Here’s another motion graphic from @fates0end, summarising the major themes of episode 2 (thanks!):
I find it interesting that in the original art, Kanon looks even more femme. And George is noticeably skinnier, though to some extent everyone is. [Correction: this is fanart, not the original art!]
So. We’ve witnessed two sets of horrible murders. Magic may or not be real, but denying magic is real is meta!Battler’s key to defeating Beatrice in this strange game that they’re playing.
This time around, Battler has the open support of Bernkastel, but Beatrice is now supported by the newly introduced Lambdadelta. Things are probably going to be different. At least, I hope they’re going to be a bit different.
In a more readable font, this says:
Episode 3: Banquet of the Golden Witch
This is a surprise, that even now you do not surrender. The Golden Witch has exceedingly high expectations of you.
Have you perhaps also come to realise the structure of this world? There can be no victory without knowing the rules. Please enjoy a hearty game with the Witch.
The difficulty level is fair. Fair for you, and fair for the Witch.
‘Fair’ seems to be a step down from the previous episode’s ‘first-rate’ difficulty.
What is the ‘structure of this world’? What are the ‘rules’?
We know that, in each instance of the ‘game’, we are presented with a universe, in which a series of murders take place on Rokkenjima featuring the same characters. We are presented a narrative account of what takes place. It’s not clear if any of the known characters control the narrative POV, but if one does, it is surely Beatrice.
It’s not clear if the events within the narrative take place of their own accord, or if Beatrice is manipulating events, most likely by controlling her avatar in the world. That is, does Beatrice ‘select’ a world/seed initial conditions, or does she actively manipulate the plot?
The narrative has presented us with obvious instances of magic, but our (or Battler’s) task is to deny that within the narrative, there is a magical witch called Beatrice. Therefore we have to say the narrator is unreliable at times to have any chance at all. That said, while some scenes definitely include magic and some definitely don’t, the characters in non-magical scenes seem to remember the magic taking place in the few instances they survive it, so there’s not a clear line.
It’s not clear if meta!Battler sees the same version of events that we do. He seems to only respond to things narrative!Battler is present for, so perhaps he sees only those things?
It’s not clear if meta!Battler has some capacity to affect narrative!Battler’s actions. They’re distinct, but they do seem to follow very similar emotional arcs.
Let’s see what we can learn.
We begin in a building we’ve never seen before, which might be a church, or at least a stately home with a chapel.
The narration begins by talking about a posh vase.
Someone - a child - accidentally breaks it from a first-person pov. They refer to Grandfather owning the vase and fear being harshly scolded. At that point, Beatrice’s butterflies show up. The child seems to be familiar with Beatrice.
This instance of Beatrice has a completely different look. Also, different voice acting. She greets the ‘princess’ whose POV we have.
Although the visuals are very different, some familiar aspects of Rokkenjima still seem to apply. There is a grandfather - ‘master’ - prone to rages and harsh punishments.
New-Beatrice promises to prevent the ‘princess’ getting punished, as long as she believes in the magic.
This time, Beatrice has a magic wand. Well, several. And she speaks magic words, framing it as a request to the vase to show her the form it once had. The vase is restored.
We move to a different part of this strange new house. The top of the wall has small crenellations, like you see in
a lot of Victorian buildings that want to pretend to be medieval. ok apparently decorative crenellations are older than that.
European architects persistently used battlements as a purely decorative feature throughout the Decorated and Perpendicular periods of Gothic architecture. They not only occur on parapets but on the transoms of windows and on the tie-beams of roofs and on screens, and even on Tudor chimney-pots. A further decorative treatment appears in the elaborate paneling of the merlons and that portion of the parapet walls rising above the cornice, by the introduction of quatrefoils and other conventional forms filled with foliage and shield.
This has been Architecture Facts.
The princess tells Beatrice how incredible her magic was. Beatrice clarifies that repairing broken objects is very difficult magic, and this is only temporarily making it ‘remember’ the unbroken form. She says she has yet to reach that higher level of magic.
The most obvious interpretation here is that we are dealing with a much younger Beatrice, before she was trapped on Rokkenjima by Kinzo. She seems a lot less capricious and cruel here too.
At that point, they hear an unnamed servant scream as a ‘black cat’ enters the house and breaks the vase. Essentially the vase was ‘fated’ to break, and Beatrice only delayed this fate, meaning someone other than the ‘princess’ broke it.
Beatrice gives a short lecture on the capabilities of magic: it’s much easier to break and kill than to repair.
So witches often fall to the dark side. But ‘real magic’ is repairing, reviving and healing. Beatrice contrasts her abilities to her powerful ‘master’, who she believes could permanently restore the vase. She says witches on the level of her master have ‘endless’ magical power, and are therefore called ‘endless witches’ out of respect. Which is the epithet which the more familiar Beatrice had…
I checked the characters screen for information on this new Beatrice, and found that instead there’s already full details of the cast, with both a human side (all unchanged) and a witch side (previously we only had access to the witch side after completing an episode). This time we have detailed biographies of the ‘Seven Sisters of Purgatory’ (now Sisters, not Stakes), including descriptions of their personalities and… how much they want a boyfriend? It’s weirdly more like a school anime than anything, except on one of the Sisters there’s an implication of creepily sexualised cannibalism so uh. That’s a thing.
Beatrice says an Endless Witch is released from all the sadness of loss.
We can compare this to the Beatrice we know. She’s using her ‘endless’ powers of restoration not to heal, but to allow her to torture and kill over and over again.
The princess declares her wish to become a disciple of Beatrice, despite the difficult path.
Ohh, here’s a thought? What if the ‘princess’ - who we still have yet to see - is the future Beatrice, taking the name of her former master?
Old Beatrice agrees. And we fade to Purgatorio.
Beatrice reveals what we just saw was a dream, and ‘that face’ brings her back. She says ‘endless witch’ - which she once regarded as the highest achievement - is now ‘just one of her titles’, even a name.
But then we get first-person narration from Beatrice. She says, contra her master, it’s not eternal bliss to be ‘endless’, but eternal boredom, eternal torture. Witches who have achieved the title ‘Lady’, she says, find boredom as the ‘eternal poison’, torturing them forever.
Beatrice says she wishes she could talk to her master again, about whether they’ve really achieved happiness. She refers to ‘training together’, so I’m pretty sure the familiar Beatrice is the ‘princess’ character above. Apparently her master said believing one had completed one’s training and reached the ‘eternal’ level is a sign of immaturity.
An ahaha.wav plays. Beatrice wonders if her ‘furniture’ has broken their ‘toy’ again. No doubt the ‘toy’ is some poor human.
Beezlebub shows up, along with Mammon and Leviathan, who are new to us I think. They’re upset because they’ve murdered the ‘man’ they were playing with. Satan shows up and scolds them for always ‘devouring him like starving dogs’. But then Belphegor tells off Satan for not knowing restraint either, and ‘breaking him the most’. Lucifer appears to apologise for her ‘cretinous’ younger sisters, and finally Asmodeus whose turn to ‘play’ is next.
What a pleasant bunch.
Beatrice tells them all to shut up and they run away in fear. She tells the bloody mess of whoever they killed (I’m guessing it’s Battler, because who else) to remember his form.
It is indeed Battler. Apparently being torn apart by the Seven Sisters is just his life now.
Beatrice refers to herself as the King of Mount Purgatory. So this is literally Purgatory, in the Christian tradition? [correction: apparently this is an allusion to the character Beatrice in the Divine Comedy.
Battler’s first words after he recovers are to drop his catchphrase.
Apparently the reason he doesn’t mind is because he’s sexualising the Seven Sisters. Is this actually how straight people think?
So uh… they’re not just torturing him and murdering him. They’re also trying to get him to explain the locked rooms in the previous game?
So we’re back to this. Battler suggests a fishing line could be used to place the key back on Jessica’s corpse. The seven sisters turn out to have red text powers too. One of them (I forget who) declares Of all the doors that exist on Rokkenjima, none has a crack through which a key can slip.
Whenever Battler ventures an incorrect theory, they hit him a whole bunch of times. Battler still stubbornly refuses to believe in witches and magic. So he dies again.
Beatrice suggests murdering someone over and over is the ‘eternal bliss’ her master once described. Yeah, sure, that’s definitely it.
Beatrice announces it’s time for the next game to begin. The PS3 intro plays again.