It's time once again to talk about Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kai, AKA When They Cry: Kai, the second season/series. We've learned a bit about the time loops the main characters seem to be stuck in, but so many questions still remain. We know that one girl in the friend group--Rika Furude--is keenly aware she's trapped in these loops, remembering each and every one. What does it all mean? Why is the village of Hinamizawa trapped in this unending loop of misery and death? This arc, Disaster Awakening, does not answer those questions at all, but it does provide us some new answers! And also more questions. So many more questions...
Welcome back to the ongoing recaps of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, AKA When They Cry! I had a slight hiccup in the schedule, but I've got the series all sorted out now up to season 3 thanks to a blu-ray collection! Just never ask me how much money I've sunk into this blog or I will cry. Anyway, after the Cat Killing Chapter special episode we are now officially in the second season, When They Cry: Kai, with "Kai" translating to something like "Solution." This series/season has a new opening in addition to a new name, and hopefully some new answers to all the questions I have after the first series/season. What kind of questions? What a great segue into a recap!
So you might notice that I have not ascended to godhood. While I did correctly guess that What If...?'s eighth episode would be titled "What If Ultron Won?" I was wrong about the title of the final episode. It's actually titled "What If the Watcher Broke His Oath?" which is definitely a better title, so I'll take that loss. Everything in the first season has been leading up to this moment, as well as something in the second season! Let's wrap this up!
I fuckin' called it! Hell yeah! Sure, we all pretty much knew what this episode would be about, but I got the title exactly right! Granted, the number of titles it could've had was limited. But still! "What If Ultron Won?" is the name of this episode, and I got it exactly right last time. Now, if next week's finale is titled “What If It Took a Multiverse to Save the Multiverse?” then I shall transcend the mortal plane and become a god.
That's right, folks! Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, AKA When They Cry is back! Going by likes that have trickled in over the months since I wrapped up the first season, it looks like this was one of the more popular TV show I've covered so it makes sense to circle back to it with October right around the corner. But instead of diving straight into season 2--When They Cry: Kai--Wikipedia convinced me I should watch Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Nekogoroshi-hen, a special that takes place between seasons 1 and 2, also known as Cat Killing Chapter. But don't let the name make you worry! This isn't a retread of Revolutionary Girl Utena episode 10, so not actual animals were harmed in the episode. And really, no one died outside of flashbacks from years ago, so this is one of the more peaceful episodes of the series, in a weird way.
A lot of What If...? comic stories are total downers. A bunch of real bummer buzzkills, bro! But why can't everything just be chill for once? Sometimes it's just nice to have an alternate reality that doesn't harsh my vibe. I'm running out of incredibly dated slang, but the gist is that "What If Thor Was an Only Child?" is essentially a frat bro comedy about Earth's biggest party ever, and the party poopers who are ready to nuke the site from orbit.
You would kind of think that "What If Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?" would be one of the first episodes of the series, since the first full trailer for the show opened with that moment. But nope! The episode that effectively nullifies the entire MCU comes two-thirds of the way through the first season. Not that I'm complaining, as the first 5 episodes have some really solid entries. But I just really wanted to see more Killmonger, you know?
Breaking the tradition of the last two What If...? posts, this is not my newest favorite episode of the series. By process of elimination I think it's actually my least favorite? But that's not the same as "the worst"--just "my fifth favorite out of five episodes." This wasn't too much of a surprise, as episode 5, "What If Zombies?!" goes all in on the reanimated dead, and I'm typically lukewarm towards zombies. And for reference, Otto; or, Up with Dead People gets a pass on how gay it is and because it came out before zombies oversaturated the media landscape.
I know I said that last week's episode, “What If the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” was my new favorite episode of What If...?, but that's no longer the case. "What If Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?" continues the series' fine tradition of clunky episode titles, but it delivers a compelling tale of love and loss that also actually involves the Watcher! You know, the omniscient narrator of the whole thing? He gets to actually do something! Kind of.
In the comics, What If? stories don't typically have happy endings. Sure, there are exceptions like "What If the Thing Had Continued to Mutate?" (What If? #37, 1983) where Ben Grimm ends the story back in his human body and his girlfriend regained her ability to see. But in that same issue, "What If the Beast Had Truly Become a Beast?" sees Hank McCoy get dropped off in the Savage Land--a jungle filled with dinosaurs--because he had lost all of his intelligence and humanity. The first two episodes of What If...? definitely had their sad moments, but things generally worked out better than in the MCU. Peggy Carter had the training to better foil Hydra, and T'Challa had the charisma to change the universe. But then we have this episode, "What If the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?" which is a murder mystery. The victims? Just about every Avenger. Better grab a flashlight, 'cause it's about to get real dark!