I’m not sure whether Keiichi is the strongest or dumbest 14 year-old in Japan, but I suppose those two things aren’t mutually exclusive…There was a lot to take in with this final episode of “Watadamashi-hen”, so you’ll have to bear with me if I tackle it in terms of comparison to the original. Spoilers inevitable, but there’s really no other way to approach this as far as I can tell. In the first place, Keiichi coming out of the arc alive was a major change from what I remember. And apart from the damage he did to himself (more on that in a bit) he came out of it basically unscathed. Physically, anyway – the emotional side may be another matter. Higurashi is inevitably interspersed with head-scratching moments for me, but this ep has a couple of whoppers. In the first place Mion more or less tried to kill Keiichi when he was up on the ladder (that scene I definitely remember), and then he obediently took her up on her invitation to come to her scary mansion (I don’t remember if that happened or not). Were the alarm bells finally going off for K1 when she showed him the torture cell in the dungeon? Then the “safe” room? Still, he keeps trailing along like an eager if anxious puppy. We’re left with some inconclusiveness about Mion’s motives here, though it does seem very likely she was afflicted with Hinamizawa Syndrome. Though I suppose one could argue that she might just have done the things she did if she was serious about wanting to break the system and protect Keiichi, if she were just naturally a bit nuts. There’s also the matter of whether we saw Shion at any point during this episode, or whether it was always Mion. The wardrobe change from Harajuku-wear into kimono was obviously meant to suggest a sister switch, but I’m more inclined to believe that was a misdirection. Then we have Satoko, whose behavior in this episode is extremely odd. Why was she so hostile towards K1 at school, and why did she show up at the Sozonaki compound? Why would Mion need to feel she needs to kill her (unless she was completely bonkers with H.S.. What about Rena – did she survive, along with Keiichi? If creeper cop is to be believed they would be the only ones among the main cast who did. Finally we have K1’s preposterous antics at the end. First he breaks down the cell door (seriously – what does he weigh, maybe 55 kilos?), then he knocks himself out and into the hospital by hurling himself against the safe room door. I’m always tempted to call stuff like this unintentionally hilarious, but just where that “intentional” line is with Higurashi is never easy to figure out.
The upcoming arc is “Tataridamashi-hen” (“Curse-Deceiving Chapter”) and as far as I know, that’s a totally new title for the Higurashi mythology. As such I have no idea where the story is headed from here, but neither does anyone else, pretty much – so neener neener to all the gamers out there.