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I have an answer to only one of these questions and unfortunately it's only the third one. Yes, I admit it, I simply couldn't come up with а better title for this entry but I think it's only fitting that it should consist entirely of questions.

Watanagashi-hen totally lived up to its status of a question story arc – I have dozens and dozens of questions about it in my mind and so few answers that make any sense. Alas, everything seemed somewhat rushed in this episode and some of the characters' actions were very much illogical.
In the first minutes of the episodes Rena slaps Keiichi and scolds him for his infraction. I think having seen some of his friends disappear was punishment enough for him but I guess a hard slap on the face never hurts when we are talking about male anime characters. Then she shows him the big clue – an invitation from Mion to Rika which even goes as far as mentioning the soy sauce that Hercule Poirot Rena pointed out in the previous episode. That immediately raises a few questions – the first one being was Mion so dumb to leave such a damning piece of evidence? The second one is how come Rena found it but not the police? She doesn't even show it to the police. I think there is something fishy about Rena in this chapter, she is just too innocent and smart in it. Why would Mion need to mention soy sauce anyway, wouldn't Rika come if invited even without a special treat for her?

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After a short chat with Oishi, Rena and Keiichi learn that the police still cannot search the Sonozaki residence and take matters into their own hands. I found this decision to be extremely reckless especially on the part of Keiichi who has been Mion's friend for quite a short period of time. Call me a coward, if you wish but I would never visit someone who is a major suspect in a serial murder case unless I am 100% sure that he or she is innocent and that's certainly not the case here.

Sure enough Mion is in the residence and confesses involvement in all the murders from the past five years. She also claims that she is being possessed by a demon who made her do all this. Instead of being scared to death or at least disgusted by her, K1 and Rena offer her their support. Hello – she just said she had killed a lot of people including some of your friends! Could this get any more surreal? Oh, yes it can and the conversation below proves it:

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Keiichi: "OK, you are a crazy murderer claiming to be obsessed by a demon but we can still hold hands and blush like before, right?"

Mion: "Of course, dear. Come this way, I have to show you my torture chamber, I mean my bedroom."

OK, they didn't say these exact words but I am simplifying the situation for you. 🙂

Keiichi goes with Mion to the torture chamber where they find the other Sonozaki sister (your guess as to who she is is as good as mine, I am calling the torturer Mion for convenience). The imprisoned sister is absolutely horrified by her sibling. Talk about a lack of manners! How can mere torture destroy blood relations so easily! Such a disgrace…

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Mion then sets about torturing Keiichi. Since he behaved as a total moron and came into her lair I was actually somewhat disappointing that she was interrupted by the imminent arrival of the police. But before that Mion claims that the turning point had been Keiichi giving that doll to Rena and not to her. Well, I don't believe it was that simple.

And then comes the really puzzling part of the episode. Keiichi is saved, he goes back home. A bit later Mion meets him outside the house. OK, is it only me or he is desperately looking for trouble in this episode? He is more than ready to talk calmly with a girl who was ready to torture him to death not long ago. Maybe he is a wannbe demon exorcist? She stabs him, of course. He cannot complain that I didn't try to warn him, though.

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In the hospital Keiichi learns that Shion has apparently commited a suicide. And as if that is not enough trouble for one day Oishi casually mentions that Takano and Mion seemed to have died before Keiichi had last seen them.

Mion's case could be explained easily enough because she has a twin but Takano's case is quite the mystery – why would she fake her death? Her interest to Hinamizawa's history cannot be that strong as to make her kill someone and use the body in order to convince people of her own death, can it? Well, I am starting to believe that anything goes in this series, so who knows. I am still not buying the supernatural explanation, though, on the grounds that it would be a boring one.

But that's not all – after Oishi leaves, Mion appears from under the bed, covered with blood and determined to finish off Keiichi. Red screen. End of episode. Talk about cliffhanger…

It's a real pity that Watanagashi had to be finished in just four episodes. It seemed rushed, especially in this episode. The characters just accepted too much revelations too casually – maybe because there was no time for long "That's not true!" denials? 🙂 For some reasons the episode wasn't that scary, despite the significant number of torture devices shown. Mion (or Shion) jsut admitted her guilt too easily, leading us to expect anything from the Sonozaki sisters. I think it would have been a great twist if someone else appeared from under Keiichi's bed and killed him in the end.

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The mystery element was very much satisfactory – so many new questions and puzzling new claims, mainly from Oishi and Mion. My theory, though, remains that Shion is the evil sister. She had no problem confessing everything because she did it while claiming to be Mion. The one in the cell never said what her name was, so it's possible that was Mion. And I think Keiichi was hallucinating in the very end of the episodes, possibly even stabbed himself before that. If it was really Mion or Shion who stabbed him how come he survived? Whoever the culprit, they should have a lot of experience in killing people and ample time to finish off Keiichi.

Rika's suicide was not shown here leaving us in the dark about the reason for it. I think she blamed herself for the death of Satoko and/or the chief. Oishi is still very suspicious, the easiest explanation for his "walking dead" remark (Takano and Mion) is that he was lying in order to scare Keiichi. If we add the guess about the possibility of Keiichi hallucinating right after Oishi left. And I think the chance for Oishi being a liar is not that insignificant. Although the game tips (see the animesuki forum) clearly show that Oishi is indeed a hard-working policeman, I can't help but think there is more about him. Too bad we will have to wait for months for the answer arc for Watanagashi-hen.

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