Something Resembling an Umineko Liveblog

INUH

Episode 1 Deductions, AKA The Really Long Installment that Wasn't Intended For a Liveblog

So I've been meaning to do one of these liveblog things for awhile, and I never got around to it. So a few days ago, I was reading Umineko Episode 1 (I'd seen the first two arcs of the anime, but not read it) and I found myself taking notes and writing down theories. Then it occurred to me that this could be something resembling a liveblog. The stuff for episode 1 will be almost entirely focused on figuring stuff out, since this wasn't intended for liveblogging purposes, but I think I'll branch out more for the later ones.

I'd like to note that I don't plan for every installment of this liveblogish thing to be as long as the first one. It's just that way because I had it all typed up before I decided to use it as a liveblog.

I'll probably add a “general Ep 1 impressions” section to the end of Ep 1. But for now, my notes:

Umbrella/Letter:

  • Alibis:
    • Battler, Jessica, George were in the guest house.
    • Rosa went straight inside and fallen asleep.
    • Krauss, Eva, Rudolf, Hideyoshi, Kyrie were having a “pleasant chat.”
    • Gohda had to prepare the meal. Likes showing off, so wouldn't lie.
    • Shannon, Kanon and Kumasawa were preparing guest rooms. But they work for Kinzo, and could be lying.
    • Kinzo and Nanjo were playing chess in the study.
    • Natsuhi was resting in her room. No alibi.
    • Genji never actually gets an alibi, but doesn't exactly resemble Beatrice.
  • Conclusion:
    • It was most likely either Shannon or Natsuhi who disguised as Beatrice. More on that later, after I've figured out some more stuff.

First Murders:

  • Before:
    • Rudolf predicted his death.
    • Just before, Krauss showed Natsuhi the gold. She was angry that he hadn't before.
    • Jessica gave Natsuhi the amulet. These two are the only ones aware of this.
    • Blood was on Natsuhi's doorknob.
    • Battler, Jessica, George and Maria were the only ones staying in the guest house.
    • According to Hideyoshi, meeting ended a little past midnight.
  • Servant Schedules:
    • Shannon, Kanon have Guesthouse night shift. Shannon instead goes to mansion.
    • Kumasawa, Genji were to spend night at Guesthouse.
    • Gohda has mansion night shift.
    • This is on Krauss's orders; the original plan was the opposite.
  • Victims (6):
    • Gohda
    • Krauss
    • Rudolf
    • Kyrie
    • Rosa
    • Shannon
  • Appropriate epitaph passage: "At the first twilight, you shall lift up as sacrifice the six chosen by the key.”
  • Bodies:
    • Found in rose garden storehouse
    • Died at least six hours before found (Around 8:15 → Killed before 2 :15AM.)
    • Mutilated after deaths
    • Blood found in the dining hall
  • Storehouse:
    • Locked
    • Key kept in servants' room
    • Entrance is a shutter
    • Mark on the entrance
    • Key was returned after use
    • Lock replaced afterwards. Natsuhi asks for the only key.
  • The Circle:
    • Apparently the “seventh magic circle of the sun” from Psalm 116:16-17.
    • Represents breaking free of bonds.
  • Alive after this point (12):
    • Battler
    • Maria
    • George
    • Jessica
    • Hideyoshi
    • Natsuhi
    • Kinzo
    • Nanjo
    • Genji
    • Kanon
    • Kumasawa
    • Eva
  • The Key:
    • It was unmarked. Thus, the killer is someone familiar with the house. These survivors live in the house year-round:
      • Natsuhi
      • Jessica
      • Kinzo
      • Kanon
      • Genji
      • Kumasawa
  • Aftermath
    • Kinzo vanishes by the time the dining room blood is discovered.
  • Turning the chessboard over:
    • The killer intends us to suspect three possibilities: Eva, Beatrice and the servants.
      • Eva stands the most to gain, as the immediate heir after this. She also lost the least.
      • The servants could have done it most easily, with numbers and the key.
      • It fits Beatrice's epitaph.
  • Conclusion:
    • This one has to be Natsuhi. After the squabbles and the gold revelation, she feels that she's the only one fit to lead the family. Therefore, she kills almost all of her rivals, using a weapon and surprise to overcome numbers. This sets up Eva to take the blame (which would put her back at number one for succession), and just to have another explanation in case that fails, she kills the two servants present and sets up some occult-looking creepiness to make it look like someone's following Beatrice's epitaph. I'm not sure where she learned of the magic circle, but it seems appropriate to her motive and might be a message to Kinzo. She touched her doorknob and then realized how suspicious the blood looked, so she smeared it all over the door in a way that made it look like someone was trying to get in.

Eva and Hideyoshi's murders

  • Before:
    • They both suspected Natsuhi of killing/abducting Kinzo. She was pissed.
    • Up until this point, no murders had “proven” that Beatrice was responsible.
    • They intended to keep the chain locked until dinner.
    • Maria, if she meets Beatrice again, will tell her to commit a humanly impossible crime.
    • They left the parlor at 4 P.M.
    • Timeskip to 7 P.M. and Eva and Hideyoshi are still alive.
  • Alibis:
    • Kanon, Kumasawa, Nanjo and Genji were in the kitchen.
    • Battler, Maria, George, Jessica and Natsuhi were in the parlor.
    • Eva and Hideyoshi were (duh) in their room.
  • Victims (2):
    • Eva
    • Hideyoshi
  • The Bodies:
    • Eva is on the bed, face-up, with the murder weapon sticking out of her forehead.
    • Hideyoshi is in the tub with the shower running and the weapon in his forehead.
    • Killed within the last hour or so.
    • Murder weapons are those weird occult spear thingies.
  • Survivors:
    • Natsuhi
    • Jessica
    • George
    • Battler
    • Maria
    • Kanon
    • Genji
    • Kumasawa
    • Nanjo
    • Kinzo (?)
  • Appropriate epitaph passage: “At the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.”
  • The Letter: Everyone's careful to avoid touching it except Natsuhi. Unfortunately, she has an alibi.
  • The Circle:
    • Someone drew it during the time that Kumasawa and Kanon went to get the cutter.
    • Apparently the “first magic circle of the moon.” Not sure how it counts as a circle.
    • From Psalm 107:16.
    • Basically means “Look! Look at me! I can go through locked doors!”
  • The Chain:
    • The murder appears to be a perfect “locked room” mystery.
    • The window was locked from the inside. The door was both locked and chained.
    • I'm more concerned about the lock than the chain. Given a little time, it's possible to set a chain after leaving the room if you really want to. For example, you might unscrew the part that attaches to the wall, leaving it dangling from the door, leave, then reattach it. The crack is apparently around 10 cm (four inches-ish) wide, so it leaves more than enough room to reach a hand with a screwdriver through.
  • Turning the chessboard over:
    • This murder is designed to quell any doubts that Beatrice exists. Everyone has an alibi.
  • Conclusion:
  • This one was Kinzo. He's literally the only option, after all.. Working it out backwards from that, I'd say that he entered the room (they would likely have let him in, since he's Eva's father and all), killed them both, then remained in the room and locked and chained the door. He would have known that it would take awhile to get the wire cutter, so he was able to unscrew the chain, exit, screw it back on, paint the symbol and leave. As for motive, the murder appears to benefit Natsuhi by removing suspicion of her. I'm thinking he's working with her.

Kanon's murder and Kinzo's discovery

  • Victims:
    • Kanon
    • Kinzo
  • The murder:
    • This one happens really fast. It's just after the last bodies are discovered.
    • The boiler starts emitting an awful stench.
    • There's then a door-slamming noise from the boiler room.
    • The boiler room has two entrances, so Kanon rushes in to catch the culprit.
    • Kumasawa delays for a moment, then dashes after him. He grabs a hatchet.
    • The butterflies appear. Not sure how reliable the narration is here.
    • Kanon makes an awesome speech, then runs into the darkness.
    • He gets stabbed in his chest with a stake-thingy.
    • Kumasawa sees all this. I doubt she could take him out. She's pretty weak.
  • The aftermath:
    • Everyone rushes in. The killer is gone. The other door is slightly cracked.
    • Kinzo's corpse is then pulled from the furnace. Confirmed to be Kinzo by polydactyly.
    • Kinzo's corpse has a stake in his forehead. The ring is missing.
    • Genji says that the flames weren't that strong, so he must have been in there for a long time.
  • Appropriate epitaph passage: “At the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill. At the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.”
  • The boiler room:
    • The room is dark enough that you can't even see the open exit door without a flashlight.
    • The exit leads to the courtyard. Battler rushes through it, but the killer is gone.
    • There are two ways back inside, both unlocked.
  • Survivors:
    • Natsuhi
    • Jessica
    • George
    • Battler
    • Maria
    • Genji
    • Kumasawa
    • Nanjo
  • Turning the chessboard over:
    • The door was left open “as if someone had carelessly run through.” But we don't know for sure that someone did. Perhaps this was done to give the impression that someone left when in reality, nobody had.
    • Kinzo's corpse was burned. This can't have been to hide his identity, given the extra toes. Therefore, the only reason to do so would be to hide the time of death, eliminating him as a suspect for the previous pair of murders. The epitaph also implies that Kinzo died first.
    • This murder, once again, tries to create the illusion that no human could have done it.
  • Conclusion:
    • It's here that Battler brings up the possibility that there was a fake body among the first six. This made me look at the length of the document I'd already typed up and say “oh, shit.” However, I'm going to assume that they were all real for the moment. I may revisit this chapter later.
    • Furthermore, I'm going to assume that Kumasawa didn't go all unreliable narrator on us and kill Kanon. I doubt she could have taken him out when he had that axe.
    • Right. This is going to sound crazy, but this is by far the most difficult murder in this arc to solve, so I'm kind of having to work with what I can.
    • I think Kinzo is responsible for both of these deaths. Though Genji indicated that he must have been in the furnace for a long time, I think he could have sped up the process of his burning by coating himself in some sort of flammable substance, such as gasoline, to further confuse the time of his death. He then placed something in the furnace to create the stench (anything smelly would have worked – who on Rokkenjima would have known what burning human flesh smells like?) and made a noise to ensure that someone came to check it out. Kanon came down. Kinzo then killed him, jumped into the furnace and stabbed himself in the head.
    • Yeah... I'm not entirely certain on this one. Perhaps when I'm done, I'll look back through this document and make a “final” version. I'm trying to keep each section “as is,” though.

Nanjo's, Genji's and Kumasawa's murders

  • Before:
    • Someone places the letter on the table.
    • According to Natsuhi, it has to have been Genji, Nanjo, Kumasawa or Maria.
    • It legitimately can't have been Battler, George or Jessica, as they were over at the painting.
    • The four suspects leave the study.
    • Battler determines that the magic circle from the letter represents discord.
    • The phone rings. It's Maria singing in the distance.
    • They leave the room. Battler is armed with a spear-like candlestick, Natsuhi with a rifle.
    • They realize that the icepick-things are probably fired from some sort of weapon. I want this weapon. It sounds awesome.
    • The parlor door is locked.
    • They enter, to find Nanjo, Genji and Kumasawa dead and Maria facing the wall and singing.
  • Victims(3):
    • Nanjo
    • Genji
    • Kumasawa
  • Bodies:
    • Faces destroyed like the original corpses
    • Icepicks in Genji's stomach, Kumasawa's calf and Nanjo's knee.
  • Appropriate Epitaph passage: “At the sixth twilight, gouge the belly and kill. At the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill. At the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.”
  • Survivors:
    • Battler
    • Maria
    • Jessica
    • George
    • Natsuhi
  • Conclusion:
    • This, to me, is the easiest one so far. Maria did it. There is simply no other option. The only physically fit opponent she'd have is Genji, so if she got him in the stomach first, she could probably get the other two. Nanjo was likely next, since he got it in the knee, indicating that he was still facing her. Kumasawa's calf injury probably indicates that she was running away.

Natsuhi's death

  • Victim?(1):
    • Natsuhi
  • Summary:
    • The shortest one. She leaves the room, reading a letter (according to Maria). We then see a scene which makes me wonder if this episode's narrator is as unreliable as all the others'. The kids hear a gunshot and then find her having apparently shot herself in the forehead. There's no letter. Then the painting apparently starts laughing.
  • Conclusion:
    • Um... suicide, I guess? Then the letter...vanishes. Unless Maria was lying...

The rest of the deaths

  • The police found enough pieces of corpses that they determine that all of the children are dead as well. Maria, or someone claiming to be her, apparently sent out a message in a bottle. Maria's jawbone was found.
  • Conclusion:

Tea party at Purgatory

  • Battler is awesome. That's really all there is to say on the matter.
  • His deductions could have been better, but I suppose if he'd solved it, there wouldn't be another 7 games.

Witches' Tea Party

  • Okay, so it's a really obvious Higurashi reference. I assume that will be important within the next 7 episodes.


Right. That's what I typed up while reading it. At some point, I'm going to need to look back through that and type out a coherent sequence of events and list the things it still doesn't explain. Perhaps later. My next installment, though, will be my general impressions about Episode 1. It will probably be less than 20% of the length of this one.

Comments

Oh, this is interesting. I like this "just the facts" approach. Especially because it misses a few important points that are only obvious in retrospect. And it takes for gospel stuff that one should really not trust.

I shall follow this avidly, as I'm always fearing I've missed important data on my previous readings.
Jhiday 9th Jan 11
So far, so fun. I'll be looking forward to the rest of this.
arbane 9th Jan 11
A very good liveblog here. I like this format and detail. Keep it up.

You've made some interesting assumptions and guesses.
PataHikari 9th Jan 11