Art: Karin Suzuragi
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
What They Say
Rena has taken extreme measures to protect her and her father’s happiness, but such drastic actions have terrible consequences. When her friends learn of her crimes, they feel no revulsion toward Rena, but rather a sense of regret that they hadn’t been able to help her and avert this tragedy. But even if they had sensed Rena’s desperation, would her classmates’ pity have transformed itself from sentiment into action? Hadn’t they had the same opportunity to prevent tragedy a year earlier, when Satoshi Hojo was suffering abuse at home, and failed to prevent his desperate act of murdering his aunt? How much can Rena afford to trust in a place like Hinamizawa?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In a spectacularly clever attack, Rena successfully kills off the man trying to force Rena’s father to give up his money. Now that Rena has both that man and the woman tricking her father dead, she just has to dispose of the bodies. They are already at the city dump, so I would just leave them there. But Rena likes to cruise the dump looking for “treasure”, so she decides to bury their bodies in the mountains. Problem is Rena is a little girl, so she decides to cut up their bodies for easier transportation. That is pretty twisted, and when Keiich and the others stumble upon Rena in the act, Keiichi finds it pretty repulsive.
At this point I would expect Rena to go totally nuts and try to kill everyone. Instead, Keiichi asks why Rena didn’t ask for help, which leads to background for this reiteration of ‘Higurashi’. Rena has some good arguments as she points to what happened to Satoshi the year before. No one helped Satoshi then, and he killed his aunt in the end. I think this is a good reason for Rena’s actions. Instead of Keiichi and the others walking away from Rena, they apologize for not being there to help her and promise that they will all help each other in the future, including getting rid of these bodies.
As time passes, life seems to go back to normal. Until Rena runs into Nurse Takano at the library. Takano works their conversation around to Oyashiro’s Curse. Takano is into the occult and eventually Rena reveals her history with the Curse. Takano shares her scrapbook detailing everything she knows about the Curse and asks Rena to read it in hopes of cracking the mystery behind the Curse. Takano believes it’s a powerful group or family in the area committing the murders and blaming the Curse.
Rena doesn’t want to research the curse, but after the Cotton Drifting Festival, Takano is found dead. Curiosity gets the better of Rena and after reading Takano’s scrapbook, she things she knows what the Curse is and who’s behind it. That puts her in danger and she begins watching her back at all time. Can Keiichi convince Rena she is imagining things, or will Keiichi be drawn into this too?
The eight color pages in this volume are awesome, especially the two-page spread of Rena wielding a massive axe. Being volume two of the Atonement Arc, the artist is the same as the last volume. Something I find interesting about ‘Higurashi’ is how the first five arcs were only two volumes each, but the most recent two arcs are four volumes long. I like the four-volume arcs as it gives more time for the story and character’s to develop. With all the different arcs showing a different character as the killer, having four volumes makes it easier for the reader to see the protagonist’s motives. Now if I could just find complete copy of the OOP anime series. . .
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 17th, 2011