「or can you?」
Those were the words the resonated more when I first heard them. When I was first introduced to Umineko when I played Legend of the Golden Witch my views on who the culprit would be was deeply focused on the help for many reasons. One of them being how they were still outsiders to the Ushiromiya Family no matter how much they were loyal to them. And two being that some of them have plenty to gain on their own ways. The motives are harder to think of since despite how much the VN shows us we know next to nothing about their lives outside the island. For some of them it’s still next to nonexistent or just conveniently not mentioned. Clearly they are the most trusted or distrusted group in Umineko depending how you look at them. They seem to be always there. They listen in to conversations. They cooperate. And more importantly they lie. But they also help and sometimes they just stand there and freak out like there’s no tomorrow, in these cases they aren’t of much use. In other cases they battle and help and momentarily bring victory by struggling to live on.. which usually ends in ultimate defeat by the witch.
As usual I’ll divide this group of people in categories. We can divide the help in Umineko no Naku Koro Ni in only two groups Furniture and servants. Furniture being the cooperative-ready-to-die ‘non human’ servants and the servants, the “human” ones being those who we can apply normal common judgment when reading their actions. This may seem little at first but it’s good enough to let us theorize their actions and the ‘whodunnit’ part, which the later is, of course, left purposely open to the reader for now. This entry gives info on these additional factors: position, stand (or believe), file, said servant as an accomplice, said servant as the real culprit, deaths, trivia or interesting “facts.”
Position: Magical Chef
File: He is a great cook. He is grateful to the Ushiromiya family (namely Natsuhi) for giving him a job when he had nowhere to go, for that he works very diligently, always preparing great dishes. To me, Gohda is like the total outsider in this mystery. He really doesn’t have anything to do with it. He’s the common person who just caught up in a witch’s game, much like you and me would in a R07 scenario. If he would not have gone to work on that day he’d be a free man leading a normal life, however, fate didn’t think so and so he is here in this story.
He can probably hold his own if it were a fair fight. When guns and magic are involved he has no chance of wining at all. Gohda is one of the few servants who are here to earn some cash and get a good recommendations from the Ushiromiya should he ever decide to leave. Gohda is greedy and much ambitious which makes him come off as a bastard at times even though he isn’t evil at all. He is prideful and easily feels threaten by other servants (namely Shannon) He makes best use of the situations in addition to sucking up to the others siblings whenever he possibly can. It’s important to point out that even though Gohda respects the Ushiromiya family he has no strong bounds to them. Still, it’s very interesting how he never revels against them even when his life is at stake.. or maybe he decides that it’s even more dangerous to do so. Gohda doesn’t mention any relatives so we could assume that even though he might have them they don’t play a key role in the story therefore we shouldn’t think much about that being a reason for murder. Unlike, Dr. Nanjo’s case which was theorized that he was being forced to cooperate because of the illness his grandson had, Gohda shouldn’t feel forced to cooperate with the culprit at all unless his own life is at stake. Sure, he works for Ushiromiya and respect them to some degree but Gohda is too human and having no stronger bounds to them such as friends or family he should be able to priority his survival more than anything else. From Gohda I can expect this the most.
Stand: since he doesn’t believe in the witch he rather keep his mouth shut about the whole deal whenever he is questioned. One time when asked Gohda mentions how he thought it was all just a fairy tale so that the children wouldn’t go into the forest. To not anger the masters he decided to play along and not ask any more questions. Nevertheless, he does seem to believe there is something more to the island more than meets the eye, therefore, he is easy to manipulate when it comes down to things he doesn’t understand.
Gohda as an accomplice: despite being far from defenseless, Gohda is somewhat of a coward and we can see him screaming and freaking out whenever people die. This should give away that he couldn’t possibly kill a person, should he not be acting. Actually, Gohda seems like a terrible actor because he gets nervous very easily. There’s the possibility that Gohda is in it for the money. Then there’s also the possibly that he would only do it because he has no choice but to comply with the culprit, just like in EP4 when just about everyone who remained alive after the 1st twilight had to do it. Because Gohda values his life so much I can see him cooperating if it means surviving. I think he easily falls in this category.
Gohda as the culprit: Gohda appears to be clueless to the whole ceremony. In fact, as I suspected he was left out of Natushi’s plan in EP5. This is consistent with how much he overreacts to the witch’s ceremony and how he always appears to be just a mere victim in this whole mystery. In fact he always gets killed off and offers little resistance with the only difference of EP2 in the Shannon/George scene. It’s like he never sees it coming. It’s hard to image Gohda being the mastermind in this as although he is skillful but he doesn’t appear to have what it takes to do the job. If he had a stronger motive I could weave up a stronger theory, otherwise a case against him is fairly shaky.
Death: For some reason he has only been chosen to be in the 1st twilight in the EP3 when Beatrice had that problem with repeating what Battler told her to. Gohda usually manages to stay alive till the later twilights despite being a scary cat.. When he is killed he is usually near another servant, which makes a lot of sense since they usually stick together. Now, if we go even further into EP4, we’ll know that he cooperated with Battler and the others despite having witnessed (with Kumasawa) what actually happened at the parlor. As a result they were locked up with Kumasawa in the gardening shed just to get killed (they were shot then hanged). As any servant he should only have access to keys that the other servants have. Yet, because of his role as chef he shouldn’t be caught very often doing the work of other servants. In EP5 he and Nanjo serve to prove Furudo Erika’s theory that no one went upstairs on the guest house, in which conveniently they were all having a drink..
Trivia: because he is out of the loop he messes up things for Natsuhi quite often. Also because he is not ‘trusted’ enough by the family despite being the favorite, he shouldn’t normally have access or information to things he isn’t aware of.
Position: almost retired servant
File: By far the oldest of all servants. Kumasawa is a servant who more than once gets to leave early, not to mention she likes to skip shifts, as well as some of her servant duties. As an old person Kumasawa should be extremely weak and for her it should be near impossible to defeat anyone in the show. Sure, she could manage with a gun but even then it’s impossible to think she’d accomplish much. She and Nanjo are a few that actually know about Natsuhi’s situation just after she was married to Krauss a long time ago (see EP5). I can easily see Kumasawa as being pressured to cooperate with the culprit just because she can’t defend herself.
Stand: Kumasawa is harder to figure out. It seems she not only believes but also respects the witch of the forest. She seems to be surprised of the supernatural which would indicate that she doesn’t believe in magic, however, she openly believes that a witch could be responsible for the killings which is contradictory. Her believe that something out there exists is similar to Gohda in this way.
Kumasawa as an accomplice: Kumasawa has little way to defend herself, but she is damn good liar making her a great accomplice, should she be part of it. Because Kumasawa is ridiculously old and I’d assume she had little interest in the gold, however, EP4 tells us otherwise when it was revealed she had much interest in solving the witch’s epitaph. For who? For her? Her own son? family?
Kumasawa as the culprit: You jest. You better. It’s impossible for Kumasawa to pull this off if the Kumasawa we know is the real one and only one. She lacks just about every trait to be the culprit. Not to mention, she’d gain little out of all of this and much too lose. She is old enough that it wouldn’t make much of a different even if she got all that money unless she want it for somebody else. Lastly, there hasn’t been a valid reason to make her commit murder against the Ushiromiya to date.
Death: Same as other servants Kumasawa is usually saved for later. She is usually killed due to being sent away with the other servants. This fate repeats in most arcs and probably will.
Trivia: mackerel jokes never seem to get old.
Genji doesn’t smile. This pic lies
Position: Head Furniture
Stand: Beatrice believer. He also believes in the same thing that Kinzo believes in. Genji seems to have been around for a long time even the siblings remember him when they were younger. He does not once denies the existence of a witch or magic and he simply follows orders. Genji is the most furniture and therefore most loyal of the group. Lastly, he has no desire to go against Beatrice or her underlings. Still he’d like to make the passing of his comrades to the Golden land the least painful as possible.
File: Genji’s behavior is unreal. If you leave him alone to die and he’ll probably will.. which doesn’t make any sense. He doesn’t seem to have any hobbies or any other interests at all beside serving the family. He sticks to his furniture role no matter and even though Kinzo is gone he is still serves the family. Over the years he should’ve made hell lot of money enough to stop working for them and get a job somewhere else. Genji doesn’t seem to have a family and doesn’t seem to care at all about one either. Genji is supposedly the first furniture that Kinzo created therefore, he considers him his best friend. Genji should be the least out of the group that should want the family killed. This is concluded for simple reasoning. If the family is gone then his life is over, same as Natsuhi, he should not have any intention of causing harm to the family. That’d be unreasonable even if he is merely following orders. The only one who could command him to do such things would be the ‘head’ of the family anyway and since the actual head is gone, there should be no one to order him to do such things. More importantly, why would he do such thing? What would he gain out of it? If you bypass this then you may be able to build a case.
Genji as an accomplice: There should be no reason why he should hold a grudge against the family unless they made him do something or took something away from him. Even though he isn’t “free” per se, Genji doesn’t seem to mind at all. He isn’t connected any relatives or the gold so he has little to gain out of it in the family dispute. In previous arcs when the gold isn’t found, there should be even less reason for him to go on rampage seeing he has no idea where the gold is at. Genji almost seems to be everywhere he is needed and he has access to places other servants don’t. Because of the very fact that he follows orders without asking he’s the most suspected out of the furniture.
As the culprit: Genji has what Gohda doesn’t – the guts to do it. Genji doesn’t scare easily if ever. Genji feels more comfortable being furniture and waiting for his turn to die than any other.. unless he’d feel like speeding things up and doing the killing himself he shouldn’t interfere with the ceremony. Having lived his life as furniture Genji seems to be happy with his life even though no normal person would. The most plausible reason why he would do all of this would be bound to a strange belief that something good would came out of all of this. Genji has the means to do it, but not exactly a strong motive of his own.
Death: Same as Gohda, Genji dies midway and he hardly makes it to the final twilights. He has only been chosen to be a sacrifice for the 1st twilight on EP3 same as Gohda. Genji hardly makes it to the final twilights. He seems to be targeted to obtain the masterkeys he holds. Presumably, also the key to Kinzo’s study in past arcs revealing he isn’t actually alive.
Trivia: we can see him lying whenever the topic of Kinzo comes up so he doesn’t have a problem with it at all. As head furniture he has the key to Kinzo’s study for a while.
File: Jouji-sama.. Shannon is one of the most trusted (not reliable) furniture in Umineko since she has served the family for years. Bearing the one winged eagle Shannon is well liked by the family except a few but her clumsiness gets the better of her and she is scolded more than once. Unlike Kanon, Shannon appears to be happy about her work and her life. She is in love with George and vice versa but their relationship is impossible due to the differences between them. Eva makes it impossible for them to ever be together so Shannon is forced to call on Beatrice’s help and we all know what happens next. Shannon is considered to the last of Kinzo’s creations. According to the story, Shannon has supernatural powers that allow her to create a strong shield to defend herself. Though no indication of her being the attack type at all. Does that mean she can’t kill and only provide back up?
Stand: same as Kanon, Shannon believes in Beatrice and in magic. She is also the closest to Beatrice and even mentions that she’s been to the golden land once. She and Kannon seem to ‘recall’ past games to some degree too maybe shedding some light that they really know what’s up with the killings. She revels against the witch when their loves ones are in danger. She highly respect the Ushiromiya family and is proud of her work. Shannon goes along with Natsuhi’s plan in EP5 and in past arcs, however she is always treated unfairly for some reason. The only possible reason she is staying in Rokkenjima is so she can be close to George. Here, I’m assuming that’s the real reason.
Shanon as an accomplice: her meek personally makes her a perfect target for this. Natsuhi even mentions it when she accuses her of being an accomplice in EP5. Out of all the servants, Shannon can be controlled in many ways. She does seem to ‘care’ for everyone especially for George and Kanon so I’d think that she rather die than let others die. She seems to be that kind. However, she even lies on behalf of others even when people are getting killed. This should force her to come forward and speak up, wouldn’t it? Shannon stays quiet and still plays along. How many times has she done this?
Shannon as the culprit: Clumsy maid doesn’t seem to be neither powerful or clever enough to pull this off.. amusing that her magic isn’t real. Even if she successfully accomplices one twilight, the rest is too much for her alone. Not to mention, that killing George in the process would eliminate her whole goal of obtaining a happy ending, unless there is more than meets the eye to her relationship with George. Shannon knows very well the mansion since she has worked there since she was little. She has shown a bit of interest in solving the epitaph in EP1, however, it hasn’t been mentioned since then. Apparently, she lost interest because she couldn’t solve it on her own.
Death: Shannon is targeted because of the those who are close twilights. Despite being “friends” with the witch, Shannon breaks her relationship when Beatrice tricks her triggering her rage more than once. Shannon usually dies midway or at the begging of the arcs. Only in EP5 she manages to change this. For some reason, the engagement proposal is also cut off in that EP.
Trivia: she is horrible at lying. A horrible trait to be the culprit. She gets too much screen time.
because I’m furniture.. it’s no surprise that Kanon has Genji as a role model. He’s like Genji version 2. Although Kanon seems loyal to the family he is more loyal to Kinzo. In EP1 he criticizes Natsuhi (among others) for messing with Shannon and again we can see him in EP5 critizing Natsuhi’s plan for lying to the others even though there wasn’t any actual malice in it. Kanon’s sense of duty seems limited to protecting Jessica and Shannon. Personally, I don’t think he cares much about the others. He holds high respect for Genji and little for Gohda. Because of this he doesn’t care much about what happens to others. Kannon is secretly in love with Jessica. Funny enough he doesn’t know it himself. Should anyone doubt him it should be Shannon or Jessica since they know him the most.
Stand: Kanon also believes in the witch but doesn’t trust her at all, and with all reason. He is almost as detached from reality as Genji is. The only reason he keeps opposing Beatrice is to save Jessica and Shannon. Out of all furniture he is the first one to revel in EP1.
Kanon as an accomplice: Kanon could do some grunt work. No, not really. He doesn’t look and possibly isn’t very strong. Near the beginning of EP1, when the guests arrive at the island, Batter has to help Kannon pick up some bags making Battler look way stronger than Kanon could be. Kanon could easily lend his keys to the culprit. As long as he stays near another servant he could make the other servant open doors instead without raising much suspicion. It’s important to point out that he doesn’t have the key to Kinzo’s study but knows of the situation well. Kanon lies quite often when he’s instructed to. He’s way better than Shannon at it. Kannon is the one who doesn’t seem to enjoy his position as furniture and seems to detest the family. The only reason he stays working at Rokkenjima is to stay with Shannon and Jessica even though he doesn’t admit it.
Kanon as the culprit : Kanon doesn’t strike me as cunning, maybe it’s because he is tricked so easily, but I can see him as the type who would do anything if it really needs to be done. His psyche is quite abnormal with his whole ’cause I’m furniture’. I don’t know to what degree he believes it himself but it’s quite high. The killing are so elaborate that Kanon doesn’t seem to be capable of pulling it off but I can see him trying. He has no bounds to the family. If we believe that death = Golden Land = happiness. Kanon might be interested in getting some happiness himself. Kannon doesn’t care about anything. Money doesn’t seem to be something he’s interested in either making his motives to be rather hard to figure out.
Death: In EP2 he is tricked then toyed by Beatrice. His relationship with Jessica is used by the witch for 2nd twilight and similar ones very often. Whenever he is killed he is usually near Jessica or Shannon before the magic part changes everything. Kannon only dies in the 1st twlight on EP3 along with the other servants. Other times his body isn’t found.
Trivia – he seems to go missing quite often leading to lulz evoking theories.
That ends theory making for the furniture section. It’s been a while since the last Umineko entry. You can thank the new anime season for that. It sure feels weird without mentioning R07’s work around here though. Well, this Chess move was fairly easy as long as we don’t dwell much on the magic part of the story, which screws things up if you don’t feel comfortable with that. Of course, we all know who the real accomplice/culprit is here, right?