Fridge: Umineko When They Cry aka: Umineko No Naku Koro Ni
A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:
This is a personal moment for the viewer, so every example is signed by the contributor. If you start off with "This Troper", really, you have no excuse. We're going to hit you on the head.
This revelation can come from anywhere, even from this very page.
Also, this page is of a generally positive nature, and Fridge Brilliance does not have to be Word Of God. In fact, it usually isn't, and the viewer might be putting more thought into it than the creator ever did. This is not a place for personal commentary on another's remark or arguing without adding a Fridge Brilliance comment of your own.
Here Be Spoilers: This page is full of them. You have been warned.
At first, EP1 looks like a boring family drama with a very slow pacing. If you look at it again after reading some of Chiru, you'll notice that it is actually describing the problems and qualities of the suspects. Similarly, EP2 looks like a magical trainwreck at first, but makes a lot of metaphorical sense later.
The ages of the witches are said to be metaphorically representative of how long their suffering felt like. Bern's single repeated month of trying to solve Featherine and Lambda's abandoned game as a self-aware piece felt like a hundred years, Beatrice's six-year wait for Battler to come back felt like a thousand, and so on. This turns into Harsher in Hindsight mixed with a little Fridge Horror in EP 6—first when chick!Beato is introduced as a "clean slate" with a completely pure heart, and it's stated that she'd only become like the original Beatrice III if she lived through the same "thousand years", then with Battler in the closed room, where Kanon wonders how many years it felt like this had gone on.
Beatrice's archaic speech patterns involve use of the first-person pronoun "warawa", an obscure term whose kanji is derived from that of "mistress". It doesn't need to be said by this point what roletwo of the Beatrices served to Kinzo.
So why does Rosa always get wiped out swiftly and horribly? Beyond her abuse of Maria, who Beatrice dotes on, Rosa's accidental killing of Beatrice III's mother was what caused her to be handed to Natsuhi, rejected, pushed off that cliff, and abused as the servant Yasu in the first place.
In game 5, Beatrice is killed by being eaten by goats. If we consider that the goats are representations of the theories people have in the real world, it's a perfect representation of what just happened. Erika created a theory which then became truth, in other words the theories ate the reality. There's actually a better and more direct version of this in episode 2 when Battler is eaten by goats. At that point he had given up on solving the mystery, and was therefore swallowed up by all the possibilities and answers, AKA. Theories.
For a good while I wondered that, if all the episodes beside the first were written by Hachiyo Tohya / Battler, then what are the two clear Higurashi expies doing in the story. But then, as I re-read the first chapter, I found something amazing: After the first six murders, Battler discusses the suspects with Eva, and then he off-handedly mentions that he read Higurashi as a mystery-novel beforehand! I don't exactly know how that fits into the timeline, but this suddenly explains the presence of Bernkastel and Lambdadelta as created by Tohya's mind in reference to the corresponding characters in Higurashi.
In EP 3, when Beatrice rages against the idea of love, Shannon asks her, "Are those regrets your true nature?" In EP 6, we find out that the answer is a resounding yes — Beatrice was literally born from Yasu's unrequited love for Battler.
In the same scene, it seems to hit Beatrice's Berserk Button when Shannon implies that she's found love and lived a fulfilling life even though she's "furniture". In EP 6, we learn Beatrice was also created as "furniture", possessing an incomplete soul and being incapable of fulfilling her love. EP 7 further suggests that Beatrice herself was the one to invent the term "furniture", specifically referring to her inability to love.
In EP 3, Beatrice tells Ronove that even furniture can become a witch and treat demons as butlers. In EP 6, it is revealed she was in fact talking about her own origins as furniture.
In EP 1, Kinzo says that he can't die until he sees Beatrice's smile one more time. In EP 7, Kinzo dies right after finally seeing Yasu/Beatrice again.
In EP 7, it is revealed that Beatrice's real name is "Yasu". So, that means... "Yasu is the culprit!"
Well, it's more that he/she is called like this by everyone.
The part in EP 5 where Natsuhi recieves a Harassing Phone Call from the Man From 19 Years Ago can lead to some major fridge brilliance. At the end of the game, Battler makes the argument that he is the Man From 19 Years Ago, but Episode 7 reveals that the person is actually Yasu (Shannon/Kanon). However, in accordance with Knox 8, this is actually deductible from clues within EP 5. Specifically, when he proves his identity to Natsuhi by directing her to a card saying her favorite season is Fall. The obvious assumption is that he simply hid 4 cards in the room, one for each season, and directed Natsuhi to the appropriate one once she told him. However — Natsuhi declares in the Red Truth that the only person she ever told about liking Fall was Shannon. Natsuhi told the Man From 19 Years Ago about liking Fall during the card trick. Therefore, she must have been talking to Shannon.
Additionally Kanon's personality threatening Natsuhi over the phone makes a lot of sense when you realize that Kanon is always the first one to talk behind her back after Natsuhi is out of hearing range.
In EP 4, Maria talks about how Rosa's refusal to acknowledge her and Sakutaro means that neither of them will ever be able to be "fixed". In EP 6, Erika needs acknowledgment from Bernkastel to recover from being defeated by Beatrice, and Bern doesn't give it, meaning Erika's wounds will be fatal.
Way back in EP 2, George and Shannon introduce the concept that a married couple's eternal happiness is completed the instant they marry, so it doesn't matter if they die right afterward. This may be a comfort to those playing through EP 7 and seeing Beatrice's "funeral".
Though this becomes Fridge Horror when you realize that the engagement and George's comment of them already being married, was the event in Ep 2 that finally drove Yasu to commit the murders. Discussed here
All the chess analogies, metaphors and things of the like at first seem to be there purely for symbolism and help set the atmosphere. After you solve the 'Who-dunnit', it is clear that they were foreshadowing the true number of people on the island. After all, there are only 16 pieces on each side of a chessboard.
If you believe a certain theory about Episode 6, it makes perfect sense that Battler does many things that are not to his advantage: he is betting everything on Beatrice regaining her memories. Right down to making the love duel a metaphor on Yasu's inner conflict, acting like Kinzo and getting himself trapped in a logic error, he was doing the best he could to fool Bern and Lambdadelta. Hell, he was so effective he fooled the reader!
Also if you think about this as a chess game it might be even clearer, because in episode 5 Beatrice was mentioned to be similar to the queen in chess. and such we can probably guess that when Battler revives her in episode 5 she is a pawn piece instead of a queen. So why does he do these ilogical things? He is sacrificing pieces and tricking the enemy so they won't notice that a pawn is moving to the other side of the board so that the pawn Beatrice can turn into a queen piece again.
Why did Battler not start using the red truth randomly in order to figure it out by process of elimination when he figured out you can't use the red truth to lie without choking? Because at the end of episode four, Beatrice has given in and is giving into his blue stakes anyway, and during episode five he's on her side and trying to figure it out from her perspective, rather than just understand the truth.
Beatrice also granted him the ability to use the red truth temporarily, which generally only witches can do. He was probably a bit distracted by everything he knew growing up turning out to be a lie to use it to his advantage.
For EP8: The purple truth. Remind us what red and blue make again?
In general, the odd European sounding names the Ushiromiya siblings have. One you know about Beatrice Castiglioni, aka Beatrice I they make sense.
Not really. Krauss and Eva, and probably Rudolf, were born in the 30s.
Though that could stem from Kinzo's love of Western literature, which he had before he met Beatrice Castiglioni.
In fact, that could have been a form of foreshadowing in-universe: when a culturally Japanese man gives his kids western names, it becomes pathetically obvious that the minute he meets a western-looking woman he is going to be gaga over her.
Lion's gender, which was never stated and remains ambiguous 'till the end, actually foreshadows the end of the series. Since Lion's gender is a catbox, he/she/it can literally be any gender the reader wants it to be.
Eva's vehement refusal to accept George and Shannon's relationship makes a hell of a lot more sense when you consider the ie system: her main ambition is to become head of the Ushiromiya family household (aka the ie). The primary goal of people within the ie is to keep the ie in existence for as long as possible. Eva's spent the entirety of her life and her son's life trying to prove to Kinzo that the existence of the Ushiromiya ie will be far safer in her and her decedents' hands than in Krauss's, and thus that the best plan is take a slightly less ideal route of succession to ensure the ie's preservation. The only problem? George. By marrying Shannon out of love instead of a more "suitable" woman out of duty, he's demonstrating to the rest of the family that he doesn't have the ie's best interest in mind, probably won't be terribly concerned with keeping the ie in existence, and thus showing that succession through Eva is not the best option for ie's succession. Say bye-bye to any chance at headship, Eva. In short: Eva's pissed at the relationship because decades of planning just went down the drain.
And also, though neither Eva nor, presumably, George, know it, Shannon (Yasu) is implied to be unable to have children. Yasu may not even be female. Even if Eva was still able to get the headship after George married an unsuitable bride, that line would go extinct after George died.
There's also the fact that, while still unknown by both them, if Shannon is indeed Yasu and indeed female, George would be marrying his aunt/cousin.
At the beginning of Battler and Beatrice's fight in EP 4's Tea Party, the narration briefly mentions that they are in a rose garden, and wonders whether or not this is proof or protest of the red, but follows it up with stating that in the language of flowers roses mean passion (of which this Tea Party has a lot), and that the flower that means truth is the forget-me-not (which happens to be blue). This is a clear metaphor of how Beatrice utilizes Red truth and Battler utilizes Blue, but those knowledgeable enough (or with access to Wikipedia) will realize that, as would be expected, forget-me-nots' real meaning is 'True Love', and as as we learn by the time EP 7 rolls around, that is most likely the kind of love Battler and Beatrice have, at least in the Meta-World. On a more tragic note, Battler did forget about Beatrice and his promise to her. 'True Love' is the 'truth', the Why-dunnit of this mystery.
Despite having a general hatred of, well, everyone, Bernkastel regards Beatrice in particular with considerable contempt. It is later noted that a witch's age is metaphorical, and refers to how long the time they've suffered felt to them… However, 'Beatrice' only lived through what would actually be six years of longing and general disrespect, whereas Bernkastel lived through what is implied to have actually been more than a century (in the very least, it is heavily implied to have been at least a few decades) of the people precious to her being horrifically murdered by the other people precious to her, through no fault of their own, culminating invariably in her own gruesome murder by the people she believed to be protecting her. Furthermore, she never managed to find happiness, even after all of this — the Rika identity/identities that succeeded in preventing the murders never integrated into Bernkastel, leaving her with the memories and combined identity of what is to be implied to be thousands of the Rikas who failed. In comparison, Beatrice's self-proclaimed "thousand years" seem incomprehensibly insignificant.
Bernkastel's game piece in Alliance of the Golden Witch is Ange. In End of the Golden Witch we're introduced to her new game piece Erika, who's hair is done up the same as Ange's except that her hair is longer and blue: just like her master's.
Through out the series, Beatrice makes multiple claims that Battler Ushiromiya is incompetent at his many attempts to solve the the series. When at the end it's revealed that the entirety of the Umineko series is Battler Prime's attempts to figure out what happened on Rokkenjima Prime years after the Rokkenjima Massacre (due to his amnesia regarding those events), one can see that he really is incompetent at solving what happened because he's yet to solve all the various scenarios he wrote up IE the individual episodes. However, this could also be taken further as him saying that he is himself incompetent for not solving his own scenarios; a form of self-deprecation.
When it comes to truth battles, Beatrice usually wields red, and Battler wields blue. However, Beatrice's servants (Ronove, the goatheads, and the Seven Sisters) use blue magic when fighting, while Shannon and Kanon (who are against Beatrice) use red. It's foreshadowing that, not only are Beatrice and Battler technically on the same side, but Shannon and Kanon are more closely related to Beatrice than we thought.
Bernkastel's cat tail at first appears to be just a case of Cats Are Mean, but then you realize her plan is to open the Rokkenjima catbox.
In EP 1, when Maria is interrogated by Battler in the kitchen, Maria claims of Beatrice, "She's here right now!" At the time, Battler thinks that she's looking at a spot behind him, but who was in the kitchen at the time? Kumasawa, Genji, and... Kanon. Yes, Beatrice truly was in the room then.
Early in EP 1, there's a moment that doesn't fully pay off until EP 7. When Battler tries to grope Shannon's breasts upon seeing her for the first time in six years, she stands there silently and blushes furiously, but doesn't do anything to stop him. At first, it seems like she's only doing this because she is an Extreme Doormat and Shrinking Violet, though his being her boss's grandson probably doesn't hurt. Only in EP 7 do we learn explicitly that she's been waiting a thousand years - or, if you insist, six years - for Battler to make good on the hint of sexual interest he showed when he promised to take her away from Rokkenjima on a white horse. Had it not been for Jessica's interference, she probably would've gone into full-on Beatrice mode and jumped his bones right there on the beach.
While Beatrice's weakness to Spiderwebs is explained as the legend of Beatrice mixing with the legends of the evil spirits that haunted Rokenjima. Her weakness to mirrors is never explained directly. However, when you realize that Beatrice is Yasu, it makes perfect sense. A mirror shows Yasu that she is not really a witch, by forcing her to see her true self, her "Beatrice" persona is weakened.
Lambadelta's Gravity Master's powers make perfect sense for her. After all, there's nothing more certain then being drawn into a black hole.
Aelesis: Tsumihoroboshi-hen (Higurashi): "Demons in Hell, I bet you are just waiting for an amusing end to happen while eating some popcorn." And then I realised whose piece Umineko's popcorn-lover was in Higurashi.
cainsonozaki: In EP 8 right before Lambda tries to attack Featherine they talk about how attacking a miko is just like attacking the master and Featherine asks if Lambda even has a miko and she responds with saying "I've got a ton of them already...!!!30 or 40, I think. Maybe even more!" At first sounds like more bluffing and stalling for time. Then you realize counting up every character besides herself, featherine, bern, evatrice, and erika (who were technically all against her at this point) comes up to around 40! Everyone that Lambda stuck her neck out for just so they could have a chance at a happier ending
KooriRenchuu: In EP 8 near the end, it is stated that the Ushiromiya eagle was unable to fly into the future due to it missing a wing. This is eliminated due to Ange's Witch of Ressurection powers activating. It then hit me that the Ushiromiya crest represented Ange. She was a Broken Bird that had only one wing. Any references in any song about a One Winged Bird may in fact refer to Ange. However, how would a One Winged Eagle fly? In circles! This is indicative of the Groundhog Day Loop that was going on in the story.
Theshinysword: In EP 4 when Ange reveals herself to Battler she is turned into a pile of red meat, how did she die in 1998? Jumped off and building and went splat on the pavement. She's just returning to her real world state
This is probably unintentional but: It's widely accepted that the series becomes much better once EP 3 starts, once you've finished EP 8 it's apparent why Hachijo Toya wrote EP 3 through 6, so they all jumped up in quality
Bernkastel's permanent lifeless expression on two counts. 1. Serves as a massive "red flag" regarding her "true colors". 2. Serves as a clue to her origin story.
This isn't my idea, just a comment on youtube I found that was too good to not put here. All credits of this goes to kidkidkid12345. The entire plot of EP 6 is an allegory for the original Kinzo/Beatrice relationship. (Bice // Trolltrice) dies and a new one is born (Kuwadorian Beatrice // Moetrice), but she's not the same. (Kinzo // Battler) locks himself in (his study // a closed room), leaving behind a mad riddle (the epitaph // logic error) for Beatrice to solve. (Sayo // the resurrected Beato) solves it and they are reunited. Even Erika, by marrying Battler, plays a role in this allegory as the stand in for Kinzo's wife.
In Episode 4, Battler manages to say in red that Ange is his little sister. The reader just assumes that it means he considers her as a real sister, despite their mother being different. In Episode 8 we learn that it's actually true in the literal sense, since Battler is Kyrie's child.
Why does Ronove seem to be Ambiguously Gay? Simple, Yasu has never seen Genji interested in women and only serving Kinzo. It's no wonder Yasu began to think that Genji was gay. Also if Yasu originally was a man this might be him trying to create a distance against his sexuality and his love towards Battler with him trying to fool himself by thinking: "Since I don't act like that I can't be gay".
The "Sweet World Of Witches" sequence of EP 4, when Maria kills Rosa over and over again, is horrifying in its own right. But buried under the obvious horror is a second, more subtle layer of horror. From an anti-fantasy standpoint, what Maria is doing is venting her feelings of hatred against her mother by repeatedly killing her in her imagination. This is driven home in another scene where Battler teases Maria. When he asks for her forgiveness, she gives her 'Kihihihi...' laugh, and seems to be counting the 'hi's, as though imaginining something brutal happening to Battler each time...
An odd one. In EP 3- the visual novel at least- Eva-Beatrice does seem a bit down after killing Hideyoshi, but the next time we see her she's back to normal and when she kills George, we see none of that. Considering that she's basically an extra personality of their wife/mother, that means she got over Hideyoshi easily enough that she killed their son rather happily.
We're told that Dlanor killed her father (Ronald Knox) after he broke his own rules, and got her status as a Hanging Judge afterward. Now, the SSVD is a large group whose members (or at least the highest-ranked ones) appear to gain the last name Wright when they're appointed, as it's mentioned Will did, and the reason Will's quitting is because they seem to be completely made up of Hanging Judges. Then what happened to the original Van Dine...?
He...retired. The original Van Dine was probably Will's predecessor, and since the Wright name is passed as a tradition, it's presumed he just went on to live a regular life. But again, since Will is named after the original Van Dine, maybe the tradition started with Will, which would mean he made the SSVD.
In EP6, Battler seems to really hate how the resurrected Beatrice keeps calling him "father". While at first you can just assume that he doesn't like it because it reminds him of how different this Beatrice is from the old one, in EP7, we find out the truth behind Beatrice's origins, and how disturbing the implications behind the word "father" really are.
And it doesn't end there either; Featherine Augustus Aurora might have her own hands in this mess. Given what we know about Bernkastel, there are several implications that Higurashi was a game Lambdadelta and Featherine, with Bern as Featherine's piece - as in the piece that Featherine abandoned. When Rika won the game and later purged herself Bernkastel, it was Featherine who found her and recruited her as her miko. Either it's a case of simple negligence and getting lucky enough to find Bernkastel and piece her together later... or she knew and planned right from the start for her to come into existence. Given Featherine's nature this is alarmingly possible and, if true, would arguably make her the Big Bad of the entire When They Cry series so far.
Whenever Dlanor says her famous "DIE THE DEATH!" catchphrase, she says it in red text. Y'know, the color used to denote undeniable truth? Yeah, she's not telling them to die, she's saying that they'll die no matter what.
Fridge Brilliance: This actually holds true in EP5; Beatrice does eventually die in that episode. To anyone who's been paying attention, it's a brilliant cliffhanger, leaving them wondering just when it will happen.
Alternatively: THE GREAT EQUALIZER IS THE DEATH. That is - everyone dies in the end.