Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai, Episode 1 : Reunion

[Disclaimer] : this entry is SPOILER-FREE. Although it might give hints on some important points, NO foretelling spoiler is present. (and this will be the same for the next Episodes entries of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai). Therefore, please follow the same guideline, and understand that any spoiler can just ruin this critical part of the story for any reader. (NO spoiler will be tolerated. Any borderline hint either. don’t even try to test me, instant edit/delete might fall without your permission. you have been WARNED) Also, please don’t forget this entry has its sole purpose to summary and show what is happening in the specific episode. So, read it at you own risk. I will however warn you whenever a major scene occurs, which will give you an idea if you should read or not without watching the episode itself before. Good reading!



Opening Theme : 奈落の花 (Naraku no Hana – Flower of Hell), by Shimamiya Eiko.

The opening begins slowly, with a really calm and soothing melody. Rika and Hanyuu are standing, hair being gently blown by the wind. Shots of Rena, Keiichi, Mion, Satoko and Shion are shown. Then the song changes its pace, accompanying Rika, who is desesperately running. This scene is followed by Rena, standing and crying, presumably from Tsumihoroboshi-hen (or any next chapters). Several shots of well known places and items, and then, a mysterious woman seen from her back, wearing a black coat and a cloak, with distorsion on the picture (there isn’t any artifact, and she will probably be revealed later on). A crying girl under the rain, who bears a sad and wrathful expression. A crystal fragment lies on the ground… Rika picks it up, and her indifferent expression drastically changes to determination, with everyone standing next to her. Finally, a closer scenery of Hinamizawa is shown, and we see the gang on their usual days, with Rika, waving at someone.

My thoughts of this OP is basically fanboy joy : the song itself isn’t anything special first, but after several plays and with the OP sequence, it is simply fantastic. Pace and lyrics just fit perfectly well, and the scenes chosen for the sequence are just powerful. There are various hints, but I was pleased they were able to mask them well with great camera angle, as usual. (of course, i won’t say anything about them, it is up to you to determine their meaning ^^)

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai, Episode 1 : Reunion

The episode begins quickly : Akasaka is in a car with his Kohai, Sawada. Both of them are arriving in Hinamizawa, which Lockdown has finally been lifted up. It has been almost like 30 years that Akasaka didn’t return to Hinamizawa.
(as a side note : don’t forget that Akasaka last visit was in Himatsubushi-hen “past” period, so 5 years prior the “present” story. Thus the future is set roughly around 20-24 years after the Great Disaster in 1983, so between 2003-2007. why 20-24? well, saying “almost 30 years” implies that it is below 30 (talk about obvious), but i would hardly see below 25, considering it is the half (hard to be “almost”). thus, 26-29. if we consider the demon’s script, it is summer 2005, so 22 years from Tsumihoroboshi, and 27 from Himatsubushi “past”)

Once there, they meet up with Ooishi. Akasaka remembers about this place, where he met Ooishi and Rika.

Without much wasted time, Akasaka, Ooishi and Sawada are going directly to the Onigafuchi Marsh, which was completely dried up since the Disaster. Akasaka is talking about the rampant Alien theory, found on the Internet and most likely imagined by mystery freaks. However, things are much more interesting, since this theory is attacking various dubious points : the government stated the hinamizawa Great Disaster was due of a volcano activity, which spread letal gases; however, it is known that concrete is nearly useless to stop such gases, but weirdly enough, the government forces use this to cover the volcano site. Various points don’t make sense at all, which is confusing Sawada. Akasaka is then referring to an intesting point, involving Registery n°34

Their next destination is the Irie Hospital, where Takano Miyo was working. Akasaka then reveal that Takano’s first name is written with the kanji of 3 () and 4 (), thus, explaining the pun for Registery n°34. He then tells about her research of hinamizawa legends around the onigafuchi demons. Her theory so far was involving Alien : basically, a long time ago, an alien ship crashed into Onigafuchi Marsh, bringing also an alien parasite on earth, which quickly infested the local villagers. The aliens who discovered the matter helped the villagers, and became “Oyashiro-sama”, their god. The Gosanke then took care of the alien and their secrets, sharing a bound with their God. Over the time, the parasite effects and Alien memories steadily fade from villagers memories. Sawada is wondering if it isn’t a good point. But, Ooishi pretty much nailed the point : some people might not be really happy with this, which is the Gosanke. The 3 families, since it was no longer required to use Alien knowledge against the parasite, were losing their power and control over the villagers. Thus, the 3 families were trying to reactivate the power of the parasite.

Of course, this theory wasn’t really solid, and Sawada was rather skeptic. However, there are troubling points :

  1. Takano Miyo suddenly dies in june 1983, for unknown reason
  2. Before her death (pretty sound like she knew she was going to die), she let her scrapbooks to someone
  3. This person is “Girl A”, who was also the culprit in the School Hostage incident (in other words : Ryuuguu Rena)
  4. “Girl A” was claiming that the Gosanke were trying to use a biological weapon
  5. The very next day after the incident, the Hinamizawa Great Disaster occured.
  6. the goverment force were quickly recovering and drying the Marsh with concrete, with unknown reason.
  7. The lockdown was extremely longer then it should be.
  8. The gases which were supposed to have killed the villagers should have also damaged the environment, and metal. however, there aren’t any remnants of this.
  9. Various people who claim there weren’t any volcano gases were simply shut up.
  10. There were also various Blood tests during the goverment operation

Sawada still argue the facts that these points aren’t enough to prove anything, and he is quite surprised that his sempai is believing in such silly theory about UFO and alien. He thinks that Registery n°34 was probably also made up by a mystery freaks.

However, Akasaka was able to lay his hands on the Registery n°34, also known as takano’s scrapbook. Ooishi tells there were lots of laughable theories among the pile, but there were also disturbing points, which were pointing the inconsistencies of the current situation. Also, she was litteraly foretelling the Hinamizawa Great Disaster. Akasaka and Ooishi believe that this theory hold many truths, despite the laughable base : The gosanke were working on a Highly pathogen element, for the purpose of bringing back the devotion to Oyashiro-sama. However, the Disaster is quite a failure, since instead of creating a situation which permit them to control the village, they rather created a killing virus, which litteraly wiped the village out.

While it is still an hypothesis, there are too many inconsistencies for a “normal disaster”.

Their next destination is then the Hinamizawa School, where someone is waiting for them.

This person is no one else than Girl A, Ryuuguu Rena, in her late Thirties/early Forties. Ooishi greets her, basically ask her things about the incident. However, Rena says she already said everything to the police, and doesn’t have much to add. She still wonder how she was able to believe in such silly things, about alien and parasites, she is wondering what made her that insane, believing that she became unstable and it was a bad dream. But Ooishi believes that such coincidences cannot happen like this (Irie’s and Rika’s Death, then the next morning, the disaster) . he thinks the persons in the hospital who were in charge of Rena at that time, made her to believe at this, and then comforts her that this isn’t the hospital, and says that Rena can now avenge everyone.

Unfortunately, Rena doesn’t know anything, and doesn’t understand at all. You can tell this incident and the disaster made her quite unstable.

However, she remembers quite well that Rika was involved deeply with the Disaster. She leads the group to her trash hideout of that time, and we see a flashback of what happened.

Rika, without any explanation, was able to find Rena in her hideout at that time, and was offering her help to Rena, with a syringe. Rena, suspicious at that time, didn’t believe in Rika at all.

Rika didn’t argue much and was giving up “this” hinamizawa, awaiting for the “next” hinamizawa. Basically, she didn’t care at all, and just left Rena.
Older Rena was commenting that Rika wasn’t the “Rika-chan” they knew, and was appearing not quite much, which made Akasaka to remember about his similar experience with Rika in the past (shown on Himatsubushi-hen). She was clearly aware of the Watanagashi murders and her own death, which made everyone wondering what is it with her.

Rena then leads everyone to the place where they found Rika’s corpse, in front of the Furude’s Shrine. Akasaka remembers of what Rika said, about she was going to die the next day of watanagashi festival or maybe later then. He wasn’t able to save her, which grieves him.

Rena is melancholic, and would like to be back at the ol’ days… Akasaka wonders what the hell happened in this village. The episode ends on some flashback of the group, then on the corpse of Rika, with her “giving up this hinamizawa” speech echoing in the void…

Ending Theme : 対象a (Taishou a – Target a), by anNina.

The Ending begins also slowly, with a calm and melancholic song. Rika is watching afar, then turns her head. a Black wheel is spinning on a white background, which looks like a symbol of fate. Then, Rena and Mion are lying on a black background, with a rather sad expression. Next are Shion and Satoko, hugging together. Finally, Rika and Hanyuu holds their hand, and look like they were kissing.

Much like the OP, the ED was really peaceful, yet with tons of different tones, between melancholy, sadness and regrets. I really liked the gentle voice of the singer, and the scenes of the ED were simply gold, though i’m a bit complaining that Keiichi wasn’t on it, meh…

Preview :

The preview style is completely different from season 1 : basically, it is some antics between Hanyuu and Rika, with her other self “mode”. “Black Rika’s Corner” is self-explanatory XD. as for the content of the antics, it was about a question of Houjou Teppei, desperate about his hair, falling without any mean to prevent this. Rika simply suggest to use his hair from… below. This comment shocked Hanyuu of course. Rika then says it was a lie/joke.

. The scene shown from episode 2 pretty much show Rika drinking some wine, while satoko is sleeping (reference to another TIPS : My Favourite Wine )

Note that Hanyuu announced that the next episode is the first for Yakusamashi ! “Yakusamashi-hen sono ichi” . So basically, Reunion was more like an introduction and bridge for season 2, rather than Yakusamashi itself. Great news, it won’t be focalised on Tsumihoroboshi-hen aftermath, but will be an unique chapter per se.

Thoughts :

Kitta !!! Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai is finally on air !

Excellent start to say the least. Basically, this episode covered everything that tsumihoroboshi skipped (except maybe some parts of Rena’s Past) : Rena’s encounter against Rika, and the Demon’s Script.

I must say i’m really excited about this second season : the Animation and Character Design were much more fluent and strong. They even added more details in Hinamizawa sceneries, while it wasn’t really a weak point of the first season 1.

Once again, Kudos for the great faithful adaptation of the Demon’s script, along with effective camera angle, and mood (wasn’t cluttered nor void of BGM). Talking about BGM, i just hope they will soon introduce new tracks, since most -if not all- tracks used in episode 1 were simply from the season 1.

I can’t say that my excitement prior the show didn’t have an effect on my critic, but seriously speaking, Studio DEEN pretty much have done a great work, and i hope they will keep going like this, especially that we aren’t even at the visible part of the iceberg, there are MUCH more things to come, for ou delight ^^

I hope my first summary wasn’t too long or lacking of details ^^”

Final and obvious note : Rena was already kawaii, she is just beautiful here *____*


7 Responses to “Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai, Episode 1 : Reunion”

  1. 1 Asa July 6, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Excellent review~~

    I agree with you on Naraku no Hana – I’m really happy that Studio DEEN didn’t make the mistake of keeping the “creepy” sound of the first season’s OP, if only because Minagoroshi/Matsuribayashi are so, so, so, so different in tone and mood than the first six arcs. This series will probably disappoint a few people who thought of Higurashi only as “a horror show” – because it will focus more on the efforts of Rika to break through the endless June, and the underlying story beyond “killer loli + emo facial distortion”.

    You can see (nicely concealed) references to the two final arcs in the animation, also~~. The distortion on that person is probably due to spoilers (this is good – Studio DEEN is being subtle now! As opposed to the first OP’s obvious “Shion loses it” shots). It’s similar to Higurashi Kai’s animation site’s character page – to the right of Hanyuu’s picture there is a conspicuously empty space that could hold one more profile image (maybe to be updated in late Minagoroshi or early Matsuribayashi? It would be too blatant to show that character now).

    And the animation quality is amazing as well; Rika running on water was KyoAni-level sakuga :3

    The episode itself sets the stage for the second series quite nicely – the “Demon’s Script” is finally depicted (though this time, Rena’s alive, which is nice considering adult Rena is really gorgeous *__*) and they pose key questions for the anime-only viewers (i.e. the strangeness of the ‘government operation’ and the possible conspiracy there, like the ‘lack of gas damage’ and silencing of opposition). The consistent character design and the details in background and expression are all A++ – I hope DEEN will maintain this quality to the very end, but so far they’re off to an amazing start. Next episode is “onigokko” (the special before-airing preview’s episode) so we can look forward to the main cast’s return and more lighthearted atmosphere~~.

    The ending really shocked me at first with the Hanyuu/Rika ‘almost kiss’, but the sequence in general was nicely done. And the hugging was too cute, it’s good to see Shion acting more ‘nee-nee’ towards Satoko ^__^

    I liked your review :3 It had a good balance of screencaps + information (without spoiling anything, because I assume you’ve played the sound novels from your mention of the Demon’s Script, and it’s really hard to talk about Higurashi while not giving anything away)~ I hope you continue to blog Higurashi Kai ^__^

    (I didn’t realize this comment got so long… I guess I’m just overexcited for the 2nd series ^^;;;; Sorry for cluttering your post)

  2. 2 klashikari July 6, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Well, I must say i’m really fed up reading on AS forums (and probably various other places) that OP2 and ED2 are “disappointing”… i’m just wondering if they actually watch the OP/ED sequence along with it, and the lyrics… (not insulting, but frankly, it sounded so differently that i would hardly believe anyone not noticing the big changes between season 1 and 2). well of course, i can understand that people might not like it, but the “disappointement” mention is something really weird…

    Even some people were expecting their “bloody/gory” series of summer with Kai… sheesh, sometimes i feel like first season was too much of a “bloody ruckus” and got a false “Elfen Lied” like label…(not the watchers fault of course, but i think Tatarigoroshi and the rest pretty show that it is much more a drama and thriller, rather than… flat gore…)

    and yes, the OP received many cares in the animation. i was surprised to see brilliant hints, but with again, fantastic camera settings. (it was hell hard to not describe what i was seeing… some parts of the OP is simply BIG spoiler)

    As for the Animation and Character Design, despite my horrible fears from season 1, the episode and both trailers show constant quality (and not to mention that Trailers have scenes of Minagoroshi as well, which mean that it should be really good even in mid season), I think we can expect stable and really top nocht sakuga quality. Once again, i’m still wondering how DEEN were able to do this, after such result with season 1. (well… sounds like budget and/or angry mobs of fans did the trick XD)

    The ED itself almost made me cry, because lots of meaning and messages behind the images. (the contrast and angle for Rika, the expressions of Rena and Shion, the mood between Shion and Satoko). Really, i just can’t wait for Minagoroshi, since it will be hell a ride…

    Thanks for your appreciation, i’m happy this review is not too stretchy, nor too deep in explanations. (heck, i might create some article “deep analysis”, though i think it is too soon to do so, considering the amount of “hints” which are visible for me, but not for anime-only watchers.)
    As for my “experience”, in fact, i was an anime-only watcher first, but i got spoiled after some researchs and lot of analysis (it isn’t like i didn’t ask for it anyway). Just like many of the big fans, I was lurking on AS forums for the TIPS and Matsuribayashi Kakera. and finally, i’m reading the VN itself, though with a babelfish-like translation (still not even at the half of matsuri XD)

    I hope this will be helpful for anime-only watchers, and i will do my best to keep the “anime watcher” stance until the very end ^^”

  3. 3 chrno July 6, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Looks like most of the other Tsumihoroboshi-hen TIPS will be included in Yakusamashi, at least, Drunk Rika will be.

    I really can’t imagine what kind of plot it will have. Maybe (hopefully), we’ll get the Rules explanation from Rika somehow here.

  4. 4 klashikari July 6, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    yes, and i think there will be many scenes centred on Hanyuu in yakusamashi, instead of cluttering Minagoroshi (the pace of the later is extreme in the mid and final parts, so i would hardly believe they would do the same mistakes they have done in Tatarigoroshi)

    As for the rules, only time will tell, but i think it will be rather explained in Minagoroshi, considering the “urgency” aspect of this peculiar chapter.

    The episode 2 will probably set the situation of Yakusamashi-hen into stone (well, at least, even it is the same episode as eggplant described in AS, that would give hints on the pace)
    Lots of Tatarigoroshi and tsumihoroboshi lost scenes for this chapter, probably ^^

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama July 7, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Hooray for the opening sounding so much better in the show than it did in the trailer. From now on I know never to judge a song by how it appears in a trailer because apparently they can sometimes sound very different overall.

  1. 1 HNNKN Kai, Episode 1 : Analysis, Thoughts, and Random Comments « When Anime Past Meets Present Trackback on July 8, 2007 at 12:20 am
  2. 2 Site de Acompanhantes VipGoldRJ Trackback on August 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

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