Written by one of the best writers in the field, Ryukishi07, Umineko no Naku Koro ni (Time When Seagul’s Cry) is a masterpiece of mystery fiction.
Ryukishi07 borrows from his extensive knowledge of mystery genre to construct one of the most mind-blowing, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking detectives the world has ever seen. The mystery in this visual novel is so celver and effective it will take you dozens of hours to even grasp the fact that the story is supposed to be a detective instead of a horror splatter with witches and demons. With 84 murders in total, Umineko is on a completely different level than your average mystery novel, successfully utilizing the time-loop approach not only to create countless locked room tricks, but also to paint one of the most complex murderers in the history of fiction, whose motivation itself is the central puzzle of the whole humongous story.
Having said that, all other characters, ranging from the eighteen island visitors to various fantastical personifications, are all, without exception, simply fascinating. Even the sisters of purgatory, whom I thought to be just stock characters to metaphorically re-enact the murders, turn out to be extremely interesting and likable characters with “mortal sins”, they are supposed to represent, interpreted not only as negative, but even as positive traits. It’s really tough not to like “Greed”, whose wish to dominate and monopolize everything gives her capacity for endless effort.
You just have to read this visual novel; it excels at everything it tries to do. Be it mind-cracking intelligent mysteries, mind-boggling novel philosophies or heart-wrenching drama. It’s one of the very few works of fiction that incorporates elements from many different genres so effectively they succeed at evoking an indisputably “complete” self-consistent world of their own (Atziluth!).
|Beautiful, varied character designs||Low number of event CGs (PS3)|
|High music variety, including some really good tracks||Needless action scenes kill the pace in EP8|
|Fantastic ending song (EP8)|
|Interesting, likable, complex characters|
|Fantastic complex story which can take the form of mystery and fantasy at the same time|
|Extremely engrossing mysterious plot|
|Ingenious detective tricks|
|Full of effective emotional scenes|
|Extremely touching ending|
|Thought-provoking on family|
|Thought-provoking on the power of money|
|Thought-provoking on the destructive nature of love|
|Thought-provoking on our perception of reality|