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.