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Alright, back again. We don’t have much more to go, so I’m going to try to get through these as quickly as possible, while still being thorough. While I certainly still love this series, I realize that people are probably a little tired of me spamming their inbox with extremely niche posts. I have plans for future projects that might actually interest readers, and I want to move onto those. First, however, we have to get through what’s left here, starting with volume one of the Festival Accompanying arc. Let’s do it.

 

Takano:

a) pg 7. Oh great, I release a massive article covering pretty much everything in this series except Takano, and we’re starting off with this being about Takano’s childhood. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; Ryukishi07 doesn’t write major characters without at least a tinge of sympathy. Let me guess; tragic backstory, probably orphaned, and creating Oyashiro-sama’s curse was ultimately a deluded attempt to regain something she lost?

b) pg 9. Her father’s apparently studying the history of Onigafuchi. Alright, we know where her fascination with the legends comes from.

c) pg 26. Wow, not wasting any time to get to the tragedy. Weird, considering how long these arcs usually drag out the “happy Hinamizawa” time, and how thick this one in particular is. Alright then, one of my predictions has already come true, and the tragic backstory probably won’t be far behind.

d) pg 42. Shoot, I was hoping to just sort of ignore the fact that her name as a child isn’t Takano, but it looks like we’re going to get another Takano in the story now, so that’ll get confusing. Fine, I’ll call her by her name from now on, Miyoko.

e) pg 107. Lol, your hopes were crushed and your spirit broken. Wait… that probably has something to do with the who psychotic murdering thing she does later… And I don’t like that, so… Dammit, because of the killing I want to take pleasure in her pain, but that pain is what led to the killing in the first place! Damn catch 22s.

f) pg 120. So I know Miyoko’s “You’re stupid, God!” thing is supposed to be a major character event, forming her long lasting views of religion and perhaps ultimately motiving her specific desires regard Oyashiro-sama’s curse and “becoming God”, and stuff. But, wow she just looks like a cuet silly kid in that panel!

g) pg 144. So Miyoko remembers her dad moving his mouth silently before he died, and now, weeks if not months later, she realizes he was mouthing a phone number. She suddenly gains the ability to lip-read memories, and… if anyone reading this studies psychology and knows about how memories are formed, please confirm for me that this is total bullshit. Much appreciated.

h) pg 211. We finally have Miyoko’s motive for studying Hinamizawa Syndrome! So why did that lead her to studying Oyashiro-sama? I mean, she knows there’s no curse; she’s known from the beginning apparently that it’s a parasite, so it seems a little disconnected. I’d worry about her majoring in anthropology to study a parasite, but we know she becomes a nurse, so she definitely directs her academics towards medicine and biology.

Also, still not at the motivation for the whole genocide thing. Right now she actually seems on track for a pretty positive, socially beneficial life. But I’m sure we’ll get to the murderous part later.

Weird Tropes:

a) pg 12. What’s with every single girl in this universe loving being patted on the head? Shion fell in love of that, and every not adult woman has appreciated being treated more like a puppy than a person. I know it’s a thing in all anime, but Higurashi just never stops with it.

b) pg 56. So it seems like, in Higurashi, friendship really is the solution to everything. Murdered two people and can’t live with the guilt? You should try Friends! Slowly losing your mind because of a mysterious, deadly local disease? Get new Friends extra strength! Parents are dead? Friends will fix that!

c) pg 79. What is with the cruel orphanage trope? This one extends far beyond anime; it’s practically in all fiction media. I get the idea of the callous orphanage; you got some jerks trying to make a buck from the government off some poor kids, and they cut costs by delivering a terrible standard of living for the kids. But why does it always go a step further, to the guys running the place getting off on beating the kids? You’d think something like that would appear somewhere in a person’s profile and come up during the job interview. If you’re running the place, even if you didn’t care and saw no harm in it, why would you specifically be searching out the people who will cause the most pain? Do most psychopaths just happen to also be highly qualified for that kind of job?

Hinamizawa:

a) So this is set just after the war, when Hinamizawa Syndrome was discovered, and Takano is going to be raised by a man who studies Hinamizawa’s folklore. We’re gonna learn about “Tokyo,” aren’t we?

b) pg 203. Finally, something related to the mysteries. We’ve already been told Takano (that is, the researcher dude Miyoko’s father knew) studies Hinamizawa. Now Takano steps into his office and the first thing she sees is a worm in a jar. Keep in mind, this is right after the war, so any and all study of Hinamizawa is probably going to be directed towards Hinamizawa Syndrome. If that parasite stuff from Atonement turns out to be the truth…

c) pg 204-206. So he confirms that those parasite samples are for his research, that research being Hinamizawa Syndrome. Not quite a definite slap in the face yet, but it’s coming.

d) pg 208. And there it is! So I did some research, and I can’t find a single example of brain parasites that causes paranoia. But hey, fiction, just go with it. I also couldn’t find much on parasites trying to keep their host in a specific geographic location, but it seems plausible. No, what disturbs me is Rika in this; her death would suddenly cause all the parasites to flip out at once. Why?

Well, obviously Rika is carrying a special breed of this parasite, but she’s told us that all Furude women are like this. So there are parasites that can affect genes (at least in animals, I’ve found), or it could be passed on during pregnancy. And I guess it’s possible that this parasite only manifests in females, and can’t be sped except from mother to child. And somehow all the others can sense if one of this type is around.

But even assuming all of that, this parasite isn’t new. Supposedly, it’s been around since the villages founding. So in all of that time, no female in this family tree branched off and generated more than one mother parasite in the village at a time? Do the Furude’s do the Sonozaki thing, where they kill any second born daughter? Why would that be a custom; wouldn’t you want more of these mother parasites that suppress all the others?

e) pg 209. “Grandpa’s research is so specialized that there’s no one else who studies it.” I’m sorry to keep pulling the bullshit alarm here, but… really? You have this super mysterious parasite with these crazy effects, and not one other biologist has tried to learn about it?

Child Abuse!:

a) pg 61. Oh great, more head pattin- OH SNAP! Now if only someone could pull a slap like that on the grown up Takano! Wait, wait. Anti-child abuse first, pro-adult abuse second. I’m sorry you poor little future psychotic bitch, you.

b) pg 71. So I know we’re supposed to dislike this ass-hole who took Miyoko in, but, I mean, “the coffin” is just such a perfect name for a punishment. I don’t even know what it is yet, but you can see the way it spreads fear deep into the hearts of every kid around there. You gotta respect that the guy’s good at what he does.

c) pg 87. This is all extremely convenient information this Eriko happens to have. And how happy and optimistic it could all be. Yeah, I’m gonna call it now. Either whoever told Eriko this is a lying ass-hole, or Eriko is a lying ass-hole.

d) pg 90. “The thirsty duck.” “The squashed caterpillar.” “The pig with its legs plucked off.” The thing I love about those names, they’re give you just enough ideas. Not quite so much that you can say for sure you completely know what it is, get over it, and move on. But enough to make you think, “I don’t want to know more.” Now you’re impressing me Higurashi!

e) pg 175. “When you live in a democracy, you have to follow the rules.” Uhh, I’m pretty sure that’s the case in most political systems. Like, all but one.

Religion:

a) pg 138. I was hoping to avoid this one just because I don’t think there’s gonna be a whole lot of substance, and I kinda thought it would just pass, but it’s clung on long enough with Miyoko that I should at least lay the ground work in case it does lead to something.

So the God Miyoko seems to refer to is the Christian God, just based off the different symbols and themes at play. It could also be the God of Islam, but I don’t think Islam had a ton of name recognition with Japanese children in the 40s… or ever. And, if we remember back to the Dark Times, aka the Eye Opening Arc, the boarding school Shion escaped from was Christian, and Shion expressed less then favourable opinions towards it. And, of course, Christianity is uniquely known for the doctrine of forgiveness, which can be interpreted in some pretty interesting and philosophically curious ways in Higurashi. I mean, you have characters apologizing for things they did in a whole other universe!

Anyway, while we can see these ties to Christianity in these two characters, both are pretty tied to another religion, one about a local deity of a small mountain village… yeah. And what’s interesting is, these two characters are the only ones who we know are atheistic towards Oyashiro-sama. Rena is strong believer, and Mion and Rika are high ranking members of the religious system. We never get much on the views of Satoko, Satoshi, or most of the villagers. Keichi seems to get on board pretty quickly in every world, even if with some reservations. And even Ooishi, who doesn’t believe in any supernatural cause to the mysterious events, never says anything about Oyashiro-sama himself.

But then we have Takano, a probably Christian if this chapter is any indication, saying she will “become” Oyashiro-sama, meaning she will be the source of continued belief in him. And as Rena pointed out last time, she can’t become Oyashiro-sama if Oyashiro-sama already exists. And Shion, who renounced any belief she may have had after Satoshi’s disappearance.

It’s kinda funny that such a religious family as the Sonozakis would send Shion to a school that teaches only one god exists, and it ain’t Oyashiro-sama. But maybe that’s part of Takano’s motive, if she really is Christian. She is against Oyashiro-sama from the perspective of a different faith, while Shion is against him from an atheistic perspective.

Not sure how much use we’ll get out of all that speculation, but if there is more going forward, now I’m ready for it.

Fringes:

a) Starting off, I noticed we have another one illustrated by Karin Suzuragi. She was the artist for both Onikakushi (Abducted by Demons) and Tsumihoroboshi (Atonement). It’ fitting that she would do both the first arc and its answers arc, though I’m curious if there is any significance to her being brought back again here.

b) On the topic of Suzuragi’s art, can I just say I love that little thing she does where she leaves space for page most of the time. Genius! And it makes my job a whole lot easier.

c) pg 118. I don’t think I mentioned it before, but this is the second time we’ve seen dice as symbols of bad luck. The first time was with Rika back in Massacre. Considering the final arc is called Dice Killing, I’m guessing these are kinda significant, but so far there’s not much to them for me to talk about.

d) pg 216. Ryukishi’s note this time starts off talking about “how much miraculous power can be created by believing in each other and working together.” While the cynical half of me wants to remind Ryukishi that Higurashi isn’t exactly child friendly and he’s not writing a Saturday morning cartoon here, the more cynical half a me reflects on how far working together and “believing” in each other actually got people in this part. And really, the only teamship and friendwork we’ve seen here is Miyoko (now Miyo, I guess) and the other three girls executing their plan to escape. And while Miyo got her miracle out of that, getting adopted my Mr. Takano, it’s hard to feel all warm and fuzzy when you remember that all four girls were horribly tortured anyway, two of them are still in orphanages if they’re even alive, and the third is fucking dead. I’m not saying I’ve seen better miracles, but I do have a bit of a higher bar before calling one.

“Will Rika Furude and her friends manage to make it safely pasted June 1983?” I want to say yes, because this is feeling pretty sappy right now, and I feel like a happy ending is inevitable. But Higurashi has pleasantly surprised me on this front before.

Right about now, I’m thinking this is going to have a change-of-heart ending, where Keichi and the others break though Miyo’s physiological barrios, appeal to her heart, and convince her not to be such a meanie. Blecch! I bet Satoko’s gonna remind her of when she was a good little girl too, huh?

e) While these notes are usually not exactly in chronological order, this time I’d actually like to end following up on the last note that I made, Takano: h) page 211. I said we’re probably going to learning about where Miyo got the motive to kill everyone later, but how far along will it be? This really gets at the heart of some of our ongoing questions. Specifically, was it before, or after, June 1879?

If none of the deaths prior to 1982 are Miyo’s doing then we probably already have some knowledge of what triggered it. A clue should probably be somewhere in the Eye Opening arc, But if it’s something reaching further back, I got nothing.

Looking at the Eye Opening arc, once again I blame Hanyu. If Miyo was somehow alerted to her presence, even if only enough to make her a little suspicious, I can see how the mix of religious confliction and whatever tragedy is bound to happen with Mr. Takano could drive her to extremes, just to prove that there is no Oyashiro-sama. And we already know that Hanyu is capable of making people just slightly aware of her presence.

Don’t Lose Your Way

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