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1) Fringes:

a) On the cover art, little bells are clearly depicted on Rika’s socks. Now apparently those have been there all along and I just didn’t notice them. One might usually assume this is just a character design element, meant to look cuet and nothing else. However, I googled “bells on socks”, and just seven pages down was Wikipedia’s page on Sakuria’s Bell Inequality, which deals with quantum mechanics.

Wait… seven pages down… as in lucky sevens, as in playing dice! As in gambling with fate! How could I have missed it! From the moment Rika appeared in this story, it’s been staring us right in the face that she’s a time traveler who’s trying to escape her unfortunate fate!

b) p 3. Rika is holding a three-branched sword. I’ve played Higurashi Daybreak, and I’m just curious, why the hell wasn’t this in Higurashi Daybreak?!

Wait a second… Sakurai… as in Masahiro Sakurai, the man who invented Kirby and directed Super Smash Brothers. Kirby masquerades as other creatures, stealing their identity. And one of Kirby’s allies is Meta Knight, whose own sword, the Galaxia, also has multiple branches! And what other Higurashi character have we seen hold a sword? Shion, in Beyond Midnight! It all makes sense now. Takano is really Shion in disguise!

c) p 119. Peaceable. Huh, apparently it is a work. At least, spell check’s not fussy about it.

2) Hinamizawa Syndrome:

a) p 6. Picking up right where we left off, Satoko is supposedly suffering from level 5 Hinamizawa Syndrome. Irie says it too now, and he seems to be speaking with authority, not just repeating what Takano told him. And we saw in the Massacre arc that Satoko is at level 3 Hinamizawa Syndrome a few years from now, so is can apparently remiss.

b) Another odd thing about Satoko’s case which came up last time is, she’s not violent. At least, not in the way we usually see Hinamizawa Syndrome victims. Takano said some people don’t manifest level 5 symptoms violently. So if it’s true they Satoko really is at level 5, that’s another thing to keep in mind.

c) p 33. Okay, so they learned about Rika and the Queen Carrier business because she let them study her.

d) p 58. The drug C103 is completed. It treats, but doesn’t cure, Hinamizawa Syndrome, keeping it at its lower levels. This must be that Rika brought to Rena in Atonement, though she never got to inject her.

3) Wild Dogs:

a) p 15. Takano tells Irie not to worry about the police because the Wild Dogs have strong connections within them. Several thoughts cross me at that. First, I think it’s safe to say Ooishi isn’t one of their connections; he’s a good cop, and I doubt he’d be easy to corrupt. Though those connections might be why he’s been discouraged from looking into the death of his friend in 1979, if that friend was indeed the dam director.

Second, it makes me think of the officers who were supposed to protect Rika in Massacre. They obviously sucked at their jobs, as they were taken down by men who a couple of teenagers could apparently outdo. So they might have been on the Wild Dogs side. This makes Rika’s survival a lot harder if she can’t trust the police.

4) Oyashiro-Sama’s Curse:

a) p 50. Takano doesn’t like that they’re looking at Rika’s brain instead of Satoko’s. I can think of two reasons for this; she just doesn’t like that Irie is disobeying her, or she thinks they’d be better off with Satoko because they can do more dangerous experiments with someone if they’re willing to kill them. The second is the more rational reason, and we can make some guesses based on it.

In the next year, Rika’s parents will die, with her mother being “demoned away.” This would make a lot of sense if we think Takano is behind the murders and disappearances. It would get her a Queen Carrier who she can perform deadly experiments on, and it would make Irie stop using Rika for safer experiments because, once her mother’s dead, accidently killing Rika would bring about the Great Hinamizawa Disaster.

b) p 79. Yay, I probably called it! Satoko pushed her parent off a cliff! So that explains the second years deaths, though the curse underlying the incident still isn’t entirely clear (why did Satoko suddenly get Hinamizawa Syndrome, and why did it act up right on the day of the Cotton Drifting). The first year we have most of the truth, but I suspect there’s a bit more to it. And we have a pretty good theory going for the third year.

One possible reason for Satoko’s syndrome and the time might be Hanyu. She might have some sway over who gets Hinamizawa Syndrome, and her footsteps could easily trigger it. That would explain why it’s always someone close to Rika, but it’s a different person each time.

c) p 127-129. Based on Takano’s reaction to Okonogi’s suggesting they should kill Rika’s mother, It’s pretty clear she wasn’t behind the dam murder incident, or Satoko’s parents deaths. So that really does confirm it, the dam murder was just an unfortunate event, and Satoko really did kill her own parents. Either the timing of both tragedies and the fact that in both cases only one body was found is a coincidence, or there is a little more to this curse stuff. If all the other deaths can be blamed on Takano (which it looks like they will be), and the timing and circumstances were just a decent way to cover them up, I’d be willing to accept that these first two really were just coincidence.

d) p 168. It’s just striking me how little questions are left. All the remains is, what causes the unusual cases of Hinamizawa Syndrome in recent years and why is 1983 always different? What eventually drives Takano and memebers of “Tokyo” to The Great Hinamizawa Disaster? How can Rika and the others survive? And what happened in June of 1982; that last one is being answered right now.

It seems Satoshi did indeed buy the bear for Satoko, and met up with Irie right after. Obviously, it never reaches Satoko, and that’s probably because Irie or Takano would have to deliver it, which would raise some questions. Why would Irie or Takano have to do it? Because Satoshi’s gonna die now. Just like the first year’s victim, he’s already doomed, and makes a good test subject. Perhaps Takano’s already convinced Irie of this, which is why he went and picked Satoshi up in the first place.

Though now they have C103, so why not just treat him? Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s already killed, and unlike with Satoko, they can’t cover that up (well, the Wild Dogs might be able to, but Takano’s not gonna want them to).

e) p 184. Takano, stop making me guess. Did you induce Hinamizawa Syndrome in Satoshi to get a new patient, or is this another coincidence?

5) Takano:

a) p 57. Why does Takano look so upset that the new drug was a success? This is a lead forward in their research; she should be thrilled! I guess at this point she’s lost sight of her original goal, which has kinda been foreshadowed; she went from saying she’d make her grandpa a god, to saying she’d make him and herself gods, to saying she’d just make herself a god. It’s no longer about defending his research, it’s just about immortalizing herself.

b) p 94. Or she hasn’t lost sight of her goal. Getting some mixed signals, and I think it’s because the art is focusing on one character’s perspective at a time. I didn’t get much of a read off Takano before because in that scene the art was primarily concerned with Irie.

6) Ooishi:

a) p 190. Ooishi talks about the Hinamizawa investigations as avenging someone named Oyassan. Looks like I at least got that right; Oyassan is probably the director of the dam construction project. Ooishi thinks his death is linked to the more recent ones, but, as we understand it, Oyassan’s was probably either coincidence or a real curse.

b) p 194. Oyassan was the dam director! Well, at least I got that right. Probably the one mystery in this series where the evidence was provided up front. And, for what it’s worth, I kinda like Ooishi’s backstory. I’m a sucker for tough old detective characters.

c) p 207. “That right arm taught me the duties of a man.” Ah… Wait, no. I’ll save all those jokes for if I ever talk about Midori Days.

“… the fist on that right arm taught me the right way to go.” It’s better if you wait. It’s better if you wait. It’s better if you wait.

7) Enough Backstory; Getting on With it:

a) p 217. So we’re pretty much at the end of this part, and while it’s been nice solving just about every past mystery, we still need to see how Rika and the others will make it through this time. I guess the others didn’t retain their memories like Rika, despite that scene at the end of Massacre.

Starting this off, Rika calls Keichi “… the key to unlocking the three locks…” Obviously the locks are the three rules, but two of those have already kinda been thrown out the window. By the end of Massacre, no one suspected the Sonozaki’s, and No one even came down with Hinamizawa Syndrome, let alone Oyashiro-sama’s curse. Hell, even the last rule (Y, if I remember correctly) was found to be different then we thought; it predicted Takano, Tomitake and Rika’s death, but Takano doesn’t die. So really, all that’s left is saving Tomitake (really just convincing him to not be around that night), and taking a baseball bat/ cleaver/ drug/ tazer/ whatever that ceremonial futon killer is called to Takno’s face! Oh, but she had that tragic backstory, so I guess killing her would be wrong now, huh?

Alright, all that’s left is one last summer of 1983, at least in the main story. I mistakenly said before that the single volume Dice Killing arc was the last one; apparently Festival Accompanying is actually the last main arc; we’re in it. And from what I understand, all the rest are fanservicy spin-offs, so we won’t be doing those here.

Next time, we finish volume two of the last arc, leaving only two volumes to go. Until then

Don’t Lose Your Way