Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に, lit. When the Seagulls Cry) is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion (Ryukishi07). The story is divided into eight main arcs, which are referred to as episodes. The first four episodes of the series are referred to as Umineko no Naku Koro ni Question Arcs to distinguish it from the full series. It is succeeded by Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru, which consists of the last four episodes.

The first entry, Legend of the Golden Witch, was first released at Comiket 72 on August 17, 2007. Successive episodes were released at each Comiket thereafter, with the final entry of the main story, Twilight of the Golden Witch, being released on December 31, 2010. The entire series was fan-translated by The Witch Hunt, who later collaborated with MangaGamer to officially release the series in English worldwide as Umineko When They Cry Question Arcs and Umineko When They Cry Answer Arcs on July 8, 2016 and November 17, 2017, respectively. The English edition is playable on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and may be purchased on MangaGamer, Steam, or GOG.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is considered to be a sequel to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and the two are part of the overarching When They Cry series. While Umineko contains significant elements that are related to Higurashi, the main plot of Umineko is its own independent story.

Official Introduction[edit | edit source]

Welcome to the world of "Umineko When They Cry" (When Seagulls Cry)
Welcome to the Rokkenjima of October 4, 1986.

You have been given a chance to catch a glimpse of the family conference held annually by the Ushiromiya family.
The remaining life in the old family head who has built up a vast fortune is very slim.
To his children, the greatest point of contention at this family conference is the distribution of his inheritance.
Everyone desires all that money, no one relents, and no one believes.

Who will gain the old head's vast inheritance?
Where is the 10 tons of gold that the old head is said to have hidden?
Can the unnerving riddle of the epitaph which is said to point to the location of that gold be solved?

In the midst of this, a suspicious letter is sent from one claiming to be a witch.
The presence of a 19th person on this island, which should only have 18, begins to hang in the air.
Brutal murders repeat, and unsolvable riddles are left at the scene.
How many will die? How many will live? Or will everyone die?
Is the culprit one of the 18, or not?
Is the culprit a "human", or a "witch"?

Please, enjoy this isolated island, western mansion, mystery-suspense gadget of the good old days to the fullest.[1]

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Umineko When They Cry is a murder mystery visual novel, and as such conveys its story primarily through text-based narration and dialogue supplemented by visual and audio elements such as character sprites, background music, and sound effects. It is described as a "sound novel" by 07th Expansion, owing to the game's greater focus on creating atmosphere through audio elements rather than visual aspects. The original releases contain no voice acting for the characters.

Umineko is linear and contains no interactive gameplay elements. Besides advancing text, players may also access the Tips Mode, allowing them to read various supplementary information regarding the characters and story. Each episode also contains two epilogues, the Tea Party and ???, which are successively unlocked. They are continuations of the main story that often contain important plot points, and are required to be read before progressing onto the next episode.

Despite the lack of interactive gameplay elements, Umineko is framed as a game between the author and the reader, with difficulty ratings given in the descriptions for each episode. This refers to the difficulty of the mysteries in each episode, which the reader is intended to actively try to solve. Several story elements are introduced through the course of the story to aid readers in solving the mystery along with the story's protagonist.

Story[edit | edit source]

Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place primarily from October 4 to 5, 1986 on Rokkenjima, a small island privately owned by the wealthy Ushiromiya family. The Ushiromiya family gathers for the annual family conference, which concerns the division of assets belonging to Kinzo, the ailing family head. In addition to the twelve family members are five of their servants and Kinzo's physician, comprising a total of eighteen people.

The protagonist Battler Ushiromiya, one of Kinzo's grandchildren, has been absent from the family conference for the past six years due to personal family circumstances. Upon his return, Battler becomes reacquainted with the legend of the "Golden Witch" Beatrice, who is rumored to have given Kinzo ten tons of gold in the past to revive the Ushiromiya family, which had been crippled in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. A portrait of her lies in the entrance hall of the Ushiromiya family mansion, and a puzzling epitaph is written below it. It is rumored that whoever solves the epitaph's riddle will receive the gold and become the successor to the Ushiromiya family. After a typhoon traps the family on the island, mysterious murders begin to occur, often in ways that seem impossible for a human to have committed.

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Question Arcs[edit | edit source]

Answer Arcs[edit | edit source]

Bonus Material[edit | edit source]

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

Ports and Rereleases[edit | edit source]

Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning[edit | edit source]

Main article: Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning

A PS3 port of the Question Arcs produced by Alchemist, featuring new art and voice acting.

Portable[edit | edit source]

Main article: Umineko no Naku Koro ni Portable

PSP ports of Rondo. Portable 1 contains Episodes 1 and 2 while Portable 2 contains Episodes 3 and 4.

Nocturne of Truth and Illusions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Nocturne of Truth and Illusions

A PS3 port of the Answer Arcs, featuring new art and voice acting.

Symphony of Catbox and Dreams[edit | edit source]

Main article: Symphony of Catbox and Dreams

An upcoming PS4 and Switch port of Saku produced by Entergram. It will feature new art and voice acting.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The word "umineko" refers to a kind of seagull known as a black-tailed gull. "Naku" means "to cry" or "to make a sound" (鳴く), referring only to sounds made by non-humans when written with that kanji; no kanji is provided in the series logo, however. According to Ryukishi07, the red Na (な) in the logo is an official part of the title.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Umineko When They Cry Question Arcs Store Page (MangaGamer)

External Links[edit | edit source]

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