Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou (Higurashi: When They Cry - NEW), the newest entry in the Higurashi franchise, initially appeared to be a remake of the first season with better animation, but slowly revealed itself to be a completely new timeline with more than one twist up its sleeve. It subverts the hard-earned happy ending of When They Cry: Kai by showing that when Rika attends the fancy private school St. Lucia a few years later, she makes Satoko’s life miserable by dragging her along and then ignoring her once her friend doesn’t fit in. Begging for some way out of this hell, Satoko meets with a mysterious goddess (?) who allows her to “live in loops” just like Rika. Only this time, Satoko’s goal isn’t to save her friends from horrific deaths – it’s to keep Rika for herself forever. Let’s reexamine Gou with this in mind and try to figure out what kind of insane ending this could possibly be leading to!
Timeline Shenanigans and Umineko Allusions
For about the first two thirds of the series, Rika suffers through loop after loop where she and her friends die during the summer of 1983. Some scenarios are familiar but with subtle differences, like the one where Keiichi becomes suspicious of his friends or the one where Satoko’s uncle returns to Hinamizawa, while others are brand new and unpredictable. Characters besides Rika and Satoko seem to vaguely remember the bad endings of older Higurashi arcs (such as Keiichi having a vision of killing Mion and Rena with a baseball bat) and try to avoid them, only to fall victim to similar fates anyway. In retrospect, it’s clear that Satoko is orchestrating these events to break Rika’s spirit by undercutting what worked in previous loops and making every route seem hopeless (although we’re still not sure where the visions are coming from).
The otherworldly figure helping Satoko isn’t Hanyuu this time, but a character resembling Featherine from Higurashi’s sister series Umineko: When They Cry. This is the clearest link ever made between the two series, as the biggest previous evidence of a shared universe was the implication that Rika’s century-long struggle to break out of June 1983 created the Umineko witch Bernkastel. This character never introduces herself as Featherine, and the author has confirmed that the two don’t share the same name, but her personality is the same and she clearly knows more than she lets on. What knowledge does she have that we don’t...?
The most likely scenario seems to be that Gou is an origin story for the witch Lambdadelta, an Umineko character who has parallels to Satoko and may have interacted with the Higurashi world before. Lambdadelta was once a human who gained god-like powers after escaping from a “logic error” and then trapped Bernkastel in a cruel game of her own design. Bernkastel eventually defeated her, but they both survived as witches and maintain a love-hate relationship throughout Umineko. Recent episodes have been following this scenario pretty much exactly (and “Featherine” once calls Satoko a name that references Lambdadelta), so our strongest prediction is that Rika will break out of Satoko’s torture and the two will cease existing in the real world to become their witch forms.
Another possibility is that the Umineko references are just window dressing and the girls will solve their problems through honest communication. After all, this heartache could’ve been avoided if Rika and Satoko would just accept that they’re going down different paths in life and don’t need to destroy each other’s dreams to remain close friends. Satoko could remain in Hinamizawa or go to the same school as the other club members while Rika enjoys the proper atmosphere and rigorous education of St. Lucia. They could call each other often and eventually rent an apartment together, or else they might just grow apart naturally. It’s not ideal for either of them, but they both need to learn that people change as they get older and they don’t need to stay together constantly to maintain their relationship. Of course, this is Higurashi, so such a realistic bittersweet ending is actually much less likely than the yandere-fueled alternative!
We’re beyond excited to find out how Gou ends and where the series could go from here (new Umineko anime, anyone?). But whether Rika and Satoko somehow learn to reconcile or decide to tear each other to pieces for eternity, we’ll be just like “Featherine” and continue to watch with popcorn in hand to see how everything shakes out.
What did you think of our predictions? Do you have another idea we haven’t thought of? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!