For Higurashi Month here at JanaiBlog, I have been charged with delving into the manga version of this masterpiece. We’ve already romped through the first arc of the story. Now we shall embark on the next piece of the puzzle, the Cotton Drifting Arc.
The first thing you will notice is that everyone who died in the first arc is alive with seemingly no memory of the chilling events of the first arc. Get used to this; every arc of Higurashi starts the story over fresh, although it does keep many of the main plot points.
Rather than focusing on the curse of Oyashiro-sama right off the bat, we start with a bit of lighthearted comedy. Keiichi runs into a waitress at a restaurant who looks exactly like Mion, but claims to be her twin sister Shion. Eventually, Keiichi realizes that she is telling the truth, and Mion does in fact have an identical twin sister. Shion begins to fill Keiichi in on more of the history of Hinamizawa, which eventually leads him tumbling into the temptation Shion offers him on the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. She drags him into an act forbidden by Oyashiro-sama.
Keiichi fully expects to be the next victim of the curse, however this year the curse does not play out as it had in the past few years. His only solace lies in Shion, who is the only one who knows the truth of what they did that night, but Keiichi must question if he can even trust Shion as more truths are revealed.
The art is just as lovely in this arc as in the previous arc; in fact, the visuals are the same throughout all of the arcs. The only big difference between them is the storylines, and boy, does this arc deliver! It starts in much the way the first arc does, as an innocent story with plenty of hilarious comedy. Soon enough however, the horror aspects come into play.
The big importance of this arc is the introduction of Shion, Mion’s twin sister. She will be popping up in later arcs from this point on. While Mion is wild, impulsive, and rather tomboyish, Shion is sweet and feminine, almost the polar opposite of her sister. However, she is still part of the Sonozaki family, and once the importance of the Sonozaki family to Hinamizawa is explained in this arc, you will quickly realize that even Shion has her personal demons to contend with. Not only is this story incredible, but Shion is one of my favorite characters in the entire series!
This arc also goes more into the mind of Mion, specifically focusing on her thoughts and feelings towards Keiichi. Many of Rena’s feelings towards Keiichi were explored in the first arc, and Mion’s are just as thoroughly developed here. We will also get to learn a bit about Mion and Shion’s relationship with each other, but that is even more thoroughly explored in later arcs.
Because of some important plot points and the introduction of one of the best characters the series has to offer, the Cotton Drifting Arc of Higurashi is one of the most exciting entries into the series, and it only gets better from here!
Higurashi: When They Cry manga is licensed by Yen Press
This arc is always a pleasure to read!
Horror fans will love this, and it is a must for those who read the first arc
Gripping and fantastic; read it several times just for kicks!