As we recall from previous episodes, “When They Cry” focuses on Keiichi, a new transfer student in Hinamizawa who likes to hang out with four girls, Rena, Satoko, Rika and Shion. Shion was the tall girl with the green hair.
But who is Mion? Well, Mion is actually Shion’s twin sister. And to add confusion in the second story arc, she looks almost exactly like Shion.
Without giving too much away, Mion takes the male lead character, Keiichi, to an ancient shrine during the Watanagashi (Cotton-drifting) festival. They meet up with a photographer named Jiro Tomitake and a nurse named Miyo Takano, who break into the shrine to see the statue of Oyashiro. Oyashiro is the ogre god who could be spiritually killing off people each year after the Watanagashi festival.
In the second story arc, we are introduced to the photographer Tomitake, who also appeared int the previous story arc, before he stabbed his throat with his fingernails. In this story arc, Tomitake once again dies after the festival, and Miyo is missing. Soon Keiichi’s elementary school friends wind up missing. After investigating the scene, Keiichi and his friend, Rena, suspect that Shion murdered them all.
Keiichi also discovers that Shion imprisoned her sister, Mion, in a dungeon and was ready to kill her with state-of-the-art torture tools. Shion almost kills Keiichi through a nasty execution procedure, but after some negotiation, Shion turns herself over to the police and Mion is saved. All is well, until the police officer says that Mion is the real killer.
This is a brilliant chapter with some of the most perplexing character twists. Now we know that Shion has an identical twin sister, and we may never know whether Shion is actually Mion, or Mion is actually Shion! This is one of the most shocking plot twists in the series.
And just when things couldn’t get worse in Hinamizawa, the third story arc of “When They Cry” features child abuse. Satoko, the elementary school girl, comes with her friend, Rika, to cook for Keiichi. We learn that Satoko used to cook for her brother, Satoshi, who mysteriously disappeared.
But we also learn that Satoko suffers from child abuse. After her parents died, she and her brother lived with her evil uncle, Teppei Hojo. Teppei bosses Satoko around and beats her all the time. Keiichi hears from her doctor, Irie, that Satoko believes that her brother will come back if she goes through this suffering.
Poor Satoko. I wouldn’t have even thought that she was as messed up in the head as Rena or Mion. At this point of the series, the blue-haired elementary school girl, Rika, might actually be the only sane character in this series.
Admittedly, this is a brutal anime to watch. However, it plays out like a strange soap opera. In every scenario, lots of people die. However, each story arc is even more fascinating, revealing the tortured past of the girls of Hinamizawa. And I never thought I would say this, but it’s entertaining to see how insane all of the children get. This anime features the most unforgettable characters in anime history. Hopefully these kids get a hug after they’re finished with this, because they could use some emotional relief.
Image courtesy of radda.wordpress.com