Part 1: Prologue
Welcome to Rokkenjima. The Golden Witch extends her heartfelt greetings. First, please put yourself at ease.
There is nothing too difficult to think about. Accept entirely, silently, the events to happen. That is all that is asked of you.
The difficulty is standard. Shall we first take the easy road?
The elderly physician lets out a sigh as he removes the stethoscope. In the gloomy study where dust and a sickly-sweet stench mingle, two elderly men can be seen.
In the corner of this vast room, called a study, there is an expensive-looking bed, a man undergoing a medical examination, and the physician conducting it. And there appears to be a servant watching over this scene.
"...Kinzo-san. ...The reason your body appears to be doing well is due to the medicine's effects. However, if you keep drinking such strong spirits, the medicine will become meaningless. ...Trust my judgement. Refrain from drinking."
"I thank you, though only for the sentiment. My friend. ...Genji. Another glass. Water it down slightly. That way Nanjo can save face."
After eyeing both the master who demanded the alcohol and the attending physician who forbade it, Genji, the old butler, silently gives a slight nod and obeys his master's orders faithfully. The attending physician, Nanjo, once more lets out a deep sigh as he watches the butler busy himself alongside the liquor cabinet...
There was a smell filling up the room. That sweet, poisonous aroma that melts the heart, and inexorably, the soul... is the aroma of that venomous green liquor the master couldn't bring himself to part from.
"...Nanjo. You are my close friend, and I've known you for quite a long time. I am deeply grateful that you have helped me to live a long life until today."
"I have done nothing. ...After all, you never listen to my advice as your physician."
"Hahahaha... Just like how you never listen when I warn you about a mistaken chess move you're about to make. It seems we are even."
"Thank you. ...I wouldn't die if I ran out of your medicine, but I would die if I ran out of this."
Disregarding Nanjo, who has his face set in a resigned expression, Kinzo takes the glass Genji is presenting to him. There are probably very few people who would associate the venomous color, which filled the glass, with alcohol.
Nanjo once again lets out a sigh of resignation. Then, he finally speaks, gazing at Kinzo swirling the glass.
"...You don't have much time."
"...What precisely do you mean by that?"
"...Let us illustrate it with the chess game here. You have very nearly achieved checkmate...but you have not yet cornered my king."
The white king has already been castled and cornered, and even an amateur could see that the match will be decided before much longer. Both of them made a few moves every time Nanjo came to give a medical examination.
With that in mind, Nanjo was claiming that Kinzo would probably fall into his eternal sleep before this game could be concluded. These words are less the words of a physician's than they are the words of an old friend.
"...Were you a normal patient, I would recommend that you write a will at this point."
"...And what is a will, Nanjo? Handwritten instructions to the vultures on how to devour and scatter my corpse?"
"No, not at all. ...A will is something where you leave your intentions behind. It does not only exist to split up the inheritance."
"Hoh. ...What would I write about apart from the division of the inheritance?"
"...Your regrets. Your unfinished matters. What you want to be passed down,what you want to convey. ...Anything is fine."
After ranting up until that point, Kinzo suddenly lets his shoulders fall. His face is feeble, as though something that possessed him has left.
"...But still, I am reluctant. I will leave nothing, but there is one single thing I cannot leave as I die..."
"...You would do well to write it down. Of course, it would be good if you could finish it as you still live. However, if that fails to come about, the ones you leave behind will take over. If it were me, I am certain that I would leave something so that those regrets can be settled. ...That would be a will."
As Nanjo tries to gently pat Kinzo's shoulder, a suddenly enraged Kinzo bats away his hand.
"It's useless, useless, useless!! It must be while I live, because if I die, my soul will be instantly devoured by the demon of the contract, will be erased, will disappear, for all time! I won't have peace in the world beyond death! That's why everything must be done while I'm alive!! That's why I have no need for a will or any such thing!! If I had time to write such things... if I had time!!"
Let's Play Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch
Prof here. When I add in my own commentary, it'll be in italics.
You may notice that the character designs look significantly worse in the opening video. That's because Umineko's spritework has been done three times - once by Ryukishi himself, once for the PS3 remake, and once for the Steam rerelease.
Everyone has their own preferences (I actually do have a soft spot for the old art's absurd mittenhands and huge facial expressions), but for this LP I'm using the original PC version of the game with the PS3 resources patched in. This means higher-quality sprites, better background art, and voice acting for when I record videos.
So, with no further ado, let's get this show on the road.
BGM: Doorway of Summer
I'm the only one scratching my head, marveling at progress. Before, it was by boat. In the past, we'd been forced to sway and rock the whole half-day trip to reach Niijima. Times sure have gotten handier.
However, I've never gotten on such a tiny plane. I've already flown in a huge jumbo jet, but it's my first experience in such a small one... I wonder if it'll shake.
They say that smaller boats shake more, so I guess it's probably the same for an airplane... Aaah, just spare me.
"Sorry, sorry. It's not like when you were small. It's been six years since then. You're not a kid anymore. Hahahahahah."
"Tch, so you can smoke and drink? No interest in smoking, but I'd like to try booze, heeheehee! If you got your Dad's genes, you should be able to drink like a fish, huh?"
"In my case, I mostly have to drink for my job, rather than drinking because I like it. Doing business in Japan without drinking is difficult work."
"Ihihihi! That's right! That's why I usually don't skip out on practicing for the future!"
"Tha, that's not good, Battler-kun, aren't you still a minor? Drinking carries the possibility of having a bad effect on the growth of minors..., um, never mind."
"If this is as tall as I get, I'd say that's eno~ugh! Actually, if I shortened a bit instead, it'd be easier to find clothes!"
I puff my chest out proudly. Until I got my growth spurt, my height was just above average for my class. But, faster than you could say it, I got even bigger, and now I'm over 1m 80cm (5ft 11in).
I guess that's also thanks to the nonstop muscle training I did, and the suspicious drugs for reinforcing muscle strength I ordered. I shot 10cm over George-aniki, and I never dreamed that someday I'd be able look down at people.
...Aah, I guess my relatives are all gonna go "Battler-chan, you got so big!" Ergh, it's so freakin' embarrassing, I just want everyone to let go of it already.
In any case, my name is Battler... well, it's pretty damn weird, don't you think?
Any time you see green text in a screenshot, that means there's some kind of weird Japanese language dickery going on that's hard to translate. Click on the screenshot to pop up an explanation!
My name is written 右代宮 戦人.
Can you read it? My last name is 'Ushiromiya'. That part's alright.
The problem is my first name... 戦人 is made up of the characters for 'fight' and 'person' and it's pronounced 'Battler'.
Incredible. Also incredible are the parents who stuck that name on me, and the public official who accepted it... They are all at the top of my must-kill list.
George's name is one of the closer ones to being legit - the proper pronunciation for his name kanji could be construed as 'jouji'.
He's five years older than me, so he's probably turning 23 this year. Since the Ushiromiya cousins consist of two boys and two girls, he was always Aniki when we played together. And because of those memories, I still call him that today.
"Nah, nothing like that. For a man, the body goes with the guts!"
"Exactly! Battler-kun's got it! Men compete with their guts! Ya must never forget yer constant discipline. And, if ya wait vigilantly fer yer chance, ya'll make it blossom with a bang! Me, I never imagindd that I'd become the company president I am today... Yep, to think that I started out penniless and ruined...!"
As you've no doubt picked up, the translation for this game uses all the usual anime honorifics, and it'd be more trouble than it's worth to edit them all back out, but I draw the line at oji-san/oba-san. I'll be replacing them in my own text with uncle/aunt.
Is that flashy and suspicious Kansai dialect real? Because he's actually from Kanto.
But anyhow, in the business world, impressions are super important, and with different people he speaks differently, as if acting to impress 'em... And of course, in front of real Kansai people he gets all embarrassed and switches back to standard Japanese. I don't really get it, but he sure is an interesting character.
"His only flaw is that he's quick to brag. You can stop it now. I'm sure Battler's getting tired of it. Right?"
"That's not true, hihihi! But isn't it nice, though? I think that as a man, having tales of valor to tell is awesome. Because someone like me doesn't have anything like that to tell."
"Oh, really? I'd imagine a man with your looks would have girls crying left and right. I can't believe that you have nothing at all to brag about."
"I, I, I, you, you, you're joking, right?! There's no way any weird stories like that have happened! Actually, I kinda want to be introduced to some instead!"
"Oh, but you must have some stories. ...*giggle*, you must tell them to your aunt later. Because George has absolutely none of those kind of stories. Heheheh..."
Ah well, George-aniki's family's interesting and fun, and they seem to get along fine, after all... Damn, big difference from my family.
"You shouldn't talk like that about your own father. Still, this isn't the first time he's taken forever in the bathroom."
"Yeah, the guy's always been that way. I wish he'd stop going to the can with a magazine. I wonder what magazines he takes and what he does with them! Ihihi!"
"Oh, you don't need to worry about that at all. Since we've been together, I haven't let him do that sort of thing by himself."
"Hihihi! Oooh, I'll have to get the juicy details later! Sounds like Dad has his balls in an iron grip."
"You know what happens if you don't get a proper grip, right?"
"No kidding. You're the only one who can hold the reigns on that old bastard, Kyrie-san. Even as his son, I'll give them over gladly."
"Heh, leave it to me. Isn't it my speciality?"
My real mom died six years ago. After her passing, my father remarried with Kyrie-san.
It's understandable for someone my age. Even now, I can't call his second wife 'Mom'. And, I guess she doesn't want to call this massive, unrelated stepson 'son'.We don't act like brats to each other. We wouldn't gain anything by fighting. So for the same reason, we just don't play at being family either.
That being the case, she's more like a friendly neighbor to me, and by comparison, I guess we've gotten pretty close. Instead of feeling bad about it by forcing ourselves, we gain a degree of comfort from treating each other in a simpler way.
Since Kyrie-san's also an unusually frank person, we make it work well somehow. And, when I started badmouthing Dad, who'd already left the can, the man himself came back, drying his hands with a handkerchief.
"You've been talking trash about me with mom again, haven't you? Why are you so unenthusiastic about the respect you owe your father, hmm?"
"Owowow, owowowowow! Dammit, that hurts! You can stretch my ear all you want, I'm not gonna be able to fly ya know. That hurts!!"
"C'mon now. Up up, down down, left right, left right. Now try saying 'Father, please excuse me for saying such disrespectful things'."
"Like hell I will! Go find yourself some members-only store if you want it that much! Gyaah, let gooooo!!"
By the way, I didn't get just my height from him. My terrible name too. Dad's name is 右代宮留弗夫. Can you read it? Come on, it's just 留弗夫. You read it as 'Rudolf'.
Ahaha, I'm sure he resents Grandfather pretty strongly for giving him that name. But that's no reason to slap me with that bizarre naming tradition.
A bit sketchier than George's name, Rudolf's could concievably be read as 'rudofu'.
After the old bastard finished having his fun pinching and pulling my ear, aunt Eva grabbed his.
"Hey, Rudolf? Isn't that child abuse?"
"Gyaah, that hurts, Aneki..."
This scene is a perfect example of how a mischievous younger brother always gets punished by his older sister, no matter how hulking he is.
"Eva nee-san, please leave it at that. I'll make sure to stretch out his other ear later on.
"My, I'm sorry. I should leave you a piece to pull on. Rudolf? Be sure to get lots and lots of punishment afterwards from Kyrie-san, alright?"
"You're one to talk, Aneki, after abusing your little brother. Hideyoshi nii-san, I'd like to thank you very much for picking her up. If it wasn't for your leniency, she'd still be unsold in the store. As her younger brother, I apologize."
"...Hmm~?! Who are you calling 'unsold'?"
After taking 2...3 steps to close the gap between them, Eva unleashes a high reverse roundhouse kick, still looking as charming as ever, and stopping a centimeter away from Dad's nose. She started out with Tai-chi-chuan, maybe for her figure, and then got interested in the Chinese martial arts. After that, she went through karate, tae kwon do, capoeira... and what is it she's learning now, again?
...Well anyway, they say a woman's weapons are in her lower body, and that's literally true for Eva.
"Rudo-lf? Did you know that a direct blow to the side of the head would knock you out in one hit? Not so long ago, my partner messed up during an exhibition and started blowing bubbles, you see?"
"...Haaa, no, that's alright. I'm also sorry about her funny walk."
Dad, not batting an eyelid, shrugs and smiles bitterly at uncle Hideyoshi.
"Wait a sec, Kyrie, you've got to think about the troubles the new kid would have. I'm surprised Geroge-kun grew up so well after being born from this evil sister of mine. What an awesome kid. Share some of that with my dumbass son, would you."
"It's nothing of the sort. There was nothing wrong with the way Eva nee-san raised George-kun, so he turned out as a good and gentle kid. Isn't that right, Nee-san."
"My my, I wonder, ufufufu, I do wonder...! Our George is still undependable. Ah, but more importantly, how's your little Ange-chan? I heard she was vomiting?"
"Oh, that's right! I was expectin' I could see her face, after so long. Is she alright?"
"She always catches a cold when the seasons change. She's very frail... The truth is that I wanted to bring her, but my family will take care of her this time."
"I think that's a wise move. She'll get better faster by not bathing in the rotten air at the head house. A child's sickness is more important than an adult's convenience, right?"
"I know of some great medicine fer vomitin' colds! When we get back home, I'll send some to you right away, so use it!"
"Thank you very much, Hideyoshi nii-san. I'm always in your debt..."
...After the conversation suddenly turned in that direction, there was no way we kids would get to jump in. For now, I'm just happy that aunt Eva properly avenged me on Dad's pinching my ear.
"Are we still waiting for the weather?"
George-aniki points at the counter. The unchanging 'checking weather' sign is stuck next to the departure times for the flight we're scheduled to board. According to Aniki, it seems like a smaller plane is more subject to the winds and the weather, and depending on that, it looks like it's really common for the flight's departure to be influenced big-time.
...Wait a sec, it isn't really gonna shake, right...? I mean from down here, you just see the cloudy weather and you can't feel the wind... Well, maybe it'll be different once the plane is in the sky.
"A typhoon again? ...It's inevitable, with the yearly family conference in October. I wish he'd choose a better season."
"I agree. I've always hoped it could be done during the Obon festival. In fact, Rudolf, shouldn't we try proposing that to Father and Nii-san at this family conference?"
"...Very funny. Why don't you do it yourself? Our brother would never listen to anything I suggested."
"No way. It doesn't really bother me that much in October. What if you propose it, since you say you can't stand typhoons, Rudolf? I'm just saying..."
"I only said that typhoons always come around this time of year. You're the one who wanted it during Obon, right?"
"Well, you said so last year, Rudolf! That if it were around Obon it'd be easier to fit in your schedule!"
"Oh no I didn't."
"Oh yes you did. I wouldn't forget you saying that!"
"No I didn't, Aneki, you're the one saying that all the time!"
"Didn't you know? Stopping a strike a hair's breadth away is a very high class technique."
"Sheesh, women your age shouldn't spread their legs like that!"
When I see Dad and aunt Eva arguing, all I can see is a brat's quarrel...
"Even though they normally behave like fathers and mothers, in these family conferences, when they meet their old siblings, they turn into children again."
"And on the other hand, you can analyze it all calmly and look like the grown-up. ...When I grow up, I don't want to become like the old bastard. In this case, I want to become an intellectual like Aniki."
"Like me? Oh, I still have a long way to go. I still lack social experience, as well as sociability, and courage. ...I think that you already have quite a lot of those. And so, when you become an adult, I'm sure you'll outstrip me fast enough."
George-aniki scratched his head laughing, as if to hide his embarrassment. Of course, he's just being humble. Aniki entered a university and uncle Hideyoshi's company as an apprentice at the same time, and studied both academics and how to become a business emperor in parallel. Then, right after graduating, he got into uncle Hideyoshi's company as an aide, and as he devoted himself zealously to his work, he piled up lots of social experience. He even has a great dream of eventually becoming independent and making his own castle.
Aniki is a real paragon of a man, sparing no effort as he strives towards that. It's no exaggeration to say that I really respect him.
I've got no dreams for the future! I wanna rake in money in a cool and fun, all-smiles way, but it's not like that kind of thing happens.
...When Aniki was my age, he was already carrying a fine objective and studying to get there, so I guess I can't compare at all. The old bastard says stuff like: "You're coming over as an apprentice in my company? Then you start by cleaning the toilets." Dammit, I'm not gonna be taken care of by the old bastard. I'll clear my life's path myself!
...If only willpower could make you an adult. Maybe I should go on one of those self-searching journey things that are all the rage now? ...Well, it's not like I could mooch off my parents for that kind of money...
Right then, uncle Hideyoshi shouted really loudly. He'ss basically a really nice person, but his big problem is controlling the volume of his voice. He's greeting aunt Rosa, who came late.
"Rosa-san, it's good to see you again. It's good to see you too, Maria-chan."
"It's been too long, Kyrie nee-san, Hideyoshi nii-san. ...And, oh my, Battler-kun?! You're so big now...!"
"Ah, come on, hahaha... It's embarrassing hearing that every time I meet someone today...!"
"Oh, Rosa. You're late. If the plane was following the timetable, you'd have barely been on time, you know...?"
"I'm sorry. The trains weren't running well. What's this, we're waiting on the weather again?"
"Oh, don't complain. Compared to being shaken around for six hours on a boat, I'd rather have only thirty minutes on a plane. Even if we're kept waiting an hour, it's still much faster."
"Maria-chan's also gotten biiig!! So, how tall's Maria-chan now?"
"Uu-! So, how tall am I now?!"
Maria-chan parrots uncle Hideyoshi's question to her mother. I guess she doesn't even remember her own height. She's probably right in the middle of a growth spurt, so her height must change every month. In another few years, she'll look like a lady at the first glance, most likely.
"Well, let me see..., how much did we measure you at the other day? In any case, you're growing little by little. Aren't you now?"
"She grew much more than last year, in my opinion. Let's see, she turned nine years old this year, didn't she?"
"Nine years old. Uu-."
"That's right, you're nine years old. Looks like you're high spirits too, Maria-chan! Up you... ng... you've gotten a bit too heavy to play airplane with..."
"Ouch, George-aniki, what a rude thing to say to a lady. Here, I'll do it, up ya gooo~."
When I went to lift her up instead of Aniki, Maria stiffened her body as if to reject it, staring suspiciously at my face... Ah, that's right. When I met Maria before, it was six years ago and she was only three. There's no reason for her to remember my face.
"I guess it's no use. The last time she met Battler, she was only three. You don't keep memories at that age."
Apart from me, she must know everyone's face because she meets them every year, but I haven't had contact with the Ushiromiya family for about six years now. So, it's kinda normal that I'm not in the memories of this nine year old girl. Even I just barely remember her being a three year old crybaby.
"Maria. He's Battler onii-chan. Rudolf nii-san's son. ...Understand?"
"...The brother's son is... the brother is the son...?? Uu!!"
She probably uses that 'uu-' sound to fill in the blanks when she can't understand a complicated explanation. I guess that explanation had been a bit confusing.
"Maria-chan. This is Battler-kun. He's your cousin, like me."
"...Like George onii-chan? ...Battler? Cousin? ...Uu-."
"That's right. You got it."
This kind of thing makes me think that Aniki's really awesome, or that he's a real grown-up. For someone who isn't married, he's just too perfect at dealing with kids. I'm sure that he'll be an indulgent father in the future.
Maria looks straight at me, her expression asking if it's OK to call me that way.
"Yep, that's me, Battler. Nice to meet you, Maria!"
"Hey, Maria! You shouldn't call him like that, call him Battler onii-chan...!"
"That's alright, aunt Rosa. I don't sweat the small stuff. Hey, Maria! We don't need honorifics, right?!"
"Battler Battler Battleeerrr! Uu-uu-!"
"That's right, Maria Maria Mariaaa! Uu-uu-!!"
We horsed around for a while to make up for the six year gap in our friendship. To her, I'm probably still nothing more than a huge Nii-chan she's meeting for the first time, but that should be fine if we slowly get used to each other.
But I'm surprised. She's the same as my memories of her from six years ago. Yeah, people just don't change so much. I'm sorta happy she's still the pure, innocent girl I remember.
...Actually, when you think about it, all the names in my family have a touch of foreign-ness. You gotta wonder what Grandfather's tastes are, exactly. Because of him, even us grandchildren get screwed. Is that habit of his 'cause he was pissed with his normal, Japanese-ish name?
Anyway, there's one thing about aunt Rosa that's a relief compared to the other family members. The old bastard and aunt Eva have this weird streak that makes them tease and mock people, but even though she's got the same blood, aunt Rosa doesn't do that. Between all her siblings, she's the one with the most common sense. Like uncle Hideyoshi, she's a kind aunt who'll always be on the kids' side.
...On the other hand, perhaps because she has a strict way of raising kids, she's not as generous as uncle Hideyoshi with her allowance.
As though it was waiting to see us off, there's a broadcast in the lobby.
"Our apologies for the wait. Boarding will now commence for flight 201 to Niijima. We ask that the passengers please form two lines in front of the counter, behind the white line."
"Rosa, you still haven't gone through boarding procedures, so hurry up."
"Oh no...! Maria, come on!"
We'll undergo a metal inspection before going to the runway. It doesn't have the grandness of the planes that make international flights, but while it is a small machine, it's still a plane. We are body-checked by a staff member holding a metal detector.
When everybody lined up is checked to be clear, we leave to the runway guided by the staff member.
The procession stops in front of the entrance to the airplane. The staff employee who guided us turns around and speaks while looking at the list.
"I'm first! Right here! ...Oh, Eva, d'you have a candy? I've been lookin' all over for some, but I can't find any."
"They're in the handbag. I'll get one once we're inside the plane."
I've heard that candies are a good way to protect the ears from hurting because of variations in atmospheric pressure when landing or taking off. That's probably what they're talking about.
"...It'd be nice if I got a window seat!"
"Hahaha, don't worry. There aren't any other kinds of seats."
Like George-aniki says, it looks there're only two lines of seats. So, this is what a small plane is like... It isn't really going to shake, is it?
"Here. Don't worry, Battler-kun. It won't shake too much."
"A-Aniki, how much is 'not too much'?! Even if I fall from a boat, I'm fine, I can swim, but if I fall from a frickin' plane, it's the end! But of course, there's a parachute in the seat, right? Wait, there isn't?!"
"Come on, Battler, quit being a wuss and get in."
"Ow! Dad! Don't push me! There's no parachute!"
"Alright, stop this nonsense. Let's move along, now."
"Ouch! Kyrie! Stop pushing! This blockhead isn't moving!"
"Uu-! Move move!"
"Hey, Maria! Be quiet, now..."
BGM: Ride On