time and tide wait for none
Those days were like a cradle: peaceful, yet transient. Battler leads the sort of peaceful, everyday school life, together with the exchange student Beatrice, his friend Amakusa, and his underclassman Ange. Every lively day spent with them flows happily. But such peaceful days can’t last forever. They’ll have to wake up from their dream sooner or later. S Something has been forgotten, yet it can’t be recalled… And thus these days begin to repeat, all the while an answer is being searched for…
Although I actually completed this on the day I read it, Milk Tea’s C78 Umineko school life doujin gave me an itch to give this another run through, just for the hell of it. And since I never reviewed it then (as I didn’t have this blog until about a month and a half later), I thought that I may as well review it now. For those who are curious as to what it is, it’s essentially an Umineko school life spin off. The circle RA/MNESS released this on the first of April as a rather elaborate April Fools joke, and was kept up on the site until the eleventh. It’s long since gone from the site now, but I imagine that if you did a bit of digging, you’d find it with ease. After taking another look at the site, it says that the trial is currently being made, and that it will be distributed soon. How odd, considering that the trial came out on the first of April already. Originally it was purely created as a rather nice joke (the site even said that there’d be nothing else), but after another look at the site, it says that a full version will be coming in October. Oooh, excellent!
The title, although quite a mouthful, is pretty cute and apt. The title is derived from Theodore Oesten’s piece of the same name, ‘Dolly’s Dreaming and Awakening‘. There are three parts, each part focusing on a rather peaceful school life. These parts always start with a few mysterious choice lines from Beato about forgetting a promise, and Battler always wakes up in class with a headache, not really being able to recall the dream he just had. Amakusa always questions if he’s alright, or what’s going on. In this VN, him and Battler seem to be best friends. Beato is a playful, lively foreign exchange student who spurts out random English lines. One being her infamous, ‘IT’S PAAAAFKECTO!’ from the anime. I mean, what anime? She gets along very well with Battler, as expected, although they have a sort of rival relationship. Ange is as stoic as ever, although we get to see her vulnerable side once the second arc hits. And, that’s our cast. If there does turn out to be a full version, I’d love if there were more characters added. Imagine how wonderful that would be? I’m just envisioning Milk Tea’s school doujin – Dlanor being the short yet stern class president, Erika being the random troublemaker, and Lambda and Bern lounging about like ojou-samas in some room, drinking tea. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Ah, if only…
While it seems like it’s just a silly, everyday school romp (and I won’t lie – that’s pretty much exactly what it is), the dreams that Battler is having adds a question mark over the scene. While he just brushes them off in the first arc, he begins to get more worried about them once the second arc hits. And, he begins to remember that he made a promise, but had forgotten. In typical Umineko fashion, things start getting weirder as the arcs progress. Prime example is the contrast between the first and second arcs’ lunch fights. The first one doesn’t last too long, and seems rather silly. The second one is far more serious, and even introduces red text. Yeah, I was pretty surprised too. While it was a fight about Battler’s strawberry milk (he went out to speak to Ange in the hallway, he came back and it disappeared), it was surprisingly tension fueled. Battler began getting more fired up and throwing theories at Beato as she kept making fun of him all the while. Oh, the nostalgia. They even rope Amakusa and Ange into it, with Ange telling Battler not to give in so easily just yet. Battler eventually spots a flaw in her logic. Although Beato did buy strawberry milk, she gave it away, giving her room to steal Battler’s milk. Or something like that, I’m not all too sure. But either way, it was impressive. Especially once the epic music started to kick in. Nothing that gets you fired up in this series like some crazy UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ.
Soon after that lunch battle, you get a choice on who you can go around with. I’ll get around to Ange and Amakusa eventually, but for my first playthrough I went with good ole Beato. You both go somewhere peaceful, under a tree, and it seems like the innocent, naive Beato is there with you. She jumps from topic to topic, yet still stays on one thread of thought. She brings up the fact that she has never seriously seen the ocean before, and wonders about the colour of it, and if it’s really such a brilliant blue. She ponders about the fish that swim around, how she’s never seen that either. She also starts talking about a zoo, saying that someone promised to bring her to one when she was younger (oh Rosa, so cruel ;_;). Battler, like the gentleman he says, says that he’ll bring her to an aquarium as soon as he can. Beato, naturally, is over the moon. It’s a very sweet scene, and shippers everywhere would be proud.
The third arc pretty much focuses solely on Beato and Battler, and is actually… somewhat chilling. Mainly because of the way Beato easily switches her personality between silly, excitable foreign exchange Beatrice and scorned by everything Beatrice. Battler has another one of his dreaded naps, and wakes up to see the school in darkness. Beato urges him to go exploring with her, which he puts off and first. Beato then gets incredibly serious and stern, asking him is he happy where he is. You get a choice whether you should go with or not, and I picked, of course. As soon as you pick that, her mood instantly switches back to delighted Beato. You then go exploring the grounds, eventually coming to the swimming pool. Beato says in a detached fashion that she can’t really see the colour of it, due to the cloudy evening. An odd, surreal conversation occurs between the two of them, discussing purgatory and waiting thousands of years. Standard Umineko stuff, but it was unexpected in what I originally thought was just a fluffy AU spin off. All the while, we have serious Beato. The facial expression she has on throughout is similar to that dead eyed stare she had when question Battler about his sin in Alliance.
Something calls Battler to the rooftop, where they proceed to go to. Dead eyed Beato once again starts seriously speaking to Battler, asking about what he forgot. He honestly cannot remember. He then asks was it the trip he made with Beato to the aquarium. Beato still looks annoyed, but snaps back into ridiculously hyper Beato. They talk for a while, and the screen fades out. Then, surprisingly, the techno starts kicking in and we see our Beato cackling like crazy. She says all these things like time is up, and that we lost. Screen then flashes with those usual credits, and ends with an advertisement of the VN itself. Amusingly enough, it mentions something about C78. Since they jokingly said that they weren’t going to do anymore, a comiket release was clearly a joke too. But, with the site being updated in June, mentioning on October release, I wonder… As I stated earlier, I’d love if a full version were actually made, with all the characters. I’ve already seen school related time loops been done before (and enough of time loop series in general), but I think that RA/MNESS just might have something here. It’d be cool if you had to go around sleuthing, questioning all the characters to remember what the promise was, piecing together pieces of random information.
The music for this fits, although some BGMs were pretty questionable. There’s one hilariously bad BGM in particular which plays in the first part when Battler, Ange, and Amakusa are having a conversation, and it’s a really stereotypical rap piece going ‘YO, BITCHES AND HOES’, or something. Very unfitting. In the second part, there’s another unfitting BGM which lasts for a total of ten seconds. It’s absolutely cringe worthy, and says ‘I’m the smoothest cat on the block’. I am totally, 100% serious. There’s this generic daily school life BGM which sounds like it was taken from a Persona 3/4 soundtrack, complete with those ‘ah~ah~’ vocals. A very sweet vocal song plays whenever Beato is introduced, which is light and typically j-popish. My overall favourite BGMs were the ones that played during Battler and Beato’s epic lunch fights. There was this one BGM in particular which definitely sounds Uminekoish. It was fast paced, with those techno synths everywhere. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the series.
The art, as you can evidently see, is gorgeous. Great care was especially taken when designing the uniforms. My favourite uniform is Beato’s, with extra points going for her over-sized bow which is the same colour as the flower in her hair.
Overall, it was a nice, if incredibly short play. I’d recommend this for the shippers, or anyone who just wants to see something silly and fluffy which is Umineko related. Definitely wouldn’t recommend it for the people who ctrl through love scenes.
Release Date: April 1rst (demo)
Official Site: http://nevermore.sakura.ne.jp/cradle/top.html