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On February 22, 2021, Ryukishi07 hosted a livestream on NicoNico where he answered several questions about Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU.

This page contains a partial transcript of conversations between Ryukishi and the host, translated by Klashikari with notes marked in italics. Other notable things are provided by RenaRena-Toshokan. Contains spoilers up to Episode 20 of Gou.

MAJOR HIGURASHI SPOILER WARNING
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This article or section contains untagged major spoilers for the original Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and possibly the console-exclusive arcs. Readers who have not completed the main story are advised not to proceed further.


Transcript

T: Ryukishi is happy so many people on the net noticed the details (most likely referring to the differences from the original). Nekodamashi is what Ryukishi calls a “True New Work”, which is why the pacing was much faster.

About Ooishi

Host: What was up with Ooishi?

T: Ryukishi says that Ooishi was always considered as a reliable ally in the original Higurashi. As such, he knew most people would consider Ooishi as an ally very quickly. Considering he isn't "marked" as a potential culprit, he immediately took this chance for obvious reasons. This was also true for Rika.

H: Was it because of H173?

Ryukishi: *laughs* No, it wasn't because of H173.

T: He specifically mentioned again H173, meaning it could be a variant drug.

R: Or maybe I am wrong? *laughs*

R: Well you know, I lie a lot too.

H: Then say it in red!

R: *laughs*

From Nekodamashi-hen Part 4

R: Well, we don't know. You can see one comment mentioning one of the syringes was missing.

R: So for that person who noticed that, they probably think they have a good lead.

T: The host remembers the scene with Takano's case. Ryu mentions there was indeed a missing syringe on the right.

H: So what happened to Ooishi? Was he arrested or did he commit suicide?

R: Well I believe he is dead ("it is the natural conclusion to think he is dead").

About the Sword Shard

H: Regarding the Onigari no Ryuuou shard, is it present in every single Gou fragment?

R: Yes, that is the case. Of course, whenever Rika comes back from death, she doesn't have the shard anymore. But even then, it is still the same item, so if Rika goes there one more time, she can retrieve it.

H: Oh yeah, and Satoko... Satoko was in the saiguden in the last episode right?

R: Yes, indeed.

H: Was the fragment there then too?

R: Of course...though I wonder?

H: Hmm, I see.

R: That's difficult to say *laughs*

T: The "difficult to say" could be referring to how the answer might be "too difficult"

H: I see. Well, there is that horn shaped item too so...

R: Yes, there was a horn there *laughs*

About Nekodamashi

H: So about Nekodamashi 2 and 3, Akasaka, Akane, and Kimiyoshi went mad and Keiichi went on a rampage in Angel Mort.

R: Just as you said. From there, people Rika wanted to trust and have peace of mind from succumbed one by one.

H: I'm really a huge fan of Akasaka you know!

R: Oh!

H: I'm pretty sure everyone likes Akasaka, particularly Rika so... Akasaka's "I came here to save you!" line... I never expected it to be be like that! While he was stabbing her with a knife.

H: Man, please stop! (to Akasaka)

H: I was really shocked.

R: I'm really sorry to say that, but in Gou, this was the scene I was looking forward to the most *laughs*

H: You are the worst.

H: I mean, when you watch the anime, you see Rika and Akasaka in front of the shop. Then that discussion about him agreeing to stay in Hinamizawa until the festival. Then BOOM, that scene.

R: For that scene, the person handling the storyboard did a great job when it comes to its pacing *laughs*

H: Yeah, you could say the pacing was good...

H: That was truly the worst.

R: *laughs more* Thank you very much!

H: I was complimenting you of course.

R: When you consider stories with loops, as long as Rika doesn't give up, things go smoothly, ultimately speaking. But in the end, as long you don't reach the climax, Rika's heart/soul becomes more and more feeble (lit: tiring itself). Even though it is an endless loop game, she is approaching the game over.

R: So the best way to convey that was to show Rika having enough and declaring she will try 5 more times before giving up. By mentioning a specific number and making it a countdown, I made sure the audience would feel that we are approaching the end for her.

T: He also picked 5 because it was perfect to show that with a single hand. Whereas it would have been awkward if Rika decided she had 7 tries left since she would need both of her hands for that.

H: But man, that was really gory this time.

R: To be really honest, in my initial draft, it was a bit gory, yes. But then, the anime staff really went all out with that. *laughs* I admit my plot does involve that but you usually expect a huge blood splatter on the wall to illustrate that.

R: Usually, you don't show that. So I really believed they wouldn't show that on screen. But then, when I checked the storyboard for that scene, it was quite something.

H: Sure was. To the point it was too dark and we couldn't see anything (heavily censored on TV broadcast).

H: That was really hardcore.

H: And then we have Satoko... She did that to Rika (mimicking the Watanagashi Ritual gesture). But then we see Rika in that splendid world following the conclusion of Matsuribayashi. And she wants to leave Hinamizawa. Indeed, I wasn't surprised there.

R: Right. For a long time, even without considering the loop issue, Rika was supposed carry the duty of the Furude family, and was thus "caged" in Hinamizawa. As such, Rika always wanted to leave Hinamizawa at some point.

R: I also understand that people who have followed the original Higurashi would wonder why she suddenly wants to leave Hinamizawa. I wanted to properly explain why, hence I wrote those scenes.

H: So we got comments here and... did Passione go L5 there?

R: *laughs*

H: Is that true? Did they go berserk?

R: When you see them putting so much efforts into the storyboard, I have no choice but to let them do what they want!

H: Well I prepared some questions and I asked some already but I have something else to ask. Regarding Akasaka, Akane and Kimiyoshi, did you pick them on purpose along with Ooishi?

R: That's right. I killed the reliable adults one by one. To be honest, in my initial draft, Chie was supposed to be among them too.

H: I see!

R: Chie locked Rika in the school building at night, doing "something" to Rika's finger...

R: But then, I calmed down a bit and reconsidered that part. Chie is a guest character, so I would feel really bad doing that, so I scrapped that idea.

H: You didn't lose all of your reason it seems! I really thought you lost it.

R: I wanted to kill every reliable character there.

H: But why?!

R: I just wanted to break Rika and the audience's heart in a fell swoop *smash gesture*

H: In other words, that's your intention right? I mean, among the characters, there is a person who has such intent right?

R: Well yeah. There is a character who has such intent. They want to crush Rika's will thoroughly.

H: Okay, let's hear who it is. Let me guess: it is Teppei!

R: *laughs* Ever since Tataridamashi, a lot of people expect it to be Teppei!

H: Well, that's a popular theory after all. So was it Teppei?!

R: I can't say. I mean, even for Teppei that's a bit... But when I hear so many voices making such theories about him, it almost looks like the heavens dictate so (not too sure what he meant by that, unless he implies even gods decreed that)

H: I mean we have Satoko-washi (Washi is the pronoun used by Teppei).

R: Just imagine Teppei storming in St Lucia and dragging her out. That would be cool right?

H: No, I'd rather imagine Teppei say "Please let me enroll at St Lucia."

R: Oh, him enrolling there *laughs*

H: Oh right, someone brought up Teppei's medicine shown in the anime.

R: Well, Teppei is a character who doesn't take care of his health, so his body isn't particularly healthy. So he takes some medicine

H: How much medicine does he take?

R: I can't really say. I can't reveal the actual medicine he takes.

H: Oho, makes me wonder

R: But I'm really surprised people took a good look at that medicine cut.

H: But seriously, you should stop with those single cuts appearing like that for a brief moment!

H: And then, we have some very peaceful scenes until it ultimately becomes a tragedy.

R: When it comes to how I write tragedies, I will try to explain, although I might be wrong so please forgive me. So to speak, "if it is only cold, it doesn't break" (寒さでけでは砕けない). I mean, in a desert, there is only sand, no rock right? That's because there is an extreme difference of temperature between day and night. So a rock in a desert begins to crack due to the heat during the day and some water infiltrates it. Then at night, it becomes really cold and that water freezes. If you repeat that process, the rock breaks down and becomes sand.

R: So I applied that logic to Satoko. She is initially in the "cold" part with all that stuff in St Lucia. Then she warms up quite a bit when she is back to Hinamizawa with everyone else.

H: So about Keiichi smashing Rena (bat gesture) at the Angel Mort. Did he start the rampage like that?

R: Yes and it is a bit similar to what we discussed before. Keiichi is seen as a reliable comrade, so it isn't just the adults who succumbed, but also the likes of Keiichi. As for Angel Mort, it is usually a location for gags right? There wasn't really any serious/negative scenes there right? That's the "even there you cannot escape" kind of atmosphere I wanted to convey. I wanted to ramp the tragedy.

H: That's really sorrowful. But I'm going to hang in there and continue watching it.

H: So let's discuss about Episode 17. That is Nekodamashi 4. We witnessed Takano's apologies and that case scene. We got the peaceful scenes and then... that present to Satoko.

R: Yes!

H: And then those eyes.

R: Yes, the red ones!

H: And then Episode 18 with Satoko.

H: So let me ask one of my questions: what was the reason for Takano to give up on her plan?

R: Oh about that, it will be explained properly later on so I can't reveal anything now. But there is something that happened that made her act that way.

H: Well I mean Takano was extremely determined. An absolute strong will! The likes even God wouldn't be able to change! And yet...?

R: On the other hand, that's what makes it all the more interesting! When you think about that Takano, it really makes you wonder what made her change her mind.

H: But seriously, what happened?

R: It makes you wonder what, or who did that right? Don't worry, you will have your answer in due time.

H: Next question is: What's up with Satoko's witch eyes?

R: *laughs* ...

H: Sorry, I wrote witch eyes just like that, but yeah.

R: I admit they certainly look like eyes of a witch.

H: It's not just the eyes, how come Satoko figured out about that trap box?

R: Well, if she wasn't like Rika, there was no way she would have figured that out. She had to have "experience" of that box beforehand. She is quite similar to Rika in that sense.

H: Wait huh? So she became able to use that power too?

R: Well, she was a normal girl, but in Satokowashi she is in the middle of obtaining that. You will see, next week she will gain some incredible power.

H: Someone stated she was fishy ever since that vomit scene. Is that true? Was something slightly different?

R: Let's see. How to explain that. Her seiyuu, Kanai Mika, made a spectacular performance. Remember the original series when Satoko threw up? It really felt like it came from her gut right? "But this time, it sounds a bit like she is faking it?" Some people said those kind of things.

R: Also, when Satoko came back (to school after Teppei came back to Hinamizawa), she took a piece of daikon from Rena's bento. There were some theories where Satoko came back on purpose to pick that daikon piece and make it so she actually threw up.

H: That's interesting.

R: It isn't just Kanai, but all the seiyuu are quite the veterans. When you tell them the hidden details, they can deliver tons of nuance. That being said, since the original series was 10 years ago, some people might think the seiyuu are just tired and thus might have misunderstood how they had to perform. But there was no misunderstanding to begin with. In fact, their acting was spot on.

H: And then we had that scene with Keiichi trying to pat her head but she immediately deflected his hand.

R: Oh yeah, that. The first time you watch that scene, you might wonder "a little bit" about Satoko's attitude there.

R: In the previous higurashi, Rika was the secret protagonist. Sure, Keiichi was perceived as the main protagonist, but the secret one was Rika. So this time, the hidden protagonist is Satoko.

From Watadamashi-hen Part 1

H: There is a comment stating the following: "The scene where Keiichi gives the doll to Mion. He did that thanks to Rika's advice HOWEVER, Satoko sort of had that stare there". Is that right?

R: That's riiiiight.

H: Wait, she really did?!

R: She was incredibly indifferent. Normally, you would expect her to act a bit like Rena with that "Aah, it is so cute" look on her face, but here Satoko was pretty co-... or should I say quite indifferent.

R: So it isn't like Satoko was looking at Mion receiving the doll. But more like realizing Rika told Keiichi to give the doll to Mion.

R: "Rika, so you know that much, huh?", kind of attitude from her, something like that.

R: You know, there are the whodunnit, howdunnit and whydunnit in a mystery. So now you know the whodunnit, I urge you to watch these episodes again with the upcoming DVD. Passione really put a lot into these kind of details.

H: Another question: "does Satoko have memories of past loops? Awareness of previous loops like Minagoroshi"?

R: At the very least, she knew about the surprise box. Regarding memories of the previous Higurashi, I cannot say but at the very least, know that she had memories of that surprise box.

H: Oooh... now I get it! That's really interesting.

R: *laughs*

H: So, is it going to be 24 episodes?

R: Yeah, I guess.

H: So 4 episodes left, huh?

R: I admit things are a bit in a rush, but I assure you its pacing is pretty laid back. It was done "properly" (cleanly?) so I hope you will look forward to it.

T: He had some shifty eyes when the host was like "so 4 episodes left..."

R: I want people to trust me and have expectations for what comes next.

H: So are we going to have Satokowashi until the end of the series?

R: For now, I believe we stick to Satokowashi.

H: And now, episode 19 and 20. The most recently broadcasted episodes. In episode 19, Satoko passed the exams but just couldn't adapt herself in St Lucia.

R: *laughs*

H: So this is basically what it is is about, heh?

R: That's right. It's about her struggle.

H: Then in episode 20 that was broadcasted a few days ago. They came back to Hinamizawa.

R: As I mentioned before, that's the "warm" part of the tragedy.

H: Alright everyone, I believe you have a lot of things to ask here. Let's start with one of my questions.

R: Sure, please do!

H: Let's see... What's the deal with Featherine? (board just says "Featherine?")

R: *bursts in laughter* That's some hot topic right there.

H: Wait, first, am I correct to assume it is her?

R: Well... indeed, there is a character in Umineko called Featherine that is very similar to that character. But for that character, voiced by Hidaka Noriko, her name is not Featherine.

H: So you say her name is not Featherine?

R: She is (not) Featherine (あれはフェザリーヌさんでは...he never finished that sentence)

H: Wow, that's surprising. Can I check with the staff for a second?

R: *lots of laughter*

H: There is something else I want to know. Is Umineko a must watch (for Gou)?

R: One part of my fictional world/character settings are similar, or pretty much borrow the concept of star system (Japanese term to designate how authors reuse their characters as if they were actors, similar to how Tezuka did before), making you feel "Oh, there is that character!". Of course, you will enjoy that if you read Umineko, but it has nothing to do with Umineko.

R: It is fine if you don't know her. And if you do, I'm sure you are enjoying it. Of course, if we talk about business, sure I want everyone to read it!

H: But of course. it is a very interesting work too.

H: But man, that study hall was too scary.

R: *more laughter*

H: No seriously, the girls expressions were so gloomy. There is no way something like that could happen.

R: *can't stop laughing* So true

H: I thought we finally were done with guro, and then we got this.

R: I agree, it is a different kind of guro.

H: It is seriously grotesque yeah. And then the solitary confinement cell...

R: *laughing*

H: I mean, you can't just put a cell like that. That's too horrible.

H: And to make things worse, there is that misunderstanding between Rika and Satoko.

R: That's right!

H: Is that misunderstanding going to be cleared?!

R: *looks at the ceiling* I wonder

H: "I wonder" he said!

R: In Satoko's mind, that incident alone wasn't enough, it is pretty much everything that happened thus far. (answer is shortened quite a lot because there are few things I can't really grasp in his explanations)

H: Was St Lucia based on an actual location?

R: Well, no. Pretty much the setting of a school for rich girls. You have one section where girls can enroll by paying large sums of money, and another section where "normal" girls can attend if they happen to have excellent grades.

R: (skipped some stuff regarding the school itself). Shion attended the rich girls department where she didn't really study that much, whereas Satoko and Rika attended the department where they had to have excellent grades.

Other Notes

  1. Satoko thinks that Rika is the one who outed her.[1] (Satokowashi-hen Part 3)
  2. When voice actors heard about Gou's ending, they didn't believe in it.[2] The VA keep asking staff, "how does it end", and some time ago one of the Passione staff straight up told them the ending of the show. No one believed him. Ryukishi wouldn't say whether it's a happy end or a tragic end, but he said it was a proper conclusive end. Metaphor: the golf ball will properly enter the hole.
  3. It was planned from the start for Satoko's chest to grow.[2] Ryukishi was digging through some old Higurashi material before Gou started, and found that when designing Satoko he had specified she would "have big tatters" (トランジスターグラマー toranjisutāguramā) as a grown up. So they went with that.
  4. Ryukishi is shown all the storyboards for approval before they get animated. The "jail" is called an "individual study room". When he was shown the storyboards for that scene they were black and white, and he assumed Satoko was wearing a jersey. When he saw the finished episode is the first time it was colored and he realized it was a prison suit. (Satokowashi-hen Part 3)
  5. Keiichi should be getting a bit less dense as he grows up. So sooner or later the time to properly take someones hand will come.

Sources

References

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