Higurashi fans will enjoy this episode for its slow reveal of the facts about Rika’s new world. We’ll freak at the Rika freak-out, and rustle uncomfortably, wondering, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Non-fans will probably gripe about how nothing really happens in the episode and point out that we’re 3 episodes into a 5-episode OVA without any forward progress besides Rika coming to terms with her new world. Neither side would be wrong. But I’m one of those who happen to enjoy the buildup.
Rika finally finds a familiar voice, although in a different form, when she comes across Hanyuu in a glass marble. Apparently, Hanyuu used her reset power to bring Rika, who had been beheaded in the car crash (probably more like squish-headed), back to life one last time. Unfortunately this time, doing so came with some unintended consequences. Rika’s back to life, but in a different universe (in the Umineko no nako koro ni world perhaps? 😉 ). Hanyuu is unable to access this new universe, except by making use of the power in the Furude shrine, in which case she has the ability to speak through a glass marble. This also means that if Rika dies in this world, it’s game over. No more lives. Luckily for her, there’s a way back to her old world. Turns out a shard of Rika’s old universe has been embedded in the new universe along with Rika. If Rika wants to get back to her old world, it means she needs to find and destroy the shard – and if that shard is embedded in a person – killing that person. Easy choice right? Nothing ever comes easy in Higurashi.
Finding the shard is easier said than done, considering it could be anywhere and everywhere. Rika’s first instinct is to check if the shard is in her (really beautiful) mom. One back massage later, still no leads. Meanwhile, Satoko continues to pick fights with Rika. Which made me wonder if she was the magic puzzle piece and if Rika needed to kill her former best friend to get back to her old home.
Turns out Rika probably could’ve killed Satoko without a second thought in this new world if she needed to. Her brutal beating of Satoko harkened back to old times. It is the one thing that’s been missing from the OVAs – a real violent danger waiting just around the corner. But I think the OVA’s doing a good job of playing up our expectations of it and getting us into Rika’s head, because I keep thinking there’s danger around every corner. A hundred years of constant, brutal dieing will do that to you.
I guess Rika took it pretty easy on Satoko, or more likely there’s only so much damage her little body could do, because both she and Satoko get off with an apology, and Satoko looks pretty dandy considering the WWE-esque chair beating. I don’t know what it is about the doctor, that Rika felt ok telling him her story to, but I don’t trust him. And I can’t help but wonder what “story” he could possibly have for Rika to listen to. Was he planted there to find the truth about Oyashiro-sama and his reincarnation? A spy planted by Irie and Takano? Does he have something horrible fated for Rika’s mom? Everything about this world points to him being just a caring, normal doctor. But we know better.
When Rika returns, she finds Satoshi, Mion and Rena offering an olive branch and trying to become friends with Rika. Apparently, the Rika of this world was quite the princess, which explains everyone’s distaste for her. But with their offering of friendship, this is the first time Rika’s faced with the choice of living with the world she has and getting back to the world she fought so hard for. As difficult as it might be to throw away her previous world, things in this world are pretty good. No Maebara Keiichi unfortunately, but Rika’s mom and dad are alive and appear to be loving parents. Satoshi and Satoko seem to have good parents. Mion’s not killing anyone. Shion’s not killing anyone (wait- where the heck is Shion?). And Rena seems pretty well adjusted. It’s not a bad life. And failing to destroy the puzzle piece would be disastrous.
Just when Rika thinks her decision can’t get any harder, she finds out that the puzzle piece is in her mom. Not only that, her mom is the reincarnation of Oyashiro-sama. Motherf-er! So does this mean Rika’s mom has the same power that Rika has? The power to see her fate? The power to reset her life? Has she been living the same nightmare that Rika’s been living? Trying to survive, trying to defeat her fate? If so, how many times has she been killed by Rika in this world? Does Rika need to kill her mom, knowing she’s fighting the same fight that Rika fought? This is just too cruel.
Nothing ever comes easy in the world of Higurashi no naku koro ni.