Legend of the Golden Witch completed

Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Lately I’ve started reading Umineko (with a lot of thanks to the great people over at Witch Hunt) and I just got past Episode 1 of the VN, Legend of the Golden Witch.

First off, the game really doesn’t disappoint and it’s really good at generating the atmosphere with just some minor screen effects and really good sound work, so despite watching the anime first, I still managed to feel immersed in the story. Of course, some things are better on the anime, like Maria and Beatrice’s creepy laughs. Really, Hocchan and Sayaka Ohara’s creepy laughs are gonna be the single most memorable thing for me in Umineko, just like Rena’s “USODAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” in Higurashi.

One of the reasons I actually started reading the VN is to really judge for myself if the anime is as terrible as the game players claim it to be. After going through the first episode, I’m gonna say that I find the anime has been quite sorely misjudged. It’s inevitable that minor details and some events are changed in the anime, but overall, I found the general flow of events in the game to be pretty much as similar to the game as it can be.

Given the usual reputation of DEEN, I found myself surprised to be actually forming a not-very-negative opinion of the anime even after the playing the game. In fact, some parts of the anime do excel, such as the creepy laughing and the voice acting by the cast (mmmm Yukarin’s Bernkastel). Of course, differences in the medium have to be taken in account; 07th Expansion can’t just hire seiyuus for a long time voicing basis for their VN (plus the VN is actually not meant for voices) and DEEN can’t just fit every single minor detail in to their show given the constraints of working an adaptation.

I would say that the anime and the game complement each other well, the anime catering to a bigger audience interested in the series, but not really up to reading the VN, while the VN is of course the original material and as such, caters to the really interested fans. As a matter of fact, the anime compelled me to read the VN, so it’s a win-win thing IMHO.

Of course, this observations are limited to Legend of the Golden Witch, there’s still three more Question arcs for me to read, and two more to watch from the anime, so there might be a change in my opinions after I finish the rest.

In the meantime, Uminekolol is a pretty hillarious read after you’ve read both the VN and watched the anime. Too bad they’ve not updated for over a month already.

11 Comments

  1. Bill Said,

    September 14, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    You just finished the Legend? Yuck. Go start reading non-stop and reach Alliance.

  2. dood Said,

    September 14, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

    I read till EP4 and I’m enjoying the anime, I think its good watching the anime first and then having the VN “explain” the missing part (I went VN first and then anime).
    I think many people are disappointed because they expect too much from DEEN (most complaints I heard were about the missing BGMs).
    Aside from that they are way exaggerating Maria’s facial expression (but still awesome).

    I just wish the Higurashi VN was translated in english already (I know there an official release but who knows when that gonna happen) and waiting patiently for EP5 to be translated by the awesome people at Witch-Hunt.

  3. Mercurius Said,

    September 14, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    For me, the main point of contention I have with the anime is that it’s half-heartedly trying to match the VN. Yes, it follows the events rather closely, and I do appreciate them keeping some of the sound effects and BGM tracks. However, when there’s a completely random boob bouncing and EPIC FACE scene every other minute, it’s hard for me to take the anime seriously. And the pacing could be a LOT better, IMHO. Cutting things is fine, but cramming the entire last few chapters of the novel into 5 minutes at the end of the last arc was a bit too much.

    However, I did enjoy the Higurashi anime without having played the VN, and I know that got a lot of complaints from the VN players.

    I guess as long as I am getting some sort of perspective on the mystery from the anime, I’ll continue to bear the shortcomings and keep watching.

  4. Ice Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 5:25 am

    …You don’t know what you’re talking about, Kuro. Not at all.

  5. Avisch Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 5:30 am

    Good to see your playing Kuro. It’s definitely a VN I’ll never forget.

    My problem with the anime is that it’s not doing it’s best to capture the characters. Admittedly it’s hard. But they could have atleast given all the family members a formal introduction (the anime still hasn’t stated that Kyrie is Battler’s step-mom)……more specifically I wish they hadn’t made Rosa’s first lines yelling at Krauss (cause she’s arguably very quiet around her siblings).

  6. Digdri Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 6:02 am

    Well the anime is not really bad and DEEN does a much better job actually presenting the important plot points then in Higurashi (where so much more was cut)…

    I guess the big problem the anime is dealing with right now is what Avisch said. The Umineko story is defined so much by the deep characters and their relations and development that beginning with the 2nd arc you really notice how just showing the plot is not enough. Many people had serious problems understanding the mindset of the protagonist in the 2nd arc of the anime because they had to cut so much of his reasoning and thoughts about all the events. Where the game made you identify with his fight for his beliefs, the anime made this action seem quite foolish in a way if you don’t know all the backgrounds.
    What makes it even worst is that the 2nd arc was presented really incomprehensible in the games to begin with (fully intended). So combined this with bad pacing and some subtle hints not translating well into anime format what was left didn’t make sense you some people at all, even if all the plot was kept intact.
    Umineko is more about the interpretation of what so see then the actual actions and the 1st arc/game is more like a prelude where you still don’t know what this story get to at all…. so judging the series (and adaption) only by the first arc really is not a wise idea. But its really worth reading the rest if you like complex mindfuck stuff. :P

  7. nadeko is mai waifu Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    can’t wait for krauss’s uber upper cut! and all the death flags…

  8. Kontossis Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    Honestly, it only gets better from the first visual novel, 2nd is a lot creepier as well as the addition of red text, and then the 3rd and 4th novel having epic showdowns. 3rd is easily my favourite, pretty much consistently entertaining throughout the entire story.

  9. Kaisos Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    I always though the second game was easily the worst of them. Not that its’ not awesome, it just pales compared to the first’s atmosphere, the sheer WTB EPIC that is is the third, and the introspective awesomeness that is the fourth.

    Umineko is one of the best visual novels ever. No adaptation could ever do it justice, which is the problem.

  10. Westlo Said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

    “Cutting things is fine, but cramming the entire last few chapters of the novel into 5 minutes at the end of the last arc was a bit too much.”

    And what made that worse was how slowly DEEN went in episodes 9 and 10, Shannon and George should’ve been killed at the end of 10, they could of streamlined what we got in 9 and 10 into 1.5 episodes easily and lost nothing.

    I really have no problems with how they handled the first arc (though natsuhi was kinda butchered) but their pacing of 9-11 was dumb.

  11. Kii Said,

    November 24, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

    I didn’t like the first arc of the anime as it made people seem like retards. Like for example, Maria looked completely like a psycho. Yet people don’t suspect her at all. But in the VN, they reacted appropriately to her occasional giggles that weren’t as weirdly narmyly creepy as the anime. Also, the anime showed waaaay too many gold butterflies. It’s like yelling, “oh look, here’s a witch” instead of like the VN, where you’d think it’s a human first instead of a witch, and then you’d think of a witch, but then you say no, it must be a human…

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