Umineko thoughts and impressions [Episodes 1 - 4]

Magic in Umineko as a Coping Mechanism


By my interpretation, Ange never felt lonely in her school because her imaginary friends kept her company. She did not imagine these friends to hide how lonely she was -- she was forcing herself to interpret the world in a way that was more convenient to her, meaning that she truly believed that her friends existed and that they were playing together. The words 'delusions' and 'schizophrenia' appear in my notes for her more than once. Anyhow, that is just a long-winded way of saying that Ange was using magic as a coping mechanism to help her deal with her isolation in school and her terrible relationship with Eva.
Ange's magic helps her keep herself together and resist pain, but when pressed she tries to use it in harmful ways. This fails and she abandons all thoughts of magic completely. The way I see it, Ange no longer believed in witches by the time she met Bernkastel on the rooftop and simply chose to kill herself now that Eva was dead and she was left with nothing she cared about. Bernkastel's presence merely signifies how incredibly lucky Ange was when an improbable series of objects slowed her mid-fall and allowed her to survive. After this Ange apparently decides that she has unfinished business and travels to Rokkenjima in order to die with her family.

So for Ange, magic was a coping resistance for avoiding pain. It fails her once and she abandons it, eventually becoming suicidal two years later and dying on Rokkenjima. (There was no 'true magic'; she jumped off the cliff). Ange relied on her magic too heavily and, after it was disproved, ended up collapsing.


Maria's use of magic is a bit different. Maria also uses magic as a coping mechanism, but instead of avoiding pain Maria uses magic to make herself more happy and hopeful. Spells intended to make Maria find candy, or give her her favorite dessert, or even the incantation to make her mother stop being such a monster, are all spells that give Maria something to look forward to. Maria even takes this further by deciding that Rosa is sometimes possessed by a Black Witch. Not only does this give Maria an object she can safely hate, but it also maintains her mistaken belief that Rosa loves her. This isn't to say that Maria doesn't use Sakutarou to avoid pain or boredom, but unlike the Stake Sisters that only sympathize with Ange, Sakutarou routinely gives Maria advice -- and the advice he gives is surprisingly mature and beneficial.
When Maria's magic fails her and Sakutarou is destroyed, Maria turns to the same kind of magic Ange did and does two things:

  1. Creates plenty of friends (Seven Sisters, Siesta Sisters, the Great Demons)
  2. Starts thinking up hateful, vengeful spells

The first is a thing that might help Maria with her loneliness, and the second is probably meant to alleviate her sense of helplessness. After all, Maria doesn't have to fear Rosa if she can call for a Great Demon to protect her. However, unlike her previous magics, neither of these things make Maria's life any better nor do they guide her towards any sort of improvement.


Eva is very different in her use of magic from either Ange or Maria. In fact it's not entirely clear whether she ever truly used magic in the same sense that Maria and Ange did. Instead, Eva's magic appears to be her coping strategy embodied by the belief that she can get over the blatant, maddening unfairness of Kinzo's treatment by creating misery in other people. Supposing Evatrice truly did represent Eva's behavior (at least what Ange saw), then Eva in her later years ruined people not for the sake of sadistically watching them be destroyed but rather as an attempt to compensate for how her own life was ruined by the loss of George and Hideyoshi and the staining of their reputations.
I realize that this might be an unusual interpretation of Eva (at least considering only the first four episodes), but I find that this is a good way to settle the contrast between Eva and her husband and son. Hideyoshi is always shown to be a very pleasant man; he never yells at anyone, never berates, and is graceful in both victory and loss. George is a confident, diligent, humble well-educated level-headed man, and appears to be the only child in Umineko to have had a consistently good relationship with both parents. Eva loves them both very dearly.
How can a character as mean-spirited and vicious as Eva be part of that same happy family? Hideyoshi does comment at some point that Eva acts very differently on Rokkenjima from how she acts at home. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that Eva is trying to basically magic her painful upbringing away by acting like a bitch to her family. With this said, we also know that Eva used to consider herself a witch during her teenage years, but that this stopped. My understanding of this is that Eva used to believe that her own hard work was magical and that by excelling in college she could succeed the headship of the family -- something that Kinzo would almost certainly never allow. This magic also falls apart, possibly during the flashback three-way conversation between Eva, Krauss and Kinzo, and Eva starts espousing the belief that her own misery will disappear if she pushes it onto others: yet another irrational belief.


The concept of magic in Umineko can be considered to be merely the prospect of characters willingly forcing themselves to believe that their reality is much more hopeful than it actually is, and is shown to occasionally be a very good thing and, at other times, be quite destructive.

/r/visualnovels Thread