| Furude Rika|
|Age||10 (Mentally at least 110)|
|Birthday||August 21, 1972|
|Daybreak Weapon(s)|| |
|Verbal Tics|| |
|Portrayed By|| |
|Image Song|| |
Furude Rika (古手 梨花) is the ultimately true main protagonist of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. She is the daughter of the late shinto priest of Hinamizawa. She is the current miko/kannushi, or shrine maiden/priestess, of the Furude Shrine, appearing in miko garb for her part of the Watanagashi Festival. She appears as the protagonist of Minagoroshi-hen.
Rika seems like little more than a secondary character for much of the first half of Higurashi. As the story progresses, however, viewers learn that she is actually at the heart of most of the strange events, as her death is the trigger for the Great Hinamizawa Disaster (excluding Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen) and following incidents. Despite only being killed five times on-screen, dialogue eventually confirms that she has been killed once for every arc (excluding Matsuribayashi-hen and Miotsukushi-hen) and all other unseen worlds.
The villagers of Hinamizawa hold Rika in high esteem, as not only is she the only daughter of the Furude clan, one of the three great houses of Hinamizawa, she is also believed to be the reincarnation of the local deity Oyashiro-sama. Although Rika is entitled to attend and have a voice in village meetings due to her family status, she is not required to attend because of her young age. She lives with her classmate and best friend, Hōjō Satoko, in a small house by the Furude Shrine.
Role as the Queen CarrierAs a daughter of the Furude clan, Rika is thought to be a "Queen Carrier." Early theories on the Hinamizawa Syndrome hold that the Queen Carrier is a necessary part of the village's survival and without her, the villagers would go mad in 48 hours. This theory is brought into conflict in Watanagashi-hen, in which when Sonozaki Shion kills Rika, and Meakashi-hen, in which Rika commits suicide. In both instances, the villagers do not react and life for them goes on normally, even into the Heisei Era and past the year 2000, as shown by Meakashi-hen's endgame TIPS. In that arc, though, it also seems to be true as well, because Ryūgū Rena went partially insane when she was under the stress of her parents divorce while living in Ibaraki and when she returned to Hinamizawa she went back to normal in every world shown in the series other than the ''Ayakashisenshi-hen'' arc, in which there are no clear backgrounds for any of the characters due to the wild difference between this world and every other world (such as Keiichi and Satoshi being together and Hanyū being a fairy of some sort), and the Saikoroshi-hen arc, where the world was sinless, and Rena (who called herself Reina, her given name) had never moved to Ibaraki and never suffered from Hinamizawa Syndrome.
However, some of the deference shown to Rika by the villagers may be an unconscious acknowledgement of her role as Queen Carrier. How exactly the status of Queen Carrier is handed down is unclear, though it appears that it is passed down through the females of the Furude clan. It is because of this inheritance that Takano Miyo pursues her as a research subject. Her parents refuse to allow Rika to be used in this manner, and in order to get her way, Takano is more than willing to get rid of them. Rika's father dies after being drugged by the Yamainu, and Rika's mother was vivisected for being the Queen Carrier before Rika. Eventually, Takano decides that, after years of observing, she needs to kill the Queen Carrier as well. Rika's death is the pivot point for each of the scenarios of Higurashi; with her death, Takano can wipe out the entire village using the forces at her disposal, in order to "prevent" the "doomsday scenario" her grandfather predicted for the village, while at the same time achieving "god" status for her and her grandfather.
AppearanceRika has long blue hair in a hime cut, fitting her image as a miko. Her eyes are fairly droopy and purple. She is petite, being slightly shorter than Satoko. On school days, Rika wears a white short sleeved shirt with a pink bow, a navy-blue skirt, navy suspenders, white socks and red or brown shoes. On free days, she wears a green sundress, with a white bow in the front and white sandals. During the Watanagashi Festival, she wears a traditional miko uniform, complete with an ornate hoe topped with tassels.
Personality and Mannerisms
Rika often seems wise beyond her years. As a very young child during Himatsubushi-hen (which is set in June 1978), she predicted her own death in June 1983 to the visiting Akasaka Mamoru. Childish Rika has a tendency to speak using "cute" phrases; including sound effects and nonsense words such as "nipaa,"mii," cat sounds and saying "pachi pachi" (clap clap) while clapping her hands, all of which drives the cute-loving Ryūgū Rena wild. To add to her "cute" and feminine manner, Rika refers to herself with the pronoun "boku," which, although generally used by boys, is considered extremely cute when used by young Japanese girls. She does not address anyone with honorifics. In Japanese culture, this would be considered incredibly rude and even sometimes degrading, but being the Furude miko, no one seems to mind much. In the English translation of the manga she addresses everyone, regardless of age or gender, as "sir," often ending her sentences with it. She enjoys drinking wine and eating spicy foods, to Hanyū's displeasure.
True Personality/Adult Voice
When revealing her True Personality, Rika's cuteness disappears, and she turns cynical and more mature. She switches pronouns from "boku" to "watashi" and her voice drops to a grown woman's. This is clear in the anime where the same voice actress switches from a child's to an adult's voice. In the Sound Novel and manga, she uses more mature language which other characters occasionally notice. Since this is the persona and voice Rika uses when thinking to herself, narrating events, and when speaking to Hanyū, it can be assumed it is her real personality, which she keeps under wraps to avoid scaring her friends. For example, in Matsuribayashi-hen when she discusses with Hanyū her decision to take an active part in the world, Rika suggests that perhaps she is seeing Hanyū's true form. She has this conversation in her adult voice. Rika's second character song, S.A.G.A. ~Rinne no Hate ni~, is sung almost entirely with her True Personality. This personality is also blunt and occasionally rude to people including adults.The first time her True Personality is shown is in Himatsubushi-hen when she warns Akasaka to go back to his wife and save her from dying. It appears that over the hundreds of worlds she has been through, Rika's True Personality has become understandably somewhat distorted and sly, as she seems to derive some pleasure out of taunting people, such as Akasaka, with the knowledge that she should not have. It is also possible she has become jaded with the futility of her situation. It does seem clear that if she feels she is in a world that can only end in tragedy, she gives up trying to help characters and influence events. Thus in Minagoroshi-hen, she expresses extreme boredom and frustration participating in a game tournament she has played out innumerable times until Keiichi does something to change it. Similarly, in Saikoroshi-hen, she confesses to herself that she had alienated herself from her parents because she long ago gave up trying to save them. Rika used to resist her fate with much greater enthusiasm, but over time, she became mentally worn down and eventually resigned to her fate. As a result, she seems to have almost no interest in anything, as she has been through everything many times already (save for Sonozaki Mion's whimsical club activities, which seem to be one of her few pleasures in life), and she welcomes any kind of change, good or bad.
The TIPS reveal that when her parents were still alive, she showed almost no emotion save only reacting to something unexpected. Her mother could not understand Rika, and the two develop a difficult relationship. In the manga version of Saikoroshi-hen, Rika recalls how her mother tried to teach her how to use knives in cooking and, having years experience in previous lives, she decided to show off her skill which embarrasses and confuses her mother.
Rika similarly reveals her frustration with her situation. In one scene in Minagoroshi-hen, Rika gives vent to her frustration by listing what will happen and who will die. In both the manga and anime, she expresses her determination to mature beyond her "child's body" when she nearly falls trying to descend a ladder which includes her vow that her breasts will become bigger.
The manga uses this as a comic relief in end pages where in one series she vows to the male characters who flock to the Takano Miyo's ample assets that they will regret when she grows bigger than Takano Miyo. Hanyū laughs and remarks that it does not work that way. In another set an adult Rika, in an obvious homage to the character who appears to the child Miyo in the conclusion to Matsuribayashi-hen, laments at her development.
However, despite her cold personality, she still cares for her friends and most importantly Hanyū. She also cares for her mother, as shown in the conclusion of Saikoroshi-hen where she cries thinking she must have killed her mother to leave the parallel world.
Satoko is Rika's closest friend, and they have been living together since the death of Satoko's aunt. Satoko is usually the only one who can tell when Rika is upset, as well as the only one who is not fooled by her cute phrases that she uses to hide her true feelings. Like all of her friends, Rika tries to protect Satoko because she knows how much pain she has been through, especially since many villagers still shun Satoko for her parent's support of the dam project while at the same time they praise Rika at every opportunity. Rika was the only one besides Irie Kyōsuke and Takano that knows Satoko needs regular shots so she will not succumb to the Hinamizawa Syndrome; everyone else, including Satoko, believed that she was taking experimental medicine, until she reveals the truth to them in Minagoroshi-hen.
In the sinless world of Saikoroshi-hen, where none of the main tragedies of the series occur, Satoko bullies Rika, since the Rika in that world was infamously known in the school as the girl who used her cute mannerisms to exploit the boys who had a crush on her, most notably Tomita and Okamura, to get what she wanted. Because Satoko's and Rika's parents never died and Hōjō Satoshi did not disappear, she never got close to Rika like she does in every other timeline. It appears clear that Satoko bullies Rika frequently without the others intervening. When Rika finally snaps and starts beating Satoko with a chair, in her Adult Voice she informs Satoko that she held off reacting since she resembles a friend she had but will now hurt her if she ever comes close to her again. This initiates an intervention where Satoshi and Mion make clear to Rika how her past behavior like a "princess" irritated others. Satoshi reveals that for her part, Satoko is stubborn but does want to become friends with Rika. Rena, who overheard one of Rika's discussions with Yamamoto, picks up on the suggestion of creating a game-playing club to bring them all together. Towards the end of the manga depiction, Satoko still stands apart from the group with a sour look towards Rika; however, the implication is left that she will start to join in.
In Outbreak, when the village is burning, Satoko finds Rika and tells her to escape with them as it is dangerous to stay in the village more long, however Rika refuses to leave as she has to observe if they can trust new people. As Satoko is carried away by Keichii, she tearfully tells her to come back one day. Due to this, Rika sheds a tear but encourages the club members to fight on.
While for much of the story arcs their relationship appears somewhat vague, it becomes critical in the end. Rika does respect Keiichi and the two become very close friends over the course of the story arcs. Rika comes to recognize him to be a critical part of her hope to escape her fate. Even in the early arcs which in retrospect Rika understands to be doomed worlds, she seems to care for Keiichi and often tries to protect him. In the later arcs, his actions that break patterns genuinely surprise her. Keiichi, in return, also cares deeply for Rika, in particular her safety. In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira, Rika seems to have given him a nickname of her own calling him “KeiKei”.
In Outbreak, when the club members are about to leave, Keichii makes Rika promise to stay alive till they return, to which Rika replies she will.
Rena and Rika are close friends since the start of the series. Rena often finds Rika cute and tries to "take her home." Rika likes Rena's friendly and innocent personality, but is also aware of her serious demeanor having be a true believe in Oyashiro-Sama's curse, and her outrages from her past due to her parent's divorce. If need be, Rika would also try to protect her from relapsing into symptoms of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. As an example, in Tsumihoroboshi-hen around the time Rena was growing suspicious of supposed supernatural beings and unexplained followers following her every move, Rika came to her and offered her a solution. She tried to convince Rena to be injected with a supposed cure intended to make her feel better, but due to Rena's poisoned mind of mad suspicion, she refused and instead of further trying to convince her, Rika simply states that she had no more interest in the world because of her, and that she would hope things work better in the next world.
Although Rika has been known to act cold towards her in arcs such as Tsumihoroboshi-hen, it is implied that she still deeply cares for her when saying such things and dislikes having the need to say them, mainly due to the fact that she's aware of the tragic events to come which will once again likely result in both their deaths. In Minagoroshi-hen, Rika was surprised to see Rena capable of seeing Hanyu even when she and their friends had all just died. She led Rika to realize that the reason they couldn't defeat fate within that world was because Hanyu wasn't believing, and if she'd have joined them instead of watching from the side, they might have stood a chance. Later in Matsuribayashi-hen, Rika is confident in Rena's serious demeanor judging from the other worlds she's witnessed, and knows for certain she would make a great ally in defeating Takano Miyo and the Yamainu army.
Rika is the only person able to see Hanyū for most of the series, as Hanyū does not appear to the viewer until Minagoroshi-hen, and does not exist in the physical world until Matsuribayashi-hen. Hanyū is something of Rika's "guardian angel" who has been with Rika since she was born. Since Rika is the eighth generation of first-born daughters and thus the true reincarnation of Oyashiro-sama, she is the only one who can normally see Hanyū in her goddess form. Even though she finds Hanyū annoying sometimes, Rika cares deeply about her. Rika is a constant reminder of Hanyū's own daughter, Furude Ōka, as mentioned in Kai, since both are very similar in appearance. As a result, Hanyū's motherly instinct often kicks in whenever Rika seeks help. In the resolution of the manga version of Matsuribayashi-hen, Rika affectionately calls Hanyū "mother."
Akasaka is another person for whom Rika has the utmost respect since he is one of the few people to whom she has expressed her true self as well as has an emotional connection. She tries to warn him of his wife's and their unborn daughter's demise with futile results save for one occasion in Matsuribayashi-hen where he greets her as his wife's savior. She in turn tearfully rushes up to hug Akasaka, genuinely happy to see him again. Akasaka in return, risks life and limb to protect Rika from Takano and the Yamainu Squad when they are out to kill her and her friends. The manga version of Matsuribayashi-hen expands their relationship. Rika is able to visit Akasaka in a time fragment where he has lost his wife and child and knows he failed to save Rika. He has buried himself in his work and in practicing karate. Rika is able to contact this Akasaka and by an unexplained mechanism this becomes a "dream" for the Akasaka at the time of Matsuribayashi-hen. Much later during the festival, she calls him "dad" in front of his wife and child--his wife somewhat playfully strangles him with her own ponytail asking if Rika is Akasaka's "love child" as the embarrassed Akasaka stammers explanations.
When in her cutesy persona at the meeting of the main families of Hinamizawa, she spends the time drawing a picture of her and Akasaka holding hands, implying she may have a bit of a crush on him.
- Out of all the characters, Rika has died the most number of times.
- Rika has not survived in any arc other than Matsuribayashi-hen and Miotsukushi-hen.
- Because Rika is immune to Hinamizawa Syndrome, she is the only one in the main cast to never go mad and commit murder. Even though she had supposedly killed her mother in Saikoroshi-hen in order to escape that world, as even Rika herself believed that she had, it turned out to all be a dream sent by Hanyū, so Rika remains as the only one who has not committed a murder.
- Rika is fond of wine and kimchi, often purposely getting drunk and eating spicy food to either bother or block out Hanyū through their mysterious connection to experience each other's senses. In the manga version of Matsuribayashi-hen she suggests she will make eating spicy foods the "punishment game" should Hanyū lose.
- As it was shown in the Saikoroshi-hen manga, the name of Rika's favorite wine is "Bernkasteler B..." (the rest of the name cannot be seen). The full name of the wine is probably "Bernkasteler Badstube", a riesling wine produced in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany. Ironically, the label of the wine says "Riesling Spätlese" (late harvest riesling in German). Riesling wines are always white, but the wine that Rika drinks is red.
- Besides their appearances, Rika holds several similarities with Bernkastel from Umineko no Naku Koro ni
- Bernkastel's weapon is a scythe. In Higurashi Daybreak Kai, Rika wields a similar scythe.
- The two are voiced by Yukari Tamura. As such, Rika's True Personality voice is the same as that of Bernkastel.
- Rika and Bernkastel share a love for wine and spicy food.
- It has been stated in an interview with the author that she is the personality of the 100-year-old witch Rika separated herself from in Saikoroshi-hen and is the crystallization of only the cruelest parts left over from the 100-year-old witch.
- Rika makes a cameo appearance in the Umineko Pachinko game during the Twilight of the Golden Witch portion of the game. This is done by getting a Featherine combo which will turn Bernkastel into Rika during the scenes.
- "Rika" (梨花) means "Pear Blossom." In language of flowers, pear blossom signifies lasting friendship and hope.
- Rika's school uniform is the suspender skirt uniform.
- In Hinamizawa Teiryūjo, (雛見沢停留所, Hinamizawa Bus Stop), a manga based on Ryukishi07's original scripts for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni written a few years before the release of Onikakushi-hen, she is older than Mion, and they both wear a school uniform similar to Rena's.