Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU
by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 15 of
Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU ?
We've reached the end of this new installment of Higurashi and I'm, at best, comfortable with it. The problem leading into this finale is that both GOU and SOTSU failed to set itself up with a compelling mystery. Once GOU showed its hand with Satoko and her attempt to fit in at St. Lucia, the crux of the show's conflict was interpersonal communication. And really, how much of a compelling mystery can you pull out of "two friends are too stubborn to grow apart"?
I'm annoyed that I was right, honestly. I called the "these two girls just need to have a talk and admit they want different things in life" resolution something like 20 episodes ago and that's ultimately what this conclusion is, albeit with a bit of foreshadowing. We even get a "parent talk" scene from Keiichi and Mion while Satoko and Rika sit in the back of the van like two siblings that won't stop almost touching each other. The two older friends explain the very simple concept of letting people be individuals and have their own goals. So hurray, the supernatural pals learned their lesson post endless suffering and murder. We're supposed to accept that, when it comes to millennia old entities, a little disembowelment isn't enough to come between friends.
The concept of Satoko's witch/looper memory personality isn't elaborated on in a way that felt satisfactory to me, either. I've surmised that witch!Satoko is the consciousness with all the memories from the timelines it experienced so, presumably, it "exits" the timeline at the end of this episode to continue to pursue witch!Rika and allow the Satoko of this timeline to continue with her life. One thing Eua and witch!Satoko seem to have in common is an allergy to boredom, and Hinamizawa with out Rika is, apparently, very boring. Also Eua is smol now.
For the crowd that was hoping for a direct tie-in to other When They Cry series, there's a hint of that here during Rika and Satoko's parting words at the train station. The girls say that they'll appear wherever they cry, regardless of who "they" are, which implied to me that the witch personalities will show up out side of Higurashi, basically a meta-name drop.
There's some other small developments, but none really resonated with me. Satoshi wakes up, which is great but Satoko's feelings about her comatose brother have been ignored for the entire series, even though they showed him down there back in GOU. Miyo and Tomitake come back to the clinic and I don't know why but I got some pregnancy vibes from that short scene. Either way, the characters are supposed to be "good" now but I'm not sure why they'd come back to Hinamizawa or why we should care that they did. There are some other background characters hanging out during the montage, several of whom I don't really recognize.
So that's SOTSU. Satoko gets her family (including a rehabilitated Teppei) and Shion to be with her in Hinamizawa. Rika goes away to St. Lucia, the school of her dreams with a secret student prison. They will continue to weave in and out of one another's lives across space and time. Unfortunately, my fondness for the characters and the setting wasn't enough to gloss over the multitude of execution (no pun intended) and story problems in this series.
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