4/5. (Well, 3.5/5, but that wasn’t really a rating option.) With the introduction of Shion I started to think “Oh, could that explain Mion’s behavior in the last chapter?” But the more the story went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how ridiculous that seemed to be. (Especially by the end of this chapter!) Keiichi viewing Mion and Shion to be just Mion was… understandable? I guess? (Rena’s reaction in particular didn’t help the whole thing.) Anyway… This chapter seemed much darker than the previous chapter to me once it got going.
Might want to grab some tea or coffee before attempting to climb this text wall.
Everybody goes to play games, yay! Oh, we’ve finished at a tie. Well then, manager gives us a doll… cool? Oh, he also gave everybody else dolls, except Mion? Uh… Okay, let’s just give it to-, what Rena? … Why!? (I was extremely frustrated with Protag-kun at this point in the story, and it was just the first part…) I felt like this would probably come back to bite us, but after a while it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. (Except for all the hinting.)
Speaking of hinting:
Later, Keiichi’s dad takes him to Angel Mort, where Keiichi meets Shion. At first I was thinking “Nah, that’s not the same place he and Ooishi went to, right?” (I later thought the same thing again after I learned (in ch.3? that Angel Mort is owned by the Sonozakis). His dad’s pretty awesome, just saying. (Especially the way he waited for his son’s conversation with Shion to finish instead of just interrupting…)
Later on, “Shion” shows up with lunch because we skipped. (rip) We get great references like “If it were Mion… I could see hot sauce, mustard, maybe even a needle being mixed inside. (But really, I don’t think she would go so far as putting a needle in there…)”
(I don’t really remember much between the above and the following…)
Eventually, Keiichi makes plans to see Shion at Angel Mort… and he kicks a motorcycle? Why!? (The anime portrays this scene differently than how it read to me, so maybe I’m just misinterpreting it?) He gets into an issue, then we see the power of being a resident of Hinamizawa! Much coolness, townspeople! Even though Keiichi is creeped out by that, I still find it pretty damn awesome of them. (Shion explains this to him later as just being a sense of unity among the townsfolk, iirc.) Seriously though, that was a really cool scene. Ooishi showed up then hauled 'em away, so cool. (Looks no actual lynching was needed today!)
Then there was the part where we got a free all-you-can-eat dessert ticket and went to Angel Mort later. (Jeez, that’d be awesome just in general.) Some stuff happens and we get everybody except Mion to help out with the perverted otaku. Which we resolve by… putting a line of them in front of a small girl who’s all alone in a bathroom that they expect nobody else to go to? (My own phrasing aside, that was also a really good scene! Thoroughly enjoyable IMO.)
This part made me suspicious though:
Though a later TIP cleared it up… My initial thought was that she had actually psychotically got rid of them in some way but uh… I guess not! (I was just feeling on-edge from the last chapter, probably. That’s a pretty extreme suspicion after all.)
And then later (that night? I think…) we learn… and Protag-kun should’ve really realized this sooner… that Shion and Mion are not the same person! Gasp!
Also, Keiichi seemed to realize that he needed to apologize, but after his mind was shattered by such an amazing revelation, never actually apologized to the right person… In fact, he bought a doll for the wrong person. (I think Rena was telling him something along those lines earlier in the story.)
Hey! Jirou showed up again. Coolest guy in the game.
Then we go to the Watanagashi. At first I thought “Huh, I wonder if this chapter is going to end at Watanagashi, considering its name…” But then I realized that the chapter would be way too early for that, so I started wondering about how it would advance from there.
So, we have fun at Watanagashi, and a very awesome sounding idea comes up…
Later on we ditch the lolis to check out a shrine with Shion, Takano (err, I think her name was Takano anyway), and Jirou. ('course, Jirou doesn’t actually care to look inside. Sounds good to me.)
Shion later complains about hearing a “thumping sound” after everybody leaves the shrine… This part made me wonder about whether she’s telling the truth or not. Jirou said he also heard something weird. Both of those testimonies can be dismissed but… I don’t think it’s wise to do so yet… so I’m keeping them in mind still.
Jirou dies and, unlike the last story, Takano burns up in a barrel. Why did she burn up instead of just disappear? Did she burn up last time too but simply wasn’t found due to some other reason? Maybe she was found but Ooishi didn’t tell Keiichi last time because he thought it might affect Keiichi’s thoughts… What’s the significance of this? Did she not visit the shrine last chapter too? What’s different here? I’m not sure yet… The only thing that comes to mind is that Keiichi interrupted Takano and Jirou last chapter. If he interrupted them to the point where they no longer had time to go look inside the shrine, then was she burned as a warning to those who entered the shrine with her, this chapter?
Also, scariest question:
I don’t really remember much else of what happened around this time outside of the phone calls between Shion and Keiichi. (Keiichi is too trusting, btw. At this point in the story I was thinking to myself "Okay… What have you done to determine the identity of who you’re speaking with? Is there something that only she would know? And now you’re just confirming everything without really knowing the identity of who you’re confessing everything to… You’d definitely be the type of person a prosecuting attorney would like to deal with. Not a defense attorney though, 'cause he’d have to record ‘STFU’ on a voice recorder and have it play on loop just to get a reduced sentence on a crime you probably wouldn’t have even committed in the first place."
He loses his cool and rants out a confession of everything that happened, taking out his anger on her. She hangs up after that.
Rika and Satoko go missing? WTF!? Also, Rena saves the day!? (Yo, she totally tried to kill us last chapter. Her not going psycho weirded me out. A lot.) Mion claims to be a demon now. Shion warns Keiichi, but Keiichi is… stupid. He really is, at least in this moment. I mean, she fookin’ killed Rika and Satoko, or at least admitted to it. C’mon son. Anyway, he’s about to get tortured, but Mion decides against it as the police break in. (After she talks about how Rika and Satoko were tortured. Tch.) Mion runs, but supposedly dies in her escape. Despite that, she shows up at Keiichi’s house. He runs out, tries giving her a doll (waaaaayyyyy too late), gets stabbed, goes to the hospital. Incidentally, Ooishi is a pretty cool guy at the hospital… xD He then explains how Shion fell from her apartment in some other city in the same night that Keiichi was stabbed by Mion. You could possibly reason that Shion snuck out, stabbed Keiichi, then went back to her apartment, had a(nother) psychotic episode, and jumped… But the timing for this seems strange. I’ll consider it plausible though, but am still trying to find other ways to reconcile the whole “was dead this whole time” bit.
Speculation and Miscellaneous
Demons or People?
People still. Even if the story makes it seem like “demons” are definitely the cause, that’s basically just an excuse to stop thinking IMO. Maybe there’s something “magical” mixed in, but I’m going to try to go for the most plausible explanation in my own theories at least. (I mean, if we say it’s “demons” then what’s the point? We basically admit that anything goes and can then stop thinking about it. So, why bother then? Ah, but that’s just my opinion.)
I don’t know how to reconcile the “thumping” sound from the shrine, and how it was really loud for two of the people, but not the other two. (Just because I don’t know how doesn’t mean that it’s not necessarily the case. For example, I could say that 2 + 2 equals 4, but be unable to explain why. That doesn’t mean that the idea should be ignored entirely, but rather that I should figure out what explanations do work, and which don’t. Again, just my opinion though.)
What might happen next?
I already read ch.3 prior to posting this, but for the most part I ignored the things I’ve learned there. As such, I’ll say that my prior prediction for ch.3 was… off a bit… IIRC, this is basically what I thought ch.3 would be prior to reading it:
“Satoko chapter, since they mention that possibility in the ‘all-cast review’. Had they not mentioned it, I figured it’d be a Rika chapter.”
“Well, Satoko lives with Rika, so we’ll probably get to see both of them. Thus, there’s probably not much of a need for a Rika chapter then.”
(So basically, it seems like each chapter will be a route for a specific girl… Heh.)
We found the syringe with Rika, supposedly. So, her likeliness for being directly involved in some things probably went up considerably. Not that I really doubted that before. The theme of “apologizing” was also really strong in this chapter. I don’t think I noticed that as a particular theme in the last chapter.
I could probably talk for quite a while on various individual parts of this chapter. e.g., the opening game scene. (Which the anime ruined assuming the official translation was accurate, IMO.) There were a lot of interesting things going on there, such as the members being split up and taking on their own games. The types of games that were selected seemed pretty appropriate. (I wonder which game Mion ended up with?) The lack of a conclusion there was unfortunate, but also tied into the club activities in ch.1 not having a conclusion either. I wonder if the parallel there was intentional or not. (ch.3: Partially because I don’t recall there being an unfinished club activity in ch.3…)
Also, to lighten the mood after having finished such a dark chapter…
I’m trying! I don’t have any particularly strong theories though, but with what I read from the next chapter, I think I might be able to put together one.
Incidentally, some (not all) parts of the story within the chapters feel really obvious, but the overall mystery is still having me second-guessing things, heheh.