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Umineko is one of those VN's you can't miss hearing about if you are even the slightly aware of the medium, so of course I decided to check it out eventually to see what all the fuss was about. And for the most part, I could see where the praise was coming from.
Umineko's biggest strength is by far it's main cast sans Battler. It provides a nice mix of both sympathetic and deplorable traits with just a dash of just the right kind of crazy thrown in for good measure. Characters you maybe hated early on become lovable while seemingly spotless ones become more questionable as the story goes on. Some parts of their personal struggles seriously left me struck dumb. The villains also provide a nice range of flavors to satisfy those who prefer those kind of characters.
One thing that is notable about the novel is it's attempt as a sort of meta narrative regarding the mystery and fantasy genres and presents some interesting ideas with liberal use of the Unreliable Narrator. How successful it is with this however varies a lot from scene to scene with even the author seemingly getting lost in all the back and forth on occasion. One of the problems that arise from this is that it becomes harder and harder to sympathize with characters when everything becomes more and more vague and hard to trust, which becomes an especially big problem later on in the novel.
And while the novel has some slight issues with the pacing and ends up dragging on occasion, it still proves to be quite an interesting read. And while the second half isn't quite as good as the first half of the series it still has some interesting segments even if not up to the same standard.
....and then Episode 8 happens. To be bluntly honest, this part almost came across as the author having some sort of hissy fit at the audience and giving them the middle finger and seems to throw out all of the themes previously set up out the window and tries to shoehorn new ones in that doesn't even make sense and that have some questionable implications behind them. All this while the story seemingly goes more and more oblivious to it's own hypocrisy. And just to rub salt on the wound, it offers no real conclusion to many of the still hanging plot-threads of the story which can leave the reader feeling cheated. This whole part just comes across as a case of Torch the Franchise and Run, at least, that was the impression I got from reading it.
So in conclusion I would say to at least read the first half for a pretty good VN experience, but to approach the second half with caution and tempered expectations.
First of all, what the hell do you mean \"sans Battler\"
Second, Ep 8. Ep 8 was not Ryukishi throwing \"a hissy fit\", he was criticizing the mindset of wanting the truth and wanting it handed on a silver platter without thinking. He did not throw out any themes set up, the themes in Ep 8 are consistent with the rest of the series. And the only questions it doesn\'t answer are questions Ryukishi didn\'t want to answer, namely the truth behind the murders, whether or not the Episode 7 Tea Party is the \"real\" version of events, and the identity of the culprit, because he either left enough clues for them for the player to figure out on their own (the culprit and truth behind the murders), or he didn\'t need to answer it because of the themes (the true events of the island). It is absolutely not a case of Torch The Fanchise And Run
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