Manga Monday #3| Umineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch vol. 1 by Ryukishi07

Umineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch

Story by Ryukishi07, Art by Kei Nastumi

Original Title | Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に)

Published in America on November 2012 by Yen Press

Genre | Seinen, Mystery, Horror, Thriller

WARNING EXTREME GORE 

Goodreads | Amazon | Yen Press

Each year, the Ushiromiya family gathers at the secluded mansion of its patriarch, the elderly Kinzo. It has been six years since Battler joined his cousins at the annual event, but their happy reunion is overshadowed by worsening weather and an eerie premonition from his youngest cousin—not to mention their parents’ feud over the inheritance. Battler doesn’t hold much stock in dark omens, nor does he believe the tales of the witch rumored to have given his grandfather a fortune in gold…and who walks the halls of the mansion to this day… But when the eighteen family members and servants are trapped on the island by the raging typhoon, the grisly events that follow leave Battler shaken to his core. Is one of his relatives desperate enough to kill for the family fortune? Or is this the work of the Golden Witch? (Courtesy of Yen Press)

Review | ★ ★ ★ ★

Packaging 

I was absolutely ecstatic when Yen Press decided to license Umineko WHEN THEY CRY series into English! I’ve seen both the Japanese anime and read a few scenes from the original sound novel game and really loved the story and its characters. So when I went to place my order for this manga, much to my surprise I was greeted with a MONSTER of a book. This manga is probably twice the size of the average American published manga and three times the width. But there is a reason for this…Umineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch is actually an omnibus bind up of two manga volumes. So really, you’re getting two for the price of one bind up.

While publishing this manga as an omnibus is probably a better business move for Yen Press and more economical for the consumer, in my opinion it’s a pain to lug around in my bag if I want to take it with me to read. I would have preferred to have this series published in the smaller standard size, even though it would cost me more to complete the series. However, it is nice to have most of the story in one convenient bind up.

Besides, as a die-hard Umineko WHEN THEY CRY fan I would still buy this series no matter what.

Plot

On October 4th, 1986  the esteemed Ushiromiya family gathers to the island of Rokkenjima for their yearly family conference. What starts off as a happy family gathering quickly escalates to a battle over the family inheritance and the legendary Ushiromiya gold. And if a feud within the family isn’t bad enough, a raging typhoon is expected to come bringing misfortune along with it…

If you have ever read Agatha Christie’s famous mystery classic And Then There Were None,  the plot to Umineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch is very similar. You have a family stranded on an island cut off from the rest of the world due to a terrible typhoon…but there’s a twist. A witch is supposedly living on the island as well, and she’s there to wreck havoc.

This manga does an excellent job in mixing mystery with fantasy and horror. What makes the story so unusual is that is makes you question whether it is a mystery or a fantasy. By the end you’ll wonder if the culprit human or if the witch real?

Artwork

I like that Kei Natsumi’s style can really capture a character’s emotions really well. If a character is feeling extreme frustration or sorrow, that emotion is clearly displayed and adds to the storytelling. Also, his depiction of horror and gore are definitely not for the squeamish. My only issue with his art style is the odd figure proportions he draws for his characters.

Would I recommend it?

I recommend this series for those who like mysteries and thrillers, as long as you don’t mind the blood and over-exaggerated breasts.

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10 thoughts on “Manga Monday #3| Umineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch vol. 1 by Ryukishi07

    • I wrote ‘extreme gore’ because there is a lot of bloodshed and graphic mutilation shown, but that is mostly towards the end of the volume. I’m not that squeamish either, but the pictures can be pretty gruesome in my opinion.

  1. I really love this cover. I probably won’t read this one. I prefer lighter mangas. I’ve never read And Then There Were None, but I have played the computer game of it and loved it.

  2. I didn’t know there was a manga for this! I watched the anime. It literally gave me nightmares and I had the urges to run to my mom’s room. But I didn’t and people started dying and then I didn’t know WHERE it was going because there was going to be 4-6 more ep. but everyone was dying and yeah…glad you warned of the gore, someone should have told me the heads up. Maybe the manga would be more interesting for me. 😀

    P.S. I’m a new follower to your blog now! ^^ ❤

  3. Thanks for following me! I love your blog 😀

    I actually started marathoning the anime and sound novel way before I even found out about the manga. I mostly did this at night with the lights off which made it 10 times more scarier. I jumped at every outside noise I heard xD

  4. Great review! I have actually saw this manga at the bookstore a couple of times, but was always repelled because of how expensive it was… My flawed reasoning is that I could buy about three regular sized manga with the money I would spend on that one omnibus volume 😛 I’ve watched the anime for Umineko (and was really disappointed by it, but I know the actual visual novel is way better), and immediately saw the similarity to And Then There Were None right when I watched the first episode… I bet that Agatha Christie would be proud, lol.

    I might be putting off this manga for the time being, but your review has made me decide to read it! Oh, and the question must be asked… Are you Anti-Mystery or Anti-Fantasy?

    • Thanks! I’ve been waiting to Umineko to be licensed for such I long time that I jumped at the chance to get it despite the cost. I think Ryukishi07 did such an excellent job at taking various elements and making it all his own. I personally enjoy this story over And Then There Were None because there is so much to speculate on. I’m sure Ms. Christie would be flattered to have inspired such a cool story 😉

      Ah the question…I honestly don’t want to decide. It’s so much fun making theories for both! Sorry if that’s such a cope out ^^;

      • Reading this manga now! Ryukshi07 definitely knows how to make a great mystery! The way he can use the same framework of And Then There Were None and make it a whole new beast is amazing.

        What makes me really in awe of him is how he is able to make many alternative stories, leave all kinds of clues within them, and weave all together. It’s magnificent! I seriously wonder what goes on in his head all the time.

        Heh, I don’t really think of that answer as a cop out 😛 I don’t really prefer one over the other either >.< Oh, and is it strange that I find the Blue Truth and Red Truth to be kind of confusing? My brain hurts whenever the characters use the Truths whenever they have a battle of words O_o

      • Yay! The manga is definitely worth giving a shot. He really puts incredible thought into his stories and I really appreciate that.

        When it comes to the Red Truth and Blue Truth I think of it this way: Red is absolute. It’s what really happened and can’t be contradicted. Blue is someone’s theory. It’s a guess anyone can make.

        I found them confusing at first too, but that’s how I understand it. I think later on in the series it gets worse when the Gold Truth and Purple Truth get introduced >.<

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