Episode II-VI of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “back rank mate”, starts where the previous episode ended, with Beatrice confronting George and Shannon. Beatrice mentions to Shannon something about the roulette having picked her and George, and telling her to be thankful that the time of liberation is near. Liberation obviously meaning death, as Beatrice taunts Shannon that she will die before she can physically consummate her relationship with George. This is when George finally manages to open the box.
Sort of boringly, the box was the correct one with Natsuhi’s evil repelling mirror. As Beatrice sets her golden butterflies and goats to kill George and Beatrice, Shannon shows a similar but different power than the one shown by Kanon in episode II-III. It is a barrier that easily annihilates the attacking butterflies and goats. Beatrice then summons a fake Kanon (not sure whether the body is a fake, but the red eyes and blue light blade mark it as fake at least in soul), and the attack by the fake Kanon fails as well.
Shannon managed to repel the attacks relatively easily thanks to power from the mirror, although I’m not sure if the specific manifestation of her power as a strong barrier is due to the mirror or because Shannon’s power is defensive in nature in contrast to Kanon’s offensive power. Beatrice is impressed by the “furniture”, but Shannon declares herself to be human. In fact, Shannon pities Beatrice, who seems to be unable to understand the love between Shannon and George. This angers Beatrice enough that she puts a serious effort into killing them with her golden butterflies.
Even Shannon’s reinforced barrier is no match for Beatrice’s power, so before they die Shannon asks George for a statement of love as a last request. George would have happily obliged, but Beatrice is cruel enough that she won’t even let him say it. Her golden butterflies coalesce into a couple of stakes, which quickly pierce through Shannon and George multiple times, with one ending up impaled in George’s torso and the other in Shannon’s head.
The time is now 9:00PM. Genji has just discovered the bodies of Nanjo and Kumasawa outside in the rain. He reports this to Rosa at the parlor, where the barricade of furniture has oddly gone away. Rosa and the others go outside to check out the bodies, and both are impaled with stakes in accordance to the seventh and eighth twilights of the inscription. Battler realizes that these skip the fourth to six twilights, and heads with the others to Natsuhi’s room where Genji said Gouda, Shannon, and George were going.
Outside Natsuhi’s room, Rosa and Battler are shocked to see blood all over the door. Rosa takes a key out of her pocket (I thought she put all the master keys in Maria’s handbag, but looks like she kept one for herself), and Battler uses it to open the locked door. They find Gouda and George on the floor impaled in the torso, and Shannon is slumped over the dresser. When Battler checks out Shannon, he finds a bloody stake impaled in her head that slips out, which is when Rosa forcefully pulls him away supposedly because nothing should be touched until the police arrive.
Battler notes that all the twilights up to the eighth one have been fulfilled, and with the ninth twilight being what it is, he is pretty depressed about how all of the survivors are supposed to end up dead. In contrast, Rosa is very adamant about not dying. Rosa, Maria, Battler, and Genji head back to the parlor, and while using her key to open the door, Rosa tells Genji to go away. Of course, Genji does as he is told while Battler can’t believe how Rosa could let Genji be alone under these dangerous circumstances, but Rosa ignores Battler’s outburst.
In the parlor, Battler discovers another letter on the table. It contains two sheets, with one having a drawing of the Seventh Magic Seal of the Sun that Maria explained in episode I-III and had been drawn in blood on the doors of the storehouse and the chapel in episode I-II and episode II-III, respectively. I’m not sure if Battler recognizes the drawing, however. The other sheet asks how the solution to the mystery of the inscription is going, stating that time is almost up and that the ninth twilight will start shortly.
When Rosa and Maria see Battler reading the letter, Rosa concludes that Battler must be a wolf because no one else could have left the letter. Battler points out that Rosa is just as suspicious, and Rosa again points out that she could have just shot him with the gun. But now this is not enough for Battler to exclude Rosa having some twisted scheme in mind, as he brings up how she is the most suspicious since she is the only one of the parents to have survived. Battler may have had the suspicion from the start or only thought of it in the heat of the moment, but now he says out loud how the most obvious explanation is that Rosa killed the six initial victims.
Whether because Battler is making an outrageous accusation against her or because he is too close to the truth, his accusation touches a nerve and Rosa is almost ready to shoot him. Sanity returns when a crying Maria gets between them, pleading for them to stop, that no one is bad and it was the witch with her magic that did everything. Battler is completely despondent due to the psychological stress, telling himself that the witch was the perpetuator. He yells for Beatrice to show up and tell him it was so, while Maria and Rosa watch him sadly.
Meanwhile in Kinzou’s study, Kinzou is alive and well. Like at the end of episode II-I, he is yearning for his beloved Beatrice to show up. Interestingly, he also mentions something about at least letting him apologize to her about something. The scorpion charm on the door to his study might not be all that it is hyped to be, since a single golden butterfly flies around him when he is lamenting. There is then a knock on his door, and the crying Kinzou is ecstatic that it might be Beatrice. The time is 11:30PM.
In the dining room, Battler is busy getting drunk when someone knocks on the door he no longer even bothers to lock. It is Genji, who tells Battler that it might be time for him to learn everything. When Battler is taken to Kinzou’s study, he is shocked to find a great number of golden butterflies in the room. He also finds Kinzou and Beatrice seated against each other with a chess board between them. And this Beatrice is wearing modern clothes like in episode II-II, in contrast to every other appearance of her in this arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
With the opening of the door to the golden land nearing, Beatrice is willing to answer Battler’s questions. Battler wants to know why the killings happened, about the keys to the locked rooms, the identity of the witch, her goal, and why he was summoned. While Beatrice is willing to answer him, she has a condition: if he were to be convinced of her existence, he will kneel and kiss her shoes, since she summoned to make him submit, which answers Battler’s last question. Battler readily agrees to her conditions. Throughout this exchange, Kinzou was oddly silent. The time is now 11:45PM.
At the chapel, Rosa arrives with Maria in tow. Rosa approaches the table with the six initial victims, during which she lets out a small sound of frustration or anger. Rosa puts a single gold bar in Maria’s handbag to take along with them, with all three bars apparently being too heavy to carry all together. But Maria starts being creepily happy about meeting Beatrice soon. Rosa says that she must know (know what? where Beatrice is? the truth Rosa may have been trying to hide?) and asks where Beatrice is, to which Maria only answers that they will meet Beatrice in the golden land. A frustrated Rosa cries out for Beatrice to show up, and a golden butterfly appears in the chapel.
Back in the mansion, Genji announces to a group of waiting humanoid goats the entrance of the newly revived Golden Witch, Lady Beatrice. Back in medieval clothes, Beatrice enters with a naked Battler on a leash. Whatever she told Battler, it must have completely broken his spirits. Among the crowd is Berkanstel, who is wearing a goat mask that is soon taken off. When Beatrice approaches with the leashed Battler, Berkanstel finds it pitiable. And when Beatrice asks how she likes the new furniture, Berkanstel doesn’t think much of Beatrice’s tastes and leaves.
It is now time for Beatrice to open the door to the Golden Land. She sends a stream of golden butterflies towards the grandfather clock, which points to 11:57PM, and the butterflies coalesce into Kinzou. Unlike his silence in the study, Kinzou calls out for Beatrice to send him to the golden land. But humanoid goats, some of them possibly being humans wearing goat masks, gather around Kinzou and dismember him. While Kinzou is brutally killed, Battler does not show much emotional reaction. However, it is soon his own turn to die. After Beatrice leaves, he suffers the same fate as Kinzou in terror. It is now almost midnight.
Outside, Rosa and Maria are running away from golden butterflies and goats. But Maria falls down and is quickly seized by a goat. Rosa proves herself to be a good shot as she shoots the goat, and she shoots a couple more goats as she declares that she won’t let them hurt Maria. While she gives the gun to Maria to reload ammunition, Rosa gets rid of even more goats with the gold bar reinforced handbag of Maria’s. After the gun is reloaded, Rosa and Maria get some breathing room as the goats are cautious of approaching them.
During this short time, Rosa is thankful to Maria who wants to be together, despite herself being a bad mother. Rosa says she didn’t need any gold, and says that it would have been better if she had just held onto Maria’s hand, regretting being an idiotic mother. And she declares that the two will always be together as the goats run in en masse to attack. This was a moment of awesome for Rosa: I knew there was a reason why I find her compelling.
It is now exactly midnight. Rosa wakes up and finds herself tied to a chair facing Beatrice, who promises to give her everything she wants. Beatrice states that Rosa’s pain comes from her siblings and conjures some sick dishes. One is made from the blood of her proud brother Klaus, another is made from the tongue of Eva, which Rosa wanted to bite on her ninth birthday for whatever reason, and yet another is made from the face of Rudolph, who had often betrayed Rosa. And a horrified Rosa is force-fed all of it.
The worst is for last as dessert: it is the head of Maria. Beatrice says that Rosa only pretended to love her daughter, and she is very much enjoying the cruelty she is inflicting. The head of Maria talks, asking Rosa if she was a nuisance. Maria considers herself to have been a nuisance whenever Rosa had a man in the house or when Rosa stayed out with a man, and Maria is sorry she was born. Rosa is in tears, but Maria suddenly laughs insanely and tells Ushiromiya Rosa to eat her, pushing herself into Rosa’s mouth.
Beatrice is having a great time, and she demands that Rosa admit that she is a witch. The terrified Rosa readily accepts that Beatrice is a witch. With Battler having been tamed, Beatrice is besides herself with glee with the perfect victory. So she is totally surprised when Battler shows up in good spirits, even joking to Maria that she is ten years too young to say “eat me” and to tell it to him after ten years. (At least I think he’s joking …) Battler had regained his will to fight thanks to Rosa’s persistence. And the game between Battler and Beatrice begins anew.
The scene now changes to another room with Beatrice and Berkanstel. Beatrice asks what Berkanstel thinks of this round, who answers that she was bored with the one-sided game. Beatrice asks if Berkanstel means that she has no chance of winning. Berkanstel has been pretending that she has not been playing the game, so she feigns ignorance. But Beatrice suggest they drop the charade, and she is really excited to have the chance to fight with Berkanstel, the most powerful of witches.
Another witch then shows up. It is Lambdadelta, who had apparently spent some effort trying to find Berkanstel. (Lambdadelta’s appearance reminds me of Takano Miyo from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, even if the voice is very different from the adult version.) Berkanstel calls her Lambda for short, although Lambdadelta hates being called that. Lambdadelta apparently has a grudge over having lost a previous game, so she happily arrived to join Beatrice’s side as soon as she learned about Berkanstel’s participation from Beatrice.
There is no complaint from Berkanstel about Lambdadelta’s participation. In fact, now that her participation is no longer clandestine, Berkanstel no longer intends to hold back. And Beatrice happily starts the next game.
After watching this episode, the thought that immediately comes to mind is: What the heck just happened? Things were crazy enough with Beatrice’s furniture attack, but it got completely insane after 11:30PM, and with so many things happening in just thirty minutes. Instead of leaving me exasperated at the seeming incoherency, though, it just makes me thirst for more of the show. As for the witches, Beatrice has been very heavy-handed in this round, but I wonder what Berkanstel has been doing? And now that Lambdadelta is joining the game, how is it going to change?
- After midnight, what happened did not happen in the real world but in the same place where the tea party of episode I-V occurred. And there is yet another world, the place where witches such as Beatrice, Berkanstel, and Lambdadelta gather to chat.
- Love seems to be a sore point for Beatrice.
- The most obvious speculation is that Berkanstel is helping Battler, hence his miraculous but not entirely impossible revival of morale at the end. It fits with Berkanstel being on the opposing side of Beatrice. But this is too obvious and not terribly interesting …
- The letter with the Seventh Magic Seal of the Sun that Battler picked up was not for Beatrice to break out of her bounds, but for Berkanstel, who shows up later in person. The accompanying message was from Berkanstel.
- In the previous round, Kanon had taken out the stake that impaled him. In this round, Battler accidentally removed the stake that impaled Shannon. Is the seemingly unimportant removal of a stake something that derails the entire ritual? Will a stake be removed one way or another every round, however unlikely it might be?
- Leaving the bodies alone for the police investigation was just an excuse from Rosa. The real reason is that she didn’t want the stake removed from Shannon’s head, which is why she reacted so strongly, but by then she was too late.
- The expression of frustration or anger in the chapel when approaching the table might be due to anger that someone killed her siblings, and that she was not responsible for their deaths. (Or it could just be frustration that she could not take all three gold bars.) Other small expressions of emotion here and there might suggest her innocence as well. (Or it might just be her guilt acting up.) She is still practical and is in financial difficulties, which is why she took the gold bar, rather than being her goal from the start.
- Rosa knew something from the start, whatever it may be, but Beatrice forcing Rosa to accept her existence at the end suggests that Rosa did not really believe Beatrice to be a witch despite her admission in episode II-II. Part of it may be due to her strong aversion to mention of magic. Her strong perseverance in seeking mundane explanations, even if it involved accusing the servants, helped meta-Battler maintain his resolve. Note how we never saw meta-Battler during this episode, so we do not see how his attitudes change. This does bring up the question of exactly how real-Battler and meta-Battler affect each other.
- Rosa’s regret about being an idiotic mother just before midnight might imply that something she did out of greed for gold contributed to the whole mess. Exactly what she did and whether she was directly responsible for the whole mess is another matter.