Last time, the entire cast died! And we entered a tea party in Purgatory wherein the characters are dispassionately discussing the plot of the novel.

Battler still holds that no supernatural forces were involved. The other characters challenge him to explain the various awful goings-on.

Battler saying to an aghast Jessica “And just because I can’t explain it, that immediately makes the culprit a witch? With that argument, all of the unsolved crimes in the world could be resolved by saying a witch is the culprit!”

Battler essentially argues that because ‘magic’ is a fully general-purpose explanation, it actually explains nothing at all. Not all that far from Popperian falsifiability.

Maria, unimpressed, saying “…Battler, you’re sidestepping the issue, and you aren’t explaining everything. …We are saying ‘A human can’t do it. Therefore the culprit is something that isn’t human. And that something is a witch.’ And yet you keep arbitrarily deciding that witches are impossible even though you can’t explain anything.”

Maria suggests he’s arbitrarily excluding a class of explanations rather than responding to evidence.

Maria saying “…Khihihihihihihihihihi, it’s almost like humanity was during the dark ages. Like those fools who claimed that the Earth couldn’t possibly be spinning, that the heavens had to be spinning around the Earth even though they couldn’t say how.”

Maria’s appeal to the history of science is somewhat flawed. Early forms of heliocentricity were by no means empirically superior to geocentric models with epicycles, even if at the time people followed this kind of understanding of inference. Galileo, for example, argued tides were ‘sloshing about’ of water due to the motion of the Earth, which we wouldn’t consider to make sense now.

The explanation we now recognise, near-Keplerian orbital motion with elliptical motion of the planets, was a large conceptual leap that required very precise measurements to even come up with, and it took Newton’s mathematical formulation of universal gravitation to provide a satisfying explanation of how the solar system works.

In short, it wasn’t obstinacy that prevented the heliocentric model from catching on. While it seems obvious now, the Newtonian concepts of acceleration and relative motion are massively unintuitive: we don’t feel like we’re ‘moving’ when we’re standing on the ground so it was reasonable to suppose we aren’t. Of course as Kuhn discussed, scientists inevitably stick to an established paradigm until it becomes untenable to do so.

Also from a historical perspective, ‘dark ages’ is a very misleading term, and in any case not really contemporary with the heliocentricity debates. Copernicus only published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543, which is after the period referred to as the ‘dark ages’.

Not that these technicalities have much to do with Maria’s actual point.

Battler retorting “………Th-…that kind of argument kinda pisses me off. So this is basically what you’re trying to say. …If I can’t explain how a human could do it, …then I must accept that the culprit is the witch, Beatrice?”

In response, Battler accuses them of arbitrarily privileging a particular hypothesis.

Kanon asks him to explain how his death doesn’t prove the existence of a 19th person. Battler argues in a way that dismisses what we saw of the scene - that Kumasawa could have done it - or that someone could have set a trap.

I don’t see why he’s ruling out a non-supernatural 19th person, playing the role of Beatrice?

Battler suggests that various characters - Kanon, Hideyoshi, Eva - were merely playing dead.

I think Battler could be doing a lot better here. Here’s my account of how a non-supernatural 19th person could have dunnit. We’ll call them Beatrice, since that’s the only name we have. And let’s give it a pretentious name too.

Provisional Mundane Beatrice Hypothesis

I can’t say it’s likely, but I believe it’s consistent with the story presented, and makes no appeal to the supernatural.

Back to Battler

Battler argues that one of the ‘dead’ may have been faking, and responsible for murdering Kanon. He says fake death is a mystery novel cliché. He also says the doctor being an accomplice is a mystery novel cliché.

Battler angrily saying to Kanon and Maria “I mean, there wasn’t anyone except Doctor Nanjo who could examine corpses properly, and everyone was really confused then anyway. We didn’t have any spare time to check and see if he still had a pulse! With this theory any one of the dead people could have been walking around!”

Battler suggests that while the first six were locked in a room, one of Eva or Hideyoshi might have faked the death and left via the window to race to the boiler room.

He insists, even if a 19th person existed, a witch should be a hypothesis of absolute last resort.

“Aniki, you want to avenge your parents, don’t you?! Jessica, you want to avenge kanon-kun, and Kanon-kun, you want to avenge Shannon-chan, right?! Shannon-chan, you should at least want to know who it was that killed you.”

…are they the people who went through this experience or not? Now Battler’s talking about it as if they really are the people involved, not just observers of the story. But earlier…

Battler wincing, with narration saying ‘The foolish and short-tempered Battler tried to force his ignorance on the others by yelling at them.’

The narrator is definitely not neutral here. Maria is ‘wise’, Battler is a ‘stubborn child’.

Maria throws down the gauntlet for Battler ot provide a concrete mundane narrative.

Now they’re just asserting that Beatrice ‘exists’ (with quotation marks of course), or doesn’t.

Battler argues that not knowing how something works doesn’t mean you should write it off as ‘magic’, comparing not knowing how a lightbulb works. The point he’s dancing around: if you didn’t know about ‘electricity’, you wouldn’t have the information to understand a lightbulb. To understand lightbulbs, you’d have to start by coming up with a label for ‘whatever it is that makes lightbulbs work’ (or ‘whatever it is that makes amber stick to stuff’ historically) to help you start building a framework for understanding, such as ‘electricity’. That’s certainly not an explanation in itself. But you need to identify and delineate something as being outside your existing framework before you can start explaining it, and then you can connect that with other concepts and start to make senes of it.

Nowadays, we talk about ‘electrons’ with no question that they exist, but in the 1700s, ‘electrical fluid’ was a novel idea. Nowadays, ‘dark matter’ is similar.

‘Magic’ could be a catchall ‘it just does ok?’ non-explanation, but it could be a label for phenomena that you can’t yet explain but you’re going to. Battler’s objecting to the former, but I guess also suggesting the latter isn’t yet warranted.

Battler accuses them of trying to establish a false socially-constructed ‘truth’ that’s not actually true.

Battler defiantly saying to Maria “…Well, too bad. This is the one place I’m going to have to say too bad, that’s no goddamn good at all. I fefuse. …You guys are all pressing me, and that is exactly why it’s no goddamn good.”

Once again it’s no good at all. Are we going to flip a chessboard now too?

Battler saying to Maria “Sorry, but why don’t you let me flip over the chessboard one last time…?”

woooooo

An animated image of a chessboard spinning rapidly on a horizontal axis.

sick flips bro!

Battler demands they ‘actually show it to him’, how a witch did it with magic.

Battler declaring “But real miracles happen whether people believe in them or not! Even if I alone don’t believe!! So any miracles or magic or witches that exist only because I believe in them are downright lies!!”

Battler’s overly dramatic obstinacy is hilarious, long may it continue.

Guess who shows up next (after more disparagement of Battler from the narrator)?

Beatrice the witch appears in the same dress as in the portrait, red and black with a pink bow. Her golden-blonde hair is done up elaborately with a large red flower hairpiece. She is saying “…Wonderful. …I haven’t been able to meet such a charming human for quite some time.”

Well, well, well. Interestingly, this character portrait never appeared in the actual episode.

Beatrice, contrary to her reputation, finds it quite amusing that Battler doesn’t believe in her. She says it’s nice to meet a human with backbone once in a while over 1000 years.

Battler’s response: “Now this… this is some shit” omfg

Battler having a go at Beatrice: “…And only when everyone believes in your existence will you finally be allowed to exist. …You’re that kind of a fictional being, right? That’s why you want to make me believe too. You can’t exist, because I alone don’t believe in you. …Isn’t that right?!”

I’m really loving this right now.

Beatrice says he’s basically right, and he was born with ‘strong magic-resisting power’ making him ‘the natural enemy of us witches’. Magic ‘will always fall short against him’ because he will never believe in them.

Battler retorts “I’ve got no clue what you’re saying, ihihi! It’s very kind of you to go to all of the trouble of showing yourself to us, but I don’t believe you exist in the slightest.

I’m just screenshotting all of Battler’s lines because they’re so good.

Beatrice smiles beatifically and says “…My interest in you grows deeper. It will be worth my time to break you…”

Beatrice accepts the challenge. She wants to make Battler praise her name and kiss her toes. Kinky.

Beatrice’s first challenge is to explain how he’d kill Eva and Hideyoshi through a crack in the door, as he claimed. She teleports them with a fancy screen wipe animation to the door of their room.

Battler can’t immediately think of a way to attack through the crack in the door, so Beatrice offers her method.

Battler and Beatrice are in a corridor on Rokkenjima. Battler is saying “…Heh! You really want to make me kiss your toes that much…?! Only if I surrender! But watch… I’ll definitely expose this trick, and then I’ll make you kiss my ass instead!”

If this all leads up to them fucking….

Beatrice makes an incantation, summoning seven magic stakes.

Beatrice has her arms spread wide. The narration says ‘Guided by those magic words, which sounded like a psalm, seven stakes gathered. …They were the stakes of the seven demons symbolizing the deadly sins of sinful people.’

She sends the stakes of Beezlebub and Asmodeus into the room, and we get another ahaha.wav.

They return to the tea party, and Kanon has been killed again by Satan’s stake. the narrator calls this bad manners.

Beatrice declares that Kanon’s “deadly sin” was letting “trifling anger” interrupt her banquet. She really has it out for Kanon :(

Battler, grimacing and saying “Cut the crap!!! Don’t think for a second that this piss-poor show of theatrics will convince me of your sorry existence! Like hell you’re a thousand-year-old witch! Your tricks aren’t a thousand years old, at best they’re the accumulation of a hundred years of clichés that the mystery world created!”

Battler remains deeply unimpressed.

Beatrice continues re-killing those assembled, injuring Shannon’s cheek in a way that expands to splitting her head open.

George says Battler’s refusal to believe is making the magic wear off. Then he dies too in a particularly (but nonspecifically) gruesome way.

The narrator continues saying rude things about Battler.

Jessica starts dying as well, but pleads with Battler to continue defying Beatrice.

Over a bloodstain background, Jessica is saying “Ba-…Battler… …Don-…don’t let the witch…break your spirit…! …Deny her, erase her… As, …as long as at least one person denies her, she’s an illusion that can't exist…! Uuuuughhh, gghhh!!”

Maria takes the ‘believe’ side as she starts dying.

Beatrice smiling and saying “I resurrect all the dead with my magic. …But as long as you don’t believe, that magic will hold no true power. *cackle*cackle*cackle*! But I’m sure that a man of your caliber won’t be broken by something like this, right…?”

Beatrice confirms the narrative that her resurrection magic is wearing off. Jessica pleads to Battler not to give in unlike the others who didn’t want to distrust their friends, as she too gets gibbed.

Maria’s final words are that Beatrice will continue to resurrect them.

A new music track kicks in (instead of the baroque harpsichords playing throughout the tea party so farBattler swears he won’t let this stand and Beatrice is on his “permanent motherfucking shitlist” (omfg)

Battler sobbing and saying “I’ll get you for this, you’re gonna pay for this, you’re going to fucking pay!!!! You’re gonna regret making Ushiromiya Battler your enemy!! I’ll deny you no matter what!! Every last impossible thing, I’ll explain it all with ‘humans’!!! I’ll erase every cell of you from this world!!!”

aaaaand… roll credits!

A frame from the credits, which are curiously stretched in different ways on each line. This one says KODACHIGou/SE/M.ZAKKY/zts

they’re kind of weirdly typeset.

Beatrice gets the last word.

Beatrice, on a black background, gloatingly saying “Come, explain. Try explaining it all with yoru so-called ‘human tricks’! And learn how lowly humans are!! Let’s see you try to use what humanity has built up in a hundred years to oppose my thousand!! It will make forcing you to submit all the more enjoyable…!!” Beatrice continuing, “”So tell me, ‘Battler’! What about Maria’s letter? How the six were killed? The shutter? The receipt seal? The locked room with the chain? Kanon in the boiler room? Genji and the others in the parlor?! Natsuhi’s suicide?! The riddle of the epiatph?! The location of the hidden gold?!

I was going to say ‘onwards to episode 2′ but a new menup option ????? has appeared, described as the ‘tea party of the unhuman’. So that will be our next post.