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Higurashi Vol. #19 Manga Review

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Higurashi Volume 19
Higurashi Volume 19

Rika remembers every story arc of the ‘Higurashi’ world, but she can do nothing to stop her friends from killing each other and the world starting over and over. But maybe this time will be different since Rena and Keiichi seem to remember one of the previous arcs.

Creative Staff
Story: Ryukishi07
Art: Hinase Momoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

What They Say
The “Curse Killing Arc”…The “Time Killing Arc”…of the terrible events in Hinamizawa unfolds, Rika Furude must watch as her friends descend into madness and despair, knowing the only fate that awaits her is death. With the unique abilitiy to see all of these worlds, Rika desperately searches for the common links between them, which will help her break the cycle and give her and her friends a happy future beyond June 1983. But with less than a month before the Cotton Drifting in her current life, will Rika be able to change destiny in time?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This isn’t just another story arc in the ‘Higurashi’ world; this arc explains it all. Rika is the center of everything. Somehow, she is the only person that remembers each world and every time it resets after the Cotton Drifting Festival. No matter which one of the characters goes crazy and kills people around them, Rika is always killed by an unseen person, then forced to restart the world again from some time before the Cotton Drifting. This has been happening for more than a hundred years, and this particular reincarnation has her feeling utterly defeated and she doesn’t know how she can live through another worlds despair.

But there may be a ray of hope. Somehow, Keiichi seems to remember a previous arc. It seems like a dream to him but at the same time, somehow real. This isn’t enough to get Rika’s spirits up after all the horrible things she has seen, until Keiichi shows her that destiny isn’t set in stone. It is almost too good to believe, but something as simple as changing which game she plays at a club meeting is something she has never experienced before. This is an interesting idea, that she has lived the same life over and over, always dying in June of 1983, and no matter what she tries, nothing ever changes. But somehow making another character aware, made it possible for them to change what Rika has always experienced. Rika begins to think she might be able to change her destiny, especially after Rena also has some memory of a previous life.

Rika doesn’t think everything will be good yet. She tenses every time a situation begins to mirror a previous life where one of her friends began to become unraveled. But before that event can steam roll into something that will cause her friend to go crazy, her friend realizes that it isn’t a big deal or something else happens that diffuses the situation. This is enough for Rika to start dreaming that she might be capable of finally stopping the curse she is living, and this time, actually live past June 1983.

But if everything were rosy, then this wouldn’t be a series. Even though Rika, with Keiichi’s help, has been able to change things in this world, one of the potential pitfalls escapes Rika until it is too late. Satako’s terrible uncle, who she has killed in previous worlds, comes back to town. The cycle begins anew, and Rika desperately tries to follow Keiichi’s example and change her fate. Rika is so desperate to finally end the cycle of death, that she reveals her true life to Tomitake and Takano. Rika even takes them to Furude shrine to show them the inside herself. These are all things she has never tried before in previous worlds, but will they be enough to save Satako and keep all her other friends from descending into madness?

In Summary
This “Massacre Arc” is the one we have all been waiting for; the arc that explains why the world of ‘Higurashi’ repeats over and over. This volume greatly expands on the revelation from the previous volume that Rika remembers each world. Despite that knowledge, she hasn’t been able to alter her future and live past June 1983 in over a hundred years of reliving the Cotton Drifting Festival. Every time, one of her friends goes insane and kills people before some mysterious person kills Rika herself. Given all this, this arc is set up to be even better than the last arc. Then the question becomes, will this be the end of the ‘Higurashi’ series?

This is a big double volume, hence the higher price and what amounts to a massive page count. This also introduces a new artist to this series, Momoya. The art is on par with the other revolving artists in this series; Momoya is not the best nor the worst of the bunch. This volume includes four color pages and some extras, and the printing is good and clean from start to finish. Some fans may be disappointed to see a series switch to a two-book omnibus platform at 19 volumes in, but I prefer that over a series not finishing. Plus, this is two books for $18.99 compared to two single individual volumes at $11.99 each, so at least it saves us $3.

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

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 21st, 2012
MSRP: $18.99