Six Years of Theater-going and Theoretical Game boards : The Beginning of a Golden Era (1st Bottle)

When Seagulls Finally Cry 52 Final

Pause. Stop. Read before continuing. What does Trick mean? What does Magic mean? You mean to tell me that this decision will determine what ending Deep deep deep down one already knew what you were going to choose, weren’t you? Normally as a rule of thumb I go for the Bad Endings before the True endings in a visual novel so the story always ends on the most positive note, but this time however I was going to pick what choice I would if I was in Ange’s shoes. Saying something like, “no, I haven’t made up mind yet” seemed rude. Saying vague words like “I’ll pick any of them” was out of the question. This was not the time to be wondering what one should choose. If you haven’t made up your mind before, what should it be any different now?

I think that at this point everyone already knew what they were going to be pick without anyone telling them. For me, not being someone who goes out the way to get info in any of this, what trick or magic exactly entailed was not needed to be explained. I merely wanted to pick one that happen to be believe in.. something that seemed to ring true despite that option being right or wrong or the best or worst, or whether canon or not. So this was the result.

A Trick Ending for the delight of the critical thinker and the clinically logical

I guess the result was to be expected. And so the choice that I picked was evident to everyone who has been following what I write, or was it? At least in my opinion. I’m sure it was at that time the decision was made.

Fundamentally logical. Practical. Realistic, even if it entails what *this* is. I gathered that it wasn’t going to be a happy ending. Gathered that there weren’t going to be any merry tea drinking. Gathered that it was going to be an unadorned reality without the beauty of magic. Nonetheless I still chose “trick” over magic.

Is this it? I gather it is. I gather that makes me a terrible person by extension. Despite the story not-so-subtly gunning for a magic ending since the moment I launched that EP8.exe, I chose that Beatrice used not magic but a trick. Stake me in the heart, throw me to the goats, yes, I still did it. I guess that her final farewell puzzle was no more than a magnificent sleight of hand.

If so then this ending was appropriate in a way. Then also the scene that came next. I assumed the story would take place after the story but didn’t imagine they’d exactly cut to the moment they were headed to the now deserted island of Rokkenjima.

I recall saying not to trust Amakusa when blogging it back then. I did mention the high possibly of Amakusa being the responsible for Ange’s death. I guess that I never discarded that possibility either. Nor did I have a strong reason to. It was always present. Always a possibility, like many possibilities in Umineko’s mystery. It was never denied. So this is the type of end result one can expect from uncertainty when taking it to extremes. A person can be right. A person can be wrong. In a way that type of ending is inconclusive no matter how seemingly well explained it may appear.

Because it shows only calculations and nothing can’t be really proven after all.

Erika appearing out of nowhere next to Ange on the boat was the part that really makes the ending. It adds another thick layer of dissonance to the obviously bad end. Just when one thinks it was just Ange, it turns out that Ange and Erika are now acquaintances in this world. Going by a magic approach one gathers it means there are now linked together after the ending of Umineko, Erika taking EVA Beatrice’s place as a figure that would shape Ange’s path. If one is feeling completely logical and ignores magic it suggests a metaphor of Ange becoming / succeeding Furudo Erika as the next Witch of Truth, in all her glory in the real world, by extension a truth that cuts others without second thought.

It looks wrong. It seems wrong, even if one partially doesn’t disagree with the reasoning. This can’t be it, I thought. It leaves an obvious sour after taste while reading it, I thought. The nagging thought of always knowing that, “this is not your Umineko ending” regardless of your mystery, magic, pro-truth stance. Should that not be the case after all? In a way isn’t the Trick/Mystery Ending a twist of the classic “insanity bad end” with a more logical approach? Ultimately one likely to lead the protagonist down to a destructive path.

A Magic Ending for the delight of those who believe in Magic

Is this the mystery end? Is this our end? Then it is possible for one to instead go for an ending that isn’t as grim as this one. Would that be the case for everybody? If seemed to be. Anything seemed better than this ending. Then so “magic can only be the better ending”, seemed like the common thinking.

When either ending is taken – all that remains is for a game board to be closed just like a chess board is closed the moment the game is over. All the game pieces go back inside the board and everybody leaves until next time. See, it’s just like a real game of chess. Maybe that’s something that sounds redundant from me at this point. Maybe, that is still something I have to say considering my position since day 1. Mystery versus fantasy, and that endless debate in which everybody seemed to be on the losing end.

In the end, Erika came on top in the final chapter and on the final moments of the game board before it closes it. I really do mean that. She beat Battler in their mystery showdown, she beat the Ushiromiya family plus Will plus Dlanor plus the furniture and beat Beatrice twice in the story. She’s even part of the trick ending. Perhaps the funniest thing in the end was that Erika got the best ending possible for her despite everything.

A character that has grown since EP6, acknowledging that a search for the truth may blind oneself from other truths. More than revenge, given a role in the final chapter that was to put an end to a game that had to end, Battler even knew this himself. The best detail was Battler (the story) acknowledging Furudo Erika one last time as the detective of the story. Thinking back on it, anything less would’ve left me dissatisfied, for me this was the best way to give final closure to this character and for the current and final Game Master as well. Goodbye, game board.

What came from the sea returns to the sea

No matter what one chooses they’ll have to eventually reach this ending because this is an afterword, a scene to be seen. It is no surprise the story takes reader exactly where the story always stops, the day no one seems to reach alive, the black hole in time and space that was made to be for a witch’s game, October 6th.

One might be seeing an illusion. One might be seeing exactly how it looks like, but it matters not. At that point, Beatrice the witch may have been no more than the outside facade for Yasu who along with Battler escape the mansion via the underground escape but what matters is the end result.

The scene was like an action movie where there are only a few minutes before the main characters can escape and there is a massive explosion behind them as they leave, but it is more than that. Leaving the island was also leaving that world everyone has been sucked into for eight long episodes. Isn’t it the same as when the goats stormed Rokkenjima Island devouring to pieces? Nothing is going to be left after they leave the island making all of this world turn into nothingness, all the magic vacuumed by reality as if it was never there.

That world of Umineko and its secrets ceases to exist the moment one escapes to the outside world, to society in that motorboat. Isn’t it to be expected? The story leaves out exactly what happened on the island on that day only that the bomb is going to go off no matter what. One wants to know, I wanted to know detail by detail, but does one really? Nothing on Umineko Twilight implies the secrets would be revealed, only the opposite. At this point the reader decides what happen on that day.

If the reader wills it Battler learned the truth about Yasu. The gold was found. The bomb was triggered. Conflicts arose. Intricate combinations of the EPs the reader has been closely reading through the years possibly did happen. A tragedy, inevitably, is assumed to have happened. The culprit, culprits’ identities are left out. The only fact is that the two escaped the island. There is no mention of what happened to the others. They’re dead. They’re probably dead since Battler wouldn’t escape unless they were, or they were separated hours ago, or the remaining ones on the mansion were the culprits. The only thing to do is to escape, the only rational thing to do.

They say that history repeats for a reason. Anyone who has experienced it gets it. People make the same mistakes, there are things that happen all over again such as victories and tragedies. What happened before repeats, like a time-loop. Battler was not only similar to a young Kinzo but also in the outlook as mentioned multiple times in the story. So this is our result. The same scene that happened with a young Kinzo and the first Beatrice years ago as they escaped to the civilized world from a war that wasn’t even their fight, occurs again.

Is this fate? Is the fate supposed to be a force that brings the best? Or if not, an end result that just occurs, in which case it may be irony or it may not be. You were expecting it but then again you were not expecting it. Umineko might give the reader a perfectly good ending or a sad tale to remember. But the story is not meant for that. It never was. From the beginning Beatrice was the catalyst, who spun the tale Rokkenjima and as she said it derailed out of her control in the same way as when siblings theoretically find her at the underground VIP room and everything derails. Everything derails.

I never hated the character, especially after the question arcs. Inside the game board she was the antagonist, the opponent. Outside the game board the story is not the same because there is a reality and consequences to face. That is why even a good life after all of this seems too much. Whether guilty or not the would-be villain finds her acts to be responsible for the tragedy that occurred on those two days and is thus unable to forgive herself, to leave the world she lived in and created behind.

What was created in the other Rokkenjima is meant to stay there. Perhaps this was a golden rule all along that everyone knew but did not openly say it. How could it? After the implied massacre like the tales the reader has read before has happened once again. How could such thing be possible? Battler may forget but Beatrice can’t no matter how many years it passes so there is one thing she can do to atone.

In the same manner that Umineko shows magic to appear to only a few and where not many see it, a golden butterfly flies in the deep sea signifying the existence of magic. Bringing the reader to an emotional catharsis as the proud golden witch descends into the ocean and her existence reaches an end.

A Tea Party for those who are no longer –

Bleakness in contrast to the scenery of seeing the witches behind the scenes that one way or another all end up in bed. A limbless Lambda whose destiny is uncertain, the others chatting, all in good faith. In fewer words, this is our Tea Party after all. A lightly lit room with long curtains, comfortable, dyed with purples, dark, yellows, and blues. A tea party that has ended now, replaced with well received inane and light-hearted chatter. Appropriately so because there are no more scheming as there is no game to play anymore.

Creating two endings and having a prologue to the main story brings complications. It was ambitious. One could say this was the only best way to handle the ending. Elusive. Inconclusive. Thought stimulating. Nevertheless, the end result doesn’t change as the true ending out of the two is apparent. The only ending that makes most sense with the main theme as it is more than clear the author’s preference for one ending over the other. And this… this was not such as bad thing.

“???”

What can one say? I was more than iffy having Okonogi as the biggest winner of all these developments. It logically makes sense for him to take over the business and assume the all the financial duties Ange wanted to release herself from. On the other hand, seeing and assuming what may have happened to Ange if she hadn’t otherwise, brings mixed opinions to such conclusion. At best we could say the development was reasonable as a final way for Ange to remove herself from what was chaining her to the old world.

Isn’t Ange also the final metaphor of the reader? After years of searching the journey ends and one has to move on. Ange has always been the reader itself, after all. After such a long journey Ange stopped pursuing and being pursued by the demons and witches of the past realizing how impossible it was to learn what really happened years ago. This is a new Ange who had mysteriously found a degree of truth she could live with. Start something new, far away. Is it a surprise that Ange would become a write? I think not. Everything in Umineko has to do with explaining, conveying thoughts and and most above all telling a story. Writing is a field that makes most sense for someone in this story to proudly pick up. That said, Ange becoming a children’s book story teller was a bit unexpected based on her old personality. Though probably no longer true with the new Ange who has decided to live her life as happily as possible.

After all of this it seemed there was much else to be told anymore after the game ended. The final moments are hard to imagine with Ange moving on and no one else left from the Ushiromiya, in addition of the element of “magic” being long gone. This might as well be the ending because, maybe because miracles are not meant to happen.  Then that happens. 

When They Cry

The reunion between Ange and Battler was supposed to be the most gratifying moment but it is tense, awkward, and somber. We have a Battler in a wheelchair who has rapidly aged throughout the years. We have an Ikuko who is more familiar with Battler than Ange is.

This is not something one wanted to read at all. Hearing the protagonist say that although he did eventually recall who he was he didn’t want to face Ange all these years makes the experience worse. It didn’t feel like the protagonist at all. It felt weak. It felt worse knowing Ange waited those years for nothing. The greater tragedy is knowing that whoever that person was the reader was closely reading about no longer exists, that everything was a work of fiction.

Should I have words for it was the realization that time changes everything and the irreversible rule doesn’t let things go back to how they were. Still whether fictional or not, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

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