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Umineko: “First Move”

July 9, 2009

natsuhi sleeping
I just man-squealed.

Although I was generally satisfied with how DEEN handled the second episode, I have to restate that there are some minor things that were overlooked – minor being the operative word here because I just like to nit-pick.

First off, they really need to up the bitch factor in Eva. The individual scenes where Eva talks down to Natsuhi were abandoned completely, leaving their enmity for each other feeling shallow. The tension between the two of them is supposed to reach a boiling point in the coming events when Natsuhi holds Eva at the barrel of a Winchester rifle after being accused of murdering Kinzo.

For viewers who are unfamiliar with the visual novel, the events unfold in a way that make you empathize with Natsuhi. When Eva realizes that the disappearance of the family members and servants can be used as a clever excuse to castigate Natsuhi’s incompetence, she mockingly goads her to invite Kinzo to breakfast. After hearing hurtful words from her husband about being a mere tool for the Ushiromiya family (a scene which was also ignored in the Anime), she becomes depressed as she invites herself into Kinzo’s chamber. But when Kinzo imparts words of encouragement to Natsuhi, she feels empowered and ready to take on the day’s problems, rightfully shutting Eva up with her newfound confidence.

natsuhieagleNote the line: “Some will sneer that there is no eagle on your clothes. However, that is nothing to lend an ear to.”

All of this could have easily been inserted into the episode with not even 30 seconds of dialogue.

Looking back on it now, I realize that the idle and sluggish pacing in the visual novel made the scenes a lot more charming, especially in comparison to the Anime. Some of the devices that the director uses to put emphasis on focal objects come off as cheesy and ultimately detract from the viewing experience. Overly-dramatic zooming and unnecessary panning being the main culprits.

But like I said, it’s frivolous when looking at the totality of the director’s vision. And the final scene in this episode was admittedly impressive and faithful to the novel.

In the next episode, Natsuhi will hold a crying Battler to her bosom. And I will explode in my pants.



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