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Higurashi: When They Cry Vol. #22 Manga Review

4 min read

Higurashi Volume 22
Higurashi Volume 22
The reason Takano is batshit crazy is finally revealed!

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

What They Say
When her parents are killed in a terrible train accident, a young Miyo Takano is sent to live at an orphanage deep in the mountains. Little does she know that her parents’ deaths are just the beginning of her hell, as the institution is run by a group of greedy, cruel men who care nothing for the grief-stricken girl. Subjected to abuses beyond imagining, Miyo and her roommates plan to escape, despite rumors of the terrible punishments that have befallen past runaways…

Content: (please note that content portions of this review contains spoilers):
Being so near the end of this series, there is just no way to avoid major story plot spoilers with this Content section. If you want to avoid this then please skip to the less spoilerific Summary section below.

The last volume had some amazing revelations as the full extent of Oyashiro’s Curse was laid bare with all its truths. While the truth behind the curse and why Takano has been perpetuating the curse are disturbing, I don’t know if it can compare to Takano’s disturbing childhood. Her parents died when she was a young girl and the government put her in an orphanage run by a group of men with no religious affiliation. That right there should have thrown up a red flag for government officials. Why would a group of men that weren’t priests or monks be interested in raising orphans? Just like some bad foster homes today, these men were only interested in the money the government paid them for each orphan.

Takano and the other children were horribly abused, both mentally and physically. Some of the “punishments” the men put them through were just horrific, even to the point of torturing kids to death and burying them in the woods. All this really makes it easier to understand why Takano would be willing to kill a whole village of people to both bolster the god complex she developed during college and vindicate the life’s work of her adopted father that rescued her from the orphanage. Takano’s father was a scientist that discovered the truth of Oyashiro’s Curse, but was laughed out of the scientific because his theory seemed so far fetched. While this revenge for Takano’s father is way to out of whack (killing a whole village and all), it at least makes sense now.

Once this volume finishes with the childhood flashbacks and gets back to the main storyline’s timeframe, the revelations continue. For the first time we get to see how Dr. Irie is mixed up with Takano. This part is devised quite well with Irie being a brain surgeon that has been shunned because of his practices mirroring the way Takano’s adopted father was shunned by his fellow researchers. Irie isn’t a bad man or a psycho, but by the time he realizes how disgusting Takano’s ultimate goals are, he is just in too deep to back out. Well, I suppose he could try and back out, but that would pretty much insure his death and he is a scientist and leaving now would eliminate his ability to see the final revelations of his research on Oyashiro’s Curse.

What will Irie do, defy Takano and finally take responsibility for everything he has done in the name of science? Will Irie be able to change destiny where Rika has always failed? How close are we to the end of this series?

In Summary
Just when I thought the ‘Higurashi’ story couldn’t get any more gruesome, Ryukishi07 goes and takes it a step further by laying out Takano’s childhood. This peek into the terrible abuse she lived through at an orphanage after her parents death is just heart breaking and makes her despicable acts as an adult all too understandable. Not that killing a whole village of people is acceptable, but her actions are made believable after this fleshing out of her character. While there have been many scary parts of this series with the main characters and all the ways the main characters have cracked during the different arcs, this flashback of Takano’s time at the orphanage may be some of the scariest chapters in this whole series.

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

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 25th, 2013
MSRP: $18.99

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