Oh, you thought this story was over? Apparently not…
Rika has an accident and wakes up in an alternate timeline where there is no Hinamizawa Syndrome and the dam project was approved so the town will become a lake. Her friends are now virtual strangers and her parents are still alive. Rika must find the secret in this world and destroy it so she can get back to her preferred fragment.
This feels like a What If story rather than something that fits in with the overall story. It is an interesting way to see how the characters would have been different if they didn’t have to go through all the terrible things they did in the main story. Rika’s choice boils down to who’s happiness is more important; her own or her friends in that alternate world. This volume got a little preachy but not enough to put me off or derail the story. For what it is, it’s a decent diversion. But can this series be done now, please? 3.5 out of 5.
After a hundred years, Rika and Hanyu have exposed Miyo’s insane plan to become a god and kill everyone in Hinamizawa. Rika rallies all her friends and allies while Miyo does the same; resulting in a battle in the mountains around Hinamizawa.
Considering this series is all about trying out this same night until they get the ‘right’ outcome, I was happy with this final volume of the series. It was great to see Hanyu stop acting so passive and aloof and really fight to end this horrible cycle. And the final battle was cool to see; a bunch of kids and a few adults going up against these hardened soldiers.
I will admit this series had me frustrates in some parts but when I look back at all of it, I feel the payoff was absolutely worth it. If you’re willing to dig deep for your horror, I can see why this series is talked about so much. 4 out of 5,
Nomura Takashiro pops up to help Miyo in order for the research on the Hinamizawa Syndrome to continue; as if she is Miyo’s guardian angel. Of course, Nomura has objectives of her own and is likely just using Miyo to her own ends.
Meanwhile, Hanyu and Rika are still trying to prevent Rika’s murder by trying to convince the adults around her that Miyo intends to kill her but Hanyu and Rika have just one week to find help powerful enough to stop the organization behind Miyo and Nomura.
Rika and Hanyu have done a pretty good job fixing the problems from the other arcs which enables them to collect as many allies as possible so all of this looks like it may actually work! However, I don’t trust this series. I can see them pulling a bait and switch and everything goes wrong.
Sadly, I don’t give enough attention to the art here and I have to give it up to Karin. She draws crazy really well. Some of those expressions are seriously chilling. I give this volume a 4 out of 5.
Miyo’s single-minded pursuit of her research may have vindicated her grandfather’s work but her methods have made her colleague, Dr. Irie, horrified by her lack of ethics or compassion. So, he and Rika work together to try and develop a treatment for the Hinamizawa Syndrome without continuously using the townspeople as lab rats. But Miyo isn’t interested in a cure. She wants to control the parasite as a weapon and won’t let anyone stand in her way.
Not only is all that happening but in this last rewind, Hanyu has decided to materialize in human form to save Rika’s life as this is the last time Hanyu will be able to turn back time. If they can’t prevent Rika’s murder now, they will both cease to exist.
Part of me does wonder why Hanyu didn’t think of that sooner. After hundreds of tries, why wait for the absolute last shot to come to Rika and her friends in human form to try and change things? The only reason I can think of is not they know Miyo’s part in all this so they can combat her directly. But these last few volumes are addicting! Everything from every volume is coming together. 4 out of 5.
Miyoko Tanashi loses her parents in a tragic train accident and she’s dumped in a terrible orphanage where the children are starved, beaten, tortured, or even killed. Vowing to escape, Miyoko longs to return to a house filled with love like it was with her parents, but may end up with a fate worse than death.
The summary on the back of the volume doesn’t do this volume justice. It doesn’t stop at Miyoko’s childhood but carries all the way through her life until she becomes Nurse Takano and the ruthless researcher of the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
This volume also confirms the presence of a parasite unique to the Hinamizawa area which causes the victims to have psychotic breaks. And Miyo isn’t out to cure anyone, she just wants to become a god. Completely reasonable, of course. /sarcasm.
Now, that more parts to the puzzle are coming together, it’s making much more sense and is more entertaining. These seem pretty reliant on the violence against children now, which is bothersome but if you can get through that, the mystery behind the syndrome is interesting. 4 out of 5.
The day of Rika’s murder dawns and Rika makes one final desperate move: confessing the truth about the Hinamizawa Syndrome to her friends. So they all band together to help Rika survive the night.
Despite how much it pissed me off to see how long it took for the kids to save Satoko from her abusive uncle; it did build the sort of friendship between them all that resulted in them rallying around Rika to help her despite what she says to them being pretty farfetched. Watching that relationship form and grow over the last two arcs has been the best part of this series so far. I’d get the next volume for that alone. 4 out of 5.
Keiichi is still trying to get someone to help save Satoko from her abusive uncle but the old grudge from the dam project still lingers, so the adults are ok with leaving this child in a dangerous situation in order to get in good with the government and keep getting funding.
Wow. I don’t even care if the kids managed to change the adult’s minds; they are assholes and fuck them. The village elders are worried about how Satoko’s dead parents opposed the dam project in the past so dealing with the family may give them a bad reputation but knowing a child is being abused and may die won’t ruin their reputation? Seriously? UGH!
Anyway, Rika is still trying to avoid her murder and it turns out (and I’ll try to be as spoiler free as I can) Rika ends up protecting someone who should have died since they want the Hinamizawa Syndrome to become a full on outbreak. As to why? We’ll find out in 21 I guess. I give this one a 3 out of 5 because saving a child from being abused shouldn’t take 200 pages to convince adults is the right thing to do.
I’m gonna forgo the usual synopsis to say: HA!! I was right! All these different arcs were time loops and Rika is the only character currently aware of what’s going on. With her demon friend, Hanyu, using her ability to rewind time, Rika has been trying to solve her own murder. As a result, she has been trapped in the summer of 1983 for hundreds of years. Trying to solve the riddle, Rika has reasoned out three rules:
x: one person will succumb to paranoia that leads to murder
y: Tomitake and Takano are killed
z: everyone thinks the Sonozaki family is behind the murders
But Hanyu can’t keep up the time jumping forever as after all these years, Rika ends up closer and closer to the date of her death; leaving less time to try and solve the mystery.
As a whole, this volume is amazing. Seeing Rika do all she can to save her self and her friends is inspiring and it’s cool to see how characters make a come back from the previous arcs and how the memories from those arcs are creeping into this one. It makes the 18 volume slog to get here worth it. 4 out of 5.
Rena is on the run from the cops and her friends; having completely been absorbed by her delusions and conspiracy theories. Believing she has been poisoned, Rena takes her friends and classmates hostage; threatening to blow up the school and burn everyone alive if Detective Ooishi doesn’t deliver the antidote.
This volume really cemented it for me; some sort of time loop is taking place and the characters are becoming aware of it. This arc ended on a more happy note than the others, as happy as one can be in a hostage situation and having to fight your cleaver-wielding friend on the roof of your school but in this series; an ending without someone scratching their own throat out in madness IS happy. I’d have to give this particular volume a 3 since it felt like it went a little hard on that ‘gotcha’ ending but the characters are amazing and the art is still on point. I’m willing to see what the characters will do from here.
Rena tries to convince Keiichi about the parasites and a conspiracy to enforce the “curse” by fanatic believers in Oyashiro-sama but Keiichi is hesitant to agree. Without him, Rena becomes increasingly paranoid. The stops coming to school and believes everyone, even her friends, are part of a plot to kill her; going so far as to think there are human clones around her and one will eventually replace her.
Going along with my time loop theory, it’s looking like those timelines are intertwining, since Keiichi is getting flashes of murders he committed in previous volumes. The only one who seems to really know about these alternate events is Rika and as such, I’m getting some Madoka Magica vibes. I think they are all stuck in a loop, Rika is the only one fully aware of this loop, and is trying to end the loop in a way that saves all her friends. Interesting… 4 out of 5.