Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に Umineko no Naku Koro ni?, lit. When the Seagulls Cry) is a Japanese media mix franchise created by 07th Expansion. It is a part of 07th Expansion's wider When They Cry franchise. The story focuses on the Ushiromiya family and their servants, all of whom are on a secluded island for a period of two days while beset by mysterious murders. Incorporating elements of fantasy and metafiction, the goal of the each story is to discern not only the identity of the murderer, but whether the culprit is even human at all.
The franchise began with the release of the sound novel Legend of the Golden Witch in 2007. The series continued for a total of eight sound novels, all of which were written by Ryukishi07 and published by 07th Expansion. Square Enix, Ichijinsha, Kadokawa Shoten, and ASCII Media Works all published various manga adaptations of the series, all written by Ryukishi07. Kodansha Box published a series of light novels also written by Ryukishi07. The series was also made into a 26-episode anime by Studio Deen, which aired in Japan between July and December 2009. The game was re-released by Alchemist under the name Umineko no Naku Koro ni ~Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning~ with updated graphics on December 16th, 2010. A fighting game based on the franchise was released by 07th Expansion on December 31, 2010.
The word umineko is the name of a type of seagull known as the black-tailed gull. Naku means to make sound (鳴く), specifically referring to the sounds made by non-human organisms. According to the original creator, Ryukishi07, the red character Na (な) in the logo is an official part of the title.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place primarily in the year 1986, during the time frame of October 4 and October 5 on a small, secluded island named Rokkenjima (六軒島?) owned and lived on by Kinzo, the head of the wealthy Ushiromiya family. Kinzo is near death, and eight of his family members arrive on the island for the annual family conference, where the adults plan to discuss how Kinzo's assets will be divided once he is dead. Also on the island are three family members who live there, five of Kinzo's servants, and his personal physician. After the eight family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island, and shortly after, strange things start to happen and people start dying.
The main character of the story is Battler Ushiromiya, son of Kinzo's second son Rudolf. Battler has not been to the annual Ushiromiya conference in six years due to living with his maternal grandparents ever since his mother Asumu died, and even took his mother's maiden name instead of Ushiromiya. When his grandparents died, he went back to living with his father, his second wife Kyrie, and their daughter Ange, his half-sister. Once on the island, Battler once again becomes acquainted with the legend of the golden witch Beatrice who supposedly lives in the naturally dense forest on Rokkenjima. A portrait of her lies in the entrance hall of the Ushiromiya family mansion, and a puzzling epitaph is written below the portrait. Rumor has it on the island that Beatrice gave ten tons of gold to Kinzo in the past to restart the Ushiromiya family after being crippled in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. It is said that whoever solves the riddle of the witch's epitaph will receive the gold and be the next successor to the Ushiromiya family.
Once the typhoon hits, a ghastly game begins, starting with the murder of six people on the island. If the witch's epitaph cannot be solved, people will continue to die in mysterious deaths, following the outline given by the epitaph itself, until the witch Beatrice ultimately revives. From this point on, Battler and Beatrice are locked in a game of twisted logic where Battler must attempt to explain all of the mysterious events on Rokkenjima from the standpoint that they are caused by a human, and Beatrice attempts to explain everything with witches and magic. If Beatrice can get Battler to ultimately surrender and accept witches and magic, Beatrice wins.