Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai 10-11: Does It Tie Together?

This, in fact, is not the sign that it portends. At least not yet.

It’s just like this show to find an ominous turn in the midst of hope, and foretell the arc’s title “Massacre”–though of course not in the way we were led to think. And, honestly, without knowing where it’s exactly heading, I can’t say for sure whether it works or not. But as they say: “I have a bad feeling about this.” Especially since, as far as I know, this show is going to go on for another season, and at this point I’m really not sure how much more there is to know; most of the key mysteries have been revealed this season.

And this is not the happy ending, either.

The Satoko child abuse plot appears to have been a red herring, unless they have a clever way to tie all of it together. Plus, they appear to follow the naturalistic explanation for the Oyashiro-sama curse that was hinted at in the last arc of season 1. The former disappoints me and the latter, while beginning to solve one of the more glaring apparent plot holes from last time around, is so…well, ho hum. It’s the sort of thing one sees in B-movies and the Resident Evil games all the time. The air of mysterious, uncontrollable power that lurked in the shadows, and exerted believable influence over people–that was what was so appealing about the show for me. And using Satoko’s plot primarily, it seems, to get Rika’s hopes up took far too long, though I suppose it had the additional effect of getting the viewer’s hopes up too. I admit that I felt genuinely glad when the abusive uncle got taken away by the police. All this time I was thinking about how that situation could collapse at any minute, when the collapse was going to come from a different source altogether: but, in my opinion, with not enough foreshadowing (except in previous arcs perhaps). There’s almost a sense where the “bad turn” feels forced.

Of course, having not played the game, it’s difficult to prejudge all this. Rika/Oyashiro-sama-avatar/Hanyuu is real, and that’s perhaps the last factor in all of this that remains relatively unexplained: if the naturalistic explanation for the town’s demise and for the curses in general is true, then what of the actual supernatural elements? Perhaps both the curse and the “Hinamizawa Syndrome” work together, or the curse worked in the past and this time it’s facilitated by the government plot? Or perhaps the curse is not the murder + disappearance so much as the overall way things just repeat themselves over and over again with no end to the cycle of death.

Yes, yes, we know. Don’t restate the obvious.

I’m beginning to see why some people are complaining of the slowness of this arc, especially if the Satoko plot turns out to be nothing more than a diversion from the real conspiracy that’s going on. Not that I’m giving up on the show, but at the same time, at this juncture I guess I’m just feeling a little disappointed. There’s plenty of time to win me back, though, and the show has survived far worse lapses of logic and plot in the past…

Author: gendomike

Michael lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been into anime since he saw Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1999. Some of his favorite shows include Full Metal Alchemist, Honey and Clover, and Welcome to the NHK!. Since 2003 he has gone to at least one anime convention every year. A public radio junkie, which naturally led to podcasting, he now holds a seminary degree and is looking to become Dr. Rev. Otaku Bible Man any day now. Michael can be reached at mike.huang@animediet.net. You can also find his Twitter account at @gendomike.

5 thoughts on “Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai 10-11: Does It Tie Together?

  1. I agree with you that the Satoko subplot felt a little dragged on. They could have shaved half an episode, ending it on #10 and devoting the whole #11 to the big revelation.
    As for the curse of Oyashiro-sama, I think that Takano just used the superstition to cover the murders. Hanyuu is a benign deity who wouldn’t harm a fly.

  2. Learning how to save Satoko is very important. Even if Rika stopped Takano and averted her death she would still have to deal with Teppei whenever he returns and if you leave that unchecked the situation goes to Tatarigoroshi. Satoko loses herself from not being able to take her injections and someone close to her gets fed up and takes the easy way out – killing Teppei. The show makes it clear that killing is not the answer. Every time someone kills another(whether they deserved it or not) the world ends badly.

    The show didn’t make this clear but there’s three rules that keep Rika a prisoner of June 1983

    Rule X – The murders that result from one of Rika’s friends succumbing to madness.
    – Usually a result of the isolation of one of the friends due to excessive paranoia.
    – Various victims can succumb to this rule, there are many triggers as well.
    – Overwrites Rule Y if Rika is killed here (ie. Watanagashi/Meakashi-hen).

    Rule Y – The death of Rika due to some powerful will. And the gas disaster that destroys the entire Hinamizawa.
    – Usually begins with the death of Tomitake and Takano, followed by Rika’s watanagashi death, then the Hinamizawa disaster.
    – Unlike Rule X, where there are rooms for variables, Rule Y never fails to trigger.

    Rule Z – The atmosphere surrounding Hinamizawa that allows for the existence of tragic deaths (aka. Oyashirosama’s Curse).
    – Originating from the Gosanke’s rule over Hinamizawa. Sonozaki’s bluff.
    – Sonozaki’s bluff: everything that happens is believed to be a conspiracy by Sonozaki.
    – Everything is explained as a result of Oyashirosama’s curse.
    – The recognition of deaths as normal on the night of Watanagashi.

    Saving Satoko stopped Rule X and Z. It’s first time rule Z has ever been beaten. Keiichi stopped Rule X once before in Tsumihoroboshi.

  3. I still think the slowness was necessary. You have too many people say “well, why didn’t they just always do that??” Or why didn’t Rika do this, or why didn’t Rika do that… This shows how freaking hard it was to actually save Satako. It wasn’t just going to to CPS and getting them, since they wouldn’t listen. It wasn’t about just going to the town, since they didn’t care. So I think going over it showed that things can’t be so easily changed. Rika wouldn’t have been doing this for 100 years if it was easy to get out of it. Plus, I kind of like how the mood is so positive and then it hits you that they were basically fighting one battle while not really knowing their true enemy.

  4. The rules were not spelled out like that, which makes them a bit too convenient, but their general terms had already been mentioned by Rika a while back.

  5. Thanks for all the intelligent responses, everyone.

    @Son Gohan: I still suspect there IS something to the curse, but it just happens to fit Takano’s conspiracy at the moment, a useful cover.

    @anonymous, XXX: fascinating, very fascinating. That gave me some new perspectives on the whole thing. It’s true indeed that Rika has told us before that this universe has “rules”–which fits considering both the fatalistic outlook of the show on the whole and its game origins. That’s an excellent analysis of why this particular plotline, so far, is turning out so well at first and how the others went wrong. However I still think that, as you say, the primary purpose of saving Satoko is to learn how to “beat fate” (seemingly), it was still a little dragged out. But my mind is fully willing to be changed by however this arc ends and whatever is ultimately revealed. There was just something jarring about the shift from the Satoko plot to the Takano conspiracy.

    @anne: yeah, it was precisely what you liked about it–that you spend so much positive work on one thing where the real problem is elsewhere–that actually got to me. Maybe I’m kinda an old fashioned stick-in-the-mud that way…but again, it will depend in large part on how it wraps up. Twists of that kind at their best are like The Sixth Sense, where it simultaneously blindsides you and makes total sense when you think about all the clues that were scattered throughout the story.

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