07th Expansion [Higurashi, Umineko, etc.] - Ryukishi07

ShineCero

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Higurashi: Hinamizawa, a small village in The '80s is plagued by a curse in which, every year, one villager is found murdered and another is never seen again. Keiichi Maebara, the new kid in town, begins to uncover the secrets of the village and is driven further into fear and paranoia as he watches his new friends succumb to madness. This year, it looks as if the whole village is marked for death...

Umineko: Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place primarily from October 4 to 5, 1986 on Rokkenjima, a small island privately owned by the wealthy Ushiromiya family. The Ushiromiya family gathers for the annual family conference, which concerns the division of assets belonging to Kinzo, the ailing family head.

Ciconia: It follows Gauntlet Knights – young people trained to use a new military technology called the Gauntlet, which allows its user to fly, fight, and repel attacks – who have become friends and aim to prevent the outbreak of a fourth world war

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Warning, you are coming to an discussion thread that will contain heavy spoilers. If you're watching it for the first time, avoid the thread (aside from the OP for information) until you're caught up! Keep everything relating to the franchise to this thread.
 

ShineCero

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Spent around a month getting into the series! Thanks to @LoopyPanda, I’ve managed to read all the manga adaptations and kept up with the latest animated series. There are other animated adaptations I didn’t get a chance to watch yet, but I’ll catch up to them in the near future.

With that said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience. Loved all the twists, characters, pointless theories, etc. I’m itching (heh) to dive into Umineko and Ciconia in the next few weeks!

So, the latest animated series, Sotsu. I thought it was a decent follow-up to Gou. It gives another perspective of why certain things occurred in Gou, focusing on Satoko. I remember watching Gou when it fired aired, but I had to stop at episode two because it wasn’t an “remake” and more of sequel. But after reading tons of materials, now everything makes sense.

I didn’t mind the repeated scenes since they were offering a perspective of a different character. Do I prefer if they add more original scenes that expanded on that? Of course! But I get it. Animation is hard; it has crap pay (if you follow the animation industry news in Japan, they are overworked and most don’t get the wages they deserved). It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.

But I do like how Satoko orchestrated certain events. Like Rika convincing Keiichi to actually calm down and converse with Rena to avoid the original incident. Rika accomplished that, but Rena was the one that murdered him. One criticism is that I felt there wasn’t as much choreography in the confrontation between crazed Rena and Keiichi as compared to the manga adaptation of that scene.

Interestingly enough, Mion, despite being injected, never really went that deep into the syndrome like the others. It was subtle, small detail, but I like that.

Episode 14 had a lot of stuff that needed to be unpack. Memes aside, I thought Satoko’s point was simple enough. She didn’t like studying, but because of Rika, she felt forced into to appease her friend. Of course, Rika slowly drifted away to others (at least from Satoko’s perspective) while she was held back and forced in a “different environment” altogether. From her standpoint, she felt that because she did all that hard work for her friend, she should have been entitled to Rika, but felt cheated out.

This isn’t to say that Satoko is in the right, but I’m seeing that there’s a lot of grey in that area. Should’ve Rika force her dream onto Satoko? Should Rika really expect her friend to do a turn around simply so they can always be together? I think that was the overall theme of that relationship. Satoko should’ve told Rika that she didn’t want to do it. And she did after getting looper powers. Problem was, Satoko simply didn’t like Rika’s answer. “I’ll go to school; I’ll just visit you when I’m off”; Satoko already believed that Rika will slowly drift away from her despite being there. If Satoko isn’t there, in her mind, Rika won’t bother coming to her at all. Thus, we’re treated with Satoko deciding Rika’s fate by any means necessary. Unlike Rika, Satoko was unwilling to compromise.

Should the anime done better to elaborate the issues between the two? Definitely! But I felt that was easy to convey between the two of what’s really the issue here.

The (literal) battle between the two seems jarring, but after multiple viewings, I grown to love it. Maybe because of the whole time-looping thing was so cool. Some say that it better suited for Umineko, but then again, you have time freeze (with characters actually talking), gods, witches, Akasaka jojo’d walls and punching holes through vans, Keiichi and Rena fighting off adults, etc. It’s not as out of place as one would think :joy:
 

LoopyPanda

Black Jacket
I have a few gripes about the way Sotsu went with handling the manuscript they were given but for now I'm willing to chalk it up as not being the appropriate medium to fully explore the concepts brought about. For example, R07 did not actually specify Satoko's punishment would be a literal prison with a jumpsuit but the anime production went with that. From an interview bit, he said he'd intended Satoko to be locked inside a classroom for MORE studying. So there is likely a number of things that seem out of place as a result of open interpretation.

Sotsu leaves a lot of loose ends to several ideas it presents, which if I think about them too much it interferes with being able to enjoy the ending scene. I mean technically, it's BEEN earned because the only thing left as an obstacle was Satoko limiting herself, but it feels like a neutral ending rather than "best ending".
This is a OLD SCHOOL example, but School Days is that one anime infamous for the yandere girl in it. It's actually a visual novel with multiple endings, but the anime is very short and goes with only 1 ending which is probably a "bad ending" route since it ends wirh murder. Lol

So looking at it like that, Sotsu's ending is a neutral one: Satoko and Rika still retain some bitterness but Rika begrudgingly seems to accept there's no real solution anymore but for them to go their separate ways. In that fight they had, their conflict was reduced solely to "Satoko just study harder" "waaa I dont want to, I'm allergic to textbooks" and left so much unsaid between them. (Like Satoko mistakenly thinking Rika was the one who snitched on her about the washbasin prank injuring Pigtail girl, I figured that would come into play with her being convinced Rika will always become a traitor)
Could be the copium speaking but with the way things turned out, and the way miracles became thematically watered down so much, I can't not see it as a Neutral Ending route.

The worst ending probably would have been Rika killing Satoko first and either dooming her to a Rikaless timeline or actually using the Looper-killing sword. We don't really know if the sword will kill the human permanently or simply remove their ability to hop timelines though, so alternatively a murder-suicide would be the worst ending route in VN terms.

The SSR Story in the Mei gacha game is basically St. Lucia Satoko but a good ending since she seems to make peace with her decision to go to St. Lucia as being her own choice. Interestingly, the anime Satoko pushes the blame onto Rika instead.

I have enjoyed the Gou manga a lot, especially with how it takes some arcs a bit differently. I noticed the Nekodamashi manga arc left all mentions of St. Lucia out, but preview sketches for Higurashi Jun seems to imply that Jun will start off with its version of Satokowashi (and Shion is in it?!?!?!). I hope it'll cover more of Rika's point of view since I continuously felt like I was missing one side of the story.
 

ShineCero

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Staff member
I definitely agreed that in hindsight, there should've been a more explicit dialogue regarding the relationship between Satoko and Rika. We know it's more than just studying. Satoko explicitly said as much as herself (and especially where Rika offered a compromise by going to school and simply visiting her, and she flat out rejected it) during the battle.

I'm not aware of any production issues, and if that's the case, I'm not *too* surprised. Making animation out of outlines and notes is extremely difficult to do. For example; Jiren was originally intended to be more upbeat and hero-like, in a similar vein to Toppo, in Dragon Ball Super. However, Toriyama personally had to step in and expand on his notes regarding Jiren, and the animators and production hastily had to switch out Jiren with Toppo during the exhibition rounds prior the actual Tournament of Power. I do wonder what other details that the creator/author had intended but with either missed or simply had to translate to the animated medium.

I do like the manga depiction betters in some sense. Although my main grief is that Rika is often either sidelined or reduced to a minor role in order to expand on other characters (i.e. Satoko). 

But yeah, all and all, it does seems to be a neutral ending. There was no compromise here. Either one have to accept the other or its the highway. Bitter pill to swallow, but it's better than crashing through loops, etc., lol.

My question is: did Satoko's evil spirit(?)/Vier left Satoko's body to chase after Rika? :thinking:
 

LoopyPanda

Black Jacket
Higurashi Meguri released its first chapter a bit ago, and the 2nd chapter is set to come on the 29th. I read the translation on cubari.moe like the Gou chapters, so far I like the way it was presented! 

It's weird they decided to show only Satoko's looper self leaving and not Rika. But they did sort of imply Saikoroshi was canon (yet made it as vague as humanly possible so, noncommital like everything else related to Frederica Bernkastel) so perhaps Vier/Looptoko came about to fulfill the wish of the human Satoko. But as consequence Satoko's darker obsessions with Rika carried over to Vier/Witchtoko, as shown in the gun scene where human Satoko seems to lack the coldly wicked nature Witchtoko exhibits at that point. 

Notably, Rika never calls herself a Witch like Looper Satoko nor does she ever talk about magic. So I think Rika did give up her Witch Persona, but never lost her awareness of other timelines. She simply gave up on thinking about things only a god would worry about (in Rena's words). Witchtoko probably saw that fragment and thought "ooh that means I can have my own Rika! Bye Satoko" and returned the body to Satoko. This is only a theory and not an explanation. We'll have to see how Meguri handles this.

Side note, apparently Higurashi Mei announced an Umineko collaboration, but Bernkastel and Lambda weren't hinted that I know of. Just Beato and 2 characters from the answer arcs. Ryukishi himself is in charge of that script for this collab, while so far it was scripted by the guy who wrote the original console arcs. Mei is JP only, so hopefully we get english translations of what the collab shows!
 
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