1) The Maebara’s:
a) p 225. We open on with the manga setting up and posing our first question. Some Hinamizawa land is put up for sale after Satoshi’s disappearance, and I’m guessing this is where Keichi and his family move in. But, while many of the Sonozaki clan were against putting land up for sale to outsiders, Oryou, probably the most xenophobic person in Hinamizawa, pushed to have the land sold. Mion asks, “I wonder why she did it.”
What’s troubling about this little puzzle at this point is, there aren’t any missing pieces where this could fit in. The entire big mystery is already solved; all that’s left is figuring Rika’s survival, and the cause of Oyashiro-sama curse, which I still say is totally Hanyu. So where does this fit in.
It can’t be nothing because, if this really is where Keichi’s family moves in, it happen every single time, so there must be a strong will making it destiny. And the only will at play here is Oryou’s, so for some reason she really wants to let some strangers into the village now.
b) p 231-232. Well, at least it’s answered quickly, and… god dammit, Oryou is quickly moving up my list of favourite characters. She recognizes that it’s time for the village to move past their Hojo disenfranchisement, but realizes that most people won’t dare to question the old people running the place, the old people running the place are too stubborn to forgive and change, and she herself still has to maintain a strong appearance, so she wants new-comers who will question the old men and women of Hinamizawa instead. She wants, “a spirited young’un,” which is exactly what Keichi showed her in Massacre.
c) p 242. And just to seal the deal, Rika makes sure Keichi’s dad sees how happy the local children are so he’ll move in. Except he also sees Hanyu… Is this something Rika does regularly in the cycle, and, if so, is Hanyu usually visible?
And just as a side note of the cycle; I know last time they could only go back two weeks, and this time we’ve been as far back as 4 years, but for now I’m assuming all the events up until two weeks or so before the festival are just what’s been set in stone by now, and until that time, Rika won’t have her memories of Takano being the killer. Maybe that’s not the case, and it will be explained differently later, but I’m just making sense of it for now.
d) p 321. Oh my god, we’re really going to talk about Keichi’s past and the reason they’re moving again? This is the second time we’ve flashed back within less than a hundred pages! In Atonement is was kinda a big deal late reveal, but you can stop treating your readers like they’re idiots!
2) The Great Hinamizawa Disaster:
a) p 254-260. Okay, so Koizumi died. Not sure why Haruhi would let that happen, I mean, I’m not doctor, but I think a heart attack is hardly the fate created by a strong will. But maybe he was really assassinated or something, whatever. Anyway, with him gone “Tokyo” is going to defund the Irie clinic over the next three years, which probably has something to do with Takano’s genocide play. Still, the exact motivations are unclear, and she does it in just one year so things are probably going to change again soon.
In Masacre she mentioned something about even some of those in “Tokyo” wanting to see things change. So maybe those on her side help orchestrate the disaster to cover up the kidnapping of enough new subjects to finish the research. But then where does her Oyashiro-sama obsession come in, and if they finished the research, why did it never get brought up in Time Killing?
b) p 269-270. So to help cover up the controversial research and the Marco Polo Bridge incident, “Tokyo” wants Hinamizawa Syndrome itself eliminated. Right now the stated method is to discover a cure within the next three years while still funded, but that could very easily shift to killing everyone who has it.
Unfortunately, this cover means Takano’s grandfather’s research can never come to light. Though I still don’t see her motive in the disaster.
c) p 312. Okay, so now her goal is to have big-deal politicians reading her grandfather’s research. I guess that mostly fits. The Great Hinamizawa Disaster would certainly get that happening, and if Takano’s goal isn’t really to complete his research just earn it respect then it doesn’t matter if all potential test subjects die.
But there’s still two problem. First, it never comes up in Time Killing, but that may be because the politicians read it, believed it, and covered it up. Second, serious, you’re going after the politicians for respect for your research? Maybe this is a symptom of growing up in the western world, but politicians aren’t the first people I’d go to to get my science accredited.
d) p 337. Gotta give a little compliment to the writing here. While the exact “god” Takano is talking about has changed over time, it’s fitting for her to declare war on Oyashiro-sama when trying to take godhood for herself by fighting the literal reincarnation of Oyashiro-sama. She’s angry as “god”, whatever that really means to her at this point, but she’s picking her fight with Rika and Hanyu.
Also, it looks like Hanyu and Rika did indeed travel at least a little further back than usual this time. How? No clue. Why didn’t they stop Takano at an earlier stage? No clue. Just gonna roll with it.
a) p 323. Okay, so it looks like Hanyu is going to be a tangible part of this universe. Why now? No clue, but there damn well better be some explanation.
b) p 422-423. Wait, so Hanyu could have actually physically shown up the whole time, but just chose not to because some people made fun of her horns a long long time ago? Hanyu, you’re a bitch. Like, even Lucy from Elfen Lied had the guts to protect those she cared about, and people did a lot worse then make fun of her, a lot more recently. You’ve seriously just stood on the sidelines, watching everyone die, because you’re shy?! I hate you.
c) p 431. Okay, never mind, Rika doesn’t know it’s Takano. Even though she went through all that trouble burning Takano into her memory. And even though Hanyu clearly went this far back in order for her to be acting differently. And even though Hanyu remember it’s Takano… Was there any real point to Rika suffering like that at the end of Massacre, or is Ryukishi just trying to emulate Lynn Okamoto now? I mean, it works. I read both of their stuff for pretty much the same reason anyway.
d) p 432. Okay again, apparently Hanyu just rewound herself further than she rewound Rika. I’m just gonna stop questioning these things for a bit.
e) So Hanyu suddenly showing up like this should be weird in a village where everyone knows each other. It should be even weirder that she has the Furude last name. But how the hell has Satoko at least not found it weird they she suddenly has a new roommate?! What, has Rike been telling people that her aunt and uncle who live far away wanted to send their daughter off to see what it’s like to live as an orphan for a while?
f) p 448. Hanyu died for your sins! But in all seriousness, neat Jesus-y backstory wrapping up the legend of Oyashiro-sama and the Cotton Drifting and all, but what was the point? I mean, all it really did was drive home the fact that Hanyu was bullied because of her horns, and even that it didn’t do particularly well; there was no emotional connection, the mother-daughter thing was a cheap manipulative ploy that even Key Studio visual novels would roll their eyes at, and the art didn’t actually depict any suffering, which is kinda the main thing I’ve come to expect from Higurashi artwork! Well, that and Mion changing cup size every few pages. The story has just wasted time to affect nothing, and make the legend of Onigafuchi make even less sense.
a) p 370-373. So Rika, or Frederica, calls to Akasaka from across worlds… okay, didn’t realize she could do that now. She and Hanyu seem to be inexplicably getting new powers that would probably have been helpful before, but whatever. It seems like he’ll be an important key to breaking free, but for now something else stands out. The world she’s calling him in is post Great Hinamizawa Disaster. Also he’s apparently gotten all brooding and gone Super Saiyan.
b) p 379. Oh, come on! Another flashback! Sure, this time it’s on events from three arcs ago, but if you’re reading this one, you should have already read the ones before it! These volumes could be the length of a normal volume if they just didn’t have all of this recapping.
c) p 383. “…but no matter how much I train, or how many cases I solve, the regret never goes away.” Well thanks for ruining the hardened old detective of a mission character cliché for me. That one was my favourite before you ruining it, you emo ass hole. And I even liked you until now too!
a) p 325. It’s oddly on just this one page, but you can actually see the artifacts from the English typesetting in the speech bubbles. Seriously, that’s scanslation quality, not a professional product. Hell, I’ve done better typesetting that that using MS paint!
b) p 412. It happened again!
c) p 477. Now I like Rena’s ecchi Halloween costume, but I LOVe Mion’s Lum Invader cosplay!
So I haven’t done much to hide my bitterness for the last few volumes, and my problems with this series are plentiful. And yet, I’m still excided for the next volume. I’m pumped for the big fight between Takano and Akasaka or Hanyu. I know it will have a bunch of cheesiness, and we probably aren’t going to have any of the fun of seeing Takano go through the tortures that made this first half of this series famous, but I still want to see how it turns out. Until then,
Don’t Lose Your Way.