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Review: Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2

Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Mimori

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In the ruins of Hinamizawa, twenty-three years after the disaster, a group of strangers realize there is a murder among them. Takumi, the boyfriend of Yae, was found strangled and left in the shrine. Who among them is the killer? Did Otobe really “lose” his friends and how did his cell phone break? Is Mion Sonozaki really who she says she is since she was reported killed in the school terrorist incident twenty-three years ago? Is Ryunosuke really a journalist working on a reporter?

Something strange is going on tonight. The dead are bleeding over into the living as the strangers have to reveal their pasts to survive the night. Because they are not alone. Another will is moving against them and if they don’t work together, none will live to see morning.

This is quite the exciting volume to read. The mysteries are mostly resolved early, along with showing the supernatural is a real thing in Hinamizawa. Theories are bandied about, giving clues on what may or may not happened to village along with some hints for the Answer Arcs to come.

For those who know this series, there were some poignant moments. We’ve seen that these arcs end with at least a few of the main characters dying. Now we get to see the effect the story has on the survivors. There are a few clues to what needs to be done to succeed, a line from the dead that will help ensure the summer of 1983 can be defeated.

If you like mystery/horror manga, or those stories in general, Higurashi is one of the best. It’s engaging and intriguing in turns. The art is great in this one. The action is exciting. The characters have to make choices and face the consequences of their actions.

You can buy Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2 from Amazon.

Review: Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2

Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Jiro Suzuki

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The first volume, we have come to know Satoko. Keiichi’s surrogate big brother relationship was really sweet. But this is Higurashi, and the happiness between the friends can’t last. Doom falls on the gang in the form of the return of Satoko’s abusive uncle Teppei Hojo.

A vile man who abuses and degrades her. As Keiichi and his friends want to help the girl, they find out that even the adults in their lives are powerless. Their teacher has done all she can. The government finds no evidence of child abuse. Keiichi becomes more and more desperate as he sees Satoko swallowed up by pain and suffering.

And then he remembers Oyashiro’s curse. For the last four years, one person has been murdered and one person disappeared on the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. Oyashiro, the shinto deity who protects the village, punishes those who try to harm it.

So why not Teppei Hojo this year?

Not wanting to relay on the nebulous “curse,” Keiichi plans to use the superstition to his advantage. He’ll save Satoko. He’ll murder Teppei Hojo.

This is one of the most heartbreaking stories to read. The artist and writer have captured the way Satoko crumbles beneath the abuse, how she tries to be strong, to pretend nothing is going wrong even as she grows more and more dead, wliting. The bubbly, happy, outgoing girl crushed beneath Teppei’s curelty. It crashes into the unfairness of the world. Into the grinding pace of a government bureaucracy. Into the limitations of modern life to defend your neighbors.

Keiichi’s transition from student to murderer makes sense. It flows down the path. You’re rooting for him, so it’s so tragic when it all goes wrong. And that ending. That gut punch at the shrine then the “disastor” only makes you have more question.

Just what happens in this village? What is going on wrong? Why did the disaster happen this time and not in the last scenario. Mion no longer seems to be in charge of the killings like she was last time. But once again, Tomitaki dies and Takano is murdered/goes missing. Only this time, we get something more with her. Something sinister.

For the most part, the art is better in this volume. The style fits the more depressing shift in the story. There were a few times it didn’t work, like with Takano. All in all, this was a powerful story. It leaves you hoping there is a way out for these friends, to survive the summer of 1983. This is the last of the question arcs. Up next is an arc to get some back story and set up the ending, and a filler one that gives us a spooky story set in the aftermath of this arc.

You can buy Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2 from Amazon.