Welcome to Rokkenjima.
"When will you believe in me? Umineko: When They Cry
That is all that matters.
If you want to do some detective work, go ahead.
If you believe that there is an answer, go and continue to search.
This is torture that will not end until you can believe in witches."
(Umineko no Naku Koro ni
, meaning "When the Seagulls Cry") is a kinetic sound novel
that takes place in 1986, on the island of Rokkenjima. The rich Ushiromiya family is gathering in order to discuss what will happen to patriarch Kinzo's inheritance, since he has been ill in recent days. The protagonist Battler also has returned to his family after 6 years of rebellion and is eager to meet again with his cousins.
While the arguments about the inheritance ensue, a typhoon traps all eighteen people on the island
. The family then finds a mysterious letter from a person claiming to be Kinzo's alchemy councilor, the Golden Witch
. Beatrice claims that she has been summoned by Kinzo to claim the inheritance, as the family has been deemed unworthy of it. Unless someone solves the riddle of the epitaph on her portrait before midnight on October 6th
and becomes the family successor, Beatrice will claim everything that the family owns, including the ten tons of gold that Kinzo claims will be given to the successor. This is only the beginning of the strange and shocking events that will occur on the island during these two days. Panic, reasoning, romance, heated confrontations
and a lot Mind Screw
Similar to its predecessor
, Umineko: When They Cry
consists of several arcs with the same scenario repeating for mysterious reasons - although unlike Higurashi where each arc was more or less independent, there is a continuity and transition between the arcs here. The first four arcs are the Question Arcs, where the puzzles are presented to the reader. Instead of outright Answer Arcs, the last four arcs are the Core Arcs
, which provide the reader several hints on how to solve the mysteries, but without outright giving away the answer. The first sound novel was published in 2007 and the last in 2010.
Part of the When They Cry
series, which also includes Higurashi: When They Cry
The series currently consists of a sound novel
, a manga, and an anime. The sound novel is 8 Episodes in length, along with two fandiscs, Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Tsubasa
(When The Seagulls Cry: Wings
) and Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Hane
(When The Seagulls Cry: Feathers
) containing extra short stories called TIPS that don't fit into the main story. The anime adaptation by Studio DEEN
spans 26 episodes, but only covers the first four arcs (and considering how badly the DVD sold and a unanimous bashing from the fans
, an adaptation of the last four arcs is unlikely). The American branch of Nippon Ichi
announced the localization of the anime on 7/30/2012 with a release date scheduled for 12/2012. Currently classified as 18+ due to intense violence which unlike the Japanese version, will be completely UNCENSORED. On a side note, there is also a movement within said fan base to try to get the visual novel (PS3
version) localized as well.
Each Episode is also adapted into a manga, published in magazines owned by Square Enix:
- Legend of the Golden Witch was published in the Gangan Joker and drawn by Kei Natsumi.
- Turn of the Golden Witch was published in G-Fantasy and drawn by Jirō Suzuki (who also drew Tatarigoroshi-hen).
- Banquet of the Golden Witch was published in the Gangan Joker and drawn by Kei Natsumi (again).
- Alliance of the Golden Witch was published in Gangan Online and drawn by Sōichirō.
- End of the Golden Witch was published in the Gangan Joker and drawn by Akitaka.
- Dawn of the Golden Witch was published in G-Fantasy and drawn by Hinase Momoyama (who also drew Minagoroshi-hen).
- Requiem of the Golden Witch is currently published in the Monthly Shōnen Gangan and drawn by Eita Mizuno (better known as the artist of Spiral).
- Twilight of the Golden Witch is currently published in the Gangan Joker and drawn by Kei Natsumi. Unlike the VN, this last manga Episode gives much more explicit answers, as well as additional clarifications.
- Tsubasa was published in the Big Gangan and drawn by Fumi Itō.
In 2012 a doujin
manga by Kurumi Suzuhiro, Umineko no Naku Koro ni Shi: Forgery of the Purple Logic
, was published the Monthly Comp Ace. It is an independent mystery not placed in the main story's continuity, using and expanding the mechanics of a mini-game in Episode 8.
The entire novel has also been ported to the PS3
for a remake, complete with voice acting, remade sprites and CGs. The first four novels were released as Umineko no Naku Koro ni ~ Rondo of Witches and Reason
, and the last four novels were released as Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru ~ Nocturne of Truth and Illusions
. Contrary to the PS2
port of Higurashi though, there are no additional arcs or alternate endings.
In addition, a PC fighting game in the vein of Melty Blood
has been released, entitled Ougon Musoukyoku
(The Golden Fantasia
), featuring ten of the characters from the novels. An Xbox 360 port, Ougon Musoukyoku X
, has also been released, featuring the ten characters, plus three more added to the roster. And an expansion to the PC version, Ougon Musoukyoku CROSS
, has also been released, featuring all the characters from the original and the Xbox port, plus three more characters, and three others set to be added as updates.
Summaries of each arc may be found at the When They Cry
page. Please put character-related tropes on the Character Sheet
Be wary of the terms used on the Umineko
pages — "Episode/EP" (with a capital "E") refers to a Story Arc
of the novel, while "episode" refers to an episode of the DEEN anime.
A fan translation patch of the games may be found here
, acknowledged by Ryukishi07 himself. The patches require an original copy of the game, which may be found on the links page of the translation site.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the tropes and kill:
open/close all folders
- Faceless Goons:
- The goat-headed butlers may have faces, but they're all alike, and may just be wearing goat masks.
- Played in multiple episodes where it is shown that the goat heads are actually wearing "masks." EP2 shows Bern taking off a goat head; EP4 had Goat-kun which, as mentioned above, reflects on his life; and EP6 has the entire Ushiromiya family taking off goat heads during Beato and Battler's wedding.
- Failed a Spot Check: One or two of the riddles, most notably the Kanon-in-the-closet one from EP6 seriously relies on this (It's not that there's no body in the closet — it's that the body is now inhabited by Shannon or Beatrice rather than Kanon).
- The Fair Folk: While they're called "witches" and have all the traditional trappings, their existence, playing with reality and fiction and following seemingly nonsensical rules, has many similarities.
- Fair Play Whodunnit: This work is somewhat bipolar towards this trope. The very first trailer started with the words "No Knox. No Dine. No Fair". Then it begins with a fairly normal mystery plot which flies out of the window as witches and other magical beings keep appearing. But upon rereading earlier episodes it becomes obvious that all revelations were hinted at.
- In Episode 5 a new character is introduced whose name is Ronald A. Knox backwards, who gives the possibility that the Knox rules are true in the game, scolds the reader for getting distracted from the mystery by the fantasy elements and outright states that the author wants the reader to solve it on their own. Beatrice herself actually states that the novels follow the Knox decalogue as early as EP2 when she and Battler are arguing over hidden doors; most people don't notice this the first time around.
- Episode 7 follows Episode 5's trend and introduces an incarnation of Willard H. Wright (the real name of S.S. Van Dine), who shows up to 'bury' Beatrice and reveal her heart. The ultimate answer is that, while the story is far from a traditional Fair-Play Whodunnit, it still is solvable with use of foreshadowing and reasoning.
- The anime drops this entirely, in favor of best visual presentation probably. The first arc doesn't even provide enough evidence to solve it as a mystery, and later arcs are reboots in which circumstances change, previous pasts are revealed in ways that couldn't be known to most of the characters, and even characters differ without demonstrating development.
- This certainly flings feces at Van Dine's 2nd: 2. No willful tricks or deceptions may be placed on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself. Even the pre-release trailer promised "No Fair", then a revised Knox's Decalogue is presented as the rules of the game, but not until deep into the game.
- Faking the Dead: Several murders are only possible by the use of this trick. It's then horribly subverted in Episode 6 where everyone was faking their deaths to play a prank on Erika… after which she proceeds to decapitate all of them to make sure there are dead, thus preventing anyone to save Battler and trapping him into a logic error.
- The game has the Stakes, the anime has...pretty much every other female.
- The Alliance Manga has a not-so-surprising amount of it considering half of it is centered on Ange and the Seven Sisters, plus the Chiester Sisters. With Ange, the authors seem to go out of their way to always be just an inch away from the Panty Shot.
- Fantastic Fragility: Beatrice explains that, while she could very easily use her magic in ways that leave her utterly invulnerable, it is much more effective to leave the Ushiromiya family a chance (however slim) of successfully defeating her. To illustrate the reasons for this, a comparison is drawn between magic and gambling — the greater the "risk", the greater the "reward", so a sure chance of victory leaves nothing to gain. However, it's entirely possible that this isn't meant literally; Bernkastel claims that boredom is the only way to kill a witch, and it's very possible that the "no risk, no reward" paradigm is entirely psychological, as if they leave themselves no chance of losing a game, it is no challenge, and therefore "boring". But given that Beatrice isn't even trying to win in the first place, it's also entirely possible that none of this is relevant, or even true, especially after more mundane explanations for anything magical are revealed in the second half of the series.
- Fascist Gold: The true origin of the 10 tons of gold, as revealed in Episode 7.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The Ushiromiya crest is a one-winged eagle, so it's only to be expected. Ange has a vertical assymmetry, with a fully covering top that has very long sleeves, yet an extremely short skirt.
- A Fate Worse Than Death:
- Thanks to Endless magic, people can be killed over and over again in new and interesting ways. This pales in comparison to the closed room Battler gets trapped in in EP6.
- In that same episode, it's shown even Lambdadelta is scared by the hell of being trapped in a logic error. "Hey....are you guys...really.....real?" Asking if the people she's talking to are there, and not just delusions of a mind that went insane from being trapped in a logic error.
- Faustian Rebellion: Battler is trying to prove that witches and magic don't exist, while at the same time arguing with them and watching the period of time played out over and over. It's a miracle he doesn't just disappear in a Puff of Logic. Battler himself notes the irony.
- Fighting a Shadow: Even if Beatrice (and Battler, for that matter) die on the chessboard, since their souls actually exist in the meta-world, they're fine to play another round.
- Flanderization: In-universe, the Witch Hunt has sensationalized the Rokkenjima Massacre with the worst characterizations of the Ushiromiya family. Even the forgeries made by legitimate Game Masters can do this; though a piece can't be forced to act against their nature, they can be controlled to exaggerate that nature, or juxtapose it in context.
- Flat Earth Atheist/Nay-Theist: Battler can be interpreted as being either of these at the beginning of the story, what with all the witches running around. However, as the story progresses, Battler's arguments and reasoning change as well, as he realizes that he doesn't need to disprove witches, just that witches commited the murders and mysteries. By EP6, he finds out the solution of the games and switches sides, becoming the Endless Sorcerer, and allies with Beatrice. Let's just say it's complicated and leave it at that.
- Flowery Classical Japanese: The epitaph in Japanese is almost entirely written in bungo, a form of written Japanese that stopped being used in the middle of the Meiji era, as it had become completely disconnected with how people actually spoke. It serves to give the epitaph a majestic and mystical flavor. Kinzō himself happens to speak in Antiquated Linguistics.
- Foregone Conclusion: No matter what the characters may try or what magical Power Ups they get in a given arc, they will end up killed anyway. The point of the series is to understand why everyone is killed.
- Forensic Drama: Subverted; Erika improvises a mobile crime lab out of Kinzo's alchemical equipment and supplies, but the details and results are discarded in a couple of nondescript sentences.
- Foreshadowing: This being a murder mystery, there's bound to be loads of them. And not just relating to the murder mystery.
- One plot related one, having nothing to do with the mystery aspect, occurs in EP 4 when Battler says that he'll put Beato's name on the Death Sheet in the place of his true love (it was part of a gamble where he either had to kill himself, his love, or his family). In EP 6, they marry.
- Beatrice actually states the story is supposed to follow the Knox rules in EP2, although it comes off as pretty offhand.
- The first scene of the novels (the airport scene) has gems such as "George has absolutely none of these love stories" and "How is Ange-chan?"
- And on the talk of love stories we have Eva talking to Battler. This picture says it the best.
Eva: I'd imagine a man with your looks would leave girls crying left and right. I can't believe that you have nothing at all to brag about.
Battler: "Wh, what? Y, y, you're joking, right!? Of course nothing weird like that's ever happened to me! In fact, I'd rather it did!
- "This sort of thoughtfulness was just like Rosa Oba-san. She wasn't the kind of person who would forget or break a promise."
- While many of the hints don't mean very much on their own during the first read through, there's a lot of foreshadowing for the fact that Beatrice, Shannon and Kanon are all the same person. In fact as soon as you know this, every conversation between them changes radically.
- In fact there are so many hints dropped in the first 2 Episodes that as soon as you know the truth you realize that you actually can solve the series with the first Episode alone.
- A rather funny one happens early on in Episode 1, by Krauss: "My father is already dead. What is inside this study is only a shadow of his past self." Quite literally, yeah.
- This link shows you just how much of a goldmine Episode 1 is in that department.
- Twilight of the Golden Witch: After Ange wakes up in the dining room with the corpses of Kyrie, Rudolf, Rosa, Genji, Eva, and Hideyoshi, she identifies everyone and makes observations as she does so. She describes her own parents as looking pitiful with their bright red bloody makeup. As it turns out, they were faking their death, so it might have actually been literal makeup. Later on towards the end of the mystery story where there are three people left, George and Maria exchange purple declarations claiming that George can't kill any adults and Maria is incapable of murder, alienating Battler.
- Four Girl Ensemble: The aunts.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Again, the aunts.
- For Want of a Nail: EP7 presents an alternate 1986: Natsuhi accepts the baby that Kinzo asked her to adopt. Because of this, the epitaph does not exist, and there are no mentions of Beatrice as a witch or a ghost in the mansion.
- Freudian Excuse: Rosa often uses this to rationalize her
Mother of the Year harsh treatment towards Maria. Her's own parents and siblings showed little mercy towards her when she was growing up, so she believes holding back on Maria would be "spoiling" her.
- The Gad Fly: Ronove and his snarky attitude towards Beato. Shannon can act this way as well, though not nearly as pronounced.
- In the anime with anyone with developed breasts.
- It also appears in the game Ougon Musoukyoku. Shannon's boobs jiggle every time she performs a special attack.
- Gambit Pileup: Most non-magical explanations for the murders in any given arc require multiple murderers, often working at cross-purposes, and different ones for each arc.
- Gambit Roulette:
- Episode 3, where Beatrice's strategy hinges upon Eva-Beatrice, Battler, and Eva all taking a very specific set of actions.
- Bernkastel was probably The Man Behind the Man on this very one, adding yet another layer to the entire thing: Beatrice had to take a very specific action at the end for Bern's own plans to work out.
- If Episode 8 is to be trusted, Battler pulls one off in Episode 6. His humiliating defeat at the hands of Erika, threatening to forever trap his mind in a logic error, was so that Beatrice could be revived and come to his rescue.
- Game Between Heirs: The successor to the Ushiromiya family's headship and fortune (which includes ten tons of solid gold) seemed to be locked and set in stone and then a letter from the resident witch arrived, announcing that the spoils have been made fair game to anyone who can solve the Witch's Epitaph, a long riddle which incidentally, details a ritual requiring human sacrifice. Mind games (and lots and lots of murder) ensue.
- Gender Neutral Writing: Episode 7, to the point it's lampshaded. Now imagine you are a French or German translator for this Episode. You can start to cry in despair.
- Genre-Busting: Fantasy? Mystery? One with elements of the other? Nope! Try "romance with fantastical mystery Jungian-psychological elements".
- Genre Shift: Starts as a classical murder mystery but veers more and more towards fantasy as the story progresses… Or so Beatrice would like to make you think.
- Geodesic Cast: With the exception of Maria's branch, most of the cousins' families work kind of like this: one mother, one father, and one child. It gets more confusing later, with the introduction of Ange and Sayo Yasuda.
- Geometric Magic: The blood runes.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In EP3 of the sound novel, while trying to explain playing with letters and anagrams, Rudolf says "… It's like 'Sucker Merry Barrels'. What do you get when you take out the e's and r's?"
- Gilded Cage: Kuwadorian.
- Glove Slap: In EP6, Beatrice throws a white glove at Erika, challenging her to a duel. Refusing would forever mark her a coward in the eyes of the entire magical community.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Battler and Beatrice have a dialogue (and applause contest) at Eva's succession ceremony.
- Gold-Colored Superiority: In addition to the red text, which speaks an absolute truth (from the point of view of the speaker at least), the Game Master - the witch who "writes" the scenario of the current game - can use golden text, which indicates that they fully understands the rules of the game, and can be superior to the red. After reaching the truth of Beatrice's game, Battler uses the golden truth to confirm that Kinzo is definitely Deader Than Dead, when his position prevents him from saying it in red without proof.
- Gold Fever:
- All four siblings to some extent, but particularly strongly with Eva.
- EP7 shows how the Japanese and Italian forces on the island wiped each other out over the massive load of gold. Of course, it's questionable whether this actually happened since the narrator was Kinzo who is later implied to be the one who suggested to steal the gold and killed everyone in the base in the first place.
- In the EP7 Tea Party, the Ushiromiya siblings solve the epitaph before Sayo Yasuda can even start the murders. Once they find the gold, all of them start to argue about how to split it and exchange it for money. They all begin to be irrational, the argument becomes really heated and everything goes down hill from there.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: What happens to people who get trapped in a logic error. Specifically, Lambdadelta and especially Bernkastel. Doesn't make up for the horrible things she's done, but you still sympathize with her, considering Bernkastel's logic error wasn't even her own fault — she was only a piece in that game. Her master, the player, created the logic error, then abandoned the game, leaving a piece that knows nothing with the task of solving the error to escape. The fact that, after hundreds of years, she was able to do so is why she became the Witch of Miracles.
- Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: But good luck figuring out which witch is which.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Just about all of the witches in the series wear these.
- Gorn: Many of the murders are described as quite horrible. There are missing faces, gouging just about anywhere, people turned into piles of meat, etc.
- Gothic Punk: The plot and style share many, many similarities in common with the Gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Gratuitous English: There are a bunch of cases. Please don't list them here, or this will get too long.
- Gratuitous French:
- The fighting game's opening is full of it, it is a translation of the witch's epitaph in French. Also, every sentence under the health bar is also displayed in bad French: for example, you can see under the message counter hit "sens inverse coup" whereas a more fitting translation would be "contre"
- Mariage Sorcière, the witch group Maria and Beatrice formed.
- Gratuitous Greek: Lambdadelta (ΛΔ) as well as the firing sequence of the Chiesters.
- Gratuitous Italian: The opening song. Averted in the case of Virgilia and BEATORRICHEE'S names, which are often mistaken for horrible Gratuitous English.
- Great Big Library of Everything: The City of Books (for short) looks like this, but it's only the Carefully Selected Books. If there's a place all the Carelessly Selected and Outright Rejected Books would fit, it's probably an Absurdly Spacious Sewer.
- Greek Chorus: If the meta-world didn't turn into its own subplot, it would be a very developed one of these. However, a more straightforward example occurs in the sixth arc, with Featherine and Ange taking up this role. In the seventh arc Clair takes this role, with some help from Zepar and Furfur.
- Kumasawa makes conveniently timed appearances to monologue into empty rooms about the romances.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: EP6 With all the chess talk up to this point about pieces, moves, and checks, Lambdadelta all of a sudden starts using poker terminology when asking to see Battler's "cards" to fix the logic error. Battler joins in too talk about flushes and straights. It goes back to chess when Erika declares checkmate, though.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Only magical/meta-characters (and "furniture") are aware of this, though, and each arc is actually a different world. By EP8, this turns out to be subverted, since the whole series is actually Recursive Canon. The first six arcs are just different interpretations of the events that took place on Rokkenjima (EP1 and 2 are message bottles that were written by Sayo Yasuda, which washed up on the shores of Japan, while EP3-6 are novels written by Toya Hachijou, formerly Battler Ushiromiya).
- Guide Dang It: One answer at the end of Episode 7 is actually in the TIPS of Episode 6, and most people probably missed it. If you Execute Erika, you will see her fate in the real world (that she fell from the boat and went missing, with her parents thinking that she washed off on Rokkenjima). The "Rokkenjima accident" is called the "Rokkenjima Explosion Accident", while it was left vague in Episode 4.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: The end of Episode 2 is basically Beatrice giving one big, painful slap in the face to Battler for giving up so easily. Nope, dear readers, not thinking and just accepting everything is the work of the Witch is not an option.
- Gut Punch: During 10 long chapters, we see nothing but cousins joking, siblings talking about the economic context of Japan, two lovebirds making a marriage promise and a little girl reading a slightly unsettling letter. Time jump to the morning after… THEY HAVE NO FACE!!!
- Happily Married: Oddly enough, the most stable couple (the wife's problems come from elsewhere) is Eva and Hideyoshi. And when Hideyoshi kicks it, Eva completely SNAPS and goes madder than she already is. In EP6, Battler and Beatrice as well.
- Harsh Word Impact: Colored text can be utilized in such a way that declarations of truth, theories and things of the like behave as this trope, done for drama and gone far beyond any scale of Meta-awareness. Justified because the characters who are affected by this trope reside in a place commonly referred to as the Meta-World.
- Haunted House: The Ushiromiya mansion, in theory.
- Have a Nice Death: The first Tea Party begins as this… until Beatrice appears and everyone dies horribly.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Some of the witches enjoy going through this, notably Beatrice and Lambdadelta.
- Heir Club for Men: Eva was almost pushed out of the line of succession because when she married Hideyoshi, she should have lost her name. However, she convinced Kinzo to adopt Hideyoshi as an Ushiromiya, allowing herself to retain her position (Rosa retains hers because no one even knows who she married). This is also a reason, along with George's older age, that Eva thinks he should be ahead on the succession.
- Heroic BSOD:
- Hilariously subverted. Ronove says that Battler was so shocked by Beatrice's plan to trick him into believing in her that he refused to talk or eat, but then he shows up fighting with one of the Seven Sisters of Purgatory for a basket of bread rolls. Ronove was just teasing her.
- Later played straight and brought Up to Eleven when Battler finds out that the woman he thought was his birth mother, really wasn't his mother at all. He subsequently stops existing for half an arc.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Several.
- For example, Jessica throwing herself in front of Kanon to block one of the stakes in EP2, Ange revealing her name to snap some sense into Battler in EP4, and Kanon trading places with Battler in the closed room in EP6.
- Lambdadelta towards the end of Episode 8.
- Hide Your Lesbians: An odd example. Even after Bernkastel and Lambdadelta have said repeatedly and unambiguously that they love each other, the narration and the characters continue to call them "friends". It's a bit jarring.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Deliberately invoked as a meta example. The characters' theories pretty much state the exact solution to the mystery outright all the way back in Episode one — it was the servants, Kinzo had a mistress and their illegitimate child is responsible, etc. The only thing they didn't nail was the motivation, which they had no way of knowing.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Bernkastel and Lambdadelta successfully usurped the villain's role and are aiming for the role of the hero as well too by means of invoking Decoy Protagonist.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: Battler's reaction when Shannon almost does let her feel him up on the basis that she's not supposed to refuse any request from a guest.
Battler: Crap, I wasn't planning on this! P-please, hit me right now! At this rate, I'm seriously gonna-''*thwack*' Guaah...oww. Thank you, Jessica.
Jessica: Why the hell are you thanking me?
- Homage: To Higurashi: When They Cry. Many occurrences. For instance, Maria is shown watching clips from the show, and Kanon uses Rena's cleaver.
- Hope Spot: Pretty much everyone who faces off with the killer gets one.
- EP3 has Kanon fighting Lucifer. It seems someone wasn't paying attention to Beatrice's Exact Words.
- EP7's main story ending is a big one for Clair and Lion. Did you really think Bernkastel will give everyone a happy ending?
- Hostile Show Takeover:
- Played for drama in EP5.
- And for laughs in the preview for episode 17 of the anime where Eva-Beatrice tries to rename the show to Magical Girl Pretty Evatrice.
- Hot-Blooded: Kinzo's legacy.
- A House Divided: Particularly strong in the first arc.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: Battler to Beatrice during the fifth tea party.
- How We Got Here: The very first scene in EP5 is the last scene on that world's gameboard. This was the first scene for meta-Battler, as well, before the Bern and Lambda rewound the story for him. EP6 does this as well, starting with Battler's horrific defeat and a closed room prison that is revisited multiple times before it finally makes sense.
- Human Chess: Deliberately invoked by pretty much the whole plot.
- Human Sacrifice: Subverted.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Beatrice begging Battler to kill her in EP4.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: How Rosa argues her innocence in EP2: She's been carrying around a loaded rifle since the first Twilight. If she wanted anyone dead, they would be dead. It doesn't change that Rosa is at least an accomplice of the culprit in that Episode.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: A rare Gender Flipped version of this occurs in EP6 when Erika forces Battler into marrying her after she has effectively locked his mind inside his own closed room.
- I Kiss Your Foot: Kanon does this to Beatrice so Shannon might not be chosen as a sacrifice in episode 2.
- Identification by Dental Records: At the end of EP1 Maria's jawbone is identified this way.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
- All the anime episode titles are taken from chess terminology.
- Also, all of the episodes of the visual novel are named "_____ of the Golden Witch".
- I'm a Humanitarian: Characters occasionally get ripped to shreds and eaten by the goat people. Rosa gets force-fed parts from her siblings and her daughter at the end of the second arc; Crosses the Line Twice in the anime when Maria's severed head starts talking and happily tries to shove itself down her throat.
- Imaginary Friend:
- Sakutaro is given this treatment, although he's actually a stuffed animal.
- Eva has her teenaged younger self as an imaginary friend in the third Episode. Too bad Eva-Beatrice is even more nuts than Eva has ever been.
- In EP5, Beato and Kinzo's phantom can be thought of as imaginary friends to Natsuhi.
- A recurring theme in the story is how the creation of one or more of these is used by various characters as a way of coping with psychological stress. Maria's case especially is discussed in detail by Ange in EP4, and aside from Eva and Natsuhi, this is eventually revealed to be how Sayo Yasuda dealt with his/her Orphan's Ordeal and the injuries to his/her body, by creating imaginary friends such as Shannon and Kanon and later dressing and acting as them.
- In EP6 when Battler as the Game Master creates a piece version of Beato that acts like old Beato due to his distress over the chick version of Beato. It gets even sadder when you realize that he's talking to himself through her.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Beatrice during the EP4 tea party. And Battler during EP5, complete with Ironic Echo.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: All of the Ushiromiyas have utterly impeccable fashion sense, as do the witches and demons. Justified in that the former are all fabulously wealthy, while the latter have magic. In this interview the author says some characters clothes are designed to challenge a female coworker and cosplayer. This is the case of Gaap.
- Inadequate Inheritor: Kinzo feels this way about his whole family. The "real" successor, Krauss, seems to show this as well.
- Incest Is Relative:
- In EP7 it is implicitly revealed that Shannon and Kanon are George and Jessica's aunt (or uncle) and half-cousin, simultaneously. Of course, Sayo Yasuda doesn't find out about his/her parentage until about two years before the story begins, and George and Jessica never find out at all.
- In the end of the second arc, when Maria's disembodied head tells Rosa to eat her Battler tells Maria to "It's ten years too early for you to tell someone to eat you. But make sure you tell me that ten years from now, okay? It's a promise."
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Jessica in Umineko no Naku Koro ni X. See also Baleful Polymorph, above.
- Indecisive Medium:
- Are the games books? Movies? RPGs? Self-aware books? (Also applies to the Meta-World: Dlanor speaks once about the making of a tea that she's drinking, saying "everybody accepts it as magic, so it appears as such in the narration".)
- Physical form is just a convenience, apparently. Colored text has been depicted in the visual novel as: colored dialogue (with a nice sound effect to make it all the more cool), slashes, spears, and swords, all of the appropiate color. The TIPS even refers to these swords as "conceptual weapons that could take any form". We later discover this also applies to some characters; see The Treachery of Images.
- The anime has a different example of this: see Painting the Medium.
- Innocent Inaccurate: As Ange points out, the "happy memories" in Maria's diary are a lot less happy when one reads between the lines.
- Inverted Portrait: Battler in the Umineko Motion Graphic 6 has a couple of seconds where he's shown upside down, flashing through a sea of memories.
- Invisible to Normals: Witches, although who qualifies as "normal" seems to shift between arcs.
- Ironic Echo:
- If you hear echoes in your head of Beato's and Virgilia's exchange when you start reading exchanges between Beato and Eva-Beatrice later on in that arc, you aren't the first.
- Bernkastel's spin on the Arc Words "Without love, it cannot be seen".
- In the author commentary of Minagoroshi-hen, Ryukishi07 wrote that it was fun to make theories about the mysteries, but that it was frustrating if you couldn't compare them to the one right answer given by the author at the end. Less than two years later, he started to write a series where, not only is the name of the culprit not given, literally half of the plot is left to the interpretation of the reader.
- Natsuhi pushed Sayo Yasuda (and the servant carrying him/her) off of a cliff because of her frustration over her seeming inability to have children. Well, thanks to Natsuhi, Sayo's body is damaged to the point of being unable to have children, among other things.
- It Works Better with Bullets: In the EP8 manga, it's revealed that the real reason why Natsuhi lost her duel with Beatrice in EP1 is because Sayo Yasuda removed the bullets from her gun beforehand. Natsuhi wasn't knowledgeable enough about guns to realize this.
- Jesus Taboo:
- Played straight, to some degree: in the anime, Beatrice makes reference to "a single man" who "appeared thanks to a star's guidance and finally explained the single element (love) that makes up the world." She then asks Shannon if she knows who the man is, but the question is rhetorical. The TIPS section for EP4 mentions a magical grimoire that has "a history of over 2000 years, is currently still in circulation, and continues to acquire new alliance members even now."
- Averted in EP7 when Maria tells Will about her belief that she was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, since Rosa kept telling her that she didn't have a father. To back this up, she quotes from the Book of Matthew (1:23) and states that since Jesus was born from the virgin Mary, she may have been born the same way.
- Kangaroo Court: The Rosa torture scene has more than a few elements of this, especially in the visual novel. Also played terribly straight with Natsuhi's trial at the end of EP5.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Right from the first arc, Battler deconstructs exactly why the chessboard thinking he tries to use isn't going to work: because he doesn't know the rules of the game. Because he doesn't know the rules of the game, he has no idea which moves will result in which pieces being taken.
- Kick the Dog:
- When Rosa tears up Sakutaro.
- Bernkastel has a lot of them. In the VN, there are multiple troll sprites for this character.
- Kids Are Cruel:
- Rosa's justification for her treatment of Maria (or the one she tells people anyway; in Maria's backstory we find out that Rosa hates her a good deal for just being). Basically, "All the children make fun of her! Don't you see?! Beating her will obviously make her stop whining!"
- Not to mention Ange's classmates, who carry some responsibility for Ange's socially reclusive personality.
- Killed Off for Real:
- The following is said in gold text: "I guarantee that this corpse is Kinzo Ushiromiya's corpse!"
- Ultimately, everyone who was on Rokkenjima except Eva and Battler. Eva dies years later and Battler undergoes Death of Personality to become Tooya Hachijou, so technically everyone in the Ushiromiya family dies except Ange.
- Kill 'em All: "When the seagulls cried, no one had been left alive."
- Konami Code: The very first scene Rudolf appears in has him pulling Battler's ear while saying "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right" as an obvious Shout-Out to this.
- Lamarck Was Right: Descendants of Kinzo almost universally inherit the key elements of his 'magic', pure blind determination and an idiot's understanding of chance and probability. This clan of human lemmings would be marked for mass extinction in the real world, and indeed are, in the world of Umineko. This goes even further. Apparently, Kinzo (and thus, Battler) are not only untalented in magic, but have a supernatural resistance to it. And yet…
- Lampshade Hanging: In Episode 3 of the sound novels, Beatrice puts a massive lampshade on her own Tsundere behavior in that arc, even mentioning anime and dating sims.
- Language Of Truth:
- Anything spoken in red text is true. If it isn't true, it can't be spoken in red text and may be subject to Unreliable Narration. (And if you actually try to state an untruth in red text, you will come to physical harm.) For whatever reason, this doesn't stop people from throwing around red statements frivolously (Beatrice cackles on two separate occasions in red, and a few characters deliver death threats in red, as if there were doubt about it or something). The manga elaborates by precising there are 2 kinds of red truths: those who apply specifically on each separate gameboard (for the circumstances of the deaths, alibis and such), and those who apply to every game and to the world outside the catbox (such as the number of people on the island).
- In EP5, Gold Text is introduced out of nowhere, which according to Word Of God can only be used by those who "understand the rules".
- Large Ham:
- A special one goes out to Jimang, the guy who sang the show's ending theme. It's so over-the-top that it's nearly impossible to see something involving the show without "OH DESIRE." See the character sheet for in-show examples.
- In-story, there's Beatrice, Erika and Kinzo.
- Laser Blade: Kanon's and the Stakes' swords are very elaborate magical versions.
- Last Kiss: Beatrice kissing Battler before jumping from the boat with the 10kg ingot in the magic ending. Riposa, riposa in pace…
- Last Request: In the second arc when Beatrice has broken through Shannon's shield, Shannon turns to George and asks him to tell her one last time how much he loves her. He starts, but is cut off by Beatrice killing him—but in reality, it was Shannon herself who cuts him off by killing him.
- Last Stand: EP8. Ange-Beatrice crashes the afterparty, summons Eva-Beatrice, who in turn summons an infinite horde of goats that begin devouring the game board, forcing the fantasy characters to fight for their lives until the Golden Land opens up.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Partially fed into issues between Natsuhi (unable to conceive for 12 years) and Eva (who gives birth earlier and thinks her son should be the heir).
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- The first tea party has the characters musing about how surprised they were about the "fact" that the story's a fantasy, rather than a mystery.
"Hey, everyone, good job finishing 'Umineko no Naku Koro ni'! Man, I still didn't have a clue what was going on when the story ended!" Jessica:
"So just what happened? Was that basically the 'bad ending
,' where time runs out before the culprit can be exposed?" Maria:
"Uu-. Definitely a bad ending
. Uu-." George:
"That's right. Beatrice's letter, which Maria-chan read on the first day, did tell us in advance to solve the riddle of the epitaph. We were all so busy trying to protect ourselves and look for the culprit that we didn't even take a shot at it." Shannon:
"... That's right. If we had actually tried to solve the riddle, I'm sure things would have ended differently."
- Though this ends up being ruthlessly deconstructed when Battler becomes more and more confused and disturbed by how everyone so readily accepts the fact that it's fantasy instead of mystery, and then everyone else rapidly returns to their state of death, Beatrice reveals herself for the first time, and then she whisks Battler off to Purgatorio where they start their battle of logic that frames the rest of the series. This also functions as a Meta Twist to those who expected a lighthearted "wrap party" with Animated Actors at the end of every arc like in Higurashi.
- Another notable example:
[about Battler in Chiru
]: It seems the tale of the next head will be worth writing down as well. In fact, it is already being written. It's already a very, very long tale
- Leave Him to Me: During the final battle, Erika Furudo tells the goats to let her fight Beatrice alone. Then they bow to each other and begin the duel.
- Left the Background Music On: Two scenes in EP4 in the novel open with an upbeat jazzy soundtrack, but Ange complains and has Amakusa turn it off.
- Legacy Immortality:
- Battler's hypothesis as to how the figure known as Kinzo Ushiromiya could take so much hands-on action in the fourth game despite dying before the start of any game is that someone took on his name and that the rest of the family acknowledged this.
- Later on, this turns out to be how Beatrice can claim to be a thousand years old, since many of her stories relating to her past are really stories of her mother and grandmother, who shared the same name.
- Legions of Hell: Beatrice's furniture.
- Leitmotif: Many characters have their own, but Black Liliana can be considered the theme of witches in general.
- Lemony Narrator: The narration of the first tea party has an mild, very tongue-in-cheek example.
- Lethal Chef:
- Beatrice, if the "Beatrice's White Day" side story is any indication.
- Beatrice Castiglioni acknowledges it in Requiem, saying that "only her alchemy can turn pasta into a black heap".
- Lethal Harmless Powers
- Let The Past Burn: It's revealed that a huge stockpile of hidden explosives were used at the end of the second day of the Ushiromiya murder mystery which creates a huge crater on the island and destroys their mansion, the family members, and any evidence with it. Episode 4 and episode 8 of the visual novel suggest that it would be much better to forget about the incident, and let the hype, driven by the media, die so that relatives of people who died can move on.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Beatrice in EP5.
- Light Is Not Good: The main antagonist, Beatrice, is nicknamed "The Golden Witch" and is said to appear as a flock of golden butterflies. So what does she do during the first four arcs? Oh, only sadistically kill off the entire cast. Later it's revealed that this is more of a case of Light Is Not Nice.
- Limited Wardrobe: With Kanon and Shannon exempted, most of the characters in the VN are only ever seen in one outfit, even in flashbacks, when it is also noted that these are their formal clothes that they're wearing for the family conference (although according to one TIP, Krauss and his family wear formal clothing all the time at home, not just for conferences). The anime and the PS3 port largely avert this trope in the flashbacks, but they still keep them in the same outfits through multiple days, even though, logically, everyone should have known that they would be staying more than one day and packed a change of clothes.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Starts off with the Ushiromiya family, their servants, and Kinzo's physician for a total of 18 people trapped on an island during a storm and goes up from there as Beatrice starts bringing in more of her associates (justifying it as the magical world gaining influence over the game). All the new witches, demons, servants, and Bad Future characters bring the count to 63 named characters, most of whom have a role at some point (although the exact count is made complicated by the different identities Sayo Yasuda goes under). To give an idea, Ryukishi's previous work had maybe a dozen relevant characters for a story of similar length. Lampshaded to hell and back in this Fourth-wall shattering TIP from EP6.
- Locked Room Mystery: Invoked many times and taken by some characters as evidence that murders were committed by the Golden Witch rather than by a human. Of course, the point of the game is to not buy any of it.
- Logical Fallacies: When Battler accuses Eva of lying in red her response is to say "The red only tells the truth." and to accuse Battler of insulting Beato's honor. This is intentional given that "Anti-Mystery vs. Anti-Fantasy" points out that the red truth relies on you trusting Beato. Furthermore, actual evidence supporting the validity of the red truth is presented later on.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "Fortitude" is the most common one, although "Wingless" and "Umarete Kite Kurete Arigatou" ("Thank you for being born") also deserve a mention. Really, a good part of the music could be considered for this. Dai is really fond of using pianos.
- Long-Lost Relative: Although the moment was suitably surprising for Battler, the audience is set up to have already known "Gretel"'s true identity.
- Long Song, Short Scene: Ougon Musoukyoku uses songs directly taken out of the game, like goldenslaughterer or haze and worldend dominator, which usually last for about at least five minutes, on a game where the average match doesn't lasts more that 3 minutes, which means you won't hear all of the song unless you deliberately pause the game.
- Lost in Translation: The epitaph's puzzle would've been extremely difficult to translate to solvable English. Because English doesn't have the structural features of Japanese — ie; multiple character readings, alternate kanji for the same readings — that to translate the embedded word puzzles would require a much longer and less poetic epitaph. Making it meaningful as directions to a treasure would lose the implications of a sacrificial ceremony.
- The Lost Woods: The rest of Rokkenjima besides the main mansion is uncultivated forest, and Kinzo's favorite legend involves telling his children that the witch Beatrice lives within the woods, so it's a very dangerous place. He isn't lying, since Rosa stumbles across her hidden mansion after running blindly into the forest.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Beatrice creates her own perfect world with just her and Maria. Also, the Golden Land in the first arc functions this way.
- Love Dodecahedron: The cause of the entire tragedy. To elaborate, the cousin-servant couples are Jessica/Kanon, and George/Shannon. However, Battler and Shannon were formerly couples (see Childhood Marriage Promise), and Shannon and Kanon are the same person.
- Love Epiphany: Kanon in EP6.
- Love Hurts: A major theme, and according to EP7 this is almost entirely the cause of the Rokkenjima Incident. Sayo serves as one of the page quotes for this trope.
- Love Imbues Life
- Love Makes You Crazy:
- Kinzo, who became obsessed with the occult as a way to revive Beatrice and happily watches over the start of a ceremony to sacrifice his children. However, Kinzo really was deeply in love with Beatrice Castiglioni, and she with him. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth, with their daughter surviving, and as she grew older her uncanny resemblance to her mother led to Kinzo doing something he'd regret for the rest of his life.
- In EP6, Battler also demonstrates this in his desperation to revive Beatrice and his bitter disappointment when the new Beatrice has no memory or personality of the old; he eventually gets over it.
- Love Martyr: Maria's relationship with Rosa is treated in this way until the fourth arc.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- Beatrice's character song starts out as an upbeat rock/pop song, but the lyrics are about Beatrice wondering who she lives for and beginning to doubt if she will ever find true happiness; after the first couple verses establish this, the melody gradually becomes more fitting for the song.
- The case with Maria's character song is not immediately obvious because it has an upbeat tune with upbeat lyrics… until you stop to think about what the lyrics really mean, which is when this trope kicks in full force and turns the song into a tear jerker. The comments made by vidread, XanthsAMV, and littlexscreamer explain perfectly why this is a case of Lyrical Dissonance.
- The Stakes' image song definitely qualifies. The song contains a cutesy, energetic and upbeat music about how the stakes want to gouge and kill your body.
- Mad Bomber: Sayo Yasuda, who's perfectly willing to blow up an island in an explosion that wipes out most of everything there.
- Magic Skirt: Everyone with a skirt in Ougon Musou Kyoku is in violation of Knox's 2nd. The one exception is Chiester, but not because of the cut of her skirt; her midair splits would fully expose her crotch even if she wore a full skirt.
- Magic Versus Science: Magic versus logic. Anti-mystery versus anti-fantasy. As time goes on, things get more complicated. The game continues to go on, but considering that they're by then well-developed characters, are the witches so easy to brush off as non-existent? One could argue that the witches being real or not doesn't change whether the murders are magic or mundane—and if they are mundane, would that really cast doubt on the existence of ageless, extradimensional beings like witches?
- Mama Bear:
- Rosa. Her last act in the second arc is to mow down goat-headed butlers with a rifle and Maria at her side.
- During the climactic battle in the Golden Land, Rosa displays her Mama Bear tendencies to Erika in full force, to the point where the narration had to point it out.
- Also Natsuhi. Kumasawa actually says in regard to her, "They always say that the most frightening bears are those that have children." It doesn't work, though.
- Man Behind the Man: The third tea party has Lambdadelta state that she gave Beatrice her powers in order to create a board to beat Bernkastel in. Later reinforced by the alliance of Bernkastel and Lamdadelta against Beatrice in the fourth tea party.
- Marathon Episode: Episode 4. Between Ange's travel in 1998, her learning of Magic while she was Off to Boarding School, Maria's diary and the fourth game, be ready to spend at least a good week reading it. The Ange and diary parts make up a good half of the Episode, and several of the chapters are very long. And that's not even including the Tea Party, which covers Battler investigating the crime scene and the entire final Battle.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The point of the entire series.
- Meaningful Funeral: To Beatrice in Requiem. Of course, Bernkastel finds a way to ruin it...
- Meaningful Name:
- Beatrice and Virgilia both derive their names from Dante's Divine Comedy. The "Stakes of Purgatory" have the names of demons corresponding to the Seven Deadly Sins. The "Chiester" bunny girls are named after Winchester shotguns. Finally, Lambdadelta's name is Greek for "34", which may hold some significance for those who saw Higurashi.
- Also, Maria's name is one that is a common translation of Mary: a reference to the woman from the New Testament who gave birth to Jesus Christ. In the fourth arc, one of the TIPS speculates that Maria is one of the Creator witches, who can create something where there was previously nothing. The significance of Maria's name is further explored in EP7, and Maria even says that if she had been born a boy, she would have been named Emmanuel, one of the names for Jesus, meaning "God is with us" in Hebrew.
- Mental Story: Combined with a Show Within A Show Reveal in Episode 8 — most of the plot is Tooya Hachijo (aka Battler) recreating the events of Rokkenjima 1986 as mystery novels in the same way Beatrice wrote several manuscripts that she threw into the sea in bottles, after he recovered his memory of what happened.
- Mercy Kill: Ange did one to Eva near the end of the fourth arc. Also, Beato gave one to Maria and Rosa in the third arc.
- Message in a Bottle: The ending of "Legend of the Golden Witch." It's later revealed that there were several of these (though only two of them were found).
- Metaphorically True: Anything said in Red needs careful attention paid to its Exact Words. It is however absolutely true to the person saying it. Even that might not always help: in EP6 it's heavily implied that EP2's Red Truth that Kanon died in this room! can only be true metaphorically.
- Mind-Control Eyes: In EP6, Jessica takes on these, though they're really just an indication of how she's hardening her heart.
- Mind Screw: Ryuukishi07 is a master of this.
- Wait, what? Everybody's alive again? What do you mean, "wrap party"? So, what, everybody dying was some TV show we were all watching or something? Beatrice!? What are you doing here?!...Wait, none of this was some weird meta gag?! Of course, if you played Higurashi, it's a double-whammy of a Mind Screw, since Higurashi had wrap parties too. It's just that those ones were non-canon. Thus, when Umineko pulls out the first tea party, the results were a subversion of their use in the previous games.
- This goes to new levels in EP5, where depending on how you look at it, there can be 3 or 4 levels of Meta-Worlds.
- Episode 6 has another massive one: Ange is reading the part of Dawn to Featherine where Beato asks about information of "old" Beato, in which Featherine opens a door to bring Virgilia and Beato to look through her library. Then later, while Ange is still reading she stops and asks Beato, who was still in the library, a question. It is common for readers to clutch their heads in confusion at that point.
- Mind Screwdriver:
- While the end of the series still leaves some things unexplained i.e Sayo Yasuda and Lion's genders, what really happened during that fateful weekend on Rokkenjima, Chiru drops more hints about the true nature of the series than there were in the first half.
- The manga, which is supervised by Ryūkishi, also adds more clues (notably visual ones) to understand the mysteries and explains some parts of the story more clearly than the sound novels. Whether some of its content actually (like the "truth" about Rokkenjima Prime) is canon remains questionable though, as giving a definite answer directly contradicts one of the main points of the VN's ending.
- Missing Mom: Battler's mother Asumu died, and it's stated outright that Kyrie is more of an older sister than a mom to him. In fact, Battler is distanced from Rudolf because he married Kyrie Too Soon for Battler's taste. Of course, it turns out Asumu wasn't his real mother, and Battler has a HUGE Heroic BSOD when he finds out.
- Mobile Shrubbery: One of Battler's more ridiculous theories in Episode 2 involves Piece Beato sneaking into Maria's bedroom and stealing the chapel key while hiding in a cardboard box.
- Monty Hall Problem: In the EP8 manga, Jessica and George use this on Ange during a game of hide-and-seek, with the trope named outright.
- Mood Whiplash: A pretty strong element all throughout the series. While the pattern in Higurashi's arcs was to begin light and funny and get progressively darker and scarier, Umineko relies more on unexpected emotional shock.
- Mooks: All of the goats, who are also faceless goons.
- Multiethnic Name: Kinzo's children and grandchildren all have these.
- Multigenerational Household: The main house.
- Multiple Endings: There's the usual When They Cry stuff with the multiple endings playing into a larger ending, but the last arc itself can also end in two different ways.
- Multiple Reference Pun: Similarly to Higurashi, although it may be a bit far-fetched. "Umineko" is a type of seagull, but literally means "sea cat". The term used to describe the endless possible scenarios of Rokkenjima is the "catbox". So the title can mean "When the seagulls cry" or "When the cat in the middle of the sea is dead".
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- It's kinda hard to remember with all of the sound effects and shiny slashes that when characters use red text, blue text, and gold text, they're really only rebutting each other's arguments. It's like the most shiny debate club competition EVAR.
- Remove the color tints and special effects at the end of EP4 and you get Battler trying to speak but choking halfway.
- Lambdadelta's power include bombarding her opponent with… candies.
- Dawn has a particularly interesting case and even lampshades it. Erika picks a fight with Maria over the fact that Maria claims Beatrice made candy appear from an empty cup. It escalates to the point where Maria and Erika have a Truth battle to determine whether or not this candy trick was an act of magic. It's a Wizard Duel meets bickering over candy with a 9 year old.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Genji, Shannon and Kanon seem rather unconcerned in the face of Kinzo's actions and all the murders that occur. In reality Kinzo is long dead and Shannon and Kanon are in fact the same person, Sayo, who is Kinzo's illegitimate child with his daughter Beatrice II and is the one Genji considers his new master. Sayo then plan the murders without any protest from Genji, who even helps with covering them up.
- Mythology Gag: Many references to Higurashi.
- 34 sympathizes with Eva's "unfortunate childhood a bit".
- Maria's letter to whoever discovers the bodies at the end of EP1 is nearly identical to the one Keiichi wrote in Higurashi's Onikakushi-hen.
- Unimpressed by his hypotheses at the end of EP4, Lambdadelta suggest that Battler's next crazy theory should be that everyone on the island is infected with
Hinamizawa Rokkenjima Syndrome.
- Similarly in the first novel, Battler makes it clear that "he's not infected with some disease that makes him scratch his throat to death if he doesn't fondle breasts".
- The Seven Sisters' outfit looks suspiciously like Angel Mort's uniform.
- Nearly 90% of the attacks in Ougon Musou Kyoku are these, in fact, the game itself is full of this.
- Nested Story Reveal: Episode 8 reveals that most of the plot is Toya Hachijo's attempt to recreate what happened in Rokkenjima by writing mystery novels ("Forgeries") based on the original two message bottles that washed up on the shores of Japan.
- Never Found the Body: Anyone who survives until the end of the arc tends to die in this manner. However, even during the arcs, Kanon seems to have these sorts of deaths a lot.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- The anime's next-episode trailers are full of blatant lies and out-of-character behavior. They're hilarious. Except the last one.
- The trailer before the release of the first game opened with the words "No Knox, No Dine, No Fair". Episodes 5 and 7 introduce incarnations of the Knox and Van Dine rules respectively.
- A website version. Alchemist announced a Umineko project, but used different characters drawn in the Umineko portrait style. This all turned out to be a joke and the characters were for their new game Galgun, but at the same time they announced Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning
- Nightmare Face: Really gets ramped up in the PS3 remake; they generally involve shadowy brows, extremely wide grins and bugged-out eyes. Beatrice provides a comparison the PC and PS3 sprites.◊ And let's not get into the manga, where every chapter is guaranteed to have at least one grotesquely deformed expression.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Beatrice is prone to these, and Maria's giggling sometimes morphs into it as well. Lambda has her "O-ho-ho-ho-ho!" in the Visual Novel as well.
- No Body Left Behind: The Stakes are some of the few characters NOT to leave gruesome corpses. Unless they're the ones doing the killing, but that's another matter… This also happens every time Kanon dies.
- No Name Given: Kinzō's wife and Maria's father remain ghost characters until the very end.
- Not so Fast, Bucko!: Used horribly effectively in Requiem. The funeral is over, the rain stops, everyone can go, a sweet piano music plays along with the "Umineko no naku Koro ni" ending screen. Then in the Tea Party, we are brutally reminded that Bernkastel is the Game Master of this Episode. Of course, all the Tea Parties have a twist, but this one is almost an Episode of its own (it's even divided in chapters).
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Amakusa tries to pull this on Ange in the Trick ending, upon which she calmly replies that the Tokarev does not have a safety and shoots him to death.
- Occult Detective: The Witch Hunters in Episode 4.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: Natsuhi has been doing this for Kinzo for almost two years.
- Official Couple: There are nothing but these. Not much room for Shipping in this series. George/Shannon, Jessica/Kanon, Rudolf/Kyrie, Eva/Hideyoshi, Krauss/Natsuhi, Beatrice/Battler, Lambdadelta/Bernkastel.
- Off Model: There's a bit of a joke among the fandom that the animation in the anime is so bad because they blew the budget on the voice actors.
- Ominous Italian Chanting:
- Ominous Pipe Organ: Odds are, if you're magical, your theme tune hits this trope. For some examples, we have "Organ Opusculum No. 600,000,000 in C Minor" (Beatrice), "happiness of marionette" (Eva-Beatrice), and "Dance of the Moon Rabbit" (the Chiester). Though as a subversion, the latter two sound pretty joyful. The best example of the trope in the series is probably Kuina in Episode 5.
- On One Condition: If you find the gold before midnight of the second night, you win! If not, "The witch shall be revived. None shall survive."
- And even when someone DID find it, "When the seagulls cried, there was but one survivor."
- In EP5 the gold was found and a murder occured anyway. Furthermore, while the game ended before everyone died, the author implied in an interview that more people die anyways.
- Not to mention EP7: Everyone works together to find the gold… and promptly turn on each other.
- One-Woman Wail: Several of xaki's musics are based on this in the soundtrack. She does the wail herself too.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Beatrice's name is treated as a title, and indeed, when Eva-Beatrice becomes the new Endless Witch, Beatrice claims that she is now "nameless." Battler then gives her the nickname "Beato" to use, which has been used for her more often than not since.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Lambdadelta toward Bernkastel. Beato toward Battler and vice versa.
- Ontological Mystery: How part of EP6 is played out.
- Opening a Can of Clones: Given all the Reality Warper and Your Mind Makes It Real-type tropes that are involved, this was kind of inevitable. The red text is supposed to defuse the problem a bit, although a lot of it simply hinges on your trust of Beatrice in general.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: Beato's explanation of 1967 Beatrice's existence is that Kinzo created a homunculus of her and trapped her soul in it. In EP7, it turns out that this probably isn't true.
- Out of Character: Ronove and Beatrice in Forgery No.XXX (which features an Axe Crazy version of Battler).
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: Finding the culprit requires to think some aspects in an unorthodox way. Namely, you have to understand that "a person" doesn't necessarily refer to a physical person (which is heavily foreshadowed in the early episodes), and relatedly that in Beato's mouth, "dead" doesn't necessessarily mean physically dead.
- Painting the Medium:
- Red truth is for an absolute truth. Blue truth is for a magic-denying theory, and later to emphasize logical arguments. Gold truth is for those who have understood everything of the game board. And Twilight has the purple declaration for important testimonies in Bernkastel's mystery game. Every piece can use the purple declaration, and it's used to speak the truth, like the red, but the culprit(s) can lie with it.
- All dialogue is spoken aloud in the anime (duh) but red text tints the scene red, zooms around in white font, with butterflies circling it, and makes a high-pitched buzzing. (Blue is the same sans butteflies.) In some instances for the final episode of the anime, the text doesn't appear, but the sound effects (a slashing noise for red and a booming noise for blue) remain to imply that what they say is "colored."
- Parents as People: A pretty sharp contrast to Higurashi, where you don't even see the protagonist's parents' faces.
- Parental Incest: Kinzo fathered a child with the daughter he had with the original Beatrice. What's worse is that since he saw Beatrice II as the reincarnation of her mother, and she could neither return nor understand these feelings, he essentially raped her.
- Parent with New Paramour: Battler took very poorly to the fact that Rudolf remarried so quickly after Asumu's death.
- Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame:
- Each member of the cast gets an introductory one in the first episode of the anime.
- The Anime's depiction of the meta-world may qualify for this as well.
- Pater Familicide: Essentially, Kinzo's plan is this plus spouses and grandkids. Subverted, since Kinzo's dead before it all happens..
- Pensieve Flashback:
- Ange with Maria's diary.
- The anime adaptation also uses this for the the meta-scenes.
- Pimped-Out Dress
- Pixellation: It's used a few different times in the anime, although it's removed on the DVDs.
- Posthumous Character: Asumu as well as Kinzo and Beatrice. On the magical side, we have Chiester 556.
- Post Modernism: And how. The series uses so many tropes from the Metafiction Index that the truth loops around itself and reality becomes unstable. Between deep discussions of what consists mysteries, implications that some of the narrative is untrustable, lampshades of Invoked Tropes, and the entirety of the Meta-World, the viewer is left to guess wildly about what is going on.
- The Power of Hate: This is the essence of black magic as discussed in EP 4. Amakusa and Ange later discuss the idea more thoroughly in EP 8, using child soldiers as a metaphor.
- The Power of Legacy: An ongoing theme throughout the series and is pretty much the point of the ending theme "Ricordando il Pasato" ("Remembering the Past")
- The Power of Love:
- According to Episodes 3 and 4, magic was originally intended to bring about happiness and gained its powers through the efforts of love. Knowing Ryukishi, this was completely intentional.
- This trope is actually examined in different ways throughout the series, and in some cases it's deconstructed most notably in Kinzo's case, since while he and Beatrice Castiglioni were deeply in love, his love for her combined with her Death by Childbirth drove him to sexually abuse their daughter just because she so closely resembled her mother.
- Powers That Be: The Witches' Senate may be something of the sort. We are never really explained what it is, what kind of power it has or how its members are designated. We just know that Bern, Lambda and Featherine are part of it and that it's a very bad idea to go against it.
- Present Day Past: Internet as presented in Umineko would seem plausible if the story were at least set somewhere in the 21st century. In 1998, though? It wasn't big to the point of having millions of people posting theories about the Rokkenjima incident.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted with such frequency that the exceptions become suspicious.
- Prolonged Prologue: Legend of the Golden Witch is basically one long prologue, with the meta-duel between Battler and Beatrice beginning only at the very end of the Tea Party.
- Psychic Powers: How some believe Ange is able to "talk" with pre-Rokkenjima Maria through Maria's diary.
- Psychological Thriller
- Puni Plush: Ryukishi07's (in)famous drawing style consists big heads, round faces and… weird hands. Really weird. It appeals to many fans thanks to its expressiveness though.
- Puzzle Thriller: Not only the hero, but the players must first figure out how the narration works before they can solve any puzzle. As long as you just take what is shown to you at face value and assume the narration is objective, you won't go anywhere.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Stakes of Purgatory and the Chiesters.
- The Rashomon: Suspend any expectation that a Third Person Omniscient camera will show the objective truth, or even the characters' honest perspectives. Events and conversations may contain truth, even if they never happened.
- Rays from Heaven: This visual novel does this at the end of Ep 7 after Will solving all of Beatrice's games and riddles, letting Beatrice, in the form of Claire, die in peace. Lion also learns how lucky s/he should be in not having become Sayo Yasuda. The sunlight is even described as looking as a staircase to heaven.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: "H-His anti-magic resistance level is at Endless Nine!"
- Real After All: Possibly. After it is seemingly established that witches and fantasy creatures are essentially imaginary beings (or at best exist on a different plane), Episode 8 shows Ikuko/Featherine using the red truth during a press conference in the real world, and not aging the slightest bit in something like 40 years, thus implying that witches do exist after all. Like an ultimate Mind Screw from the author.
- Real Place Background: Like in Higurashi, the original sound novels mostly use photos as backgrounds. The Ushiromiya mansion is based on the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens in Tokyo.
- Really 700 Years Old: Both Bernkastel and Lambdadelta, as well as Beatrice. In Beatrice's case, though, it's subverted.
- Recurring Riff: The major composers each have a prominent one:
- Recursive Canon:
- Revealed to be the case in EP8.
- Also parodied, in episodes 2 and 3 Maria watches an episode of Higurashi: When They Cry.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Both the Stakes and Chiesters, as well as Lambdadelta (but only in the anime and PS3 remake).
- Red-Headed Hero: Battler and Ange later on.
- Red Herring: One that can be suspected as early as Episode 2 if you pay close attention. Not only are the "epitaph murders" not part of any revival ceremony, the one who supposedly begun said ceremony is long dead.
- Relationship Upgrade: Jessica and Kanon in EP6.
- An integral part of the plot. If I mention quantum post-selection paradoxes, would you understand?
- In EP6 this concept is weaponized to force Battler to make a Logic Error
- Rivals Team Up: Who's whose rival is rather floating, but there are several occasions.
- In EP5, Battler, Ronove, Virgilia, Gaap, and the Seven Sisters of Purgatory all band together to give Erika and the Eiserne Jungefrau (particularly Dlanor) a serious beatdown.
- In EP6, Gaap and George and Ronove and Jessica in the first twilight. Kyrie and Leviathan also
- In EP8, Will and Dlanor team up to fight the goats.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Erika and Dlanor in EP6 most likely qualify for this.
Erika: "I really love you." note
Dlanor: …? Thank you.
- Room Full of Crazy: Kinzo's room.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: A few of the Battler's theories to solve the murders involve this trope.
- Rule 34: The TIP "Game Master Battler" might be a parody of this rule, as Battler takes advantage of the power of the Catbox to have every female character (and yes, that includes Ange) crawl at his feet.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Subverted in the same way as Higurashi, but slightly more ironic, as those who die first do so as sacrifices to summon Beatrice or not, since that's not why the murders are happening.
- Sadistic Choice:
- Episode 4. In order to gain two, sacrifice one: Your life. Your loved one's life. Everyone else's lives. Amusingly, everyone shown indicates one of the choices, then goes on to Take a Fourth Option anyways.
- The entire plot is a sort of variation. Battler must accept magic's existence or blame one of his close relatives. As Beatrice gleefully points out several times. He has big qualms with both.
- Sawed Off Rifle: The Weapon of Choice for most of the adults.
- Say My Name: All the time. (Beeeeeeeeeeaaatriiiiiiiiiiice!)
- Scare Chord:
- A rather terrifying one.
- Episode 4 somehow manages to make a *pin pon* sound like a scare chord when Gaap stops pretending she's in trouble.
- Scenery Porn: Ougon Musou Kyoku has most possibly the most detailed and beautiful battle backgrounds EVER, especially the Meta World ones.
- Schrödinger's Cat:
- A recurring motif. Used by Virgilia and Battler to explain why the fantasy scenes happen: as long as the detective can't see them, there's a possibility that it either happened, or it didn't happen. And that in a Closed Circle, two theories (or more) have the same weight of truth until the closed circle is broken.
- "Catbox" is also used as a metaphor for what really happened on Rokkenjima. The only one said to be able to open it is Eva, since she was present. She however chose not do so for the sake of Ange.
- Science Destroys Magic: This is the witch's defense for why they don't use magic openly: People don't believe in it anymore which undermines its effectiveness. The validity of the argument is intentionally ambiguous.
- Secret Underground Passage: Rokkenjima used to be a military base, so now it gets used for the passage to Kuwadorian.
- Serial Escalation: Everything that happens in one game usually gets this treatment in the next; heck, it also happens in the middle of the games themselves, from the awesomely epic magic shows to the badass BGM to the number of characters per game to the ridiculous and outrageous theories for the murders to the amount of memes generated per game. Special mention goes to Episode 5, in which the HSQ reaches its peak.
- Servant Race: Furniture is apparently this. Later subverted, since not only is it implied that many of the furniture characters are really Imaginary Friends, but as the series goes on it becomes more apparent that whenever Shannon and Kanon use the word "furniture" it doesn't actually refer to their race or social status; rather, it refers to how Sayo Yasuda believes that his/her damaged body which is "unable to love" makes him/her less than human.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Ange's goal in going back to 1986. She isn't able to.
- Sequel Hook: "Let's meet again. When something else cries…"
- Sex Equals Love: One of Sayo Yasuda's issues and part of his/her confusion. Because of what is implied to be Sayo's mutilated sexual organs, s/he is unable to have sex and is afraid that the his/her other selves' love interests (Battler, George and Jessica) will view him/her as a "filthy maggot" if s/he reveals the truth. The series never comments upon whether Sayo is right or not, but the point is that those feelings exist and it's a major factor in Sayo's self-hatred.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Though the phrase is never used, some characters discuss whether the story itself should be this in EP8. Whether the story itself was this is a frequent bone of contention for the fandom.
- Shameful Strip: After Battler surrenders to Beatrice in the second arc, he is stripped completely except for a chain around his neck that Beatrice uses as a leash.
- Shout-Out: Once again, too many to list, so please don't try here.
- Show Within a Show: Played for laughs in the manga, where Maria (and Ange in an omake) watches a show called "Magical Bern-chan".
- Sigil Spam: The One-Winged Eagle crest of the Ushiromiya family shows up quite often; all the Ushiromiya family members and servants have the crest somewhere on their clothing (except for Natsuhi and Gohda, who Kinzo doesn't trust), it's on Kinzo's stationary and personal seal, and the hidden gold bars all have the crest on them. EP7 reveals that it's not an original symbol, and it derives from a faded imprint of the Italian Social Republic's eagle on the gold bars.
- Simple Score of Sadness: "Moon" and "Fortitude".
- Slasher Smile:
- Everyone who is involved with the murders of family (Eva, Eva-Beatrice, Kinzo/"Goldsmith" come to mind) has one.
- In the manga, Dlanor "GREAT EQUALIZER IS THE DEATH" Knox gains a Slasher Smile here.
- Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout). Ye gads, get out of order or miss a segment or two in either, and you can end up so lost. And, this is the same, whichever medium you're playing/ watching/ reading them in.
- Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted. They do exist, but Rosa doesn't want anything to do with them since they may find out about her less-than-stellar parenting of Maria.
- Skyscraper City: The City of Books is described as this.
- So Happy Together: In the first arc, George proposes to Shannon in a gazebo with all sorts of pretty music playing in the background. Guess who's one of the people found dead the next morning, with the engagement ring on her finger? Double Subverted since Shannon wasn't really among the corpses, but she was probably the murderer.
- The Soulless: According to Beatrice, furniture is this. While this isn't exactly true, there's a reason Beatrice believes that.
- Soundtrack Dissonance:
- Episode 3. People getting killed horribly with this music in the background.
- That's nothing compared to Eva-Beatrice's theme song: It's even called Happiness of Marionette. So when does this play? Whenever the villain of this arc is contemplating how she'll torture people, of course!
- Note: if, when playing Umineko, a piece of music is played containing either a pipe organ or a harpsichord (unless it is in the beginning, setting up the Rokkenjima family gathering), NOTHING positive is going to happen in that scene. No matter how happy, fun, pleasant, or uplifting it my sound, some serious shit is going down. Someone is either going to: A) Die horribly, B) Have their perception of reality shattered, C) Get trapped in a horrific logic error, D) Have their argument torn to shreds, E) THINK that they are going to win, then get completely and utterly beaten, or F) All of the above!
- Split Personality: Eva-Beatrice and Eva, which could also qualify as something of a Literal Split Personality and possibly an Enemy Without.
- Spoiler Opening:
- In each arc the opening animations change, most notably the portrait. The second animation set shows Beatrice's Human Form, and the third set shows Eva-Beatrice, Virgilia, and the Chiesters. The fourth one shows all three portraits, another Chiester, and Maria's witch outfit.
- The opening of the PS3 port is very bad with it. Showing quickly important scenes without context may not be bad enough, but showing characters whose very existence are a big surprise for first time players make sure a good part of the mood of the first few episodes are completely changed.
- Spoiler Title: End and Requiem.
- Spooky Painting: Beatrice's portrait.
- Star-Crossed Lovers
- Stay in the Kitchen:
- While growing up, Eva was repeatedly told by her family that she fails as a woman because she didn't know how to do feminine things. The creation of EVA-Beatrice largely stems from her resentment of this.
- Also, Krauss repeatedly shuts Natsuhi up. Unfortunately this isn't to his benefit, since she basically runs the house and has much more common sense than he does while he squanders their money on poorly thought-out business ventures.
- Stealth Pun: Why is Leviathan's hair an odd shade of green? She's green with Envy.
- Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Many of the puzzles in the quiz mini-game of Episode 8 are of this kind.
- Succession Crisis:
- There were all sorts of tensions laid about. Then Beatrice's letter shows up (effectively forcing the current heir, Krauss, to fight for his position), and all hell breaks loose.
- According to Battler's final game, this is apparently subverted, since Kinzo makes an official succession ceremony and distributes the inheritance to the family.
- Also averted outright in EP7, since there is no epitaph and Kinzo already has an appointed successor, Lion Ushiromiya.
- Summon Magic: Just about all furniture requires this.
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Some of the "Tea Parties" may start as cheerful and humorous after-parties, but they usually do not end this way. And more often than not they contain some horrible reveal or twist.
- Surprisingly Good Italian: Akiko Shikata, who composed the VN and anime's opening and the VN's final ending ; what can be more fitting for the series than a Japanese woman who can write and sing in Italian?
- Switched at Birth: Battler is Kyrie's son.
- Take That, Audience! and Critics!: A rather unsubtle one in EP8 towards the readers. A seemingly endless bunch of goat-headed creatures making hilariously stupid theories and demanding answers from the creators. Some readers took offence. Lampshaded in-story.
The enjoyment comes from sorting and thinking to reach the truth, and not demanding it.
- This actually starts as early as EP2, not as direct but also not subtle, when characters scold or complain about other characters (usually Battler, but not always) not even trying to think.
- Take Up My Sword: In EP5, Battler becomes the Endless Sorcerer after Beatrice is killed by Erika
- Taking the Bullet:
- In the second arc, Jessica takes a Stake for Kanon. It doesn't really accomplish much, since Beato has 6 more.
- In the third arc, Belphegor does this to protect Eva-Beatrice.
- Talking Is a Free Action:
- Gleefully averted, at least some of the time. In the first arc, Kanon has a long rant about how he's going to kill himself and ruin Beatrice's plans, but she sics a Stake on him before he gets around to acting on it. There's also an awful lot of people dying in the middle of trying to say something important.
- The anime, on the other hand, fell victim to this trope with Jessica falling to the ground in Bullet Time and talking at the same time.
- Played straight later in the novels, Battler's debate with Beato at the end of the fourth arc and the trial at the end of the fifth arc last a minute each.
- Talking to Themself/Acting for Two: It takes more than half the series for the readers to realize that these tropes are in effect whenever Shannon talks to Kanon, but in Episode 7 this fact becomes obvious. Also, no matter how you look at it Beatrice is Acting For Many in both the Meta-World and the piece-world.
- Tangled Family Tree: And how. It's revealed in EP7 that Kinzo had a daughter with Beatrice I, and then had another daughter/son with that daughter. Said second daughter/son is in a relationship with at least two of Kinzo's grandchildren. Gender ambiguity actually being a plot point here. You do the math.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Played with at the beginning of Episode 3. One cute scene has the cousins and Shannon all fooling around on the beach, then everyone promising that they will always get along while holding hands, with Jessica lampshading how embarrassing it is… and then the screen breaks and we brutally switch to the meta-world, while Beatrice cackles that, nope, there won't be such happy ending. Did we mention she is a bit of a Troll?
- Tempting Fate: "Unless messing up sets off a trap that blows up the island, of course." You just had to say it, Beato.
- Ten Little Murder Victims: Essentially the whole plot is based on this trope. The Trope Namer is even referenced in End of the Golden Witch and parallels are drawn.
- The Game Come to Life: Jessica and the Killer Electric Fan
- Theme Naming:
- With the exception of Kinzo, the blood members of the Ushiromiya family all have Western names transliterated from kanji. Battler is the Odd Name Out, being a translation instead. Sayo is even more of an Odd Name Out but is a justified case, unlike Battler's. The four siblings in particular (Krauss, Eva, Rudolf and Rosa) all have German names.
- Many of the servants have 音 (non/on/ne, meaning "sound") as part of their names.
- All the women related to Battler also are named from Christian mythos (Kyrie Eleison = The Kyrie Prayer, Assum = Assumption into heaven, and Ange = Angel).
- As for the magical characters, several are named after characters appearing in Dante's Divine Comedy: Beatrice, Virgil (Virgilia), and Bernard of Clairvaux (Clair Vauxof Bernard) are all Dante's guides.
- The demons' names are taken from the Ars Goetia (Ronove, Gaap, Zepar and Furfur), and the Stakes of Purgatory are all named after demons that are associated with the sins they represent according to Peter Binsfield's classification of demons.
- The Chiesters are named after different types of ammunition.
- Dlanor A. Knox and Willard H. Wright are both named after detective novelists (Ronald A. Knox and S.S. Van Dine, respectively), who each wrote a set of guidelines on how mystery novels should be written in order to be solvable.
- There Are No Therapists: Even though the Ushiromiya family could all really benefit from some therapy, this trope is justified since during the 1980s therapy was frowned upon in Japan.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Every. Single. Character.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: A total of 13 people are killed in the epitaph's ceremony.
- Time Bomb: Kinzo would set one for When the Clock Strikes Twelve as a motivational exercise, which apparently never failed, but someone else will let it time out at the end of Oct 5th.
- Time Travel: Ange is an interesting case. It is not clear when or where the Meta-World is, but Battler and Beatrice's fight takes place in 1986; Ange lives in 1998 and with Bernkastel's assistance reaches the Meta-World. One way of explaining this is that since Episodes 1 and 2 (sans Meta-World sequences) were found as message bottles after 1986, all Ange is doing is metaphorically going back to 1986 and trying to find out what really happened. In such a case, this probably counts as a subversion.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Bernkastel and Lambdadelta. Probably not coincidentally, the words "miracle" and "certainty" are found very often in the same sentence, in several character's mouths.
- Title Drop:
- Over and over again by Battler. "When the seagulls cry" refers to when the typhoon is over and everything's safe. It's also used at the very end to give the body count. Er… perhaps "survivor count" might be a better description.
- Several Episodes also drop their own title in the dialogue.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- In EP2, there's Shannon. In the first arc she seems to be a generic shy Moe Meido archetype who becomes cannon fodder early on. Cue the second arc when she stands up to the witch who's supposedly killing everyone and basically tells her that because she gets enjoyment from seeing them squirm, she's not going to react to give her the satisfaction. Not to mention the barrier powers...
- In EP4, both Jessica and George: formerly damsels in distress give Ronove and Gaap a run for their money.
- Battler, who was level grinding throughout the entire series so far, and boy does it show in the later ones.
- The Tragic Rose: The rose garden in front of the Ushiromiya mansion, and Maria's search for her marked rose.
- Translation Punctuation: Depending on the language. The characters' native language is Japanese, and when a character is speaking in English or another language the dialogue will be written inside square brackets or angle brackets. This is used more in the author-endorsed fan patch by Witch Hunt than the original Japanese to avoid confusion about the dialogue.
- The Treachery of Images: A plot point actually. Battler is nearly won over in the third arc when Beatrice starts showing him visually spectacular witch battles, but Virgilia reminds him that this is still a narrative being told by Beatrice, so he should take the visuals with a few cellars of salt. By the time the 7th arc rolls around it's blatantly obvious in regards to at least 3 characters, if not more. Those who want to solve the mystery by then should take to heart the fact that the story is basically lying to the readers as much as it can without distorting the truth.
- According to Dlanor's version of Knox's 9th, "It is permitted for observers to let their own conclusions and interpretations be heard," this is Fair Play. Everything shown in a character's Point of View, including internal monologues, is construed to be their "conclusions and interpretations", and therefore as honest and reliable as that character is.
- Troll: The witches in general, though depending on the witch, their trolling can be somewhat amusing in a dark comedy sort of way. Special nod goes to Bernkastel, whose trolling is not only incredibly cruel, but absolutely not funny. She ain't called Trollkastel for nothing you know.
- Trope Overdosed: Ain't it just.
- Jessica, though like Mion from Higurashi: When They Cry she's an unconventional example in that she's neither overly tsun nor overly dere.
- Beato towards Battler. In Beato and Battler's case, this is subverted massively in Episode 3, but appears to be true in Episode 4 anyway. Battler even talks about it in EP5.
Battler: When she comes back again, I'm going to tell her "You're such a tsundora."
- Two Dun It: A possible theory about the truth of Rokkenjima is that the events are caused by two teams working independent of each other, one planning and one opportunistic. The first one is the servants and one of the siblings (which one depends on the arc) led by Sayo Yasuda who plans the murders (the one among the sibling and a few of the servants think it's just a game) in order to become free from his/her fate or that Battler solves the case and finds out the truth. The other one would be Kyrie who took a chance when the gold was found.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: George and Shannon do this in the first arc when the typhoon hits.
- Understatement: Episode 22's title in the anime, "Problem Child". In regards to Maria. For some context, that's the one where she kills her mother over and over and over. Hard not to cheer for her though, considering that Rosa is the BEST MOM EVER.
- Unexpected Successor: Kinzo, actually. The Ushiromiya family used to be very powerful, and Kinzo was a member of "a branch of the branch family". Then, an earthquake took out just about everything, and it was up to Kinzo to restore the family to its former glory. But not exactly, as the elders of the family were still alive and intended to use Kinzo as a figurehead, and he even knew that they were going to make a puppet out of him. Somewhere along the lines, he decided to take matters into his own hands, presumably with the help of Beatrice I.
- The Unreveal:
- We are never shown what Ange saw in Kawabata's house in Episode 4. It's only shown in a TIP of Tsubasa.
- The reader never learns what really happened on Rokkenjima. They are only ever given hints to reason the answer for themselves. The reason given in-game is that by never revealing the truth, Ange's hope for a miracle that everyone survived can never be denied. The truth is at least something disturbing enough to drive poor Ange to suicide after she reads Eva's diary, which contains the One Truth.
- In the manga, The Unreveal about the diary becomes The Untwist, as its contents pretty much show the Episode 7 Tea Party. Whether this is canon for the VN as well remains up to debate.
- Unexplained Recovery: What happens when a new game begins after the last, in which Everybody Dies. Or at least a majority of the cast.
- Unreliable Narrator: A key part of the plot. It's explicitly stated that anything not in red text is liable to be false. What is in red text? ...Not very much...
- Episode 5 spells out what can and can't be taken as reliable: For episodes 1-4, only scenes that piece Battler narrates, For episode 5, only scenes that Erika narrates (which are very few).
- This applies in a broader sense later on, once you learn that Episodes 1-2 were written by Yasu, and Episodes 3-6 by Tooya; each of them places far more emphasis on things relevant to themselves. Yasu's episodes are unreliable beyond that because they were written before the actual event, while Tooya's place much more emphasis on how Yasu was influenced by Battler, which makes it impossible to know how reliable that really is.
- Unusual Euphemism: Referring to the servants as "furniture" ("kagu" in Japanese). EP7 reveals that it was coined by Sayo Yasuda, and it's actually a euphemism for something worse; namely, because of his/her mutilated body which "can't love", he/she may as well not be human... in fact, he/she may as well be furniture.
- The Untwist: Ryūkishi07 perfected this to an artform. A rule of thumb when you're reading Umineko is that offhand comments or theories made by the characters should not be dismissed casually. This trope is outright mentioned in Our Confession.
"If, say, Natsuhi says that the servants are the culprits, the reader will naturally assume she must be wrong. It's a confusion technique."
- Updated Re-release: Like Higurashi, it has a remake on a Sony console.
- Uptown Girl: George, a member of the obscenely wealthy Ushiromiya family falls in love with Shannon, one of the servants at the main house. Similarly, Jessica Ushiromiya falls in love with Kanon, a male servant. Subverted when it turns out that Shannon and Kanon are actually the same person, Sayo Yasuda, who is Kinzo Ushiromiya's illegitimate child and the true head of the family.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Battler speculates that the reason Maria is so calm about everyone dying is the promise at the tenth twilight that she'll reach the Golden Land and everything will be restored: and her mother will be nicer to her to boot.
- Verbal Tic: U~~. This is later shown to be not just a random noise.
- Villain-Based Franchise: Subverted in that Bernkastel wasn't a villain in Higurashi.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: The original V Ns allow you to "execute" characters to see how they died.
- Viewers Are Geniuses:
- In order to understand what the show really is about, you need to pay attention to a lot of small details such as where the characters get hurt, where do they die, who talked about fantasy, etc.
- However, Ryūkishi felt obliged to add hints like the catbox talk in Banquet because after Episode 2 many people had started giving up when the fantasy scenes popped up. In other words, he was forced to realize that, no, viewers are not geniuses.
- Weirdness Censor: In the anime, almost no attention is drawn to Maria's cackling, odd foreknowledge, and general sociopathy by other characters (the biggest example is probably the Mood Whiplash above). In the manga, Battler reacts with proper dread at her mysterious statements most of the time, and while he tries to laugh it off in the visual novels, he does find it troubling.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Natsuhi has this to Kinzo, her father-in-law, as she loves him very much and desperately wants his approval. And she wants it so bad that she is driven to psychosis after he dies, imagining his ghost is praising and reassuring her. Bernkastel later makes a point of telling her in the red that he never thought she was good enough.
- Wham Episode: The anime's episode 18. This is partly due to Compressed Adaptation.
- Wham Line:
Dlanor: Kyrie Ushiromiya cannot save you.
- Another red in Episode 6 that has screwed more than one mind:
Erika: I am the visitor, the 18th human on Rokkenjima!
Battler: Sorry, Erika, but…
Beatrice: Even including you…
Both: There are 17 people. *cue gunshot and credits rolling*
- What You Are in the Dark: The reason the 'catbox' of Rokkenjima is closed. Everyone has a motive that isn't quite extreme enough for murder. But what do they do when presented with a pile of riches and the means to remove all evidence of what they did to secure it?
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Twice. Usually, on the first day, there will be a time jump from around midnight to around six AM, implying that that's when the first murders occur, although the fourth arc is a little different. By midnight of the second night, well...
- In Ep7, the siblings very nervously watch Kinzo's grandfather clock reach midnight, uncertain whether the explosives it's rigged to are armed or not.
- Which Me?: There are about twelve different versions and variations of the Beatrices. Eleven if Shannon and Kanon are separate people, but that's still one hell of a lot. Some of them have their own names (Ange-Beatrice is usually known simply as "Ange", unless some distinction between 1998 and meta-1986 needs to be made), some have last names that are applicable (Beatrice Castiglioni), and some of them simply have fan-created names, because otherwise, you wouldn't be able to figure out who someone was referring to (Moetrice, suit![or sometimes, piece!]Beatrice, Beatroll, etc.).
- White Magic: According to Virgilia, this was initially the purpose of Endless Magic. However, the magic itself can be used for either this or Black Magic depending upon the intentions of the user.
- Whodunnit to Me: "Battler Ushiromiya, at this time, I will kill you. And right now, there is no one on the island other than you. The only one alive on this island is you. Nothing outside the island can interfere in any way. And of course, I am not you. However, I am here now and will kill you."
- Whole Plot Reference:
- The relationship between Battler and Beatrice is this towards The Divine Comedy with Beatrice waiting for Battler to find the truth referencing the eternal lady waiting for Dante at the top of Mount Purgatory. Several other names in the series also references the book and fulfill the same roles.
- The book and the similarities are referenced in EP5 when Battler reaches the truth:
''Vergilius guided Dante to Mount Purgatory, ... and brought him below the feet of the eternal lady who waited at the top, Beatrice. Therefore, ... the innermost depths lay not at the bottom. ... but at the peak of Mount Purgatory. The eternal lady... had been waiting there for Dante... the whole time... And then...I...knew.
- The mystery setting is also explicitly inspired by And Then There Were None: people gather on an isolated island and receive a mysterious message sent from an unknown person. And then people are killed one by one, following a text displayed in the house. This is mentioned in Episode 7.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Most of the witches have been driven near-mad with sheer boredom after centuries or even millennia. Bernkastel repeatedly refers to boredom as "the witches' sickness".
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Rosa toward Maria.
- Wife Husbandry: Kinzo to Beatrice Ushiromiya/Beatrice II. Yes, the one he fathered.
- Battler gets this in fandoms on both sides of the ocean. The fighting game acknowledges this with a few of the scenarios (Battler/Ronove, Dlanor/Virgilia, Ange/Virgilia) playing to it. Ange also has a rare in-battle opening line against Virgilia referencing this.
- Lion, despite being gender-ambiguous, is often reduced to being a Damsel in Distress by the Japanese fandom.
- Witch Species: The fourth arc's TIPS describes three different types described in ascending power: Witches, who can possess immense power in one world that is considered to be its dominion; Voyagers, who can travel freely in between the different fragments; and Creators, who can "create a one in a world of nothingness." From a mundane perspective, "becoming a witch" is a metaphor for using escapism to cope with one's problems. The witches' ages represent how long their suffering felt to them; to Sayo Yasuda, the six-year-long wait for Battler to return to Rokkenjima felt like a thousand years.
- A Witch Did It: What Beatrice claims regarding her closed room murders. Battler's goal is to prove her wrong.
- Word Puree Title: A good number of the musics in the OST have this, like "System 0", "Lie-alaia", "Bore-ral", "F Style", "LixAxil", "l&d circulation" or "Ruriair". The climax musics from zts are all english words approximately mashed together with no space: "worldenddominator", "dreamenddischarger" or "lastendconductor" to name a few.
- World of Buxom: Virtually every female over the (apparent) age of 13 is noticeably… "blessed". Especially true of the Ushiromiya clan. Boobs in this series come in two sizes; almost non-existent (Lambdadelta, Maria) and DD (every other female). Bernkastel is either totally flat or mildly busty depending on the author.
- World of Ham: Virtually every single argument in the series, even the most mundane ones, is undeniable Ham-to-Ham Combat. Then the colored texts and magic weapons come into play, and the scenery is literally torn to pieces.
- World of Symbolism: After getting past the initial Mind Screw, one can see the fantasy scenes as being symbolic of various things, from aspects of murder mysteries to the characters' inner conflicts.
- Worthy Opponent: Battler and Beatrice refer to each other as this constantly.
- Wrestler in All of Us: In the fighting game, Ange with her DABURU JAAMAN.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Battler doesn't believe in the supernatural and tries to find mundane explanations for everything bizarre happening on the island. Oddly enough, Beatrice seems amused by his denial and traps him in a time loop, challenging him to find a mundane explanation each time. Or something. He eventually realizes by EP5 that he must change his priorities, and becomes one of the most appropriately Genre Savvy characters in the series.
- Also, it may be Erika and Dlanor case in EP5. They use the "fact" that they are in a mystery to use Knox's Decalogue as basis of most of their deductions. However, it was never stated that the Decalogue is really valid (Dlanor even acknowledges this).
- Yellow Brick Road: Jessica and the Killer Electric Fan. Basically, Jessica wrote a nonsensical script for the school festival play, but Lambdadelta found it amusing to enchant it. So when she, Battler and Shannon try to rehearse it, they are transported in the world of the play and must follow the script until the end to get out. At the end, a giant killer electric fan appears beneath their feet, despite being mentioned nowhere in the script. It turns out Jessica wanted to write "FIN" at the end but wrote "FAN" instead.
- You Already Changed The Past: Despite Ange's goal being to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, there is nothing she can do to change the future; nearly everyone who was on Rokkenjima will die, she will still have a miserable and unpleasant relationship with Eva, and though Battler technically survives he will no longer consider himself her brother.
- You Are Worth Hell: The fantasy ending of the series has Battler declare this for Beatrice.
- You Bastard: In the Tanabata side story, Bern addresses the reader several times during her section, repeatedly asking, implying, and outright stating that they prefer seeing the sort of twisted 'wish-granting' she indulges in. Looking back, considering how Higurashi's ending was criticised because it was "too happy" for the series, she may not be totally wrong.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Ange helps even knowing that going back in time to help Battler won't fix her own timeline: just the one that Battler will now go to which makes her a Future Badass. In the end she can't fix Battler's timeline either, but it still turns out that aside from Eva he was the only one to make it off of Rokkenjima alive.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Pretty strongly implied in every arc after the first as a sort of extension of the Literary Agent Hypothesis with a touch of The Treachery of Images tossed in for good measure. Did you notice that this is labelled "Mind Screw"?
- Zettai Ryouiki: Beatrice in her suit and Ange in particular.
When the seagulls cry, none are left alive.