Umineko (anime) > Umineko (VN)

Remember how everyone was always bitching about the Umineko VN being SO much better than the anime? (Yeah, I know you could replace “Umineko” with any VN adaptation and hear the same bullshit.) I watched the anime. Then I read the VN. Then I rewatched the anime. Here’s the red truth:

1. The Anime was INCREDIBLY faithful to the VN

Based on all the bitching I’d heard, I was expecting massive discrepancies between the anime and VN. There weren’t any. Same story. Same characters. Same plot. Unbelievably, it even had much of the same background music and sound effects. I’d go so far as to say it’s the most faithful adaptation I’ve ever seen.

What did get cut? A lot of dialogue that the anime simply didn’t have time to squeeze in. Sure, there were a few lines I would’ve liked to see, but all things considered, the cuts were perfectly appropriate.

Another thing that thankfully got cut was that godawful synthesized witch cackle. The upgrade is a quadrillion times better.

2. The Anime had Better Art

The VN art was hideous, and this is coming from a guy who was content with the visuals in Akikan. Should’ve gone with the PS3 version.

Ryukishi07 needs to stop putting tits on little girls. Maria at nine years old had larger funbags than Japanese women twice her age. At least the anime had the decency to flatten her out. I don’t even want to think about what Satoko and Hanyuu might’ve looked like in the Higurashi VN.

3. The Anime Takes Less Than Three Geological Aeons to Complete

In the (very likely) event you haven’t been reading my twitter feed, you know exactly what my biggest gripe with the VN is: IT’S TOO FUCKING LONG. The fantastic content is spread way too thin for its own good (or its readers’ good). The anime compresses the story to a very manageable length and does so without making it feel rushed or unevenly paced. That deserves a Nobel Prize considering how long the VN is.

Original Grade: ++

Rewatch Grade: ++

Final Grade: ++

If you’re hellbent on solving the mystery yourself, read the VN. If you’re not a masochist, watch the anime or read the manga.

Full Umineko VN review forthcoming.

6 Replies to “Umineko (anime) > Umineko (VN)”

  1. “The Anime was INCREDIBLY faithful to the VN”
    This is actually the most ironic thing about everyone moaning about the adaptation being nothing like the VN. It always makes me wonder if these people have watched/read that stuff in the first place. Bonus points for folks then going all “If you can’t follow the anime, try the VN, they completely butchered the adaptation.”. Hey there, champs. If someone fails to understand that there’s an unreliable narrator at work, then a change of medium is not going to make any difference. I’ve literally seen a conversation proceed like this:
    – “Why the heck are there suddenly witches and shit?”
    – “Read the VN, the anime is not faithful to the source material.”
    – “Wait, so that doesn’t have any witches? Fuck DEEN.”
    Yeah. Or rather no.

    Nonetheless, there ARE some hiccups with the adaptation. Not that I think that all cuts were bad ones (heck, Ange’s story was waaaaaay too dragged out in the VN and some parts, such as the idiotic LOLSUPERPAPER/ANGEBURGER bits or that goat backstory were removed for good) but some stuff, for instance Rudolf vs. Belphegor or Beato vs. Virgilia actually did suffer quite a bit and the characterization was pretty much all gone, which IS a shame since the Umineko novel has interesting, fleshed out characters. With the anime, it was more of a “These people exist and there’s a bare minimum of character traits” thing except for the most important ones and Rosa.

    Oh yeah, guess what? Ryuukishi07 has carefully supervised the adaptation to make sure they wouldn’t mess up with that and he has officially stated that you can solve the crime after the first 4 arcs, anime included.

    By the way, the manga is fairly good. Due to the inherent nature of its medium, it skips about 90% of the inner narration but contrary to the anime, gets the characterization right and goes more in-depth with things.

    (On another note, I agree that everything from episode 4 onwards was redundant as fuck but booooooy, you haven’t read other visual novels yet. Not that I intend to discredit your criticism but Umineko’s still harmless in that regard. Speaking of visual novels, I guess you’d love 999, so if you have a DS, pick that up, it’s worth a shot. And actually moves on with stuff.)

    • Funny thing is Virgilia’s breaking character in the 4th arc is one of the things that really made me think the anime was straying from the VN. In actuality her GAPGAPGAPGAPGAPGAP line was there all along; the anime just cut out a bunch of other stuff that made it clear he was going for a different Virgilia chararacter in the 4th arc. In other news, I’m down with Gaap x Virgilia.

      I don’t mind Rosa getting a lot of attention since there are some hardcore Rosatrice theories out there. The characters that got screwed the most by the anime were the middle-aged male characters. They were basically just furniture. A certain other blogger once wrote a post about how the women in Umineko were poorly portrayed. Bullshit. The men had it much worse.

      I read the Ryukishi07 interview when I finished the VN. Apparently one guy had the whole thing solved but it got lost among a whole bunch of incorrect theories. The quadrillion thing wasn’t too far from the truth. Ryukishi07 also told Beatrice’s voice actress the truth behind her character so she’d know how to act the part. Really, if Ryukishi07 was that involved, there’s a limit to how unfaithful the adaptation could be.

      Knowing what I know now, I’d probably read the manga instead of the VN. Oh well, there went about 80 hours of my life.

      This is only the 2.5th VN I’ve read. Fate/Stay Night was the first, which was long but kept the story moving. I read a little of Swan Song before it crashed and stopped working. Probably won’t read another VN for a while, I got way too much on my plate already.

    • But Banquet of the Golden Witch was already animated!

      (I’ll be reviewing individual arcs in my next and final Umineko post. To keep it short, my favorite parts of the VN are the 3rd chapter, the 7th chapter’s tea party, and the part of the magic end with the final scene between Battler and Beatrice.)

    • My reviews/observations/comments include Umineko Chiru, but yes, be afraid, be very afraid. Go with the manga.

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