Wow, three episodes in and the series is already popping off! This week’s episode opens with the ending of the Watanagashi festival. Rena tells Keiichi a bit about the village’s guardian, Oyasahiro-sama – a name that continues to pop up throughout the episode. The day after festival, all seems quiet and settled in the village. However, towards the end of the school day, Keiichi is visited by a police detective investigating the disappearance of the photographer and a nurse seen with him. Once again, Keiichi suspicions about the village begin to brew, and he becomes increasingly embroiled in the mystery of Hinamizawa.
The star of this week’s episode was by far Rena – we finally had a proper look at what’s under her perky carefree mask. And it wasn’t pretty. Rena becomes incredibly cold when talking to Keiichi, questioning whether or not he’s ever lied to her. It all culminates in a short, but manic episode where she tells him “I worked really hard” presumably to maintain the happy facade. I really have to applaud the build up to this scene. Throughout the episode we can tell that there’s something off with Rena. When Keiichi returns from seeing the cop, the others greet him happily but you can see Rena is frowning. Scenes showing the double side of Rena are made all the more eerie by how quickly she can revert back to her chirpy self. As the episode progresses, Rena turns from a friend/ potential love interest of Keiichi to someone he begins to fear. I’m sure as the series continues more of what Keiichi takes for granted in his sweet and normal everyday life will become increasingly nefarious
I think perhaps my only issue with this week’s episode was with the police detective. I found it incredibly difficult to believe that a cop could take a student out of school and interview them in their car with no guardian present, even if this is set in the 1980s. But it didn’t stop there – there are scenes of the cop calling Keiichi at his house, taking him to what seemed like a themed maid cafe etc. It was all just so incredibly odd. Especially as the cop seems more than aware of the dangers of Hinamizawa, to be trying to convince a child to be an almost informant seemed ridiculous. But, who knows, maybe that’s actually the cop’s intensions and he may have a personal reason behind his ruthless investigation of the village.
I think as of last week’s episode and name reveal we can say with certainty that the Higurashi Gou series is a sequel not a remake. However, I will continue to review these week by week. The way I see it is that the series is similar to playing through a visual novel, with each play through you go down different routes, experience different endings and learn something new that informs later playthroughs. The 2006 anime may have been like playthrough one and this series may be playthrough three or four. Thus introducing what was considered a major spoiler at the beginning of episode 2, to continue the analogy, it’s assumed knowledge from previous playthroughs. I also don’t really have much of a desire to go back and watch all the other Higurashi series if I can enjoy this one just fine. So with all that in mind, I’ll be continuing these reviews as though I’ve just stumbled upon the ‘true’ route in a visual novel.
However if any long time fans of the series are certain it would be much better viewing to watch previous seasons please let me know!