It’s Monday, which means it is time for this! Welcome back to Don’t @ Me! The place where, like the anyone listening to the sounds of Cicadas, I start slamming my baseball bat into anyone can I see, I give you my thoughts and views on everything manga and anime. This week I’m going to go to bat (pun fully intended) for the sequel series Higurashi GOU/SOTSU. Let’s get into it after the cut.
- With Higurashi GOU/SOTSU now ended, responses are pouring in and somewhat surprising for me at least ,people have really turned around on the series. I think there are several reasons why, and I want to go through them and my views.
2. Many people, myself included were probably hoping that GOU/SOTSU was going to be a full on remake. While the original series is beloved and the animation’s ‘jankiness’ is part of its charm. It has also aged pretty poorly. The idea of the series redone in 2020, from Studio Passione (High School DxD HERO) was an exciting idea. Instead it wasn’t the case, and I understand some people being upset.
3. There was also the belief, one I shared in my blog ,that Higurashi didn’t need a sequel. The story was finished, and there was really nothing left to say. And while I do get that feeling, I don’t fully agree with it. GOU/SOTSU was at its strongest when it was directly about the Rika vs Satoko conflict.
4. Which I loved. The stakes this time were personal, the ideas simple: a fear of change. Satoko wishes to remain in the village where she’s only ever been happy, while Rika wants to put the trauma as far away from her as possible. It is two valid things they want out of life, and put aside the looping abilities, it is very human. Change is terrifying and it is exciting, and not everyone can handle it. It is what makes Satoko such a great villain, like with Takano before her, reasons that are understandable as they are sympathetic.
5. Still, I do think that this entire story would have been better as a feature length film than as a series. Watching the show from back to front, it feels very much like an coda to Higurashi ala Naruto: The Last, or Gundam Wing Endless Waltz. I think making into a movie, cutting out a lot of the red herrings that make up the first half of GOU, would improved things a great deal.
6. Now if we end up getting a Umineko remake (the show that has a direct link to the two witches created from the loops) then I think a lot of what we see will make more sense. I don’t think it completely drowned out the plot, but it would probably help.
7. So overall, I do understand why some Higurashi fans are upset. They expected a remake, and instead got a sequel that wasn’t a sequel until halfway through. They wanted more events like the Shion arc, and instead didn’t get that much of it. They wanted more of the rest of the cast, and instead got a loli fight. I loved a lot of what I saw, but the people who did not are not unjustified in their dislike. I think a second re-watch (skipping most of the first part of GOU) would make things a bit better thanks to the context of the series now that it’s done.
8. I also suggest taking a look at this interview done by Anime News Network (I know), with the creator of the series. It sheds a lot of light in the conflict between Rika and Satoko and really made me appreciate it a bit more. It’s a compelling read.