| Frederica Bernkastel|
|Portrayed By||Tamura Yukari|
Frederica Bernkastel (フレデリカ ベルンカステル, Furederika Berunkasuteru) is a mysterious character, appearing only once in person in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, at the end of the last episode of Matsuribayashi-hen. There she speaks to a young Takano Miyo, as she now enjoys traveling to different worlds and playing with the "pieces," (or kakera) in them. Frederica looks very similar to Furude Rika, as she is the overall culmination of Rika's existence on the Higurashi gameboard. This is implied in Matsuribayashi-hen that when talking about Rika she refers to Rika as "I" or "me".
There is a theory that states that Frederica was born from Rika's despair, hopelessness, and loss of interest in breaking fate after Tsumihoroboshi-hen, since in the sound novels, Frederica tells the reader, "Eventually, she started giving up, and lost interest in those worlds. That's how I was born...". Frederica Bernkastel possibly stems from Rika's culminated personality after the repeated worlds, as reflected by Rika's sudden persona switch from an eleven-year-old's personality to that of the 110-year-old. It's likely that Frederica is the side of Rika that has experienced all of the worlds that Rika was forced to live through, then separated when she lost interest in survival and only cared about moving on to 'the next world'.
There is a possibility that Frederica was involved in putting Rika through the terrible fate of a perfect world. When she appears for her first (and only) time in Kai and meets the younger version of Takano Miyo (Tanashi Miyoko at that time), she asks her whether she wants to "live or die"; Miyoko first tells Frederica that she wants to live, so Frederica told her, "You may go to your friend's house. However, she will not be there." Upon hearing this, Miyoko changes her mind and says she wants to die, so Frederica tells her to go follow her parents, so Miyoko can earn another flag from a mall restaurant to add to her collection. The "live or die" part may have meant if Miyoko wanted to "live" a new life as Miyo Takano, or let that identity "die" and stay as Tanashi Miyoko. Or, Frederica may have actually wanted little Miyoko to join her parents in the accident, but it was by mere chance that they lived and had a supposed happy ending. Miyoko says she wants to "die", so she continues on to the mall with her parents. It is revealed in the last episode of Kai that Miyoko and her parents boarded a different bus than the one fated to crash. Thus, Miyoko and her parents are not led to their deaths, she does not change her name to "Takano" nor ever meet Takano Hifumi, which may have been a trigger to the perfect world where the Irie Clinic is never established, "Tokyo" never involves itself in Hinamizawa, and none of the characters suffer any tragedies. Saikoroshi-hen could possibly be that world where Frederica stepped into.
In the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei novel Saikoroshi-hen, Rika uses the name "Frederica Bernkastel" for the first time, in order to distinguish herself from the "Rika" of that world. However, at the end of the novel she understands the meaning of Hanyū's power, and gives up on it, choosing to go back to being just "Furude Rika", a normal girl with no powers. She also said that the part of her who lived for 100 years and pulled the strings of fate—Frederica Bernkastel—will continue to exist in a higher world.
In Higurashi, she writes poems that appear at the beginning of every arc, though they are absent in the anime. Her poems give the over-all theme for the upcoming story and document Rika's struggle through the different worlds. In one poem, Frederica explicitly states that she and Rika are not the same person, and anyone who thought so is silly. She also denies that she is Oyashiro-sama, but refuses to introduce the real one, on the grounds that it is easily frightened.
It is shown in the manga at the start of Minagoroshi-hen that Frederica meets Rika in the world of kakera, where they discuss the three rules (or more accurately, trends) that constantly appear throughout the universes, with rare exceptions. This scene is somewhat replicated in the anime during the first episode of Minagoroshi-hen, but without Frederica obviously present.
- Rule X: A random person in Hinamizawa succumbs to the Hinamizawa Syndrome and is driven to acts of violence by extreme levels of paranoia. Maebara Keiichi, Ryūgū Rena and Sonozaki Shion are the most prominent victims of this rule, as at least one of them develops the Hinamizawa Syndrome in most scenarios. Examples:
- in Onikakushi-hen, Keiichi becomes suspicious of his friends and comes to the conclusion that they are the perpetrators behind Oyashiro-sama's curse, causing him to beat Rena and Mion to death out in what he thought was self-defense.
- In Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, Shion becomes suspicious of the Sonozaki family's involvement in Oyashiro-sama's curse, and is convinced that they were responsible for the disappearance of Hōjō Satoshi, causing her to kill Sonozaki Oryō, Sonozaki Mion, and anyone else who she considered to be responsible for amplifying Satoshi's pain (including Rika and Kimiyoshi Kiichirō, whom she believed were also involved in Oyashiro-sama's curse, and Hōjō Satoko, who was a burden on Satoshi).
- In Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Rena also becomes suspicious of the Sonozaki family's involvement in Oyashiro-sama's curse, causing her to take the school hostage. She then threatens to blow up the school in an attempt to force the police into negotiating with her.
- Rule Y: Tomitake Jirō and Takano Miyo are killed on the night of the Watanagashi Festival without fail in every scenario. Frederica considers this rule to be more stable than rule X, as the method of killing is consistent in every universe, meaning that this rule is absolute, caused by a powerful and unwavering will. Although this rule is independent of rule X, the deaths of Tomitake and Takano usually act as a catalyst, which causes paranoia in Keiichi, Rena, or Shion, and triggers rule X. This occurs because they try to relate Tomitake and Takano's deaths to their own perception of the curse. For example:
- in Onikakushi-hen, Keiichi believes that Tomitake was killed by the villagers because he was an outsider, and that he will be next, because he just moved to Hinamizawa recently.
- in Watanagashi-hen, Meakashi-hen, and Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Shion and Rena believe that Takano was killed by the Sonozaki family for knowing too much, which fuels their suspicions. The person with the strong will that causes this rule is later revealed to be Takano, who kills Tomitake and fakes her own death in every scenario.
- Rule Z: Everyone in Hinamizawa believes that the Sonozaki family is responsible for the series of mysterious deaths. The Sonozaki family actually has no control over the deaths, but uses Oyashiro-sama's curse as a bluff to scare everyone. The assumption that they are controlling everything behind the scenes in Hinamizawa causes many to conclude that the seemingly coincidental deaths are all connected, and that Oyashiro-sama's curse is a system created by the Sonozaki family to eliminate the village's enemies. It is the very existence of the "curse" that causes much of the mistrust, suspicion and paranoia amongst the villagers, which ultimately leads to the acts of violence caused by rule X. Though they may differ somewhat, Keiichi, Rena, and Shion's perceptions of the curse all have one thing in common; they all suspect the Sonozaki family (or in some cases the entire village). This rule is enforced by Ōishi Kuraudo and Takano, who contribute to fueling paranoia in Keiichi, Rena and Shion by telling them about Oyashiro-sama's curse and the Sonozaki family's apparent involvement in it.
The name Frederica Bernkastel comes from the name Rika originally used in Saikoroshi-hen FURUDERIKA-Bernkastel; eventually this became "Frederica Bernkastel."
- Bernkastel (warning: spoilers)