"...a story should be like a roller coaster. That is to say before writing a really cruel scene, I have to lift the people's spirits, for example, with a fun scene... Before writing a scene of pure despair, we must go through scenes of hope. And indeed, when I write, all of this amuses me very much."
Some series are particularly difficult to complete. Not due to boredom, by any means - but because of the hidden promise of an impending tragedy. Having finished a story which I allowed to drift in limbo for too long, this hollow sensation is, at once, both intoxicating and debilitating.
toast to the Golden Witch, Endless Witch, Ruler of Rokkenjima's night - because this catbox is surely your greatest masterpiece.
The difference between reality and fantasy might only be paper-thin - that was something we learned in the previous episodes. A witch is born when human reasoning is incapable of explaining a mystery. A witch is born out of the need for escape. Having learned part of the truth, like Ange, it turns out that the reader was thoroughly tricked - and throughout both this episode and the last, thoroughly filled with anti-magic toxins.
Ryukishi07 never ceased to toy with us. He exploited the desire for a fantasy and made us see something which wasn't really there. Only after coming this far could I finally appreciate just how impressive this story really was - more than Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None", this is a unique experience.
In this episode, finally, we obtain the full story of 1986 which had previously existed only as fragments. Love is a source of madness which paints over an ugly truth... and perhaps the story might've ended there. However, more than finding the truth, this episode was about overcoming and accepting the truth.
Can the ghosts of the past give courage to the witch of the future? Can a happy ending be reached, despite the certainty of a gruesome death? Beyond probability and fantasy, beyond delusions and forgeries, surely there exists a golden land. Ange must choose whether to accept or reject it. The last game is a battle between Ange and Battler, but also a battle between 1986 and 1998. And it's thrilling.
Coming fresh out of the other episodes, the difference in art style was frankly a little jarring... but that's something which I quickly became accustomed to, considering that some earlier episodes had the same artist. Character designs are still on-point (i.e. seriously adorable, the hell is this), backgrounds are comfortable as usual, and the highlight of this episode might well be one of the most satisfying punches to exist in any medium.
The art is as cutesy as it is psychotic, but that's what makes the series so appealing.
The hallmark of a series with a strong main cast is when a review can be written about the characters alone. However, there are far too many to consider - so I'll just stick to the main character of this episode.
This time around, Ange takes center stage. At no point does her struggle feel like melodrama, and her character development was an uncertain thing. A child soldier who marches in single-minded pursuit of an obsession, and is eventually left with nothing but themselves. It was the exceedingly-simple story of a person who sets out for revenge and finds meaning beyond it, but executed in a way which I've never seen before.
Fantasy is an escape from reality, so the destruction of fantasy is a metaphor for growing up. At least, that's what Ange might think. This episode might well be a reconciliation between the witch of the future and the girl trapped in the past.
The truth which lies beyond reality and fantasy. "Without love, it cannot be seen."
Needless to say, I consider Umineko to be a must-read. It's a series which makes the reader think - primarily with the philosophical debate which it invites.
For instance, the idea that it takes two to complete a universe - like the concept of a catbox and an observer. A story can't be completed if the writer is the only observer, in the same way that somebody who never shows anybody their work isn't an author. To create a story, you only need a writer. To complete it, you need somebody else to act as a reader. Otherwise, who knows whether or not the story actually exists? Like Schrodinger's cat, the truth only exists within your incomplete universe, and not outside it.
There are innumerable stories which can be told by inference and deduction - but there exists only one truth. It may be ugly, and it may be reprehensible. However, if it isn't shared, then it will forever remain locked away within the catbox. This might well be the true premise of Umineko.
Ryukishi07. Thanks for an ending which brings enough closure for a lifetime.
Emotions are filling me up. Yet again I was able to experience the void of finishing something great. Due to ongoing of the manga, I had to read the original visual novel. It was long but worth reading.
Everything comes to the conclusion. Battler sets up the last game for Ange in order to show her other side of Ushiromiya family: kind, solicitous and loving. Why would he do that? Before answer is revealed, Bernkastel appears with something in mind. Knowing that she is the main antagonist, we can suspect that her intentions will not be good and nice. What is
she up to? "Find that out" will be my answer.
Just as always, art is very good. Emotions were passed through pages splendidly.
There are a lot of characters in the series. Everyone can find favorites. As for development, readers will witness Lambdadelta's progression as a 'real' witch (a witch that is meant to bring happiness). Her actions were a turning point in the story, which make readers respect her.
Rating the enjoyment of this part of the story as a stand alone episode made me put an 8/10. There are more action scenes than mind games, so my expectations were not met in full way. Still, I was reading this episode with big interest.
Overall score for this episode is 9, but I want to put 10 for the whole series. This was on of the greatest experience since Higurashi. If anime adaptation were not bad, I wouldn't wait for a year to get acquainted with the manga adaptation. Umineko is the great story with elements of comedy, drama and mystery. If you want to read something intellectual and not cliche, I strongly recommend to give this manga a try. You will not regret it.