myst3ry r00m

About Recent Entries

What's up, people!? Jan. 1st, 2099 @ 00:00 am

Hiya, reader! I'm fishguts and I'm a veteran cosplayer who's just taught herself how to work a sewing machine to wearable if not fashionable results. In this here Dreamwidth journal, I talk about cosplay, of course, but also video-games, anime/manga, and general fannishness. Three words that might describe me are chatty, avid, and blue - as in the color, not the mood. I tend to be more peppy than not.This journal is one part public and one part friends-locked. I won't grant access to anyone I haven't already swapped a few comments with, but you're more than welcome to say hi and chat with me in the comment section of this post.

No comment policy as such. I welcome comments both on recent posts and on posts so old they could be fossilized.

I'm bi-fannish in that there are only two canons I love forever and will never shut up about - they are Higurashi When They Cry, and Danganronpa. There are, of course, other canons that I enjoy and talk about and produce fanworks for; but really it's Higurashi and Danganronpa into which I put the brunt of my love and efforts.

My fannish activities include, but certainly aren't limited to: cosplaying (including costume- and prop-construction), making zines and icons, drawing fanart, composing fanmixes, interior design (a.k.a. collecting and arranging such character goods as figures, Nendoroids, prints, charms, stands, whathaveyou), writing meta, and generally talking about the canons I read/watch/play into, regardless of whether I like said canons or not.

Other things about myself that you might want to know: I'm a prodigious user of the general you; on occasion, I'll jokingly refer to myself as watashi or boku. Infrequently I talk about the aspects of real life which are fannish in nature or which relate to fandom, but I don't use real names when referring to either myself or other people.

Antis, and anyone under the age of 21, are expressly prohibited from interacting with me. I will not hesitate to block you if I believe you are either of these or both.

And that's about it! Welcome to my journal! I'm glad to have you here, and do so hope you enjoy your stay.

Currently Feeling: like introducing myself!
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  • Higurashi When They Watch the New Anime - Episode ...? Jan. 21st, 2021 @ 06:17 pm

    ...What episode was this, anyway? It's the sixteenth episode to have been broadcast, but on my streaming service of choice, it's titled Episode Seventeen? Is this merely an error on the uploader's part? Is this a hint that the next episode is going to take place in the time between Ep. 15 and whatever episode today's was? Are the episodes no longer being aired in 'chronological' order, whatever that might mean for such a show about time loops as Higurashi? ...Is there another reason for the incorrect titling, one I've not considered? Whatever the reason for it, it means I can't properly title this entry until the airing of next week's episode, at the very earliest. Hopefully when [personal profile] rionaleonhart sees the incomplete title, she'll just assume I forgot to add the numeral to it and scroll on without being spoiled.

    Anyway, today's episode.

    I think I'm gonna need a 'deeply disgusted' icon.

    Hi, I never want to watch the first thirteen minutes of today's episode ever again, please and thank you. That was... um. I'm fishguts and I thought I had a high tolerance for guro. But, uh! Apparently I don't, because I had to watch most of that red-tinted scene through my fingers like someone of the faint of heart!

    When I booted up this episode, I fully expected that it would be as psychologically distressing as the previous two Nekodamashi episodes were. I did not, however, did not at all expect to see Rika-chama's intestines spilling out of the bowl of her stomach, gleaming and pearly. (On the subject of which: wow, Passione's oily, silky style really lends itself well to the rendering of organs, doesn't it? ...D:) Nor did I expect Satoko to do what she did, despite that I'd been suspecting Satoko of acting out violently since like episode six.

    The very instant Satoko brought in the hoe, I twisted with guttural horror away from the screen of my computer and raised my hand to my eyes, just in case the anime wasn't about to censor what was about to happen... and um. Yeah. Thank goodness I did that. The anime didn't censor anything. I was hoping most of the violence and gore would be obscured or silhouetted, or even blotted out, but nope. The whole gorefest is palpably explicit. There isn't a blot of censorship to be seen, and so we see everything. In one shot, 89% of the whole frame is just this gigantic mass of-- well, I'm not going to describe it more than I have to, but pretty much there's an intestine, and there're the teeth of the hoe, and there's the sound and sight of one thing ripping and tearing into the other, and... yeah. At one point in the scene, Rika's top half disconnects completely from her bottom half, and, okay, nope, I can't even rewatch the scene in my head without curdling.

    I didn't ask for this! This was a terrible scene! I never want to watch it again!

    As for the rest of the episode... I'm sorry, I'm too aghast at the whole scene with the hoe to even have thoughts on any of the other scenes. Give me a day or two; I'll rewatch the not-so-gory scenes and make an addendum to this post with all my not-so-horrified thoughts therein.

    Until then!

    Currently Feeling: horrified!
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  • Higurashi When They Watch the New Anime - Episode XV Apr. 25th, 2021 @ 08:49 pm

    If I thought last episode's week was Higurashi at its most horrific, well.

    This week's episode. This week's episode is hellish. No. It's hell. Complete and utter hell, where chaos reigns supreme and atrocities are rampant and fires surge to the point of disaster and the world is stained a thick, vile crimson. Episode Fifteen is hell. For Rika-chama, who is thrown into its most violent infernos. And for us, who have to watch.

    The episode begins nicely enough. Mion talks an adorably reluctant and nervous Keiichi into emceeing the auction at the upcoming Watanagashi Festival; Mion, Keiichi, Rena, Satoko, and Rika venture to Okinomiya to collect the wares and goods for the auction. At Uncle Yoshirou's game shop, Rena and Satoko moon over cute merchandise, whilst Keiichi, Mion, and Rika notice a mahjong board set up on the table at the back of the store.

    Before long, everyone's gathered around and talking excitedly about the 'tsubame gaeshi', a mahjong trick in which you swap the tiles in your hand with the wall. Satoko attempts to perform the trick, and fails. The row of tiles pops and pieces are flying and spinning out everywhere. In the resulting havoc, Ooishi arrives, looks on with amusement, and offers to show the kids how it's done. This is all as per the beginning of the Matsuribayashi instalment of the sound novel; and for a moment there, I had a sense of security, of calm, like maybe everything would turn out okay in this episode. Akasaka made his appearance and not only did my entire heart swell, but Rika's world turned warm and misty and hopeful; Rika was filled with all the hope she'd lost in the previous episode. Akasaka promises her that whatever is troubling her, he'll help, she can trust in him to do so. She does, and the music soars.

    In the very next scene the music cuts immediately and we're affronted by the image of Rika, bloodied and lying in an unnatural position on tatami flooring, her eyes so wide. I had to pause the episode and rewind a minute or so, I couldn't quite believe that the tonal swerve I'd just seen had actually happened. But it did. Rika smiles hopefully at Akasaka, who's promised to protect her - and then she's on the floor in some disconcertingly warmly-lit room, battered and covered with blood and either dead or dangerously close to being so.

    At first, I thought I heard Akasaka sobbing in the background. But what I thought were sobs were actually snatches of high, insane laughter. I went cold. In Higurashi Gou, such a sound means only one thing.

    Sure enough, there he was, his eyes wide, his pupils small as pins, his entire face twisted, and grotesque, and oh no, I thought, this is Akasaka, Akasaka, whom Rika adores dearly and trusts in the way she can't trust anyone else. I'd never considered the possibility of Akasaka's going L5. But then, prior to last week's episode, I'd never considered the possibility that the same thing might happen to Ooishi.

    This episode suggests, however, that possibly everyone in Higurashi is susceptible to Hinamizawa Syndrome. Everyone. Every. One. In this episode, Rika is stabbed and burned to death by Akasaka. Decapitated by Akane Sonozaki (this, as well as Mion's decapitation which happens in the same scene, was horrible to watch, and I'm turning my head from the screen next time). Tied up and dragged through the forest on her stomach by a creepily janky Kimiyoshi. Bludgeoned, on the head, with a metal baseball bat, by Keiichi, who moments ago did likewise to Rena. This was, like the decapitation scene, so difficult to watch. My skin curdled completely at the sight of Rena's and Rika's eyes popping out in... ugh... different directions. The animators spared no gore in this episode, and if there was any censorship, I didn't see it.

    The episode ends when Keiichi bludgeons Rika to death. It's the fourth, and thankfully final death that Rika incurs in this episode, and usually I never want episodes of Higurashi Gou to end! But wow, was I relieved to see the calendar which begins the ending theme this time around.

    This episode is a whump-fest. I mean, really, the entirety of Higurashi kind of is, but it's never been so pronounced than it is in this episode. Rika is dragged through all the cycles of her own special hell, sometimes literally so. This is pretty much Suffering: The Episode. This episode raises so many questions and answers none of them because that is not its intention. Its intention, rather, is to wear Rika all the way down, and boy does it achieve that and then some. With every death, Rika counts down just as she promised Hanyuu she would; she promised that she'd bear only five - five - bad loops more. By the end of this episode, she's borne four. Next week's episode, titled Nekodamashi-hen, Part Three, should end this cycle of inexplicable horrors, but, look, this is Higurashi Gou, the anime that's constantly subverting our expectations. It may well end wretchedly. The most I can do is hope that it won't, and simultaneously prepare myself for the possibility that it will.

    As I said above, this episode answers no questions - only raises them. Some of the questions I had upon finishing this episode were questions I've had since the beginning. Why is Rika still stuck in the never-ending loop of June, 1983. Who or what is responsible for this. Where on earth, if indeed she is on earth, is Takano-san? How on earth is Rika going to unpick the loop this time?

    This episode also prompted other, newer questions. Why is everyone contracting Hinamizawa Syndrome? Why does each loop end with the death of Rika, when apparently it's not Takano who's responsible this time? What did Rika do to 'be punished by an eternity of this'? (Her words, not mine; this is a question she explicitly asks herself in the moments leading up to her death by bludgeoning.) And, most important of all, absolutely what did Rika mean when she reflected, in the final scene, that she wishes she could wake up "[from this dream, in her] usual dorm room at St. Lucia Academy"? Correct me if I'm incorrect, but isn't St. Lucia the academy that SHION attended prior to the events of Meakashi and Watanagashi? So why does Rika... ?????

    Also curious is the outfit that Rika wears in this momentary fantasy. It's similar to her standard uniform, except the pink bowtie is replaced by a pink necktie (same shape as Shion's blue-and-white-striped necktie) and she's not wearing her usual suspenders, and there's an emblem or crest embroidered into the pocket of her shirt. She's not exactly the same Rika who appears in each episode. She's older-looking, and she's exactly the same Rika who we see in the intro, the Rika running across the grass under the moon as Asaka sings, "Zutto kimi no yorokobi mo (I have always felt your happiness)".

    Actually, on the subject of which... St. Lucia's in the intro, as well. And has been since the intro was first, well, introduced, back in Episode Two. So St. Lucia's must be of vital importance to the story, and the fact that Rika mentions the place explicitly in this very episode must have some greater significance. But what, exactly? Precisely what does this all mean? ??? Question mark???

    I'm thoroughly befuddled. Yep, this is definitely a Higurashi anime.

    Currently Feeling: mysified!
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  • Higurashi When They Watch the New Anime - Episode XIV Apr. 23rd, 2021 @ 01:08 pm

    My chest, the seat of feeling, it has been clawed at. By today's episode of Higurashi When They Cry Gou.

    That was... oh, god, that was... profoundly, unspeakably... abysmal. Oh, god. Where do I even begin?

    Okay, first of all, for clarity: when I say that today's episode was abysmal, I don't mean it was bad, or poorly executed, or of crummy quality - nothing of the sort. I mean, rather, that the things which happened in today's episode are bitterly, terribly ruinous. God, everything about this episode.

    The episode begins with the cotton-drifting ceremony that is the key tenement of the Watanagashi festival; Rena, Mion, Shion, and Rika smile as the balls of cotton roll along the rivulets of the river. All's well until someone asks where Satoko and Keiichi have got to, and from there it becomes increasingly apparent that the brutal events of the previous episode are about to re-occur, and then some. We're spared the awful scene of Keiichi's encounter with Teppei Houjou, which would be a relief if the scene which we're shown instead were less violent than the scene in the Houjou house.

    Spoiler alert, it isn't. It is so not. It is possibly the most violent scene in Higurashi Gou thus far. It's the scene that Rena told Keiichi about at the end of the last episode. The scene in which Ooishi comes at the festival-goers with a gun.

    He does, but the gun isn't the only weapon he's wielding. He has a baseball bat in hand, as well - and you do know the one - except the entirety of its metal shaft is dimpled and battered, and there're red stains along the length of it, and there's no doubting that Ooishi or someone else did something very violent with the bat moments before Ooishi brings it to the festival grounds. He laughs as he usually does, but this time, in these circumstances, the sound is chilling.

    Remember the horrible ending of the Minagoroshi instalment of the sound novels? The one in which Takano had Keiichi and his friends gunned down one by one? Remember how horrifying that was? Well. This scene is just as horrifying, if not more so.

    His eyes wide and swollen and clenched by veins, Ooishi lunges at Rika, and seizes her throat with his hand, to strangle her. A few festival-goers attempt to undo the grip of Ooishi's hand, but Ooishi draws his gun and aims at them and fires and does not miss. He becomes increasingly agitated, exclaiming both that he's solved the mystery and that his neck is itchy; he replaces the hand on Rika's neck with his arm and scratches desperately at his neck.

    And it gets worse. Mion rushes at Ooishi, trying to placate him by promising him that she'll listen to what he has to say. The look on Ooishi's face is evil. He raises his gun, cocks it, and --

    Shion knocks the gun out of his hand, and his hold on Rika weakens. But Ooishi reclaims the gun with a disturbingly insane yell, kicks Shion to the ground, and aims the barrel at her. Shion is shot before anyone can do anything.

    And it gets worse. Mion is shot a second later - right in the center of the forehead. Ooishi grabs the back of Rika's head and, lifting her up like some lifeless doll, raises his gun to her. Rena, who's still alive, screams for Ooishi to let Rika go.

    Ooishi throws Rika to the ground, and what he does to her head - with the bat - is-- oh, my god. The impact isn't censored. We see it. And it is vile. It is so sickeningly vile and my spine has never clung to the back of my desk chair in the way it did at this point in the episode. Every part of me was recoiled and shriveled up. This arc really was Minagoroshi all over again, from the determined petitioning of the CWS to the appallingly shocking ending. Oh, my god.

    The Nekodamashi arc begins as soon as this scene has ended. Rika wakes up in the fragment world, feels the pain of her violent death, and cries. Hanyuu, who hasn't made an appearance since the second episode, watches remorsefully on as Rika screams and curses the horrid fate that has befallen her and her friends - yet again.

    Hanyuu whispers to Rika that there is a sword, deep in the ritual storehouse, which can end a lifetime of time-loops - and whilst Rika doesn't immediately understand what Hanyuu means by telling her this, we do. When Rika realizes it for herself, she resolves to find the sword and do with it exactly what Hanyuu gently suggested she do.

    My entire heart was in shreds when Rika used a game of Hide and Seek to hide her impending suicide from her friends. My entire heart. Watching Rika run away from them, about to 'hide' where she could never be found, was devastating. Thank god Rika's friends - Keiichi and Rena and Mion and Satoko - cared enough about her not to stop looking until they finally found her. And thank god they ended up finding her in time. Also thank goodness the sword that Rika was looking for was no longer there; thank goodness even if the absence of the sword made Rika cry tears that made me feel so sorry for her.

    What Rika did end up finding in the storeroom was but a shard of the sword - the very same shard we've seen her take before, in the anime's opening. She's about to slit her throat with the sharp side of the shard, but just as she brings it dangerously close to her skin, her friends call out to her from outside. I love that they felt confident that she was in the storeroom - despite that really, she could have been anywhere in Hinamizawa. Gosh, this friendship. <3

    The episode ends on a note that is both hopeless and optimistic. Rika pockets the shard, thinking to herself that she can use it whenever - but ultimately she chooses not to use it right now. She's alive a little longer; her friends encourage her (not that they realize it) to continue living, and she chooses to do so, despite her belief that she will only go on suffering as long as she is alive.


    This episode disproves my theory-of-sorts that Rena misunderstood Ooishi's actions at the festival. I suggested that maybe Ooishi had his gun out for a perfectly logical reason - but nope, Ooishi had drawn his gun out of paranoia resulting from Hinamizawa Syndrome, which he appears to have contracted. I don't know how Ooishi could have contracted the virus, nor do I know when he contracted the virus (nor am I sure whether he had contracted it before or after he spoke to Keiichi and co. and the protesters outside the CWS offices).

    Yet again, the whereabouts of Tomitake-san and Takano remain unknown. But on a not-unrelated note, it's interesting to me that Ooishi more or less plays Takano's role in this version of the Tatarigoroshi/Minagoroshi loop. As I said above, where in the Minagoroshi loop it's Takano who's responsible for the massacre, here the responsible party is Ooishi. It does make me wonder how responsible Ooishi is for the events of the Onidamashi and Watadamashi loops, for if he can fill Takano's role in this loop, it isn't beyond possibility that he could have done likewise in those loops, as well.

    The one question that's weighing most heavily on me now, though is this: Whose blood was on the baseball bat that Ooishi dragged to the festival?

    Currently Feeling: mysified!
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  • Higurashi When They Watch the New Anime - Episodes XII and XIII Jan. 5th, 2021 @ 04:42 pm
    At the very end of 2020, the reception in my area blinked miserably out and was just- it was gone. Not a blip. Reception up our way was completely non-existent, and it remained in this non-existent state all throughout the first four days of January, 2021, and what a way to start the new year.

    I don't know what happened to the internet, I don't know how it happened, and I really don't know how the issue, whatever it was, was finally resolved, but here I finally am, connected and online and typing this very entry into the world wide web. The future is finally now.

    I was sure I'd missed an episode of Higurashi Gou whilst disconnected, but to my immense relief - and slight befuddlement - no new episode has been added to the Funimation site since Episode Thirteen, which I'd already watched. And that reminds me - I never did publish that post I wrote about Episodes Thirteen and Twelve, did I. Allow me to do so now.

    Oh, it's been a while since I last posted about the new Higurashi anime! I did watch Episode Twelve the very moment it was simulcast, but as far as episodes of Higurashi Gou, er, go, Ep. 12 was largely unremarkable, as it was more or less a verbatim retelling of events from the Minagoroshi chapter of the original sound novel. As in Minagoroshi, Keiichi and co. petition the Child Welfare Services (CWS) to remove Satoko from her uncle's 'care', but to no avail. Keiichi and co. then go on to request support from Oryou Sonozaki, and what initially seems to be no avail, eventually turns out to be very much avail indeed.

    This scene was one of my favorites in Minagoroshi, but in this episode, it's just another scene. We get to see Oryou herself in this episode, get to see her face contort and twist and scowl when she rages at Keiichi. In the original sound novel, however, Oryou famously did not have any sprites or character art - she was the one key character we never actually saw, no matter how present she was in any scene which contained or featured her. I think this visual absence of hers made her presence that much more formidable. And fearful, for you tend to fear what you can't see more than what you can; Oryou is more strikingly fearful when she remains unseen than when she appears on-screen, I think. I did enjoy watching Keiichi confront her in Ep. Twelve, but the tensions were higher in the original version of this scene. Oryou inspired more cowering when she was a presence we couldn't see.

    The only other note I have on Episode Twelve is that it didn't end in the way the fourth episode of all the previous 'chapters' of Gou have, which surprised me, as I was fully expecting it to. Episode Four, the final part of Onidamashi-hen, ended in gore, misery, and mystery; Episode Eight, the fourth and final part of Watadamashi-hen, ended likewise. But Ep. Twelve ends with the warm, golden light of hope, under which the characters are positively glowing. Rika-chama says to Keiichi that he has the power to tear their fate apart, and the episode ends on that inspiring note.

    This hope continues to build throughout the course of Episode Thirteen. Keiichi, Mion, Shion, Rika, and Rena continue to petition the CWS; Ooishi shows up and suggests that the protesting masses be disbanded before someone gets arrested or worse. Oryou and the Sonozakis loan their influence to Keiichi and co.; Satoko's situation is resolved just in time for Watanagashi.

    And all's well for a while! A very wonderful while, in which the club messes around playfully on the festival grounds, in which Rika performs her ritual dance, in which Satoko takes Keiichi aside and asks him if she can call him her Nii-nii. (It's Nii-nii. It's always Nii-nii, no matter what the subtitles say.) My whole heart swelled when Satoko embraced Keiichi, called him her Nii-nii, then called him that again.

    And yet. Despite these joys both large and small, the episode does not end well. It really does not end well. It--

    Satoko invites Keiichi back to her place, to give him something that once belonged to her brother, Satoshi. Keiichi is led to a room. He enters, reaches for the light pull, and as the light wakes up, Keiichi is struck in the back of the head by the heavy end of a metal bat. You do know the one. Blood splatters across the room and runs thickly down Keiichi's face as he writhes and gasps in shock and pain and horror.

    I did not want to believe that it was Satoko who'd hit Keiichi, and was a touch relieved to see that the person wielding the bat was Satoko's uncle, Teppei Houjou. Satoko was standing by the door, looking upon the scene in speechless, silent terror.

    Before Keiichi can be beaten to death, however, he somehow snatches the baseball bat and crunches it into the back of Teppei's head; more blood bursts across the room, more screams tear through the room. All the while, the camera is quivering, and the edges of the room are grainy and hazy. Later we see that this is because the ceiling light is flickering - but at the time it seems to us that Keiichi is rapidly, messily dissociating, just as he does at the end of the Onikakushi instalment.

    It is so, so awful that the very action which has haunted Keiichi all through this Tataridamashi arc ends up being the very same action that he's ultimately forced to resort to.

    This arc ends brutally. All the blood, misery, and mystery with which Onidamashi and Watadamashi ended are present and accounted for here. Keiichi wakes in a hospital days? weeks? months? later, and finds himself painfully unable to recall anything about the incident with Satoko and Teppei. Then Rena visits, and reveals to Keiichi the horrifying and baffling events that occurred while he was at Satoko's house: Ooishi came to the festival with his gun, and all those friends of Keiichi's who died at the end of Watadamashi - Shion, Mion, Rika, Satoko - died this time around, too.

    ...I have no words. Ooishi, with a gun? In what universe would Ooishi - Ooishi - come at the festival crowd with a gun? Rena doesn't say outright that Ooishi shot and killed their friends, but the implication is clearly that Ooishi shot and killed their friends, and - nope, I just can't believe Ooishi would do that. I—

    I'm more inclined to believe that Rena has misunderstood what she saw; perhaps it wasn't her friends that Ooishi was aiming at, but someone else, or something else.

    I'll also concede that Rena herself might have had something to do with the deaths of her friends; it's not impossible; though admittedly it is less than likely this time, as she hasn't shown any symptoms during this five-episode arc, or been even slightly off so much as once. I'll additionally concede that Satoko, Rika, Mion, or Shion might have been responsible, and were ultimately killed in the ensuing chaos... ...but Rena is right. As it is, it does not make any sense.

    My questions are, aside from what really happened on the night of Watanagashi this time:
    - Is it just a coincidence that Rena escaped death yet again while all Keiichi's other friends were killed?
    - Was Takano-san responsible in any way for what happened at this arc's Watanagashi?
    - Is Takano-san at all responsible for anything that's happened in Gou?
    - How was Teppei able to attack Keiichi in Satoko's home, if Teppei had been arrested the previous day? (Had Teppei been arrested the previous day?)
    - And, what exactly was Ooishi aiming his gun at, if indeed he had drawn and was aiming his gun?

    According to the title card at the end of this episode, the next arc is called "Nekodamashi-hen," or, "Cat-Deceiving Arc". I suspect that the titular 'neko' is either Keiichi, Shion, Takano-san, or Tomitake, as these are the only characters in Higurashi who have once been referred to as cats (see: Keiichi's cat analogy). Then again, nouns have no plural declensions in the Japanese language, and so 'neko' could be referring to one cat, or to two or more cats. So the 'neko' in Nekodamashi might well refer to two or more of those four characters, or to all of them.

    The question of who is doing all the deceiving remains to be answered. With each episode of Higurashi Gou, I'm less inclined to believe it's Takano-san - but then, it is Takano-san's voice actor who reads the title card at the end of each episode, so Takano-san herself mightn't be as totally irrelevant to Gou as she has appeared to be thus far...

    In any case, Nekodamashi sounds completely unlike any of the chapters, arcs, and instalments we've already gone through, so I have no idea what to expect from the next episode. Which is great! More - new - Higurashi! New stories, new mysteries, new questions! A new arc! Gou is increasingly the Higurashi anime of my dreams and maybe nightmares and I love it for that.Collapse
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    More like a needle, always pulling on the thread
    The prompt for last Wednesday (the ninth of December) was "talk about cosplay this year," and... hoo boy, so much to talk about! This decidedly wasn't A Year For Cosplay - I've climbed into costume and makeup maybe two? three? times since January - but I certainly did spend the year in the midst of costumes, teaching myself to make them as I did this year.

    In May I finally took Mom's old Janome sewing machine out of storage and got it humming again. This machine had apparently been in storage for longer than I've been alive. Mom bought it as a teenager and used it merrily through her twenties, but it got packed up and away when she and Dad moved in to our current house, and shortly thereafter I was born, and for years thereafter the sewing machine remained in storage, since no one had the time to use it, let alone to reach into the back of the closet where it was being kept and take it out. And so there in the closet it remained until this year, when I hauled it out, decided as I was to learn how to operate a sewing machine, and how to use said sewing machine for making garments and clothes and costumes.

    Hilariously, because I'd never operated a sewing machine before, I had no idea until very recently that various parts of this Janome sewing machine were irreparably broken or had been lost in transit decades ago. Parts like the reverse stitcher (which doesn't work) and the spool pins (which had fallen into the machine somewhere between Mom and Dad's old house and our current address). Not realizing that the machine had ever had spool pins, I'd been setting each of my cotton spools on the bobbin winder instead - and as for stitching in reverse, I'd simply been doing this by turning the fabric around and going back over my previous row of stitches manually.

    Also, turns out the Janome machine is missing its stitch unpicker, which I didn't even realize was a thing. But just the other day, Mom caught me in the midst of unpicking my stitches by hand, as I'd did whenever I stitched incorrectly, and she raised her eyebrows at me, and went, "You know, you can get the machine to do that for you," and when my eyes goggled and I went, "HOW," she said, "With an unpicker! Here, I'll show you."

    She tried to show me - she opened the case on the side of the machine, made a cluttering noise as she riffled through it, looking for the magical device that would spare my fingers the meddlesome task of pulling all these stitches out. But she couldn't find what she was looking for, the unpicker. It wasn't there. So I went back to unpicking my mistakes by hand, and will be stuck in this way until I equip the Janome with a new unpicker.

    Some of the costumes and pieces I made this year are:
    - Phi's sleeveless coat,
    - an entire pair of white flannel pyjamas (which are NOT for sleeping in! at least, I don't think the character who wears them canonically sleeps in them - we never see him sleeping in canon, so there's truly no way of knowing),
    - and a blue, knee-length, box-pleated skirt.

    That last one took me ages to figure out. Did you know that there is no pattern for a knee-length, box-pleated skirt in existence currently? There are plenty of patterns for knife-pleated skirts out there, but not a single catalogue at my local Jo-Ann's had the slightest suggestion of box-pleats, and even searching for one such pattern online? Yielded nothing.

    The crucial difference between box-pleats and knife-pleats is that knife-pleats fold concertina-style, a little like a staircase, or a zig-zag. Box-pleats, however, fold into each other and over each other, creating long, layered pleats in long, rectangular strips.

    Rena Ryuugu's skirt may be knife-pleated in the newer Higurashi sprites and in Higurashi Gou, but if you look at her original sprites (as I did when I played Higurashi, because yes, I did play with the original sprites when I played Higurashi) you can see that the fabric of her skirt falls in long, rectangular strips, and that, when these strips part, they reveal almost like another layer of fabric, which is something only box-pleats can do.

    I could not find a single pattern, however, which instructed the making of such a knee-length, box-pleated skirt. So I had to design one such pattern myself, and by 'design' I do mean buy a whole road of blue fabric, iron and stitch it into a series of box-pleats, then wrap the whole affair around my waist and legs, cut off the excess pleats, and close the two open ends together with another row of stitches and a zipper.

    And result! I still don't know how this skirt managed to happen, but IT HAPPENED AND IT'S NOT TERRIBLE. DESPITE MY NOT USING A PATTERN, IT'S WEARABLE! I'm so happy with the results that I'm going to follow the very same 'technique' when making Mion's red skirt, which, though much longer, is no less box-pleated than Rena's (see: Mion's original sprites). Mion's wig is currently a work in progress that I admittedly haven't started working on yet. I've bought the base wig, which is white, and the green dye. I have the foam head. All I need now is to get some clear rubbing alcohol, mix the green dye into it, and spray it on to the wig until every weft and strand and follicle (?) is a bright Sonozaki green. I'm so excited about these two Higurashi characters; I can't wait to cosplay them at a con, when it's safe to go to cons again.

    Other characters who I started working on this year but will probably finish next year include: Sakura Ogami, Shion Sonozaki, and Prince Aram from Matsuri Hino's MeruPuri.

    This is not an exhaustive list! There are other characters, other costumes, other wigs, and other WIPs, but I'll keep all of those a secret, for now.

    Dec. 13th, 2020 @ 03:15 pm

    Currently Feeling: mysified!
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  • Higurashi When They Watch The New Anime - Episode XI
    Hopeless only begins to describe the Tatarigoroshi instalment of the original Higurashi sound novels. But Tataridamashi, the arc that the anime is now three-quarters of the way into, is brimming with teamwork, community spirit, selflessness, courage, and, ultimately, hope.

    Where Keiichi bludgeoned Teppei Houjou to death in Tatarigoroshi, here in Tataridamashi he sickens at the idea of himself or anyone else doing such a thing. In today's episode, Keiichi takes the literal brunt of Shion's frustration just so as to help her vent her feelings before they can manifest into something more murderous. The Keiichi we see here is not the same Keiichi who murdered Teppei Houjou in Tatarigoroshi - at all. This is the Keiichi of the Minagoroshi instalment.

    Episode Eleven of Higurashi Gou, and the third part of the Tataridamashi arc, borrows numerous plot points from the Minagoroshi instalment of the sound novels, which surprised me. I wasn't expecting to see Keiichi and his friends to go immediately to the Child Welfare Services as they do in Minagoroshi, but there they are, meeting with a welfare officer. Their meeting proceeds almost exactly as it does in Minagoroshi, and resolves just as much as it did in Minagoroshi - which is to say, nothing - and so the next day Keiichi and his friends try again, this time with all their classmates - and teacher - alongside them.

    I was floored by the scene in which Keiichi rallies his classmates to support him and his friends in their plight. Keiichi climbs on to the desk at the front of his classroom and speaks to the whole class, his fists clenched and his words meaningful. When Chie-sensei walks up to the classroom so as to start the day's lessons, she sees Keiichi through the window in the door, and pauses. Visibly, she is awestruck. We all are. Keiichi Maebara is nothing less than amazing.

    This episode makes it abundantly clear that this iteration of Keiichi has all the wisdom that Keiichi didn't have at this point in the original sound novels. Gou!Keiichi acknowledges, immediately, that violence against Teppei Houjou is not going to resolve the problem; whereas at this point in the original sound novels, violence seemed to Keiichi to be the only solution.

    I mentioned in my discussion of a previous episode that Gou!Rika must carry with her the knowledge and memory of all the previous loops. I think something similar can be said of Gou!Keiichi in that he carries with him the wisdom he gained in these previous loops. Hence why he ultimately decides to open the door to Rena in Onidamashi. And why he severely hesitates at the entrance of the ritual storehouse in Watadamashi. And why here, in Tataridamashi, he just knows that not only would little be gained from killing Teppei Houjou, but that so significantly much would be lost as a result of it. Keiichi Maebara is really nothing less than amazing.

    This is a -damashi arc, so I suspect it will end in the murder of at least one character - but at this point it seems highly unlikely that the murderer will be Keiichi this time. What a relief. Keiichi's murder of Teppei Houjou was one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever read, and part of the reason I found Tatarigoroshi to be Higurashi's most unsettling instalment.

    I suspect that Teppei will end up being murdered in the next episode, but I do believe it won't be Keiichi who kills him. Or Shion, for that matter, since Keiichi, to my immense satisfaction, has taken the time and patience in this episode to talk Shion down from the dangerous heights of her anger.

    If anyone does end up going after Teppei, it might be Rena, who has killed Teppei before - but it could even be Satoko, if her case of Hinamizawa Syndrome turns critical. The ending of Watadamashi has left me inclined to think that Mion just isn't capable of murder, even if/when she has contracted a terminal case of Hinamizawa Syndrome, so I doubt she will have anything to do with the murder that probably will happen next time.

    Rika had some great moments in this episode. I loved how unafraid she was to be direct with the others. And I loved how startled they were by this. Keiichi was struck in the moment Rika's voice turned deeper and more severe - and Chie-sensei was so taken aback by the change in Rika's voice and demeanor that she actually backed slightly away from Rika, as if intimidated by her. It was great to see Rika no longer hampered by apathy, and even better to see her take some initiative of her own.

    No Tomitake-san or Takano to be seen in this episode, but Ooishi appears at the very end of it and you can't convince me that he isn't playing the part of a bad omen. I still have no idea whether the Great Hinamizawa Disaster will happen this time around - more than that, I still haven't a clue whether the Great Hinamizawa Disaster is even something that happens at all in the Gou-niverse - but I do nonetheless suspect that something very terrible is going to happen in the next episode.

    Apr. 15th, 2021 @ 10:25 pm
    Currently Feeling: mysified!
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