Oh look, she already figured everything out. I think I grabbed these…right at the start of chapter 2
Well, this arc was awesome. It sure was a lot of fun to read something from Higurashi I have not read before, and since it centered on people outside of Hinamizawa directly it was particularly fresh feeling.
I want to take a moment to just say that characters in this arc were really well handled. Natsumi, the female detective, and especially Chisato. Seriously, Chisato especially was really a lot of fun, she felt like she probably could have become fast friends the core club members back in Hinamizawa and that the antics would have been all the more fun for it.
The core themes of friendship, lies, guilt, forgiveness, trust, and mistrust were all here in full force, making it feel very at home with Higurashi core canon. Natsumi’s insecurities, and her tendency to keep everything bottled up made a really good springboard for the decent into HInamizawa syndrome.
So we see the death of her family play out two separate ways. The first round was written off as a dream, the second happened so quickly. The first scenario played out as if her mother was the primary initiator, the second she kind of discovers the bodies after waking up. I was curious so I pulled out my volumes of Onisarashi-hen (oversimplified recap the end of Onisarashi - even though it is not an “outside work” It seems less read so I thought the spoilers should still be opt in ) The events in Onisarashi - the deaths play out basically like they do in the dream, only it is revealed at the end - specifically to Akira that that all of the physical evidence points to Natsumi having committed all of the murders. The thing here is that in that ending Akira chooses to staunchly stand by her side, and thus when they have the confrontation on the roof he accepts her and they both end up surviving and presumably reaching the Happy End (though I feel odd calling an ending where you still killed your whole family Happy) So in manny ways that terrible dream almost feels like it was Natsumi having a glimpse at what may have been her happy ending in a different fragment So in that way the two arcs tied together almost feel like a mini encapsulation of the whole greater Hinamizawa story - sure you have removed the greater conspiracy of the disaster - but as a story that shows the importance trust in your friends, and how unaddressed doubts can eat away at a person the story was on point.
So one small thing, kind of bouncing back to my screenshots from the beginning, if you were reading this with only the arcs through Meakashi, I was kind of left wondering if the focus on Natsumi’s health that kept coming up, to what degree you can practically gleam clues that this ties back a sickness? In a lot of ways, this chapter kind of removes the concern about the Human culprits behind the Hinamizawa disaster - since they are physically and mentally just not in the picture - and really does a lot to make you think about the curse aspect. Natsumi, even as far removed as she was with the building conspiracy you see happing in Hinamizawa directly still has her life ruined by “Oyashiro-sama’s Curse”