WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 9 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou, "Curse Deception - Part 1," now streaming on Funimation.
Higurashi: Gou once again resets the clock with the beginning of the "Curse Deception” arc. Like the original “Curse Killing” arc, Satoko takes the stage as fans, and Keiichi, to learn more about her tragic and disturbing family situation.
In Episode 9, Rena tricks Keiichi into participating in an exhibition match between the club and the Hinamizawa Fighters baseball team by telling him that Satoko is in trouble. Keiichi rushes over, only to find Satoko hitting the game-winning home-run.
The team’s coach, Irie, introduces himself to Keiichi at a barbecue he hosts as a result of a lost bet with Mion. This is when Irie reveals his fondness for Satoko and explains her family situation; stating that her parents were ostracized for their support of the project years prior and that they mysteriously died in an accident on the night of the Watanagashi Festival three years earlier.
Given their support of the controversial project, many villagers assumed that their deaths were the result of Oyashiro-sama’s wrath. Irie tells Keiichi that Satoshi ran away from home, fearing Oyashiro-sama’s curse, leaving Satoko behind. Keiichi sympathizes with Satoko and promises Irie that he’ll look after her.
Later in the day, Keiichi approaches Mion and Rena and asks why he was left in the dark regarding Satoko’s family situation. Rena seems to be bothered by this, so Mion takes him back to her house and explains that Satoko’s family issues aren't something the group of friends likes to bring up given how much it bothers her. As this happens, Satoko’s Uncle Teppei -- who we see at the start of the episode over a week before the Watanagashi Festival living in squalor -- is showne standing in front of a house with a withdrawn Satoko standing beside him. He tells her to get inside and she begrudgingly abides as the door closes behind her.
"Curse Deception Part 1” gives Satoko her time in the spotlight and gets the narrative moving fairly quickly, unlike the rest of Gou’s arcs up to this point. The episode did a good job of setting up Keiichi and Satoko’s new sibling dynamic while introducing the arc’s major antagonist early on. As is the case with things aren’t going to unfold as they did in the original story. It’s too early to guess at what the inevitable twist might be, but if this new series has proven anything it’s that it knows how to keep fans guessing.