Stepping into volume 2 of the Massacre arc; can Rika’s perfect world be saved, and more importantly, can we get some answers? Let’s find out.
1) The Three Rules:
a) pg 13) Rule X: Someone in Hinamizawa becomes paranoid, leading them to acts of violence. Rule Y: Tomitake and Takano are killed on the night of the cotton drifting, and Rika is killed sometime later (Rule Y contributes to the suspicion in Rule X). Rule Z: Everyone believes that the murders are linked to the Sonozaki family.
I’m not convinced we have any serious candidates for Rule X yet (obviously Shion’s desire to kill Teppei make her suspicious, and I talked about Rika in regards to this rule last time, but it’s still too early to tell on either of those). Rule Y obviously hasn’t happened yet. But Rule Z… apparently people are starting to think that the Sonozaki family is somehow behind Keichi’s appeals to the child welfare organization.
b) pg 140-141) So the powers that be in Hinamizawa are trying to stop Keichi from saving Satoko. That has elements of all the rules. Rule Z because the Sonozaki’s are behind it. And Rules X and Y because it will feed into Keichi’s paranoia. Let me guess; Takano and Tomitake will stay of Keichi’s side because they aren’t affiliated with the school and thus don’t put the school at risk, but then they’re going to get killed.
a) pg 7) Until now, Ooishi always struck me as the Harry Bosch kind of detective. The, “I’m on a mission for justice, and screw your political image bull-crap!” kinda guy. Now he’s trying to talk Keichi out of his own just mission by appealing to political bull-crap. I guess that really is an element of his character. I’m not sure I like him anymore.
This “threat” turns out to be just a way to test Keichi’s resolve apparently. It’s ahrd to tell when to take Ooishi seriously and when not to; when he’s a villain and when he’s an ally. He doesn’t seem like he’d be anywhere inbetween.
b) pg 15) Ooishi is planting the seeds of paranoia in Keichi’s mind, making him think that the Sonozaki family might come after him for helping a Hojo. He or Takano will do this to the curse victim every time. Is it intentional? Fate does require a strong will, so there should be someone who wants this to happen. Anyway, add Keichi to the list of potential curse victims now, since they went to him with this.
c) pg 25) Four years ago Ooishi’s friend was killed, and he’s still investigating it privately. Four years ago is a very suspicious time. It’s possible that Ooishi’s friend happens to be the dam construction manager. If he’s still investigating that privately, it would explain his interest in the murders surrounding Hinimizawa, and of course the Sonozaki family.
It could also explain the part about the construction manager being ripped out of Keichi’s note in Abducted by Demons. It’s not a Hinamizawa conspiracy, it’s just a little police business. Maybe Ooishi was the first to find the note, but didn’t want to draw attention towards an investigation he wants to handle himself. Or maybe some other officer found it, and didn’t want it to encourage Ooishi’s side project.
a) I think it’s been hard to get a grasp of Keichi’s character over these volumes, simply due to how often he’s been cursed. He was paranoid and untrusting of his friends in the very first story, which was the biggest misdirect. Our first impression of him was that, but actually, his true character is the exact opposite.
We got a glimpse of what he’s really like in the Cotton Drifting arc. Then in the Curse Killing arc we were given the impression that when pushed, he will resort to violence. Again, this was just because of the curse, and in truth he is the exact opposite.
It’s taken until now, but I think for the first time, we are getting a really clear picture of who Keichi really is. Then again, if he turns out to be cursed in this world too, screw it, I give up.
b) pg 87) Following up on the idea that Keichi might be the victim of this year’s curse, Takano and Tomitake join the fight to appeal the child welfare decision. If Rule Y occurs again, and they die after joining his side, that will amplify his paranoia that the Sonozaki’s, or someone, are out to get him for helping a Hojo. Thus, Rule Y contributes to Rule X, just as always. That is, if they’re killed.
c) The parallels to the dam war are so obvious that even the characters can’t help but notice them. The tripping point for me was when they met the director of the centre. “Director.” I’m pretty sure that’s the same word that was used for the guy in charge of the dam project. That’s the point where I said, this is more than a bit of similarity, this is heavy handed juxtaposition. The clear difference is that this is all non-violent. I’ll chalk that up to Keichi’s work.
d) pg 128) Oh no. Now Keichi’s acting like no one’s one his side when he’s got pretty much the whole damn town behind him! He’s moving further up the ranks as a potential curse victim. And he was doing so well, too!
a) pg 51) Perhaps Satoko is the one cursed. She’s paranoid, hallucinating about her uncle at school now. But she’s also pretty much the same as she was in Curse Killing, and she wasn’t cursed then, just deeply distressed.
a) pg 102) Again, Hanyu tried to discourage Rika and says “You can wait with me…” She totally is jealous of Rika’s love for Satako! More and more I’m thinking, Hanyu is behind all this. Hanyu is trying to get Rika to give up on her life and friends, and just be with her. Hanyu is a total yandere.
a) Fringes is supposed to be for stuf not actually in the story. For the art pages at the beginning, and the author’s and artist’s notes at the end, as well as some little comments about the art and things. This time, it’s about more than the front and back covers of any particular arc. It’s about the two events bordering the story (at least as I see it now). The Dam War, and what’s happening in this volume. I don’t know if the war against the child welfare centre will be the end or not, but it would be a fitting one. Five years ago, Oyashiro-sama’s curse started with the tragic end of The Dam War. Now this story actually has a hope of putting a close to the string of deaths that happen every year around the Cotton Drifting Festival, and it’s with another Dam War. I kinda hope those turn out to be the fringes of Higurashi.
Then again, we’ve got two more arcs ater this, so I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up… sir.
Don’t Lose Your Way