9/9/13

Umineko: When They Cry (No Spoilers)

By: 14thLord



Release: 2009
Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural
Also known as: Umineko No Koro Ni, When the Seagulls Cry, Seagualls: When they Cry

Ah Umineko a obscure gem, and the next installment by 07th Expansion. You may recognize the developer from its predecessor, Higurashi: When They Cry. While holding Many similarities in style, the two anime's are completely unrelated, so feel free to pick up one or the other, in either order. I personally recommend starting with Higurashi if you were to indeed watch the two.



Like Higurashi, there's little that can be said about Umineko without giving away spoilers. What I can tell you is that the plot revolves around a mystery, which may or may not be supernatural based. The story plays out like a murder mystery, while at times showing impossible things, relying heavily on unreliable testimonies.

If you enjoy unsolvable murder/mansion mysteries, psychological intense anime's, and the notion of witches, this anime may peek your interest. Immediately from the start, the show sets itself up on Rokkenjima Island, a isle. That's allegedly haunted by the Golden Witch Beatrice. Long ago, the head of the Ushiromiya family made a deal with this mysterious figure. Now the Witch has come to collect on its end of the bargain, the families fortune, and their lives.



The Anime ends with a massive cliffhanger, intentionally to allow the viewer to form their own opinions and attempt to “solve” the mystery. There also includes the visual novel series with EXTENSIVELY more detail, which has never been released stateside. Fortunately, you can enjoy the anime to the fullest, without ever having even heard of the game.

Unfortunately Umineko was never dubbed, after Funimations dub of Higurash was considered to be a flop, and their license was since allowed to expire. It's particularly upsetting as this was the event that caused Funimation to seek more conservative titles, rather than branching out to obscure gems.



Characters: 9/10
Umineko sports a large cast of memorable characters, whether it's the primary circle involving the families adult children, or the simple servants of the family. Each member of the Ushiromiya is a well fleshed out suspect, with their own reasons and motives. While some can quickly be discarded as a suspect for not being suiting to their personality, you may later find yourself second guessing that decision.

Plot: 10/10
Let no episode remain a filler. A motto this anime takes, and I love it greatly for. If you love a good murder mystery, and a anime that deliberately makes attempts with messing with the viewers head, this is the show for you. Often I found myself at edge, constantly trying to solve the mystery of Rokkenjima Island.

Fun Factor: 10/10
Again, Umineko is very dependent upon the viewer enjoying a good murder mystery. Not only is it amazing fun to watch, it continues to extend its fun in discussions with friends, as you debate on opposite sides.

Music & Animation: 9/10
The art style of the anime isn't something of particular notice, it is one of the lovelier looking anime's currently out. If you seen the initial games, the artstyle is a MASSIVE improvement upon it, but otherwise very standard.

While featuring an extensive of enjoyable songs in its soundtrack, it's the Opening and Ending themes that really catches the viewer. Immediately the anime opens with a theme that excites its viewer, but in a very suiting manner. At the same, the end song for each episode isn't typical j-pop that's randomly added, like in most anime's. Instead, the ending song does an amazing job at keeping you shocked at the end of the episode, and psyched to watch the next.

Overall: 10/10
Umineko is one of the few anime's that I'll give a perfect 10 to, and for good reason. The story is so well executed, riddled with depth. The characters all feel alive, even if they try portraying themselves as wooden in public. The only deterring factor that I can see is if you simply do not enjoy this unusual type of anime. It's an odd and difficult mix, that can easily leave the viewer confused as it attempts to combine two polar opposite genre's, one of realism, the other of supernatural.

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