Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU
Episode 15

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 15 of
Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU ?

It was really hard to choose a screencap this week that didn't show someone's eyes popping out of their skull. Suffice to say, Oyashiro-sama heard my whining and decided to up the on screen violence to previously-unforeseen levels. The back half of the episode contains no less than two decapitations followed by people getting beaten over the head with a baseball bat. Is this why the timeslot was moved back an additional hour?

This episode's gore content is mostly a smokescreen to distract from its real purpose: fast-forwarding through four timelines to up the stakes. In the last episode, Rika swore that she'd try to escape the looping horror of Hinamizawa five more times before using the broken shard to end her life and suffering. I was hopeful that this meant the next four to five arcs would follow Rika more closely as she unravels what pulled her back into the looping after her successful escape in Higurashi Kai.

But I guess we don't have time for that? It's strange to set-up that kind of foundation only to abandon it an episode later. In short, it seems like the "five more attempts" was mostly an excuse to set-up a splatterfest here because we learn very little over the course of the four death segments. Each time Rika is murdered by a different person afflicted by the neck-scratching paranoia. In two of the cases that paranoia latches onto Hinamizawa's mythos in the killer's psyche. Mion's mother attempts to wipe out the Sonozaki clan and Hinamizawa's residents because she believes that they really are descended from demons. Kimiyoshi drowns Rika in the swamp as a reenactment of previous human sacrifices to appease Oyashiro-sama. When someone who is not a Hinamizawa resident comes down with paranoia they tend to fixate on the itching in particular.

All four "bad end" scenarios are unique to GOU, so in a way it's also establishing once again that it is not just a remake of Higurashi. Ooishi, Kimiyoshi, Akane, and Akasaka were never culprits in the past. In fact, I don't know if I'm particularly pleased with using Akasaka as a culprit at all from a story writing perspective. It just seems like kicking Rika when she's down for no other reason than because the writers can. It also deludes the revelations in Kai where Rika's killer was typically the same person and uncovering who is her murderer was necessary to unravel the larger mystery and conspiracy. But, SPOILER, we haven't actually seen much of that person at all during this go around. A lot of the initial allusions to the original conspiracy and 'final boss', like suspicious men outside the clinic, haven't been seen in a while. I'm also left wondering if we're going to get clear answers about, say, what happened in the Mion/Shion arc or any clarity on Rena's situation.

If Rika is up to her last go-around, it'd make sense that all the episodes going forward will be part of a singular timeline. Are the answers for everything really going to fit into the events of a single week?

Rating:

Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU is currently streaming on Funimation and Hulu.


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