The final episode of the Watanagashi-arc answered so many questions. But then again, for every question it answered, it somehow managed to introduce two new questions. So, we’re back where we started. Overall, this arc wasn’t as worthwile as the first one. The only part I really enjoyed was when Keiichi met Shion and Rena overall.
Ah well, it seems like my theories from last time were totally wrong. We start with Rena giving Keiichi a list of people missing, which includes Rika and Satoko, along with a certain Kimiyoshi Kiichiro, who must be the village-chief. Keiichi finally accepts that because he sneaked in the storage house, he’s the one at fault, and Rena slaps him for this, as she feels that he has yet to be punished for this. Rena heard from Mion what he’d done, and she was indeed very angry about this. The two are talking like they’re very close at this moment. It still feels strange after the first arc.
Then, Keiichi finds some notes about Rika’s talk on the phone, and she indeed spoke with Mion. Ah well, there goes my theory about Rika faking her own disappearance. It seems like everything indeed went as Rena thought it would. They plan to visit Mion, in order for Keiichi to apologize. They then get disturbed by Oishi once more. Rena proves her detective skills once more when she finds out that Oishi plans to use them as bait, in order to get permission to search Mion’s house. The two of them leave Oishi, while Rena gets really angry. Though not in a demon-way.
They walk to Mion’s residence. Apparently, they’ve got a huge back-yard. Once inside the house, Keiichi confesses, and sincerely apologizes for his actions. Mion acts like she doesn’t care, and Rena scolds her for this. Keiichi and Rena then tell Mion that they know that Rika and Satoko have been at her place, and she freaks out once she realizes that the two know that Satoko wasn’t supposed to come along. She begins laughing in a demon-like way, and then turns serious again. She then puts up the Shion-voice and explains that the Hinamizawa Village’s original name was Onigafuchi village, or Demon’s Abyss. Like explained two episodes ago, the people of Onigafuchi carried the bloodline of demons. As people began to oppose them, they worked together in order to defeat them, as demonstrated in episode five. Still, if Mion knows about the demons, then she must have been there at that time, which means that she was the one working at that restaurant at that time.
She also explains that, as the heir of the Sonozaki family, there’s been a demon carved into and onto her. She wants to show Keiichi and Rena the scars the demon left on her body, though Rena tells her that that’s not needed. We can get the general idea when we look at the OP, though. She also reveals that she was indeed involved in some of the Watanagashi-murders. In some of them, she was directly involved. In some of them, indirectly. She was also the center of every one of them. Then she indeed reveals that she did kill Rika and Satoko. This brings up an interesting issue: the sequence shown in the first scene of an arc doesn’t have to be its climax. While speculating about what were to happen next, I always kept in my mind that Rika was to die at the end of the arc, not during the middle of it, and so I came up with the theory of her faking her own disappearance. But instead, she wanted to protect Keiichi from Mion, so she went to confront Mion, and somehow ended up stabbing herself. At least, that’s what I like to believe. The fact remains that Rika knew that Mion was after her. Then why would Mion have to lure her to her house, and why did Rika want to involve Satoko in it as well? In fact, if Satoko wasn’t supposed to come, what did Mion make to kill her as well? Suspicions?
Rena then mentions one person which Mion didn’t want to kill, and managed to save by her own will. Mion then turns this one person into a “them”. This could be Oishi and some police-officers. But then again, why would Mion want to save them, over persons like Rika and Satoko? Mion then asks Rena to leave her and Keiichi alone for a while.
When they walk outside a bit, Mion confesses that she liked him, just as Shion liked him. She also reveals that Shion’s still alive. Keiichi then proves that he has a strong heart. A very strong heard, as he promises to believe in Mion, and that she remains his best friend no matter what happens. An interesting thing to promise to a mass murderer, but let’s put that aside, shall we? Because Mion then makes a very interesting statement. She can understand why Mion liked Keiichi. This means that Mion isn’t the one speaking at that time, which gives options for two possibilities. 1. Shion’s been the one talking to Keiichi for all this time. 2. The demon has completely taken over Mion. I was first inclined for the first option, though the scenes that followed changed my mind.
They’re in a secret basement at the moment, full of torture devices like the one in the storehouse. Mion firstly reveals that the torture devices were meant to inforce the Onigafuchi laws. Anyone who was to break them, was to be slowly tortured by these in public. The Sonozaki family built these torture devices in order to continue the tradition of the Watanagashi. She then reveals that the basement was the place at which she performed Watanagashi on everyone. When Keiichi asks about Shion, she takes him to the prison. What follows a really great scene. Shion lies there, broken down, only triggered by Keiichi’s voice. She gets incredibly happy when she sees him, though she really freaks out when she sees Mion. Mion then breaks the fun by grabbing a large boulder and dropping it on Keiichi’s head.
When he wakes up, he’s put into some torture device. Shion still screams in the background, while Mion explains what she’s going to do to him. She has fifteen nails, which she’s going to run through his hand. Before she does it, she gives another fact. The demon in her has dwelled inside her for a long time, though it was Keiichi who awakened it, because he didn’t give Mion the doll he won in the first episode.
And suddenly, everything makes sense! Okay, not everything, but still, the basic concept of Higurashi suddenly is clear. Why was Rena so humane in the second arc, while she was horribly scary in the first one? Of course, because she has a demon inside of her as well. In the first arc, Keiichi awakened her by stopping to help her get that doll from under the garbage. As this didn’t happen at all, Keiichi also didn’t make Rena sad in any possible way, so that’s why she acted so friendly towards him. Mion’s demon was also awakened in the first arc as well, though I can’t remember why that happened, unfortunately.
Anyway, this development gives for two possibilities. 1: Every citizen of Hinamizawa Village has a demon inside of him/her. 2: There are only a few people with a demon inside of him/her. The people beating the punks in the fifth episode point to the first option, though the OP, which shows Mion with a scar, and Shion without one points to the second one. Still, I think that Rika’s demon, while she was about to be murdered by Mion, awakened at that time, and stabbed its host in its confusion. I’m also guessing that demons go to sleep in their hosts when there’s no action for a while. It’s never explained in the anime, but it’s the only explanation I can find for the other Watanagashi-murders.
Anyway, Mion tries to put the first nail in, but the Mion manages to stop the demon from doing so. Keiichi asks the demon to let Mion and Shion go. Mion wonders why he can’t even think about himself at a time like this, so as a third wish, he asks her not to kill him. Mion can’t give into the first two requests. Shion will be killed by the demon no matter what, and the demon also won’t be able to give Mion’s body back. She doesn’t give any reasons at all for this, strangely enough. However, she does listen to his third wish, in order to let him live. She’s forced to do this, as she hears some policemen trying to open the doors of the basement. Rena must’ve warned them. She also warns Keiichi to stay away from her, as from that moment on, she’ll be posessing Mion’s dead body. But then, if demons can posess dead bodies as well, why didn’t Rena and Mion come back to life in the first arc after Keiichi killed them?
Mion uses an electrifying-thingy in order to bring Keiichi unconcious, while she gets away and the police barges in. Rena looks worried about him, and Shion’s saved as well. The bodies of the other victims, however, have yet to be found. And this is where the amount of questions multiplies faster than a herd of hyperactive guinea-pigs. Keiichi’s moving away from the village again, for some reason. Rena’s sad, because she’ll be the only one in the village left. That evening, Mion drops by. The two talk normal for a bit, but then Mion starts resisting, and the demon takes over again, stabbing Keiichi. She then freaks out even more when she starts yelling that she killed everyone with her own hands. But what about Rena, Shion and Oishi? And what does she define by “everyone”? Rena seems to have been disappeared into oblivion for the rest of the episode. Whether she’s killed or not remains a mystery. Shion is found after having jumped from her hospital room, from about eight stories high, though I think that Mion paid her a visit before that happened. Oishi doesn’t have anything to do with Mion this time, and Keiichi managed to survive.
While Keiichi talks to Oishi from his hospital bed, the number of plot twists and questions introduced really gets up high. It appears that Mion HAS been found, along with all of the other bodies she disposed off. Keiichi told the police about some kind of well, which would contain all of the victim’s bodies. Where did he get that information from? Anyway, the well indeed contained the bodies, along with Mion’s. To make things even better, it seems that Mion dies on the day that the police barged in. So, if it indeed was the demon posessing Mion’s dead body, then how come Mion still was acting like Mion at first, before the demon took over again? And if it all was the demon playing an act, why did it leave Mion’s body in the first place, and why did it go through the trouble of walking all the way to the well, only to leave Mion’s dead body behind?
Oishi only makes things better when it seems that Takano died before the night of the Watanagashi. This means that she also had a demon inside of her, which was controlling her dead body at that time. This explains why she knew a lot about the rituals of the Watanagashi, and that she might’ve been the one who killed Tomitake (after all, he and Takano weren’t found in the well, so someone aside from Mion might’ve killed them). But then again, she was BURNED, which throws this theory in the trash can as well, as she looked perfectly fine at the night of the Watanagashi. No burning marks at all. And how about the first arc. Was she burned at that time as well, though she was never found? Then, a blood-covered Mion shows up, pinning the nail through Keiichi’s finger after all. The only explanation I can find for this is that when a demon takes control over a dead body, then it leaves the physical dead body behind, only to create a new body, identical to the one it posessed. Or something in that direction, as that theory is flawed as well, as it still doesn’t explain the little part of Mion which got shown right before she stabbed him.
It was an interesting arc. Each of the characters will indeed end up reacting very differently during each different arc. The paranoid Keiichi stayed mostly calm, with a small number of breakdowns on the second arc. The crazy, demon-posessed Rena turned caring, sharp and serious. The demon managed to control Mion much more than during the first arc (there’s got to be a reason for that. Either the thing that Keiichi did to her in order to awaken the demon, or Rena’s prescense. It seems that Mion really listens to Rena). Satoko turned from sadystical to casual. Rika turned from silent to cute and caring. Oishi turned from friendly to more business-like (another interesting detail I managed to notice: whenever he’s about to deliver harsh news, he starts smoking cigarettes). Tomitake’s become much more obedient. Takano’s the only one who didn’t recieve any change in personality.
More changes with the previous arc:
– No syringe in the second arc.
– The strange men who arrived at the end of the first arc also don’t appear in the second arc.
– Keiichi doesn’t get paranoid in the second arc, so he doesn’t write the note about the things he knows.
– The first arc ended with the deaths of Mion, Rena, Keiichi and Tomitake, while Takano disappeared. The second arc ended with the deaths of Rika, Satoko, Shion, Tomitake, Takano and Mion, with Keiichi and Rena unknown.
– Keiichi moves again at the end of the second arc. Something that hasn’t been mentioned in the first arc.
– Mion and Oishi have no relationship in the second arc. At least, she doesn’t mention him at all. In the first arc, she immediately suspected him.
– Keiichi was never attempted to be tortured in the first arc.
Before I’ll quit (damn… my entries for Higurashi are getting longer and longer… this one managed to get to 2500 words), I have to say that Rena’s an awesome character. I liked her more when she was in scary-mode, though. The fact that this arc ended with so many questions also took its toll a bit. It just feels a bit incomplete. A bit too incomplete. I believe that the problem with Higurashi is that it has a great concept, but at certain points, it certainly could have been better. Keiichi’s reactions also have been extremely unnatural. I know he was calm at that time, but his behavior during this episode was just a bit too calm. After all, he knows that Mion’s about to kill him. Why doesn’t he freak out like in the first arc? Ah well, let’s hope that the next arc will be full of paranoia again.