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Aesthetic Gripes about Umineko

September 18, 2009


While a lot of the sound novel fans have abandoned all hope of a maximally faithful adaptation, the fresh character designs and animation were more than a solid ticket to stick with the show to the end of the series. Even Studio DEEN can’t screw up on turning the atrocious character designs in the source material into something fetching enough for doujin fodder. But I can’t help but nitpick at the newer characters that were unveiled with the OP sequence of the third game.

So I’ll just address some personal qualms I have with the characters. I’m pretty sure there are going to be spoilers in here, but it’s nothing you can’t deduce from watching the new OP.

1. Virgilia (or “Beatrice”) opens her eyes too damn much


The entirety of this scene undermines the great mindfuck that’s to come at the climax of the third game. Without giving away too much, Virgilia here is supposed to be like the ever-popular Brock, a character who remains squinty-eyed in a show brimming with glossy eyeballs too big for their faces. It lends to her overall charm as a sage of magic who transcends age. If even the thousands of fanartists who convene on Pixiv can follow this simple rule, why can’t DEEN?

2. Evatrice is too cute

Huge spoiler here, and I never thought I’d actually say this, but Eva-Beatrice is too damn cute. In the sound novel, she was a little …off, to say the least, with her jagged teeth and strange hair shape. It helps in making it easier to hate her because of how incorrigibly cruel she is to her victims. But here in the brief appearance she makes in the OP as well as in Eva’s flashback, she’s free of any blemish and looks downright adorable. I mean, her face is fixed and proportional, and she seems to have gotten a perm. Now, I ask you, how can I possibly hate something that cute?!

3. Tomokazu Sugita as Ronove? Really?

I thought I would be OK with this until I heard the actual voice. It’s as if they only cast him to open up a bunch of seiyuu jokes about Itsuki and Kyon. Even if it’s only one episode in, I can already say that Sugita’s voice doesn’t fit the role in the slightest. Ronove is supposed to come off as sarcastic, flamboyant, and smooth. He wears a permanently wry grin and never loses his cool, baking cookies and making tea for Battler and Beatrice in between arguments. I would’ve cast someone who can alternate between a smoky, threatening voice to a lisping, high-pitched voice. Sugita just doesn’t sound like a demon butler from Hell with homosexual undertones.

4. Needs more Umineko BGM

Where are all of the Umineko songs? So far they’ve remixed a bunch of the original songs during the pivotal scenes – “Dread of the Grave” and “World End Dominator,” for instance. But it’d be nice to hear some of the classics like “Red Dread” during a tense scene, or “Night Eyes” during family meetings. I’m also going to be fairly ticked if they decide not to keep that incredible song during the Virgilia-Beatrice danmaku battle, as well as “Happiness of Marionette” for the Eva-Beatrice banquet. Those songs were made specifically for those scenes! They’d be stupid not to add them.

5. Ange in the OP

This is a minor point. I think this whole segment in the OP should have been delayed because it generates discussion for the Anime-only fans on who she is when it’s most likely the case that she won’t make an appearance for another 10 episodes at most, assuming the Anime will end with the third game. Of course, with her distinctive features, it’s not a chore to find out her relation to the other members of the cast. But it’s something that happens at the very end of the third game. It won’t even be relevant to the end outcome.

Overall, though, I have to say that the Anime adapation isn’t too terrible. Taking budget and timing into consideration, DEEN is doing a decent job with animating our favorite scenes will eliminating the dreck. I just wish they would pay more attention to the underlying details.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 2DT permalink
    September 18, 2009 8:15 am

    Having never played the games, I’m enjoying Umineko well enough, even though Maria annoys me to death. I am quite far behind, though, so most of this is lost on me anyway. I intend to come back to this entry once I marathon through it this weekend.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 18, 2009 1:49 pm

    >atrocious character designs in the source material
    They’re not that bad. I actually prefer the sound novel’s Beatrice since she looks more childish and adorable, which fits her personality more than just her evil, laughing witch external image.

    >this scene undermines the great mindfuck that’s to come at the climax of the third game

    >how can I possibly hate something that cute
    A lot of times, the villain is hated because they have the everything, including the good looks.

    >assuming the Anime will end with the third game
    Why do you assume that? At the pace they’re going, it’s probably going through episode 4 too.

    • saturnity permalink*
      September 18, 2009 9:17 pm

      It’s kind of wishful thinking. The third game took twice as along to read than the second, so I’m kind of hoping they’ll wrap up the first season with the Ange skyscraper scene.

  3. September 18, 2009 9:09 pm

    I have many aesthetic gripes about Umineko myself but TEH main problem is that their faces are waaaay too unnecessarily expressive. At the slightest moment of tension their faces are contorted out of control. Not only does it look stupid, it loses its impact when the shit does fit the fan. Aside from that, Umineko’s visuals are generally horrible, except for few character designs that I like.

    • saturnity permalink*
      September 18, 2009 9:20 pm

      That’s DEEN quality for ya’.

      In their defense, though, the contorted faces were true to the sound novel. With Maria they definitely went overboard, but the exaggerated faces in general were what made the characters memorable.

  4. Marion permalink
    September 19, 2009 2:54 am

    The first season is going to cover all four games. Currently 25 episodes are confirmed (26 is believed to be the total), so having all those episodes just for one arc is over kill.

    I’m surprised – most reactions I’ve heard about Sugita doing the voice have been good. I think it’s sort of like Beatrice – I knew a lot of people that didn’t like how Ohara did her voice, but after a couple episodes they got use to it and fell in love with how she does it. I think we’ll learn to love Sugita in the same way – after all, Ronove only did get about a good minute of dialogue and in the next episode he should be talking longer.

  5. Jubbz permalink
    September 28, 2009 9:45 pm

    Virgilla wasn’t supposed to open her eyes huh.


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