|This article is about a character in Umineko no Naku Koro ni.|
The majestic Witch of Theatergoing, Drama and Spectating. She has tired of life after a thousand years and constantly repeats a cycle of life and death.
In the past, she served as the Master for several games as a legendary witch, but her legend, glory, and memory have already disappeared into the past and have been forgotten. Only the solemn medal she wears on her chest contains those memories.
The horseshoe-shaped object floating around her head Is a memory aid device. It records her name, appearance, and other aspects of her personality.
She is so old that she would not be able to preserve her own individuality without this.
Featherine appears as a mature lady with dark violet hair styled in a classic hime cut, purple eyes and a well-proportioned figure. Always sporting a composed and lackadaisical demeanour, she exudes an aura of wisdom and power. Yet, her expression may take on a hint of mischief if she finds herself entertained by something; or turn sightly pensive when she muses about the story she is observing as a theatergoer.
The Great Witch carries herself with grace; but on extremely rare occasions of amusement, her face may twist into an inexplicably cruel sneer which rivals even those of the other witches—as seen in the manga. She is almost never surprised by anything—the only one exception in the story being the conclusion of Twilight of the Golden Witch in which she watches the climax unfold with wide eyes lighting up in unadulterated wonder.
She wears a sweeping strapless light pink ball gown which resembles a Juunihitoe kimono; yet the layers seem to be mere stripes in green, blue and red in some adaptations. A yellow sash-like accessory is draped around the skirt. The dress is held in place by a formal magenta obi with red padding, accessorized with a red and white obijime.
The outfit is complete with matching light pink gloves and a light green fringed scarf draped over her left shoulder. Pinned on to the scarf is a brooch—comprising of a striped flag matching her dress layers affixed to a star-shaped pendant; resembling a military medal of sorts. She also carries a cane.
Her most notable accessory is the metallic horseshoe-shaped object that seemingly levitates around her head; later revealed to be a memory storage device which maintains her existence.
Similar to her human counterpart, Featherine speaks in an eloquent and condescending manner, often referring to other humans as "child of man." She considers humans so below her that she doesn't even acknowledge their names. Like other witches, Featherine considers boredom to be a "fatal illness" and likes reading stories to cure it.
As a witch with the rank of Creator, Featherine is capable of creating just about anything, spinning entire narrative worlds. Not only can Featherine manipulate the human world, the meta-world itself also bends to her will, as she can change events even as they are happening to her.
She has a personal guard formed of the overlords from many worlds that take the form of cats as respect to their master. Each one is the final form of a main character from a Game Board. They are capable of drawing magic circles and chanting to cast spells.
Featherine has a weakness in the form of her memory device, which retains everything about her appearance, personality and memories. Damaging this could result in her becoming a completely different person.
Featherine is said to have created Bernkastel from her pet cat and sent her throughout the Sea of Fragments on a search for stories to cure her boredom with. In the past, Featherine's memory device was damaged, which resulted in her gaining a completely different appearance and personality. Featherine has amassed many stories in her long lifespan and has them collected in the City of Books.
An interview suggests that Featherine used to be a piece and died when she realized she had no free will and was being manipulated by a higher order. After becoming a writer and writing herself into her own story, Featherine gained true free will and revived.
At some point Featherine took the form of the author Tohya Hachijo in the human world.
- Bernkastel (servant, piece, creation, former reader, miko)
- Ange Ushiromiya (reader, miko, witch guardian of)
- Tohya Hachijo (vessel, human form)
- Piece (creation, servant, piece)
- Lambdadelta (opponent)
Ange first meets Featherine in her human form as Tohya and soon becomes her Reader. Though Ange speaks to her very rudely, Featherine overlooks this and is actually amused by it greatly.
Bern has served Featherine the longest out of all her mikos, having been granted her witch form by her in the past. She credits Featherine with having taught her how to tear up guts and drag them out. Bern is arguably more impolite than Ange, but Featherine still likes her and is grateful to Bern curing her boredom so long ago.
Role in the Story
Featherine is first introduced. She first appears in her human form as Tohya Hachijo and meets Ange and Amakusa when they visit her. Ange remembers she contacted Tohya earlier but never got word back and determines that something is wrong with her memories. Ange figures that a witch is playing with her again, and Tohya changes into Featherine before commending Ange for her insight. Featherine explains that she was observing Beatrice's games through the eyes of Battler, but now that he's become Game Master, he's no longer suitable as an observer. To that end, Featherine summoned Ange to act as a Reader for her so she can still enjoy the story and reach the truth herself. Ange agrees to become Featherine's Reader, knowing that she'll be treated as her miko and will be protected from danger until she finishes.
As Ange reads, she and Featherine pause the story at several points to talk about what's going. They hold many discussions about the characters and events, including the different meanings of death, the circumstances behind Beatrice's own death, and how she could revive. Later, Featherine comes up with a theory for Battler's sin but presses Ange to read on, only wanting to explain it when she's certain.
When Chick Beato shows a desire to learn more about her original self, Featherine intervenes and allows her to read up on Beatrice's previous games. She summons Chick Beato to her library, where she holds books containing Beato's games. She encourages the wannabe Beatrice to solve the epitaph, as even the original had to do that.
When Battler makes a Logic Error, Featherine explains to Ange why this is dangerous. As they watch the ensuing debates over the logic error, Featherine comments that Battler may still have an escape route, but the trick behind it means exposing part of Beatrice's heart.
In the Tea Party, Ange finishes reading Dawn and figures that Beatrice was finally put to sleep, which Featherine considers an appropriate interpretation. She has no idea if Battler was truly released since that's where the story ends. Featherine thinks of a reward for Ange being a good miko and decides to relieve her of duty, allowing her to return to the human world. The witch alludes to doing something she hasn't done in a long time, mentioning her inkwell drying up.
Ange returns to the human world with Tohya and Amakusa. She asks if Tohya is Featherine or the other way around, but the author has no idea what she means.
In the ???, Featherine reunites with Bernkastel when she leaves the wedding cathedral, leading her to a strange area. Bern is disturbed by her messenger cat being led to eat bloody meat, and Featherine says it was eating biscuits all along; the food bowl seems to retroactively change accordingly. Featherine summoned Bern because she wants to know the answers to Beato's game. She knows there are still some secrets waiting to be uncovered, and even though Bern played the part of an actor all this time, even she wants to know as well. Featherine likens her desire for answers as a burial for Beatrice and allows Bern to take charge.
Featherine summons Beatrice's game board and hands it to her former miko. Bern will become a Reader with the condition that her reading will be a loveless interpretation. Featherine agrees and then summons the Game Master's throne for Bern to sit upon, asking in return that Bern answer all of her questions when she asks them.
Bernkastel opens Requiem of the Golden Witch on behalf of Featherine.
In the ???, after Bern has presumably killed Lion and Will, Featherine compliments her for her reading. Having seen the truth, she plans to go back through the previous stories and uncover the closed rooms. Featherine relieves Bern as a miko and plans to go back to sleep, expecting her to find her yet another entertaining story next time she wakes in a few centuries. Bern instead bids farewell forever, and Featherine laughs as her consciousness fades away.
Bernkastel brings Ange to meet Featherine again, who explains that Ange's key represents an important decision she is to make. Featherine then shifts the setting to the human world, where Tohya reveals to Ange that she possesses Eva's diary, which is supposed to hold the truth of Rokkenjima behind its lock. Ange's key is missing in the human world however, and when she returns to the meta-world, it reappears but the diary doesn't. Featherine explains that the diary has to exist on this game board otherwise there wouldn't be a game, and Ange remembers she saw it at the chapel. Featherine confirms in red that this diary contains the truth of Rokkenjima.
Tohya prepares a public unveiling of Eva's diary in the human world to a crowd of Witch Hunters while Featherine prepares to unveil it in the City of Books to a crowd of goats. Bern asks if she can borrow the diary so she can show it to Ange, having promised she would be the first to look inside. Featherine allows it.
Lambdadelta, Battler and Ange launch an offensive on the City of Books to retrieve Eva's diary. Featherine catches wind of their plan, but she lets it happen as it's according to her plot. As Battler and Ange go to unseal the crystallized diary, Lambda stalls Bern and fights her when Featherine suddenly appears, wanting to begin the ceremony. Lambda attacks Bern again and Featherine warns her not to continue, but Lambda ignores her and prepares to attack her memory device, hoping that she can bug it out. However, Featherine stops the story. She decides to reward Lambda's bravery and give her a heroic battle, but is too drunk to write properly, so she skips to the end of the fight and has Lambda slammed into a bookcase with her limbs falling off. As Lambda wonders aloud what killed her with her dying breath, Featherine asks her for some good ideas.
During Battler and Bern's final battle, the Witch of Miracles yells for her master to help but Featherine says she's busy writing Lambda's last moments and instead sends the cat overlords to help her. When Battler finally invokes Endless Nine, Featherine comes to understand that nobody can interfere with his tale anymore. She apologizes to Battler on behalf of Bern, however he still needs to take care of Bern since she's also the Game Master. The Great Witch promises to return everyone to the Golden Land if they defeat Bern.
Bernkastel is ultimately defeated, and Featherine applauds Battler and Ange's efforts. She gives Ange the title of Lady and thanks her for not killing Bern, as she too would die of boredom. Featherine also says Lambda is still alive and moved her to "audience seating." Finally, Featherine promises to be a witness to the end of Battler's game and record it.
In the magic ending, Battler and EVA-Beatrice stay behind when everyone else enters the Golden Land. Featherine says she needs to clean up the game board and put it away. She returns to the human world as Tohya and announces that Eva's diary will not be opened, much to the ire of the gathered Witch Hunters.
In the Tea Party, Featherine sits alone in her study and muses to herself after writing several manuscripts for Beatrice's story. She reminisces on what an old friend told her, that a human's life is is always an adventure, but Featherine thinks someone has to stop writing it at some point and leave the rest to other's opinions. She wonders if she should refrain from writing the result of Rokkenjima and keep it within the cat box, and after seemingly getting an answer, Featherine decides to write some more before saying goodbye. She leaves Bern to entertain this mystery being.
- Golden Fantasia features Featherine as an unlockable system voice.
- Whose Tea Party? has Featherine attending a tea party with Lambda and Bern.
- In Our Confession, Featherine appears to the reader and asks if they want to "spill the guts" and unseal the book cover/continue with the story.
- In Last note of the Golden Witch, Featherine creates Piece and sends her to challenge Battler, Ange, and Beatrice.
- In 07th Theater 2, Featherine interrupts when Umineko team loses the competition and determines that Battler and Butler are the true losers.
- Featherine may be a reference to the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni character Hanyuu and is implied to be the same character.
- Many of these references come in the form of wordplay between their names:
- When roughly translated, the two kanji that make up Hanyuu's name (羽入) translate to "feather" (羽, hane) and "in" (入, iri) which, when put together, more or less make up the name "Featherine".
- The first two katakana shared by her middle and last names, "Au" (アウ), are also used by Hanyuu as a catchphrase, "auau" (あぅあぅ). Bernkastel herself calls attention to this, referring to Featherine as "Auaurora".
- The name of Featherine's human incarnation, Hachijo Tohya (八城十八), also contains two wordplays in reference to Hanyuu:
- An alternate reading for the kanji in the name Hachijo (八城) is "yashiro". Coupled with the honorific "o-" prefix, this becomes "Oyashiro", the more commonly-known name for Hanyuu.
- The name Tohya (十八) is composed of numerical kanji, numbering 18. Breaking down the name "Oyashiro" into syllables (o-ya-shi-ro), each syllable is one possible reading for the numbers 0, 8, 4, and 6. Adding these numbers together results in a sum of 18.
- Another possible allusion is the fact that Bernkastel is Featherine's miko while Rika Furude, theorized to be Bern's past self, can be seen as Hanyuu's miko. In the manga for Dawn of the Golden Witch, when talking about Bernkastel's past, Rika with her dress and a silhouette of Hanyuu are shown.
- Featherine is a transcendental being which corresponds to Hanyuu being a god. Additionally, Featherine has a habit of calling humans "child of man", something Hanyuu did when speaking as a god.
- It is noted by Lambdadelta that at one point, Featherine's memory device was damaged, and as a result she suffered a change in appearance and personality. Hanyuu's left horn has a distinct crack on it, which is mentioned in an author comment from Shinsou Kaimei Dokuhon Episode 8 where Ryukishi07 suggests that Featherine actually transformed into Hanyuu when her memory device was damaged. Ryukishi's comment however presents this as a "hidden plot device" and doesn't confirm or deny if it really happened.
- A character known as Eua with a similar appearance to Featherine appears in Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU episode 20. This other character has a similar hairstyle, a similar sash, and similar horns; the only differences are their voice actors and the new character's outfit, being very similar to Hanyuu's. The similarity was acknowledged on a recent livestream, where Ryukishi stated that her name is not the same as Featherine's but does not comment on them being the same or not.
- Many of these references come in the form of wordplay between their names:
- Dawn of the Golden Witch Chapter 1: The Witch of Theatergoing. "For [Featherine], acknowledging human names was like acknowledging the names of all the leaves scattered across the ground. So, ...her acknowledging Ange's name was a miracle. No, it was immensely good fortune."
- Twilight of the Golden Witch Chapter 11: The Visitor Who Came Late. "When Featherine rose from her rocking chair, ...my vision seemed to twist and bend. (...)The door opened...and Hachijo Tohya appeared. ...What's going on? This isn't the world of witches, ...but the world of Humans...? (...) Featherine and Hachijo Tohya are the same being. To her, the difference between the two worlds is a trivial thing. To put it in the words of that theater-lover, ...it's like having a slightly different background behind the stage."
- Twilight of the Golden Witch Chapter 17: Ange Makes a Choice
- Shinsou Kaimei Dokuhon Episode 8/Interview
- Dawn of the Golden Witch ???.
- Dawn of the Golden Witch manga Chapter 20.
- Shinsou Kaimei Dokuhon Episode 8 page 22
- Higurashi Gou SP Live Talk