Will Keiichi goes as far as challenging the Sonozaki family in order to save Satoko?
Art: Hinase Momoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
What They Say
Keiichi’s appeals to the Child Consultation Center receive an outpouring of support from his classmates and teachers, but still the authorities refuse to intercede. Hinamizawa is a village controlled by three powerful families, and without the support of the Sonozakies – and their fearsome head, Oryou – the Center will not budge. As Keiichi struggles to convince Oryou, Rika feels her dream of living a hyappy life beyond the summer of 1983 begin to fade away. Does Keiichi have what it takes to make a miracle happen? Can Satoko be saved? Can Rika….?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Rika is on an emotional roller coaster. One day she is excited with how things are going in this world and believes Keiichi can finally change her fate, then the next day she’s right back in the gutter of despair. Keiichi is on his on roller coaster; each time he feels like he is making headway with convincing the Child Consultation Center to take Satoko into custody, something happens to bash his hopes. After getting all his classmates to go with him to the Center and cause a big commotion, he learns that the village elders and ruling families will never allow anyone to help Rika.
The intricacy of village politics is new to Keiichi and not an easy thing to navigate. There are many layers of control, money exchanging hands, and the yakuza complicating things. But you have to give Keiichi credit for going after each layer individually, pushing until he gets them on his side before moving on to the next challenge. Keiichi’s determination is the only thing keeping Rika from giving up. But, can Keiichi confront the last challenge to getting the village to side with Satoko and force the Center’s hand in removing her from her abusive uncle’s ‘care’? When it turns out the last obstacle is Oryou, the head of the Sonozaki family and local yakuza, Keiichi may be forced to back down or end up swimming with the fishes.
This brings up something that I wonder about this arc. Each time something seemingly insurmountable faces Keiichi, even dangerous to his personal health, he remembers another arc and decides he has to fight on. Rika is the only character that is cognizant of each arc, but Keiichi’s remembering of a previous arc like some kind of a dream seems to help him fight on in this current arc. If things were ‘normal’ and Keiichi didn’t remember the horrible things that had happened in a previous arc, would he back down and give up the fight to save Satoko?
Even if Keiichi can pull off a miracle and get the entire village to support his effort to save Satoko, it may not be enough. Satoko has to tell the Child Consultation Center that her uncle is abusing her and she wants to leave. That seems like an impossible thing when her uncle is standing there just waiting for her to say something against him so he can beat her. I can’t even imagine how frightening that would be for a little girl like Satoko.
Will Keiichi and Rika be able to save Satoko? Will Satoko muster up the courage to stand up to her uncle and ask the Child Consultation Center for help? Will this arc end the same way it always has in the past?
The Cotton Drifting Festival is only a day away, but how will it go in this arc? Rika warned Tomitake that he would scratch his throat out and Takano that she would be burned alive, but they don’t believe her. They also turn out to be in league with each other and a larger organization that has been monitoring Hinamiza for a number of years. This aspect of the arc is something we have never seen before and exposes the real underlying story of the Higurashi series. Can’t say more than this without it being a huge spoiler, but I can say the next volume will end this arc with a bang and readers will know the deepest secret of this series. It has been a long time coming, and I for one am really excited to see how the end of this ‘Massacre Arc’ turns out.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 11th, 2012