These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Umineko: When They Cry aka: Uminekono Naku Koro Ni
Adaptation Displacement: This has slowly become averted over time. While it was played straight when the anime first aired, due to the usual situation where anime based on visual novels will be more well known than their source material, the anime quickly gained a reputation for being a very bad adaptation, having the dubious honor of being voted Worst Anime of 2009 by 2chan. Due to abysmally low DVD sales (less than 600 copies), Chiru never got an adaptation as a result, though the price of said DVDs certainly didn't help.note Approximately $80 for a 2 episode disc. Show had 26 episodes; what exactly were they expecting? The original visual novels have since gained more prominence over its anime adaptation, especially since the English Fan Translation started before the anime aired.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Beatrice: a heartless and sadistic murderer, or the savior of the Ushiromiya family's dignity, allowing their memory to be unsullied by the crimes committed in their two days on Rokkenjima by taking them all upon herself?
This is what happens when a Tsundere goes too far.
Could also be a Trickster Mentor, as the "Wind and the Sun" strategy of episode 3 seems to be an attempt to show Battler that he's way too trusting. With the "Wind", she wore down his refusal to suspect the people close to him, but with the "Sun" she got him to trust and sympathize with her. When Ange, then a complete stranger, appeared at the Golden Reception, Beato and Virgilia had no reason to start dribbling their Villain Ball in front of him — except to rub the point in.
Toya Hachijo/Featherine: It's never explicitly said that Toya is Featherine. One non-magical explanation of how the two could be different entities is that Toya's story that Ange reads is a description of a fictional Ange reading the story of Battler's sixth game to a fictional Featherine, so that Featherine is Toya's Author Avatar.
George: Dogged Nice Guy who has an enlightened view of the world through his years of experience, and who respects Shannon as a person, or a borderline-sexist who takes everything far more seriously than he should? He may (or may not, YMMV of course) have Yandere tendencies (possessive subtype) to boot.
At the end of Ep 7, is Kyrie really so ruthless and cold that she would cast off any family for 1 billion, or is she simply keeping a cool facade to the threat from an emotionally distraught Eva?
Arc Fatigue: The pacing of the anime comes to a screeching halt at the start of the fourth arc, with three straight episodes of exposition on the characters of Maria and Ange.
Then again, one could argue it was way too fast before that…
Base Breaker: Rosa. She's considered a Memetic BadassMama Bear based on her actions in EP2, where she fends off a horde of goat butlers using a shotgun and a gold ingot in her purse in order to protect herself and her daughter, which is one of the times where Rosa demonstrates that she sincerely loves Maria and is legitimately sorry for her abusive behavior, and a horribly Abusive Parent sarcastically called "World's Best Mother" by the fans for the way she treats Maria and gets what she deserves any time she's killed, especially in EP4 when Maria uses her new witch abilities to kill Rosa over and over again after she destroys Sakutaro, all the while Rosa is screaming she never loved Maria. This scene is implied to be All Just a Dream, so it could be that deep down Maria is afraid that Rosa really doesn't love her. Given the fact that the Ushiromiya Family is intentionally being displayed at their worst on the island, instead of being like that all the time, and that some of their actions are the result of twisted gossip, it's safe to assume that Rosa does indeed have legitimate love for Maria, but that love is very conflicted and could either persevere over hatred or shatter completely given the course of events.
Yasu and everything related to him/her has been subject to much debate by the fandom.
Better on DVD: Bet you they'll remove the pixellating in the gorier parts on the DVD (US version).
But they certainly didn't seem to do anything about the QUALITY. DEEEEEEEEEN!
One of the arguments that gets ugly is when deciding whether or not this series was a mystery to begin with.
Another topic that's best not to bring up within the fandom is what Lion/Yasu's gender is.
Confession of the Golden Witch. There is some debate over whether giving answers this explicit in the manga was a salutary move to lift many ambiguities or an unnecessary one that more or less defeats the point of the series to let the readers search for the answers themslves.
Canon Sue: Bernkastel's furniture Erika Furudo is a ParodyGod-Mode Sue with the personality of a Jerk Sue. It doesn't help that Erika is basically a way for Bernkastel to almost literally insert herself into the story of the Ushiromiya family.
Crack Pairing: The side story "The Stakes' Valentine's Day" is filled with these. Including Asmodeus/Juuza, Beelzebub/Gohda, Leviathan/Kyrie, Belphegor/Rudolf... and even teasing Beatrice/Battler and Battler/Lucifer!
Not to mention the couples poll on the official site, which had absolutely everything.
There's Amakusa/Battler fanart around the Japanese fandom. Not only have they never met, it's a time paradox. On the other hand, Yaoi Fangirls in this fandom have to take what they can get. There aren't a lot of bishounen running around.
Evil Is Sexy: Bernkastel. Well... Not her, completely, but in situations where she displays her cruel and playful antics coupled with her twisted personality, she certainly is! And some chapter covers do it justice.◊ note the text in the middle: "Do you want to lick too? It's the taste of humiliation."
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "If your family died mysteriously in what has a good chance not to be an accident… don't try to search for the truth. It will only bring you pain and desecrate the dead." Huh…
Fanon: No one actually knows what the Gold Truth that showed up in EP5 is or how it's really that different from the red, aside from a few vague statements issued by Dlanor. Despite this, it somehow became accepted that the Gold Truth tells the absolute truth while the Red Truth can be used to spin lies or truths... until a scene in EP6 pointedly contradicted this.
Maybe it didn't contradict it. Ryukishi stated in an interview that anyone can use the Gold Truth if they completely understand the rules of the game. He even says pieces can use it, as well.
Yeah, there was no contradiction. It's actually pretty clear what the gold truth is for. People are easily thrown by the gold text in EP6 because they freak out over the mention of magic, but it's actually pretty simple. Beato the Elder understood the true form of magic, thus she was able to say in gold that Beato's sleight of hand was real magic. Gold text, like Ryukishi said, is simply for people who understand the rules, and can make statements based about those rules.
The significance of Battler's use of the Gold Truth wasn't in the meaning of the content, but the meaning of the use itself. So while Dlanor knew it the statement was a Knox 2nd violation, that was irrelevant to the scope of understanding Battler was demonstrating. Lambda recognized it right away as well; the only one who didn't get it was the Great Detective Furudo Erika, to Lambda's exasperated bafflement: "Do you really want to keep arguing this?"
Yasu's full name is generally assumed to be Sayo Yasuda (since Yasu says their last name is Yasuda and Shannon claims that her real name is Sayo), but it's never told explicitly in the story. Confirmed as of the Ep8 manga bonus chapters, labelling Yasu explicitly as "Sayo Yasuda".
Foe Yay: Most obviously, Beatrice x Battler and Bernkastel x Lambdadelta, both of which are confirmed canon after EP5 and EP6. Erika/Battler. Complete with wedding dress. The side stories "The Stakes' Valentines Day" and "Beato's White Day" even play Beato x Battler for laughs.
In Stakes Valentine you see Belphegor, Leviathan and Satan giving chocolate to the three humans they fought in the canon games (Rudolf, Kyrie and Kanon respectively), for Valentines Day. Lucifer also gives chocolate to Battler, who is considered her rival, and Beelzebub gives her chocolate to Gohda, who she killed in EP2.
Harsher in Hindsight: An in-story version. In the second arc Beatrice tells Shannon that she won't feel that same way about George after he "looks at her with lust" and at the time it just sounds like taunting. If you take into account that Shannon and Beatrice are the same person, it's really a representation of the conflicts in Yasu's heart over whether or not George can truly love Shannon and stay with her after discovering Yasu's broken body. There's a more in-depth analysis of this scene here (warning: contains major spoilers).
Another in-story example also comes from the second arc, or rather, the ending to it. At Beatrice's banquet, she has her goats eat Battler alive after he loses against her. This ends up getting used against her in the fifth arc when she loses in proving Natsuhi's innocence, and Lambadelta and Bernkastel sentence her to the same fate because it's how she "punishes the losers in the game".
Second arc again. Beatrice tells Kanon that the three worst ways to hurt a girl are physically, emotionally, and by betraying their hopes. She calls the last the most difficult, the most effective, and the one most often committed by accident. And poor Beato would know more about that than anybody else.
Again, in-story example:
Battler (to Ange): It's not like you'll get struck by lightning if you tell me your name.
The whole scene where Battler promises to win Beato's game and come back to Ange is really sad after you understand that when Beato's game started, everyone except Eva and Battler was already dead. From the beginning, there was never any chance of the family coming back home alive; and indeed, Beato herself never promised that, it's just what Battler assumed.
Bernkastel's explanation of how to create a bully and Erika's explanation of the ways she intends to abuse Battler after their marriage are individually disturbing enough. Putting them together underscores how truly horribly Erika had been treated to become an intellectual rapist.
Hell Is That Noise: The strange, hammering-on-metal the Stakes emit in their… er, stake form. It's constantly present whether it makes sense (ricocheting off walls in rapid succession) or not (flying through empty air).
There's also the Scare Chord in the first novel when Maria claims Beatrice gave her that umbrella.
The Troll laugh also has this effect the first few times you hear it. It sounds like Woody Woodpecker possessed by the devil… it becomes a bit less scary when it starts being used humorously though.
The shrilly whining strike sound that usually signifies a mortal blow.
Hilarious in Hindsight: One fan made comic (NSFW), located after EP5 features battler creating the 6th game but instead of the typical visual novel he creates a fighting game. It even says Magic fighting game, Battle of the Golden Witch coming soon…
In Episode 1, after Eva and Hideyoshi's murder, Battler yells and promises that he will grab the culprit by the collar before the end of the night. A few hours earlier he had done just that when he spoke to Kanon, who is also Beatrice.
Holy Shit Quotient: Applying this is Beatrice's strategy, showing Battler events so gruesome, so brutal, so insane that he can't accept that a human would be responsible.
Ho Yay: Between Lion and Wright from EP7 (If you believe Lion is a guy, that is). Some fans even took to re-naming EP7 "Homolust of the Golden Witch". Lion's gender hasn't been officially confirmed (and will probably never be), although the English fandom seems to be sure he/she's a guy. The Japanese fandom is fairly split on whether Lion is a girl or a boy, but many fanartists are fond of depicting Lion as a girl for obviousreasons.
Ronove seems to generate this with any other male character he interacts with; not only in the visual novel, but also in his ending with Battler◊ in Ougon Musou Kyoku as well as his ending with George. In Virgilia's endings, she and Ange even ship RonoBato.
It Gets Better: The first novel is almost painfully monotonous with glimmers of hope when small horror elements show up… then somebody finally dies! In the 10th chapter (out of 17)!
Episode 2 suffers from this a bit too, as you spent several hours following the love woes of Shannon and Kanon before the game even starts. Although it helps that Beatrice plays her role of Magnificent Bitch delightfully during that part.
It Was His Sled - No, Bernkastel is not a stoic neutral who sympathises with the heroes. Good luck not knowing this before you start the series.
It's pretty hard to deny just how screwed up Rosa's life is, and, at least as far as we know at this point, how relatively little of it is her fault. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that she treats Maria miserably.
Beatrice may qualify as one.
Erika is probably one straw short of being a mentally insane, jerkass murderer, but she earns a least a few woobie points on account of her being Bern's piece. Though she DOES actually end up being a mentally broken jerkass murderer in Ep6 in order to win against Battler.
Erika and Dlanor in Episode 6. Even if Erika is talking about her ex-boyfriend, the two nonetheless spend 5 minutes saying things like "I would give up my life for you" or "I present you 6 pieces of evidence that I still love you."
There is also a bit of it between Ange and Mammon, especially in the manga.
If one doesn't consider Battler the Guile Hero that he became in EP6, then they can consider him a good heroic example of a Magnificent Bastard as well.
Magnum Opus: Considering its deep and complex story, rich cast and MASSIVE soundtrack, Umineko is considered Ryūkishi and 07th Expansion's most accomplished work so far by a good part of their fans − the other part prefering it Higurashi. The author himself said in a conference that he had a hard time choosing which one he prefered.
Memetic Troll: Beatrice is pretty infamous for her trolling, moreso than any of the other characters, even though her trolling nature is largely an act and Bernkastel is a far more cruel and merciless troll than she is.
Moral Event Horizon: When did you realize that Eva-Beatrice was a Complete Monster? The repeated sadistic deaths of Maria and Rosa did it for a lot of people, especially when Beatrice of all people steps in to give them a Mercy Kill.
In EP6, Erika beheads five people to make sure that they're actually dead (which, it turns out, they weren't). And all in order to get revenge on Battler by trapping him in a logic error.
Bernkastel crossed it in the side story "The Witches' Tanabata", which is where her You Bastard moment comes from.
Narm: Enough to have its own page here, though most examples are from the anime.
Never Live It Down: Battler's theory about "small bombs" became a Memetic Mutation in the fandom due to how ridiculous it was. What most fans didn't realize is that Battler didn't actually believe this theory; he was just desperately fishing for ways to counter Beatrice's claims that the murders were done by magic. That still doesn't stop some fans from bringing up "SMALL BOMBS" as a way to make fun of Battler's reasoning skills.
Player Punch: Ange is built up into an incredibly sympathetic character. Prepare to shed many tears.
Game 5, end of the tea party, Promise. No one will blame you for demolishing a few tissue boxes over this one either.
Rewatch Bonus: Much like Higurashi, rereading through Umineko can feel like you're experiencing a completely different story. Umineko takes it farther, though, due to its overall theme of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, its exploration of the mystery genre, and its initial premise being much more of a Mind Screw than Higurashi's was.
It seems strange to call this a bonus, but the prologue to EP 1 deserves special mention. The first time through the series, this prologue, wherein Battler reunites with his family for the first time in six years, is remarkable mainly for its length. The second time through, it's remarkable mainly for the number of times it makes one wince.
The Scrappy: George; maybe he comes out as too perfect or too bland, but some fans just don't like him. The fact that he has had his sights on a girl 7 years younger than him for several years (actually 4 years younger, but he doesn't know that) doesn't help much.
To put that into context - when he was 17, he looked at a 10 (actually 13) year old girl, and a 12 year old boy, and was romantically interested in the girl while being jealous of the boy. Let that sink in for a bit... you can kinda see why some people might hate him.
Even before that, a big part of the hate he draws is his very... peculiar way to communicate with Shannon. Rather than endearing, phrases like "accept this ring, it's an order", "I will make you mine alone" or his inner comments on how it's fun to play with Shannon's feelings as he likes, can come out as downright creepy at times.
Stoic Woobie: Not only does Ange lose her parents and brother, but supplementary materials reveal that a certain witch manipulated her into not only hating the only relative she had left that doesn't want to kill her, but also locking away any form of happiness.
I guess we can take out the "Stoic" after she learned from Bernkastel how her mother (who she loved more than anyone) never truly loved her and how Eva (who she hated more than anyone) wanted to protect her from the truth.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Even disregarding the whole Compressed Adaptation issue, there are many changes in the anime that fans can hardly forgive. In the last 2 minutes alone, Battler hugging Beatrice tenderly is left out, and Bern and Lambda's epic Evil Laugh is turned into a mischievous giggling. That hurts the emotional factor quite a lot.
Toy Ship: Sakutaro's mutually-adoring relationship with Maria hints at this.
What an Idiot: In EP6 Battler gave Erika duct tape. And it's three rooms' worth. When in the previous game, the duct tape she used allowed her to use the red truth.
After EP7, it becomes obvious that Battler's behavior in EP6 is him betting on a miracle so that Beato regains her memories. Battler acts as an obvious comparison to Kinzo, Chick!Beatrice is quite like Beatrice II, the love duel acts as a metaphor of "Yasu's" internal conflict, etc...
Krauss. Oh, Krauss. The true extent of his idiocy is revealed in EP5. He's quite possibly the stupidest character in Umineko. The poor idiot would have been penniless on the street some five or six years ago if Natsuhi weren't hypercompetent to the point of neurosis.
The Woobie: Oh god, Natsuhi. Especially after EP5.
To verify, she starts to lose her sanity after Kinzo dies, is forced to confront a less than pleasant aspect of her past (one that she's already repented for), Jessica is murdered, Krauss is kidnapped, forcing her to obey the mysterious man claiming to be her son. Not only does Krauss die anyway, but she is framed for all the murders, and gets beaten up by a very pissed off Eva and Battler is the only one who even tries to intervene.
She gets accused of cheating on her husband and having a sexual relationship with Kinzo. Then Bernkastel brutally tells her in her that everything that's been basically keeping her sane until that moment... was all a delusion on her part. They basically make her life hell in that arc. And even that's an understatement.
EP7 reveals that Beatrice, of all people, can definitely be considered to be this.
What, no sympathy for Sakutarou? One of the few characters who doesn't have any malicious tendencies or a fragile psyche, he was basically Maria's only friend and was constantly trying to cheer her up by telling her that her mother loved her very much and was busy working for her. And then Rosa goes and rips him apart right in front of Maria, then makes it worse by declaring to Maria "Sakutarou is dead", which made it impossible for Beatrice to revive him. At least until Ange managed to do so in 1998.
Clair. She exists solely as yet another of Bernkastel's pieces, meant solely to shoulder the responsibilities and sins of Beatrice as her stand-in. Despite lacking a personality, supposedly, she wishes for her counterpart Lion Ushiromiya, the person that Yasu may have become if Natsuhi accepted the child instead of becoming Beatrice to be happy and live a happy life for her sake and all the Beatrices of every world. She then asks for Will to kill her now that her task is complete, only for Bernkastel to bring her back solely to gloat that Lion will die anyway, before having her guts torn out of her stomach.
Beatrice II is the most miserable of all when you think about it. Her mother died giving birth to her. At a very young age she was shut in Kuwadorian and forbidden to leave. She grows up living a comfortable, but boring and empty life, knowing very little about the outside world and having only Kinzō and a few servants to talk to. While she is still a teenager, she is raped and impregnated by her own father, becoming a mother without understanding what's happening to her. And when someone finally comes to get her out of her prison, she doesn't get to spend 2 hours in the outside world before dying anonymously, as though she had never existed. Even Rosa represses her memories of their meeting. In other words, she is pitiful from her birth to even after her death.