In the Meta-World Satoko meets a mysterious entity who promises to give her the power to achieve her wish – the power of looping. Satoko is, understandably, very confused and that confusion turns to fear when the entity tells her to restart a loop she must die.But even though she tries to run away, the deal has been done and Satoko next wakes in June 1983. She tries to convince herself that all that she’s experienced has been a very long nightmare and continues on her everyday life. That is until, one day after school Rika tells Satoko of her dream to go to St Lucia’s Academy . Satoko does her best to dissuade Rika from that path, and even tries to sabotage her studying. But she can’t continue lying to her best friend and after a heart to heart with Rika she decides to try again to follow with her friend’s dream. But, history has a nasty way of repeating itself.
Watching Satoko and Rika’s relationship fall apart on screen culminates in one important lesson – sometimes you just need to let someone go. The downfall of the relationship begins at that bookshop with Rika asking Satoko to join her at St Lucia’s. She tells her it’s her dream to go there and she wants Satoko to join her. But in this new loop, when Satoko tells her no, Rika says she will go with or without her. At St Lucia’s when Satoko is struggling, Rika makes a decision to distance herself from Satoko and seems to almost ‘give up’ on Satoko in pursuit of her own dream. Whether you agree with Rika and what she’s done, she’s done what she needs to do for her own happiness.
Satoko experiences this ‘betrayal’ not once but twice and rather than trying to find her own happiness without Rika, she digs her heels in. Just as she went along with Rika to help fulfil Rika’s dream, Satoko wishes to force Rika into her own dream – to live together forever in Hinamizawa where nothing changes. It’d be unfair and ignorant to put this down to stubbornness and not taking into account Satoko’s past. But with each loop, it’s clear she’s not getting any closer to her dream but only hurting herself. While it would certainly be naively optimistic of me to hope so, I do really hope that Higurashi Gou ends with Satoko either reaching some middle ground with Rika, or, and more importantly, having the confidence to live without her. Satoko needs to let Rika go.
This week’s episode also brought about a new ending visual sequence. Previously we had just seen each character in rather distressing situations within their homes. This week, the segment’s focus switches to Rika and Satoko and the spiralling of their relationship. And I use ‘spiralling’ for a key reason, as the camera swivels round and round as images appear on the screen not unlike going around indefinitely in loops. It did feel a bit tongue in cheek that the key imagery in the new ED was a chandelier, but I suppose if anything is going to be symbolic of the relationship crashing it’s that. Also, this week’s episode opened my eyes more to the title of the opening song – ‘I believe what you said’. The song is not only referencing that Rika liked to Satoko but also emphasises that the song is from Satoko’s perspective. We’re now seeing how the show has been constructed around Satoko as being the series’s ‘hidden’ protagonist.
According to AniChart there’s just three episodes left for Higurashi Gou and I’m these will be the most tight and tense episodes yet. In this episode, the communication breakdown between Rika and Satoko is very clear so I wonder how this will all be resolved! Rika has a piece of that ancient sword, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that maybe Satoko has the actual sword (since it is missing) – could Higurashi Gou end with the two of them running around Hinamizawa trying to kill one another? Guess we’ll have to wait till next week to find out!