I ask because this episode’s developments follow similar story threads as MK9 where Raiden is tasked with using his future memories to reshape the past so that the PS2 MK games don’t happen. Except in this situation, it looks like Rika will make a concentrated effort to switch up the events of the original Higurashi with results that vary from bad to worse. Unfortunately for Rika, her attempts to change the Onikakushi-hen chapter backfire horrifically.
As it turns out, having past knowledge of the old series helps to make Gou even more batshit crazy by flipping the script based on slight changes to the narrative. Rather than allowing Keiichi to wallow in his paranoia until he eventually beat two of the girls to death with a bat, Rika tries to intervene, getting Keiichi to calm down about Rena.
If we’ve been led to believe that Keiichi is only seeing these hallucinations because Oyashiro’s Curse hit him with something fierce, it might not be a bad idea to approach her with open arms. Keiichi is somewhat aware of what happened in the past timeline, so maybe his problem was that he approached Rena like she was a monster. If he unhooked the bolt-lock, maybe he won’t have to slam the door on her and eat a needle later on. If he let the door open and invited her in, the possibility could arise that the Oyashiro goggles will disappear and Rena will be the same sweet girl that he had some chemistry with back when they were at the festival. Seems well-intended, right?
Wrong-o! It actually made things worse and caused Keiichi to go on the defensive as she started clawing at her own neck and going after him with a knife. They did a good job of making the scene suspenseful with the music shift and the sudden twist of events. Part of me assumed that it would play out as a more drawn-out version of the original scene where Rena gets locked out of the house after creeping Keiichi out.
But what really made the scene terrifying though was how much the atmosphere dramatically changed once it’s set in stone that this isn’t going to play out like you think it will. As soon as Keiichi gets the knife in his gut, the scene intensifies even further as the music picks up the pace and Keiichi’s screaming gets more and more agonized. It’s a very intense sequence and with the lack of knowledge on what to expect from the show, it made it exciting to see just how the scene was going to turn out and how much of the past was changed just from Rika’s encouragement.
One unusual thing about the scene is that Keiichi manages to be the victor in this fight. The two start jabbing at each other with the weapons they have in-hand, but Keiichi had already been stabbed numerous times before he decided to start bashing a clock into Rena’s head. Even stranger is how Keiichi managed to survive the stab wounds he got for long enough to stay in the hospital. The curse he managed to take in might have saved him up until he realized his neck was itching the same way it did for Rena, but it did remind me of some of the fluke scenes in the original where characters survive falls off of buildings or life-threatening injuries.
Although this means that this chapter is coming to its close, Mion adds one piece to the puzzle that might factor into future arcs. After Keiichi and Rena had passed out from having tried to murder each other, the police also found that Rika and Satoko were murdered with the same knife Rena used. Additionally, everyone was mum about the details behind his survival, Rena’s demise, or the fates of the other girls up until Mion let him know what happened. It’s framed as a “robbery gone wrong”, but could it have been Mion? Or did Keiichi or Rena black-out and unknowingly kill the two? Or did Satoko and Rika come upon the knife and attempted to kill each other in a similar fight? Whoever might have killed them, it gives us something to think about for the next arc if we eventually get the answers as to what really happened.