So. We’ve begun episode 2 with two flashbacks: one early in George and Shannon’s relationship from George’s POV, and a second earlier in Shannon’s life when she made a deal with Beatrice: she would smash a mirror in the torii on Rokkenjima, and in return, Beatrice would give her an alternative to life as ‘furniture’, including love.
The intro played again.
Speaking of intros, this is a good time to follow up @fates0end who kindly linked the intros from the original version of Umineko (we are playing the Umineko Project release, which combines an edited version of the The Witch Hunt fan translation with art assets from the PS3 version). Here’s the first:
and here is the second:
I find it interesting that while the faces of the characters are very simple and stylised in the original, the outfits of the characters were changed very little by the PS3 art team (just redrawn with better shading).
For good measure, here’s the first PS3 intro, which has appeared in both episodes 1 and 2:
Anyway, Shannon is talking about her childhood in Kinzo’s orphanage. The ‘furniture’ narrative is taught to these children at a very young age. They are told they’re less than human, and the education they’re getting is already “more than they deserve”. You know, an “education” that tells them they’re inhuman.
We are now on Rokkenjima, following Shannon during a visit of George’s family, seperate from the family conference that we watched in the first episode. It’s back to rich people small talk!
They’re talking about George and Jessica studying at school. It’s basically stuff we had before. Eva flatters Jessica in a way that, naturally, needles and undermines Krauss and Natsuhi. Natsuhi is, as before, unfair and harsh towards Shannon, causing her to get anxious, feedback loop, yeah. George defuses the situation a bit by getting Shannon to talk about tea.
It’s interesting though not surprising that Earl Grey and black tea in general, pretty common over here, is considered unusual knowledge. Like ofc green teas would be more popular. Not really sure the history of black vs. green tea blends.
George, it is mentioned, is apprenticed to the CEO of Okonogi Foods. There’s an extended discussion of Earl Grey.
A bit later, and Shannon and Jessica are hanging out in the rose garden chatting about George’s skill at smoothing over social situations and saving people embarassment.
Jessica cheerfully encourages Shannon to get with George. It’s sweet, but also, I wish this game had like, any good grounds for gay ships anywhere. Currently the best I’ve got is trans!Kanon/Jessica, but I don’t think there’s any way there could be an explicit trans lesbian character in this game lol.
Anyway, the reason Hideyoshi and Eva are here is to negotiate a loan from Kinzo. It’s long enough ago that he’s not yet a total hermit. George is kind of sad he can’t join in and learn to be properly bourgeois.
We hear how Kinzo continues to treat Krauss and Eva like they’re children, sometimes hitting them or forcing them to sit in seiza style, which gets our first cultural note for this ep.
Overall, we can sum this up: this is when Shannon first became attracted to George and maybe even asks him out? I suspect this may be before her magic deal with Beatrice in the previous scene? I think we may be working backwards through the timeline.
Anyway, Shannon hits on George about as hard as she can without making it explicit, but he’s still kinda oblivious. Jessica goes all out.
They very very awkwardly circle around to asking each other out.
At that point Eva shows up, and basically announce they intend to carry out a ‘marriage meeting’ to introduce George to someone suitably rich and advantageous to the family. You know. Standard Arranged Marriage Plot.
Eva expresses A Philosophy.
George’s expression says it all, really.
So yeah, the traditional “marry who your parents want” vs. “marry who you love against the prejudice of your bourgeois family”/demanding controlling parent plot. We caught a bit of it in episode 1, and it’s much more explicit here.
Shannon goes inside and internalises her abuse.
This is about abuse and labour and service work, but I do feel like it’s worth noting how many trans women I know have this exact sort of thoughts.
Natsuhi arrives to rub it in.
I guess, given that we might have been feeling some sympathy for the adult Urishomiyas after watching them all get violently murdered, this first chapter is (as well as developing George and Shannon) here to remind us just how much they’re cruel rich fucks.
Shannon tries to explain herself, and as a punishment for not perfectly meekly accepting her abuse, Natsuhi orders her to clean a large room without food or rest until she’s done.
No wonder Kinzo likes her.
The good end is the one where the servants seize the house, kick out all the Ushiromiyas, and establish a commune.
This situation appears to be the one where Shannon reaches out to Beatrice. She silently appeals to the witch in the portrait…
and ahaha.wav plays and Beatrice answers.
She gives a short (and ahistorical and Eurocentric) parable about the history of humans trying to explain the world “since before the Christian Era” using increasing numbers of elements beginning with the Greeks’ four, but not knowing the “one element” until someone arrived, guided by a star, to reveal it. Given how much of Beatrice’s stuff revolves around Christian imagery (and Jewish-by-way-of-Christian mysticism such as the Key of Solomon), I suspect she means Jesus. And the element is probably ‘love’ given Christian doctrine.
Ooh, she’s gone from single-quote ‘existing’ to double-quote “existing”.
The element is indeed love.
She and I have rather different views of ‘explanation’. “That man” of course turns out to be Jesus.
Beatrice would not like Foucalt.
Not sure that passes the ethics board, Beatrice. There’s big consent issues. Also, I’m afraid they’ve rejected your ‘how upset do people get if you spend two days murdering their family and friends’ proposal.
So she’s not proposing making George fall in love with Shannon at least.
Shannon thinks like “I must not be tempted by Beatrice” and Beatrice shows she can very easily read those feelings.
Beatrice tells Shannon that having love means she’s no longer furniture, and that as a reward for her diligent cleaning of Beatrice’s portrait and general respectfulness, she’ll do the thing. She asks for nothing in return… except not really.
She wants Shannon to break the mirror in the shrine for demonological purposes. It’s causing Beatrice trouble - she analogises it to a fork against her power’s soup.
Beatrice, I don’t want to be overly critical, but a fork would be about as effective at digging and eyeball scooping as a soup spoon.
…hold on, it was ‘nothing in return’ like a minute ago.
Beatrice casually says she’s in a good enough mood that Shannon could change her wish to Kinzo’s secret gold. (Wouldn’t that prematurely break her contract?)
Shannon says she declines, because she believes breaking the mirror will end the good days on the island. Beatrice confirms this. Indeed she promises the same ‘unbreakable days’ will continue if Shannon doesn’t break the mirror.
Implication: she’ll remain in her serving position and George will never love her.
Beatrice says Shannon need not decide right now, but she can wake her up if she breaks the mirror. And she adds that if George falls in love with someone else, she won’t be able to break them apart, so there’s an implicit time limit.
She then proclaims that the woman George is about to meet is the “most suitable for him in the entire world”. I’m, uh, not sure what metric you’re measuring that by. But way to stack up the pressure. She then repeats Eva’s insults, and says Shannon is the ‘most unsuitable’. That seems especially unlikely.
She repeats “Have you forgotten to be grateful for your schooling? Know your place.” etc. with her voice overlaid with Eva’s.
There’s a curious moment where ahaha.wav is overlaid with Beatrice’s actual voice actress doing a long evil laugh.
And then Kanon interrupts to defend Shannon from Beatrice’s bullying <3
Beatrice backs off, presumably to try a different tactic. Breaking this mirror is clearly much more important to her than she’s letting on.
Kanon tells her to get fucked. That’s right! Put Cthulhu in her place!
Beatrice is not so easily cowed. She brings a scary magic presence, with a similar sound effect to ones we heard when Kanon confronted her in ep. 1. At Shannon’s pleading, she doesn’t murder Kanon on the spot.
She has powers to control peoples’ bodies. She summons butterflies which burn tiny butterfly symbol bruises onto Kanon and Shannon’s palms, to prove it wasn’t a dream later.
After getting in a last word, she turns into butterflies and leaves.
The narration finishes: “from that day on, Shannon was tormented by days of suffering and conflict”.
hey beatrice? ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………pee your pants