Okay, so I had read the manga and I had seen the anime but this is my first time really reading the Watanagashi Arc in the VN form. I’m not quite done yet but I thought I would leave my thoughts so far - I’ve just finished the part where Mion and Shion are first seen together for the first time.
Damn, Shion is conniving. In other versions I always felt like her hitting on Keiichi was mostly to get a rise out of Mion, but in the VN it feels a lot more like a move of revenge. A lot more of a “If I couldn’t have Satoshi-kun you can’t have Keiichi.” from earlier on. I want to go back through at some point go over the early scenes and have a real go at figuring out the two since it felt like there was more to pay attention to in that regard.
It really bothered me that Keiichi keeps rambling about how Shion and Mion are the same person. Even if it was my first time reading it is the kind of thing that broadcasts “KEIICHI IS DUMB THERE IS DEFINITELY TWIN SHENANIGANS GOING ON”
I really like the Club activities way more going through it this time around than any other time I sit through them. The Club activities really feel like the hard training lessons Keiichi has to go through to eventually build up the strength to create the miracle fragment Rika is searching for.
They do drag on sometimes though.
And now, with them more next to each other like this, I understand why I had such a different experience with Higurashi than with Umineko (vague over-arching talk of Umineko) and it comes down to the characters. In Umineko the appeal is the game itself but in Higurashi the appeal is much more the characters. In Higurashi Hinamizawa and the events of Watanagashi are presented as a thing that keeps happening to the characters, but you have really no idea what the rules are - you just know that you are learning a lot about these characters and end up really rooting for them. Umineko gives you the side seat with the game masters very early on, so you understand even the relationships of the characters in terms of The Game it self. It works out, because I think Higurashi has more (as in a larger number) of likeable characters, where Umineko is full of well written characters you don’t necessarily like that much.