So far, I’m watching 4 Winter 2012 animes and none of them gave me a good impression. I’m still watching the remaining 3 Fall 2011 animes which began their second half. Anyway, I managed to finish 2 shows which are under the horror genre.
Umineko No Naku Koro Ni
The story starts in 1986, on the Rokkenjima Island, where the Ushiromiya families held their annual family conference concerning who will take the place of their father, Kinzo, and will inherit the wealth that he accumulated for the past years. Unbeknownst to them, Kinzo had some dark intentions which involve the Golden Witch, Beatrice. Everything connected to her, such as the epitaph and Kinzo’s wealth, will result to murders of the island’s inhabitants. In order to figure out what the hell is going on, Battler Ushiromiya, one of Kinzo’s grandchildren, must engage Beatrice in a battle of the wits and to prove that the murders weren’t committed by magic and that she doesn’t exists. There are 8 games in total though they called “episodes” or arcs. The first 4 arcs give out puzzles on how the murders are committed while the later 4 arcs provide hints on how to solve them but they don’t give the direct answer.
I heard this game late in 2009 when the anime is still airing. I learn bits of it through wiki, forum posts, and blog posts and then, I started reading the manga. I finished reading Episode 1 and still reading Episode 2 up to 7. I haven’t seen Episode 8 manga yet. Then, I recently finished watching the anime. Actually, the anime did a mediocre job on adapting the first 4 arcs. Unlike the manga and games, they didn’t focus much on the emotional aspect of the characters and the real aspect of the intellectual battle between Battler and Beatrice. The deaths portrayed in the anime are pretentious. Well, yeah, I know that the deaths on the game were cruel and weird (like the victims’ faces were ripped off or their intestines were exposed and stuffed with candies). But the anime made it look like they’re trying to copy Quentin Tarantino’s way of violence. The only positive points of the anime are the cast and the portrayal of the red and blue texts. Yes, they’re an all-star cast and yet, they portrayed the characters well except for some, such as Maria. The portrayal of the red and blue texts are great just give emphasis on what Beatrice and the other characters are saying. But it’s just for show since, like I said, the anime didn’t give emphasis on the intellectual battle. I don’t know if there’s going to be second season where they will adapt the other 4 arcs. But I’ve read the DVD/BD sales were poor so, if you’re an anime-only viewer, you better read the manga or play the game instead.
The story takes place in a remote village called Sotoba where a mysteries family, named the Kirishikis, moved in. When they started living in the village, strange deaths and disappearances occurred. And it’s very obvious that this is a work of vampires. But they are called as Shiki. The only people who are aware that these mysterious circumstances are: the village doctor, Toshio Ozaki, the village monk, Seishin Muroi, and high school student Natsuno Yuuki. With the death toll rising, they have to find a way to stop the Shiki from increasing their number or else, they will become one.
This show is very interesting actually. They present views of the humans and the Shikis. The Shikis are actually there to find a place to live while humans tried their best to protect their homes and families from them. Of course, the two sides will not live together harmoniously. There’s no right and wrong answer here since the show reveals the morality of both sides. Apparently, it’s up to the viewer to figure it out who’s right or wrong.
BTW, the cast is huge and every character, including the minor characters, has their own story and drama. Sometimes, you’ll get confuse on who this character is asides the very prominent ones like Ozaki, Muroi, Natsuno and the Kirishikis. The music is awesome and it really fits the series. The pacing is quite slow but when you get in the middle, the real bloodshed starts there. Oh, the vampires here don’t sparkle. They’re like any other vampire portrayed in the media except that they don’t transform into bats. There’s a manga version in which it gives more expansion for the characters. But the problem with the manga is that nearly every minor character looks the same. Maybe because the mangaka is lazy to draw the minor characters.