Umineko no Naku Koro Ni: Dawn of the Golden Witch

– They’re demons.

Up until now… many witches and demons have appeared in this tale… but for the first time… here are true… demons.

Following the events of the previous game with the introduction of a new game master, this chapter does not delve into the solution of the mystery so much as it displays the Game Master’s understanding of it, though it does provide important clues linked to the main suspects. George, Jessica, Shannon, and Kanon play a prominent role in the story, as does a childlike reborn Beatrice who struggles to regain her former personality for Battler’s sake. Again, the game is suspended before its conclusion.

The climax of the Episode truly begins when Erika’s obsessiveness with the truth comes into play once again. She is a girl so besotted with a clean truth, that she is willing to double murder people. Just process that for a moment. There are a bunch of people playing dead. What does Erika do, to make sure that there are no flaws in any theory she might come up with? Kill them. Cleanly, with a bin bag over her clothes so that blood won’t get on. And she kills them, and swiftly.

Erika is a difficult character to pin down. When she was first introduced in End, she basically, took our place. The reader’s place. I imagine that she was created solely based on Ryu seeing some particularly obsessive fans for this series. The ones which were 100% anti-magic, the ones which lacked ‘love’. It’s not difficult to imagine Ryu lurking discussion posts on 2ch, and seeing things get ugly. Erika is the personification of all those uppity, thoroughly repulsive, and obsessive readers. While she is unlikable for all those reasons, at the same time, we can’t help but adore her. There is something so horrifying about the way she can be a total and utter bitch, forcing someone who can’t even defend himself, into marriage just to humiliate him and gain the upper hand. Her obsession for the truth even had an impact on her actual life outside of being a piece. During a rather personal conversation with Dlanor (who is really, the only ‘friend’ that she has), she reveals that she went out with someone but grew obsessed with the thought that he was cheating on her.  A somewhat disturbing monologue follows, where a dazed Erika reels off snippets of the life they shared. It’s tragic, but due to her lack of love, and thirst for the truth, their relationship collapsed.

The overall theme of this game was definitley love. Whether it was George willing to defy the world for Shannon’s sake, Rosa regretting things she did and didn’t do, Kyrie willing to murder Asumu, Jessica’s budding adolescent love (“What is it that you like about me?” “U… Uhm…”) in comparison to George’s seemingly ‘adult’ love, the newborn Beatrice being willing to please Battler for some unknown reason, Erika’s past relationship falling apart, or even what Lambda and Bern share (“I’m the only one who can understand her”)… The theme of love has always been prevalent in this series, but this time it has become so much more overt. Without it, the truth can’t be seen. How many times have we heard that one phrase, throughout the series? Love is the solution, and the problem. Love has everything to do with every single aspect of the series. Let’s look at the negative characters in the series, for example. They all had a twisted version of love. For example, Kasumi. She was taken away from the man she loved, and was forced to marry someone she hated. In turn, her sisterly bond with Kyrie was severely warped. Ryukishi, along with all the other characters in the series, have told us that love is the answer, and that the series must be read through with love. Does that mean that as long as we see love in every aspect of the series, we’ll find the answer? I wonder about that.

The note before this game states that it’s no longer a challenge, but that the answer is laid out for us. One of the more overt traits in this game was the relationship between Shannon and Kanon. Honestly, I’m not at all fond of Shkanon, but Dawn didn’t just strongly hint at it- it practically confessed it. The whole duel between Shannon and Kanon was obviously done to see which of the more dominant ‘personalities’ would win. It got to a point during their duel where I read every time that ‘furniture’ was said as ‘personality’. They’re both ‘subhuman’, and only one can fully become human and find love. I find that tragic, but stupidly annoying at the same time. Several things about Shkanon do make sense, such as the detective never seeing them together outside of fantasy scenes. But then there are other things. Seeing that Shannon is the more dominant personality, is ‘Kanon’ something she randomly created? Surely the other family members and servants would have caught on to what was happening? I imagine that Kumasawa and Genji would be very understanding, but I’m not at all sure what someone like Natsuhi would think. I doubt that she’d put up with it. And, think of poor Jessica. Shannon is her best friend, so did she conveniently fall in love with a part of her best friend? Unless, of course, Shannon and Kanon were both originally living people, but one happened to die pretty recently. The death of one of them might have had such an impact on the other, that they believe that the one who died is a part of them… Or something like that. It wouldn’t be the first time that the servants have covered up someone’s death. But, whatever. This post is to discuss Dawn, not silly theories.

One of my more favourite parts in this episode was the logic error which Battler had managed to create- purely based on his own pride and kindness by allowing Erika to use the tape. I feel sorry for the guy, really. After being messed around by Beato in such an extreme way in Banquet, he fell for a woman’s tears… again. I imagine everyone who hadn’t read it beforehand/heard spoilers about this went, ‘OH SHI-‘ upon realizing that it was Battler all along who was in that creepy, cut off room. No, creating a logic error didn’t enable him to get away with a slap on the wrist. He was trapped in an eternal hell, until he managed to solve it himself… or until someone else was able to help him. I admit, I thought that Battler was winning until Dlanor interjected by saying that Kyrie couldn’t help him. It was a very joyous, light hearted moment until the music came to a halt, with red text slowly spreading across the screen. It was so sudden, and abrupt. I was definitley taken aback. Of course, it all went downhill from there for our beloved gamemaster.

The relationship between Battler and Beatrice was another favourite trait for this game. While the pair have never explicitly said, ‘I love you’, it really doesn’t have to be said. They both have acknowledged it, as has everyone around them. I definitley wasn’t expecting them to get married during the Tea Party, but I’m highly pleased. They each deserve happiness, Beato especially. I just hope that nothing else comes between them.

The music, as usual, was outstanding. One of the reasons that Umineko gets so much praise is because of its wide, and varied use of music. There are sombre piano pieces, twisting techno songs which go on for over ten minutes, solemn organ pieces, and everything in between. The music used in Dawn was also outstanding. ‘ruriair’ was definitley one of the standout tracks, having a real finality to it, as well as tension. This track was used a total of three times (I think), all during the wedding scene. When listening to this, it’s easy to imagine a grinning Erika dragging a lifeless Battler up the aisle, while Virgilia is being held back by the Siesta corps, with Bernkastel and Lambdadelta looking on, laughing. ‘my dear’ is one of the more poignant songs not just in Dawn, but in the whole series.  Heartbreaking, and conjures up images of a lonely, frustrated Battler, crying heavily while illusions of Beato are around surrounding and taunting him.  ‘Life’ was another track which fitted the scene it was played in ideally. Shannon and Kanon’s last stand, fighting for their right to love, and become whole. It’s upbeat, but still somewhat tragic which matches their moods perfectly. They respect and adore each other, but one of them must be killed. There’s a struggle, and the title ‘Life’ is so apt.  Some people might remember ‘Blue Butterfly’ being used as the background music to Bernkastel’s theme on an image cd around Christmas, so hearing it pop up as a theme which celebrates Kanon and Jessica confessing their mutual feelings was definitley odd. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful track.

Overall Favourite Dawn Tracks;

  1. ruriair
  2. my dear
  3. Life
  4. rog-limitation
  5. liberatedliberator
  6. Blue Butterfly
  7. Engage of Marionette
  8. Battle Field
  9. The Sin
  10. Fishy Aroma (vocals)

I’m interested on seeing where Ryu takes us next. We have at least two more ridiculously convoluted episodes to go through, and I shall welcome them with wide open, shaking arms. I’ll probably make a post on what I expect from Requiem soon enough, especially seeing as we have the portrait and opening, at the time of this post.

Company; 07th expansion
Release Date; December 30th, 2009
VNDB Link; http://vndb.org/v2153

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