Oh yay, finally my first actual discussion post on this forum.
I started reading Onikakushi back at the very end of the Tea Party, in hopes that I could finish it in time for the podcast. That, umm, didnt happen. But I finally have time to talk about it now.
First off, yes, this is my first time reading Higurashi. I was originally not planning on reading it any time soon, but @Aspirety convinced me to.
For the first 7 or so chapters of Onikakushi, I have to admit, I was often kinda bored. I wanted something exciting to happen, you know. I knew that the horror stuff was supposed to be coming, and I knew that Keiichi was gonna die at the end, but all the club/school stuff got kinda tiring.
By the end though, I realized why so much of the fun, goofy stuff was so important. It was a great writing technique used to make the changes in personality even more creepy, and to make the suspense of when the characters were gonna switch even greater.
Speaking of Ryukushi’s genius, the man has an almost terrifying skill in timing. In fact, forget almost; it is truly terrifying. Every transition. Sometimes even every line. I was on the edge of my seat, heart beating twice as fast as it should be, bracing myself for that moment, when shit hit the fan, whenever “the curse” would take over. The fade-to-black background transitions lasted just long enough. The sounds cut out or switch at just the right times. I never knew exactly when things were gonna switch from normal to scary, so my mind started thinking of every possible outcome. I knew what Keiichi knew, but I feared what the other characters knew. Even the ones I thought there was still a chance I might be able to trust. Everyone is hiding something.
For the first 8 chapters, I had insisted on only reading at night. Because it “fit the mood. Everything is scarier at night!” Then came the LIES. And I was freaked out of my mind. Ive honestly never been great with scary stuff. I almost didnt sleep that night. That was the end of Higurashi at night.
I was much more braced from then on, for anything that might come at any moment. After that I slowly stated to get used to it. There were still very intense moments, very creepy moments. But as Keiichi realized he was in real danger and started to prepare, as he gained more confidence, so did I. I became less horror-like and more mystery-like.
The ending was so hair-raising too. Like I said, pretty much the two things I knew going into this was that it was gonna be scary, and Keiichi was gonna die at the end. I had no idea how that would happen, and I think it was very well done, both in terms of writing quality of an ending, and of keeping it creepy and believable while still ambiguous and mysterious.
Also the ending cast interviews were perfect. Very F/SN Tiger Dojo-esk. A great way of making sure people stay interested by giving little tid-bits of what is still to come, while sparking theories about what has already happened. And hey, it worked on me.
Im not sure I have any “theories” yet, per say. As they said, this is still just kinda like a prologue. It was obvious that there are still tons of paths to go down, tons of strings left loose. I guess the biggest question for me at the end was “Who was the Manager, and who were those men?” Another unanswered mystery was what the Sonozakis have to do with all this, so my guess is that the two are related. Also, after reading all your guy’s posts, I guess I hadnt even considered the possibility that nothing weird was actually happening at all, and it was just Keiichi slowly going crazy the whole time.
This is also connected to so many people’s complaints that Keiichi did a lot of stupid, dense things in this chapter, none of which I really noticed… and now I realize that thats probably because how scared I was while reading it. Like I said, I kinda suck with horror stuff, and just thinking back on everything right now is giving me the creeps. Here I thought Keiichi was making a lot of the decisions I would have made myself, but I think I may have been almost as blinded by fear as he was.
Havent listened to the podcast yet, but Im sure its great!
EDIT: Now I have listened to the podcast and it was reaaaaaaally great!