The full extent of Satoko’s abuse becomes shockingly clear, along with the group’s inability to do anything to stop it. After enlisting the help of their teacher and the Child Protective Services, Shion makes a startling suggestion – to murder Satoko’s uncle. The rest of the group refuse to go along with it, and instead focus their efforts on convincing CPS to act and remove Satoko from her uncle’s care. The class rally’s to the course and they continue to push the CPS. But circling and ready to strike is the vulture Detective Kuraudo who seems to have a particular interest in harassing Satoko.
The last two episodes have probably been the most harrowing of the series so far. The abuse Satoko is suffering under her uncle, and the Higurashi community’s inability to do anything about it – there’s no words. One of my big frustrations with this is with the Detective. He’s, well, a detective, I can’t imagine it’s too naive to think he should be on the aside of an abused eleven year old child. But no, from episode 10 Irie tells Keiichi that the Detective seems to have it in for Satoko’s family and constantly hounds and harasses her. If he’s paying such close attention to her, there’s no way that he isn’t aware of the abuse and for whatever reason he decides to ignore it. In previous arcs he’s always appeared to Keiichi as quite a friendly figure, taking him out to a cafe and telling him what’s going on in the village. But in this route, we see more of who he actually is. He’s able to threaten Keiichi, hurting his shoulder but leaving no marks. There’s no mistake that the Detective is someone to watch out for and definitely doesn’t have the villager’s best interests at heart.
One thing was confirmed in episode 11 and that was how to get a ‘good ending’. Throughout the episode Rika talks about dead ending and how “this world” may be able to avoid it by banding together. However, it does appear that while she is forced to repeat timelines, she can’t be an active force in it. Instead she has to wait for others to take the lead. I’m unsure if this is because of her supposed age – appearing like a grade schooler and as such not having much influence or if it’s some ‘rule’ of her time travelling. But nonetheless, it was fantastic to see Keiichi taking charge of his, and Hinamizawa’s fate. The last two arcs, he’s almost like a leaf in the wind, being blown violently around by Oyashiro-sama’s curse and Hinamizawa. But this time he’s taking an active role, getting his friends and classmates to support Satoko and challenging fate.
With the way previous arcs have gone, I believe this one may only have one episode left. And while I know that the series is barely halfway through, and there’s probably a bunch more time loops to go, I can’t help but hope this one ends happily. It’s inspiring to see the children coming together, and I’m sure with their parents and the other adults of Hinamizawa involved, they can achieve their goal. The question now changes from “what they can do?” to “can they do it in time?”