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You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
How To Develop A Phobia Of Pretty Piano Music. 
11th-May-2017 11:21 am
NOOOOOOOOO
I've run out of Higurashi! There are three remaining instalments, and they exist - they were first released just over a decade ago - but they have yet to be re-released on Steam with better art and a fresh translation. So I suppose I'm just going to have to live in suspense until they come out at... some unknown point in the future. Why did I become so invested in this story?

I'm deeply sad that 'Meakashi' didn't have an all-cast review session. Keiichi never got to attend the game afterparties because he didn't have character art, and when he finally does get character art there's no afterparty!



The way I described the plot of 'Meakashi' to some friends unfamiliar with Higurashi:

- A guy says, 'Hey, look after my sister' to the girl who's in love with him.
- The guy mysteriously disappears.
- The girl goes, 'Wow, I'm really angry that he's missing. And I hate his sister. Maybe I'll just take out my feelings by murdering her.'
- While repeatedly stabbing his sister, she feels as if the guy is asking, 'Did you forget your promise?'
- SHIT.
- SHIT, SHE PROMISED SHE WOULDN'T DO THIS.
- If only she hadn't forgotten! How could it possibly have occurred to her that he might not want her to murder his sister?



I can't believe that 'Meakashi' failed to explain how Keiichi ended up (probably) getting murdered by 'Mion' in his hospital bed when both Mion and Shion were dead. I'm going to laugh so hard if it turns out they're actually triplets. (I don't think Higurashi would actually do this. But it would be hilarious.)


Something struck me in 'Meakashi'. Satoshi murders his aunt on the night of Watanagashi, and Shion later scolds Mion for not coming up with an alibi for him; she should have insisted he was with her at the festival.

This might explain why everyone claims to have seen Keiichi at the festival in the 'Tatarigoroshi' timeline. He thinks he's fallen into some sort of alternate universe where he was at the festival, but no; everyone knows he murdered Satoko's uncle, and they're trying to protect him by coming up with this collective lie. They already lost Satoshi; they don't want to lose Keiichi under the same circumstances.

I seem to remember Keiichi felt his friends seemed hostile in the 'alternate universe', and that would make sense if they've created an alibi for him. They still love him (hence trying to protect him), but they probably resent him a little for forcing them into the position of having to cover up a murder.

It doesn't explain why Satoko says her uncle is still alive, but I'm still dubious about that claim. We never actually see him alive after the murder. I suppose the cover-up might extend to pretending that Satoko's uncle isn't dead at all, but I doubt it; Satoko really suffered in her effort to follow the orders he supposedly gave her after his death. I think Satoko's perception of reality has been destroyed and she genuinely believes he's still around. She wasn't at the festival, so she doesn't know Keiichi wasn't there and she doesn't have to be in on the cover-up. I think she's the only one in the group who doesn't know about the murder.



This is so frustrating! Usually, when I run out of an in-progress work of fiction I'm enjoying, I can tide myself over until the next release by reading fanfiction, or writing fanfiction, or poking through reactions online. But I can't write fanfiction when there are so many mysteries I don't know the answers to, and any existing fanworks or online discussions will be ridden with spoilers for later games. So I've played through fifty hours of this series and suddenly hit a brick wall.

In any case, this is a fine addition to my increasingly worrying collection of videogames about teenagers being horribly traumatised.
Comments 
14th-May-2017 02:41 am (UTC)
Now that I know I can read these posts without being spoiled for a story I've actually like 60% forgotten, I've done so, and my reactions are basically a mix between "evil laughter" and "wait I don't remember that but it sounds pretty plausible anyway based on what I do remember". I do remember liking how long it took for the anime to get to the horror. I mean, also disliking, because I'm not really a fan of harem shows, but I respected the writing choice.

If you're desperate for more story, maybe you could track down the second season of the anime? But it's probably hard to find, since I don't think it got licensed. (The first season did, though! But I don't know how good an adaptation it is, given that it's 24 episodes for an apparently 50-hour game.)

There's also actually a second game in the series largely independent of Higurashi, but come to think of it, you probably wouldn't like it. I liked it, sort of, kinda, enough to watch almost all the game (the final chapter wasn't out yet when I was in my phase) and make a mediocre AMV from the retrospectively awful anime. Most of the characters are actually kinda mean, and it tries very hard to be clever. But it's worth mentioning as a thing that exists.
14th-May-2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
I actually watched the first four episodes of the anime (which cover the first game in the series) after running out of game! I saw them in pretty poor quality (it's yet another anime that never saw a UK release, siiiiigh), but I was delighted to see Keiichi on the screen! Doing things! Having expressions! (Why am I so fond of you, Keiichi?) I don't have much of a visual imagination, so it was really interesting to see scenes I was already familiar with playing out.

I wasn't sure how well an eight-hour game would fit into four twenty-minute episodes, but I didn't think it was too bad an adaptation! It took a little time to show us the 'normal' situation before things went wrong, which is important, and I think it hit the points it needed to (even if I'm sad it didn't have the SUDDENLY TERRIFYING MEMORY OF BUYING CUP NOODLES or the scene where Keiichi is just screaming uncontrollably and beating up a shoe rack). It might have felt different if I hadn't played the game already, though; the game gives you a lot longer in the 'normal life' period, which helped to get me invested in the characters before everything went horribly wrong. And of course the anime can't give you as intimate a look into Keiichi's psyche as the game does. (The answer to 'why am I so fond of Keiichi?' is probably 'I've spent hours and hours inside his head as he becomes increasingly terrified', come to think of it.)

The game portraits of Wrong Rena (with the updated Steam art, not the original art) were much more terrifying than the anime version, too. (If you're curious, this is what Rena usually looks like in the game and this is the Rena that haunts my nightmares.)

I also came across this GIF, and I don't know where it's from (is it an actual episode? is it some sort of comedy short?), but it's hilarious to me. If anyone ever asks me what Higurashi is about, I'm just going to show them this.
14th-May-2017 11:48 pm (UTC)
I'll admit that I didn't really have any particular fondness for Keiichi, besides a general "man he's got it rough", so I probably would have benefited from playing the games first, yes. Your links aren't working, alas, and Google is remarkably unhelpful, so could you redo them? I am now curious.
15th-May-2017 07:22 am (UTC)
I think 'man he's got it rough' is still at the heart of my feelings about Keiichi - I don't imagine he'd have made much of an impression on me in non-horrible circumstances - so maybe it's just that the games give you more time to appreciate exactly how rough he has it, from the inside.

It did take me a weirdly long time to find the right Rena expression on Google. Let's try Imgur!

It's Rena!

oh no

Higurashi in summary.
16th-May-2017 05:23 am (UTC)
That...is pretty creepy, yes. And honestly the art seems kinda better than the anime in general, though maybe that's because it costs less money to draw sprites than animate an entire show.
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