The episode starts off with some unsavory characters busting in to the apartment of the pink haired chick – the one who hit up Rena’s dad for all his yen. Those guys got her cornered… up to your imagination what happens next, as we cut right into the next scene.
Rika can’t find Satoko – where could she be? Rika fears the worst, as it’s been all too familiar. Yea, Teppei is back, the scumbag that also happens to be Satoko’s uncle and legal guardian. He’s still as disagreeable as ever, and shows off his pitching arm by lasering an ashtray right at her. Satoko has no choice but to move in with him…
Rika hurries to the payphone (that same one Keiichi clawed himself in) and calls up the police station, asking for Akasaka. He’s not there (off to the onsen with his wife). Rika recognizes that if nothing is done, this world will just work its way down the same path. She won’t give up!
Next, she goes to see Irie and Takano, and asks them to call up the Yamainu (those garbage men) to take care of Teppei. Irie and Takano want to help, but understandably cannot call on the Yamainu to dispose of Teppei, as that is not one of their stipulations. Irie gives the ok to Takano to make some phone calls, but circumstances surrounding the Houjou household do not permit any action from being taken. Apparently, someone named Mamiya Rina (the chick at the beginning) was killed nearby, and any movement by the Yamainu will raise suspicion with the police. The earliest that the Yamainu will be able to take action will be after the Watanagashi. Rika goes seed-mode, but nothing can be done.
The next morning, Satoko isn’t there, and her classmates are worried and ask Rika what’s up. She walks out with that dark look on her face. Later, Chie-sensei talks to Rika, and decides that she’ll visit Teppei.
Chie-sensei gets totally shut down. Shion gets really freakin pissed because she was asked by Satoshi to look after Satoko, and this Teppei dude is screwin that all up. Shion starts going buckwild in the classroom, saying she’s gonna go kill Teppei and all that – but Keiichi stands in her way. Shion eventually settles down by taking a chair to Keiichi’s head. The principal and Chie-sensei come and say they’ll report everything to child services.
Satoko continues to deny that she’s being abused – it all comes from the fact that she believes she’s the one that screwed Satoshi over by relying on him too much, so she’s stubbornly refusing any help, thinking she can take everything upon herself. Keiichi gets this feeling that he killed Satoko’s uncle before, but knows that nothing good will come out of that. Still, he wants to help her somehow – Rena and Mion agree and sign on to cooperate.
Keiichi talks to his parents that night and gets some inspiration. He decides to head over to the child services center.
Meeting with child services, it’s clear that they are clueless of the situation and are too caught up in protocol to take any action. Everyone’s pretty down at this, and Keiichi apologizes to Rika, saying that he can’t do anything.
Rika gets pretty pissed off at this and makes her final plea to Keiichi. Now how can anyone turn down that crying face? He gets another boost of energy and decides to pull out his trump card – something he’s good at!
We’ll have to wait until the next episode to see just what that is.
Regardless, while Rika has completely lost hope, everyone else seems to be just peachy. She gets the best possible start to a world that just might be the one to get her out of this slump, and the first snag she hits she goes completely useless. This is odd to me.
After all, don’t these problems just seem a bit too juvenile, and the consequences too drastic? Something as simple as a video camera capturing one of the million examples of Satoko abuse we have seen would be enough evidence for child services to take immediate action. And yet, the options Rika goes for are shallow, undeveloped, and while believable on the surface, end up being no more than child’s play as she gives up without a fight.
edit: I take that part about the video camera back – forgot it’s 1983, lol. my point still doesn’t change, though!
Isn’t Rika supposed to be really damn old? She should be a pro at playing Higurashi by now, and yet it’s just more of the same. She’s got all the bad aspects of a child – the endless whining, the lack of resources, the short temper – and none of the traits of an adult that would help in this situation, things like discretion, reason, and even some deliberation.
So that’s what this arc, and maybe even the entire season in general, comes down to. For a series that touts an intricate storyline and alternate endings after alternate endings, such is only possible if the viewer buys in to the weak problem solving ability of Rika. It’s not a bad show by any stretch, but such gaping holes in its storytelling is an alarming symptom.
So, no… I refuse to take this show seriously if it requires me to suspend my thought process THAT FAR in order to make it believable. Sorry.