Higurashi: It Takes a Village to Make Change

Management: This essay is meant to be less of a review and more of analysis of the show being examined. It contains plot spoilers for the Higurashi anime, especially Higurashi Kai (i.e. the 2nd Season) Episodes 6-12.

One thing that a lot of good horror stories have in common is an isolated setting. Good horror involves some dimension of disempowerment, the inability to do anything in the face of an oppressive force. The small village tucked away in the mountains, hidden from the rest of civilization, is as good a place as any to promote that anxious and hopeless feeling. An almost inevitable sense of suspicion and paranoia lingers on the outsider looking in. An all-too easy fear and anger festers in a community that’s supposed to be tight-knit. Disempowerment seemingly and realistically encroaches into the lives of its protagonists from multiple facets: the interpersonal, the political, the Kafkaesque. Higurashi’s “Hinamizawa” village embodies all those aforementioned aspects. They infect the protagonists and affect all the village’s denizens, eventually, and lead them to a gradual but inevitable doom.

Well, Kafkaesque might be a little hyperbolic a descriptor for Higurashi, at least when compared to the systematic and soul-crushing absurdity of Franz Kafka’s bureaucratic nightmares. But there’s a relatable enough parallel in the story arc of one small Higurashi girl. In the latest of a series of unfortunate events, a parent-less and brother-less Satoko Hojo finds herself suffering under the roof of her domestically abusive uncle… yet again. Satoko considers herself complicit in both her parents’ deaths and her brother’s disappearance, feels duty-bound to protect her family home and beloved brother’s room from her uncle, and suffers from a pathological predisposition to panic attacks. Satoko’s small frame bears the weight of terrible emotional issues, and being just a little girl, we might expect our society to have some mechanism in place to take her out of there ASAP, even as Satoko herself is hesitant to admit she’s being abused.

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[Award] Liebster Award Questionaire, or A Great Excuse to Tease Matcha

Management: Apparently I’m popular enough that anibloggers are consigning me to more blog work. Anyway, if you’ve either yet to read or entirely forgot the opening lines of my last self-reflection questionnaire post, I’ve set myself up to do these kinds of super editorializing posts in a super editorializing manner. These kinds of posts are a lot less formal, polite, and reserved than my usual Management content. I’ve subsequently labeled their style and persona as Non-Management.

Liebster 1

Liebster 2

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Higurashi: Between Worlds Perfect and Not

Management: This essay is an analysis of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei (the last, serious installment) of the (original) animated Hirgurashi franchise, specifically Saikoroshi, or the Dice Killing Chapter, which comprises Episode 2 to Episode 4. While my opinion of the show is positive overall, this essay, by no means, is meant to serve as a comprehensive review, but rather, as an articulation and analysis of some of what I feel is this series’ most integral and interesting themes.

 An Offer Too Good To Resist?

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It’s a bit maddening that people either dismiss or adore Higurashi for of its supposed under-aged bloody psycho girl spectacles. That isn’t to say that label isn’t applicable to some degree, but it’s rather reductive about a series that’s, foremost, one grand narrative about friendship. Friendship, of all things. And while I suppose dismissing Rei, the last serious sequel to the TV series, as third-string material for its Episode 1 and 5 silliness and lack of gore is understandable, it’s nevertheless saddening when it’s the series, specifically Saikoroshi-hen, or the Dice Killing Chapter, at its most philosophically dense.

While I wouldn’t be one to discourage more shows approaching  friendship as something integral to their thematic base, friendship’s still a rather common theme, and one that, in a sea of shows inundated by this subject, it takes a lot to separate it as something special from the fold. While Higurashi seeks to do just that for its first two animated installments, Rei addresses another theme that, in my opinion, is rather ambitious to present in any way to audiences in general ever. The Dice Killing Chapter asks Rika Furude and its audience an existential question. Between worlds perfect and not, which one is preferable?

The answer seems self-explanatory. It’s got to be the former. It’s got to be perfection. After all, if perfection is something that is possible to achieve… No no no, let me rephrase. If perfection is merely something that can be chosen and adopted, then this shouldn’t even be a matter of debate. Of course, unless there’s a catch.

What’s constitutes perfection, according to Higurashi? What constitutes imperfection? We want to make sure we don’t make any Faustian bargains.

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