I'm rereading Onikakushi, anyone else in? (Spoilers up to an including Meakashi)

So yeah, I’m veritably chomping at the bit to get my dirty hands on Tsumihoroboshi and it doesn’t help that it’s almost been 8 whole months since we last got a Higurashi chapter, so I decided that I’d both prepare myself AND offset my Higurashi hunger by rereading Onikakushi. I’ve started to take occasional notes, and with the hindsight of the other four chapters currently released, a lot of meaning between the lines is revealing itself, and I’d love to discuss things and how some of Onikakushi’s mysteries might be explained.

So I’m wondering, is anyone interested in rereading Onikakushi with me, posting impressions as we go along, and discussing the chapter at large once we’re done?


I honestly dislike Higurashi’s slow start more than I dislike Umineko’s slow start, so I’m not feeling that eager to reread it right now, especially because I already did skimming rereading back when I made the timeline during Himatsubushi discussion, but I might drop in to discuss stuff if you bring up stuff that interests me. Maybe I’ll then also reread a specific chapter.

tl,dr: Not interested in rereading myself, but discussing and reading impressions is fine.


Same with me here, I’m not interested in reading it but I’m open to discussing it and commenting on your thoughts and whatnot. Besides, I am a, uh, veteran of sorts regarding Higurashi, so yeah, it wouldn’t help you too much if somebody like me read it alongside you. Well, the main thing is that I have no interest, but like I said, I’m in for discussions.


Mmh… technically I could very well join, given how I installed the steam version yesterday, played it up until Mion showed up, got irritated by what they did to her sprite sprite and then spent a few hours getting all the PS2 patches with Alchemist sprites and voice-over. I should make use of that by reading it this way, but given how I know myself and my reading pace, I wouldn’t want anyone to wait for me. With the original VN I only managed to get to Tatarigoroshi-hen after all.

Therefore I join the chorus of the others: Just post your musings and you’ll likely see me chime in! :wink:

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Thanks for the responses, everyone!

I’m already past the needle in the mochi part, so I think I’ll just post my impressions after I finish the entire arc.

All right, done.

Here are the notes I took while I was reading:

-The person at the beginning is Satoshi. “I’ll leave this here, like flowers by a grave”- He’s killing his aunt, and he’s leaving the teddy bear.

-Tomitake was murdered for letting slip about the dam murder to Keiichi. Counterpoint: He was absolutely irrelevant in Ch. 5, and Rika predicted he’d die in Ch. 4.

-Tomitake’s fucking TERRIFIED of Keiichi’s joke about how Rena is “looking for new victims” while running around with the hatchet, he must’ve felt exactly the way Keiichi does very soon.

-Rena and mion show him around to “show he fits in”, and therefore mustn’t be a victim of the curse. There are a lot of statements and jokes that gain a new meaning. A lot of foreshadowing in the riverside scene on the Watanagashi with Tomitake and Takano.

-They’re playing Clue on the day after Watanagashi and the correct sequence of cards is “Rika-chan committed the murder in the infirmary with poison”- Foreshadowing about Irie, or perhaps a red herring for him or Takano?

-After Keiichi hears the others converse about Tomitake the day after he talks to Ooishi, there’s a brief moment where the CG goes from the classroom to the school garden, and then goes back to the classroom without any extra dialogue or narration. Was that Ooishi watching? “The footsteps following him”?

-PS3 graphics really change the LIES! scene, this is my third time reading Onikakushi and it made me jump out from my bones again lol

A lot of what @Pepe had been talking about in the Meakashi thread stuck with me, especially regards to how we as the reader should try to believe in our friends.

In hindsight, there’s just a lot that’s revealed about Keiichi’s leaps of logic, moments where his friends show sincere concern, and the like.

I think the most harrowing thing for me is that Keiichi does to Tomitake what Ooishi does to him: Ooishi’s talk about Onigafuchi and everything else destabilizes Keiichi and fuels his paranoia, and Keiichi similarly creeps out Tomitake.

The game’s made it so that I can now not feel sure of anything at all, every single sentence can be sinister or heartwarming, and I don’t know who’s evil, who’s just suffering, and who was actually trying to help Keiichi all along.

Rena feels like she’s less creepy and more caring-it feels like she’s really trying to convey her concern for Keiichi and is unable to.

I made no headway whatsoever on solving any murder/ any of the mystery in this reread, but it was still a great experience thanks to how it showed Rena, especially, under a different light.

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Okay… that’s one way to spend Christmas Eve, eh? :stuck_out_tongue:

Though some of your musings leave me stumped. I thought this is a re-read. So you do only know the first five arcs through the steam releases and neither the Anime nor the manga? Some of your musings are so obviously wrong that I’m not sure whether I should correct you or not. I’d better just settle for those that you should know by now.

That one makes no sense. Satoshi didn’t have bought the bear by the time of the murder of his aunt and in any case, while the police did strongly suspect him, they didn’t find any evidence as blatantly obvious as this teddy near the victim. Also: Why would he trust his abusive aunt? The narrator states that he trusts the girl he just murders and still trusts her and denies the ‘truth’ that she turned against him. Satoshi however had every reason to feel nothing but loathing for what she did with Satoko.
It’s Keiichi, plain and simple, don’t interprete too much into this scene. The opening stingers always relate to a murder that happens in this specific arc.

Again… maybe too much thinking here. What I got a chuckle out of was how Mion was constantly teasing Keiichi with how much she knows about his groceries or even what kind of underwear he bought long before Keiichi starts to interprete the very same jokes as hostile intent.

Yeah, I guess that’s the best thing about Onikakushi. This is the core of Ryukishi’s signature unreliable narration! Once you are at a point where you know what’s going on, the meaning of every word changes drastically. It’s even more crazy in Umineko.

That’s exactly it, I’m prepping for Tsumihoroboshi.

(edit: We don’t celebrate Christmas here in Turkey, plus, I have responsibilities to avoid, so it was a lot of fun :stuck_out_tongue: )

Oh, well, ahahaha… You see, I thought that the beginning stinger of the first arc was a big mystery. But yeah, that makes the most sense…

Ah, I see. Then I’m not quite sure how much you hope to gain from a re-read. Higurashi is (compared with Umineko) rather straight-forward and while there is some foreshadowing in the earlier arcs, it is more fun to purposely look out for it after knowing all the mysteries. You’ll rarely get answers for things you still don’t know if you don’t know what to look out for… if there is much of it at all. Because the only mysteries still left open… should be Takano’s and Tomitake’s murder, Rika’s disembowelment and the gas leak incident, right?

I also don’t know what happened to Satoshi, but that moght just be me failing to connect the dots. Also what the whole “irises going dull” situation is.

I just read Onikakushi myself. I saw the anime years ago, but I’ve never read the VNs, so it was like reading it for the first time when I’ve already had the whole story spoiled. Here are some of the thoughts I pulled from my notes.

I got the impression that the first part of Onikakushi is parodying and subverting a lot of eroge tropes. Rena in particular seems like a stereotypical girl-next-door eroge heroine, like Nagisa from Clannad (so, small wonder they cast Mai Nakahara for her), when we first meet her. Later, of course, we learn how she finds all manner of strange and disturbing things to be “cute”, kinda like the moe-obsessed otaku who would be playing eroge in the first place. It’s also interesting that Keiichi always refers to the other club members by their given name, when in an eroge or any other romantic story you expect the couple to transition from using family names to using given names. It seems to be telling us not to expect that kind of romantic development; this is a story about friendship, not romance.

Something that caught my attention was how the narration emphasizes the diversity of the club multiple times. The club members span different genders and ages, unlike other friend groups at the school, and they wear unique outfits to school, unlike the other students, who mostly wear the Okinomiya uniform. Granted, practically every story is going to do something to make its main characters be distinct and stand out from the crowd, but it’s unusual that Ryukishi is actually explicitly pointing this out. A diverse group like the club naturally feels more welcoming for new transplants like Keiichi and Rena. Also, while a more homogeneous group is more likely to be drawn together by commonalities external to the group itself, the club must make its own identity through the shared experience of eating lunch and playing games together. Thus, not only do we get to see that friendship being built, but also how Mion, who does most of the work bringing the club together, is an effective leader who cares deeply for her friends and for friendship in general.

I think Ryukishi does a good job depicting Keiichi’s struggle with Oyashiro-sama’s curse. All his beliefs, raised in the urban world of books and reason, are threatened by the possibility that a supernatural being may really exist. He quickly tells Ooishi that he doesn’t believe in the curse, not out of real conviction, but out of an emotional desire to keep himself from believing any further. The very act is self-defeating; it admits that belief is not a matter of facts, but of feelings. Nevertheless, Keiichi’s struggle highlights his uncommon awareness. Like Battler in Umineko, Keiichi seems to be the only person who appreciates how world-shattering the existence of supernatural beings is.

Oni are said to be able to take the form of people someone knows in order to bewitch them, which fits in with Keiichi’s belief that “something” is taking the places of Mion and Rena and pretending to be them. But when Keiichi starts brandishing Satoshi’s metal bat like an oni’s metal club, it’s clear that if there is an oni, it has really taken Keiichi’s place. (The same could be said of Rena when she used a metal bat in her rampage in Ibaraki.) The word “onikakushi” is grammatically ambiguous; normally it is interpreted to mean oni making a person disappear, but it could also mean making an oni disappear. It could also be parsed as “oni kaku shi”, or “oni-scratching death”. Either way, one can interpret Keiichi as meeting with onikakushi at the end of this episode.

Ooishi mentions that Rena was diagnosed with dysautonomia in Ibaraki. From what I could tell from a quick perusal of Japanese sites, it seems that dysautonomia has a history in Japan of being used as a catch-all diagnosis for vague mental illness, like hysteria.

When Keiichi says that he will skip club activities, Rena worriedly says, “Maybe you don’t like playing with girls after all?” I wonder if Rena and Mion think Keiichi is gay. It would explain why they don’t try to pry at all into his meeting with Ooishi. Him skipping school to have lunch with an old man at a restaurant in town is particularly suspicious. It would also explain a lot of Rena and Mion’s other behavior. Keiichi accusing Rena of keeping secrets would seem pretty ungrateful if Rena was keeping quiet about what she thought was Keiichi’s relationship with a man, and Rena and Mion coming straight to Keiichi’s house to ask him about his lunch would be necessary to quickly and discreetly warn him that he had been noticed. Rena and Mion’s silence on what exactly they think Keiichi’s secret even is also makes sense in this light, as well as Mion’s insistence that Keiichi not skip school again. To be fair, Rena could have simply noticed that Keiichi was extremely reluctant to talk about his conversation with Ooishi, and concluded that their relationship, whether romantic or not, was a secret that Keiichi did not want anyone to discover.

When Keiichi wonders why he has to be killed, I wonder if he’s actually dimly aware of his role as a piece on the game board. Ultimately, there is no real reason he has to be killed, other than to make the story dramatic and horrifying. “Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

I wonder what Rena’s strange laughter is really supposed to be, because it doesn’t seem like she would actually be laughing. Is Keiichi confusing the sound of the cicadas for her laughter, or is she really sobbing?

That’s all I could find for my first read. I’m interested to see what I’ll notice on a re-read, but first I have to read all the other episodes!


Welcome and for your first read, those were pretty on-point musings!

I totally agree! From the Anime I’ve already gathered that Ryukishi set out to subvert and deconstruct clichés prevalent in typical visual novels and moe character archetypes in general. And so much yes in regards to Rena! When I first read the VN version (and now even more that I got the voice files) I did wonder why I found Rena so extremely grating and irritating and that’s exactly it! In those first few conversations which highlight her easily flustered air-head persona, she was just every single moe stereotype ever lumped together!

While all of this is right, I also just want to add how Keiichi points out that the girls are the only ones of his age group. Since the boys are all far younger and somewhat intimidated by him, it feels very natural that he ends up hanging out with that already closely-knit group.
Though I did wonder how long it takes for Keiichi in Onikakushi to join the games club for real. He’s already lived in Hinamizawa for a whole month and yet he just then started to explore the village and join in club activities… which is somewhat odd, come to think of it, regarding how casual Keiichi is about all of those things in later arcs that make it somewhat sound like he had always been a part of everything.

Ah… okay, that’s the only point where I have to strongly disagree. Remember that scene towards the end where Keiichi says to Mion that they aren’t friends anymore? After being taken aback and crying, she starts to curse Ooishi and blames him for Keiichi’s paranoia. That’s because she knows Ooishi well enough! Everybody in the village does, and they all loath him for his constant prying and obsession with Oyashiro’s curse. Mion and Rena don’t question Keiichi because they have to wonder what Ooishi wants from him, because at least Mion already knows that exactly. They question him because they worry what kinds of seeds of distrust that guy sowed in their friend’s mind! They ask him because they want to know what to disclose in order to relieve him from his doubts in them.

Good question… Though I’m not sure… I guess it depends on the scene. In the prologue Keiichi mentions that ‘she’ (meaning Rena) never cried at any point. I am somewhat inclined to believe him in at least this point. We also now that Rena does occasionally burst into mocking laughter when discussing Oyashiro’s curse and that Mion has severe trouble snapping her out of it. It might very well be that Keiichi’s choice of topics have triggered her in at least some of those scenes.


Hmm, I was under the impression that Mion and Rena didn’t know that Keiichi was in contact with Ooishi until Mion and Keiichi’s confrontation outside the school. But now that you mention it, I think that your interpretation is more likely to be correct. Whoever witnessed Keiichi and Ooishi at (presumably) Angel Mort (Shion, perhaps?), it would be very unlikely that they would know who Keiichi was, but not Ooishi.

The reason I went down this train of thought is because I couldn’t understand Rena’s behavior in the “uso da” scene. She surely knows what Keiichi is referring to when he accuses her and Mion of lying to him, but rather than try to ask Keiichi why he lied about his meeting with Ooishi, she uses it as a sort of tit-for-tat justification of her own lying. Even if Keiichi is lying to them, he only started lying to them just the previous day, but Rena and Mion have been lying to Keiichi for weeks. She explicitly puts him outside the group: “Just like you have secrets, so do we.” And then she just leaves him in the middle of the road, and apparently walks home without even looking back. Even without looking at it through the lens of Keiichi’s emerging paranoia, it’s a remarkably cruel thing to do to a boy you just held hands with two days ago.

I came up with four possible contributing factors to this scene. First, Rena, who has her own paranoid tendencies, might have felt betrayed by Keiichi for disappearing on her right after promising to team up with her in the Clue game, and for lying to her. Second, she also just learned that Oyashiro-sama’s curse has continued for another year, and she fears that she could be the next victim of a capricious, unaccountable god, so she would hardly be in the mood to put up with Keiichi’s feelings. Third, she and the whole club were traumatized by Satoshi’s disappearance, so they would have been reluctant to talk about the Watanagashi deaths at all, let alone with Keiichi, who probably reminds them of Satoshi. Finally, and to me most importantly, Rena, as a strong believer in Oyashiro-sama, probably also believes that “an untouched god does not curse” (sawaranu kami ni tatari nashi), so she wants to keep the deaths a secret from Keiichi in order to prevent him from becoming a victim, and from experiencing the same torment she has. Indeed, Keiichi himself follows this same logic when he starts keeping secrets from his parents, so this interpretation seems likely to me.

Oh, one other thing I realized: there’s no way that Ooishi, who seems to have a personal vendetta against the Sonozakis, would not have known that a place like Angel Mort in Okinomiya would be full of Sonozaki spies. He must have deliberately set up the meeting with the expectation that the Sonozakis would find out about it and make some sort of move against Keiichi which he could then exploit. Indeed, Keiichi himself more or less comes to that conclusion when Ooishi drops him off at his house. You are one gigantic bastard, Ooishi!