WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 13 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Sotsu, "God-Entertaining - Part 2," now streaming on Funimation.
After weeks of waiting, Higurashi: Sotsu finally reaches Gou’s climactic cliffhanger. With only a couple of episodes left in the series, it’s hard to imagine how Passione can put together a conclusive, well-paced ending. Hanyuu’s confrontation with Eua proves to be a one-sided affair, but Oyashiro-sama still has a few cards to play in this twisted game of cat and mouse, despite her swift defeat.
Eua hasn’t been shy to express her disdain for Hanyuu, often referring to her as a failure and insinuating some massive power gap between them. Hanyuu’s provocation in the Sea of Fragments gave Eua the perfect opportunity to show just how far apart the two are. Though the exact connection between the two is still unknown, Eua seems to be much more component with her abilities compared to Hanyuu.
Rather than get rid of her, Eua forces Hanyuu to watch through the Neko loops with her. There, Hanyuu learns of Satoko’s looping abilities while suffering through Rika’s non-stop tragedies alongside her. Although she has remained fairly cool and collected throughout the new series, Eua’s façade slips when tormenting Hanyuu with Rika’s suffering. It isn’t all that hard to see where Satoko picked up some of her sadistic tendencies.
In Gou, Rika’s eureka moment seemed coincidental – attributed more to Satoko slipping up than anything else. However, Sotsu paints a different picture. This episode shows Rika experiencing brief, but telling moments from previous fragments. Satoko’s confidence has served her well throughout the new loops, but her gloating always seemed as though it would come back to bite her in some way.
Rika’s visions paint an ominous yet incomplete image of what transpired after her death in the “Curse-Deceiving” and “Curse-Revealing” arcs. The incident with the bear in the box is what ultimately leads to Rika finding out that Satoko is a looper, but these clues – seemingly left behind by a struggling Hanyuu in the Sea of Fragments – are an important first step in doing so.
The episode ends with Satoko’s big reveal, with Hanyuu claiming that the only thing that can save Rika from this vicious cycle is yet another miracle. What this means for Satoko is ambiguous, but Rika now has everything she needs to fight the homicidal witch on even footing.
An interesting thing to note is that a new shot of Satoko pointing her gun at Rika is included. The rest of the club members are in the frame, with both Rika and Keiichi having shadows covering their eyes. Rena seems to be genuinely surprised, while Mion has her back to the camera. It could be a coincidence, but given how the key visual and series opening depicts the older club members with similarly ominous blank looks, this could mean something big going forward.
Sotsu has spent most of its time rehashing and revisiting content from Gou. While the added context is appreciated to an extent, it’s left the series with only two episodes to resolve something that was introduced nearly eight months ago. Sotsu could end with its fourteenth and fifteenth episodes, but either a second cour or new series would be a welcome surprise. Regardless of how things end, fans will finally get to see how things played out following Gou’s unforgettable cliffhanger.