-Battler is volunteered further details by meta-Ronove, who explains that Beatrice’s soul was trapped so that she had to live as a human again. Apparently unbeknownst to meta-Beatrice, meta-Ronove intends to fill in certain details for meta-Battler in her stead. Meta-Ronove reveals a couple of truths in red text, which surprises meta-Battler that anyone other than meta-Beatrice would do so, and meta-Ronove asks to keep it secret from her:
- There exists a hidden mansion called the Quadorian (九羽鳥庵) in the forests of Rokkenjima.
- In 1967, there existed Beatrice as a human in a hidden mansion on Rokkenjima.
Back to Rosa’s story, Beatrice was quite impressed with the ocean as seen from a cliff when Rosa suggested that they go down the cliff to walk on the shores. However, Beatrice accidentally falls down the cliff to her death. While the young Rosa is being traumatized by Beatrice’s mangled body, an ethereal Beatrice coalesces from golden butterflies, unseen by Rosa, realizing that she had just died. With some more butterfly power, she regained her memories and became the cruel Beatrice we have all come to know, very happy that Kinzou can no longer restrain her.
Meta-Battler is confused by this part of the story, so meta-Beatrice shows up to make things unquestionable with her red text. She must have also been savoring how she would enjoy deflating meta-Battler’s smugness from the previous episode, although meta-Ronove thought she would do so after meta-Battler dug himself further into a hole:
- Beatrice is definitely dead at this point of Rosa’s story.
- There does not exist nineteen or more people on Rokkenjima.
Meta-Battler is obviously shocked by the revelations and demoralized at the prospect of having to suspect the eighteen people he knows. And he’s confused about Beatrice’s role, even wondering if one of the eighteen is disguising themselves as her. Meta-Beatrice merely notes that they have reached the middle of their little game and is ready to deal the finishing blows, tormenting meta-Battler that he should just accept that a witch was responsible if he does not want to accuse any of the eighteen. The time is now midnight.
In the garden, Shannon is quite content after receiving the ring from George when Kanon and Genji arrive about an urgent summon from Kinzou. When they arrive, they find a stumped Kinzou facing Beatrice with a chess board in between. While they are surprised by her presence, they are not all that surprised: they all obviously expected her to appear sooner or later. Ronove appears as well, and it turns out that he knew Genji for a long time and also saw Shannon when she was younger. It’s weird how the servants on both sides are so polite to each other.
Beatrice has ostensibly arrived to give Kinzou both good and bad news. The good news is that he got to see her again thanks to the ritual, and the bad news is that Kinzou was selected as the first sacrifice. An agonizing Kinzou apparently realizes there is no way out, and he bursts into flames while laughing as one of the sacrifices required for the first twilight in the inscription. But there needs to be five more sacrifices: while Kanon is quite resistant to the idea of them being sacrifices, Shannon and Genji are oddly accepting of their fate.
Genji asks if Shannon has no regrets, who answers that she is content after getting the ring from George. In fact, Beatrice is disappointed by the lack of reaction on Shannon’s part, which is presumably what Shannon intends. However, Beatrice is quite expectant of a reaction on Kanon’s part, and she summons Lucifer, one of the seven sisters of Purgatory representing pride. If Kanon can defeat the Seven Stakes of Purgatory, Beatrice promises that she will let Kanon decide the five people who can escape being among the thirteen sacrifices.
Shannon tries to convince Kanon that it’s no use and that there is no need to listen to Beatrice, but Kanon is not ready to give up. Kanon wants to become human and be able to love like his sister Shannon: Kanon’s rejection of Jessica appears to be due to his inability to consider himself anything other than furniture, despite really wanting to accept her feelings. (Or maybe he just doesn’t like Jessica and wants to love anyone else but her …) Beatrice is quite enjoying Kanon’s reaction, and she sets him against Lucifer, starting out with a duel of light blades.
Kanon actually does quite well against Lucifer, even managing to cut through her clothes in a rather embarrassing area. At Kanon’s declaration that she could never defeat him as long as she is so arrogant, which enrages Lucifer and has her try to land a finishing blow, but this ends up with Kanon with a blade to her throat instead. Beatrice’s expression of disappointment in her enrages Lucifer again, and this time she uses the trump card of turning into a stake and impaling Kanon, which she quickly succeeds in doing.
Except that Lucifer failed at killing Kanon: he blocked a fatal blow with the stake being impaled in his hand. Having defeated Lucifer, he expects Beatrice to fulfill her end of her promise, but she reminds him that he is supposed to defeat all seven of the stakes, the rest of which she now summons. Against all seven, Kanon does not have a chance, but Shannon intervenes with her defensive power and protects Kanon from the stakes. Incidentally, this makes it clear that her powers are innately defensive, not due to some weird interaction with Natsuhi’s mirror in episode II-VI.
Kanon thinks that Shannon does not have to do this, but Shannon says it is OK: not only did she have no regrets as a woman with the fulfillment of her relationship with George, she now has no regrets as a sister as she got the chance to protect Kanon. Shannon’s stance of having no regrets irritates Beatrice greatly, but before Beatrice can do anything to Shannon and Kanon, Genji steps in. Having apparently walked right through Shannon’s shield, he says that they can rest now, and both Shannon and Kanon thank him as he lays a hand over their hearts, which cause images of red roses to appear on their clothes and they stop living. The red roses are probably blood seeping through.
Beatrice is disappointed at their gentle deaths, but Ronove compliments Genji for his actions befitting furniture. Genji asks for an end as his final duty, and Ronove grants it with a click of his fingers. Beatrice seems to be puzzled by their interaction and is annoyed that Ronove acted on his own, but he only replies that a great witch like her shouldn’t be so bothered by what Shannon said. There are now two more sacrifices to fulfill the first twilight in the inscription.
The time is now 12:21AM. Gouda investigates the kitchen after hearing a sound, and he soon dies in terror after Beatrice’s seven stakes appear. The next target of the seven stakes is Kumasawa, who seems rather calm when they appear. In fact, she blocks their attacks with impressive ease with some sort of barrier. Kumasawa has been waiting for Beatrice and asks for her presence, but when Lucifer says that they wouldn’t listen to her, Beatrice herself appears along with Ronove.
Kumasawa greets Beatrice and Ronove, which angers the stakes for her casual attitude towards their master, but Beatrice says that there is no problem. Beatrice reveals Kumasawa Chiyo to be actually the previous Lady Beatrice and her teacher, who she never expected to see again. And with the appearance of golden butterflies, Kumasawa transforms into the witch we saw in the beginning of the previous episode. Interestingly, there seems to be exactly seven golden butterflies flying around the previous Beatrice, although I might be reading too much into this.
I had thought that it would be amusing if the servants were all killed first so that no one would cast suspicion on them, but I was surprised by it actually happening. It was weird how calmly they took it; except for Gouda, of course, as he is not one of the special servants. And I probably missed previous confirmation, but this episode confirms that Kanon and Shannon are siblings instead of Shannon just being an older girl close to Kanon. At least now I can exclude the possibility of Beatrice jumping between bodies like a parasite, given the surprising revelation that Kumasawa was the previous Beatrice.
- There are still a couple of unknown bunnies and an unknown girl to make things crazier in this arc.
- Kumasawa Chiyo has been the one most outwardly frightened by the deaths in previous arcs. She may have just been overacting, and dare I say, enjoying it?
- Except for Nanjo and possibly Kumasawa depending on what happens next episode, every adult has ended up being among the six initial victims. This probably indicates that there is no single killer that is the same for all story arcs. Or maybe Nanjo or one of the grandchildren is responsible.
- On a related line of thought, maybe all of the grandchildren are killing everyone else and doing an excellent job of pretending to not know what is going on. George and Jessica got killed when Shannon and Kanon found out the truth, but at least they killed the siblings before they could blab. Beatrice does not really know what is going on even if she acts like she knows everything, while Battler is having the time of his life (and afterlife?) pretending not to know. Completely crazy thought, but amusing …
- I had thought that the twilights in the inscription could overlap, e.g., I thought Shannon’s death in the first arc was part of both the first and second twilights. But mention of five people who can escape being the thirteen that are sacrificed made me realized that there were exactly five survivors right before the end of each arc: Natsuhi, Battler, George, Jessica, and Maria in the first and Rosa, Maria, Kinzou, Genji, and Battler in the second. I’m revising the deaths of Eva and Hideyoshi in the first arc as having been split apart instead of being gouged in the head.
- Beatrice is getting more powerful each arc; she previously couldn’t summon Ronove, but now she can. Otherwise, I’m not sure why Genji would be announcing her resurrection in episode II-VI instead of Ronove. I attribute her increasing power with the increasing number of people who believe in her (a lot started to believe in the first arc in addition to the servants who already believed, while Rosa started to believe in the second arc).
- With the way Ronove killed Genji with a click of his finger, Genji might be part of Ronove that Beatrice provided to Kinzou to make the game fairer, even if it’s still very one-sided. Genji may have started working for Kinzou about twenty years ago right after Beatrice died.