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1) Ooishi

a) So good old Ooishi gets involved immediately after the murder. Hopefully we’ll learn a bit more about him this time.

b) Shion echoes my thoughts exactly. How does Ooishi know about her fingers? There’s no way the Sonozaki’s, or anyone in town for that matter, would talk much about it.

c) “This is just my guess… but the Sonozaki family would never allow one of their daughters to be romantically involved with a murderer.” Baw ah ha ha ha! Oh, Ooishi-san. Poor, naïve Ooishi-san. Though he is partially right. The Sonozaki women aren’t romantically involved with murderers; they are At least probably. Shion at least.

2) Satoshi

a) Oh, he’s alive. The curse hasn’t gotten him… yet. If I remember the Cotton Drifting right, he was said to have disappeared the same night his aunt died, so this is a development.

b) Also, okay, I’m taking Shion’s testimony as good enough proof to accept that it was Satoshi who did the murder. I guess Rika’s part in it could be explained as Oyashiro acting through Satoshi, but that doesn’t explain the Sonozaki’s part.

c) Keichi’s back! … Nope, five and a half volumes was not enough to make me miss him. Though I will give him one thing… “You’re not human until you’ve got clothes on!” Very Kill la Kill.

3) Mion

a) The way Mion is dressed when Shion is brought in, it’s very similar to how they are dressed in Beyond Midnight. I can’t make any meaningful connection between the two (unless, maybe, it’s to remind us of the strength of the bond between the two, despite Mion’s actions in the scene). I just can’t shake the resemblance.

b) Mion asks Shion who has helped her before revealing that they’ve already caught Kasai and Tatsuyoshi. While she never gets the perfect chance, Shion could easily rat out Mion right here, and stir things up a bit. I guess even in this situation, she’s loyal to her sister.

c) So Shion takes Mion’s word that Satoshi’s disappearance has nothing to do with the Sonozaki’s. The questions I’m stuck on is, should we, the audience, take her word. Shion’s obviously a little nuts at this point, but when she says to trust Mion, it seems pretty genuine. Likes it’s the author themselves telling us we can trust Mion here. For now, I’m gonna go with it; Satoshi’s disappearance was not caused by the Sonozaki family. The problem now is, what did cause it.

The Sonozaki family can be the easiest explanation for nearly every mystery in Higurashi. Taking them out of the equation, the most obvious option is the curse. But the curse doesn’t seem to operate in a direct way anyway; even if it was the curse, typically it would be through someone (probably link to the Sonozaki’s) in the village. That’s how Abducted by Demons went; the curse operated through Keichi’s paranoia.

Right now I’m drawn to the Curse Killing arc, and my theory in there that Satoshi is somehow still around. But that’s the most confusing arc still, and appealing to it opens more questions than it answers.

d) Now Shion goes back, and outright says that it was the Sonozakis that “erased” Satoshi. Though at this point, with the whole going fucking nuts thing, suddenly her testimony doesn’t seem like good evidence.

e) However, Mion’s testimony that all the kings until now are just the work of the Sonozakis, that I can role with. Even she’s not sure, but it’s a good point in that theory’s favour. Maybe Satoshi really was the same. However, that’s all just backstory now. It doesn’t explain a single one of the fifth year kills; that actual stories. At best it could explain Tomitake and Takano’s deaths this time, and even the other times if they sneak into the Saiguden ever time.

For there, in Abducted by Demon Keichi went insane, sure. In Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening, well, we’re just about there right now. But the damn Curse Killing arc; I got nothing. There are still things, such as Rika’s accurately predicting all the deaths in the Time Killing arc, that clearly indicate the curse or some supernatural element is involved. The extra footstep; the fact that every year, someone hears that and so does Rena. But maybe the curse only gets involved in the fifth year.

Too bad Shion killed the demon old lady, she would have been a great source for answers.

4) Saiguden

a) So the underground torture chamber is still in use. I had always gotten the impression that it was like an old desk; perfectly good if you wanted to use it, but since you got a new one you just always preform your murder rituals on it instead. Good to know the Sonozaki’s really do stand by their traditions and aren’t just modern mob posers.

b) The fingernail scene is just as gruesome as in the anime, but in a different way. It was actually tough to read. You feel more connected to Shion’s perspective in the manga, because you can read her thoughts, and it’s paced much more slowly giving you more time with her. The fingernail tearing, you can almost relate to here. In the anime you feel like a powerless observer, similar to how Shion has some degree of powerlessness, but she’s also forced to carry out the torture. With the manga, turning the pages feels similar. It has to happen, but now you’re the one doing it. It’s a little horrifying.

c) Miyo-san was found burned in the mountains again. If I remember correctly, that’s in every arc so far except Abducted by Demons, where she just disappeared. She’s a big mystery.

5) Shion

a) She thinks up an alibi that she knows is a lie for Satoshi, when she has knowledge that should make her the most suspicious of him. It’s true love. True, mad, yandere love.

b) The way you write Shion apparently means “poem” and “sound”. That is way to cuet for this demon. I refuse to let my guard down! Though I must say, the manga is doing a great job of trying to make me. It was something that really disappointed me about the anime and I think why I just hate Shion so much now; it never really made me like her. If I didn’t already know how this goes, I’d probably love her right about now, and that’s due in no small part to Yutori Houjyou’s art.

c) So Shion doesn’t like that people are attributing Satoshi’s death to Oyashiro-sama’s curse. I guess we already knew she was pretty secular, but this is the second clear instance of her rejecting and being angry at a religious approach. Anyway, she rejects the curse, another thing that separates her from the Sonozaki’s, at least on its face, and probably something that carries over to other stories. Unless she’s only believing it’s not the curse because then there’s a chance that Satoshi will return.

d) And the yandere is let loose, at Shion tackles Mion to the ground and strangles her. Though, interestingly, she is brought back to her senses. There’s a way to go still to explain her behaviour in The Cotton Drifting.

e) So much is being juggled in Shion’s decent into yandere insanity. She’s jealous or Mion. She’s angry at Hinamizawa. She’s angry at herself for even thinking of forgetting about Satoshi and liking another boy, Keichi. It feels all over the place, like the core motivation(s) for it aren’t getting proper attention, just glanced over briefly before the reader is whisked away to another thought. It does sorta work to put you on edge, feel unstable around Shion which should be similar to how she feels now. But I feel like the anime was more streamlined; well, it was, a lot was cut out. But in terms of motivation, I thought the anime presented it as sympathy for Mion, because Shion saw her heart being broken just as her own was. A bit of that is in hear as well, and most of the motivations her were also a little present in the anime, but it feels a lot less focused and understood. At least at this point.

f) One extra footstep; Shion is now officially cursed. But that final decent into madness… I know it from this point on that all the things that have made me despise and distrust her begin, but in those last moments, she finally got to me. I think I understand how she feels and sympathised with her. I liked Shion for a brief moment. And now, I will pay for it over the rest of this arc. Thanks a lot, Higurashi!

g) The way Shion’s depicted and talking after her decent into madness. Did she just have sex with her insane hallucination of Satoshi?