No, it’s not quite over yet, but this year, I got to experience the joy of the six month waits that accompany each successive Comiket. Yes, after going through Umineko EP1-4, I was suddenly left with nothing to do but wait for the fine folks at The Witch Hunt do their stuff. It’s definitely different having about half a year in between each Episode. For one thing, it was a lot harder to hold the details of each Episode with months in between playthroughs. But now, there is only one left as the pieces of the game are almost set in place.
Chiru was something I was really looking forward to because it would mean the beginning of being able to make sense of the insane things that went down in the first four Episodes. Of course, I didn’t expect it to be as straightforward as Higurashi’s Answer arcs, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for Ryukishi07 to continue in the tradition of Umineko by throwing in even more characters and new reveals that add to the questions rather than answer them.
Well, that’s not entirely true. While the Core arcs doesn’t show us what “actually” happened (and it’s unlikely that it ever will), it does explain how the mechanics of the games work. Things like the role of the Detective and Knox’s Decalogue give us the framework and a direction from which to approach the stories of each Episode. Throughout Episodes 1-4, we were essentially flailing around, looking for any possible explanation for what was going on, but the Core arcs finally let us narrow down the search space for plausible theories.
Not only that, but we get a lot more Meta-world shenanigans. Somehow, there’s a lot more time spent in the Meta-world, away from the events on Rokkenjima. Like the entire game in general, a lot more of the time is spent on the mechanics of the games instead of the events that are occurring in the games. The various witches and furniture and demons are getting a lot more screentime than the original 18 are, which is fine with me, because they get some amazing scenes.
And that’s not to say that there’s no reveals that aren’t more direct. There are a ton of hints scattered throughout these arcs, but EP7, much like Higurashi’s Minagoroshi-hen, has some pretty huge reveals. No, the mystery isn’t explicitly solved, but it should be close enough that a bit of thinking should get you pretty close, if not right at the answer.
For all the focus on proof and logic in the Question arcs, the Core arcs shift the focus pretty bluntly in EP5, with the introduction of Furudo Erika. Why are things like the Decalogue and other rules of the games revealed now? The Core arcs are much more about the nature of the story and why things happen rather than what or how things happened. Somewhere along the way, we realize that denying the Witch won’t necessarily give us the good end, because it means there’s still someone running around on the island murdering people. So the question now becomes finding out why there’s someone on the island murdering people.
Umineko has been an insane ride and I’m definitely looking forward to finally finishing it and having my head explode one last time next year.