Let’s get right back at it!
a) p. 1) An odd sight, this art page. Rika sitting in a shallow pond drinking wine with two wine bottles floating around her. All I get out of it is that this is supposed to conflict with the image of Rika we know, but we’ve been getting that since at least the Time Killing arc.
2) Oyashiro-Sama’s Curse:
a) Another odd thing about the parasites thing in Takano’s notebook, Keich and Shion both read that notebook, and neither of them made any mention of parasites. I remember at least one of them found it pointless because the notebook didn’t have anything they didn’t already know. So perhaps that notebook is different in different arcs. Given the mysteries surrounding Takano, it wouldn’t surprise me.
b) p. 7) “But the parasite theory explains everything…” Oh no, Rena is a 6/19 Truther!
c) p. 9) Okay, points to Rena, she’s thought about this a bit. But I don’t think parasites are smart enough to incentivise animals to change their habitat in order to best satisfy the parasites needs. If someone can find an example of that in nature, neat, another point for Rena. But I can’t find it.
d) I’m starting to think Takano’s role in all of this is to purposely incite chaos. She’s a good candidate for Takitake’s murderer (though I still think Rika is somehow involved), she helped drive Keichi to madness in Curse Killing, and now, in Atonement, when things were looking positive and maybe no one else would have to die, she makes Rika into a conspiracy theorist.
e) p. 22) Rika(?):“According to the usual pattern the night of June 25th is when I will die. The body will be burned…” The usual pattern… so this is what typically happens then? Well, we didn’t see it in Abducted by Demons, but that ended before the 25th, with Rika still alive; it could have happened after the ending. We didn’t see it in the Cotton Drifting or Eye Opening, but those as special circumstances. We didn’t see it in Curse Killing, though Rika did die there, just by different means and well before the 25th. And I’m pretty sure the Curse Killing events hold in Time Killing.
Speaking of the Time Killing arc, Rika predicted her death there as well, as well as Takano’s and Tomitake’s. Those other two are true for every instance of the cycle (though it’s not actually Takano’s body in the oil drum) so you’d think Rika’s would be universal as well. But nope, her death might be assured (depending on what happened past the end of Abducted by Demons), but the details are variable.
f) p. 36) The white van is a Toyota! Clearly this will be an integral clue as to who or what Oyashiro-Sama is!
g) p. 77) More Takano stuff. She had apparently been dead twenty-four hours by the time her body was found, meaning she couldn’t have been at the festival like she was. Except she was at the festival, and I’m sure more lab tests will show that that’s not actually Takano.
a) p. 20-21) Okay, this is big. So for a while now, we know a lot has been up with Rika. I had assumed she simply relived the story in each arc, but was still just one person. Now it seems there may be two people in her body. One who is still very mysterious to us, who definitely relives the cycle, and who apparently likes to drink. And Rika, and I’m not sure if she relives the cycle or not.
I have a lot of questions about this, mostly about Rika though. Who is in control of her body? How aware is she of this other presence? Does she remember the cycle? And why doesn’t she tell anyone about this?
b) p. 100-101) Rika comes to Rena with a syringe. I’ve gone over my hypothesis that that drug is the throaty throaty scratchy scratchy drug several times already, but this time Rena’s neck was already itchy…
c) p. 105) Odd… even though Rena is perfectly willing to distrust her friends, as seen with Mion, she won’t distrust Rika. She assumes (rightly) that it’s not really her friend Rika. Now, maybe it’s because just being at the junkyard at night would be odd behaviour for Rika, and if she tried killing her mid-afternoon in the park, Rena would totally believe that is Rika. I don’t know.
d) p. 108) So I was right! Tomitake was killed by an injection; the same one Rika tried to use on Shion in the Eye Opening arc! And the one Rika (or the person in Rika’s body) has brought for Rena is the opposite; she’s scratching at her itchy throat now, but that injection will curse her.
Then I’ve got one question. Did Keichi get an injection or not in Abducted by Demons? (followed up in 4b)
e) p. 108) More importantly, this other person in Rika has lived in her body for a hundred years. At least we’re gather some information on her, though I don’t know what to do with it yet.
f) p. 112-114) Whoever is living in Rika, I don’t think she’s evil. I think she actually does want to live a happy Hinamizawa life with her friends. But she knows it never lasts and the loop always begins again, so if one scenario isn’t going so well, she’ll just stop caring and let the end of the world come and hope to have fun in the next scenario.
g) p. 108) Also, whoever is in Rika, she may not be immortal. She was scared of what Rena could do to Rika, especially considering Rena’s erratic state. Does she have to be killing in a certain way to be reincarnated? Is that why she was smiling after she killed herself in Eye Opening? Because she avoided Shion’s method of killing her. Or just because she avoided being tortured. In which case, she’s just scared of the pain Rena could inflict upon her.
h) p. 77) “You have to confess your sins in order to be forgiven. But once you’ve confessed a sin about been forgiven you don’t need to confess it anymore, sir.” Rika, I thought you were the reincarnation of Oyashiro-Sama, not Jesus!
i) p. 236) Rika will fight for the future. She’s optimistic about Keichi remembering. She sees a chance to break the cycle, and that’s all she wants. She wants to get out of 1983’s Higurashi. And we can confidently think that it will happen. At some point they must escape for the Beyond Midnight arc to happen… that actually kinda spoils it… spoils something that we know is going to happen anyway, but still.
4) Abducted by Demons:
a) Given everything going on with Rena in this arc and her paranoia, I’m gonna go ahead as just take the “Keichi is crazy” theory on Abducted by Demons now. There are too many parallels, now being shown form the perspective of someone who’s not cursed. Still, I do have some questions. What cause Keichi’s throat clawing? Well, the drug; but that means the syringe wasn’t a hallucination. So when was Keichi injected, and by whom? And who tore out part of the note? Why?
b) If Keichi got an injection, it was obviously the throat clawing one. But why would he get it when Rika’s trying to opposite on Rena here? The other possibility is that he naturally had the disease (the same way Rena has it now) and Rika never got to inject him and save him. Maybe that’s why there was no syringe taped to the clock; because there was no drug that time.
c) p. 170) “Even if… [insert serendipitously accurate criminal past here] I wouldn’t look at Rena like she was filthy, would I?” Yes yes, Ryukishi, I see what you did there. Brought up Keichi’s past in reference to Rena’s distrust of him in order to juxtapose it to Rena’s past and how Keichi didn’t trust her in Abducted by Demons. Also, Keichi, you hypocrite.
d) p. 190-193) There it is! Keichi gets a brief vision on the Abducted by Demons arc. The boundaries between scenarios are falling apart quickly.
e) p. 213) Rika asks Keichi if he really remembers, just further confirming that she knows a bit about what’s going on. But there’s more emotion this time. She surprised that Keichi remembers. This is something new, even for her.
5) The Madness:
a) p. 61) “Takano’s scrapbook has some kind of evil power that drives anyone who reads it insane.” Called it!
b) p. 66) The bodies are gone… just like in the Curse Killing arc. And hey, fittingly one of the bodies is actually the same one! At time point I’m leaning towards some natural explanation for the bodies disappearing; something to do with the soil in that area or something. Either that of Takano’s on the loose.
c) p. 82) Or Mion moved the bodies to better hide them. That works too. But it doesn’t do much for the Curse Killing arc… unless…
In the Curse Killing arc, Keichi’s friends said he was at the Cotton Drifting festival even when he wasn’t. One explanation for this is that they all realized what he was doing (perhaps because of the call he made to Shion, asking her to bring Satasko), so they were covering for him. If they knew what he was doing, Mion would have made the same move, having the Sonozaki muscle relocate the body. Even if they others didn’t know, Shion could have had this done also. So that could be most of the Curse Killing mystery wrapped up right there!
d) p. 84) Well, we’ve made this section about dealing with other arcs. May as well role with it. “Tampering with information” as in, false leads. Just like the lead given to police that Satoshi was seen boarding a train to Tokyo. Yeah, he’s totally dead. Or, they saved him from being caught and charged for murder! But he’s probably not in Tokyo.
e) p. 92) As if trying to confirm my theory that Keichi’s friends lied for him in the Curse Killing arc, Mion’s lied about where Rena is is confusing Rena, and making her think there are two Rena’s walking around.
f) p. 94) “They can make human clones.” The things written in Takano notebook are getting a little too convenient for the situation. Does the notebook change with the victim’s madness, in order to reinforce it and drive it further, or does Takano just have a very good sense of what kinds of details to include?
g) p. 132) We’ve moved on from Trutherism to Scientology. Aliens!
a) p. 142-150) Huh… so Keichi was kinda a bully. A really weird bully. I really have trouble finding any significance here at all.
Well, that’s all I have this time. I’m feeling kinda mixed on the series right now, but I’m not sure how to explain it. Let me just say it like this; while there is certainly stuff in this manga I didn’t see in the anime, the two worlds, Keichi remembering what happened, etc. I know all that was coming. Yet, at the same time, this was the first time I’ve done a full volume of notes all in one day, and I’m about to start the next one! I guess I’m wrapped up in it all, even though I know pretty much what’s coming.
Other than that, I think we solved quite a few mysteries this time. We’ve pretty much got a definitive general answer to Abducted by Demons (which is kinda something we should expect from an “answers” arc), and I’m more confident in my understanding of the Curse Killing arc than ever. The Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening arcs are solved. Beyond Midnight was a fairly straightforward stand-alone. And Time Killing came with Curse Killing. So really, we’ve solved the individual arcs! We know what killed Tomitake. There are still enough questions buzzing around, like Takano, to keep things going, but I feel very satisfied right now.
Don’t Lose Your Way