Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU
Episode 6

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU ?

This episode is a triumph in horror. Up until this point, it really felt like SOTSU was just going through the motions, blazing through its 'answer' arcs so we can get back the face-off in the classroom some 18-odd episodes ago. This arc's finale finally slows down and gifts some truly scream-worthy imagery.

Mion's paranoia from Satoko's injection has led her to finding clues where none exist. She's convinced that the Three Families of Hinamizawa have orchestrated murders to remove villagers who supported the dam project, disobeyed orders, or threatened to reveal the town's past. She's convinced that a bull's eye was placed on Keiichi for going into the storehouse and the only way to stop it is to murder everyone who is in on the "conspiracy." And Mion ends up with a high body count.

What made this finale standout is the exceptional visuals and the dedication to taking the brutality to a point beyond what we've seen from this continuation so far. The only gore moment to reach this level prior was Satoko disembowling Rika back in GOU. Otherwise, nothing prepared me to see Rika get strangled and stomped into a toilet. I'm pretty sure that image of her half sticking out is going to give me nightmares. The camera never cuts away, which I kept expecting it to do.

The confrontation between Satoko and Mion was also exceptionally well-framed, even if I found that soy sauce lead-up weak. I'm not sure where it came from (also did the bottle look like it was shattered and glued back together to anyone else?) and I'm still left tepid on the whole "Satoko gets a gun" subplot. There wasn't enough pay off for the set-up when she could have used another weapon. As a viewer, I think we're supposed to infer that Satoko always intended Mion to be her target here and that she felt she couldn't succeed against her without a gun. It just didn't feel as necessary to the overall plot of this arc, which perhaps to Satoko's own surprise, felt like it got away from our antagonist. She definitely wasn't as in control of everything as she planned.

It's also interesting to note that this arc subverts the presence of the doll. Keiichi giving Mion the doll is supposed to be necessary for the "good" ending, but Satoko's interference means that it was the catalyst for Mion going off the deep end. If Keiichi hadn't shown her attention; if he hadn't acknowledged her as a potential romantic interest, she likely wouldn't have fixated on protecting him and murdered so many people. That clever flip of the script along with committing to some truly scary visuals is what cements this episode as exemplary horror.

Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU is currently streaming on Funimation.

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