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Higurashi: When They Cry Vol. #11 Manga Review

3 min read

Shion and Mion may be able to impersonate each other, but when their life depends on it, can they truly fool everyone around them?

Creative Staff
Story: RYUKISHI07
Art: Yutori Houjyou

What They Say
After a year at boarding school, Shion Sonozaki flees the oppressive institution and secretly returns to her hometown in the mountains, telling only her twin sister Mion of her arrival. Though the Sonozaki family has kept the sisters apart to prevent conflict over who would become the next family head, Mion and Shion have remained close – Enough so that Shion can easily impersonate her identical twin. When Shion encounters Satoshi Hojo in town, he is completely taken in by her ‘Mion’ disguise. And Shion is quite taken with him…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Eleven volumes into Higurashi, it kind of seems weird to be reviewing it anymore. What makes this series unique is using the same group of characters to retell a murder mystery ending with horrific revelations, just told with a different character being the murderer in each of the two-volume arcs. For the fan, it makes for a cool series if you like the characters. For the reviewer, it makes for a somewhat difficult thought process for reviewing material that I continue to enjoy.

Luckily for me, this ‘Eye Opening Arc’ has opened my peepers to a new angle of the story that has only been hinted at until now; Satoshi’s downfall. Everyone knows Satoshi is Satoko’s older brother that mysteriously disappeared before Keiichi moved to town, but this is the first time RYUKISHI07 opens our eyes to the truth behind Satoshi’s character and presumably how he disappeared.

Shion escapes from her boarding school exile and makes her way back home, or at least close enough to home to see her sister Mion, while avoiding the family. Since Mion will inherit the family leadership role, it has been important to keep Shion shuttered away. So, now that Shion has disappeared, the old crone that leads the family is pissed and wants to capture and punish her. Shion doesn’t plan to make it easy for her pursuers, and upon returning home she is mistaked for her sister by Satoshi. It is love at first sight for Shion, but her newfound love life quickly falls apart as Satoshi’s home life changes him for the worse. Regardless of how his problems are at home with his abusive aunt and what the real reason is for his attitude, Shion blames Satoko for Satoshi’s failing health and changing personality. Will Shion’s desperate attempts to recapture her care-free relationship with Satoshi work, or will she only hasten his mental breakdown’

In Summary
In this series’ revolving door of artists, Yutori makes a return for the first time since the “Cotton Drifting Arc”, or volumes three and four. The rotating artists drawing RYUKISHI07’s stories is one of the most unique aspects of this series. I mean hey, if you don’t like the artist just wait another book and then a new artist will pen the next story arc. It’s a cool idea if you ask me.

With that said, this series takes a little different angle as this ‘Eye Opening Arc’ extends to four volumes instead of the standard two. This is a good thing because this arc goes further back in the ‘Higurashi’ series than most of the previous arcs. This should give enough time to play out Satoshi’s disappearance before introducing Keiichi and the murder mystery. For what it is worth, Rena creeps me out the most, so I always bet on her being the murderer!

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 2011
MSRP: $11.99

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