Episode IV-VI of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, “adjourn”, begins in the underground dungeon of the Quadorian. With the three goat servants watching the prisoners having been summoned by Gaap, it’s a chance for the prisoners to escape. The prison cell isn’t so flimsy that the prisoners can just shake the bars loose, however, and apparently none of them have lock picking skills, so there is no escape through realistic means. But the bars are no obstacle to Kanon’s magic power: when the others are shocked at what just happened, Kanon and Shannon simply declare that they are human.
When Vergilia is informed by the Siesta sisters of the prisoners’ escape, she gives a tantrum about Gaap using her summons without permission. The tantrum is followed by an order to the Siesta sisters to kill the escaped prisoners. I’d say Vergilia’s tantrum was pretty undignified compared to her normally elegant composure shown so far, and it was pretty funny. Not that this would be of any comfort to those who are about to be killed …
Meanwhile, Jessica is still beating on Ronove’s magic shield and George has just mopped up the goat servants that Gaap had summoned. When George is about to land a finishing blow on Gaap, black portals swallow up George and Jessica to the same place, where George ends up kicking off half of Jessica’s face while Jessica’s punch impales George. Normal humans doing that much damage to the human body? Feels like another case of fake magic covering up what really happened.
This fulfills the second twilight of the inscription. Gaap says that she was never in any danger of being defeated, and she returns Jessica’s body to Ronove. This fits pretty well with Beatrice’s modus operandi of giving her victims high hopes and then completely crushing them. Still, it doesn’t keep me from thinking to Gaap, “Sure, you keep telling yourself that, but it feels like someone is making things up as they go along.” Especially with Gaap’s summoning of the goat servants that allowed an apparently unplanned escape of the prisoners, although Gaap may have done it just to annoy Vergilia.
Back in Jessica’s room, Ronove gives Jessica about three minutes to do whatever she wants before her death becomes a permanent fact. Jessica uses the time to call Battler, where she informs him that she has been beaten and is already dead with half her head blown off. She also informs Battler that George must have died instantaneously. Jessica warns Battler that the enemy is not human but the devil, and then her time is up. What’s left in Jessica’s room is her dead body with half her face gone again.
By now, Krauss, Kyrie, Nanjo, Shannon, and Kanon have traversed an underground tunnel from the Quadorian to behind the main mansion. But when Shannon is about to pull up Kanon from the tunnel entrance, a hole is blown through Kanon’s chest, which is soon followed by a shot through Shannon’s head. The rest try to run away, but Nanjo is soon shot through the head as well. Krauss and Kyrie try to take refuge in the mansion, but Krauss is shot through the head when they reach the rear gate, and only Kyrie manages to reach the mansion.
In the kitchen, Kyrie calls Battler, warning him that if the call were to be suddenly cut short, it would mean she was dead. Kyrie made the call to drill into Battler one thing: if a devil or witch were to appear before him, he should not doubt what they are. Battler cannot believe what Kyrie is saying, but she just asks for his forgiveness for having been cold to him at times for being Asumu’s son. Battler exclaims that there is no need for forgiveness as Kyrie is his mother in the present, but she is soon shot through the chest. The time is now 11:46PM.
Battler is enraged at what has happened to almost everyone else, but Maria is just happy that Beatrice should have revived by now. Maria then picks up the phone when it rings, and she hands it to Battler after receiving instructions, after which she leaves for her test. The caller is Beatrice, whom Battler obviously does not recognize until she identifies herself, and she’s doing a pretty good impression of an over-the-top evil overlord. And of course, Battler has a few choice words about what he intends to do with her and Kinzo.
It seems that the original plan was for Kinzo to administer Battler’s test and for Beatrice to administer Maria’s test, but Battler’s outburst made her change her mind. Incidentally, this Beatrice is wearing the clothes worn by the “real” Beatrice of the second arc. Beatrice instructs Battler to head to the storehouse, but instead of Beatrice, a peek into the still locked storehouse through the window reveals the dead bodies of Kumasawa and Gohda hanging from the ceiling, each having a bloody hole in their head.
Battler then notices a lit room in the otherwise dark mansion. Heading to the mansion, he comes across a small box and is confronted by Beatrice. In the box are the instructions for his test. The test is almost the same as Jessica’s and George’s, except there is no name for the second choice: Beatrice not knowing Battler’s loved one, she had left it blank. Battler wants to fill it in with Beatrice’s name, but Beatrice insists on filling it with the name of the woman Battler loves. Of course, Battler denies having such a woman and wouldn’t tell Beatrice even if he did. If Beatrice had asked meta-Battler, he might have had more justification with filling the blank with her name: he doesn’t love her, but she would be the foremost woman in his mind by now …
Anyways, Battler’s lack of a love interest makes the test rather pointless, so Beatrice changes the test. Beatrice declares that it is time for Battler to atone for a sin he committed six years ago and demands that he remember what it was. Remembering his sin is Battler’s test, but besides having thrown away the Ushiromiya name when his father had remarried, which is not the answer, Battler has no idea what Beatrice is talking about. Whatever it is, it’s closely related to Rokkenjima, and it seems to be something very important to Beatrice.
In the meta world, meta-Battler also has no idea what the “real” Beatrice was referring to, but he guesses that it must have been something he did to her from Beatrice’s expression. However, Beatrice clarifies that he and she had not yet met six years ago, and that it has nothing to do with the relationship between them. Meta-Battler has not a clue what Beatrice must then be referring to, but Beatrice claims that his sin causes people to die, and in fact, he is one of the reasons for the deaths on Rokkenjima.
Back in the real world, Battler hasn’t a clue to Beatrice’s question. Surprisingly, this just seems to depress Beatrice, and instead of killing anyone with glee like she would have on other occasions, she simply declares that the game is over. Back in Kinzo’s study, Kinzo is pretty happy about how Maria passed her test with flying colors. Noticing how Beatrice is subdued, he wonders if there is not enough alcohol or fish, and if there weren’t enough, even lightheartedly suggests they fry himself. Beatrice is in a really bad mood, however, so she seriously takes up the suggestion to burn the incessantly talking Kinzo.
Ronove, Vergilia, and Gaap show up, the former two being concerned at how detached Beatrice seems to be. However, Beatrice seems so depressed that she doesn’t even want to answer their queries. Gaap, on the other hand, doesn’t know when to shut up like Kinzo before her, and she gets frozen for it. And Beatrice has them withdraw. Switching to the meta world, meta-Battler is weirded out by Beatrice’s behavior, and Beatrice declares that she quits, having gotten tired of the game.
Meta-Battler is hopeful that this means the game has ended with his victory, but Beatrice clarifies that there will be no winner or loser, that the game will simply be left alone. At meta-Battler’s puzzlement, Bernkastel shows up to clarify that the game will be suspended forever, while Lambdadelta shows up to complain about Beatrice quitting. And Ange, a.k.a. Gretel, shows up to complain how irresponsible Beatrice is after having involved Battler.
Beatrice’s response is to ask in turn whether meta-Battler even qualifies to be her opponent. To make her point, she allows meta-Battler the use of red and demands that he repeat what she says. When meta-Battler wonders if it’s OK for him to say things in red, Beatrice declares that it will be allowed for this special occasion. Lambdadelta tries to stop it, but Beatrice intends to go through it. Everyone is surprised by Beatrice’s reaction: I’m surprised that even Bernkastel looks surprised.
The first thing that Beatrice has meta-Battler say is:
- The mother of Ushiromiya Battler is Ushiromiya Asumu.
The next thing that Beatrice has meta-Battler say is “I was born from Ushiromiya Asumu.” When he tries to say it, however, meta-Battler doubles in pain. Trying to say it again gives the same result. With meta-Battler’s inability to repeat it in red, Beatrice declares that meta-Battler has no right to be her opponent. The reason being that Beatrice started the game to battle the grandchild of Ushiromiya Kinzo, Ushiromiya Battler. Meta-Battler still has not fully accepted what his inability to repeat the statement in red implies, and again fails to repeat it.
Beatrice makes it explicit: meta-Battler is not the son of Ushiromiya Asumu, and still being unable to accept this, meta-Battler disappears, shortly followed by Beatrice herself. While Bernkastel may have been disappointed at how the game won’t continue, it doesn’t bother her all that much, and she just disappears as well. Lambdadelta is much more desperate to keep Bernkastel around, but she and Ange are soon gone from the meta tea room, too.
The scene then changes to a field of golden flowers, where Beatrice mopes to Maria how they are the only two people who understand magic. Maria suggests that Beatrice forget everything and just stay where they are, where they can forever be free from being hurt by others. Maybe this is the real Golden Land, or maybe not: it does seem a lot nicer than the golden lands suggested by previous arcs, but it looks so boring … Beatrice nods her agreement, and the episode ends with tears falling from her eyes.
There have been a number of events that had an odd sense of unreality in this arc (Kinzo being unusually strong for a dying man, people moving between places with incredible speed, human hits causing extreme damage, etc.): it almost feels like Beatrice is only making a half-hearted attempt at putting on a magical facade over real events. Of course, it could have been another attempt to hoodwink meta-Battler, but Beatrice’s depression in the latter half of the episode might mean that she really was being half-hearted. It might even be because Battler hurt her feelings with his accusations at the end of the episode III-VII. (Nah, it can’t be.) As for the game itself, I’m sure someone is going to figure out how to forcefully continue it one way or another.
- With how everyone is seeing witches and magic and not doubting it, it makes me think of Hinamizawa Syndrome. It can’t be, considering that Umineko no Naku Koro ni is in a different world from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (otherwise, I must protest Oishi’s demotion), but something like that could explain why the murders seem so different from arc to arc. If everyone became murderous, things would go very differently depending on who makes the first move. Not to mention that an insane murderer is unlikely to have had a preset plan before arriving at the island, assuming they went insane after arriving on the island.
- It’s funny that Battler has not seen any corpses at all except for Kumasawa’s and Gohda’s near the end. It would be even weirder if it turns out that almost no one is really dead, that people were only trying to make Battler think so. For all I know, everyone else is playing a hugely tasteless practical joke on Battler. Even Kumasawa and Gohda might not be dead, with some good stagecraft or fake bodies being used to fake their death scenes.
- No, I don’t really believe that everyone else is alive, but I won’t be surprised if three people who we were led to believe were dead are actually alive. The pattern has been five people surviving right up to the end, and besides Maria, three people may have been faking their deaths. It won’t be too hard when the only evidence they are dead is revealed to Battler over the phone.
- If there are five survivors in all, it might be the case that the four others besides Battler feverishly believe that if Battler were just to believe in the existence of magic, then a miracle will happen, and so they kill everyone else in a desperate scheme to make it happen. Hence all the emphasis on trying to make Battler believe that devils and witches are real.
- Another anomaly with this story arc is that all the deaths appear to have occurred on the first day, and within two hours at that. This is a huge difference from the other arcs, where it was strongly implied that the first six deaths occurred after midnight, even if not always confirmed. Unless there was a huge time skip that we weren’t shown.
- Kinzo lightheartedly suggesting that he be burnt might suggest that it was always the plan that he would be burned. In fact, it might even be his own idea: he could have ordered one of the servants to burn him, and it could technically be called murder. Since he was going to die in any case, he may have wanted to use his death towards some goal.
- That Battler might not be Ushiromiya Battler is a humongous bombshell. It might have been a loophole about meta-Battler possibly not being Battler and being created from something else, but I doubt Beatrice would be using such a technicality. However, it doesn’t exclude something like adoption (and if this were today instead of 1986, a surrogate mother would also be a possibility). One crazy idea: Battler might actually be Kyrie’s supposedly stillborn child, and was switched in some sort of conspiracy against Kyrie.
- Too bad meta-Battler was only allowed to speak red for this special occasion. If he could have kept the ability, it would be a reliable, albeit painful, method of figuring out what is definitely true and not true.
- The scene on the beach in episode III-I suggests that it was six years ago when Battler stopped coming to Rokkenjima. That may be about the time when Asumu died, which directly led to Rudolf marrying Kyrie and Ange being born, the last of which definitely happened six years ago. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence given how Beatrice claims that Battler committed some great sin six years ago.
- I bet that one of meta-Battler’s first suspicions after he calms down would be that Beatrice is hatching another scheme to fool him. And I bet that he would be wrong.
- Maria’s test probably had Rosa’s name on it, and given the willingness she had shown in killing her mother, it wouldn’t be hard if she chose the second choice. Except that Rosa is supposedly already dead, and it’s possible that Maria may have made a different choice.
- Ange hasn’t been very helpful to meta-Battler so far. I can’t really blame her, since there hasn’t been much back and forth between Beatrice and meta-Battler this round. However, I think she will be crucial in resuming the game, perhaps through one of two ways. First, by revealing to meta-Battler that she is Ange, which could properly motivate him to get back in the game instead of moping about how he isn’t who he thought he was. (“I am the son of Ushiryomiya Rudolf” might still work.) Another, by taking Battler’s place as Beatrice’s opponent, herself being a grandchild of Kinzo. The latter is unlikely, since Beatrice revealed that the players of the game were explicitly supposed to be Battler and Beatrice, which is a very interesting revelation in itself.
- I think the “real” Beatrice and the “meta” Beatrice are one and the same, especially given the symbolic transition in this episode where a melancholy “real” Beatrice is immediately followed by a melancholy “meta” Beatrice, but I also suspect that there is some real significance to the different dresses between the “real” and “meta”.