You are free to discuss the entirety of the eight main arcs of Higurashi without tagging spoilers in this thread, but please tag spoilers to other works.
I have a question I’d like to pose to you guys… This is something I, in my lack of experience with Higurashi, am struggling with a bit.
When does Higurashi become ‘solvable’? And by solvable, do we have a definition of that? Does it refer to these ‘rules x y and z’ that I’ve heard so much about?
Well, if we go by the question-answer format, then it should be solvable after Himatsubushi. Whether it actually is, I’m not sure.
By the way, here’s the three rules: http://whentheycry.wikia.com/wiki/Universe_Rules
(The wiki tends to get a lot of things wrong, but this page is accurate.)
The thing all these rules have in common is the Hinamizawa syndrome… So maybe it would it would be easiest to just say Hinamizawa syndrome is the solution.
Though I wouldn’t say that someone has solved it if they just say something vague like ‘maybe Keiichi and Shion were sick’ but rather they would have to pinpoint it as a local disease, with ties to the legend of Oyashiro-sama.
Mmmm, I would say that Higurashi isn’t solvable in the traditional sense. (Umineko Spoilers) This is because unlike Umineko, Higurashi does not follow the rules of Knox, nor is it designed to be a fair play whodunnit mystery.
As someone who is familiar with the mystery genre, there are a couple main reasons why Higurashi wouldn’t be considered ‘fair play’, though it doesn’t really need to since its more of a modern mystery rather than a Golden Age Detective mystery, which is a rather specific subset of the mystery genre.
First and foremost, it violates the rules of Knox, who is a very influential writer when it comes to fair play whodunnits. The most notable violation I can think of is of the 4th rule of his which states “No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.” This is notably violated with both Hinamizawa syndrome and the vaccine for it. Both of these are not things the reader could reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the properties of beforehand, which violates this law in spirit.
It does not seem to give all the clues necessary to reach the who and why in due time before the reveal, in my opinion. Again, this is not strictly necessary as it is of a different genre than the fair play whodunnit, being a modern mystery and all, but it would be a mistake to say that it is something that should be referred to as ‘solvable’ for that very reason.
Theres probably more I am not thinking of off the top of my head, but while yes it probably is fairly easy to suspect Takano, I sure did rather early on in fact, its far harder to -prove- her involvement before the story really gives you the information rather outright due to how everything is set up in my opinion.
I’m not an expert on mystery rules, but if I recall correctly, wasn’t there some exception or other for clues and foreshadowing? For example, you could have a hidden door if there was enough clues?
I would say there’s quite a few clues that point towards Hinamizawa having a local disease, especially in the Watanagashi arc. Such as when Shion tells Keiichi and Rena that the villagers were persecuted because people believed they were diseased.
In limited fashion, yes, for the secret door. Unlike in (Umineko Spoilers) the revised rules of knox for umineko the rules for a hidden door under knox specify no more than one, and only if it is foreshadowed heavily. However, there is no such exception for things such as local diseases, poisons, etc. and that is because while the presence of one can be inferred from clues, its easy enough to make it work very much in a way that isn’t easily predictable.
Its a bit of a fundamental difference as to -why- the things are banned. While it would be hard to infer the existence of a secret passage, and it allows for rather lazy writing as well, the specifics of a secret passage are rather easily understood and universal. They allow passage from one area to another. The specifics of hard to understand scientific devices and unknown poisons and diseases, on the other hand, are not, and sort of act as a bit of a non-magical magic so to speak.
At least, this is what I have found in my own exploration of the genre. As I said, its not really a problem in higurashi though since it was not designed to follow the same conventions as a golden age detective mystery, so it isn’t exactly bound to them. It works very well as a modern mystery, its just not solvable in the classic fair play sense.
Higurashi is solvable, because it was solved before the truth of it fully came out.
I could elaborate on it, but that enough is proof. Mystery rules aren’t universal things, as long as there’s clues to solve something it can be solved.
Now as to “when it is solvable” I would say it technically is after arc4, yeah, like was said earlier, but I think it’s the case where most who originally solved it reached a decent amount of certainty after arc5. However I believe the “main culprit” was strongly suspected right in arc3.
I’m interested in how you think it’s ‘solvable’ and what you mean by that.
It’s like with Little Busters. There’s a mystery there, but it’s almost impossible to reach a decisive conclusion on the true answer because it’s very fantastical. When I was reading I was able to identify sone core truths like a mastermind, but like in the case of Higurashi, is it really possible to conclude the existence of the Hinamizawa syndrome, the true nature of Oyashiro and the factions working in the shadows? If it is then I’d like to explore how.
I’d be interested to hear as well. At least, I think exactly 0 people figured out the whole Queen Carrier thing, or if someone did figure it out, they deserve a freaking medal.
Didn’t we already establish that was a red herring in the tatarigoroshi spoilers topic? But I mean, even if it is real there’s evidence in the chapters to lead to that conclusion.
I think the first thing we need to do is identify the truths that the reader is required to solve, and work backwards to determine what reasoning is required to reach those conclusions.
Let’s see… I guess the most important is identifying Takano as the mastermind. You’d also need to identify the existence of the Yamainu, the nature of Hinamizawa Syndrome, and perhaps the nature of Oyashiro (though Oyashiro might not be part of the mystery, you can probably get through all of Higurashi assuming she’s just a byproduct of the syndrome).
I think… it’s probably solvable under those parameters.
I’m not saying that the Queen Carrier hypothesis is necessarily true (and it’s definitely at least somewhat false), but the belief in it is why everyone in Hinamizawa was murdered when Rika died.
But not everybody dies in Watanagashi even though Rika was killed.
That’s because the Yamainu couldn’t get permission to gas the villagers if Rika was just missing, rather than dead. And by the time her body was found, it was 48+ hours after her death.The theory was that the villagers would go mad within 48 hours after Rika died. But this was proven wrong, so the plan to gas the villagers wasn’t carried out.
Therefore the queen carrier hypothesis is bullshit?
It doesn’t entirely seem to bullshit. After all, apparently the virus is different in Rika than in other people, and the ‘cure’ was created from her.
My guess would also be that Rika can probably never develop high levels of the syndrome, although it never really says one way or the other.
Takano is pretty easy to pin down as being someone likely to be the culprit (especially in Tatarigoroshi due to her BEING ALIVE AND HELPING KEIICHI GET HOME WHEN SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD ACCORDING TO HER PLAN, but luckily for her, Keiichi really wasn’t willing to investigate it, and y’know the whole body dead for a day before the festival). And her appearances in the Answer arcs up to Minagoroshi only further make Takano suspicious (what with giving Shion and Rena notebooks about her research on the village), so a reader with a keen eye will at least probably figure out that Takano is up to some shady stuff like probably killing Tomitake since she has his bike. We just can’t pin Takano’s motives until the final arcs. The Yamainu show up in Onikakushi as the people in the van that nearly ran Keiichi over (and the people who punch Keiichi when he’s running from Rena), but they don’t come back into much of a focus until Tsumihoroboshi, where Rena (correctly) guesses that the Yamainu are following her and keeping tabs on her, and they hang around the school under the guise of being gardeners. We don’t know they’re even called the Yamainu or that they’re really connected to Takano until Minagoroshi (but can assume they’re connected to the mastermind) spells it out, though. We can guess the various stages of the Syndrome, since we’ve had it from many first person experiences, seen it second hand (in the case of Satoko in Tatarigoroshi, Satoshi in Meakashi, and Rena in Tsumihoroboshi’s school takeover scenes), and seen what it’s done, but we can’t put a name to it. And we know that Oyashiro-sama is the “extra footstep”, and that people who are incredibly unstable can hear Oyashiro-sama’s steps and even hear Hanyuu apologizing (Keiichi hears her at the start of Onikakushi as he returns back, and Rena’s heard her before).
So, while we can’t discern motive, the names of the Yamainu and the Syndrome, and just who/what Oyashiro-sama is besides the local deity, we can discern those facts with everything up to Tsumihoroboshi.
Actually, the Yamainu are mentioned by name in Tatarigoroshi. Irie asks what staff are on site at the clinic to help subdue Keiichi, and the doctor responds “One Yamainu (Mountain Dog in the new TL)”. So it’s possible to determine the name of the organisation from this; it is a pretty unusual term after all.
The one thing I can’t buy yet is this:
How are we meant to conclude that? I’m also pretty sure that many of the readers are actively trying to avoid supernatural answers since it’s very anti-mystery, heh.
Oh, I completely forgot that! So it is possible to determine that the Yamainu/Mountain Dogs are some sorta organization in white vans up to no good way before they’re confirmed as such!
I wonder if it is possible to have an anti-fantasy answer for Higurashi at all, since a lot of it, especially Matsuribayashi, runs on shonen and magic, unless one were to say that Hanyuu is ultimate personification of HS like I’ve heard that the new Hou arcs seem to imply?
I really ought to re-read Higurashi’s later arcs again, as I can’t remember if it’s discussed in Minagoroshi or in Matsuribayashi about Oyashiro-sama being the extra footstep. We can at least be sure that Hanyuu tends to follow people well into the late stages of the Syndrome from time to time, since it’s said somewhere in those two arcs that Hanyuu tended to do that (which could open up a lot of things about why Hanyuu didn’t utilize that fully). I know in Rena’s flashback to her suicide attempt in Tsumihoroboshi, she’s said that when she nearly succeeded, she heard Oyashiro-sama’s voice calling her back to the village (assuming it IS Hanyuu, because if it is, dang, Hanyuu has some range to go all the way to Ibaraki), and in Onikakushi, Ooishi said that when he was digging up Rena’s past, he found that Rena mentioned being watched by Oyashiro-sama in her sleep in her records with whatever doctor she was seeing, and there were mentions of forgiveness. (Though to be fair, since Rena is an Oyashiro zealot, it isn’t exactly reliable proof of Hanyuu following people).
As for Keiichi hearing Hanyuu at the start, Keiichi’s on the train back to Hinamizawa and states that he’s been hearing a female voice apologize over and over again, and it annoys him, leading him to say in his narration that he believes that everything is forgivable and if she can’t fix what’s been done, it’s all the more reason to forgive her. She also kind of appears later on when Rena’s outside Keiichi’s window, where it;s been stated (somewhere, I’ve only seen it confirmed on the wiki and I forget if it’s confirmed in later arcs, so it might not be correct after all), and Keiichi thinks he sees Rena apologizing, but hears “I’m sorry” repeatedly (and Ooishi is rightly weirded out on the other line).
Well, I don’t think you could have an anti-fantasy answer for all of Higurashi, but I actually do have an alternate explanation for the footsteps.
If I remember correctly, it’s never outright stated that Hanyuu is the one causing the footsteps. It’s just sort of implied when Rika makes an offhand comment in Minagoroshi about how Hanyuu likes to follow people around. But it’s not like she would only be able to follow people around at point-blank range.
Also, in one of the Onikakushi-hen TIPs, Keiichi describes the footsteps as sounding like bare feet. You could just say that maybe he was wrong…but it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between bare feet and geta of all things. Especially since he’s in a store at the time.
Then there’s Rika’s description of Hanyuu in the light novel version of Minagoroshi-hen. She describes Hanyuu as a being that floats around. Why would Hanyuu go to the trouble of walking any great distance when she can float?
So if the footsteps/presence aren’t Hanyuu, then what are they? I tend to think of the footsteps/presence as a sort of shadow-self, born from the Syndrome (or at least given substance by it). Sort of how it’s presented in Satoshi’s chapters in Matsuribayashi. Anyway, I kind of like this because you can think of it as something supernatural, or all in the person’s head.
But there are also times when it’s Hanyuu without a doubt. The banging sound in the Saiguden in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen is definitely Hanyuu, for instance, as is the presence that Keiichi attacks in Onikakushi-hen. Hanyuu is the one making the repeated apologies as well.
Interesting, so the footsteps might not be Hanyuu at all? I like this theory.