When the Seacats Cry review

Title: When the Seacats Cry
Release date: 2011-12-30
Developer: Kinjo (a.k.a. SeagullCrazy)
Publisher: Kinjo (a.k.a. SeagullCrazy)

It's really not that strange that with "Umineko no Naku Koro ni" series being so popular, there are fan-games created based on the saga. What's actually strange, that those games are proper visual novels and not just short parody works. Many probably have heard of "Higurashi no naku Koro ni Fun" - a 5 minute comedy short of the "Cicada" series. If you are expecting the same from "When the Seacats Cry" then you will be in for a surprise.
Don't mock Battler's favourite book!
"Seacats" is a long-ass four chapter game, emulating the same structure as the main series, and the chapters themselves are quite long with the fourth one rivaling the official EPs in length. Well, I'm actually lying a bit. The structure is a bit different. The main game presents a mystery, and the Tea Parties show us all the answers. That is very much unlike Ryuukishi's work that tried to obfuscate the answers as much as possible. Not only that, but Chapter 3 is an interactive visual novel with a few different possible endings.

"Seacats" in this case is a pun on "Umineko" which means "Seagulls", but splitting the word into two parts Umi and Neko, you get Sea Cats. It's also apparently the name of some message board that the creator of the game used to visit, but I wouldn't know much about that (other than the infodumps I had to read through in the fourth tale).

So, let's start the sucker up and see how it fares against Ryuukishi07's work. A word of caution though, it is inadvisable to play the fan-game prior to finishing all 8 episodes of the original saga, as it's laden with spoilers. Actually, you cannot even start the game if you don't have the full "Chiru" installed on your computer as "Seacats" is not a stand-alone game. Rather it's a patch you apply to the core arcs.

Forgery of the Golden Witch

Surprisingly it's a very conventional chapter, reminiscent of "Legend". It's a straightforward crime mystery with very little fantasy elements descending onto the gameboard. Though I have to admit that Rosa has her own zombie episode not unlike zombie Kanon from "Turn". Sadly the true Beatrice doesn't appear in the game and the form of Beato that does appear is revealed to be the in-game manifestation of the fan-Game Master.
Who's the mysterious spy?
Episode returned to the glorious age of closed room mysteries and gave Battler a run for his money trying to solve the. I liked the overall presentation of the episode, but there were a few things that bugged me. Mainly it was the survivors' attitude towards the murders. In the original games everyone went to painstaking measures to ascertain the demise of their friends. Here doctor Nanjo isn't even called to examine the victims of the first twilight. This laid back attitude is prevalent through the whole episode with Nanjo being dreadfully underemployed. Not only that, but the survivors were way too absentminded in their search for clues or trying to ascertain various things about closed rooms (hell, once they didn't even check if the door were really closed!).

I don't have many other complaints about the plot as it moved in a speedy way with little chance to catch a breath. It was only strange to me (not that I particularly minded), that Kinjo made some shit up during the solving of the epitaph. On the other hand, that might have been done due to us already knowing the Ryuukishi's solution. Kinjo just wanted to introduce some unexpected element in an already familiar tale.
Oh, how I have missed your evil laugh...
Nonetheless, Tea Party wasn't as good as I wanted. It just didn't capture the feel of the intellectual battles between Beato and Battler. Beatrice felt too laid back and gave away way too many hints, helping Battler enormously in his trials to solve the closed rooms. Still, for a fan game in "Umineko" universe, this was an enormous endeavour for the creator. Let's dive into the next chapter and see how he fares there.

Trick of the Golden Witch

"Trick" is a homage to the second episode of "Umineko" series with Beatrice seemingly becoming an actual presence on the game board with many of the visitors being able to see her. In a twist, this forgery changed some fundamental facts about the game board (for example, Kinzo is definitely alive in this tale). What's more, it's Kinzo himself that denies the existence of Beatrice and assumes the mantle of the detective i.e. he's an objective perspective (hell, he even appears in a Sherlock Holmes cap and with a pipe in his teeth).
Magical Gohda Chef.
Even the murders mirror episode two with the victims of the first twilight killed in the chapel and their stomachs stuffed with candy ("Happy Halloween, Maria!"). Actually, every murder here is a seemingly impossible closed room. I say seemingly, as every one of them will be deconstructed in the Tea Party, though I must admit that solutions to some of them were a bit far fetched.
Tsundere?! It's not like I have ever done anything for that idiot, or anything!!
The Tea Party itself is basically the same as in the previous episode. In other words, it's a relentless exchange of red and blue betwixt Battler and his opponent. What the tea party lacks is a spirit. I'm sorely missing those lively banters between Battler and Beato in the original games and the fight here seems cold and distant without that sporting spirit. At least the solution to this tale was satisfactory. The previous one introduced way too many culprits for us to take it seriously and the motive was somewhere out there. The "Trick" presents believable answers to "who? how? why?".
What the F...udge are you doing here?!!!
The ending reveals that the whole game was rigged (hence the "Trick"), but not all hope is lost. Ange is up to saving Battler again, like that idiot can't take care of himself :-) As the next game is interactive interactive, the story might just go either way. Let's proceed.

Inquisition of the Golden Witch

This time we have a chance to solve the mystery ourselves, but the chance is very slim - one in a quadrillion, to be exact. That number might just be true as there is an ungodly amount of choices in the chapter and the different paths to follow. In other words, "Inquisition" is a full-blown visual novel, that even has its own inventory.

Your biggest enemy in this chapter is time. You can pick and use items, search the rooms or question suspects, but you cannot do everything as time goes and you can only proceed with a limited amount of actions. Even worse, the chapter removes a save feature and autosaves after every choice you make, so you can not retreat and try a different option until after you finish the chapter and the corresponding Tea Parties. Only then you can return and try your luck again.
What will you do?
It's no surprise that I ended up "killed" in the kitchen and missed majority of the game on my first try. Luckily, you are not required to glean the truth during the game proper as the Tea Parties reveal the answer anyway (a very unexpected answer as the twist came out of nowhere, at least for me). Still, most likely you will want to go back and try some other paths for fulfillment. The replays are easier as the save function returns, though it's not very reliable and "Inquisition" is prone to crashing in the menu screen.

It helps to know, that this game strictly follows both Knox and Van Dine, beforehand. Despite that, the author completely misinterprets the Van Dine's 17th rule and bases the logic of the game on this error. For those curious:
Van Dine's 17th: The culprit cannot be a professional criminal.
17th as interpreted by Kinjo: The culprit cannot feel guilt while committing a crime.
It's more than strange how this error came to be as while the original wording of the rules is a bit archaic by modern standards, every rule goes to great lengths to explain the wording, thus it must be a case of author not reading the explanation to the end.
A pillar of sanity.
Despite the outcome of the game, the Tea Party requests you to name the culprit and gives you five chances to succeed. I find that dreadfully unfair, as this request is presented even if you completely messed up previously. For example, I was "killed" so early, that I missed all the twilights after the first one and couldn't make an educated guess about the culprit. It was pure luck that I managed to name the culprit in one try.

What I liked about this chapter was it's huge interactivity, making it look like an adventure game, and the fact that for once Battler isn't even on the gameboard. What I probably didn't like was the unfairness of it all. There is literally no chance to beat the game correctly without going through it at least a few dozen times.
No, this time we'll bake meatloaves out of you.
To help would be adventurers I'm gonna list all the items I found and the places I found them in:
» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «
Be aware, that the items carry over after restarting the game and you can pick them up during more than one run. Also, used up items immediately respawn in their previous places on the island. It's enough to say, that I couldn't find when and where to use majority of them and couldn't solve the chapter to my satisfaction. Of well...

Board of the Golden Witch

If there is one word to describe this chapter, it would be - schizophrenic. "Board" not only completely demolishes the fourth wall, but goes on to break the fifth and damages the sixth one. All the characters here are the production members of "When the Seacats Cry", their friends and Kinjo himself takes on the role of the protagonist.
It sums up the plot.
The plot centers on the /seacats/ imageboard and its downfall. At the end of "Inquisition" Featherine intended to publish one of her Forgeries on the /seacats/, but learned that the website is gone. Subsequently, this chapter starts with the members of that site investigating the possible cause of its death, but quickly devolves into a psychotic mishmash of nonsense. Still, there are a few distinct parts to this tale, mirroring those of EP8.

First of all, Kinjo has to solve 16 riddles given to him by various members of the community and gets medals for successful answers just like kid Ange from the "Twilight". Many of those riddles are incredibly unfair and the only way for you to solve them is to save beforehand and reload after each miss. The worst offender would be a certain riddle involving probability theory and dice. After that we get a brief slice of /seacats/ history and the Rokkenjima mansion is attacked by a shitload of anonymous goats (reminds you of anything?). Afterwards the goats besiege the Golden Land while Kinjo and a few of his friends infiltrate Golden Gameboard - a rival website that is responsible for the goat attack on /seacats/ (don't try to make sense of all this, you will only get headaches).
Just in time for the new movie.
During all this you are treated to a few short gameboards, the most memorable of them involving Kinzo flying around with rocket boots and the mystery of a cake thief. I kid you not! The only good thing that comes out of all this is the mention of some additional detective rules, namely Chandler's and Carr's (though I wasn't successful in finding anything about Carr on the web).

In the end, this chapter is a sort of personal requiem from Kinzo to the dead /seacats/ website and thus it has little relevance to me as I knew not about that website until playing the game. And so, I felt nothing toward the characters or the events depicted within. I don't consider "Board" to be a proper chapter even in an "Umineko" fan-game.


I think, that "Seacats" is a very well crafted "Umineko" fan-game that beats even the official fan-disks and provides lots of fun hours for our enjoyment. It's a shame that "Board" is the longest chapter that might be as long as all the three episodes before it put together.

Moreover I wasn't so hot about the additional art, mainly in the sprites department. Many of the sprites look really amateurish (though, to be fair, probably every member of /seacats/ drew his or her own sprite) and those same sprites were incorporated in the opening videos for every chapter. The cropping is also pretty poor with white pixelation noticeable around the edges of the inserted sprites.
I approve of the message.
If I disliked one thing about every chapter, it was the videos. They display an incredibly bad encoding and are very pixelated and blurry. What's more, incorporation of /seacats/ members into the videos way before they even appear in the game proper looks like a troll effort. Though that might not be far from the truth. Starting with the end of chapter 3, the title screen displays an undertitle "Ballad of the Trolls and RPGfags".

In spite of the fourth tale that requires you to have lots of obscure knowledge about fandom, the first three tales are really entertaining and I would heartily suggest anyone who liked "Umineko" and wants some more mystery, to play Kinjo's game.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Download the game from the official thread on Animesuki

Final verdict: 73%


  1. oh god this looks fun... I really wish I knew how to use this engine to make a Jessica x battler canon love ending.. "yeah I'm one of those people" Also thanks for the heads up on this fan game ^^

  2. I've just read all of your VN review, and am astounded to find that we really have different taste. For each end of your review I always has a different opinion about the game inside my head. Not that I'm picking a fight, I am simply astounded. Do you have a vndb account? And if yes, does it Beliar as well? I'd like to see what else VN you have played.

    Or I just can search your username at vndb.

    1. Yeah, I'm beliar on vndb. It's a good thing that we don't have the same opinions, now isn't it? It would be pretty boring otherwise.

  3. Anonymous3/9/12 21:13

    You got the golden gameboard ending for ep4, right?

    1. Anonymous3/9/12 22:03

      Of course. Anyway, our site isn't dead.

  4. Anonymous3/9/12 22:46

    If you are in any way interested, the author of those fan-games is currently on the way to making another one, which will be called Repercussion of the Golden Witch, which will be much like the 3rd episode of this compilation.

    1. Anonymous3/9/12 22:48

      Repercussion's author is Ozaki, not Kinjo.

    2. Anonymous4/9/12 03:19

      True. Kinjo's still the one doing the programming though, but I should have mentioned it.

    3. Well it won't exactly be like EP3 in terms of the amount of choices, but there will be some interactive gameplay.

      Anyway, I greatly appreciate the review, so thank you. To clarify a few things, the tea parties were almost entirely transcribed from actual debates on the /seacats/ website, and the strange epitaph theory in the first fangame was because I had written it around the time of EP6.

      As already mentioned, I'm working on another Umineko fangame with Ozaki (who I'm trying to teach some programming to), as well as an original VN. My future works can all be found at my website, the link in my name.

    4. Any approximate release dates for those games of yours, Kinjo. I believe I'll play them, when they're out.

    5. I can't say anything for sure at this point, sorry, but I do hope you enjoy them when they're out.

  5. Huh, this review is really surprising. I mean, I enjoyed the first three games, but the fourth is what made the game for me. I didn't want it to end. And this is coming from someone with absolutely no prior knowledge of /seacats/ or the Golden Gameboard or anything.

    The tea parties were also my favourite parts of the other episodes. I actually thought they felt more epic than most of the logic battles in the actual game. Well, to each their own.

  6. To me the Tea Parties are very frustrating to read. Battler's theories are all over the place, most of the time with almost zero chance of being right, guessing every cheap trick in the book, and sometimes they even are repeating things that have already been ruled out. I feel the need to skip ahead to the correct answer often.

    The fact that they come from actual debates on a website explains why this is, but I think it would've been a much better read if the writer instead had Battler propose a few logical incorrect guesses before getting to the right one.

    At the very least the guesses posted on the website should be very heavily edited afterward so it sounds like one person is posing all of the theories in a way that makes sense. Reading 100s of ridiculous and wrong theories one after another is not fun.

    Just a bit of constructive criticism in case the author looks back here and is planning to do something like this again. I find myself enjoying the games but then not enjoying the tea parties, much like the reviewer.

    Good work on these games overall though. They really do feel quite like the real Umineko at times.

    1. And to clarify the above was just in regards to the first two chapters. I just played chapter 3 and WOW! I absolutely loved just about everything about it.

      I was particularly amazed by how true to Umineko all the backstories felt. This was truly a top notch forgery. And the ability to interact with the world provided a level of thrill that I had never received from Umineko itself. Helping Erika solve the epitaph, and stumbling on the magic circle for the first twilight were truly thrilling moments for me.

      Also I very much enjoyed the Tea Party this time. Well done, Kinjo. Fabulous game.

  7. Anonymous27/3/13 04:08

    Please post a link that works, all links available at this time are dead.

    1. 4shared link works just fine with me. Of course, you have to create a free account to download. I might add a link to some other service, but that will have to wait.