WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 14 of Higurashi: When They Cry - Sotsu, "God-Entertaining - Part 4," now streaming on Funimation.
Satoko and Rika’s conflict has finally come to an end, with neither looper looking like the clear victor. Gou kicked off an intriguing narrative that showed plenty of promise, but Sotsu just couldn’t keep that momentum going. Sotsu’s final episode leaves viewers with a palatable conclusion but ultimately can’t save what feels like a mismanaged narrative.
Satoko and Rika’s grandiose battle gradually stalls out after the two get everything off their chest. Both finally acknowledge the other’s position and come to the difficult realization that they’ve outgrown each other. At this point, the two have returned to a post-“Festival Accompanying” timeline, and are soon joined by Keiichi, Rena and Mion.
Realizing that something’s off, the club members intervene and discuss the strength of their bonds and how going their separate ways ultimately won't affect their friendships. This seems to reach both Satoko and Rika, illustrated by showing the two briefly reverting to their younger selves as they accept having to leave the other behind.
Just as Satoko’s story comes to an end, so does Eua’s. However, this feels like a rushed way of taking her out of the narrative rather than anything substantial. With Eua and her eccentricities out of the way, Sotsu can have a relatively grounded ending. Sadly, Hanyuu’s battle with her doesn’t carry the same weight as Rika and Satoko’s, and the conclusion ends up feeling a little forced.
With things sorted out, Satoko and Rika prepare to go their separate ways. Rika leaves to attend St. Lucia like she always wanted to and Satoko stays behind in Hinamizawa. It’s a bittersweet result for each of them, as they both get to do what they want but without the comfort of having the other beside them.
The two bid farewell as Rika boards the bullet train headed for the academy. They acknowledge their need to spend time apart, as their apparent immortality might cause them to grow tired of one another. This interaction really brings the Bernkastel and Lambdadelta teasers full circle.
Though not explicitly confirmed, the new series hinted at a connection between the two. Satoko and Rika’s farewell gives When They Cry fans some last little bits of service, as both announce that they’ll reunite “when something else cries” -- which, along with the exchange that preceded it, is a reference to Bernkastel and Lambdadelta’s final exchange in Umineko.
Satoko might not have gotten what she wished for, but the world she’s left with is nearly perfect. Every character gets their happy ending, and Satoko herself is supported by both Teppei and Shion in this fragment. Feeling that she’s no longer needed, the witch Satoko allows the human Satoko control of her body, presumably leaving to explore the Sea of Fragments. Despite not having Rika around, Satoko seems set to move on toward a happy future for herself and those close to her.
At the end of it all, Sotsu played things relatively safe with its conclusion. The ending itself is a satisfying resolution to what was a very simple conflict, but the narrative lacked the appeal and intrigue that Gou established. Nonetheless, at the very least, Gou and Sotsu managed to contribute to tying the When They Cry universe together, leaving the door open for different stories to be told in the future.