Higanbana 2nd Night Ch. 4: The Boys’ Portrait


General discussion topic for Chapter 4: The Boys’ Portrait of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni: The Second Night. Please tag any references to later chapters or outside works with the [spoiler] tag, providing adequate context in parenthesis.
We take spoilers very seriously, and ignoring this rule could potentially result in a ban.

While this topic will serve as a general hub for discussion of the Chapter, if a conversation ends up flowing in a certain direction (eg. You start talking about the series as a whole rather than this particular Chapter), don’t be afraid to continue it in your own topic! Keep the “reply as linked topic” button beside each post in mind.

What would you rate this chapter?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

0 voters

Good chapter. I found it very disturbing, but I’m glad Ryukishi can still manage to make me feel emotions like that. At first I wasn’t sure whether they were actually going that angle or not, but man they went all the way with it. Female rapists are something that feel so alien in not just Japanese but even Western fiction, in a sense I’m proud of Ryukishi for having the gall to attempt to depict such a horrible thing for what it is.

The outcome was obvious enough, but the twists and turns the chapter took us on were very compelling. For a chapter that took place almost entirely within a single room, it was very suspenseful and full of intrigue. The battle of wits between Renoir, Higanbana and Shintani had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

But desite everything, this ended up being a very sad chapter overall. Shintani got her just desserts as yet another unreasonable human being, but as for Yuuki, he never reached salvation. It made me happy to see Renoir fighting for Yuuki’s sake, and how Yuuki managed to touch Renoir’s inhuman heart, but in the end, all he could offer Yuuki was a revenge story. It’s very sad ultimately.

Here’s some screencaps.

Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_22-09-39
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_22-10-38
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_22-11-59
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_22-12-10
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_22-37-26
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-04-24
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-04-41
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-14-56
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-24-53
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-32-19
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-32-11
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-30-19
Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-28-33

Higanbana - The Second Night_2017-09-25_23-28-33

One thing of interesting note… This line clearly demonstrates something we’ve been speculating; that the act of ‘eating a soul’ doesn’t always involve killing or ‘slurping them up’.


Truly a bold and interesting chapter with a nice story progression, however I don’t see it as adding much to the story. I think this was more about introducing Renoir than an actual story with future impact. Either way, that teacher was really creepy and the battle between Renoir and her really put me on edge. I WANT HIGANBANA’S BACKSTORY!!


This was an interesting and at times disturbing chapter, some of the descriptions of Shintani’s pedophilic feelings are genuinely unsettling. As Aspirety said female rapists is a very controversial issue and it’s good to see it tackled with the seriousness it deserves, although it’s not Ryukishi’s first time handling the issue as (Umineko Chiru) in Episode 6 of Umineko it’s pretty much made clear in the wedding scene and the scene with Erika before that that Erika intends to rape Battler and it’s certainly not portrayed positively, so when I saw this chapter’s story going down that route I was mostly confident it would be addressed appropriately.

The whole ‘rapist teacher who almost becomes a Youkai’ angle reminds me of a bit of Kanamori, but Shintani’s character and the chapter itself is distinct enough that it doesn’t feel stale or rehashed.


This was a pretty nice chapter. And we pretty much had a pedophile in this one. She may not have actually sexually assaulted them, but her thoughts went into a similar direction. Wait, strike that, with the whole undressing and hurting and everything, we may as well view it that way.

Not too long ago not even just fiction but real life as well. And I am honestly not sure if it has really sinken in for the general population that yes, women can both rape and abuse as well. But here’s a question I’ve been genuinely wondering: What do you think, was Yuuki able to tell the artist of “The Setting Sun” after the fade-out? I mean, it’s obviously left in the open so that the reader assumes that he was killed by a youkai at first, but I am genuinely wondering that.

One funny note is that I was familiar enough with “Ascending and Descending” that I saw that painting before my inner eye at once. Also, it was probably obvious, but “Child with a Whip” is a real painting.


Ugh. I did not want to meet another Kanamori-like character again. I’ll never trust another adult with a sprite who’s name isn’t Nurse.:annoyed:


Pretty sure all of us saw this coming after the previous breather episode. I too am glad Ryukishi depicted a female child molester with the seriousness it deserves, and I found it rather satisfying that Shintani’s fate was even worse than Kanamori’s.

This chapter reaffirmed to me a theme that has been in Higanbana from the very beginning, that being that humans can be worse monsters than the youkai who torment people and gobble up their souls. Up to this chapter I think it was a little too forceful with that message. It’s just not really a message for me anymore, I suppose. However, this screenshot smoothed me out. I love Renoir just for that.


So I am presented with a dilemma that this chapter has further inflamed. Only a handful of characters so far are truly good in my eyes. Marie, Takeshi, Yoko, and Yukari strike me as these characters. I love them because they are a break from the utterly gray spectrum that the youkai like Higanbana or Izanami fall on; in any other world or work I would undoubtedly root against them for their trollish nature and murky motives despite good things sometimes happening because of them. They do kill people and devour their souls, after all. In this world, however, rife with child molesting adults and physically violent children, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief when Higanbana shows up, because even if she kills off a classroom full of children who can be rehabilitated she fixes problems that crop up elsewhere. I’m not sure how I feel about that feeling. Perhaps I’m thinking too much about it. :hahaha:


That really was important. Especially if we compare the two. Kanamori, while being a terrible human being and all that, still “only” focused his abusing on one single child, whereas Shintani was more stereotypical as far as portrayals of pedophiles in fiction go in that she abused countless young boys. So it only makes sense that her punishment is worse than Kanamori’s.

Actually if we look at the original painting I posted earlier, the hair color there is probably the reason why Shintani doesn’t raise a brow on Higanbana posing as Renoir after we as a reader recognize her sprite.


I really enjoyed this chapter, I think the atmosphere it created for me was really eerie which added to the spooky factor, and though I saw most of the twists coming (predicting that the ‘girl’ Renoir in the beginning was actually a boy, knowing that Shintani couldn’t win so someone else had to come in and save Renoir, the “who drew all of these paedophilic drawings!” question) I still really wanted to see how it all ended.

I will say, I legitimately had to take a break after this line image

The mental image combined with the realization of the extent of Shintami’s cruelty was just too much for me in that moment. I’ve made criticism in the past of the ‘faceless bullying’ that can occur in Ryukishi’s writings but this felt much more like Marie’s fight with Kanamori, very up-close and personal. Speaking of other humans, I think it’s plenty obvious by this point that Ryukishi’s dialogue is about how humans can be worse than actual monsters, what i am finding more interesting is how we’re getting more explicit confirmation of the Youkai’s kinder sides, both explicitly (with Renoir) and implicitly (with Higanbana) through narration and character dialogue. This doesn’t stop the Youkai from being cruel however, Shintami’s fate is arguably the worst in the series thus far, being eternally imprisoned while experiencing endless fear. I think that there’s an interesting comment that the Youkai can be understood to an extent but are still completely alien to humans in their methods of acting. Speaking of which:


Man this is a neat comparison, it really sums up the way that I approach art, and storytelling. I’m finding it very difficult to explain exactly how much this statement means to me personally. When I approach a story I find it very interesting to focus on each character specifically, and then take the message each character is trying to teach us and apply it to a wholistic message. I feel like not only is Ryukishi providing a method by which Youkai can rebel against their nature to hunt, he’s also commenting on a reader’s ability to admire art itself. Renoir admires lots of little details in the paintings of the room, even if they’re of dark subject matter, even if he doesn’t really understand the point of it, and I think this is a wonderful way of showing how anyone can approach ‘art’ which is such a lofty term that can be thrown around to make it seem as though you’re superior to others who don’t ‘get it’. I think it’s so important that even if you can’t write a 20 page essay on a character or a motif or whatever the fact that you’re even trying to figure out the art is in itself so important.

The third angle of course is that Ryukishi is encouraging readers to look at the people around them. To admire them, to see them as individual humans that are worthy of note. I feel like this is core to Ryukishi’s writing, that it’s important to pay attention to people and to see that they all have merit. In Renoir’s defeat of Shintami with the assistance of Higanbana, we’re shown the value of someone who supposedly has no power at all. With just a little help from someone else with power they can grow through this powerless stage into something that can have a real effect on others.
^If it seems like this message parallels Chapter 2 I’m sure it’s no coincidence.

I’m 100% certain that the spiderlily symbolism prevalent in the novel refers not just to the fact that the Youkai feed on misery on death, but that something powerful and positive can ‘bloom’ in a terrible place that this misery resides in. Makes me excited to get to the end of the night! Chapter 7 hype!

@VyseGolbez I do think that Yuuki was able to answer the artist’s name correctly, though if the epilogue is any indication a wrong answer would have resulted in no more than a slap on the wrist. I think Renoir is much more interested in teaching and sharing his love for art than eating kids.


Even though I felt uncomfortable throughout this chapter, the ending with Renoir reminiscing about Yuuki and their conversation in the art room made me strangely emotional. Renoir seems more kindhearted than the other yokai, and I really appreciate that. I think he would be good friends with Marie. And I am very proud of him for avenging Yuuki and the other boys who were abused by Shintani.

I definitely saw the twist coming, and the female rapist angle became super obvious once she mentioned she liked younger boys, and it just got progressively worse and more graphic from that point on.

I did feel like her fate wasn’t bad enough though. Okay, I get it, she will be running for all eternity, but why not add extra punishment? Break her hands? Force her to run for all eternity with broken legs/injured bones so she can feel eternal pain whenever she makes a single step? Or even better, have Shintani experience the same fate as Hikaru! If Hikaru could end up being raped by a bunch of rabbits, why can’t Shintani suffer a similar fate? I’m extremely disappoint, Ryukishi. You can do better than this! :cackle: