When Seagulls Cry (2007)

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a Japanese visual novel developed by 07th Expansion. The title translates to When Seagulls Cry in English. The series was released in Japan from 2007-2011, and globally through 2016-2017.

“The story focuses on a group of eighteen people on a secluded island for a period of two days, and the mysterious murders that befall them. Readers are challenged to discern whether the murders were committed by a human or of some other supernatural source, as well as the method and motive behind them.” [. . .]    —Umineko When They Cry, Wikipedia, 2018.

Fans of the series have pointed out several references to Dante’s work in the series, such as these found by readers on MyAnimeList:

“I’ve started reading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy few days ago and I found several analogies with Umineko.

  1. “Names:
    Beatrice – name of deceased Dante’s love, his guide through Heaven
    Virgil – name of Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatorio
  2. “Structure of Mt. Purgatorio is of the form 2+7+1=9+1=10, with one of the ten regions different in nature from the other nine ( last – Earthly Paradise). It may resemble 10 twilights of the Witch’s Epitaph.
  3. “Dante meets Beatrice at 10th floor, Battler meets Beato at 10th twilight
  4. “Seven Stakes resemble floors 3rd- 9th of Mt. Purgatorio (each floor represents 1 of 7 deadly sins.)
  5. “Magic circles in Umineko have a same names as the Spheres of Heaven:
    First Sphere of the Moon –> First Circle of the Moon” [. . .]    —Azakus, MyAnimeList, October 11, 2009.

To see more of the Dante references fans of When Seagulls Cry have found, check out the full forum discussion on MyAnimeList.

You can buy When Seagulls Cry and check out other games in the series on Steam.

Contributed by Philip Smith (University of the Bahamas)

Penn Station and the Circles of Hell

“On March 8, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo compared America’s least-loved train station, Penn Station, to ‘the seven levels of hell.’ Here’s the full quote:

‘It is a disgrace. More people go through Penn Station every day than Newark, Kennedy, and La Guardia airports combined. It’s the most heavily traveled transportation hub in the hemisphere, and imagine what they say when they get off: “This is New York? Looks like the seven levels of hell. I’m in New York?”‘ [. . .]

“Penn Station is so viscerally awful that you can’t help but look for sin in relation to this place as causes for, results of, or simply in association with, its awfulness. So let’s humor the Governor and his imperfect analogy and try to map these different sins to activity occurring in (or near) Penn Station. I’ll be the Virgil to your Dante. Come with me across the River Acheron, or in this case, the stream of vomit and human misery running along West 34th Street.” [. . .]    –Mark Lee, Overthinking It, March 18, 2016.

You can read the full article at Overthinking It.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, dir. by Cristi Puiu)

Death-of-Mr-Lazarescu-Cristi-Puiu-Dante“Set in Bucharest, Romania, an ailing old man is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital during one night, while doctors refuse to treat
him. The ever-worsening journey of Mr Lazarescu, whose first name is Dante becomes a descent into the Underworld of Romania’s medical
services. Echoes to Dante abound.” — Contributor Cristian Ispir

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is the first instalment in a projected series of ‘Six Stories from the Bucharest Suburbs’. Puiu cites Eric Rohmer’s Moral Tales as his chief inspiration, but on this evidence an equally telling parallel would be Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog, though Puiu is more inclined towards self-conscious symbolism than the Pole. There are characters called Dante and Virgil and an unseen Dr Anghel, and the various hospital trips and their cyclical routines would match anyone’s idea of hell. And although the film’s title and mounting medical evidence suggests the opposite, Lazarescu’s own name hints that some kind of miraculous resurrection might be in prospect. It’s not just the film’s ambiguous ending that supports this, but also Fiscuteanu’s uncannily convincing portrayal of a man increasingly aware that he’s crossing the bridge between life and death but fiercely determined not to go without a fight, even as his faculties betray him. If Puiu’s main theme is the absence of love, his film is ultimately about the love of life.” — Review by Michael Brooke for the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine

Contributed by Cristian Ispir (University College London/Université de Lorraine)

“La Divina Brick-Commedia,” Fabio Broggi

“Ho ripercorso il viaggio di Dante attraverso l’utilizzo dei mattoncini più famosi al mondo. Le diverse immagini rappresentano altrettanti passaggi del poeta lungo la discesa nei gironi infernali, fino all’incontro con Lucifero e la sua fuoriuscita nell’emisfero australe.” — Fabio Broggi

See Fabio Broggi’s Instagram account (@ilcarota) for more images from La Divina Brick-Commedia.

Shane Castle, “Business Profile: The Inferno” (2010)

Dante-Virgil-hell-tours-business-profile-inferno“Publius Vergilius ‘Virgil’ Maro (Aeneid, Eclogues) started giving guided tours of Hell at the beginning of the 13th century B.C.E. Some of his contemporaries said it was a terrible idea. Others said no, it was basically a good idea, but that he just needed some kind of gimmick, maybe a paddleboat shaped like a duck. […]” — Shane Castle, “Business Profile: The Inferno,” McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, 2/19/2010

R. E. Parrish, comics

tumblr_nd3judBs7F1txhseao1_1280R. E. Parrish, October 7, 2014
Contributed by Bryce Livingston

 

“Nel Mezzo”

tumblr_ntp8x5McBh1uwkglro1_500

Nel Mezzo: A Little Trip through Dante’s Inferno
Contributed by Bryce Livingston

Rachel Platten, “Stand By You”

Rachel-Platten-Stand-by-You-2015“Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through. Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you.” —YouTube

 

 

 

“My First Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Journey”

pumpkin-spice-latte-Dante-Virgil-People“Then I waited. For a total of two minutes, I stood at the end of the counter and maintained eye contact with the jug of ‘Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce’ that happened to be sitting behind the ledge. ‘Tell me your secrets, magical chalice of spicy pumpkin secretions. What exactly are you?’ I asked the jug with my eyes, like Dante seeking help from Virgil.” –Kelli Bender, “My First Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Journey,” People Magazine

Contributed by Victoria Williams (University of Delaware, ’19)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

Yu-Gi-Oh!

In 2014, the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise released a set of trading cards called “Duelist Alliance.” The set featured characters from The Divine Comedy, including Dante (“Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss“), Virgil (“Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss“), and Malebranche demons like Graff (“Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss“).

Contributed by Ramiro Castillo (University of Texas at Austin, ’17)