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Synopsis

Prologue

A news report plays a scene from a large city. The report discusses the protests and violent clashes over the Hinamizawa dam project. As two young boys walk, they are followed by two men dressed in the same uniform and in the same style of van as the ones who pursued Keiichi in Onikakushi-hen. One boy bids goodbye to the other who wears a blue baseball cap.
Toshiki ID

"Confound it Holmes, what gave it away?!"

The van pulls up to the boy as the news report states, "Cabinet Minister Inukai was directly appealed to last week." One of the men asks the boy if he is "Inukai Toshiki-kun" as he spies that the boy is wearing a school identification tag.

Rika stands at the observation railing overlooking Hinamizawa and stares with a sad expression.

First Half

A train travels through the countryside. A man eating lunch in the train narrates that he is Akasaka Mamoru, and he met "that little girl" during an investigation of a kidnapping.

Over the Metropolitan Police Department of Tōkyō building, another man explains that 48 hours ago, the son of a Ministry of Construction official as well as the grandson of a cabinet minister was kidnapped. The man is a senior detective who instructs a room full of detectives. He explains that the cabinet minister responded that he would not report the kidnapping and would comply with the kidnappers' demands. He continues that after monitoring the minister's phone, they have confirmed that a crime has happened. He excuses them with the instruction that they act in utmost secrecy. He then approaches Akasaka and orders him to investigate the anti-dam group that appealed to the minister. His superior finds it unlikely that a "rural" group could be behind the kidnapping, but they need to eliminate all suspects. As the scene shifts back to the train, his superior instructs him to coordinate with the local police.

On the train, Akasaka looks at a picture of him and his wife, Yukie. He flashbacks to him talking to his clearly pregnant wife as she lays in a hospital bed. He explains that the "worst case" will prevent him from being present for the delivery.
Yukie and Akasaka

Yukie and Akasaka

She smiles and assures him that when he returns she and their baby will be waiting for them. He closes his book with the picture and thinks about the anti-dam organization: Onigafuchi Final Defense Alliance. He muses that normally a "rookie" like himself would not investigate alone, but since they are stretched thin, and this group seems far removed from the kidnapping case, his superiors allowed it.

At the Okinomiya Police Station, a detective Hondaya greets the waiting Akasaka. He apologizes for keeping him waiting, and when Akasaka formally introduces himself, Hondaya jokes that "Riot Squad Chief Sankai, browbeat" him to accept his assistance. Akasaka is surprised by the term "Riot Squad," and wonders if it is a part of the prefectural police. Hondaya explains that the Onigafuchi Final Defense Alliance is seen as organized crime. Ōishi enters and jokingly asks Hondaya "just when I wondered what you're talking about!" Hondaya congratulates "Kura-chan" on his timing, then introduces Akasaka to him. He explains that Ōishi is very familiar with the group Akasaka is investigating. Ōishi laughs and offers to take Akasaka on a tour of Hinamizawa.

Ōishi drives Akasaka in his car down the road in Hinamizawa. Sitting in the back, Akasaka muses over the things Ōishi told him as he looks at numerous anti-dam posters. Ōishi explained the importance of the Three Families in Hinamizawa: how the Sonozaki Family wields "absolute power," which makes their family head, Oryō, the leader of the village and, therefore, the leader of the anti-dam movement. Ōishi interrupts his musing to rhetorically ask that Akasaka came all the way from Tōkyō to investigate. He surmises that this must involve the direct appeal to Minister Inukai, and the Public Safety Department decided to monitor the anti-dam group. Akasaka stares stunned at what Ōishi deduced. He tries to laugh it off by saying that Ōishi knowing all of this makes things eaiser; Ōishi lights a cigarrette and replies, "You're lying, right?" 

Ōishi explains that Akasaka lies that he investigating the anti-dam group due to their appeal.
Ōishi and Akasaka on Truth
Akasaka lowers his head in embarrassment while Ōishi triumphantly snickers and suggests that Akasaka is horrible at keeping secrets, but he likes Akasaka's innocence and candidness. He then adds that he thought he could help Akasaka more if Akasaka tells him the truth. Akasaka asks him how he could be more helpful. Ōishi offers to introduce him to people who know a great deal about the Onigafuchi Final Defense Alliance. Akasaka asks if this is a spy which Ōishi confirms. Akasaka demands to know why Ōishi is interested in his mission. He replies that it is like "a give-and-take situation." Ōishi lets him off at his hotel. In his room, Akasaka reads a Hinamizawa "Nature Watch" recruitment flier while he talks on a payphone. His conversation involves him trying to get an invitation to Hinamizawa. When he claims that he is interested in the nature in Hinamizawa, a term he takes from the flier, the man on the phone changes his tone and eagerly invites him.
Akasaka Meets Rika

Awwwww!

The following day, he steps off of a bus to find a young Rika sleeping inside the bus stop waiting structure. Akasaka smiles and says "Kawaii (可愛い)" or "cute."
Nipaa!

Rika's first "Nipaa~" of the anime.

Rika opens her eyes, stretches and yawns, then looks at Akasaka and says, "Mi." He does not understand the expression which she repeats a few times. He then gets startled and denies that he is "strange." Rika stares, then smiles and responds with her first "Nipaa~!" Akasaka repeats this and smiles.

Second Half

Higurashi

Hinamizawa's Official Higurashi

As a higurashi cries, Makino drives up and apologizes to Akasaka for being late. He confirms that Akasaka is the guy who called yesterday. Akasaka confirms this, and Makino invites him to enter the car for a quick tour, but Rika stops Makino with a "Mi." Makino calls her "Rika-chama" and happily calls meeting her "a blessing." Rika responds with a happy "Nipaa" then asks if Makino has work now. Akasaka is inwardly surprised that she just calls him "Makino." Makino explains that the village headman asked him to show Hinamizawa to Akasaka. Rika asks Akasaka if he is a a young boy who wants to travel in the country, and when he agrees and states that he plans to take pictures, Rika calls him "Tomitake N°2." He asks who that is, but Rika responds with a "Nipaa" and runs ahead

Akasaka takes a picture of an old postbox, which Rika asks if it is interesting to him. Akasaka responds that it makes him nostalgic. Rika asks him if he finds Hinamizawa "fun." Akasaka replies, as he continues to photograph the post box, that it is, and as soon a his wife is out of the hospital, he wants to come back with his newborn baby. He does not see Rika's expression turns resigned. Makino suggests that he take him to the best view. Rika knowingly asks about it, then turns to Akasaka to excitedly proclaim that she can invite him to her home. This surprises Akasaka, but Makino explains that it is the Furude Shrine, which is on high ground and will give him the best view. To himself, Akasaka suddenly realizes the smiling child in front of him is "Furude Rika" of "one of the three great families." She, of course, merely gives a happy "Nipaa!"

Makino drives them to the steps that lead to the Furude Shrine. There are a number of anti-dam banners. Makino confesses that the shrine is also the anti-dam movement's main office. He muses to Akasaka that the protests are like protests against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Akasaka responds that he does not agree with fighting national policy with violence or locking oneself to things, to which Makino replies that he has a "fine opinion." Akasaka continues to opine that one should simply vote for a politician with the same views or become part of politics. Rika interrupts his civics lesson by grabbing his shirt. She claims that she does not understand anything he is saying. He apologizes but insists that Japan is a peaceful country: "If you have something to say, you have to do it peacefully."

Rika grabs his shirt very tightly and asks him what the village can do to avoid destruction by the dam. This startles Akasaka. Rika explains that they can only live in Hinamizawa. Akasaka has no answer. They climb the long stairs to the shrine together. They reach the shrine to be greeted by Kiichirō, the village chief. He politely asks if Akasaka is the "sight-seer" who called the day before, and Makino introduces him to Kimiyoshi. Inwardly, Akasaka recognizes the name. Kimiyoshi asks him if he found the place peaceful,and Akasaka tells him that he found beautiful things in the village. Before they can continue their banter, Rika takes Akasaka by the hand and runs away with him, telling him to hurry. Akasaka calls back his excuses. Rika takes him to the observation point with the railing. She announces that is her favorite place, and Akasaka admits that he cannot believe the village before him will be covered by a lake. Rika happily announces that this will not happen: "The dam plan will definitely go away." When he says he hopes so, Rika asks him if he believes the village will be submerged. He responds that he does not want that to happen, and she interrupts him to claim again that the dam plan will be abandoned soon.

Suspicious, Asakasa asks her how she can be so sure. Rika happily responds that "regardless of what you do, the dam plan will end this year. It's already been decided." When he asks her why she thinks that, she simply replies, "It's already been decided."
Nipaa Mother Fr

Um . . . er . . . "Nipaa?"

When he questions this, Rika suddenly runs towards the railing. Akasaka warns her, to stay away as it is dangerous, but then strong a wind blows that raises her hair. She turns to him with her eyes shadowed and her expression serious. She calls him "Akasaka," then transistions into her Adult Voice to tell him to return to Tōkyō, otherwise he will regret it. When he questions her, she merely responds that she has warned him: "The rest is up to you." Akasaka claims that she is "not Rika-chan," and he demands to know who she is. Rika merely laughs in a low voice , then supposedly faints and falls to the ground. A worried Akasaka rushes to her, picks her up, and she awakens and says “Mi” with her Child Voice. Upon seeing Akasaka she smiles and says “Mi” again, much to Akasaka’s surprise.

At night on a street, Akasaka approaches a waiting a black car. Ōishi holds the car door open for him, then closes it. He tells Akasaka that he leave the rest to Satō, his informer. When Akasaka asks him why he does not come with them, Ōishi laughs that he will just be in the way then reminds him that he is the one who offered Satō a job.

Satō drives him to a dark parking lot. He confirms that Akasaka has heard about Hinamizawa.
Satō on Sonozaki

Satō the Informer

Satō explains over a scene depicting the meeting that the Sonozaki Family had a family meeting during the previous night. Oryō, as the head of the family, sat at the center, heads of the other Great Families: the Rika's father and Kiichirō on her right, and her heir Mion, then Mion's father and her mother Akane on her right, along with two unnamed "direct relatives" sitting in front of her. Behind Oyrō, Rika lays on the tatami coloring with crayons. Satō explains that they mainly discussed the anti-dam movement, but the important issue is what they discussed at the end of the meeting.

A man wearing a pin on his suit enters the room and whispers to Oryō. Briefly, her left eye widens. He then leaves, and she remarks, "I see, It was a tough one." She then laughs. Kimiyoshi ask her what has happened, and she sternly replies that, for them, the land is their mother; therefore, the dam threatens their mother. She then informs everyone that she was just told that the grandson of the dam's minister has been kidnapped.

Akasaka is inwardly shocked at this information since the kidnapping should not be public. While he wonders how the Sonozakis knew, Satõ calmly drinks a can of coffee, and the scene returns to the meeting. Kimiyoshi asks Oryō is the kidnapping is true. She replies that their pain is the pain of losing their mother. While she does not think it completely similar, she notes that this pain "certainly deserves the pain of losing a grandchild." As Rika happily colors with her crayons, Oyrō add that there is a difference between land and a child. She admits that she does not mind the kidnapping, but she does not want the boy injured: "The child is innocent. Take care of him."

Akasaka angrily asks Satō if he means that the Onigafuchi Defence Alliance is directly involved in the kidnapping, but the Satō admits that "we cannot be completely certain." Akasaka retorts that Oryō gave an order on to treat the boy, but Satō reminds that they cannot know if she issued an order or merely expressed her personal thoughs. Akasaka slumps in frustration, and Satō adds that that is all she said about the kidnapped boy. He then "hopes" that Akasaka found something things useful. He continues to warn that whatever line of work Akasaka is in, if he faces the Sonozaki family, he better be prepared. He notes that Ōishi has been attacked two or three times, and he use to wear a knife-proof vest on even his days off. When Akasaka responds,  "A knife-proof vest?" Satō asks him if he has ever been in the national police's public safety unit. Akasaka laughs, but Satō continues, "out of courtesy," that after the kidnapping another case surfaced. Tōkyō's public safety already sent an investigator in response to the kidnapping. This shocks Akasaka. The scene shifts to Oyrō stating that since the government cannot publicize the kidnapping, she learned that public safety will investigate on their own.
Rika Questions Oryō
She laments on the fuss they are making as Rika walks up to her. Rika asks her if the national police will come, and Oryō compliments her for knowing who the national police are. Rika insists to know who was sent; Oryō asks if anyone in the meeting knows. Akane's husband, Mion and Shion's father, replies that it is a "newbie." Rika excitedly asks him if he is "freshly new." He agrees that he is "fresh and new," and Rika smiles. He laughs as Rika happily walks away, then ask Oryō what they should do. She orders that they do nothing, then warns that if he causes "too much harm," they should not "hesitate" to act.
Rika and Akasaka Drawing

Rika was drawing Akasaka

Meanwhile, Rika happily returns to her drawing of "a young, fresh newbie," who is clearly Akasaka playing with her.

Akasaka remains stunned by this information, and Satō informs him that that is all he knows. He warns Akasaka to be careful. The next morning, his hotel phone rings and wakes him. Ōishi greets him with a knowing laugh: "Did I just wake you up?" He then adds that he has a story that may completely waken Akasaka. Something interesting was discovered in the police station's lost and found.

At the station, Ōishi produces a wallet. It has the name "Toshiki・1" stitched on it. Ōishi then presents a medical examination ticket given in the name of "Inukai Toshiki." Ōishi claims that they were found in the "ghost town" of Takatsudo. Akasaka immediately asks him to take him there, and Ōishi calmly replies that it is not a problem. He then dons his knife-proof vest. Akasaka is surprised, and Ōishi explains that one needs to be properly prepared and then asks Akasaka if he wants one.

Post-End Titles

The Adult Voice of Rika observes:

  • "What is being sought is the unwavering image. What is being searched for is the literal escape route. What has been provided is the usual sadness."

After introducing the next episode, over an image of Akasaka walking with her, she asks:

  • "Can you believe it?"

Characters

In order of appearance

Referbacks and Forwards

  • Same group of grey-uniformed men in the same style of white van that pursued Keiichi in Onikakushi-hen. They will return in other arcs.
  • Why Rika is staring at the observation point, why she is at the bus stop, and why she "Nipaa~s" Akasaka. 
  • Ōishi's description of the power of the Sonozaki Family is his own belief.
  • Rika's claim that the villagers can only live in the area.
  • Rika's claim that "it's already been decided."
  • Rika's Adult Voice: is a subject of much discussion which Ye Unafraid of Spoilers may explore on her character page. As explained, the anime does not explore specifically some of the themes in the more complex Visual Novels which are also depicted somewhat differently in the manga adaptions. In the anime, Rika occassionally speaks in an adult voice, done by the same actress, which has a disturbing effect on others. There is another character that does this as well, but Arg! Spoilers be There! Arg!
  • Sonozaki Oryō's comments on the importance of children as well as her declaring the kidnapped grandson "innocent."
  • The fact Oryō was informed of the kidnapping.
  • Rika wanting to know whom the national police sent.

Trivia

Cultural References

  • Chan: this diminutive should be familiar to manga and anime afficionados. Generally, it is used to address a small child. While Boys and Men in Anime may use it to address Girls and Women in Anime, in reality it would imply a very close friendship if not intimacy. Addressing a girl, or worse a woman, in that fashion without permission would be highly insulting as would addressing another man or superior with it. Honyada's use with a diminutive of Kuraudo – "Kura-chan" – suggests that they are very close friends who regularly tease one another. He introduces Akasaka as "Akasaka-san" and then more formally introduces Ōishi as "Ōishi-kun," which implies that he is actually Ōishi's superior. 
    • Higurashi does pay particular attention to the proper use of Japanese honorifics. A few characters are startled by Rika's consistent failure to use "san," such as Akasaka in this episode. Ōishi severely scolds Keiichi in the previous arc for addressing him as just "Ōishi." Even when angry with one another, Mion and Shion still include "san." Finally, Ōishi intentionally uses and stresses "kun," an honorific for a male student or underling used by a teacher or superior, such as Honyada, to insult another detective in a later arc. When the man objects, Ōishi reëmphasizes the "kun." For your happy life, When They Cry Wiki recommends you use "san" with the person's last name until the person invites you to use something else.
  • Japan-U.S. Security Treaty : which did spark protests.
  • Yakuza members do wear pins denoting their organization.
  • Japanese Coffee Cans: Yakuza Boss and an MiB Agent recommended!

Memorable Moments

  • First Official Nipaa

Quotes

  • "You're horrible at keeping secrets, hun? I actually like your innocence and candidness." – Ōishi to Akasaka
  • "Is Hinamizawa fun?" – Rika to Akasaka
  • "Who are you? You're not Rika-chan!" – Akasaka to Rika.
  • "We're even!" – Sonozaki Oryō
  • "Our pain is the pain of losing our mother." – Sonozaki Oryō 
  • "But there's a difference between the land and someone's child." – Sonozaki Oryō 
  • "I don't mind the kidnapping, but I don't want him to be injured. The child is innocent. Take care of him." – Sonozaki Oryō 
  • "I don't like people underestimating me." – Sonozaki Oryō 
  • "If you're taking risks, you'd better be properly prepared." – Ōishi

Gallery

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