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Higurashi – When They Cry (Tatarigoroshi-hen)

December 29, 2009

Teppei is a prick.

The third entry in the Higurashi series revolves around one Satoko Houjou, and is spent developing her character and getting the Keiichi (and the reader) to fall in love with her. And sadly, we do fall in love with Satoko (well I did anyways). Through her plethora of traps and her slightly snobbish personality, you wouldn’t think that Satoko would be a character the reader would like. But Satoko is also the caring and devoted little sister. She cooks for Keiichi and has fun with him, and in turn Keiichi decides to take the place of Satoko’s lost brother, her Nii-Nii, Satoshi.

The whole interaction between Satoko and Keiichi is heartwarming and the reader grows attached to Satoko like Keiichi does. So when Keiichi gains knowledge of the details of Satoshi’s disappearance, the reader feels sympathy for Satoko and admires how strong she’s been without Satoshi.

But this is part of the When They Cry series, so tragedy isn’t too far away from happiness.

When Satoko’s uncle, Teppei, returns to Hinamizawa after the death of his mistress, the story instantly turns towards a bad end. But the path to the bad end differs greatly from the path of the previous two arcs. Instead of crushing the reader with a sense of paranoia and fear from the lack of knowledge and the possibility of being a victim of Oyashiro-sama’s curse, Tatarigoroshi-hen crushes the reader with a different feeling.

Hopelessness.

Instead of wondering who will be the next to disappear, or if there’ll be any disappearance at all, we are presented with all the facts that pertain to the main conflict of this story. We are told that Teppei abuses Satoko, and that her life is a living hell. We are told how she’s putting up with the abuse to stay strong thinking that Satoshi would return if she did so. And we are told the possible solutions to getting Satoko out of her desperate situation.

It’s a pity none of those solutions would work. Through an emotional scene where Keiichi does everything he can to think of a solution, Mion shoots all of his ideas down. Keiichi keeps pushing his ideas forward, and eventually proposes that Mion adopt Satoko since she’s always bragging about how she’s part of one of the three major families in Hinamizawa. Keiichi keeps pushing and pushing, until Mion breaks down and cries. Rena then has her moment and turns that proposal on Keiichi, saying how his family is rich and that he should take Satoko in. The whole scene was really emotional and powerful, again showing what an awesome character Rena is and how desperate Keiichi is to find a solution to Satoko’s problem.

And Keiichi keeps thinking about how he can save Satoko. The reader sees his complete thought process, and how hard he tried to fins a solution to Satoko’s problem. But in the end, all his thinking produces nothing and the reader is once again filled with despair and hopelessness.

Fast forward past Chie-sensei calling Child Welfare, and Satoko returns to school, looking cheerful. Seeing Satoko like that makes Keiichi, and the reader feel relieved that Satoko looks cheerful and that Child Welfare might’ve improved the situation.

That relief lasts only for a short moment, however, as Keiichi gets pushed away by Satoko after he tried to pat her head. The state Satoko was in after Keiichi patted her, was a state I can’t really describe properly. Satoko was broken. After the entire first half where the reader fell in love with Satoko and wanted her to smile, seeing Satoko broken in this scene was really too much to bear.

And seeing Satoko like this pushes Keiichi over the edge. After passing out, a high-tension awesome music track plays and Keiichi plans out his action of murdering Teppei. Seriously. I love that track.

Skipping to when Keiichi murders Teppei, Ryukishi does a good job here of making Teppei seem like trash (which he is) and that Keiichi is completely in the right when murdering him. High-tension awesome chase scene.

At this point, let me analyze Keiichi’s current character. By the point after Takano finds him and takes him home, Keiichi’s character has corrupted into him actually being a cold-blooded murderer. The fact that all of a sudden Keiichi is saying “Fuck!” everywhere is proof that Keiichi is no longer the fun-loving magician of words we all know and love. He is nothing but a murderer at this point, although the next day he tries to leave that personage behind.

Of course, he fails miserably. Mion, Rena, and Rika form an alibi for Keiichi by saying that he was at the festival. But Keiichi interprets it as “there was another Maebara Keiichi that existed, and he went to the festival.” Keiichi believes that he’s now in some crazy parallel world, and that everything around him is going insane. Keiichi needs a good friendship speech right about now. *cough*

On the way back home, Mion and Rena tell Keiichi to come to the junkyard with them later, most likely to explain that they formed an alibi for him and that they moved the body to a more secure hiding place. But Keiichi, being the paranoid murderer he is now, thinks that they’re crazy and refuses.

And the scenes from that point on are standard When They Cry fare. Keiichi descends deeper in to madness, thinks he has the magical power to kill people by wishing, gets pushed off a bridge by a naked Satoko who’s sprite, surprisingly, isn’t bad enough to make me wanna gouge my eyes out and kill, and goes to a mental institution where he eventually dies. Hmm…I must be used to Ryukishi art not to be bothered by naked Satoko sprite…

tl;dr Tatarigoroshi-hen is the most hopeless and tragic arc of the three that I’ve read so far, simply because of the way it made me feel the entire time. Ryukishi likes to play with people’s emotions. He must be Bernkastel. >_>

Also VN is better than the anime, and I want February to come so I can have the second volume for the manga adaptation of this arc.

It’s also ironic that Ryukishi called it “The Shortest Scenario” even though it felt like the longest. He’s trolling, since it probably meant it’s the shortest as in the amount of days that pass or something. *shrugs*

I should do a write-up of Umineko EP5, but I’m lazy. orz

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3 comments

  1. This was an awesome conculsion of it


    • “but saying that they were ‘about as elitist as you can get’ is hyperbole even by today’s st.;dardsa&#8221nNot at all. They were the elite of America at the time. They were also great men and wise men and flawed men who set up the best political system the world has seen (the theocracy of the city of Enoch aside). I completely agree with the rest of your analysis of what elitism means in the rest of the world. Which is exactly why the term “elite” doesn’t have as much meaning in America as those that deploy the term seems to think it has.


  2. I want to post a quick hello and thank you for your print resioutoln images. I will be using several photos for a book cover I am working on. Keep on the fabulous work!



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