Higanbana 1st Night Ch. 4: Shrine of the Guardian Deity

Ch4

General discussion topic for Chapter 4: Shrine of the Guardian Deity of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni: The First Night. Please tag any references to later chapters or outside works with the [spoiler] tag, providing adequate context in parenthesis.
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What would you rate this chapter?

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So, this chapter holds the best character in all of Higanbana. Not Michiru, not Marie, not even Higanbana herself.

Who is this character, you ask?
Sakunoshin
Sakutaro

His name is Sakunoshin, actually. But his outfit is the same, he acts the same way, he has a rather similar sounding theme song to the one Sakutaro has in Umineko. He even says the signature “Uryuu!”

So, I have a theory about this. It’s not really a theory to be taken too seriously, but what if these two oh so similar characters are actually one in the same? (From here, I’m gonna go into spoilers for Welcome to the Mirror World) So, in Welcome to the Mirror World Kyou states that the mirrors lead to an unlimited number of worlds that are almost exactly like ours, and yet, are different. Think of them like alternate universes that share an overarching multiverse. So, what if Sakutaro is just Sakunoshin in another world. That all of Umineko is just another world beyond the mirror. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Higanbana canon and the Umineko canon were in a shared multiverse?

Who knows? Maybe my theory has some merit, I mean, this little reference happened.

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Interesting theory! Sakunoshin is also quite possibly my favourite character of Higanbana.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first (nor last) time we’ve seen a doppelgänger of a 07th Expansion character from one work appear in another. I think Ryuukishi07 explained it as being like a group of actors who take on different roles in different stories.

That said, this does seem to be a plausible in-universe explanation.

By the way, I have seen claims that “Sea Cats” is some sort of reference put in by the translators. However, I can categorically state that, although I will admit our translation is not completely devoid of in-jokes, this is not one of them.

In the original Japanese, “Sea Cats” is『シーキャット』(Shiikyatto), which I take to be a nod to the Umineko fandom from Ryuukishi07.

That is not the only Umineko reference in Chapter 3, of course.

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Can’t say I was too impressed with this chapter. It was over before it even began. Michiru was sad that nobody believed her, wanted to act out the curse, Marie told her off and she learned her lesson.

Ehhh… I got nothin.

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Haha yep, after some of the earlier chapters where so many dark things happen, it’s kind of an unexpected let-down where she realises she shouldn’t continue with it. It’s like in a horror movie, instead of the main character going off alone to investigate the murder’s house, they call the police and it’s all over in 5 minutes.

I kept wanting to see Sakutaro slip up and make an explicit Umineko reference, confirm that he was the same character, but as @Yirba says, R07 treats it more like being the “same actor” rather than the same character.

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Hmm, yeah, this story is really short, and the message, if you so will, is kinda underwhelming as well. The only good point I can immediately think of is that this chapter acts as a sort of breather. Which, sadly, is really only needed if you read all the chapters back to back. If you read only one chapter per night/day/insert time span here, like most of us did, then such a breather is not necessary, and so the only thing that’s left is an underwhelming chapter with one, maybe two, cameos from different VNs. The second one depends wether this observation


@Aspirety did was intended or not; especially since it only seems to be the character design that’s similar.

Just read this chapter on the train, and though I echo the sentiment that not much happened and there wasn’t much of a message other than ‘don’t hit people with fre extinguishers’ I liked that it was a break from the more depressing content of chapters 1-3. Especially 3.

We also learn a bit about how Youkai work, how some people can sense their presence. In particular the nurse mentions sensing the Youkai’s emotion as the sound of insects this will probably be relevant later.

I’m also trying to figure out how the nurse (I forget her name) is going to figure into the story. She’s important enough to have a sprite and has been in multiple episodes, she also now has a connection to the Youkai. Is she some kind of Youkai bookkeeper? Are we going to get to the end and it turns out she’s been recording all these stories? I’ve got my eye on her.

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I do find it quite difficult to empathise with Michiru here. She’s kind of an evil bitch for attempting murder just because “nobody believed her”. I guess, at least Marie managed to stop her before she went too far. I hope she really did learn her lesson…

Well, here’s another question for discussion. Could she really see them?

Uhm, no comment regarding whether or not Michiru can see the paranormal. [Higanbana Second Night Spoilers] Michiru gets more development in the Second Night, and I think you might warm up to her.

Anyways, I like to think Higanbana does take place in the WTC-verse. Sakutaro is a [Umineko Spoilers] mass produced toy, so it makes sense that he’d have different significance elsewhere. Additionally, if you read the TIPS, Michiru’s favorite brand of clothing is AntieRosa, Rosa’s clothing brand! Because of course it is.

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If Youkai are real she can certainly see them.

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I couldnt stop thinking about the shrine as an allusion to a bullied kid. The wrath can only become subdued if the bullies apologize and admit to their mistakes.

(That eyepatch of power, Michiru is stronk!)
(The nurse is such a bae, best waifu!)
(OMG SAKUTARO? Well, that was pretty sweet and funny seeing him here)
(Hiromi is like local Battler: “CURSES DON’T EXIST!!!”)

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I got another theory in that Seacats ie: Umineko, is simply a story in Higanbana’s world. It is a very popular story mind you given how kids are making plays out of it. What if Yokai are in part reflections of the mindset of humans? Sakutaro is probably a super popular character in Higanbana’s world, and thus is on the mind of a lot of humans. This particular Yokai as such took form to appear similar to Sakutaro.

Thoughts on this ludicrously short chapter? Sure, I can give those.

A lot of people are being rather dismissive of the simplicity of the message/mystery in this chapter but I still quite like it. While what Michiru was going through is practically nothing compared to what pushed the humans of previous chapters to act…

To paraphrase someone I know: “To compare suffering is foolhardy as all of it is equal in the eyes of those living it.”

If we go full fantasy mode for a second and fully believe in Michiru’s sixth sense then she was basically having most if not all of her identity trounced on by everyone who knew of it. Skepticism towards the supernatural is quite the default perspective in modern times after all.

Like George said in Umineko Episode 1, children often seek out individuality by finding something they know that no one else does. Michiru really was given that, a peek into a whole layer of the world that had such a variety of affects.

But no-one believed her. And she at last gets a golden opportunity. When that ball crashed into that shrine and she felt that intense outpouring of emotion she probably felt an incredible amount of ecstasy all over her heart in the layers just under her outward emotions. She made her big scene, guaranteed that the curse would befall those foolish students and waited.

And then nothing happened.

So she turned to her little scheme. This was a perfect chance to prove her abilities were real. Quite often when a murderer expresses remorse for what they did even if it’s a premeditated crime they often say the same thing.

“I want to tell myself to not do it.”

And while she didn’t get herself Michiru certainly got someone to give her that reminder. That what she was about to do was wrong. And so she stopped. It’s not like murderers are a special breed of human. They’re just people pushed too far.

Marie just gave her a gentle shove back. And if Marie is right (and as we can judge from the group leader’s internal monologue and the fact she broke into a sprint I’m willing to say she is) then tomorrow or the day after Michiru will likely experience the first validation of her ability in her life. And that seems like a pretty good first step towards recovery, even if that validation doesn’t last.

I just like the idea of what would be the set up for a “third rate” mystery story being averted by just being there for the killer.

It’s a nice little fuzzy thing, y’know?

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Yeah, well put. It’s a simple chapter, but maybe I am being a bit too dismissive of it. It’s like, instead of the other chapters which are filled with tragedy, in this chapter we’re able to help someone before the tragedy truly begins.

I’m shocked with the low rating of this chapter. Even if it wasn’t something big in overall, Michiru’s character has a lot of potential (I swear it’s not because she’s really cute). Either way, I only hope Michiru to play a greater role in further chapters.

I’ll start paying more attention to that nurse too, she is “suspicious”.
In other words, I really don’t know whether she’ll be important or not to the story, but she probably will, being the one who stays with Higanbana in the infirmary all the time.

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This was a chapter that existed huh? I launched into reading chapter 5 right after, so saying this one kind of lacks presence in the story for me would be an understatement. In some ways this just feels like a pleasant interlude placed here to lower readers guard before moving to chapter 5.

Michiru has the kind of character design where you can tell she will probably be re-used, so I suppose this sets her up as someone with 6th sense in this story. That she was one carrying out the curse was pretty clear when Sakunoshin was revealed. I do not mind being able to predict a “twist”, in most cases it just means the author foreshadowed well, but I do have little patience for characters like Sakunoshin, so I was was pretty happy when he was gone.

Marie is certainly spending what feels like a lot of time helping students. Not very yokai like at all. Its good to see her so much more self assured. Marie’s presence is as constant as Higanbana’s herself, and we get to see her grow a bit between stories. But she is probably going to be very key if the story of Higanbana does start shaping up to have a greater plot between the Yokai as opposed to a series of stories that mostly meditate on bullying.

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I actually really liked this chapter! And thank goodness it was short 'cause I’m generally a busy person, so a quick read is really appreciated to be absolutely honest.

Critiques? Eeeh… this one was really too short lived to actually make me notice anything that could be better. I think this story being so short is actually a strong point, as it was pretty self contained and went straight to the point! This is what I can actually call a short story! Plus Picto stated my thoughts pretty well.

Anyway, moving on to my reactions:
This is the chapter where I’ve felt the most giddy yet!! I actually really liked Michiru, I have no idea why, but I just wanna hold her and pet her and tell her that everything’s gonna be fine.
I guess it’s because of her cold uncaring nature. Nobody really showed her any warmth in her life at school, especially since she had kinda had a 6th sense and all, and instead of despairing and suffering (to the extent of the previous chapters’ protagonists), she just kinda… tolerated it you know? She didn’t accept it, nor did she really give up, she just kinda went with the flow sort of. (Umineko EP4 spoilers) Kinda reminded me of Ange, y’know? Especially with all the cold expressions Michiru had.
I dunno, I just really like Michiru for no particular reason at the moment. It’s the feeling she gave off, you know? And boy I sure am a person that likes feeling feelings from fictional characters.

AND IT’S THE BOY. SAKUTARO! But instead he’s Sakunoshin. I am happy that he exists, bless this animal spirit.

Not much to say aside from… (Umineko FULL series spoilers) It makes me wonder if Higanbana series as whole is actually just a group of shorts stories written by some character from Umineko. I’d like to think that these are vent stories written by Ange to vent her frustrations about bullying. She did write a successful children’s book in the magic end tea party after all, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that she would write vent stories. Though I would doubt she would write a story about sexual abuse, but eh,
just throwing food for thought, this is most likely not true. Other variations of how Higanbana and WTC universes could be connected were already mentioned by other people, so not gonna mention those.

And despite not having sprites and not having much character, I liked the rest of the girls. Maybe because for once they were not as bad as other bullies we have seen so far.

Nurse is pretty squintable, so I’m gonna squint at her. :fog: Not much to say about her either, just looking forward to see what she has to offer to the overall story.

And once again, I love Marie. Did I mention that I love Marie? I really do. She tries to help around and all, and I’m so happy that she’s being forward about making life better for the students. Plus the image of her just making sure nothing hurt Michiru and the other girl was really cute in my head.

And I am really happy that this story didn’t end in a tragedy and that it kinda got stopped before something like that would happen. And I love Marie stepping on forward and being determined about helping humans. She’s like a mom.

…Mama Mesomeso Marie… I think I melted from the giddiness I’m feeling in my heart.

Nope, can’t do a profound analysis of this, I am waaay too giddy. This made me really happy and made me smile like the dopey idiot that I am. No conclusions to draw from this.

Can’t wait for my happy giddy feels to drop dead next chapter whenever I get to that.

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Join me on my suspicion of Nurse, the most confusing character in the game! She’s up to something…

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What if the nurse is a maniac who made up the 7 (now 8) mysteries of the school as an excuse to cover her own murders, a hint could be that she was the last person to see Kanamori alive and then there was that whole mesomeso-san thing. Basically what I mean is: she killed Kanamori and built the mesomeso-san story upon finding out that he killed Marie to cover it up.

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This chapter was quite simple and predictable. Thanks to the last chapter, I started suspecting that the narration could be lying to me again, so I suspected that the curse was nothing more than a human culprit. Once the guardian deity was revealed to be Sakunoshin (aka discount Sakutaro), it was clear that it wasn’t responsible for the curse. Michiru being the culprit was quite an obvious turn of events.

Probably my least favorite chapter so far. It doesn’t really seem to have a deeper message it wishes to convey except maybe for the fact that everyone is capable of bullying, even people who give off the impression of being merely victims.

But hey, we met Sakunoshin! And he interacted with Marie (Maria). Coincidence? I think not.

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