We know that the "mini-arcs" in Higurashi (When They Cry) all start with a sudden rollback. After some terrible events, the town looks normal again.

Closer to the end of the anime we are being shown that

It's Hanyū who is responsible for the rollbacks, and she helps Rika keep her memories of what happened before the "rollback"

Now my question is about what those "rollbacks" really are. The wiki article, for example, says that they are

time travels, and what Hanyū does is reverses time to let Rika relive those days again.

However, when I was watching the anime itself, I clearly remember Rika saying that

what they did was traveling between "worlds", trying to find a "world" where everything was right (i.e. no murders).

Basically, if the first version is right, then

all the murders didn't actually happen, because the time was reversed each time. In the second case (changing "worlds"), however, all those murders would be for real in each particular world.

Was that possibly just a bad/false translation of the subtitles I was using? And which version is right, after all?

  • 1
    I removed the spoiler tag, please see meta.anime.stackexchange.com/questions/46/… Dec 12 '12 at 13:11
  • I added a "higurashi-no-naku-koro-ni" tag since "when-they-cry" encompasses more than just Higurashi.
    – atlantiza
    Dec 12 '12 at 16:10
  • I definitely did not recognize "when-they-cry" when it posted yesterday. "higurashi" I think is the more dominant name.
    – Mysticial
    Dec 12 '12 at 19:14
  • @Mysticial, ok, thanks, I'll consider that for the future :P I watched it with Russian subtitles, so for me "when they cry" is not too familiar either, but that seemed to be the English translation so I used it. Dec 12 '12 at 19:19
  • @Mysticial "When They Cry" is the official dub title of the Higurashi anime, but in reality, "When They Cry" encompasses more than just Higurashi which is why I renamed it. It also includes Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Higrashi = WTC1, Higurashi Kai = WTC2, Umineko = WTC3, Umineko Chiru = WTC4.
    – atlantiza
    Dec 12 '12 at 19:26

I think the correct answer lies between what you're saying and what Wiki is saying.

Here's a definition of "kakera" (usually translated as "fragments") from Umineko no Naku Koro ni (the installment of WTC after Higurashi) EP4's TIPS:

Worlds of different fates and circumstances are called kakera, and witches who are able to cross the ocean of endless kakera are called Voyagers.

Hanyuu is taking Rika through different kakera, but she is also going back in time. If she just went to the same time in a different kakera, it might be too late for Rika to do anything. I believe towards the end of Higurashi, Hanyuu also states that her power is weakening and she can't go as far back in time.

If you're interested in knowing why/how Hanyuu has these powers, I'd definitely recommend playing the Umineko no Naku Koro ni sound novels or maybe even reading the manga. Don't watch the anime though... It doesn't cover that far into the story.

  • An Higurashi no Naku Koro ni official translation is available in English and should surely help in deepening the subject and avoiding translation errors from anime fansubs.
    – chirale
    Dec 13 '12 at 10:07
  • @chirale I have not played Higurashi but, as far as I know, Umineko explains the kakera more than Higurashi. What I quoted from was a translation essentially sanctioned by Ryuukishi07 - he gave them permission to translate and publish their translations for free. I don't see why this is less admissible than MangaGamer who translated it for profit.
    – atlantiza
    Dec 13 '12 at 16:28
  • I was specifically answering the very last sentence by grasshopper, who highlights limits in anime fansubs, and agreeing with your suggestion about playing the visual novel to get more details about the story. Mangagamer is not evil, actually is a group of visual novel Japanese companies who wants to sell abroad their products, returning profit to authors.
    – chirale
    Dec 13 '12 at 16:46
  • @chirale Sorry, I misunderstood because you replied to my answer instead of the original question. I didn't mean to imply that MangaGamer was evil either, just saying that Witch Hunt and MangaGamer are both pretty official but the only differences is MangaGamer does it for profit. (grasshopper isn't the one who asked, btw :P)
    – atlantiza
    Dec 13 '12 at 16:48
  • Right, it was SingerOfTheFall, I misunderstood.
    – chirale
    Dec 13 '12 at 17:04

I know I'm way late, but I'll answer this anyway.

I don't think that anything that happens in any world is undone, how else could they remember what happened in other worlds, there's also some stuff that wouldn't make sense if the other worlds never happened, like Akasaka having the benefits of his training in a world where he couldn't save Rika. I guess it doesn't make any sense as it stands either, but well, it would make even less sense.

There's also stuff that happens far after Rika has died in many worlds, like when Akasaka and Ooishi investigate, or when the reporter talks to Keiichi many years after the events of Tatarigoroshi.

As usual when it comes to anime based on visual novels, don't watch the anime, read the visual novels, they're order of magnitude longer, and usually better, the anime mostly serves to spoil the ending if you watch it first.

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