Higurashi: When They Cry (2020) Episode 8

Rena Ryuugu

That was a amazing episode :D Great twist for the last episode of the Watadamashi arc.

I think this is the first time
Mion has Hinamizawa Syndrome
The above is a Spoiler for Higurashi Kai anime, don't click if you haven't seen it, or read the VN /manga version

Hopefully they will do a answer arc for this one.
Loved the episode. So much to unpack and try to piece together. The ladder scene wasn't the best IMO, I hated it in the original, but this time around wasn't much better to be honest. That's simply not how physics work. But I must say the art style and character design don't bother me that much anymore. Perhaps because I'm so invested in the story.

I think this is the first time
Mion has Hinamizawa Syndrome
I'm honestly not sure whether the old switcheroo took place or not. Unless I missed something, there's nothing that rules out that it's Shion nor anything that confirms it's Mion. My gut tells me it would be Mion. That way the killings took place by someone else, just like what happened in the first arc, where it's Rena instead of Keiichi, but that's quite meta. I'm still looking for an in universe reason.

This time around, I wasn't able to form a full working theory, so here are just some scraps/points of interest:
There were a lot of things not being shown during this episode. While annoying, this actually gives us some insights:
  • The camera feeds when Sh/Mion looked at the monitors
    After Keiichi breaks free we're led to believe that it's the Yamainu. But thinking from the other perspective. Why weren't we, the viewer, shown that directly? Why was Keiichi able to escape the "inner cell"? Just so we could see the camera feeds moments later. I suspect that Sh/Mion actually saw Satoko on the camera feed.
    Satoko is acting quite suspicious of Keiichi, but I think she has noticed/heard something
  • The exact date of the final scene is missing
    Now they could've also written "a few days later" or something, yet they felt the need to state the month, but not the exact date. This obviously means that if we would know the exact date we could figure something out. Perhaps there is a hard cut-off at some date that we aren't supposed to know (sadly can't be the 22nd as the first arc already exceeded that date).
    Another reason could be that there might still be some truth behind Rika being the "Queen Carrier"? If that is the case, the scene can't take place more than 48 hours after the death of Rika. Funnily enough it was the Watanashi arc where this concept was effectively disproved.
  • The absence or presence of a tattoo on Sh/Mion
    This would've allowed us to determine if there was any switcheroo or not. In this case we can't really tell. I expected her change of clothes during Keiichi's visit to be for the purpose of easily being able to (offer to) show it. Now on a meta level, I have the feeling it was Mion this time around, but in-universe I can't find a proper reasoning.

Other small points:
  • The gun at the end lying on the floor between Sh/Mion and Satoko is a modern handgun, yet Sh/Mion left with an old school revolver.
  • "Shion" had her normal outfit at the bottom of the well, this would indicate that the switching might not have taken place.
  • Takano and Tomitake "fled" this time around instead of "disappear". However, we've only heard this from Shion over the phone. (previous episode)
The problem with the above points is, that I'm not sure we can trust the narration of any of them. So drawing conclusions from them might be a bit tricky.

Where does that leave us? In an even larger pile of questions :p. What we should be doing is figuring out Rule X, Y and Z. I think it's clear that they aren't what they used to be. Rule X seems to hold, for now, while Rule Y seems to be clearly broken. I had my doubts about Rule Z, but quite possibly that one is different as well. In the first arc, it's unclear what caused Rena to go on these killings, but she seemed fully believing the curse and no tie with the Sonozaki family. In this arc, while Sh/Mion does perform the killing, she doesn't seem to hold the believe that the Sonozaki family performs them:
  • During the ladder scene, she clearly states that Rika is trying to kill them
  • In the torture chamber she states that, to her knowledge, nobody has ever used the tools for their intended purpose. It seems she is showing to indicate that people (in the village) are capable of performing the curse even in this day and age, but doesn't seem to hold the believe that the Sonozaki family does.
But I'm not sold on this concept. At the very least Ooishi still seems to find the Sonozaki family suspicious. And if Sh/Mion truly believes it's the "village" as a whole or some other party that performs the killings (or allows them), why would she kill all the family heads? What would her plan be?

Instead of taking the original Rules X, Y and Z as basis, perhaps we should focus on the constant things in these arcs:
  • Someone ends up killing people (after the festival)
  • Takano and Tomitake "leave or dissappear" on the night of the festival
  • Satako ends up dead along with someone else, seemingly killed with the same weapon as the other. In such a way that it could either be murder (by a third party) or murder & suicide.
  • Keiichi survives each time(!)
And I still feel Rika isn't doing anything. Like, how passive can you be? Shouldn't she be worried a bit more, try some more things to prevent things from escalating? Of course, we don't know anything. Does she even retain her memories from the previous fragment, or is Hanyuu too weak? How much time does she have? Something is seriously off and I really hope there's some very good reasoning behind this.

So I decided to work on the assumption that there is a very good reasoning behind this. Let's say Rika does her absolute best to get to an happy end (without involving her friends...?). What would her first priority be, eliminating the risk that is Takano. Now let's say that Rika takes initiative and on the night of the festival, after her dance, she takes care of Takano and Tomitake.

Could it be that the killer of each arc is somehow triggered by such an event? We know Rena seems to look at the pair from behind the trees. She could've followed them, see them meet/encounter Rika. Go paranoid and decide to complete the curse herself. Shion could've followed the two after visiting the tool shed and have seen a similar scene. Concludes that Rika is out to kill people (and obviously also Keiichi since he visited the tool shed as well).

Problems with this theory:
  • Rena really seemed focused on completing the curse: one murdered and one "demoned away". Any excess murders seems incorrect. But it's possible that that time around Rika only talked with the two, perhaps prevented the murder on Tomitake, which led Rena to think the curse would have been incomplete?
  • Rika clearly states a mild (very mild) surprise by the fact that they haven't found Tomitake's body yet. So either she would've killed him (is a bit strange) or only intervened after Takano let him be killed. But that would also not lead to a truly happy end, now would it?
Well, plenty to mull over, but sadly little to go one.
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I just caught up, it was a good episode though I'm just going to copy paste my theory from the 07 discord channel

So my full theory of Watadamashi by itself (not the overall). Keichii, Shion, Tomi and Takano go into the storage shed, mess around and leave. The town later finds out one way or another (perhaps Rika told everyone at the town assembly?) and Mion who was now infatuated with Keichii succumbs to hinamizawa syndrome and vows to protect him. She off's Kimiyoshi and Oryuu who are seeking to punish him. She also kills Shion who either knows too much or out of rage for putting him in danger in the first place.

Rika is killed unknowingly, it might be Mion or it might be part of the overarching plot. The mountain dogs who are investigating the wherabouts of Takano and Tomitake over hear Keichii scream how everything is his fault and want to find out what he knows. Mion in her paranoia comes to the conclusion that the whole town is out to get Keichii locks him up. The mountain dogs see this (there was a short frame where the mountain dogs were watching Keichii and Mion go to her house) and begin to snoop around, Mion mistakes the mountain dogs for the minions of the three families and begins her assault. A gunshot from (I suspect a third party) alerts the nearby police and things play out as we know.
Those are interesting theories you have both posted :) That's one of the best things about the new anime, is nobody knows the answers yet, so I'm having fun reading the theories everyone is posting.

For this arc, we know Rena survives and must have tipped off Ooishi and the police anout Keiichi.
Those are interesting theories you have both posted :) That's one of the best things about the new anime, is nobody knows the answers yet, so I'm having fun reading the theories everyone is posting.

For this arc, we know Rena survives and must have tipped off Ooishi and the police anout Keiichi.

I agree it's very fun. After this arc I want to make a timeline of the progression of Rika rage from Higurashi to Umineko :p


(Yes I do have a number of sprites at my disposal 🤫)