Umineko no Naku Koro Ni – 23 – Pop Quiz? Bring it on!

Ange visits Nanjo’s son in Nishima and after explaining her situation to him and agrees to tell her about the truth. We learn that he had received a mysterious letter a few days after the Rokkenjima incident. Because the destination didn’t exist, the letter was sent back by the post office to Nanjo’s place. The mysterious envelope contained a key, a serial number with 8 digit number along with the name of a bank. It turns out that it was some huge amount of cash that ‘Beatrice’ had deposited in her Cayman Islands account for the family of the dead to cash.  Because he knew that money was definitely something he didn’t want to do anything with, he left it there but he still couldn’t let go of the envelope and keep it hidden. Ange checks out that both the diary and the letter were written by the same person.

After that Ange visits Kumasawa’s son who also has a similar story to Nanjo’s son only that he was too scared to go see what was inside. He questions Ange if she also received one of those. Ange remembers that she also got a letter when she was little after her parents were killed but because of the shocking news she got rid of the letter. Ange is furious that the witch is playing tricks with her and the family of the survivors until this day.

And after that Ange goes to see the person who drove her family to Rokkenjima on that tragic day. Not many boats go to Rokkenjima nowadays after the incident so the person who was with them on that day is Ange’s only chance to get to island. Fortunately for her, the Captain gladly accepts her request because this is also a chance for him to made things right by taking Ange to the island and taking her back (alive). Although it wasn’t his fault that her family was murdered he still feels guilty so this is the least he can do for the daughter of the Ushiromiya family. When they go inside the boat Ange sees something in one of the walls while she was talking to the Captain. Ange can’t believe what she is seeing and doubts if what she is seeing is magic…and she mentions Maria and Beatrice. What exactly did she see? That.. we don’t know.

Oh, they’re done for

Back to game board Kinzo has ordered Battler and the others to locked up Gohda and Kumasawa in the shed so they won’t interfere in the ceremony otherwise he will kill the hostages and proclaim game over. Battler has one of those d’oh moments when he forgets that Kinzo’s lackyes might be spying on them. Seriously, man.

They give them the key for the very shed so they’re the only ones who can leave or enter. Come to think of it, that place is one of the safest spot right now. Not. My guess is that after one Kinzo’s grandsons fail they will be killed. Anyway, they will eventually be killed. The question is when.

Kinzo had Kyrie called Battler and the rest back to tell them what they should do next. They’re told that all of them (including Maria) will be tested to succeed Kinzo as the next head. Virgilia summons the goat butlers (you know you miss them) to keep guard and also summons a mirror for the Krauss and the others to see the answers of the kids. The first two, Jessica and George are instructed to go to a certain place to take their test to prove if they are indeed worthy or not. Jessica is sent to her room in the main mansion with orders of not doing anything unnecessary, more or less proving what I said last week about not going to the place where the first 6 were ‘killed.’

Ronove appears before Jessica and starts the test after properly introducing himself to Natsuhi’s daughter. Jessica makes her usual rage face for this arc after seeing the contents of the test. At the same time, George was sent to the small place near the rose garden to take his respective test. Gaap is the only who hands him the test and it’s the same as the one that Jessica has. It’s a multiple choice test with 3 choices where you pick one (sacrifice) in order to save 2 George is a shocked as Jessica is and does not agree with this ridiculous test.

Jessica is frustrated seeing how unfair this test is. After a while she is forced to tell Ronove her answer after a few Pukukukus of course. Jessica unsurprisingly picks the first choice which is sacrificed herself. Ronove is not surprised at all either that Jessica picked that one but he must know what led her to pick that choice. Jessica makes Ronove to at least keep a promise and tell Kanon to ‘live life to the fullest’  after she dies. As we can see, Virgilia had the courtesy of summoning that mirror there for that reason very reason—because Ronove is fickle and he might not keep his promise after all. Very considerate of her. I still can’t see her as an evil character. In special case, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Krauss feels impotent seeing that her daughter is about to be killed and he cannot do anything at all but to gain more weight. Kanon also feels the same way and he stops being furniture for the first time in this arc and begs Virgilia to pick him as sacrifice him instead of Jessica. The bad news is that Virgilia isn’t calling the shots this time and since this is Kinzo’s game she cannot change anything.

Kinzo is was back in his study and with his magic sphere he’s seeing everything that is happening like he’s the evil eye of the Lord of the Ring. His patience is being tested too when he sees that none of them are as awesome as he is. How did he get back to his study so fast? Let me guess. Magic.

George has decided on his answer too. He chooses neither A or B. George chooses C which is to sacrifice everyone but himself and the one he loves. The demon with a strange fashion sense is also surprised that someone like George would pick C instead of A and him what asks him what led him to that answer. George declares that he already was prepared to sacrifice everything for the Shannon and whatnot. He claims that he made his choice based on the belief that he was already the head therefore he has the right to make his own call. Plus, the fact that he must have some cool moment before the show is over made his pick easier. After seeing George’s great determination to bag the meido, Gaap easily buys into it and accepts George as Kinzo’s successor. Gaap urges George to start with the sacrifices right away now that he’s the head. You aren’t giving blondes a good name, Gaap. I think Lambdadelta was right.

George has not forgotten what Kinzo and his lackeys have done to his family and the rest and declares that the first to down will be Gaap herself. Jessica is also done feeling sorry for herself and fights back by punching Bronove in the face with her brass knuckles. You do not want to mess with this girl.

Gaap demonstrates that she’s good at kicking but George also fights back showing that he’s very skilled in martial arts himself thanks to his mother’s interest in beating up people. They exchange kicks and round kicks but Gaap is quickly overpowered by George’s determination to get some fanbase. Can’t blame him for that. The new demon calls the goat butlers that Virgilia had summoned that were keeping an eye on the prisoners to defeat George thinking that their massive strength will do the job. Gaap, I am disappoint.

you cannot win!

Gaap’s luck is running out as George without realizing it himself had summoned a defensive magic barrier (like Battler’s). Jessica who has been hitting Ronove’s barrier had also started to show anti magic powers in her brass knuckles. Ronove is surprised at this outcome and summons a more powerful barrier to counter Jessica’ s enchanted anti magic powers. I think it’s time for Bronove to fight back. – End of episode 23 –

– Turning the Chessboard Over –

Thoughts and Impressions :

It was a nice change from the whole uu-Maria-hates her mom –uu from the past weeks to some action. Also because they don’t show how pathetic surviving members are but how much they are struggling to WIN which it usually happens at the end of the each arc. I still have to question how much this will affect the final outcome.

This episode was animated very well. No doubt about that. Actually, if you’re watching Seitokai no Ichizon (Deen) you’d notice that the animation also went up a little too. Why couldn’t they animate the whole show like this? There were great scenes in last arcs that could have used this I swear. If only they would animate their shows better Deen would get more people to like them. Uh, DVD/Blue Ray release?

Jessica was animated a lot better too. The hair color, the eyes, the facial features were done a lot better than in past arcs which reminds me why couldn’t Deen do this from the very beginning. As for her behavior, she had previously (actually several times) displayed her quick temper (got it probably from Natsuhi) so her acting all that way wasn’t strange at all. I’m not a Jessica fan but I was cheering for her to win. She was lucky she got Bronove and all his suaveness for the test because Gaap would have kicked her to death.

George’s behavior was indeed unexpected. I could have bought it he would have shown some of those abilities in past arcs but since he never did these fighting scenes seemed a bit forced to me. Nevertheless, I think it was fair to give the rest of cousins their fair share of fame. Meanwhile, Game board  Battler is still a noob.

Theories / Deductions

We’re supposed to doubt what we see on screen so it was mentioned that the whole prison scene might not be real after all. I’m not so sure about that after this episode because there were so plenty of emotional scenes featuring Kanon and Shannon seeing George and Jessica. If we assume that none of the scenes are real then this would be like wasted material. But we can’t forget that they pulled something similar with Eva Beatrice where we still aren’t sure what exactly happened there. Is this for ‘real’?

Conclusion – There is a greater chance that the prison scene might be real (at least the fact that they are locked up) after all. I do, however, think that the place they are locked up isn’t the second mansion.

If we still think that none of that is real then at least we can believe that Krauss and Kyrie talked to Jessica and the others. I don’t know about the rest.. I don’t think they even got the chance to talk to the kids but Krauss and Kyrie are the only ones who are indeed alive out of the group which again will make them suspects. Am I overthinking this? Are they innocent after all?

Conclusion – We can’t know for sure if all of them are really locked up there by Kinzo but we are sure that Kyrie and Krauss are alive…unless someone can mimic their voices which would be like a big wtf moment. Either one or both of them might be the culprit and they’re behind everything or they are innocent. We’ll know the answer soon enough.

No one aside the group that is supposedly locked up group has seen Goldsmith so whether he is the real Kinzo or not we dont’ know. Will Battler and the others get to punch him in the face for everything he’s done to their parents?

Conclusion – We can still doubt that this Kinzo is the real one.

The mirror, the goats, why she leaves somewhere. Virgilia’s actions are very  questionable.

Conclusion – I think Virgilia is only playing the role that was given to her. No matter how evil she wants to act I think her good nature always surfaces. I still don’t think she’s really a bad guys deep down.

On Determination and Magic: This isn’t the first time that a mere human has been fighting on par with demons. As we recall Rosa Musou was killing the goat butlers both with the gun and even with a pen in the last episode of the last arc thanks to her determination to save both her daughter and herself. Now, George is actually beating a high ranked demon by himself using his determination as magic. Still, I still found it strange that George was so calm knowing that these are demons. How come he didn’t act like this at all in past arcs? Like in the second arc (similar scenario) where both his parents are killed but Shannon is still alive.

But.. let us remember another event of the second arc when Shannon was fighting against Beatrice along with George using her shield (+mirror). Shannon had strong determination yet she was killed without much effort by Beato. Did she not have enough determination? Or is it because Beatrice is just that powerful that she cannot be beaten by mere determination and the only way defeat her is via the game board? What do you think?

Conclusion : Semi Open. Determination is definitely a factor that will provide humans with a way to fight against demons and furniture. Additional feedback is welcomed.

On Battler’s decision: I think Game board Battler has been pathetic long enough. After the first arc I thought his game board counterpart would play a crucial part on the game but his accomplishments are nothing special so far. Let see..  being torn apart by goats, getting drunk, becoming Beatrice’s furniture, getting killed by Eva… going naked. This is his chance to do something in this game. Don’t mess it up.

Conclusion – I think that Battler is going to choose the same answer as George did and I think Kinzo will be pleased when he hears what led Battler to pick that option.There’s also a high chance he’ll go : ‘No, good. It’s no good at all!’ or something like and say something crazy.

On Maria’s decision: I didn’t think that she would be included in the game but that was a foolish thinking to be frank so I thought briefly of what Maria would pick. It immediately came to me that Maria would pick C. Why? Because her mother is dead AND because she believes that once everyone is dead they will go to the Golden Land where dreams come true and everyone is happy.  Therefore, in my opinion based on Maria’s latest behavior it’s an easy guess that Maria would pick C then possibly even allowed herself to be killed as the Golden land is waiting for her.

However, I missed something crucial here, something that I had seriously put in doubt last week—the validity of the first twilight. According to RP’s thinking, Rosa might still be alive since Kinzo’s game requires a person to choose between 3 choices, one of them being the person who the players loves/treasures the most. I find this thinking logical enough based on Kinzo’s actions to keep his game fair.  Removing Rosa from the game would limit Maria to pick from only 2 options. That doesn’t sound very fair to me either. Plus, Maria said that forgave Rosa. Is Rosa still ‘alive’ or is she somehow coming back? Would Maria pick the Third option after all?

Conclusion – I think that Maria would pick C just because she hates her the black witch and wishes for everyone to got the Golden Land though I don’t think she even cares about succeeding Kinzo. Maria’s dream is to be happy, have fun, and become full Witch. I think her decision will be based on those criteria.  Still, her decision might change if she learns that her mom is still alive.

Additional Theories

* I’m not sure about the conversation that Ronove had with Jessica. He mentions how Genji could be considered his younger brother and that he might be his ‘vessel’ in this world. What exactly does he mean by ‘vessel’? Are we talking about something like vessel i.e.  Sakutaro? Or does he mean that Genji is his disguise in this world? What other explanation could there be?

Conclusion : This Ronove = Genji or Ronve =/= Genji has been around for some time. Ryukishi has made clear reference to it in this last arc of this first season. We have to wonder exactly why.  Hint Alert. Of course, the problem arises when we assume that Genji is furniture (not human) so we’ll have to assume that magic is involved if he isn’t human. Are we OK to assume that Genji has an actual brother or has someone at least related to him in this game?

* On corruption – They’ve been mentioning how the corruption has spread out across the island and how both worlds are fusing together in Rokkenjima. I’d say that George as well as Jessica are able to transform their determination is some sort of magical power that is helping them because the corruption has spread out this much.

Conclusion : The corruption can also help the Ushiromiya members to fight against witches and magic. Even though it also helps Beato it is also a double edge sword that can be turned against her.

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7 thoughts on “Umineko no Naku Koro Ni – 23 – Pop Quiz? Bring it on!

  1. Well, your theories are exactly the same as the ones I concluded. Except that I would like to ask something: Was Jessica’s and George’s powers really magic or anti-magic? I had thought they were magic because Gaap says “magic barrier” instead of “anti-magic barrier”. Moreover, the only one who never accepted Beatrice’s existence was Battler, George and Jessica both ended believing in her. So I’m really inclined to believe that the powers they were using were magical, no anti-magical. It wouldn’t be the first time that we see that determination = magic powers. I’ve been reading the visual novels, and just now there was a very interesting conversation in which Beatrice says that Kinzo has zero magical powers, and that the only reason why he could summon her so that she gave him gold was because of his amazing will to “create a miracle”.

    Also, you missed something. Ange finds Sakutoro (spelling? Maria’s yellow toy) in the boatman’s house I think. That would explain why we see Sakutaro everytime he appears with Maria in Ange’s present. Because Rosa fixed Sakutaro and was going to give it to her, but something probably happened and she couldn’t give it to Maria. Just a guess :P

    • That’s more technical stuff that I’m not so sure about. What I know is that Meta battler and Ange both have anti-magic barrier that can protect them against magic and Beato’s furniture. Not sure how much the other cousins have them but their determination is definitely aiding them to fight other magical beings. What those powers will evolve to is something we’ll have to see.

      So far none of cousins are denying the existence of magic or witches. I think because they are under the impression that Kinzo (a human ) is behind everything and not a witch (someone who isn’t supposed to exist) like in past arcs. They’re only fighting to win against their opponents without paying much attention of who their opponents are. In EP 3 of the game when Beatrice meets with George to save Shannon’s life, she teaches him how to flight and they transformed into butterflies. She mentions how George is able to use magic powers well even though it was his first time but they also mentioned that it would be troublesome if George would stop believing in magic. So yeah, I’d say that he possesses some powers of his own. I’m unsure about Battler but he will probably deny the existence of witches and magic. What do you think he’ll say?

      Actually, I didn’t consider the possibility that Rosa might have already fixed Sakutaro before you mentioned it. That could solve the whole Sakutaro issue for this arc or maybe for the whole story! That would great. Maybe Rosa was planning on surprising Maria after the family meeting was over with that present but the whole Rokkenjima incident takes place and messes things up for them. I think that will make some difference on the way that Maria feels about her mom, wouldn’t you say?

  2. How do you know that Ange has an antimagic barrier? She’s a witch! She can’t have anti magic powers :P
    I didn’t remember that scene of George flying. If what you say is true, then George definitely has magical powers. Meta-Battler (and probably human Battler) has over +999999 anti-magic power level as proved by the Siesta sisters in the third game.

    And it would change the feelings of Maria towards Rosa if both of them didn’t die in the island. If Battler ever solves the murders and both Rosa and Maria get out of it alive, I’m sure they’ll get a happy ending.

  3. Another thing I’m thinking is that Genji is 100% an accomplice. If Ronove is trying to kill Jessica, and Ronove talked of Genji as his “true form in this form”, there’s no doubt that from a human perspective, Genji is trying to murder Jessica. I was always sure that either Genji, or Kannon, or both are accomplices, this kinda proves that at least I was right with Genji, doesn’t it?

    I’m just sad that Battler can’t think of this kind of stuff like anybody else and is such a loser T_T. Ange is not being of much help either.

  4. Gaap names George the new demon king, and head of the Ushiromiya family. For George to become the head, doesn’t that mean that Kinzo is dead?

    • Hmph, Ronove could easily be Genji after all but we’ll have to deny the possibility that there are more than 18+ in Rokkenjima, as Ronove could easily be in that group too. You know, someone who we have never seen before lurking in the shadows killing everyone. Still, it’s strange why Ronove would be working for Beatrice and also for Kinzo. So far this was thought to be, more or less, a match where Kinzo plays against Beatrice so having a double agent isn’t something you usually want in your team. Where exactly does Genji loyalty lies? Assuming that Genji is indeed Ronove, of course.

      On Gaap. I don’t know how much authority Gaap actually has but I’d think that Kinzo would have the last say in this matter so I doubt that George is the head. I think that deal was if he did his part of the deal (C = kill the others) he would become the head for real but he didn’t. Instead George played a game on words with Gaap and she foolishly felt for it. So my take is that it didn’t have much impact on the Headship issue since he didn’t keep promise. Also, we’ll have to see if Lord Goldsmith even liked his answer to the question or Jessica’s. Wouldn’t it be also unfair if a successor be selected even though not all participants have been given a chance yet?

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