cultural notes: magic users in japanese culture tend to be women

temples tend to be tended by priestesses (think sailor mars, kikyo from inuyasha) and this all has some measure of magic / mysticism

and women stereotypically in asian culture are more introverted, mainly because it’s a sign of maturity – learning to hold your tongue. If you watch anime, “brash” girl characters tend to be labelled immature and disruptive

Shintoism is mixed in with a lot of buddhism, and priestesses may be associated with bodhisattvas, people (generally women) who delay nirvana out of compassion for others

which ties into gender dynamics with regards to being more demure and introverted

While eventually the “brash” male will be expected to grow out of it, it mirrors western expectations of women maturing faster than men in that girls are expected to be more demure, sooner

she also noted umineko ( うみ (umi) ねこ(neko)) is not the usual Japanese word for seagull, which is 鴎 (kamome). instead it literally means ‘sea cat’.

i’m actually not sure why the word seagull is being attributed to it, because a quick translate from japanese to english simply translates it as “umineko"

if you look up a definition for umineko it all leads back to this novel so

if it doesn’t [reveal it later], let me know and i’ll ask one of my cousins

Let’s press on.

Eva and Hideyoshi go back to their rooms. George, refusing to believe one of his relatives is the murderer, stays.

Battler confides in Maria that at this point he’d rather believe in Beatrice than have his relatives be at each others’ throats. He asks if a witch could easily take Kinzo out of the locked room. Maria goes back into occult mode, and explains that Beatrice could make use of the 33rd ranked of 72 demons, Gaap, to “instantly carry the desired person to any location”. The 72 demons in question would be those listed in the Ars Goetia, the first volume of the Lesser Key of Solomon (which is unrelated to the Key of Solomon), and commonly called the goetic demons.

Battler tells Maria to advise Beatrice to perform the next crime ‘in a way no human could’. Maria says she’ll tell Beatrice that if she sees her…

Battler wonders why he’s so contrary.

When I’m led to believe in a 19th person, I deny it, and when I’m led to believe that there are only 18 people, I deny that too.

He decides Beatrice must be fractional.

…In short, even though there are more than 18 people, there are less than 19. …The number of people in this mansion is $$19>x>18$$. So the number of people can’t be represented by an integer.

The chapter ends and the clock rolls forward to 7pm. The new chapter is called The Two Who Are Close. According to the riddle, the others will tear those two apart.

Natsuhi estimates the boat, delayed by the typhoon, will arrive early the next morning.

We go to the kitchen, where Nanjo is with the three surviving servants.

Genji is still loyal, even though it seems Kinzo has arranged for them all to be sacrificed - at least, that’s what Nanjo suspects.

Even alone, Eva can’t let go of her vendetta against Natsuhi.

We learn that while (the narrator says) Hideyoshi genuinely wanted to raise a family, Eva was inspired to marry Hideyoshi and have George by the thought she could jump the inheritance queue if she was first to have a child. Why is this woman so awful?

And she is, naturally, very angry that George - the intended successor - loves Shannon, a servant.

…So when she had learned that Shannon had died and the engagement had been invalidated, …while part of her had been shocked at the gruesome crime, another part of her had been relieved that her precious George wouldn’t be stolen by some servant girl.

Bloody hell.

More than just greed, she says she wanted to get back at Krauss, who she always hated. She has a confessional moment to Hideyoshi.

Hideyoshi responds understandingly, saying he has no regrets, and he’s been grateful to have a family after losing his relatives in ‘the war’ (World War II, most likely). If these are the two who will be ‘torn apart’, they seem pretty close right now.

Hideyoshi proposes that he and Eva might have a holiday in the Maldives on New Year. Oh, he’s definitely going to die soon after a remark like that. They have a romantic moment. The game’s certainly conspicuously trying to make us think they’re the ‘two who are close’, which makes me suspect they aren’t.

The kids have been havinga drawing contest. Battler remarks they’re all good at drawing, which might become important later.

Genji and Kanon go to fetch Hideyoshi and Eva, and find only silence, and another sealed envelope on Kinzo’s stationery pushed under the door. The music takes an ominous turn.

They decide to unlock and open the door, and find the chain has been placed on it. Eva and Hideyoshi seem to have vanished from a locked, chained room, leaving the lights and TV on.

Very witchy.

Kanon and Kumasawa go to get a cutter, while Genji reports. And in the minutes it takes Kanon to fetch a cutter, someone paints an alchemical sigil on the door!

Since we now know to look in the Key of Solomon, we can find this one easily enough. It turns out to be the First Pentacle of the Moon, from plate XII:

Figure 49.–The First Pentacle of the Moon.–This and the following serve to call forth and invoke the Spirits of the Moon; and it further serveth to open doors, in whatever way they may be fastened.

Editor’s Note.–The Pentacle is a species of hieroglyphic representation of a door or gate. In the centre is written the Name IHVH. On the right hand are the Names IHV, IHVH, AL, and IHH. On the left hand are the Names of the Angels: Schioel, Vaol, Yashiel, and Vehiel. The versicle above the Names on either side is from Psalm cvii. 16:–‘He hath broken the Gates of brass, and- smitten the bars of iron in sunder.’

And someone managed to draw that, including all the names of angels and so on, in five minutes!

So, as you’d expect, Eva is dead. She has a knife in her head, engraved with an occult design. As for Hideyoshi… also dead in the same way, killed while taking a shower. Unlike most cases, where death has been represented only with bloodstains, in this case we get a CG of Hideyoshi’s corpse.

The dancey murder music has kicked in.

Nanjo estimates they’ve been killed less than an hour ago, and observes the knives have conical blades, which narration compares to an icepick.

Given everybody was in the kitchen or parlour, that basically guarantees a 19th person is responsible. And given how the murder took place in a locked room, it seems convincing evidence of supernatural intervention. Of course, I’m sure Battler will have something to say about that.

George, understandably at last loses his composure, having now lost his fiancée and parents in the space of a day. Battler, too, is pretty badly shaken up.

He resolves to track down the killer this night.

The next chapter is called “boiler room”. It begins with a strange burning smell.

George and Battler discuss the murder. Unlike the storeroom, where the killer could very well have taken the key, there was no way past the chain, and the windows were closed. I predict they’ll say that means either that the killer was already in the room when Eva and Hideyoshi sealed the door (and if they remained hidden, perhaps under a bed, must still be locked in), that there was an unknown entrance, or that it was indeed magic. The narration emphasises that unlike the previous cases, this was a true ‘locked room’.

Battler hits Maria for laughing about this. She is being a jerk, but seriously, she’s nine years old and you’re sixteen, wtf.

Maria explains that the First Magic Circle of the Moon can open any door, and also metaphorically, provide solutions to a seemingly unsolvable problem (granting ‘observation and discernment, inspiration and intuiton’). She claims Beatrice is trying to provoke the ‘lowly humans’ by saying there’s no way they could understand how this door was opened.

Meanwhile, Kanon and Kuwasawa realise the smell is coming from the boiler room. I suspect they will discover something unpleasant there. I’d be surprised if Kinzo died at this point in the story, but he’s the only one missing. It wouldn’t fit the riddle, but perhaps Beatrice killed him and burned his corpse in the boiler room? Seems a long shot though.

Then someone slams a door in the boiler room! And it’s definitely none of the established characters, except perhaps Kinzo.

As Kuwasawa catches up, Kanon reaches for a weapon, and answers a question from an unseen speaker. It’s about roulette, so it’s probably Kinzo speaking.

Or not. We get animated butterflies! Magic SFX? The narration says ‘golden sparkling butterflies’ fill the boiler room.

Kanon challenges Beatrice (for who else could it be?), pointing out that in roulette, the odds always slightly favour the house (that being their entire business model).

With this somewhat strained metaphor, Kanon challenges Beatrice. Love you Kanon!

Kanon is my good trans fave.

Kanon tries to unsommon Beatrice by hitting her with an axe. The narration implies Beatrice can communicate with Kanon, but we don’t get to hear the words. In any case, a thousand year old intangible witch is not vulnerable to axes.

We get a very strange sound in the soundtrack, a distorted laugh and falsh of the painting, and Beatrice kills Kanon with a knife to the chest. :’(

This does seem to be following the riddle, albeit having skipped some lines. “On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill” can refer to Eva and Hideyoshi, and now “On the fifth twilight, gouge the head and kill” to Kanon. That would suggest that despite the chapter headings, “those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close” and “those who remain shall praise my noble name” on the second and third twilights refers to the events of the intervening period, though it would be a pretty open excercise in interpretation to work out who they apply to, and really only Maria has any praise for Beatrice.

Kanon manages to pull out the knife as a last act of defiance.

Kumasawa arrives, and calls the others. Nanahi threatens the darkness with her gun. But Beatrice is gone, apparently through a small door at the back of the boiler room.

Kanon might not be dead? Nanjo is called. Meanwhile, Battler and Natsuhi the killer into the mansion courtyard, which has two non-lockable entrances to the house.

Hmm. So if Beatrice is an intangible spirit, why should she need to run through a door?

We get another title drop: the survivors will protect themselves, and the police will come when the seagulls cry.

And as for the mysterious smell… there is indeed a corpse in the incinerator. Given everyone else is accounted for, if it’s not one of the existing six corpses removed from the shed, it must be Kinzo. And indeed, though the body is badly burned, they identify him by the extra toes on each foot. We learn that to the historical Urishomiya family, polydactyly was considered a mark of wisdom.

We learn he has a gouge stuck in his forehead too. Does that mean he is the one to fulfil ‘gouge the head and kill’, not Eva and Hideyoshi?

Battler concludes that, since the boiler room is locked too, the murderer must have some kind of ‘master key’ to move so freely around the mansion.

Battler then reasons (with another acrobatic pirouette off the chessboard) that, since the ‘19th person’ has yet to show themselves, but is trying very hard to demonstrate the existence of a 19th person, there probably isn’t a 19th person. That seems a stretch tbh. It seems more likely to me that there is a 19th person, and they just don’t want to show their face for some reason. At this point, there isn’t much of a non-Beatrice motive yet.

Battler briefly doubts whether they’ve correctly identified all the corpses. His dad, for example, had his face removed entirely.

Battler interrogates Maria, asking why she doesn’t think she’s in danger. Maria reveals that Beatrice ‘promised’ to take her to the Golden Land, some kind of heaven where everyone is nice, and always together.

The chapter ends with Battler pondering Beatrice’s second letter. The next chapter is straightforwardly called ‘Besieged’.