Keiichi Maebara

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Keiichi Maebara
前原 圭一
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Character Information
ClassificationHuman
Also Known AsK
K1
GenderMale
Age14
BirthdayApril 13, 1969
Zodiac SignAries
Height164 cm (5'4")
Hair ColorBrown
Eye ColorGrey
First AppearanceOnikakushi-hen
Portrayed BySōichirō Hoshi
Gōki Maeda (film)
Yu Inaba (television series)
Relationships

Keiichi Maebara (前原 圭一 Maebara Keiichi?) is a main character in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and protagonist of Onikakushi-hen, Watanagashi-hen, and Tatarigoroshi-hen.

Profile

Background

Keiichi was born to Ichirou and Aiko Maebara. As a child, he failed to excel in any specific field. However, he performed very well on an intelligence test required to enter cram school, proving that he is fairly intelligent. Keiichi has claimed that he does poorly when asked to solve problems without a direct connection to himself or his life. After entering cram school, Keiichi was placed in an advanced class and his grades quickly improved. Keiichi was driven by the feeling of superiority he felt when he outperformed the rest of his class. However, the feeling of superiority began to fade as it became more regular and authority figures stopped praising him as often. In frustration, Keiichi purchased an airsoft gun with allowance money and used it on cardboard boxes as a method of relieving stress. Eventually, his target shifted from the cardboard boxes to small children he saw walking home from school. His actions led to a minor panic within the town and parents were asked to not allow their children to walk home alone. Some time later, Keiichi shot at a young girl he saw walking by herself. She turned to face Keiichi at the last second and the BB hit her in the eye. Despite being horrified by her pained screams, Keiichi ran away from the girl to avoid being exposed. Guilt consumed him and he spent ample time researching eye injuries. Eventually Keiichi, overcome with guilt, confessed to shooting the girl. This led to backlash from the community as well as great disappointment from his parents. In pursuit of a fresh start, the Maebara family moved to the much quieter town of Hinamizawa.

Appearance

Keiichi appears as a slender boy with brown hair and grey eyes. At school Keiichi wears a white collared shirt over a red t-shirt, black pants, and black shoes. Outside of school, Keiichi wears a black sleeveless shirt, green shorts with a black belt, and red shoes. He is the tallest student in the Hinamizawa school, taller than even the teacher, Chie Rumiko.

Personality

Keiichi is a passionate individual who tends to express strong emotions freely, for good or ill. He also has a great amount of charisma, which is presumably why he's already so well-liked in Hinamizawa by his friends and the other villagers who know him. Keiichi is also in love with life in Hinamizawa, because it's so much more fulfilling than his old life. Keiichi is normally open and outgoing, but when something comes between him and his friends, he can become very withdrawn and overly self-reliant, making it easy for him to develop Hinamizawa syndrome. It takes him remembering his mistakes from other worlds for him to really start trusting his friends.

Plot

Onikakushi-hen

Keiichi is first introduced. As the story progresses he gets acquainted with his new school friends and with the villagers. While hanging out with Rena at the junkyard, he meets Jirou Tomitake and learns that five years ago, there was a murder case in the village that went unresolved and forms the beginning of Oyashiro-sama's curse.

Keiichi runs into Tomitake again and his friend Takano during the Watanagashi Festival, where the club plays a punishment game with Tomitake and draws on his shirt. The next day, Tomitake is found dead by the police, and Kuraudo Ooishi interrogates Keiichi since his name was drawn on Tomitake's shirt. Keiichi continues to talk with Ooishi over the course of the story and learns some more information about his friends and how they're all related to the victims of Oyashiro-sama's curse. Rena and Mion also start to show strange behavior near Keiichi regarding the curse, and at one point he's given ohagi to eat and discovers a needle inside one of them. Fearing for his life, Keiichi finds a bat used by an old student named Satoshi and starts holding onto it for self-defense.

Keiichi's paranoia of his friends grows, and it comes to a head when Rena and Mion show up to his house and attempt to force a punishment on him; Mion pulls out a syringe and says they'll do to Keiichi the same thing they did to Tomitake. Keiichi blacks out and wakes up to discover that he'd beaten them both to death with his bat. Keiichi writes a message on the back of his clock and tapes the syringe to it, soon seeing a bunch of men drive up to his house. He runs away to a phone booth and frantically calls Ooishi, telling him that Oyashiro-sama's curse is real while clawing his throat out. Ooishi sends a police car to recover Keiichi, and when they find him he's passed out from blood loss. Keiichi is taken to the hospital where he later dies.

Watanagashi-hen

Keiichi receives a prize of a doll after competing in a game tournament and gives it to Rena, figuring that something like that is too girly for Mion to want. Keiichi continues to enjoy life and later goes to eat lunch at Angel Mort where he meets Shion Sonozaki, Mion's supposed twin sister. Keiichi and Shion develop a friendship and Keiichi starts to think that Mion is disguising as her and using Shion as a way to express her more feminine side. Keiichi apologizes to Shion for this and goes with her to a store only to find Mion working there; Keiichi becomes embarrassed for not realizing that Shion and Mion were separate people.

During the Watanagashi Festival, Shion leads Keiichi away from watching Rika's performance and brings him to the ritual storehouse, where Tomitake and Takano are trying to break in. Keiichi enters with them and learns from Takano about Hinamizawa's past and how the villagers are descended from demons, with the Watanagashi Festival originally a sacrificial ritual. They leave the storehouse and Tomitake mentions hearing a banging noise; Keiichi doesn't recall ever hearing the same thing.

Later, Tomitake and Takano are found dead, having clawed his throat out and found burnt an oil drum respectively. Shion calls Keiichi and becomes concerned that they've become victims of Oyashiro-sama's curse as punishment for breaking into the warehouse. Keiichi confesses this to Rika, who promises to do something about it.

The chief of Hinamizawa along with Rika and Satoko are later found to be missing, and Keiichi, Mion and Rena search the village for them. Keiichi feels guilt for having to confess to Rika in the first place. He later learns from Ooishi that Shion had also gone missing a few days ago after the festival, and Keiichi begins to wonder who he was talking on the phone with all this time.

"Shion" calls Keiichi again and he confronts her, mentioning that she was supposed to have gone missing earlier. Shion hangs up laughing, and Keiichi determines that she's actually Mion. Rena and Keiichi go to Mion's house to confront her with Ooishi standing by the call the police if necessary, and Mion confesses to them that she killed Rika and Satoko. Mion explains the history of Hinamizawa and mentions cannibalism, and she asks Keiichi to follow her to the underground torture chamber before she turns herself in. Keiichi agrees, and when he enters the chamber he hears Shion locked up inside one of the cells. Mion then knocks out Keiichi with a taser and ties him to a torture table, preparing to hammer nails into his fingers. Mion says a demon has possessed her and Keiichi offers his life in exchange for the demon to leave Shion and Mion alone. Mion ruminates on this and then knocks out Keiichi again.

Keiichi wakes up later in safety, learning that Mion ran away as the police were breaking into the chamber. Shion was also rescued and is being held at her apartment. Keiichi returns home and one night he hears Mion throwing pebbles at his window and trying to get his attention. Keiichi had realized earlier that him not giving Mion the doll had caused this tragedy to happen, and he bought another one with the hopes of giving it to Mion tone day. He goes down to meet her and gives her the doll, however Mion stabs him and runs away laughing manically.

Keiichi is taken to the hospital and gets his wound treated, and Ooishi arrives with some information. They found Rika and Satoko's corpses inside of a well in the chamber, however they also found Mion's corpse there; she died the day Keiichi was rescued. They also found a syringe on Rika's corpse, and Shion had committed suicide after jumping off of her apartment balcony. Furthermore, Takano's burnt corpse was autopsied and it was determined that the time of death was 24 hours before the Watanagashi Festival, meaning she was supposed to be dead while Keiichi was inside the warehouse with her. Ooishi leaves and Keiichi thinks about this sudden wealth of information, and Mion suddenly crawls out from under Keiichi's bed and lies him down to hammer nails into his fingers.

The credits say that Keiichi died of a heart attack.

Tatarigoroshi-hen

At the beginning of the chapter, Keiichi goes to help his friends win a baseball game. Keiichi starts showing off his persuasion skills in convincing the rival batter Kameda in letting his team win. Keiichi also starts developing a friendship with Kyousuke Irie.

Later, Keiichi's parents are away and so Keiichi tries to cook dinner by himself, however he proves to be bad at it and almost burns his house down. Satoko and Rika arrive and cook dinner for him instead, and Keiichi soon learns that Satoko's brother had gone missing. Keiichi decides to become a replacement brother and starts building a close friendship with Satoko.

Satoko's abusive uncle Teppei Houjou returns to the village and forces Satoko to go back to living with him, and Keiichi and his friends become aware that she's suffering. They convince Rumiko Chie to call child protective services and Satoko returns to school the next day, however she has a panic attack soon after. Keiichi resolves himself to kill Teppei and starts preparing.

He calls Mion and asks her to take Satoko to the festival while he goes off to do something, trying to hide his plans. He then calls Teppei and pretends to be a police officer, asking that he drive to the police station to retrieve Satoko. Keiichi had prepared a baseball bat and shovel earlier, and he lies in wait for Teppei to drive by and soon kills him. He buries the body and disposes of his scooter in the swamp but gets lost and is found by Takano. Takano gives Keiichi a ride home, however Keiichi remains suspicious of her and considers killing her. Takano drops him off and leaves off with an ominous message that they never met that night; Keiichi wishes that Takano die a fiery death.

Keiichi returns to school the next day expecting things to go back to normal, however he starts hearing an extra footstep. Mion and the rest of the class start saying that Keiichi was actually at the festival, and Satoko starts saying her uncle came home afterwards. Confused, Keiichi goes to the doctor's for a checkup and talks with Irie, confessing that he killed Teppei. He also shows concern that a doppelganger may have appeared at the festival, and Irie asks if he really did kill Teppei; Teppei is supposed to have a tiger tattoo on his back.

Keiichi later runs away from the clinic when he overhears Irie wanting to sedate him and wishes that Irie would just die. He goes to dig up Teppei's body to check for the tattoo and gets interrupted by Ooishi and several police officers, who encourage Keiichi to continue digging and end up finishing the job for him. They dig far and don't find anything, leaving Keiichi to wonder if Teppei actually came back to life. Keiichi also curses Ooishi and wants him to die.

Keiichi later obtains a hatchet and heads to Satoko's house to make sure she's okay, planning to kill Teppei a second time if he has to. He enters the house and sees Satoko burning alive in the bathtub, who says that Teppei asked her to take a bath and count to a really high number before getting out. Keiichi puts a towel around her and takes her to the clinic to get treated only to discover police surrounding the place; Irie had apparently committed suicide, and Ooishi and his partner are missing. Keiichi blames himself for cursing and killing them and Satoko forgives him, asking that they go to the Furude Shrine and to Rika's house to get some clothes.

When they reach the shrine, they find Rika's mutilated corpse at the top of the stairs. Satoko then notices Keiichi's hatchet and starts to believe he killed her. Keiichi swears that he never did anything to Rika and throws the hatchet away, and then chases after Satoko while still trying to explain himself. They wind up on a bridge and Satoko asks Keiichi to turn around, confessing that she was starting to like him and that something had possessed her brother Satoshi around the time he went missing. Satoko then pushes Keiichi off of the bridge while calling him a demon.

Keiichi survived the fall after landing in a river, and he wakes up the next morning and heads to the village to discover people loading body bags into trucks. He learns that the Great Hinamizawa Disaster had happened overnight, where all the villagers were killed by volcanic gas, and Keiichi is one of the few survivors. He starts freaking out and he gets taken to the hospital.

The ending scene has Keiichi losing his mind and believing that he has a supernatural power, as he cursed Irie, Ooishi, and Takano to die. A reporter interviews him and Keiichi gets annoyed, predicting that the reporter will die a water death. The reporter winds up drowning at sea later, and Keiichi himself dies from a heart attack after complaining to a nurse about hearing footsteps.

Meakashi-hen

Keiichi is first introduced from Shion's perspective when he helps her escape some hooligans. Shion starts to see Keiichi as a replacement for Satoshi but soon realizes that he's not the same. Shion's dislike of Keiichi turns to hatred when she hears that Keiichi won a doll at a competition and gave it to Rena instead of Mion, and Mion cries after telling Shion about it.

Keiichi does the exact same things he did in Watanagashi, but unbeknownst to him Shion trapped Mion underground and was disguising as her in public while spreading a lie that the real Shion was demoned away.

After Keiichi is set free at the end and tries to give a doll to "Mion," Shion stabs him and runs away.

Tsumihoroboshi

Keiichi and Rena take part in a water gun battle with the other students, and they wind up the victors. The final game to decide who will be the winner is set aside for later, and Keiichi and Rena have fun eating at Angel Mort.

After Rena kills Rina Mamiya and Teppei, Keiichi and the other club members go to explore the junkyard and come across their corpses. Rena confesses everything to them, and Keiichi tells her that they're all friends and she should've told them about her problems. Keiichi unites the club as true friends and they go to hide the corpses.

Keiichi later hears from Mion that she used her yakuza connections to hide the bodies somewhere else since there was going to be a development project at their old spot. Rena meanwhile starts to believe in a conspiracy involving alien parasites and wants Keiichi to help with her plans; Keiichi has no choice but to follow along. Rena starts to grow more insane and Keiichi later recalls the events from Onikakushi, realizing that he went crazy and killed Rena and Mion when they were trying to help him instead. Keiichi then swears to help Rena turn back to normal.

Rena winds up taking the school hostage by spreading gasoline everywhere, and Keiichi is used by her as a contact with the police. Keiichi learns that Rena set up a bomb to blow up the school and distracts Rena, soon going to disarm it. Keiichi receives a baseball bat from Satoko after setting her free and heads to the roof, soon successfully disarming the bomb.

Rena heads to the roof to confront Keiichi, and they begin dueling with their hatchet and bat respectively. Keiichi realizes that their water gun fight earlier was unsolved and that this is the perfect chance to settle that; Rena starts to calm down through her fighting with Keiichi and eventually breaks down crying. Keiichi embraces her while calling out that they've stopped the devil's script.

Keiichi later dies in the Great Hinamizawa Disaster.

Trivia

  • Keiichi is often referred to as "K1" by fans as the character 一 (ichi?) means "one".
  • Keiichi's school uniform is identical to Satoshi Houjou's other than t-shirt color.