The spirited main male protagonist and one of the best characters in this series.
This review of Umineko no Naku Koro ni marks the beginning of an avalanche of, well, more anime reviews that will come in quick succession. It has been quite some time since I last done this,and this should be a good thing for this blog that needs more new contents. Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a 2009 title, therefore it will compete with Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei for the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title. Read on to see whether this anime managed to do so or not.
And this is the uncultured main female antagonist, also one of the best characters in this series.
The head of the wealthy Ushiromiya clan finds out that he has only 3 months to live, therefore he arranged for a family meeting to select a new successor to be held at his private mansion located on a private island, far-far away from civilization. All of his sons and daughters attended the family gathering, and so are nearly all of his grandsons and granddaughters. In the first night, a typhoon comes, cutting all communication lines to the mainland. Then, the brutal murders started… Written by the same people who wrote the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series (referenced sometimes in this anime), the story is eerily similar to any of the homicide cases in Kindaichi Shonen no Jikembo that happened in similar settings (quite a few of them). I compared this anime to the Kindaichi series rather than the likes of Meitantei Conan because the main male protagonist is also similar to the protagonist in Kindaichi series. Just like the latter, the former will have to face a formidable foe a.k.a. the main female antagonist who is a high-ranking witch. The main male protagonist here doesn’t have even a quarter of Hajime Kindaichi’s abilities though, or else he would have made short work out of the witch. The witch is also not the brightest criminal ever unlike the cunning and cruel magician in the Kindaichi series, or else she would have reached Golden Land in less than 13 episodes.
The battle of wits between these two is what this anime is all about.
Just like the Higurashi series, the anime (based from a visual novel just like Higurashi is) is divided into several arcs. This anime has 4 of them, and as of now, the game is now in its 6th arc. So it is almost certain that there will be a second season at least. The first arc introduced the story, the island setting and almost all the characters that matters (more of this later). The second half of the last episode of this arc is very important, because there is one easily missed important fact about the nature of the witch that will be revealed to you. The second arc is where the battle between the two main protagonists started, and this arc concentrates mainly on character developments for many of Ushiromiya family members. In the 3rd arc, the witch concocts an elaborate offensive move with the help of her magical powers which caught the main protagonist unaware until far too late, but he was rescued by a new character that comes out from nowhere. This is where my first complaint about this anime come, which is the introduction of an important character (the character is the main male protagonist little sister) far too late into the series, without any hints or warning whatsoever. Some of you may argue that the new character is similar to Hanyuu a.k.a. Oyashiro-sama in the Higurashi series, but in her case there are plenty of hints about her existence even from that series’ first arc. In this anime, the first two arcs doesn’t even have a hint about her, and there is only one off-hand mention of her by the main male protagonist in the third arc.
A familiar remark I have read in a certain Japanese manga…
My second complaint is, because of her dramatic entry into the storyline, a significant chunk of the 4th arc were spent on the character introduction and development of one single character (read: 2 consecutive flashback/flashforward episodes, plus many more of them after that in the 8-episode 4th arc). This took the focus away from the main male protagonist, and to a lesser extent, the main female antagonist. With these two characters out of the spotlight, the steam is taken out of this arc. The inconclusive yet dramatic showdown between these two main characters in the second half of the last episode doesn’t manage to salvage the 4th arc from the mire it found itself in. Well, the ending is set up nicely for a second season, that’s for sure. Character developments in this series is uneven, and happened depends on what arc is playing. There are plenty of them in the 2nd arc, while, due to the nature of the plot, none of them happened in the 3rd arc. The 4th arc concentrates on the newly minted character and to a lesser extent, another two of the Ushiromiya family members. The best characters in the series is definitely the two main characters, and there is plenty of room for their (and others too) developments in the next season, which in my estimation, should happen in 2012 at the earliest (assuming of course, if there are 8 arcs in the whole game).
A great insight of the Japanese legal system.
Just like in the Higurashi series, character designs in this anime will be home in any dating simulation from the Land of Rising Sun. Big boobs and big eyes? Hell yeah! Black hair? Hell no. How about blonde hairs? Plenty of them here. Definitely a positive point for this anime.
The child beater of the Ushiromiya family…
Voice acting in this is good overall. The two main protagonists are outstanding, and so are Eva and Maria Ushiromiya. Also a positive point for this anime.
…doing what she does best.
The OST is decent but not so for the OP/ED themes.
Her reason for doing so is understandable though. Even I would do that if I were her.
The quality of the animation in this anime is flawless, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography is average though. The directing is definitely better than the one seen in my previously reviewed anime Asura Cryin’, but not that good either.
Just one of the discourses between the two main protagonists.
8 out of 10. Due to the nature of the story, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Not good enough to dislodge Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei from the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ throne though. The next anime reviewed here will be either Minami-ke or Toaru Majutsu no Index. Which one will come next, that will have to wait until the next entry.
Witty lines like this one is one of the reason why the main male protagonist is one of the best characters in this series.
Damn you Chiaki Kon! Damn you!
Adults do say the darndest things.