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Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Umineko no Naku Koro ni cover.jpg
The cover of Alliance of the Golden Witch, the first complete release of an Umineko game, which consists of the four games of When They Cry 3.
うみねこのなく頃に
Genre Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Psychological thriller
Game
Developer 07th Expansion
Publisher 07th Expansion (PC)
Taito (mobile phone)
Genre Dōjin soft, Visual novel
Platform PC, Mobile phone
Released Legend - August 17, 2007
Turn - December 31, 2007
Banquet - August 16, 2008
Alliance - December 29, 2008
End - August 15, 2009
Dawn - December 30, 2009
Manga
Author Ryukishi07
Illustrator Kei Natsumi, Jirō Suzuki, Sōichirō
Publisher Square Enix
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Gangan Powered, GFantasy, Monthly Gangan Joker
Original run January 2008 – ongoing
Volumes 6 (List of volumes)
Manga
Umineko Biyori: Rokkenjima e Yōkoso!!
Author 07th Expansion
Illustrator Makoto Fugetsu
Publisher Ichijinsha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Manga Palette Lite
Original run March 1, 2008March 2, 2009
Volumes 1
Manga
Umineko Dōri no Peru-san
Author 07th Expansion
Illustrator Satoshi Shinkyo
Publisher Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Comp Ace
Original run November 2008May 2009
Manga
Umineko no Naku Koro ni EpisodeX Rokkenjima of Higurashi crying
Author 07th Expansion
Illustrator Yuki Hiiro
Publisher ASCII Media Works
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Dengeki G's Festival! Comic
Original run January 26, 2009 – ongoing
Volumes 1
Novel series
Author Ryukishi07
Publisher Kodansha Box
Original run July 1, 2009 – ongoing
Volumes 4
TV anime
Director Chiaki Kon
Studio Studio Deen
Network UHF Stations
Original run July 2, 2009December 24, 2009
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Anime and Manga Portal

Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に?, lit. When the Seagulls Cry) is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion. The first game in the series, Legend of the Golden Witch, was first released at Comiket 72 on August 17, 2007 playable on the PC; the game sold out in thirty minutes.[1] The story focuses on a group of eighteen people on a secluded island for a period of two days, and the mysterious murders that befall most of the people. The goal of the game is to discern whether the murderer is human or of some other supernatural source. Umineko is the third title in the When They Cry series, preceded by Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, and followed by Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru.

A manga series adapted from the games began with three different artists working separately on different story arcs and is published by Square Enix. Additional manga have been published by Ichijinsha, Kadokawa Shoten, and ASCII Media Works. A 26-episode anime series produced by Studio Deen and directed by Chiaki Kon aired in Japan between July and December 2009.

The word umineko is the name of a kind of seagull known as a Black-tailed Gull.[2] Naku means "to cry" or "to make a sound" (鳴く?), referring only to sounds made by non-humans when written with that kanji; no kanji is provided in the series logo however. According to the original creator, Ryukishi07, the red Na () in the logo is an official part of the title.[3]

Contents

Gameplay

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a murder mystery game described as a "sound novel" by 07th Expansion. A sound novel is similar to a visual novel, though the gameplay requires no player interaction as the game is composed entirely of text dialogues. While a visual novel's basis would be the visual aspect, as the name suggests, a sound novel's basis takes more care in producing an atmosphere via the music, sound effects, and the story itself. As such, the original Umineko games have a simple-looking art style, which stays consistent over the course of the series' releases. The original releases contain no voice acting for the characters.

While during gameplay, the Tips Mode can be viewed via the game's internal menu, which also includes save and load functions. These Tips allow the player to read various supplementary information on the characters and story that may or may not be useful in solving the mystery. These are updated according to the progression of the story, so it is recommended to view the Tips every once in a while. The ultimate goals of the gameplay involve solving the multi-cased mystery, determining where the gold is hidden, figuring out a solution in which ultimately everyone survives, and to solve the whole case by determining who the true murderer is in each chapter and whether it is due to supernatural events or human actions. An in-game feature from Turn of the Golden Witch onward known as "red truth" states something to be true in red text, offering clues to the reader to both create theories as well as to break them. In contrast is "blue truth" from Alliance of the Golden Witch onward, which is used to bring up theories on what is truly going on while abiding by the red truth, and has the possibility to become true if not countered by red truth. There is also "golden truth" introduced in End of the Golden Witch which can only be used by the Game Master and, depending on how it used, can be either inferior or superior to the red truth.

When an episode is completed for the first time, an additional short epilogue called "Tea Party" becomes available to play, offering crucial plot points that advance the overall progression of the story. When that scenario is completed, a second epilogue called "????" also becomes available to advance the story. After all the scenarios in a given game copy have been completed, a Music Box section becomes available on the title menu, enabling the player to listen to any of the music used throughout the game.

Plot and characters

The mansion in Kyū Furukawa Gardens in Kita, Tokyo, basis of the exterior of the guest house on Rokkenjima.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place primarily in the year 1986, during the time frame of October 4 and October 5 on a small, secluded island named Rokkenjima (六軒島?) 10 km around owned and lived on by Kinzo, the head of the wealthy Ushiromiya family.[4] Kinzo is near death, and eight of his family members arrive on the island for the annual family conference, where the adults plan to discuss how Kinzo's assets will be divided once he is dead. Also on the island are three family members who live there, five of Kinzo's servants, and his personal physician. After the eight family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island, and shortly after, strange things start to happen and people start dying.

The main character of the story is Battler Ushiromiya, son of Kinzo's second son Rudolf. Battler has not been to the annual Ushiromiya conference in six years due to living with his maternal grandparents ever since his mother Asumu died, and even took his mother's maiden name instead of Ushiromiya. When his grandparents died, he went back to living with his father, his second wife Kyrie, and their daughter Ange, his half-sister. Once on the island, Battler once again becomes acquainted with the legend of the golden witch Beatrice who supposedly lives in the naturally dense forest on Rokkenjima. A portrait of her lies in the entrance hall of the Ushiromiya family mansion, and a puzzling epitaph is written below the portrait. Rumor has it on the island that Beatrice gave ten tons of gold to Kinzo in the past to restart the Ushiromiya family after being crippled in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. It is said that whoever solves the riddle of the witch's epitaph will receive the gold and be the next successor to the Ushiromiya family.

Once the typhoon hits, a ghastly game begins, starting with the murder of six people on the island. If the witch's epitaph cannot be solved, people will continue to die in mysterious deaths, following the outline given by the epitaph itself, until the witch Beatrice ultimately revives. After this comes to pass, Battler is the only one left alive who does not believe in witches or magic, and as such the door to the "golden land" (as stipulated on the epitaph) cannot be opened. Beatrice takes Battler and herself to a parallel dimension, Purgatorio, which is able to oversee events on Rokkenjima. From this point on, Battler and Beatrice are locked in a game of twisted logic where Battler must attempt to explain all of the mysterious events on Rokkenjima from the standpoint that they are caused by a human, and Beatrice attempts to explain everything with witches and magic. One of the recurring motifs is use of the locked room mystery, and several logical arguments are presented to explain the mysteries including the devil's proof, the raven paradox, and Schrödinger's cat. If Beatrice can get Battler to ultimately surrender and accept witches and magic, Beatrice wins.

Story arcs

Umineko no Naku Koro ni

The Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に?, lit. When Seagulls Cry) games are the first four games in the series which are meant to give the player a sense of the world where the story takes place and introduce the mysterious circumstances surrounding Rokkenjima and the legend of the Golden Witch. Each arc in this series contains all the previous arcs.

Episode 1 Legend of the Golden Witch
This chapter introduces the player to the main setting of Umineko no Naku Koro ni as the Ushiromiya family gather on the island of Rokkenjima for their annual family conference. The player is familiarized with the island's 18 residents (consisting of the Ushiromiya family and servants) as well as the legend of the Golden Witch, Beatrice, who is implied to exist on the island as a 19th resident and murder the other residents in mysterious ways. The story is narrated mainly by Battler and presents the series' first "bad end", with all the residents either killed or labeled as "missing".
Episode 2 Turn of the Golden Witch
Following the events of the first chapter, this chapter features the first battle between Battler and Beatrice as they oversee the events on Rokkenjima from the "meta-world". The family conference occurs as usual, only this time Beatrice exists on the island as its 19th resident, introducing multiple magical elements to the story. Other major themes involve the relationships between George and Shannon, Jessica and Kanon, and Maria and Rosa. This chapter is told from the perspective of multiple characters, including an omniscient narrator.
Episode 3 Banquet of the Golden Witch
Unlike the first two chapters, this chapter features the residents attempting to solve the riddle of Beatrice's epitaph rather than determine the true identity of the murderer. Eva succeeds in this task, but is shown to continue carrying out the murders as the new "Beatrice". Meanwhile, in the meta-world, Beatrice is assisted by her demon servants, while Battler finds mysterious new ally of his own. This chapter sheds more light on Eva and Beatrice's pasts, and is the first to feature one of the island's residents surviving the murders.
Episode 4 Alliance of the Golden Witch
This chapter features Battler's sister Ange and her life twelve years after the murders on Rokkenjima. The story constantly shifts focus between 1986 (the time of the murders) and 1998 (Ange's time period), shedding more background information on the characters and light on the methods behind the murders. This chapter heavily implies the existence of magic and puts all of the theories Battler formulates against Beatrice thus far to the test.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru

The Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru (うみねこのなく頃に散?, lit. When Seagulls Cry Breakdown) games tell the second half of the story and start to delve into the core of the mystery. These games are not simply solutions to the first four arcs, but also continue the story, shifting it into new terrain. However, as the core of the series is approached, several clues to the first four arcs are revealed along the way. Each arc in this series contains all of the previous Chiru arcs.

Episode 5 End of the Golden Witch
A new perspective on the mystery of the Golden Witch is presented in this chapter, with the witches Bernkastel and Lambdadelta playing a more prominent role. The main characters of this story are Kinzo, Natsuhi, and a new character, Erika, who approaches the murders from a "mystery" perspective, unlike Battler who had taken an "anti-fantasy" stance. This time the game is suspended before its conclusion, so the fate of most people on the island is unknown.
Episode 6 Dawn of the Golden Witch
Following the events of the previous game with the introduction of a new Game Master, this chapter does not delve into the solution of the mystery so much as it displays the Game Master's understanding of it, though it does provide important clues linked to the main suspects. George, Jessica, Shannon, and Kanon play a prominent role in the story, as do a pair of Beatrice replicas produced as a result of a failed attempt to resurrect Beatrice.

Extra Tips

Alongside the main series, Ryukishi07 has also written some extra Tips outside of the games. These are considered canon.

Lambda's Diary
This TIP talks about Lambdadelta, and her history of granting wishes.
Bern's Letter
This TIP is a letter that Bernkastel wrote to the player, which contains her musings and speculations on the rules XYZ in Umineko. It ends with a couple of poems, one written by Ronove, and one written by Frederica Bernkastel.
Anti-Mystery vs. Anti-Fantasy
This TIP explains and speculates the concepts of anti-mystery and anti-fantasy in full detail.
The Seven Sisters' Valentine
This TIP is a humorous story about Ronove making chocolate, albeit primarily for Beatrice, and giving one each to the Stakes of Purgatory. He then sends them to give the chocolates to the figures that are foremost in their hearts.
Why Are Closed Room Murders So Beautiful?
The Story of Coffee
Notes From a Certain Cook
This TIP talks about Gohda's past. This TIP shows that red circles appear before the murders have even started.
Beatrice's White Day
This is the sequel to The Seven Sisters' Valentine, in which the Stakes receive presents from the persons they gave their chocolate to. Beatrice, however, who had run afoul of Battler on Valentine's Day after a botched attempt at giving him chocolate, attempts to cope with not getting a present herself.
The Witches' Tanabata
This TIP is about Beatrice granting a wish for Maria, and Bernkastel granting a wish for Ange. The latter event shows Bernkastel as a cruel, ruthless witch.
Arigato For 556

Development

Release history

The first game of the Umineko no Naku Koro ni visual novel series, entitled Legend of the Golden Witch, was first released on August 17, 2007 at Comiket 72.[5] The second game Turn of the Golden Witch was released on December 31, 2007 at Comiket 73, and the third game Banquet of the Golden Witch was released on August 16, 2008 at Comiket 74. The fourth game Alliance of the Golden Witch was released on December 29, 2008 at Comiket 75.[5] The first game in the Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru series, entitled End of the Golden Witch, was first released on August 15, 2009 at Comiket 76. The sixth game Dawn of the Golden Witch was released on December 30, 2009 at Comiket 77.

Taito released a version of Legend of the Golden Witch playable on certain mobile phones on March 31, 2009.[6] The game is playable on FOMA 900 and i703 phones, using BREW as a runtime environment.[7]

Adaptations

Manga

A manga version of Legend of the Golden Witch drawn by Kei Natsumi began serializtion in the January 2008 issue of Square Enix's Gangan Powered, which was later transferred to the debut May 2009 issue of Gangan Joker after Gangan Powered was discontinued, and continued until the September 2009 issue. An adaptation of Turn of the Golden Witch drawn by Jirō Suzuki began serialization in the August 2008 issue of Square Enix's GFantasy. The manga adaptation of Banquet of the Golden Witch began serialization in the October 2009 issue of Gangan Joker and is illustrated by Kei Natsumi. Sōichirō draws the adaptation of Alliance of the Golden Witch, which began serialization in Square Enix's Internet-based magazine Gangan Online on October 1, 2009. The first bound volume for Legend of the Golden Witch was released in Japan on June 21, 2008 under Square Enix's Gangan Comics imprint. A four-panel comic strip entitled Umineko Biyori: Rokkenjima e Yōkoso!! (うみねこびより。~六軒島へようこそ!!~?) and illustrated by Makoto Fugetsu was serialized in Ichijinsha's Manga Palette Lite magazine between March 1, 2008 and March 2, 2009. A single bound volume for Umineko Biyori was released on June 22, 2009.

Another manga, Umineko Dōri no Peru-san (うみねこ通りのペルさん?), is illustrated by Satoshi Shinkyo and was serialized between the November 2008[8] and May 2009 issues of Kadokawa Shoten's Comp Ace magazine. A cross-over manga drawn by Yuki Hiiro and featuring characters from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni entitled Umineko no Naku Koro ni EpisodeX Rokkenjima of Higurashi crying began serialization in ASCII Media Works's Dengeki G's Festival! Comic magazine on January 26, 2009.[9] The first volume of EpisodeX was released on February 26, 2010 under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Comics imprint.

Drama CDs

Frontier Works began to produce a set of drama CDs for Umineko starting with the first volume Ōgon no Kakeratachi (黄金のカケラたち?, lit. Golden Fragments) released on June 24, 2009.[10][11] The second volume, Ōgon Chō no Miru Yume wa (黄金蝶の見る夢は?, lit. The Dream Seen by the Golden Butterfly) followed on July 23, 2009.[11][12] The voice cast is the same as the anime.[11]

Novels

Kodansha Box began releasing novelizations of the visual novel arcs in two volume sets, beginning with Legend of the Golden Witch released on July 1, 2009 for volume one and August 4, 2009 for volume two. The two volumes of Turn of the Golden Witch were released in November and December 2009.[13] The novels are written by Ryukishi07. Novelizations of the other arcs will also be produced.

Anime

A 26-episode anime adaptation based on the visual novel series aired in Japan between July 2 and December 24, 2009 on Chiba TV, and aired on additional stations at later times.[14] The anime is produced by the animation studio Studio Deen and directed by Chiaki Kon.[15] The opening theme of the anime is "Katayoku no Tori" (片翼の鳥?, lit. "One-Winged Bird") by Akiko Shikata, and the ending theme is "La Divina Tragedia: Makyoku" (la divina tragedia~魔曲~?, lit. "The Divine Tragedy: Divine Tragedy") by Jimang from Sound Horizon. The singles for both songs were released on August 19 and September 16, 2009, respectively.[16]

Music

The music of Umineko was provided by various music artists including both professionals and dōjin artists, and Dai, the composer of most of the music found in the answer arcs of Higurashi, also had a hand in the project as the music director. The opening theme song for Umineko no Naku Koro ni is "Umineko no Naku Koro ni" (うみねこのなく頃に?, "When the Seagulls Cry"), composed and performed by Akiko Shikata, which was released at Comiket 74 on August 15, 2008, and for public release on August 29, 2008 by Frontier Works.[16] The opening theme song for Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru is "Occultics no Majo" (オカルティクスの魔女 Okarutikusu no Majo?, "Occultics Witch") by Ayumu from Zwei, while the staff credits theme is "Tsubasa: Hope" (翼~hope~?, "Wings: Hope") by Rekka Katakiri. An original soundtrack for Legend of the Golden Witch entitled Essence was released on August 26, 2009.[17]

References

  1. ^ "Sequel to Higurashi PC Game Debuts at Comic Market 72". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-08-20/sequel-to-higurashi. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  2. ^ "Gulls, Terns, Puffins and other Gull-like birds". Personal Museum of Natural History. http://www.planktonik.com/museum/en/birds/f_gulls.html. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  3. ^ "Umineko no Naku Koro ni official visual novel website" (in Japanese). 07th Expansion. http://07th-expansion.net/umi/Main.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  4. ^ "Umineko no Naku Koro ni Introduction" (in Japanese). 07th Expansion. http://07th-expansion.net/umi/soft/introduction.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  5. ^ a b "Original story section at the anime's official website" (in Japanese). Studio Deen. http://umineko.tv/web/main/story/original.html. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  6. ^ "Is the Mystery Impossible or Not: Umineko no Naku Koro ni iApli Introduction" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. 2009-03-31. http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/149/149412/. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  7. ^ "株式会社タイトー 公式ページ うみねこのなく頃に [Taito Corporation Official Page Umineko no Naku Koro ni]" (in Japanese). Taito Corporation. http://www.taito.co.jp/mob/title/bridge/umineko/. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  8. ^ "Comp Ace November 2008" (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. http://www.comptiq.com/ace/index.php?%CB%DC%BB%EF%2F2008%C7%AF%2FVOL.31. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  9. ^ "Dengeki G's Festival! Comic Volume 5" (in Japanese). Mangaoh. http://www.mangaoh.co.jp/catalog/183980/. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  10. ^ "Umineko no Naku Koro ni drama CD volume 1 product listing" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/ナビゲーションドラマCD「うみねこのなく頃に」-Vol-1-黄金のカケラたち-ドラマ/dp/B0026L3FHQ/. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  11. ^ a b c "Drama CDs section at the anime's official website" (in Japanese). Studio Deen. http://umineko.tv/web/main/collection/dramacd.html. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  12. ^ "'Umineko no Naku Koro ni drama CD volume 2 product listing" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/ナビゲーションドラマCD「うみねこのなく頃に」-Vol-2-黄金蝶の見る夢は-ドラマ/dp/B0029Y8VY2/. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Umineko novels official website" (in Japanese). Kodansha Box. http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc/kodansha-box/topics/umineko/. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  14. ^ "Umineko Anime News" (in Japanese). Studio Deen. http://umineko.tv/web/main/news/index.html. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  15. ^ "Umineko no Naku Koro ni staff and cast" (in Japanese). Studio Deen. http://umineko.tv/web/main/staffcast/index.html. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  16. ^ a b "Theme songs section at the anime's official website" (in Japanese). Studio Deen. http://umineko.tv/web/main/collection/themesong.html. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  17. ^ "CD PCゲーム「うみねこのなく頃に」Episode.1 オリジナルサウンドトラック Essence [CD PC Game Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode.1 Original Soundtrack Essence]" (in Japanese). Animate. http://www.animate-shop.jp/ws/commodity_param/ctc/%20/shc/0/cmc/4116449/. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 

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