We finally make it to the third volume of the trilogy in the story arc of Ryukishi Zeronana’s When the Cicada’s Cry: The Festival Accompanying Chapter (竜騎士07の”ひぐらしのなく頃に解:祭囃し編 (下)”). This is something like the 16th book out of 16 covering the main anime storyline and not counting periphery books in the series. It runs 422 pages and was published in 2009.
The bunko pocket edition in Japanese is available here:
This is the link to the Kodansha boxed edition that I’m actually reading:
It opens with a color foldout poster of all of the characters:
I couldn’t quite fit the whole thing on the scan, but the painting has a rather apocalyptic feel with the fiery red sky behind the cast.
Unlike a lot of the volumes in the series, this one ends with two poems from Frederica Bernkastel rather than starting off with them, so I’ll address those in the second installment of this series. The chapter titles are mostly dates with many subchapter titles merely referencing this or that character’s “turn” in the story. So let’s start by covering the first chapter, June 17th .
The first segment starts off with someone telling Rika and Satoko to guard against getting a summer cold since the Cotton-Drifting Festival and Rika’s duties as shrine maiden are coming up. The speaker is eventually identified as their friend Mion. The scene then shifts to detail the treatment schedule and staff breaks at the Irie Clinic.
In the middle of the segment, there is more talk about Hinamizawa Syndrome and Takano’s grandfather’s research, but the most jarring aspect to me is the way the two names of Takano and Takano are juxtaposed. Since they are now at this point of the story written differently and set together, it almost serves as a reminder that Takano Miyo has moved very far away from the spirit and goals of her grandfather’s original research, but this contrast is in the subtext each time this theme is brought up in the book. It comes up a lot in the portion I’m covering today. Then this section also mentions how Rika and Satoko have no relatives left.
The third segment shows the Yamainu military group head Ogonoki talking on the phone with Takano, discussing how today is the beginning of some sort of surveillance. After he hangs up the receiver, he thinks about Takano’s mood and the front company landscaping business office they have in the nearby city of Okinomiya. Then he discusses more about this surveillance plan while referring to the other members of the Yamainu, who oddly have bird-related code names like “phoenix” and “white heron.” You would think with a collective name like the Yamainu, which is a type of wild dog in Japan, they would have canine names or something. The Yamainu is described in this section as a different sort of combat unit that has gathered an assortment of technical specialists.
Ogonoki has orders to install equipment to tap the phones, conduct surveillance, gather intelligence, and manage disinformation. At the very end of this segment, someone tells him he has a call on an outside line from party head Nomura, who doesn’t otherwise have a big role in the story.
In the next chapter titled “Akasaka’s Turn,” Satoko has set traps around the small house the night before and has them all mapped out. She hears the crash of a basin fall, and the sound frightens her. They know the little house is under surveillance. Rika is sitting on the futon when the phone suddenly rings a long time then stops. Then girls go to sleep.
Irie eventually talks with the girls at the door, saying he’s on his rounds checking on the heads of households, and he admonishes them to speak softly due to the dangerous surveillance they have to contend with. After they invite him in, they have a light meal while talking more about a whole range of topics: the phone and the surveillance, Takano, how Rika is no longer comfortable coming to the clinic, and Tomitake beginning his secret investigation.
They acknowledge that Takano and the Yamainu are Rika’s enemies and ponder Takano’s connection to Hinamizawa’s string of strange deaths. The conversation turns to the subject of the Cotton-Drifting Festival the next night. One of them calls Takano a scary woman. For some reason, they bring up Professor Takano’s adoption of Takano Miyo as a child, too, and his Hinamizawa Syndrome research. Tomitake is searching for evidence of her research scheme, and they discuss a method to communicate by phone in spite of the surveillance.
We have a long chapter, “The Club Members’ Meeting,” where Mion and Rika are talking at the Sonozaki house. Most of the village’s school children are present, including Hanyuu, the spirit helping Rika. The conversation starts out about punishment games and regular club activities and turns to the subject of Akasaka and Tomitake’s missions. They are hopeful for victory against Rika’s enemies this time since they have set traps on the far side of the mountain and have a secret base underground at Mion’s house. The plan includes taking advantage of the idea that Rika is the queen carrier of the Hinamizawa Syndrome and that 48 hours after her death the villagers were expected to go crazy. The group has a decoy in place to make this death look real, and this is the time frame they are using to trick Takano. The club meeting ends up just being a rehash of their plan to defeat fate and Takano.
In the next chapter, “Tomitake’s Turn,” 1st Lieutenant Tomitake answers the phone and identifies himself. In this part of the story, he and Takano Miyo are frequently referred to by their military ranks. Tomitake is talking to someone about Major Takano and the investigation into transactions involving the Irie Institute’s operating fund. I’m not sure exactly who he is talking to, but they also discuss Takano’s relationship to old Professor Takano’s friend Koizumi-san and how Koizumi had provided funding for Major Takano.
Chapter 2 and the chapter’s first segment have the same title, “June 18th, Saturday,” and the scene begins at the Furude Shrine grounds where preparations are being made for the upcoming festival. School is out, and Rika is home. Cars bring tents to the site while Rika talks with Irie again about her and Satoko possibly catching a cold. It seems like the village head and Oryou Sonozaki also make an appearance, though they are just called in the dialogue by name. One thing about these Japanese light novels generally is that they are very sparse on exposition or description and are very heavy on dialogue, so they move fast and are kind of confusing about who is talking since not much is tagged with speaker names.
Then the subject of the curse comes up since the villagers are worried about it. Dr. Irie asks Oryou which girl she would rely upon, Rika or Satoko, and he brings up the dam project and the Houjous’ position opposing the village community on it. Surprisingly, Oryou expresses some warmth toward Satoko by the end of the passage. Rika thinks to herself that she hopes Takano’s schemes to raise the specter of Oyashiro-sama’s curse will come to nothing and that five years will be the end of it.
The next few sections cycle through the various key adult players, turning to Detective Ooishi, his close colleague at the police station Kumagaya Katsuya and Tokyo rookie Akasaka before pivoting to Takano thinking again about immortalizing herself, her adopted grandfather and his research. The end of her segment has Takano talking to party head Nomura on the phone.
In “Irie’s Turn,” Irie explains to Akasaka the meaning of the 48 Hour War Proclamation, and Akasaka learns he will meet with Ooishi that night and that the plan will be set in motion in the morning. They hope to meet again late at night on Sunday. Akasaka expresses some concern about being able to connect with his wife Yukie since I think he calls her every night. They also discuss the weather for the festival set for Saturday.
In the segment “Forty-Eight Hour War Proclamation,” Oiishi and Rika talk about the members of their team and fighting the enemy. This section ends with the them wondering whether they or Takano will win tomorrow.
The next chapter, chapter 3, is titled “June 19th, Sunday. ” The first subheading is short, and it has a very brief segment at the beginning talking about the sliver of time between late at night until morning. The night is tranquil, but suddenly we are in the office of the Ogonoki Landscaping Company where someone is playing Hanafuda at the reception desk. The phone rings, and whoever is there answers it. I don’t see any particular name given for which character, though I may just not be recognizing it in the text.
The second segment in this section returns to Takano, who is rushing to an underground security room. Someone briefs her on the fact that the queen carrier has been dead in the custody of someone in Okinomya for forty eight hours, and Takano is in a panic. The information has been passed on to Takano’s team by an informant in the city, which seems to be the person at the Ogonoki Landscaping business. Meanwhile, in the middle of the crisis, Takano gets a call from Nomura in Tokyo. Things are unraveling for her now. The section’s third segment returns to the landscaping business again briefly.
The story stalls a bit in Okinomiya where Detective Kumagaya is at the Communication Center with his fellow officers, then Tomitake takes another official call about the Yamainu and Rika Furude’s body being held for 48 hours now. The apparent death will now kick in the implementation of emergency manual 34 to protect the peace of Hinamizawa.
But in the next part, Ogonoki and the Yamainu go to Tomitake’s hotel room, which is under surveillance from the outside. They assume he’s still asleep because they can’t hear any sound in the room. However, when they break in, Tomitake isn’t there. We then get a long scene between Ooishi and another minor police character named Ootaka. I’m going to stop there today and pick it up next time to finish out the series. This series will only be two parts so I can get caught up on this year’s reading schedule since I’m falling behind.
Part one of a two part series.