With a new arc, comes a new person of interest and for the next four epiosdes it seems we’ll be focusing on the sweet and sour Satoko Hojo. As with the beginning of the last two arcs, this new Curse-Deceiving Chapter opens with a rather light hearted episode. Keiichi is challenged by the group to prove that he’s a decent cook, but his attempts literally go up in flames. Thankfully Satoko and Rika are there to save the day. Rika mentions to Keiichi that Satoko has been feeling lost without her older brother, and Keiichi resolves to try and be there to support her in a similar role. But with the Watanagashi festival looming and whispers of who Oyashiro-sama’s curse will befall next, we all know these relaxing days will be short-lived.
This new arc begins on 9 June 1983, and once again there’s some key points of difference between the now three timelines. In this timeline, Keiichi knows Shion and it appears that Shion is a bit more involved with the high school life at Hinamizawa. While Keiichi doesn’t meet Tomitake at the rubbish tip, he does have some prior knowledge of the Dam project. And, perhaps most importantly, in this arc Keiichi learns of Oyashiro-sama’s curse far earlier than in previous arcs. This in turn leads him to question Mion and Rena about it. While Mion, just like in the last arc, is helpful to Keiichi it appears that Rena is once again disturbed that Keiichi knows of the curse. We’ll have to wait and see how this reveal plays out. I will also note that this week’s episode has been the third time we’ve seen Rika directly encourage Keiichi towards certain actions. In the first arc, she encouraged Keiichi to trust Rena (which didn’t work out so well) and in the second, encouraged Keiichi to give Mion the doll (which did work out well). I’m thinking it’s important for each of the characters to feel a sense of support or care from Keiichi to protect them from Oyashiro-sama’s influence.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this week’s episode was learning of Satoko’s family. Firstly, we learn that her parents were the key proponents of the Dam project, and were the second ‘victims’ of Oyashiro-sama’s curse, if we count the dam construction worker as the first. And now we know that Satoko’s brother (Satoshi) and an unnamed woman were the fourth victims (the year before the events of 1983 take place). Based on information from a previous episode, I believe Satoshi murdered the woman before disappearing. It’ll be very interesting to find out who this woman actually is.
As we begin a new arc, we’re essentially beginning a new cycle. We learn more about one character, the Watanagashi festival happens, and finally everything spirals out of control. If this series wasn’t so captivating, I’d almost feel as frustrated as Rika! But thankfully, even if this series can feel like a month long Groundhog day I’ve become kind of obsessed with it. Each week I’m so excited to learn the secrets of Hinamizawa and the truth behind the curse. But most important, just like Rika, I am keen to see if this might be the time the awful cycle is finally broken.
Complete side note but how creepy is that Irie guy?