Umineko no Naku Koro ni IV-VII


In one line: In 1998, guns are overrated.

En route to Rokkenjima

Episode IV-VII of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “forced move”, begins at the Rokkenjima of October, 1998 with the arrival of Ange and Amakusa on Kawabata’s boat. While still en route, we get to eavesdrop on some interesting revelations. It turns out that there is a secret dock on the island besides the official one we have already seen. A surprisingly large number of people are known to have known about it: Kinzo, Genji, those who worked on the boat, Nanjo, and other servants, among them being Kumasawa.

The existence of both the secret dock and the hidden mansion were supposedly secrets unknown to the actual members of the Ushiromiya family besides Kinzo. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Not only were there rumors about the hidden mansion from quite early on, but I would be surprised if none of the parents stumbled upon it. Two kilometers might be rather far for a casual walk, but it’s not far enough for it to be expected to stay hidden for decades. In fact, Rosa outright claimed that she had come across the hidden mansion in episode III-II, and I doubt the secret dock was so secret, either.

The Birds

Concerning the hidden mansion, Kawabata has never actually been to it, only knowing that it was called the Quadorian. He is also pretty sure that the rumors about Beatrice living in the Quadorian were true, since he used to regularly transport supplies for the hidden mansion, and a lot of the supplies were specifically for women. Kawabata had never met Beatrice in person, but he also reveals that his supply trips to the Quadorian suddenly stopped about thirty years ago.

Kawabata had actually thought that he was being fired when he received a call from Genji to stop the supply runs. (Which also shoots down my idle speculation that Genji was hired after Beatrice died.) Of course, that was not the case, and Kawabata’s conclusion from the employees’ behavior was that Beatrice had died. This brings up the question of how Eva ended up in the abandoned and supposedly secret Quadorian in 1986, which would have presumably allowed her to survive whatever happened to everyone else on the island. Given the storm that was raging at the time, Ange guesses that there might be something like an underground tunnel between the main mansion and the Quadorian, and Kawabata agrees that it would be the sort of thing Kinzo would do.

Arrival

Once they reach the island, Ange tells Amakusa to stay behind with the boat. Ange assures him that she is just leaving behind a bouquet of flowers, and also justifies it by claiming that his presence would be too toxic. Amakusa has no idea about what she means by toxic, but it’s obviously a reference to him being very strong in anti-magic. After making her way through the forest of the island, Ange reaches a clearing where she feels the presence of a witch.

Accompanied by Mammon and Sakutaro, Ange reflects on how the original purpose of her trip was for her to die, but now it is different. She now understands that there is magic but it cannot be seen without love. Ange also goes over Maria’s diary, thinking on how it started out with cute and fluffy sort of magic that gradually turned darker. While not directly stated by Ange, it’s pretty clear that one of Maria’s problems was that she was being bullied at school, and apparently it got worse as time went by. Maria being bullied was obliquely mentioned before, but this shows how it affected Maria.

Sumadera Kasumi and her lackeys

Ange thinks it’s her fault that Maria turned so dark (obviously putting great importance on how her saying that a doll is just a doll may have affected Maria), and she declares that she is going to turn Maria back from a black and evil witch into a white and innocent witch. When she calls to Maria, however, Sumedera Kasumi and her seven lackeys show up. They were on the island since early morning: their boat must be at the other dock. I wonder what’s below the clearing: it’s obviously significant enough for Kasumi to have known where Ange would show up.

It turns out that Sumadera Kasumi has dark designs for Ange not because of a cold calculation aimed at getting the Ushiryomiya wealth and power, but because she hates Ange. I didn’t expect what the source of Kasumi’s hate turns out to be: it’s because she hates Kyrie. The elder sister Kyrie was supposed to inherit the power of the Sumadera family, but with her running off with Rudolf, Kasumi ended up in her place. This meant a change from a carefree life to a suffocating one: Kasumi even had to split up with her loved one and got married off to the man Kyrie was supposed to marry. From Kasumi’s perspective, it’s worse that Kyrie got no censure from other Sumaderas, since her marriage to an Ushiromiya was greatly beneficial.

View from the ground

Ange is beaten up by Kasumi’s loyal lackeys so that Kasumi can vent out her hate. Getting beat up appears to be the right time to have an epiphany, since Ange thinks on how Kasumi’s life reminds her of her own life. Ange realizes that Eva must have also felt the pressure of being the eldest daughter in the Ushiromiya family, which she must have vented on Rosa. In turn, Rosa would end up venting her anger on Maria. Likewise, Kasumi is doing the same to Ange. This insight only increases Ange’s admiration for Maria, who dissipated her frustrations through magic instead of inflicting it on someone else.

Ange finds herself feeling sympathy for Eva, which surprises her since she had always hated Eva. She thinks back to the aftermath of the Rokkenjima incident when Eva became the center of media attention and was widely accused of being the killer. Given the huge media attention and suspicion cast on Eva, I’m not surprised that she would turn out incredibly bitter and hateful, even if she was completely innocent in the Rokkenjima incident. (If she was guilty, then there’s not much hope: the guilt would do the damage all by itself, and Eva doesn’t seem the type to be incapable of feeling guilt.)

Media attention on Eva

Ange wonders if Eva might have turned out better if she had help from a white magic user. For someone like me who is not a witch and cannot use magic, I would consider “white magic” to be code word for “emotional support”. Ange realizes with a start that maybe she should have been this “white magic user”, that maybe at least she should have been on Eva’s side in a world where everyone else hated Eva. There’s someone who doesn’t quite agree with Ange: EvaBeatrice shows up in Ange’s black mental world.

Ange rationalizes that EvaBeatrice must be the black witch that led Eva onto the wrong path, and EvaBeatrice finds it hilarious that Ange finds it sad instead of hating her. Whether Ange is just imagining EvaBeatrice and matching her behavior with Kasumi, or EvaBeatrice quite agrees with the way that Kasumi is cruelly exercising her power over Ange, EvaBeatrice shows up in the real world and encourages Kasumi’s behavior. Of course, no one else besides Ange can see EvaBeatrice, just as they couldn’t see Mammon and Sakutaro.

EvaBeatrice and Sumadera Kasumi

Ange has been pretty aloof about the beating she got, but EvaBeatrice knows what could really hurt her. As if prompted by EvaBeatrice, Kasumi notices Maria’s diary, although she doesn’t seem to realize that it’s Maria’s and not Ange’s, not that she would care as long as it’s something important to Ange. Kasumi ridicules its contents and tears out pages, to the pain of not only Ange but also Mammon and Sakutaro. The final straw is the page about Maria’s “uu~, uu~” moment, which Ange pleas to not tear out but Kasumi tears out anyway.

EvaBeatrice belittles Ange for being a fake witch who is simply wallowing in escapism, that only a black witch such as herself can use true magic. Ange begs to differ. The other real people on the scene just think that Ange is talking gibberish about magic. Kasumi has had enough fun tormenting Ange and now wants her dead, so a lackey is ready to put a bullet in Ange. After summoning the Seven Stakes of Purgatory, Ange warns the lackey not to shoot, lest it ends his own life. Despite her strenuous warnings, which from the others’ viewpoint is completely bogus, the lackey pulls the trigger and the gun fires.

A reversal

Up to this point, one could have just treated Mammon, Sakutaro, and EvaBeatrice as Ange having a delusional episode overlaid over what was actually happening. That doesn’t work so well anymore when instead of Ange being hit through the eye with the bullet fired by the lackey, it is the lackey that ends up with a bloody hole in his chest. He had just been impaled by Leviathan, who had shown up along with the other stake sisters. Kasumi and her goons have no idea what had just happened, not being able to see any of the magical beings.

Ange talks to Mammon how she has the resolve to exercise magic unlike before when she had banished everyone. This must be freaking out Kasumi and her goons, since it would be nothing more than gibberish that is somehow related to the frightening thing that just happened. The remaining six goons shoot Ange, but this only gets them killed by the six stakes besides Mammon. This freaks out even EvaBeatrice, which gives Ange a chance to gloat how she is the real witch. And when a freaked out Kasumi picks up a gun and shoots, she gets killed as well.

Eva again

Only the black witch EvaBeatrice remains standing among those who oppose Ange, but EvaBeatrice uses her own magic. She is replaced by the real version of Eva from 1986 carrying the gun from Rokkenjima. Eva has come back to do one last thing: kill Ange. Eva believes that black magic was her source of magical power, considering it far superior to Ange’s “magic” that she considers nothing more than escapism. Ange pities Eva for not understanding true magic, white magic.

Eva considers this a symbolic match between her white magic and Ange’s black magic which she is about to win. Claiming that Ange’s white magic has been suppressed with strong toxin, with the summoning of the Seven Stakes of Purgatory having been blocked, Eva is sure that there is no way Ange can win. Ange, on the other hand, states that it is precisely because miracles occur that it’s called magic. And Ange is proven right in this instance when Eva’s gun blows up in her face when the trigger is pulled, presumably caused by Mammon. Ange has done all she had wanted, and she puts the suffering Eva out of her misery.

We are now back to where this arc basically started: Ange on the top of a tall building facing Bernkastel. Bernkastel congratulates the Endless Witch Ange Beatrice for completing her journey and understanding all magic. Ange has inherited the magic world born from the Mariage Sorcière and the last witch, and as such Bernkastel states that only Ange can tear up Beatrice’s world. While Bernkastel confirms what Lambdadelta said in episode IV-II, Ange doesn’t mind so much: she now knows what to do to get back her family.

Bernkastel and Ange

I’m not quite sure what to make of this episode. Was all the magic really real and not just a cognitive overlay over reality? Maybe: in 1986, Beatrice would have the incentive to make up scenes to fool Battler, but it would be pointless for Ange to fool herself, and Kasumi and her goons somehow managed to get killed in an impossible way. Or did anything in 1998 really happen and not just Ange’s imagination running wild on a top of a building? Probably, but I’m not sure what to believe. What is Ange’s understanding of magic? We got to hear a lot of her thoughts, but I still have very little idea of what this understanding is.

Speculations

  • The existence of a secret dock gives credence to a theory by Jubbz that other people arrived by boat after some people were killed. Not that I think anyone would have noticed if a small boat arrived on the main dock …
  • The clearing where the confrontation between Ange and Kasumi occurred is probably important in some way. I’m guessing that it’s above the dumping grounds of the bodies in the Rokkenjima incident. (The anime still has not stated outright if any bodies were found: I’m sticking with them having been found, since it’s the “Rokkenjima Serial Murder Case”, not the “Rokkenjima Multiple Disappearance Case”.)
  • If I want to interpret the confrontation between Ange and Kasumi in a non-magical way, I’m inclined to think that Amakusa must have followed Ange despite instructions to the contrary and used a sniper rifle to shoot anyone who was about to fire on Ange, with Ange just imagining shots being fired from the handguns. The return of Eva is a bit trickier: perhaps it was the real killer of the Rokkenjima incident who returned to taunt Ange, or one of the goons didn’t quite get killed off. It’s a stretch: maybe all the magic shown so far really were real.
  • If there is anything to the “one goon didn’t quite die and served the role of a revived Eva” theory, then the deaths of Kasumi and her goons would eerily remind me of the inscription: the first six dead goons would fulfill the first twilight, while the death of Kasumi and “Eva” would fulfill the second. I’m clearly reading too much into it …
  • Eva’s gun blowing up has the signature of Bernkastel all over it.
  • Ange will be in the next episode, and she will talk about how she now truly understands magic, joining the exclusive club of Beatrice and Maria (apparently Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are not part of the Mariage Sorcière and don’t count). She will then proceed to not clearly explain what magic is, and I will get annoyed enough that I would want to kill someone (like, say, Sumadera Kasumi).

Kasumi gets her just desserts

  1. #1 by Jubbz on December 18, 2009 - 12:32 pm

    ooo, I get a mention about the Rokkenjima not being a closed circle!

    Well the theory is a little stronger now since Kawabata said that there’s a second secret dock. Seriously can sneak onto the island that way. In fact, i don’t think that it’s impossible to even operate under the typhoon. Now that i think about it, What if the whole storm was just a hallucination to make people believe that they couldn’t get off the Island?

    I’m still worried about the final episode though…

    • #2 by Shounen A on December 18, 2009 - 1:05 pm

      I’m pretty sure the lack of a boat was the reason they didn’t get off the island at the first opportunity … :D

      • #3 by Jubbz on December 18, 2009 - 11:25 pm

        they coulda swam. >_>

        Or checked the second docking area.

  2. #4 by Deus on December 18, 2009 - 1:12 pm

    “but it would be pointless for Ange to fool herself”

    Au contraire, Ange is a follower of Maria’s white magic, and if we go by the “no magic exists” hypothesis, has been inherently fooling herself for years. Ultimately, the events we see from her standpoint are no more dependable than the magic scenes in 1986.

    • #5 by Shounen A on December 18, 2009 - 1:16 pm

      That’s a pretty good point.

  3. #6 by Marion on December 18, 2009 - 5:31 pm

    It should be made clear that Eva-Beatrice is NOT the Black Witch. The Black Witch takes on the form of the person the viewer hates the most. So for Ange she sees the witch as Eva or Evatrice. Here’s a cap from the game that explains it. Evatrice basically says that because Ange still sees her as Eva then that means Ange hasn’t been able to forgive Eva just yet. http://i49.tinypic.com/qxs8wj.png

  4. #7 by RP on December 19, 2009 - 5:08 pm

    I’ll be disappointed if the murders can be explained by additional suspects coming onto the island via the hidden dock after the original 6 died.

    • #8 by Shounen A on December 20, 2009 - 1:21 am

      As for my own personal theory, I’m still sticking to “there were more than eighteen people on the island in the first place”.

  5. #9 by jakinbandw on December 20, 2009 - 5:23 am

    I am standing by my theory that Kinzo was already dead, and that the 18th person on the island is there in his place. The whole thing with him missing in the first arc would be explained so perfectly by that!

    Real world battler, has never seen him alive. And Beatrice has never denied it. She said there were only 18 on the island, and that she would not need to prove it. Well real world battler never saw it proved.

    • #10 by Shounen A on December 21, 2009 - 4:46 am

      Hey, you’re stealing meta-Battler’s theory! ;)

      Technically, it has not been said that there are exactly eighteen people on the island in red, just that there were not nineteen or more people. Which makes me wonder if there is some special reason for this, and hence my wondering if there is some timing thing going on (perhaps at first there were nineteen or more, but at the time the red text was said there were less than nineteen?).

  6. #11 by drastikhate on December 20, 2009 - 6:53 am

    I’m pretty sure Battler and Ange has Multiple personality disorder. Battler has been “killing” his other selves time and time again and is still living on the hidden mansion. So in ep 25, Ange killed the bodyguards but not as herself but as the 7 sisters and amakusa “doesn’t” exist as i never saw the captain talk to amakusa… so MAYBE Ange became Amakusa??

    • #12 by Shounen A on December 21, 2009 - 4:50 am

      That’s just crazy talk: Kawabata clearly responds to Amakusa’s questions. :p

      (So the captain doesn’t directly look at Amakusa while answering: I’d say that it’s a real stretch to say that Amakusa doesn’t exist. ^_^;; )

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