Amaterasu Blog

14Jul/123

Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru Review

As the second half of an incredibly complex and epic murder mystery story, there's one thing that literally everyone will be looking for in Chiru: answers. Chiru does provide answers to all of the little questions, but skips over quite a few of the big ones. Instead, it goes to extreme lengths to provide enough hints that any actively thinking reader could easily figure out most of the answers, while any non-thinking reader will merely end up confused (some in-game characters even explicitly state that this is the goal). The very fact that it attempts such a thing is extremely intriguing, as are the ways in which it succeeds and fails in executing it.

First, the major successes. The name of the culprit and the specific tricks behind (most of) the murders are never stated explicitly, and yet there are definitely enough hints (and explicit answers to smaller questions) that anyone should be able to work out the most important questions by the end of episode 7, if not much sooner, with a reasonable amount of pondering. Inevitably there will probably be a handful of little details nagging at you, but they should be minute in comparison to what you can figure out, so it feels perfectly reasonable. Also, the insane variety between episodes is even stronger in Chiru, to the point where you may sometimes wonder whether a certain new subplot or character could possibly have any logical connection to the main plot, and later on feel like an idiot for even thinking that.

Most surprisingly, the omission of an epic climactic reveal about who did it and how neither prevents Chiru from having a strong sense of closure, nor prevents it from having powerful and exciting climaxes. Instead, Chiru relies on its subplots to generate all the dramatic tension and climactic moments (sneaking in hints for the main mysteries in the process), and spends the final episode tying all of their loose ends together into what eventually forms an impressive and even tearjerking conclusion. Making sense out of the web of subplots eventually becomes almost as Herculean a task as solving the main mystery itself, but just as satisfying and achievable.

However, there are some major flaws. Once again, quite a few parts of Chiru drag on longer than they should. More importantly, even though it's obvious it won't tell you who did it, it often feels like Chiru is right on the verge of giving you a massive hint that will make some large part of the mystery instantly make sense, and then proceeds to casually change the subject before doing anything of the sort. Rationally, I always knew it was going to do this, but emotionally I couldn't help but feel it like it was going out of its way to raise my hopes only to cruelly dash them. Thankfully, this problem is completely absent from the final episode, since Chiru has no qualms about giving explicit answers to all of the subplots.

Score: 9/10

Polarization: (+1/-3.5)

Some will disagree as to how much of Chiru needs trimming. Some will find certain subplots to be a waste of time. Some will find the large fraction of time spent on subplots rather than hinting at the main mystery to be extremely frustrating. And finally, some of the major answers may feel like bullshit to some people.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear for episodes 5 through 7, both endings for episode 8.

See this post for my opinions of the official fandiscs.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I wouldn’t put it past Grandfather.

  2. I feel there is a mistake that many fans , and even ryukishi himself (if I may say that :P ) tend to make . I just finished chiru two days ago and I absloutely loved the way the ending worked .That’s because from start to finish , I treated umineko as a story , not as a game where I must solve the mystery , and even though I was able to solve a considerable bit , I haven’t gotten to the final answer of the culprit on my own , but it still did not matter much to me because I was completely fullfilled by story itself , mainly , the fact that ryukishi made two paralel stories and they were both the “truth” was something that utterly blew my mind and cemented his status for me as a genius .

    Scrödinger FTW lol.

  3. I partly agree with ahmsab, since I was also able to appreciate the story itself like a good tea with dried plum. But on the other hand also made significant efforts into solving the mistery. Both approach is needed together to be able to truly understand the greatness of Umineko.
    I also think that Ryukishi07 is a genius in so many ways.
    First of all, the main plot that ahmsab mentioned, is in itself extraordinary with the overlapping 2 realities.
    The mistery part is superb and connects everything together giving the already first-rate story an another push.

    The flaws that the writer of the article brought up are in my opinion aren’t any sort of…
    You forgot quite a lot of essential things if you think that those scenes took any longer than they should have. There are many things that you may consider in these kind of situations.

    MIGHT BE MINOR SPOILER

    -The detailed background of every single character is important since we are witnessing repeatedly the ending of their lives hopelessly. It took long but definitely paid off with the whole story being much more dramatic.
    For example the anime lacked the details and as you know “Without love it cannot be seen”, sadly the anime did not have any kind of emotions.

    -Every single scene has prominent significance. If you feel like it is not true then it means that you simply weren’t able to figure out the true meaning of the actual scene. (There are many misteries apart from the main mistery arc)

    Everything had great part in the impact of Umineko so I don’t think that any of the scenes were too long.


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