Mania Grade: A
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- Art Rating: C
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Text/Translation Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 17 and Up
- Released By: Yen Press
- MSRP: 10.99
- Pages: 280
- ISBN: 978-0-7595-2988-5
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Higurashi β When they Cry
Higurashi β When they Cry Vol. #06
Higurashi β When they Cry Vol. #06 Review
By Matthew Alexander
May 05, 2010
Release Date: February 23, 2010
Higurashi β When they Cry Vol. #06
© Yen Press
What do you do when the guy you murdered shows up for work the next day? If you’re Keiichi, your bat didn’t do the job, so you trade it in for a huge cleaver!
Writer/Artist: Ryukishi07 and Jiro Suzuki
Translation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
What They Say
Keiichi is relieved when Satoko returns to school after an unexplained three-day absence, but the little girl is not her usual cheery self. It seems her uncle has returned, and Satoko is once again at his mercy. Keiichi is furious at his friends' reluctance to step in and help her, but until there's definitive proof of her uncle's abuses, there's nothing they can do. Unwilling to accept inaction, Keiichi plots to end the abuse once and for all. On the night of the Cotton Drifting, blood will be spilled once more'
This book takes a left turn down Uncomfortable Avenue when Satoko’s sadistic uncle returns to Hinamiza for the first time in months. Now that he’s back, he doesn’t waste any time mentally and physically abusing Satoko. Any thought of someone beating a little kid is disgusting, but the smaller and more helpless they are the more upsetting it is. Girls don’t get much smaller, cuter, or helpless than Satoko, so it isn’t surprising to see Keiichi go mad with rage over Satoko’s mistreatment.
Much of the first half of this volume follows Keiichi as he questions his classmates about why no one has done anything to help Satoko. Why hasn’t anyone brought in family services? Why hasn’t anyone let Satoko live with them? Why won’t the cops arrest Satoko’s uncle?
These are all good questions with complicated answers. The cops don’t have anything to go on because Satoko’s uncle doesn’t leave marks when he beats her. Family services can’t easily prove mental abuse and Satoko won’t turn her uncle in to the authorities because she doesn’t want to leave her house in case her missing brother comes home. Finally, it isn’t easy for any of Satoko’s classmates to convince their parents to adopt Satoko, especially since most of the villagers didn’t like her parents. And if convincing your parents to adopt your friend is so easy, why doesn’t Keiichi let Satoko come live with him?
Well, if no one is going to help Satoko, then Keiichi will take matters into his own hands. He decides to kill Satoko’s uncle. Sounds like a screwy idea to me and things quickly turn weird when everything Keiichi knows he did the night of the murder comes into question. He skips the town festival and beats his victim to death with a bat before burying him in the forest. But the next day everyone says they saw Keiichi at the festival and even weirder, Satoko’s uncle is still alive!
The weirdness doesn’t stop there, Keiichi has been hearing footsteps behind him when no one is there. As he slips deeper into his insanity, he begins to believe the spirit of Satoko’s brother is following him around, making the phantom footsteps. Then Keiichi starts believing that he has the power to curse people when everyone he wishes would die magically die mysterious deaths. Does Keiichi really have the power of Oyashiro’s curse? Will Keiichi be able to keep his killing people a secret, or will Inspector Ooishi catch him holding the evidence?
While the first volume of these two-book arcs tend to be a slow build up, this second volume of the ‘Curse Killing Arc’ is not only a big book (304 pages), but it is also an addictive page turner. Keiichi is hearing phantom footsteps whenever he is alone, Satoko is quickly losing her mind, none of Satoko’s friends seem willing to help her, and Inspector Ooishi is watching Keiichi’s every move.
This arc is different from the previous as it has fewer scary “horror” moments, but it gives the reader a stronger “uncomfortable” feeling. As the reader it is easy to associate with Keiichi’s helpless feelings and desire to help Satoko escape her tortured home life. Satoko’s slow mental breakdown from her uncle’s abuses is tough to watch and I found myself walking behind Keiichi, prodding him down the path of murder. Maybe it was my footsteps that Keiichi was hearing?
Another highly recommended Arc of the Higurashi series.