Saikoroshi-hen, a.k.a. ‘Dice-Killing Chapter’. In the more serious OVA installment of one of my favorite series of all time, this episode continues with the events of Matsuribayashi-hen, with Keiichi and company breaking the cycle in Hinamizawa. Of course, Rika had to go and screw things up.
Oddly enough, I wasn’t TOO thrilled by this installment, but I think I can explain it away as them laying ‘groundwork’ for the future. There’s a lot to talk about before anything big can happen, so for the moment, it seems best to just sit back, and wait for the continuation of the story…
With Rika breaking free of the endless June, the club heads for the city on their bikes. On the way, Rika decides to have a little bit of fun, bumping into Satoko before head off at top speed. With the others quickly following suit, a leisurely ride turns into a full on race. Hanyuu disapproves of Rika’s recklessness, but the little priestess blows off her warnings. Of course, it all comes to an ugly end as Rika seems to be on a collision course with a truck…
When Rika manages to wake up, she is in the nurse’s office of the school, with an obviously relieved Chie-sensei hovering above her. Looking on is Satoko and…Satoshi. Satoko apologizes for hitting her in the head with a ball, but resumes pouting that it was all Rika’s fault for being airheaded in the first place. The Houjous leave, and in comes the doctor. However, instead of being Irie, it’s a completely unfamiliar face to Rika. The doctor, named Yamamoto, takes Rika to the clinic; this time, it’s the Takano Clinic, named in honor of Hifumi Takano. Rika is taken aback by the changes around her, and is even more surprised that it’s still the June of 1983. Previously, she had seen Rena and Satoshi in the playground, and had assumed she was sometime in 1982. Walking back through the town, it’s clear that Hinamizawa is a shadow of its normal, lively self.
Returning to the school, Rika is even more shocked that Maebara Keiichi is not in this Hinamizawa. Without him, it seems that Rika’s already lost in this world, but without Takano and Irie in the village, he may not be necessary. At the end of the day, Mion looks back at Rika, and Rika assumes it’s for club activities. However, the Mion of this world hasn’t even thought about such a club. Excusing herself to help her uncle at the toy store, Rika is escorted home by Ryuuguu Reina, not the Rena that Rika is familiar with. This version had apparently never left Hinamizawa, hence never suffered her parents’ divorce. Also in this world, Rika and Satoko are not on good terms, but the Houjou family is alive and well.
With the village practically a ghost town, Reina tells Rika of how there was no dam war. Instead, the Sonozakis, with consent from the other great houses of the village, agreed to let the dam project proceed without issue. With construction continuing, the tourism business has died, and the shops in the village have closed down. Oyashiro-sama’s curse has yet to befall anybody, and Rika is at a total loss in this new, seemingly peaceful Hinamizawa…
- I know this is going to be a really interesting arc. However, this episode was really, really slow. Go figure, with such a strange Hinamizawa, there needs to be a LOT of backstory setup before anything can go forward. So temper some of your excitement, later installments of this will hopefully be better than this.
- It still seems really odd that there was no BLOODY MURDER in an episode of Higurashi.
- I hate Satoko all over again. Isn’t that something? And Rena doesn’t look right without an axe in her hand, or with her white dress. Reina, huh? That’ll take a little bit of getting used to.
- I’m actually not very familiar with Saikoroshi-hen, I just know the premise. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress, though I can pretty much guess at what’s going to happen. Obvious hint: who have you NOT seen go insane yet? *nudge nudge*
Peace is supposed to be a good thing, right? Rika continues stumbling through her new home in the next OVA. Lookin’ forward to it already!