Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai Episode 22
|Offense and Defense|
|祭囃し編 其の九 攻防|
|Released||December 3, 2007|
|Episode director||Yoshihisa Matsumoto|
|Animation director||Kyuta Sakai|
|Sound director||Hozumi Gôda|
|Assistant editor||Sayaka Mita|
|Opening theme||Naraku no Hana|
|Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai Chronology|
Matsuribayashi-hen, Chapter Nine: Offense and Defense (祭囃し編 其の九 攻防 Matsuribayashi-hen Sono Kyū – Koubou?) is the forty-ninth episode of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni anime and the twenty-second episode of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai anime.
The episode opens with Irie writing at his desk when he hears a vehicle screeching to a halt. He sees through his window members of the Yamainu carrying the unconscious Jirō from their van. A flashback shows Akasaka warning him that he should treat any "bad hunches" as an emergency. Irie makes a phone call, and the scene shifts to the clinic's control room where a Yamainu member on a headset reports that Irie is calling Rika's home. Takano, now dressed in her black uniform, wonders if he is trying to alert someone regarding Jirō's capture. While the phone continues to ring, another Yamainu member reports that Irie has left the clinic through the back entrance. Takano orders his seizure, and a white Yamainu van pursues Irie's car. They shoot his right-rear tire, and Irie screams as his car skids.
The scene shifts to Rika and Satoko's home with the sound of a phone ringing. Akasaka waits and remembers, through a flashback, that if the phone rings for one minute and hangs up, the home is in danger. If it rings any longer, then Irie cannot contact him and he must escape to the Sonozaki estate immediately. He checks his watch--the time is a minute before 9:00 A.M.--and counts of the remaining seconds. He flees and the Yamainu member on a headset reports that a man has fled the house. The scene shifts to Akasaka running through the festival area of the Furude Shrine pursued by two Yamainu. He knows he should run directly to the Sonozaki estate, but then stops and faces his pursuers who react in shock as we hear the sound of a punch.
The scene shifts to Irie's wrecked car on its side having driven off the road and down to a lower road. Two Yamainu observe from the higher road. Inside the car, a bloody Irie groans. The scene then shifts to a car coming down the lower road. We hear the voice of Shion Sonozaki happily humming. The driving Kasai Tatsuyoshiremarks on her good mood. She looks forward to fooling her sister and friends during the festival. They see Irie staggering from his car. He refuses to go to the hospital, insisting he be taken to the Sonozaki estate. Kasai notices the bullet hole in Irie's tire and concludes this was not an accident. Kasai instructs Shion to make sure they are not followed and takes a circuitous route to the estate. Meanwhile, a report comes into the control room in the clinic stating that a civilian vehicle has picked up the "target." The Yamainu member on a headset assigns "Warbler" to pursue and make every effort to take Irie alive. Listening but impatient, Takano demands to know how long it will take to recapture him. The Yamainu member on a headset informs her that Irie has a hidden transmitter on his lab coat.
Kasai drives to the door of the Sonozaki estate. Inside, in a room with surveillance monitors, Rika reports the car which Mion recognizes. Irritated, she suspects Shion simply came to hang out at the festival. Rena points out that Shion and Kasai are supporting Irie. Rena, Mion, and Keiichi run to meet them. Irie informs them that Jirō
has been captured. Mion asks Shion if they were followed, to which Shion happily assures her they were not, until she hears the rapidly approaching vans. Mion and Shion semi-chibi denounce one another as "stupid"--no baka!--の馬鹿. Kasai convinces all to continue the conversation inside as the van arrives. "Phoenix 1"--Okonogi--reports to Takano that Irie has been found "as well as several of his friends." Takano laughs and concludes that Rika must be hiding with them. She then turns and asks, "Isn't that right [そうよねー] . . . Jirō-san?" We move to Jirō "hog-tied" with handcuffs on his ankles and wrists lying on his stomach on the floor. Takano taunts his lack of an answer by using her foot to move to move his face from side-to-side as she laughs at him. Leaving aside the obvious jokes about what this scene suggests about their intimate relationship, it does make one wonder how much she actually cares about him.
The scene shifts to Yamainu entering the Sonozaki estate grounds with handguns drawn. They see the fleeing group and pursue. A few of them suddenly find themselves caught in Satoko's rope-traps. Mion and the rest enter a bunker with secured doors. A chibi Shion protests that she has no idea what is going on and an angry chibi Mion retorts that if Shion would give her five minutes, she could explain it.
During this time, the scene shifts to the Yamainu outside of the door. At first, Okonogi refuses the suggestion to use plastic explosives since the noise will alert civilians. He then asks the time--"almost ten"--and gives the order to prepare the explosives. Shifting inside, Rika, Hanyuu, and Satoko watch the monitors. Mion feels that they are safe and Shion reminds her that perhaps she should call the police. Mion sheepishly agrees only to find the phone lines dead. Then the lights suddenly go out. Kasai lights his lighter. Mion encourages them that their enemy cannot use explosives in broad daylight with people in the vicinity. At that point, Satoko remembers that fireworks are set off at 10 A.M. to signal that the festival will not be cancelled due to rain. Hanyuu "au-aus" in fear as the Yamainu set off the explosives as the fireworks begin.
The scene shifts to Mion directing the rest through cell doors that lead to a deep pit that has a ladder. This is the pit from previous arcs that, according to legend, the Sonozaki would dispose of the remains of their victims. It is the same pit Shion used to dispose of Mion in Meakashi-hen. Keiichi wonders if they really need to descend it. Mion tells him they will find a tunnel on the way down that will lead to an old well in the mountains. Shion volunteers Mion to lead the group down the ladder since she knows this information. She volunteers to guard the rear with Kasai. Mion asks her if she knows what she is getting into to which Shion sharply responds that she does. Mion accepts this, and Kasai asks her for the keys to the armory.
next. Rika immediately slips trying to reach the steps cut into the wall as the rest gasp. She is almost too short to reach from one step to the other. In her adult voice, she vows to herself angrily, "Damn it! I will live past June 1983. And then I'm going to grow much taller. My breasts are going to get bigger. I'm not going to stay in a child's body for the rest of my life!" This vow, reproduced in the manga version of the arc, is a source of humor for the artists in end-pages and "extras" for their volumes.
With an explosion, the scene shifts to Yamainu successfully breaking down the doors to the bunker. Using what appears to be infrared/night-vision googles, they search. They can see evidence of numerous wire traps. Satoko can work very quickly apparently. Okonogi refuses to turn the electricity back on. While he talks, the scene shifts to Rika, Hanyuu, Mion, Satoko, and Irie waiting for Rena to complete her descent. Okonogi understand that they probably have an escape route and turning on the lights will only help them.
As Keiichi begins his descent, Shion playfully warns him to be careful since, "Rumor has it," the pit was used for generations to dispose of the corpses of Sonozaki enemies. Keiichi protests that she should go rather than he. She thanks him "for his male pride," but reminds him it will take too long to explain how to use a Kalashnikov. She then assures him that "Good women don't die" then whispers in his ear. We do not hear what she says, but it surprises him. Another explosion causes tremors, and Kasai announces that they have made it to the torture chamber. Before he leaves, Shion asks Keiichi to tell her sister that, "It'd be nice if we could be twins again in the next life." She runs off and another explosion temporarily blinds Keiichi. He makes it to the bottom of the pit. Explosions, gunfire, and flashes are heard and seen. Mion screams for "Stupid Shion!" to hurry.
Rika becomes afraid. She protests she does not want to give up anyone. Hanyuu tries to comfort her, but Rika continues that she does not want a future where Shion or Kasai die. She grows more panicked and calls for them to hurry. Then there is silence. The Yamainu shine lights on them and demand that they hand over Rika--"The Queen Carrier"--and Irie. Mion denounces them for murdering her sister, to which the Yamainu reply they are merely unconscious. However, the leader has Shion's limp body held over the pit, and he gives them sixty seconds to think, then if they do not surrender he will drop her. Irie volunteers to surrender and claim Rika has already escaped. Rena realizes that Shion and Kasai sacrificed themselves so he and Rika could escape. If he is captured, "what did they fight so hard for?" Mion angrily demands what else they should do: "Are you saying Shion should die?!" Satoko begs Mion stop, since her heart is "bursting as well." Crying, she reminds Mion that Shion is her "Nee-Nee"--an affectionate diminutive of "Big Sister": お姉--onee. This is similar to her diminutive for her older brother Satoshi--"Nii-Nii"--and is significant given the relationship between Shion and Satoko in previous arcs, and Shion's promise to Satoshi. As Mion and Satoko embrace crying, Rika suddenly questions Hanyuu about what they should do given this is probably their last world. Hanyuu meekly admits that
she does not know, and Rika explodes: "Aren't you a goddess [神様--kamisama]?! Do something! Use your superpowers, or make some kind of miracle happen!" The scene switches to the rest looking surprised as we hear a slap. The scene reveals that Hanyuu has slapped Rika. Hanyuu calmly asks her to listen in her still child voice: they have crossed many worlds together and "learned many things no normal person could ever know." She reminds Rika that the most important thing they have learned in this world is "the way to make a miracle happen." Rika seems to understand and responds in her adult voice that she almost forgot it again. Shifting back to her child voice, she instructs everyone to run away. She concludes that she will be enough for the Yamainu and since Takano has a specific way to kill her, she probably will not be killed for awhile. As she walks towards the ladder and Keiichi protests, she states that she believes they can still win: "I, everyone else, and even a goddess believes it." She concludes her speech with a smile and a "Nipaa!" Continuing in her child voice, she threatens the Yamainu that if they harm her friends she will bite through her tongue and die. Her voice progressively shifts to more adult as she demands they comply, finishing with calling them gedō (?)--外道?--which is translated as "peons." Cowed, the Yamainu accept her conditions. Back to her child voice, she tells her friends that she "is off" using the traditional farewell to a family when leaving the home--行ってきます--ittekimasu--which means one goes but will come back. As they all watch in sadness, we hear Hanyuu say "Rika."
The scene shifts to the outside of the Sonozaki estate as Rika is met by Okonogi. He sarcastically greets her, claiming her life is "quite precious" to them. He sends the Yamainu to capture the rest. When Rika angrily asks
about their agreement, he mockingly pretends to know nothing about it, and has her seized. Gagging her, he invites her to try to try to bite her tongue. As one of the Yamainu approaches with a syringe, a tearful Rika thinks, "I believe . . . that the first thing I will see when I open my eyes . . . are the faces of my beloved friends." She closes her eyes, we hear a strike and someone groan. She opens her eyes to see the Yamainu fall to the ground and the syringe shatter. Another Yamainu stands protecting her. Okonogi demands to know who he is, and he reveals himself to be Akasaka. He quickly beats up the the five remaining Yamainu as well as Okonogi. It should be remembered that it was Okonogi who shot him in the shoulder in a previous arc when he was younger and smaller. Now when Okonogi punches him, Akasaka calls Okonogi "weak."
Suddenly, the rest of the Yamainu flee out of the estate entrance. Okonogi flees with them in the vans. We see Shion and Kasai aiming their Kalashnikovs. Apparently, they pretended they were unconscious. In her adult voice, Rika tells Hanyuu she thanks the "miracle." Hanyuu disagrees. It was not a miracle, but all of them combining their strength. Hanyuu announces to all it is their time to strike.
After the end titles, Irie examines Shion in what appears to be the "torture room." Irie expresses his surprise and admiration that she really was prepared to die. Hearing this, Shion becomes embarrassed thinking that Keiichi revealed what she told him. We then have a flashback where Shion tells Keiichi that if she ends up being the only one of them to survive if she lets him take her place, "Big Sister" will hate her for the rest of her life. She then whispers, "The person I love is already gone, but Big Sister still has hers." As Shion holds her head in embarrassment, Irie asks if the one she loves is Satoshi. She shifts her feet in further embarrassment and "wonders" if anyone knows where he is or if he is alive or dead. Irie reveals that he is alive.
The scene shifts to the rest of them all sitting in the room in the bunker with monitors. Kasai discusses tactics with Akasaka. Shion arrives with Irie and announces she will have to go along with whatever attack they are planning. When Keiichi and Mion protest, she covers Satoko ears and states that she has learned of a reason to go to the Irie Clinic no matter the risk. However, she cannot explain or Satoko will insist on going as well. Rika tells her that she is sure this is a chance "god--神様--kamisama--created for you." Hanyuu tells her that she repented for not believing and continued to believe. "Before your strong will, any trial ahead of you are no longer even trials anymore." Shion believes she will succeed, and Rika agrees since she has "Oyashiro-sama's blessing."
Excursus: Is Hanyuu Recognized by the Rest of the Characters as Oyashiro-sama?
As noted in Hanyuu's character profile, how much the rest know about her is not made clear in this anime arc. Rika initially only stated that she was a distant relative when Hanyuu came to school the first time, but some like Rena who saw her as Oyashiro-sama in a previous arc remember and feel they recognize her. In what became a source of internet jokes and the subject of one of the anime chibi previews, no one seems to notice her horns. Still, Rika frequently identifies and refers to her as a "goddess"--神様--kamisama--and even demands she uses her powers in front of them in this episode, and none of them seem surprised. One has to assume that this was explained in periods not depicted in the anime--such as in this episode where Mion takes "five minutes" to explain to Shion the entire situation!
Shion happily accepts this blessing. She releases Satoko's ears, who grouses about not hearing what was discussed. The scene shifts to villagers gathering on the grounds of the Furude Shrine for the festival.
Chibi Rika and Hanyuu's "23rd Oyashiro-sama radio broadcast" has them introducing the beauty of Hinamizawa with a postcard sent by a listener--"B-san from Kyoto"--who demands they make a proper preview for once. "You trying to pick a fight," Chibi Rika responds in her adult voice as Hanyuu "au-aus."
"Better watch your back when you go out at night," Chibi Rika warns.