Tag Archives: Mystery

Review: Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 1

Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Yutori Houjyou

Reviewed by JMD Reid

“I cannot quench your thirst,

because you who want the truth will not acknowledge it.

I cannot quench your thirst,

because the truth you hope for doesn’t exist.

Even so, I want to quench your thirst,

because I am the one who left you in the desert.”

—Frederica Bernkastel

Once again, the poem starting off this series hints that this Frederica is behind what is going on in the story, but that she feels bad for the people. What is going on?

Good question. Last volume, Keiichi Maebara, a newly transferred teenager to the sleepy mountain village of Hinamizawa, beat his two friends, Rena and Mion, to death when they become demons trying to inject him with a syringe. Shortly after, he died by clawing out his own throat trying to get the truth out.

How does this volume start? Back at the beginning.

Keiichi Maebara just moved to Hinamizawa three weeks ago. He’s made friends with some of the local girls: Rena, Satako, Rika, and Mion. They play games. Have fun. They are close-knit so fast. It plays out so similar to how the story began.

Except this time, while playing a game at store in the nearby town, Keiichi makes a fateful choice. He gives a doll to Rena, thinking the tomboy Mion doesn’t like girly things. That off-handed comment set in a chain of events that leads to a different story than last time.

Soon Keiichi meets “Shion,” a girl claiming to be Mion’s twin sister but is a girlier version of her. Suspecting Mion is pretending to be someone else to act more like a girl, he plays along with it, enchanted by her beauty.

Other than that, things are playing out the same. The Cotton Drifting Festival approaches and Keiichi learns about the annual murder/disappearance, known as Oyashiro’s Curse. One person is killed, and the other is demoned away. As a glowing dread builds, Keiichi and his friends look forward to the festival with “Shion” eager to join the fun.

After the end of the last arc, I had so many questions. Where would it go? Would it follow new characters, or would it track one of the survivors as they struggled to uncover what happened to Keiichi, Mion, and Rena. What I didn’t expect was for everything to reset.

The summer of 1983 in Hinamizawa is playing groundhogs day. Keiichi and his friends have no idea that it’s going on. But there are differences playing out. How will that effect it? What is causing it to happen? Is it part of Oyashiro’s Curse? Or is something else at play.

The questions are dancing in your mind. A mystery is begging for answers, driving you to keep following the story to find out what is going on. That is the beauty of Higurashi. Even better, as the story unfolds, it’s clear that the creator thought of these questions. He had answers for them when he created it. This isn’t an empty mystery box, but a story with substance.

So just keep with it and know that answers will come, eventually. And until then, speculate away and try to figure out what is going on.

You can buy Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 1 from Amazon.

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Review: Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2

Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Story by Karin Suzuragi

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Keiichi Maebra, a teenage boy who recently moved to the sleepy village of Hinamizawa in the mountains of Japan, fears he might be murdered. The village has a dark reputation. Beneath it’s picturesque exterior, rumors of a man-eating demon lurk. A demon the villagers aid in its mission of protecting their villagers.

Outsiders have to be sacrificed to it, and Keiichi’s new friends, the girls Mion and Rena, might not be humans like he thought. They might be demons wanting to murder him. He’ll have to find the evidence to prove what is going on and defend his life before he’s the next person demoned away.

The paranoia and fear escalate. Rena especially seems to transition from her normal, cute girl persona to a demonic, cat-eyed demon. She goes from taunting Keiichi to wanting him dead, demanding to know his secrets. The art gets crazy, capturing Keiichi’s terror along with transforming the young Rena into something monstrous and terrifying.

And when you know the secret of the series, these scenes only become more tragic. The clues are there, little speckles at the true story, but that first time you read it, you’re left stunned. How did this happen? It all started so fun, so light-hearted. Keiichi, Mion, and Rena were such good friends. They were playful and innocent.

And then syringe and the baseball bat.

At the end, you’re wondering how this series can continue? Where could it possibly go after this ending. Where it goes only makes this series more intriguing. The story may seem over, but it is far, far from complete.

You can buy Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2 from Amazon.

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Review: Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1

Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Story by Karin Suzuragi

Reviewed by JMD Reid

“Please don’t be sad,

Even if the world doesn’t forgive you, I will forgive you.

Please don’t be sad,

Even if you don’t forgive the world, I will forgive you.

So please tell me,

What shall I do so that you’ll forgive me.”

—Frederica Bernkastel

If you know the story the above poem that opens the series is stunning. Who is Frederica Bernkastel? What is going on in his series? You’ll have to read to find out.

Keiichi Maebara is newly transferred to the sleepy mountain village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983. He’s quickly made friends with some of the local girls, Rena, Satako, Rika, and their leader, Mion. He feels like he has a new life. A new start from living in the city of Tokyo.

But there is something dark lurking beneath the surface of Hinamizawa, a dangerous past that his new friends are hiding from him. Why don’t they want him to know the truth of the village? What are the concealing from him?

As Keiichi discovers more of the village, can he truly trust his new friends? Are Rena and Mion wanting to protect him, or are they setting him up to be the next victim?

Higurashi is a rather interesting story. IT starts out light and fun, the characters introduced well. They have a fun atmosphere, hyper-competitive but in a good-hearted way. You can see that they know each other and are welcoming the newcomer Keiichi.

And then he hears rumors about the village’s past. Suddenly his friends are acting weird. A sense of unease slowly pervades the story. Paranoia steps in as things grow more and more dire. The story has a mystery that keeps you reading while the characters keep you engaged. What is going on? What will happen? Are Rena and Mion truly his friends, or are they something else?

These questions will be begging to be answered over the course of this manga.

The art is great, bouncing between the playful to the tense with skill. The artist captures both with ease. If you’ve played the doujin visual novel this is based off of, you’ll see the story is being faithfully adapted.

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is one of the best mystery series in Japanese pop culture. Whether it’s the anime, the original doujin novels, or this manga series, it’s worth checking out!

You can buy Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1 from Amazon.

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Blog Tour – A Whisper of Rage

A Whisper of Rage

AWhisperOfRageCoverRagePromo1 RageQuote1

You can buy Whispers of Rage from Amazon!

And check out the never before publish prequel, If Wishes were Horses, also available from Amazon!

IfWishesWereHorsesCoverWishesQuote1 WishesPromo1

Tim Author Promo photoTim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride. He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines–most notably in Ellery Queen. Currently he has six novels out. Finds the links to his books and social media sites at the end of this book.

By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master’s degree to work and is now a high school counselor. In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman. He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.

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