Higurashi on crack!
In case you missed it, I’ve already covered Umineko back when it started airing. From the guys that brought us Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, this was one anime I had my eyes on for ages. The anime is quite similar to Higurashi, in that you have people getting brutally murdered, crazy talk, scary laughs, confusing plot holes and of course, killer lolis. Actually there’s just one killer loli, the others are your typical jailbait.
Following the game’s structure closely, the whole 26 episode series is broken down into 4 easily non-digestible parts. The basic story and structure are covered in the first arc itself. The whole Ushiromiya family is murdered by a witch named Beatrice as part of an old pact with the head of the family. One of the grandsons, Battler Ushiromiya, refuses that all the murders were caused by witchcraft. And in trying to solve the murders using rationale, he denies the existence of witches.
The whole point is this: in order for her to exist, Beatrice must convince Battler that witchcraft is real, and that she has been murdering all the people on that secluded island. Thus begins the challenge between Beatrice and Battler. If he wins, Battler’s family and everyone else on the island will be spared, if defeated, he will become Beatrice’s bitch. And everyone dies as well.
After the first arc the whole plot began weakening. I mean this dude knows the witch killed everyone, yet he’s going out of his way to provide dumbass reasons as to how the crime would be committed by an actual human, and not some witch and her freaky demons. However, the plot soon starts revolving around the other people involved, and how they try to escape the inevitable.
Here’s the bottom line: everyone in the Ushiromiya family is a backstabbing bastard, except Battler, whose ego matches the lofty heights of the crazy bitch witch Beatrice. Therefore everyone in the family deserves to die, including the pathetically obedient servants. Going batshit crazy is a recurring theme in the Ushiromiya family, where each and everyone of the family members has done something completely insane and without proper cause at least once.
What keeps a viewer going for more is how every element of the story is tied in together. It’s all a mess really, like a good train wreck you like to see in slow motion. Things seem to be going smoothly, and sometimes you can even empathize with the characters, getting you hopes up that this nightmare will end; a bright sun rises from the horizon and everyone will live happily ever after. Suddenly someone’s head explodes, or their guts hang out thinly veiled by a mosaic censor, leaving all the juicy details to the imagination. I’d love to see the uncensored version, but doubt there’s anything there actually brutal enough worth censoring. This ain’t no Gantz.
Bear in mind that every time you start feeling sorry for somebody, don’t. They’ll either die horribly or flip out and do a complete 180, leading to nothing but utter hatred. What you should do however, is to take things at their face value. Don’t think about where the story is headed, because whatever you thought won’t happen; just enjoy this bloody ride while it lasts. Also, try not to think about the plot holes or even try linking different threads of the overall story, you’ll end up with a tangled mess.
Here’s my final verdict on Umineko: avoid it. At least for now, until they announce the second season and it gets closer to release. The last episode provided a lot of answers that made NO sense since all of Battler’s suggestion on justifying the mysterious deaths were laughable at best. And just like the rest of the anime, once things start to look alright and you can see the sunrise on the horizon, shit hits the fan. Again.