Score: B

So quite a bit happened in this episode. In a sense the majority of the episode was either just very casual or full of shocking revelations depending on your perspective going into the show. For first time viewers there is a lot to take in here. I have no idea how coherent the situation involving Takano is for people jumping in with Gou. Certainly she does lay out that she had terrible plans and has decided to change them. Of course I’d say her explanation to Rika was underselling the horrors of her intentions, but let’s just go with her simply aiming to kill Rika and her friends. For Rika this would be a rather shocking situation considering the past she’s had.

For me, Takano can’t cry enough to cover for her sins

Much of the episode was spent cleaning up that side of things. Takano being taken in, the forces threatening Hinamizawa being cleared out to some degree, revealing where Satoko’s brother is, etc. A lot of pieces that will be more or less important depending on perspective. Though I’d suspect the most important thing we saw here was the vials of that dangerous drug. How dangerous it is may not be clear and the show might still go into more details about the Hinamizawa syndrome so won’t delve into too much right now on that front. But I’d say a drug that has the ability to put someone into an extreme state with just an injection is no joke. Thankfully it appears only Takano or important people had access to that drug, but with the reveals about Satoko in this episode…who knows.

In a sense things were relatively quiet for the duration of the episode. Minus the shocking start of the episode which is a flashback that was admittedly a bit jarring. That execution of Rika’s friends was important in a sense to establish what Takano was even apologizing for even if I’m not sure it was a complete enough explanation.

But the episode really had a more sinister element that played out as time went on. Rika wasn’t wrong to be concerned about things playing out too well. She’s endured endless horrors. Things just working out this miraculously without her doing much of anything is suspicious. But all the more so with things calming down just because she happened to accept staying in that village forever and showing some (misplaced) regrets over leaving. So it wasn’t a bad move on her part to test the waters a bit around Satoko. Someone that was either acting as a great friend or a very suspicious threat depending on perspective. Since she was the one pushing the whole “this is your fault for wanting to leave” angle it makes sense that she’s the supposed antagonist for this arc.

Still not sure about the glowing red eyes thing

There are a lot of hanging questions to be sure. Can only guess at where Satoko picked up and concealed a gun considering this is the 1980s in Japan and it isn’t like there are convenient guns laying around. Maybe she stole it from Takano, I don’t know. But regardless, we’ll have to see what Satoko is up to here. When did she start gaining the ability to loop and how? At least Rika does have the local deity backing her up to explain some things. So who is backing Satoko in this insane path? No clue why Satoko is getting herself into all this. Causing endless havoc just for the sake of having Rika want to stick around. That seems to be her only motivation for causing all this slaughter, but there’s a chance we’ll see more in the coming episodes.

Not a bad episode. Although it definitely brings up some major elements from the original series quickly and tries to wrap them up in a bow. All for the sake of having Gou’s specific plotline play out without it being all that connected to Takano. Next episode should be a memorable one.

Original Higurashi Perspective

There are just so many questions and I’m not sure about this overall path. Is making Satoko the antagonist really the best move? It was easy enough to throw out there as a supposed route from the start. After all Satoko was one character with less to do in the overall story besides being a victim. So it makes sense if you were making anyone in the main cast the main villain it would be her. At the same time it seems a really odd move. I don’t care what happened specifically after Rika moved away. It seems pretty out there for Satoko to go on some dimension hopping path of carnage just because of that. Just give her a call every now and then if you are lonely…

I suppose the other main thing I wonder is how they’ll wrap this up. The looper killing blade seems like it won’t be used here. If freaking Takano got a redemption angle then I can’t imagine Satoko will die here. Takano slaughtered thousands consistently across hundreds of years. And she didn’t even have a looping mind to keep her locked in on that path. She was just that determined to kill all those people for the sake of her goals. I suppose you do need to introduce the blade as a threat though. With Takano once you beat her that was it. Rika didn’t have to loop at that point. But if you don’t beat Satoko properly then she just dies and keeps on doing what she’s doing. A certain level of threat that you could finish her permanently needs to be there.

I will give them props for using the present scene again. Satoko has nowhere near the history of Rika. And I have no doubt she only started looping and doing all this after Rika finished her journey. Rika is a bit more used to needing to keep up her guard so she doesn’t react to things in too strange a way. Satoko isn’t likely to be as guarded as Rika or able to keep that poker face up when going through familiar situations. Of course you could say she overreacted to a ridiculous degree and honestly Rika could have found her out with a more subtle reaction. But, it was still fine.

Satoko should get some credit I suppose for sticking to the script when it came to her Uncle. Putting up with at least some legitimate abuse for the sake of her plan. Although I suppose it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that she used ‘powers’ or influence over Takano to keep her Uncle behaving himself until he was arrested and then using those vials to send him and Oishi over the edge.

Not sure how I feel about this route overall. It really forces Satoko to either be manipulated by some higher power or be truly twisted and sick. Her own case of the syndrome doesn’t matter when it comes to looping. So she literally has been killing others and herself because…Rika left home. The explanation needs to be really solid for this to work at all. Since otherwise Satoko just turns into a rather pathetic character that did unspeakable horrors for little reason. Symbolically it works fine to have Satoko as a major obstacle for Rika. This is a girl who sacrificed so much and suffered because she wanted to live and wanted those she loved to live. Now one of those people she sacrificed for is not only her enemy but has the nerve to blame her for wanting to leave that place after securing her victory. Tough situation there.

I really am curious to see how the next episode plays out. How much is going to be explained and how will Rika handle this? Be nice if we could get Hanyuu back into the story since her being cut out for this is unfortunate. Anyways, solid episode that leaves me curious. I’m still uneasy about whether Gou is going to be worth it in the end. But until the show is over there’s no way to know that for sure.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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