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I have to say I expected more from this episode but that probably has much to do with the fact that it was the first Higurashi episode that I had to wait for a week. After thinking about it Watanagashi-hen seems even more puzzling and mysterious than Onikakushi-hen and the last episode of this story arc promises to be chock full of creepy events. All of Keiichi's friends are involved this time around and we can also compare it with the previous arc in order to get closer to the truth. And most importantly anything that can make me watch it again on the other day just to pick up more clues for the mystery and enjoy it a lot despite not really finding much evidence just has to be praised.

The episode starts with the news about yet another missing person, this time the village chief. This instantly increases the suspense because as far as we know he hasn't visited the warehouse and the reason for his disappearance is quite a mystery. Rika lets K1 know that she is aware of what he did last summer in the previous episode and hints that she will try to help him. Their vague conversation in which they referred to the people involved as cats and dogs was quite a nice touch.

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Shion calls Keiichi and informs him that she has confessed her sin to the village chief. She blames herself for his disappearance. This prompts Keiichi to think of Rika. He proceeds to call her and sure enough, nobody bothers to answer. K1 then calls Rena, surprises her while she is taking a shower (fanservice!) and together with Mion they go to investigate. Since Satoko and Rika's parents have either perished or disappeared during previous festivals, the two girls live alone. I found that quite weird, some adult should be taking care of them but in this series adults seem to disappear just when they are most needed. Or maybe no one wants to get close to them, afraid of the curse?

Sure enough, no one seems to be in the house. Keiichi tries to enter through a window by using a ladder. He encounters a small problem – Mion suddenly snaps and her voice reaches new heights of scariness. She starts shaking the ladder and insists that Satoko must be cursed and Rika's disappearance is caused by that curse. Mion's face is grotesquely distorted and she repeats many times that this must be the reason.

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But because the phrases "no blood" and "that has to be it" sound very similar in Japanese the fansubbers of Wind had translated this as "no blood" and the subtitles turned red by the end of this chilling scene. I have to say that this trick with the subtitles colour really increased the creepiness – nice touch, Wind! Watching this alone at three o'clock in the morning with all lights turned off was quite an extreme experience as far as relatively innocent activity like watching anime goes, I must say.

Rena and some helpers arrive and Mion instantly becomes normal again. If I were Keiichi I wouldn't get close to her for quite some time but maybe that's just me. But I think this scene might easily be a trick meant to deceive the viewers into thinking that Mion is the culprit. I don't think the explanation is that easy, I suspect she just lost control of herself when Rika's disappearance was confirmed and was not actually trying to shake Keiichi off the ladder.

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Not surprisingly K1 blames himself for the disappearance of the two girls. Rena comforts him and even conducts a brilliant investigation of this case that could make even Herculet Poirot applaud. OK, maybe not that brilliant but after Oishi's retirement I see a great candidate for the position of a local detective.

Speaking of Oishi, he talks with Keiichi in his car. He claims he has learned that the latter has broken into the warehouse from a rumour. If that's true why haven't more villagers being very angry with K1? And why doesn't Oishi use some policemen to watch over K1? After all, the boy is obviously in great peril, considering the fate of Takano and Tomitake.

This peril seems to increase even more after Oishi informs him of Shion's disappearance. However she calls Keiichi on the very same day. He confronts her with the words of Oishi, according to whom there would have been no way Shion's version of confessing to the village chief was true. Her only answer is really ominous laughter. Keiichi, you really shouldn't have told her everything you suspected, if for not other reason than for the possibility that it was actually Mion, not Shion.

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As I said, I expected a bit more but nevertheless, this episode was both chilling and full of hints for the previous mysteries while also starting new ones. It seems certain that Rika will commit a suicide in the end of Watanagashi-hen but as of now, it's extremely diffcult to predict how events will unfold in the next episode. My intuition tells me that Shion is the evil sister in this chapter but whenever I try to figure out whether and when they have switched places, I get a headache. But I think Shion is really the one who repeatedly calls Keiichi in the last episodes.

All in all an interesting episode which makes me wait very impatiently for the next one and the climax of thsi story arc. Apart from solving the mystery I am also interested who will die this time and who will survive. My bet is that somehow Keiichi will survive, although the odds seem to be against him. We just have to wait and see.

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