Higurashi: When They Cry, Vol. 21

Story by Ryukishi07; Art by Hinase Momoyama. Released in Japan as “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Minagoroshi-hen” by Square Enix, serialized in the magazine GFantasy. Released in North America by Yen Press.

And so we come to the end of the penultimate Higurashi arc, and – no surprise here – everyone is dead. And I do mean everyone, as this volume, having finally given away most of the secrets, goes into great detail how the “disaster” that wipes out the village actually occurs. Things are not particularly improved by Takano, who is waving her arms around during all this as if she’s a conductor, and has a final face that is perhaps the template for all “crazy Higurashi faces”. But let’s jump back a bit and see how we got here.


Rika and Hanyuu both feature on Yen’s chosen omnibus cover art (sorry, Takano, you just aren’t cute enough), with Rika having a resolved, determined face and Hanyuu looking depressed and dead inside. Most of this volume is showing us how Rika gets that determined, as getting the news about Tomitake’s death just seems to take all the fight out of her. Especially when she hears Oishii’s theories about who did it. A lot of fans have gotten on Rika’s case about being unable to figure out the killer, who seems really obvious in retrospect, and that she should have pieced it together after so many worlds in a row. Of course, as we see here, this is the first world where she’s not drugged up at the time of her execution. More to the point, she may have a hundred worlds of experience, but they’re the experience of a girl who only gets to about 12 years old. Rika has years, but not maturity, and it shows clearly here, when she resolves to hide everything from her friends so they don’t get killed.

That’s hardly going to work, however, given what happened with Satoko just a few days ago. Indeed, Satoko points this out to Rika directly, and Keiichi and the others make it clear that they’re not going to sit there and let Rika be sacrificed. We even have Rika quoting one of Bernkastel’s poems – usually reserved for the start and end of each arc, and indeed we get one at the end as well – which talks about who has a right to happiness. It’s easy to stand up against someone when it’s for the sake of others. When you do it for yourself, it can seem selfish, especially if it will put your friends in danger. Rika has to break through that barrier before she can accomplish anything.

We are – finally! – starting to get answers here, and indeed most of the pieces are together now. Not only is Takano the villain, but so are the “Wild Dog” bodyguards, who have always resembled a militia a bit too much for my taste. (I like how they are mook enough to have Keiichi and company take them out in order to rescue Rika, but not actually mook enough to have that last more than a few minutes – in the end, the kids lose.) And Hinamizawa Syndrome, the disease that causes the paranoia and killing impulses, is explained as well. This leads to why Rika keeps getting ritually slaughtered on an altar – Takano has gone mad and believes that if she kills the Queen Carrier, she’ll gain godlike powers.

And then there’s Hanyuu. We still don’t know much about her. She’s the incarnation of Oyashiro-sama, but strangely powerless, except for her ability to reset the worlds. She’s also even more worn down than Rika, and is also terrified that if she loses Rika this time she’ll be alone again… as she was for about a thousand years. Rena calls her out on this, as she too has the reoccurring theme of the Massacre arc – fighting back hurts too many people, it’s best not to have any hope. We’ve just proven how wrong this is, even if it did end badly. What’s more, we don’t really have much background on why the hell Takano is doing this, aside from “She’s insane”.

Luckily, we have one more arc – the longest yet, 8 volumes/4 omnibuses! – that should tell us about them, and will hopefully finally give us something that the characters and readers truly deserve after all this tragedy – a happy ending. Stay tuned for Vol. 1 of the awkwardly titled “Festival Accompanying” arc, where we meet a young girl named Miyoko Tanashi, and find out what makes her tick.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind