|This article is about a character in Higurashi When They Cry.|
This article or section contains untagged major spoilers for the original Higurashi When They Cry and possibly the console-exclusive arcs. Readers who have not completed the main story are advised not to proceed further.
Mao Sonozaki (園崎 魔央 Sonozaki Mao) is an ancestor of the Sonozaki family and was one of its leaders. She appears exclusively in Kotohogushi-hen.
The acting head of the Sonozaki family, one of the Three Families.
She is about three years older than Ouka.
Mao is the guardian of the still young successor to the Sonozaki family but is practically in charge of it.
(Translated from Entergram's Higurashi Hou website.)
Mao is brash and rude and comes off as very cruel, but she is really a compassionate woman. Mao sometimes has moments of self-doubt and panic, but she knows how to keep herself calm on others' behalf.
Mao came from a gangster family who ran a large inn near Onigafuchi. She married into the Sonozaki family after falling in love with the current head and had a son with him, however Mao wasn't well liked by the villagers because she was an outsider. After her husband's death, Mao became the acting head of the Sonozakis while trying to raise her son as the next successor.
Mao and Shino frequently bicker whenever they're together, ever since Shino tried to interfere with Mao's marriage. Shino often loudly vocalizes her dislike for Mao due to her being an outsider, but secretly she wants to accept Mao and is afraid of standing up to the villagers after the incident with Riku and Hanyuu.
Role in the Story
Ouka summons Mao and Shino for a meeting regarding the recent theft of a chest full of demon medicine. As the Three Family heads are the only ones with keys to the warehouse and had the ability to steal the chest, Ouka wanted to clear up any suspicions. Mao and Shino argue over the latter accusing her of being involved, but Ouka gets them to shut up after voicing her trust in both of them and making them realize the gravity of the situation.
Mao reveals that last month, she heard some people in a port town were selling demon medicine on the black market and sent out some Sonozaki men to investigate it. Mao apologizes for keeping it hidden as she wanted to find proof, but was encouraged by Ouka's trust.
The group lays a trap for the bandits by putting another chest full of medicine in the warehouse and standing watch at night, expecting the thieves to return. They discover three men trying to take the chest (taking advantage of the warehouse being left unlocked by Ouka's daughter unwittingly), and swiftly beat them and tie them up. The next day, Mao puts the thieves on display in front of all the villagers and makes a show of threatening to torture them, getting them to confess who ordered them to steal the medicine. Mao is shocked to hear the feudal lord sent them.
The family heads meet again, with Mao relaying that the feudal lord wants the prescription to the demon medicine. Ouka is conflicted and Mao asks if she really wants to hand over the prescription to them. Ouka asks to have more time to decide.
Mao and Shino try to take matters into their own hands behind Ouka's back, with Mao wanting to petition her uncle to hold off on talking to the feudal lord about the medicine, going away with some subordinates. Hanyuu eavesdrops on her conversation and hopes to convince Ouka to leave the village.
Hanyuu goes on a murderous rampage through Onigafuchi and sets the village on fire. Mao and her men try to help surviving villagers evacuate, however the only bridge leading to another village is destroyed. Mao tries to keep herself calm when Shino appears wondering where Ouka's family is. Mao argues with her not to get herself killed trying to rescue them and resorts to knocking out Shino when she tries to run off. Mao's group is able to find a path out of the village for survivors later.
Once the fire subsides the next morning, Mao and Shino reunite with Ouka and her family at the shrine.
- Like other Sonozaki family heads, Mao's name contains the character for demon (鬼) in its first character (魔).
- Kotohogushi-hen Chapter 12