Normally when covering Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kai, AKA When They Cry: Kai, I talk about an entire arc in one post. Well, Mass Slaughter is eight episodes long, so welcome to part two! Let’s start with a brief recap of what happened in the first four episodes: Rika is aware she’s stuck in a neverending time loop of the same days over and over until her eventual murder. After around a hundred years of this, morale is in the dumps. Doesn’t help that her invisible friend, the horned Hanyu, is a pretty big fatalist as well. Moping about the inescapable nature of fate to Keiichi, Rika is surprised when the boy stands up and forcibly changes how things are supposed to happen. Bolstered by new hope, she rallies her friends to save Satoko, her best friend who is trapped with an abusive uncle. And that’s basically where we start this second half of episodes.
Keiichi and the gang crash a meeting held by the town council before the Cotton Drifting Festival, intent on getting their help in rescuing Satoko. But the boy is told to back off, with the order essentially coming from Oryo-san, AKA Shion and Mion’s grandmother and the head of the Sonozaki family, AKA “demon hag” as Shion charmingly calls her. But the kids realize that nobody in the village actually hates Satoko’s family for supporting the dam that would’ve flooded the village any more, but they’re afraid that somebody else does and fear getting on that hypothetical person’s bad side. Keiichi uses that in his arguments while Shion tells everyone that the village headman is getting government handouts that most don’t know about. With that pressure, all that remains is convincing the demon hag. She’s already pissed that Keiichi’s family never met with her after moving to Hinamizawa, and the boy’s brash attitude doesn’t do any favors. Or that’s what everyone thinks, which is why they’re surprised when she gives her blessing. With the three important families and the entire village united, political pressure from above and a protest on the ground combine and force the manager of the guidance office to relent. But a call to Satoko’s house goes unanswered as Teppei is too busy beating Satoko. Oof.
Teppei finally answers the call and is very annoyed that the guidance office wants to speak to Satoko directly. He threatens her if she tells the truth, which normally would’ve ended getting help right there. But Keiichi gets on the phone and delivers a rousing speech, followed by Rika telling Satoko that she can’t atone for her perceived sins against Satoshi–Satoko’s missing brother–if she doesn’t fight back like he did. And fight back she does! Satoko tells off Teppei, who is about to really hurt her out of spite, but detective Oishi had already called in some cops who arrest Teppei. The day is saved! A cruel fate is averted! Too bad we still have two and a half episodes left! The night of the Cotton Drifting Festival, Rika reminds Tomitake and Takano about their horrible deaths–Tomitake points out that clawing his throat out is level 5 of Hinamizawa Syndrome, but he’s vaccinated so he’s fine. And Takano laughs it all off. Rika tells Oishi what she “overheard” about their impending deaths, and the kids even act as bodyguards for the two. The adults say goodnight to the group when they reach Irie’s clinic. Away from prying eyes, that’s when we learn the awful truth: Takano is pure evil. She wants to unleash Hinamizawa Syndrome with the support from people in “Tokyo” and bring Oyashiro-sama’s curse to reality. The Yamainu has always been on her side, whatever vials of the syndrome Tomitake thought were destroyed weren’t, and the vaccination he got this time was a fake. Sorry, man, but you slept with crazy and now you have to die. Takano begins Operation Doomsday by driving his unconscious his body to its final resting place–strongly suggesting Tomitake was in the trunk when Keiichi met Takano on the road in Curse Killing. She has a body double all ready at the old construction site, but some kind of error means the victim has been dead for 24 hours. Takano loves the idea that an autopsy would reveal “her” to have been dead before the Festival where everyone saw her, because she’s just awful like that. But burning the body was someone else’s plan, so now she absolutely knows that Rika has some kind of supernatural powers.
The day after the Festival, Oishi tells Rika about Tomitake and Tanako’s deaths. He suspects something is up, especially since Takano’s time of death doesn’t make sense. Rika–who has been trapped in these loops for a hundred years–has never before suspected Takano, which is… sure, why not. I feel like I’d have a least a year of suspecting literally everyone near me, but what do I know. Rika goes to Irie about this, but a Yamainu goon is on hand to suggest that “Tokyo” suspect Irie. Unsure which adults to trust, Rika calls Oishi as he’s an outsider and not involved in this conspiracy. She also calls in sick to school, but all her friends show up and hear her talking about her impending death. Then it’s time for some answers! We’re 39 episodes in, so fuckin’ finally. Hinamizawa Syndrome is a disease centered on the village that has been around for hundreds of years, if the stories about demon villagers are to be half-believed. Soldiers during WWII stationed in Hinamizawa went crazy after leaving, causing the Japanese government to created “Tokyo,” a shadow group who wants to turn the condition into a bioweapon. Who cares how many people die if a bunch of money can be made? Capitalism at its finest. Irie, Takano, Tomitake, and the Yamainu are all members of “Tokyo,” but Irie is a softy and wants to find a cure. And the reason all the villagers haven’t gone completely crazy yet is because Rika is something called a “queen carrier,” and being around her suppresses the Syndrome. It’s a Furude family thing, apparently. Despite all this intense information, Rika’s friends believe her because something something friendship is magic. Doesn’t hurt that Rena remembers having a psychotic break when her family moved away briefly. The group figures Takano is behind all of it, but haven’t yet suspected the Yamainu. That works against Oishi, who catches the guy breaking into the telephone plant (that building from Disaster Awakening that I thought was a radio tower), leading to the cop’s assassination.
While the group realizes it’s weird that Oishi is running so late, foul play isn’t immediately suspected. The gang goes home, leaving Rika and Satoko alone for the night. Satoko set up a bunch of traps, so she’s pretty convinced they’ll be safe; but Hanyu still doesn’t believe this will change anything. The Yamainu strike, but being forewarned and some well placed traps allow the girls to escape. Rika–APPARENTLY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER–recognizes the uniforms of the men chasing her and fully realizes that yes, Takano is behind all of this. Satoko is ready to sacrifice herself to save Rika, but Rika won’t let her best friend die for her. Good thing Keiichi, Rena, Mion, and Shion suddenly appear with weapons! Rena felt like someone was watching her, so they headed back just in case. Though the kids do a good job fighting off these goons, Takano isn’t worried at all. Sure enough, she stops by to shoot Keiichi herself, killing the boy. The girls run, but Mion stays behind to give them more time. But it wasn’t enough, and soon Rena is killed and Rika, Satoko, and Shion are all captured. Takano shoots Shion and Satoko, showing off a very disturbing level of sociopathy. See, in her mind, if she unleashes Hinamizawa Syndrome on the village and enacts Oyashiro-sama’s curse, she will effectively become Oyashiro-sama, and therefore a god. Rika asks not to be drugged before she’s killed, all in an attempt to make sure the memories for a head are still there for her start on the next loop. As she’s preparing to be gutted by Takano, Hanyu shows up and promises to remember even if Rika forgets. The spirits of Rika’s dead friends are with her when she dies, and are present in the void between reincarnations (as we saw at the beginning of this arc). But before the story ends, they all realize something that I had been shouting at the screen for a couple episodes now–if a miracle won’t happen unless everyone believes, then it stands to reason that no miracle happened this time because Hanyu didn’t give it her all. Encouraged by a determined Rika and the spirits of her friends, Hanyu promises to believe next time. After Rika has died, Takano cackles as the villagers are rounded up and exposed to a gas that causes lethal outbreaks of Hinamizawa Syndrome (explaining why all the bodies were already in the school at the end of Disaster Awakening). What a bitch.
Well hot damn, I think this basically explains what the fuck has been going on. Doesn’t explain the time loops or Hanyu, and there are still a bunch of questions, but Mass Slaughter gave more direct answers than any previous arc. Hell, it might’ve given more answers than everything up to this point! Takano is evil, the madness is something localized to Hinamizawa, stress and paranoia can cause an outbreak that leads to death, and the government knows all this and is bankrolling the village in secret. I’m actually kind of at a loss of what to have as an outro, since this is basically it. It’s now seeing if Rika can break the cycle and stop Takano before everything goes wrong, which is potentially not that hard since there’s no indication that the older woman remembers these loops (I had a suspicion that she might, but there’s been no indication of that). It’s a battle of good versus evil! Children versus adults! How very anime indeed.
Previous: Mass Slaughter, Part 1
Next: Festival Orchestrating, Part 1
Follow Me Elsewhere
One thought on “When They Cry: Kai – Season 2, Episodes 10-13”
Pingback: When They Cry: Kai – Season 2, Episodes 6-9 | Chwineka Watches