12 Days of Visual Novel Reviews – Day 1: Umineko

portrait_ep4I’m going to do the 12 days of Christmas thing this year, although it’s really just an excuse to get through my backlog of reviews faster so it won’t be any different to my normal posts.

This review covers all 8 episodes  of Umineko, so both Umineko no Naku Koro ni (Episodes 1-4) and Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru (Episodes 5-8). I should also probably mention that I used the patch which adds the PS3 sprites, backgrounds, CGs and voices. (Which everyone who decides to read Umineko should use, because the original version looks terrible.)

I’m not going to write much because I honestly can’t think of where I want to go with this review.

Umineko focuses heavily on the mystery genre (especially during the first few chapters) by referencing it constantly and exploring the various rules of the genre. Closed room mysteries are used pretty often. But to put it simply, Umineko is mainly about Mystery vs. Fantasy, where mystery is agreeing that one of your family members is a murderer and fantasy is where you surrender to the witch.

My thoughts on Umineko are pretty mixed. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I didn’t like it as much as other people seemed to. I’d already seen the anime, so the first 4 chapters didn’t add anything to what I already knew. When I got to the final 4 chapters, there were some good additions to the story (as well as most questions being answered) but ultimately it didn’t go in the direction I would have preferred it to, so despite some pretty cool scenes and cool new characters, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed.

Sorry to everyone who actually wanted to read a detailed and coherent review of this visual novel, for some reason I really can’t think of much to say. But for what it’s worth, Umineko is a pretty cool visual novel. I had lots of problems with it at times, but it has its moments. As long as you can justify the time required to read it, and are aware that it can be tedious and repetitive at times, it is probably something worth reading.

Positives:

  • Battle of wits.
  • Fights against the various witches were generally pretty cool.
  • Insights into the mystery genre is enlightening, especially as I never really have explored mystery novels.
  • Some of the characters are cool/likable. (Unfortunately there are more silly/unlikable characters than not though.)
  • Really good soundtrack.

Negatives:

  • Ange is very annoying
  • Pretty much every character related to the witch/magic side is incredibly silly (there are a few exceptions though).
  • As the story goes on, it seems to lose sight of what it was aiming for.
  • Sections where there is build up for ages, and then sometimes the climax of that part was just really average.
  • Ambiguous open-ended conclusion where every viable ending is dumb.

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About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on December 14, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Umineko remains ever fond in my memories. It makes me a bit sad whenever another reader finds the second half disappointing. I refrain from saying that they “just don’t get it”–or perhaps “WITHOUT LOVE IT CANNOT BE SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN”– but for me, the first half was just a primer to the characters/rules, and the second half is where the meat of the story lies. And regardless of the controversial “solution” to the mystery, which seems to attract most of the criticism/ridicule out there, I found the underlying themes to be consistent throughout, and very compelling. But perhaps we can agree that at the very least, Umineko is pretty damn unique.

    Like

    • More to the point:

      >>Battle of wits.
      Battle of wit(che)s

      >>Fights against the various witches were generally pretty cool.
      chu2byou as f*ck

      >>Insights into the mystery genre is enlightening, especially as I never really have explored mystery novels.
      small bombs lol

      >>Some of the characters are cool/likable. (Unfortunately there are more silly/unlikable characters than not though.)
      But the silly/unlikable ones are the best! (Looking at you, Erika.)

      >>Really good soundtrack.
      Damn straight.

      >>Ange is very annoying
      not sure how a burger can be annoying

      >>Pretty much every character related to the witch/magic side is incredibly silly (there are a few exceptions though).
      !
      !
      !!

      >>As the story goes on, it seems to lose sight of what it was aiming for.
      WITHOUT LOVE IT CANNOT BE SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN (ok sorry)

      >>Sections where there is build up for ages, and then sometimes the climax of that part was just really average.
      sounds lewd

      >>Ambiguous open-ended conclusion where every viable ending is dumb.
      Every? There are exactly two endings. One choice. The most important choice you’ll ever make in your life…

      Like

      • Oops on the 7th point cuz html tag format. Just Death Sentence Dlanor things.

        Like

        • Well I can definitely tell you thoroughly enjoyed Umineko. I am always glad to see people enjoying anime/visual novels etc. regardless of how much I liked or didn’t like the thing in question so thank you for commenting.

          And yes I do agree with you in Umineko being unique. At this point I’m pretty invested in reading everything Ryuukishi07 writes (eventually) because he does interest me even if he isn’t one of my favourite writers.

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  2. More or less agreed. I greatly enjoyed parts of Umineko but, as you’ve also said, felt that it felt apart as it progressed. Waiting for a Ryukishi07 story that goes the way I want it to XD

    Preferred the supernatural in Higurashi, got the mystery.

    Preferred the mystery in Umineko, got the supernatural.

    I can’t win T_T

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    • Also:

      BAAAAAAAAATOOOORAAAAAAAA!

      Beatrice is Best Girl with Best Voice Actress.

      Like

      • The only Ryuukishi visual novel I’ve read so far is Umineko. (and Rewrite, but he only wrote one route in that so it doesn’t really count.)

        I’ve also seen the Higurashi anime and want to read the visual novel but last time I checked (a while ago) nobody had bothered to make a patch which added the voice files yet so I wanted to wait for that. So I guess I’m waiting for either MangaGamer’s retranslation to be completed (I believe somebody made voice patches you can add to the steam files thankfully) or when my Japanese is good enough to read the recent ps3/vita release which has all the arcs voiced.

        I’ll also read Rose Guns Days sometime, but I haven’t been motivated to read it yet.

        Like

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