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Umineko: When They Cry, Vol. 1 (Premium Edition)


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Umineko: When They Cry, Vol. 1 (Premium Edition) + Umineko: When They Cry, Vol. 2 (Premium Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

The affluent Ushiromiya family patriarch, Kinzo, is on his deathbed, and his family has assembled at their private island to discuss the division of his estate. As they bicker over their father's immense inheritance, a typhoon closes in, trapping them on the island. They suddenly receive an eerie word of warning...and then, in the dead of night, the murders begin. One by one, family members are discovered murdered in bizarre and inhuman ways. Some within the family turn to superstition, blaming it on a witch rumored to inhabit the island. But one of them - the young Battler Ushiromiya - refuses to accept the supernatural and vows to uncover the real killer behind the seemingly impossible slaughters. He soon finds himself confronted by the apparent witch, and enters into a life-or-death battle for the truth. - Original Japanese voice acting with English subtitles Bonus features: Clean opening/ending Two full-color, 28-page hardcover art book (approx. 11" x 7") which will enhance the viewing experience with an in-depth story analysis, detailed character bios, vivid illustrations, and character sketches.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ken'ichi Suzumura, Daisuke Ono, Yui Horie, Rie Kigimiya, Yu Kobayashi
  • Directors: Chiaki Kon
  • Format: Anamorphic, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: NIS America, Inc.
  • Run Time: 413 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008RL7B6A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,854 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RavenRing on December 12, 2012
When the Ushiromiya family patriarch's health declines, his family gathers on his private island to discuss the division of their inheritance. Soon after everyone arrives, a typhoon hits, trapping them on the island. Then the youngest member of the family, 9 year old Maria, delivers a strange and disturbing message to the family - and people start dying. The killer claims to be the "Golden Witch Beatrice" and that the murders are preformed using magic. Battler Ushiromiya doesn't believe in magic. He is determined to prove that every murder was carried out using mundane means and thus track down the killer. Out of the 10 family members, 5 servants, and the personal physician, who is the real murderer?

From the creator of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry), Umineko follows a similar pattern - everyone dies horrible, bloody deaths, then everything is reset and they do it again. This series has four arcs total. They are connected in that, after the first one, Battler and Beatrice spend the rest of the series playing a game to prove or disprove magic. So after a murder occurs, the story might pause and Battler try to prove it wasn't done with magic. Each arc focuses on a different set of characters. Battler is the main character, but he isn't really the focus of the series.

I really enjoyed Umineko. The art is also quite beautiful at times (Beatrice's golden butterflies come to mind). Up until the end, this series was a solid 5 stars. Then it ended. Why?! Why must anime producers taunt us like this?! In the end, nothing is resolved. And right before it ends, another puzzle is introduced. Closure is completely absent. You do learn various things over the course of the series, but the big questions about Beatrice are pretty much all unanswered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William on December 28, 2012
The series is already almost three years old in Japan, and the source material is already older. I'm willing to bet most people looking to buy this are probably already familiar with Umineko.

For those who are not, the story makes use of a strange story telling mechanic that takes some getting used to. Like its predecessor, Higurashi, Umineko makes use of the "Fragments"; parallel universes in which similar events unfold, but ultimately lead to same conclusion: everyone's death. However, unlike Higurashi, half of the story is in a Meta-World, as the characters themselves watch the events and argue about what is actually going on on the "gameboard". It can be a little difficult to follow if one is not prepared for it.

The anime was adapted from a Visual Novel. Just like what happens when a movie is adapted from a book, many details from the Visual Novel were lost. For a piece from the mystery genre such as this, obviously this can cause problems if these details happened to become very important later on. The anime did not do so well in Japan because many people don't believe that the adaptation was faithful enough.

However American fans have the opportunity to experience the anime in a different way. Included in the package comes a "case file", with character sketches and bios, similar to the TIPS from the visual novels, as well as detailed tips about the various mysteries and puzzles. As someone who has played through both halves of Umineko (the anime only adapts the first) I know that these tips in the case file can definitely help fill in the gaps that the anime created and will point out the details that the viewer should be noticing and thinking about.
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I'll say this right now, I prefer Umineko over Higurashi because of the sheer amount of effort needed to solve the entire franchise along with the different themes. While Higurashi was about earning your happy ending, Umineko is the exact opposite of facing reality. From the surface Umineko doesn't seem to do that at all. In fact Umineko looks like a magic anime rather than a murder mystery but even that isn't the genre Umineko is in. Umineko falls into many categories than just psychological horror therefore its easy to be thrown off by the series.

The series starts with the head of the Ushiromiya family on his death bed. Before he dies though, he wants to meet the Endless Witch Beatrice one last time. Because Kinzo is dying though, his children come to the island of Rokkenjima to collect the gold that he apparently had because of his contract with Beatrice. A storm prevents the family from leaving the island and once the storm hits, people start dying off in gruesome ways.

At the end of the first arc, Battler encounters the Golden Witch Beatrice and is thrown into a battle of wits on who killed his family. This is where people tend to get confused about things once a lot of the characters on the game board start showing their magic potential.

Umineko is solvable despite the magical elements. There is a difference between anti-magic and pro mystery that people seem to miss with Battler. Battler's entire logic doesn't really seem to work (but that might be because once you actually solve the mystery, Battler is just incompetent in comparison) but you always got to root for Battler despite his flaws. His major flaw is failing to point the finger at one of the family members as the murderer.
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