Perhaps the only thing “Endless” about Beatrice is the gallons and gallons of blood she gushes after being gashed by Battler’s truths. Otherwise, if anything, the last episode of the question arcs should be how limited Beatrice is, and how far under Lambdadelta’s (and Bernkastel’s) thumb she’s pinned.
The episode starts off with Ange confronting Beatrice and Maria in the “Golden Land.” While Beatrice admits her shortcomings in her inability to resurrect Sakutaro, Ange uses the opportunity to show the limits of Beato’s powers by resurrecting Sakutaro herself. Thankfully, Ange resurrects cute, stuffed Sakutaro, and not pimp, shota Sakutaro. Personally, I just think Sakutaro should stay in stuffed form. Having been reunited with her friend, Maria then leaves the Golden Land apparently having found peace. The anime leaves Maria’s state in limbo, but in the VN she’s found dead in the game world by game piece Battler. What struck me about this scene wasn’t how great the Golden Land was, but how it served as a refuge for both Maria and Beatrice. For Maria, a chance to be with a loving mother. For Beatrice, (ostensibly) a place to get away from the oppression of Lambdadelta and Bernkastel.
With Maria gone, Beatrice is sucked back into the game, along with Battler. Although Ange acknowledges that Battler isn’t the son of Asumu, she challenges Beatrice with the blue (welcome back, it’s been a while!) to prove that Battler isn’t Kinzo’s grandson and qualified to be Beatrice’s opponent. Beatrice, stuck by that bit of logic (which was pretty damn obvious to begin with) is left to accept Battler as her opponent. Although Battler himself is a shell of himself, still unsure of who he is. On a completely separate note, I never realized how short Bern and Lambda were. They’re like little kids.
With Battler’s fighting spirit in shambles, and an inadvertently amusing play-by-play of Battler’s shonen spirit provided by Bern and Lambda, Ange pulls her trump card by admitting to Battler that she’s his sister, and imploring him to fight for his family and come back to her. Unfortunately for Ange, she had to break the one rule applied to her, and it turns her into a gruesome pile of ground meat that we didn’t get to see (thus, the angeburger meme). I now understand Ange’s “sacrifice” I’d heard mentioned before, and to be honest, it didn’t have the impact I’d hoped. Maybe it was because of the way DEEN paced the last few episodes, but it lacked that OOMPH. It certainly didn’t feel like any of the sacrifices made during Higurashi.
With Battler’s fighting spirit back, the second half of the episode begins with basically a rapid fire exchange of blue and red truths. Battler declares that:
- Kinzo is already dead, meaning there was only 17 people on the island to begin with. Meaning an 18th person X could commit the murders.
- When questioned by Beatrice about the closed room deaths in arc 2, Battler proposes that Rosa was in cahoots with the real killer and may have swapped the key with them
- He then proposes that it was Aunt Eva who was in cahoots with the real killer during arc 3
- And finally, a crazy guy with a gun mowed down the initial 6, as well as those who escaped the jail
- Beatrice points out that the family had met Kinzo during the 4th arc, and accepted him, which results in Kinzo-zilla attacking Battler on the game board. But Battler brushes it aside by claiming that there was someone who assumed his name, and was recognized by everyone in the family. Thus, the existence of a nominal Kinzo (pretty sharp thinking, IMO)
Beatrice decides to accept all of the above without much of a fight, even though it would’ve been easy to cut those blue hypotheses down, and asks Battler to end the game by denying witches. But Battler shows off his shonen spirit by declaring that he won’t accept victory by submission, but he’ll take it from her by force. At which point Beatrice chides him for his stupidity and begins her counterattack.
Beatrice decimates Battler’s 18th person X theory by declaring in red that there were only 17 people on the island to begin with. Now if this were any of the other arcs, DEEN would’ve done a close-up of Battler’s shocked and broken face, while another couple episodes would’ve been spent on Ange or Virgilia or whomever building his fighting spirit back up, but since this is the last episode, Battler takes it pretty much in stride. Unfortunately, his rebuttals become even more outlandish at this point. To wit:
- In arc 1, he explains Nanjo, Kumasawa and Shannon’s deaths by claiming that someone who had been previously killed could’ve faked their death and gone back to kill these three
- He also explains the above deaths with Nanjo, Shannon and Kumasawa engaging in a mexican gunfight, killing each other simultaneously, while Maria hid the guns afterwards. For what possible reason these four would’ve acted this way, I don’t know. But Battler’s grasping at straws here, but Beatrice accepts the theories for their entertainment value and loses round 1
- In arc 2, Battler postulates that the 6 in the chapel ingested small bombs, which exploded in their stomachs. Sort of silly, but I suppose it’s a possibility. Not one that I would’ve thought of at least. Either way, Beatrice thinks it’s even more amusing than the last theories and declines to challenge it
- Finally, in arc 3, Battler explains Nanjo’s murder by suggesting that someone faked their death earlier to return to kill Nanjo, before dying themselves shortly after for whatever reason, allowing EvaBeatrice to tick off all the names of the dead in red without being incorrect.
Beatrice accept the final blue challenge without a fight, which causes a huge stake to drive through her. At this point, she’s lost more blood than the human body can hold. Perhaps a witch’s heart pumps more blood than a normal human’s heart. Perhaps this biological reason is why Beatrice then asks Battler to crush her heart and kill her. See, I can throw out ridiculous hypotheses too.
But Battler accepts, and Beatrice, with a final wistful look, and a sad smile, leaves Battle with one final riddle to solve: “Ushiromiya Battler. Right now on this island, no one exists except for you. You’re the only one alive on this island. However, I’m here right now and about to kill you. Who am I?”
Cut to the epilogue, and we see Lambda and Bern talking about the game, with Lambda lambasting Battler for his ridiculous blue truths, trap X’s, person X’s and whatnot (I’m glad she called that out). This suggests that everything can be explained rationally and logically, without resorting to trap X and person X. While Bern muses that she thought Battler was pretty spot on. I’d originally thought they had a much more antagonistic relationship, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, as the anime ends with both agreeing that Beatrice has no chance to win.
So, I posted my initial thoughts in my last post. I don’t know if the VN progressed the same way, but the Battler vs. Beatrice fight felt rushed to me. Maybe Beatrice was just tired of playing the game and wanted to finish it as soon as possible, but the way the anime was laid out, it felt more like she was giving a pass to Battler because she realized there was only about 10 minutes left in the show when they started trading barbs.
I knew we weren’t going to get satisfactory answers, since the VN is ongoing, but I think you could’ve felt a sense of completion with Higurashi even if there wasn’t a second season. Oh, you’d still have big question marks, but it had a stronger sense of endgame. However, here, it feels much more like the show’s just getting started. Almost none of the questions remain answered, and whereas you had that big Keiichi x Rena breakthrough in Higurahsi, there’s none of that here. Battler and Beato are still in limbo, and neither are closer to the truth than when the show began.
Finally, who would you consider the most sympathetic character? Is it Ange, who’s been waiting for her family to return from the dead? Is it Battler, who was unwittingly pulled into this sick game to help his family. Or is it Beatrice, who appears to be a puppet subject to Lambda and Bern’s whims? Maybe I’m bespelled by Moetrice, but I empathize with her the most. Battler can and will win one day. Ange will have her family returned to her and live a normal life. But Beatrice? Even if she beats Battler, she then faces Bern and Lambda. She has no hope, no future.
All in all, Umineko was pretty solid, but the great moments were few and far between. The mystery was good, and definitely made you think. But my original fears of the large cast resulting in paper-thin characters, were realized. Still, I look forward to a new Chiru season. One day, I hope.