This arc was first released as part of Shinsou Kaimei Dokuhon Episode 3 on November 25, 2008.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The First and the Last Gift
This arc was rereleased in Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The First and the Last Gift on December 16, 2015.
Symphony of Catbox and Dreams adapted Letter from a Summoner into visual novel format for the first time, featuring voice acting.
The various miracles brought about by magic are literally "miracles" in the human world. Moreover, miracles in the human world could perhaps be compared to needle ice on a midsummer day.
Needle ice in the summer is already a miracle by itself. As such, it would be possible to create needle ice under the scorching summer sun by means of a magical miracle. But of course the ice would instantly melt due to the midsummer sun, and both its shape and the miracle would be lost.
As that would be regrettable, we need to search for magic to create even larger needle ice and to make it last even longer under the sun. Making the needle ice larger requires vast amounts of magical power. Keeping the needle ice frozen for longer requires vast amounts of magical power.
In other words, when it comes to magic that causes a great miracle in just an instant, versus magic that persists forever with just a tiny miracle, it would seem at first glance that the former kind is much flashier and superior. However, the amount of magical power required is exactly the same.
In that sense, it has to be said that the latter, more subdued kind of magic called 'summoning' by great magic practitioners, has not been very popular in the history of magicians.
If you’ve seen the great piercing magic of a meteor falling upon Earth, then you may also want to see the great summoning technique that calls about a massive dragon.
However, between just a single moment of great magic, versus the miracle of calling about this massive dragon, and then using summoning to “allow it to continue to exist” on top of that, the difficulty and burden are completely different.
From this conclusion, we can say that the magical power of dropping a meteor to the place where its summoning was performed would be equal to calling up a palm-sized lizard at best. It would also be very weak, and at most, you would probably invoke a fragile existence that would turn to ash upon contact with open air or sunlight.
Certainly, this is why young people, who love flashiness, can so easily command flashy magic to their liking, while having no interest in burdening themselves with the modesty of summoning.
Therefore, due to the low popularity of summoning, there are very few magicians in the human world who have become skilled enough to be called "summoners".
A fleeting miracle that disappears in a blink of an eye will leave an impact for eternity.
This is the true value of summoning.
Returning to the original conversation, we now may understand that the magical power required for a miracle to manifest can be represented by (“scale” x “duration of existence”).
Since we are going through the trouble of inviting guests from another world through summoning, the product should be nothing but beneficial and excellent. At that point, the “scale” figure cannot be underestimated.
There is no need in choosing to summon something insignificant.
And moreover, if you do summon a beneficial existence, you would likely want to keep it to use for as long as possible. Basically, it’s best to have the longest “duration of existence” as possible.
Understandably, it is quite difficult to balance out both "scale" and "duration of existence".
At this point, it may be easy to imagine the amount of extraordinary power a magician must have to deserve to be called a summoner.
Unfortunately, such immense magical power cannot be attained even within an entire Human’s lifetime worth of training.
Thus, what is most important is the concept of preparation.
The main fuel of magical miracles can be supplemented with a fuel of madness called magical power.
If that is difficult to understand, it's usually simple enough to think of it like physical strength.
Imagine that in front of you there is a heavy baggage that you're supposed to move somewhere else.
If you simply lift the burden up and carry it as it is, that would certainly require considerable strength and endurance.
However, if you used something like a cart or a lever or attached something to it to get a better grip, you could lighten your load quite a bit.
The same applies to magic.
This is why things like magic circles and catalysts are prepared.
Many of these preparations take a huge amount of work.
That should be no surprise. After all, the preparations are meant for supplementing the missing parts of one's magical power with labor.
Those who aspire to be magicians should not forget this.
Magical power is not only what one was born with. A fanatical tenacity of purpose is also "work" that leads to magical powers.
As an aside, I had no magical talent when I was born.
Nevertheless, I was able to gather enough magical power to call myself a magician.
It could be said that magical power is not necessarily a matter of talent, but rather a matter of how much madness "one can maintain for a long time" as well.
Particularly those who desire the magical art of summoning which "allows miracles to forever persist upon the earth" should not forget this.
Prepared with enough time and effort, such magical circles and catalysts are capable of inviting the summoner’s magical power to much higher levels than ever before.
Again, this is my own experience.
While summoning, to greatly increase the success rate of the summon, it is crucial to prepare a certain object.
Objects like these are called hosts.
The word “host” is originally a term from Far Eastern magic. However, Japanese magicians like myself use terms like this to accelerate our own understanding of the topic. Even if it’s not accurate to call it this, we purposefully use this wording anyway.
Hosts, simply put, allow guests from another world to “temporarily lodge” in ours.
If you excel in Western magic, it is imaginable that you may be able to blow life into a clay doll in order to summon a Golem of sorts in a ritual.
The clay doll in this ritual is essentially a host.
Let’s return to the beginning of our conversation regarding ice forming midsummer.
Under the blazing midsummer sun, any ice that would be summoned would of course melt away within a blink of an eye.
However, if this ice were to be summoned within a prepared cooler box that could block out the heat and rays of the sun, and if it were compared with the time that these preparations weren’t made, it would take much longer for it to melt. Ice should now be able to continue to exist midsummer.
To visitors from another world, the human world is essentially another world. To manifest from their world, they would need a maintaining “vessel”.
Needless to say, if you’re trying to summon a visitor from another world without being competent enough in summoning, they will not be able reach the domain of Humans, but instead, the void.
So long as a Human is aware that they were born in the human world, it would be wise for them to give up the far-off dream of even calling something to the void without preparing a host.
Hosts should also be suitable for calling up this visitor.
The more suitable the host is, the more powerful the manifestation will be.
If you were to summon a great being while using an unbecoming host, one that prevents their greatness from manifesting, it would be absolutely blasphemous.
The stronger the being is, the stronger the host should be.
The wiser the being is, the wiser the host should be.
An excellent host is comfortable with denizens of another world.
Even if just anything gets summoned, and this resident from another world, along with the miracle they bring, continues to exist, the chance this existence could become what should be acknowledged as a so-called “magic item” is not small at all.
Spending half a lifetime seeking a fitting host for the sake of a great summon is the life of a summoner.
The persistent madness from spending your life seeking this will always lead into more magical power. Decide your fate and do not waste your time.
Aspiring summoners don’t just need practice; they must want to have interest in their hosts too.
Feeling like you can achieve anything with your own magical power is a fallacy only those with youthful ignorance can believe.
These are a few words from a senior summoner. One instant of passion won’t do it. While being prudent in making preparations through persistent ambition on par with a true summoner, I want you to perform a wonderful summon.
I have no doubt that meeting with yet unknown visitors from other worlds will be a most valuable experience in your life.
つまり、一瞬だけの絶大なる奇跡を起こす魔法と、ちっぽけな奇跡 であっても永遠に残り続ける魔法は、一見すると前者の方が派手で 優れているように見えるが、魔法としての何度や必要とする魔力にお いては全く同じなのである。
魔法の奇跡の主たる燃料は、魔力という名の狂気的燃料で補わ れる、 理解に難しければ、普通に腕力を想像してくれても良いだろう。
また、私の経験によるならば、 召喚術を行う上でその成功率を上げるために欠かせない準備 がある。
しかし、日光と灼熱を遮るクーラーボックスのようなものを準備し、 その中に霜柱を紹介したならば、その準備がない時に比べ、はるかに 長い時間、霜柱を真夏に存続させることが出来るはずだ。
ここは老境の先輩召喚師の小言に耳を貸し、一種の情熱でなく、 召喚師らしい永続的な情熱で入念な準備を行い、素晴らしい召喚を 行って欲しい。
- Japanese Umineko wiki: http://umineco.info/
- Partial English translation: https://lparchive.org/Umineko-no-Naku-Koro-ni/Update%20185/