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How Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Got Me into Old School Hip-Hop

Rena_Illmatic

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry) is a fantastic, intense horror anime, manga, and visual novel series filled with nerve-wracking suspense, psychological terror, bloody brutality, and relentless ultra-violence written by Japanese author Ryukishi07. Higurashi is beloved by both anime and visual novel fans globally and is considered by many as Ryukishi07’s best work, and for many great reasons.

By crafting a cocktail of classic narrative themes/conflicts, traditional Japanese folklore, and supernatural elements with real-world topics/issues (such as mental illness, child abuse/neglect, ethics in scientific research, citizens vs. government, etc.), Ryukishi07 delivered to the world of  anime and visual novel a powerful and thought-provoking masterpiece. A masterpiece that ’s still respected and celebrated in anime and visual novel circles today; despite the visual novel ending in 2006 (not counting remakes, ports, remasters, etc. after 2006), and five years after the run of the anime (with Higurashi Outbreak in 2013).

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Series creator Ryukishi07

With Halloween drawing near, I figured that it now would be the best time to talk about this marvelous series – but not in a way you may expect.  Yes. The spooky holiday is almost here. Higurashi is a spooky anime. You would think that logically, I would talk about the spooky and horror themes of the series.

But, I’m going to take different approach.
A much different approach.

Would you call me crazy if I say that Higurashi, a Japanese otaku series, helped me get into old school Hip-Hop; a beloved urban American music artform?
Imagine that!

 Life…
I wonder…
Will it take me under?
I don’t know.
-Rika Furude probably

Yes.  As wild as it may sound, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni got me into old-school hip-hop.  Out of anything and everything that is a possibility in the world, it took a Japanese horror series for me to not only get into old-school hip-hop but have a strong love for it. You may be wondering how is that ’s even possible.

Well, in order for me to tell you this tale, we need to go back to the Summer of 2010.


I’ve been a fan of Higurashi for almost a year after discovering the series on YouTube (I was actually aware of it back in high school, but that’s for another tale). And by a fan, I was fucking obsessed with it. I spent most of that summer looking up anything Higurashi; in efforts to gain knowledge about it. The official manga.  The Fan doujins. The voice actors. Video games. Ryukishi07 himself even.  And of course, it’s music.

Goddamn, the music.

One night, I was bumpin’ Dear You: Destructive, one of many remixes of Shion’s image song You from the Higurashi visual novel.  As the song was ending, there was a video in the suggestion bar of YouTube that made me a bit curious thanks to its thumbnail.

The thumbnail featured a transparent face of Rena in the foreground of a  New York City borough with the word “You” in the top right corner in Old English font.  The title of the video was in Japanese, sans one single word: “HIPHOP”. I merely assumed that a Japanese doujin music producer created a hip-hop sample beat of the song and was excited to hear a hip-hop version of the song.

Being ever so curious and my attention grabbed, I clicked on the link.

 

The song starts to play. A lone piano playing arpeggios rang out for four bars. The piano version of You no doubt. A drumbeat sample from Shing02 and Nujabee’s  Luv Sic Pt. 1 played on the fifth beat  and throughout the song, along with a woman (Lauryn Hill) vocalizing “ooo ooo ooooo”, and an East Coast hip-hop legend spitting.

‘Imagine smokin’ weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial…’

‘This is Nas! This is Nas rapping over a Higurashi song!’ I was in both awe and disbelief. Some visual novel otaku fuck in Japan mashed up Nas’s If I Ruled The World with You! Not only did he do that, but he also threw in the drum track from Luv Sic as an added bonus!  Granted, I knew who Nas was thanks to a friend who’s a fan of his works – I just wasn’t a fan of him until I heard this mashup.

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Nas

I instantly fell in love with both the mashup and the lyrics of If I Ruled The World, even if it wasn’t the original song itself.  I let the song repeat itself for about seven times.  Upon Hearing the sorrowful piano notes of  You in unison of Nas’s speaking on of his vision of utopia for Black America, along with Lauryn Hill’s breathtaking vocals, and the cries of the summer cicadas, Goosebumps hit me hard.

I grew ever more curious about If I Ruled The World and the lyrics.

It’s elementary: they want us all gone eventually’.
‘Why does this fit well with how the Japanese government wants to wipe out Hinamizawa and the villagers in it?!’
I asked myself.

‘If I ruled the world (imagine that), I’d free all my sons!’.
‘I wonder; did the dude who made this thought about how Rika wanted to free herself from her tragic fate ?’ I pondered.

‘Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see it, but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck?’

‘I can see this for Rika and how she is desperately trying to find a way to cheat death for good before fate closes in on her.’

All Wild theories; but it made sense (in my head).
I had to let it marinate.

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Hanyuu of Higurashi fulfilling her dreams of being an NYC DJ after defeating fate

Even if the mashup creator didn’t mean to make certain lyrics relate to Higurashi, I couldn’t help but reflect. I let the song stop playing and decide to listen to the original version of Nas’s classic. There’s no denying that the beat was soaked in that definitive New York City hip-hop vibe. That electro notes playing up and down the scale.  The simple yet deep pulse of the bass.  The quiet layered strings.

I craved for more information.

Acting on a gut instinct that the beat for If I Ruled the World was a sample, I went on Google to see if my gut was correct – and it was. Not only was my gut was correct, but the sampled was also from Whodini’s 1984 classic Friends.

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Whodini

‘Friends…
How many of us have them?
Friends…
Ones we can depend on.’

It was like if the universe knew I was searching for a connection for the Higurashi mash up. The overarching theme of Higurashi is the power of friendship and there I was; listening to a classic hip-hop song with the hook asking if we have friends we can depend on.

‘Friends…Ones we can depend on.’
God. That’s powerful.

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Some are ok, and they treat you real cool
But some mistake your kindness for bein’ a fool

Satoko depended on her friends to save her from her abusive uncle – including her new friends; who were once her enemies (the villagers who once hated her and her family).  Rena realized that no matter what, her friends love her: even if Rena was having a mental breakdown and couldn’t trust the friends she loved.  Rika learned that how it was okay to open up to her friends about her depression and fear that Satoko – her best friend – was going to be taken away from her (by said abusive uncle mentioned earlier). Keiichi, like Rena, learned the value of trusting and opening up to his friends.

Was it all a coincidence that I would find a hip-hop song that has a famous hook that could relate to Higurashi? Perhaps.  But there was no denying the fact by me researching the source of Nas’s If I Ruled The World sample, it opened an entirely new world of music for me. Sure, I was aware of classic 80s hip-hop legends such as KRS-One, N.W.A, Public Enemy, and Grandmaster Flash, but I never went out of my way to listen to them.

Until then.

At the time,  my mind only focused on listening to modern artists who were on the real shit (J. Cole for example) and 90s rappers such as Tupac. I thought I didn’t need to listen to classic rappers; I foolishly believed they were outdated!  Nobody, sans OGs (original gangstas) and oldheads, went out their way to listen to the classic MCs. I was ignorant! Stupid even! For years, I allowed myself to miss out on what hip-hop legends of the past had to offer to the art form.  My jaded attitude caused me to miss out.

You can even say it was a shame that it took some weeaboo bullshit to get me into the classics.
But, it did.

As I’m finishing up this little insight of my world for you guys, I am reflecting on how hip-hop has a lot in common with not only Higurashi but with anime in general.
Two completely art forms.
Many endless similarities.

Let’s start with Higurashi, of course.  Both Higurashi and Hip-Hop share a common birth month: August.  In fact, the first Higurashi game, Onikakushi-Hen (lit. Spirited Away By The Demon Chapter) dropped on August 10th, 2002.  The official birthday of hip-hop? August 11th, 1973. A mere 29 years and a day apart, but it’s amazing on how they have back-to-back birthdays.

Hip-Hop, for generations, has been used as a platform to speak out against government oppression and corruption with hits such as N.W.A.’s Fuck The Police, Public Enemy’s By The Time I Get To Arizona, and Childish Gambino’s This is America. One could say that hip-hop inspires Black Americans to rise up and fight against the oppressive forces that threaten our quality of life.

During the second half of Higurashi (The Answer Arcs), the series switch from a supernatural, psychological thriller tale, to a story of the people of Hinamizawa rising up against the corrupt Japanese government (that was trying to wipe out the town and its people).

When it comes to the realm of anime in general, you can’t tell me there aren’t any hip-hop songs that can be used for anime and the characters and stories that make up this beloved art medium. Listen to Sky’s The Limit by Biggie Smalls: A song about the hustler’s rise to riches and achieving his dreams. After you listen to that go watch Gainax’s classic OVA Otaku no Video: an anime about an otaku becoming a hustler, to a businessman, to the world’s richest man.

Or maybe Tech N9ne’s Pyscho Bitch may persuade you. Listen to it and think about your classic psychotic yandere characters such as Yuno Gasai (The Future Diary), Kotonoha Katsura (School Days),  Kaede Fuyou (Shuffle!), and since we’re talking about Higurashi, the series best girl Shion Sonozaki.

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Shion A.K.A best Higurashi girl

To end my tale, let’s go back to my previous question: Would you, after reading all of this, call me crazy for the fact that it took Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – a classic otaku horror series, to get me into hip-hop? I can understand if you say yes. Of course, it is. It shouldn’t even make sense.

But, without that You x If I Ruled The World mash up I discovered nearly ten years ago, I would have gone through life never knowing about timeless artists that paved that path for talented, iconic wordsmiths such as J. Cole, Logic, Tupac, KRS-One, Kendrick Lamar, and many more.

That would have been much, much crazier.

-Yuki The Snowman

P.S.

Somebody on Wiz Khalifa’s team is a fucking weeaboo and sampled Main Theme Ai from the Higurashi anime for him to rap over:

Anime Analysis 1

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship Pt. 1: Keiichi, Rena, and Mion.

 

‘Friends…
How many of us have them?
Friends…
Ones we can depend on.’
-Whodini, Friends (1983 rap single)

The power of friendship is a tired concept in anime. It’s  a trope used as either a final hour plot device or a moral boast given to the  hero from their freinds  as a power-up, or a motivation toll to push forward  in the face of despair. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni isn’t exempt from this.  However, how Higurashi tackles this theme makes it stand out from other series that uses the power of friendship such as Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh.

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Oh you’re my best friend…

Using mature and controversial themes (such as child abuse, mental health, trust issues, etc.) for its overarching narrative, Higurashi makes the power of friendship, and the benefits of it feel realistic compared to other anime series.

With series main character Keiichi, we see Rena and Mion attempt  to reach out to Keiichi in his time of stress and paranoia, whom he couldn’t seem to trust.  Rena herself would wind up untrusting of her friends; accusing them of betraying her (as she believed they snitched on her for murdering Rina and Teppei).

Finally, The Club unites the village of Hinamizawa to rescue Satoko Houjou from her abusive uncle – including villagers who once outcast and hated her.

Join me in part one of my analysis of the Power of Friendship in Higurashi as we explore how Rena and Mion reached out to help their friend Keiichi, only to be murdered by him due to his paranoia.

Keiichi, Rena, and Mion

‘Give me a reason why not to adapt in this way,
or judge me to be guilty of  so many incurable sins
Tell me why, or why not, complaining way too much,
Maybe I overlooked something fatal for me’


“Why or Why Not” by Katakiri Rekka (Higurashi no Naku koro ni  ED 1)

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Ever since he moved to the small and close-knit village of Hinamizawa, Keiichi grew close with new friends Rena and Mion.  They walk together to school, play after-school games and kick it and chill with one another as good friends.  It’s clear by their interactions and the time they spend with each other that they’re bonded by friendship.

A bond of destroyed by paranoia and distrust.

Keiichi’s distrust towards his friends began when he was informed by Tomitake about the Hinamizawa Dam War (a protest conflict against a dam construction in the village). The “war” resulted in the unsolved murder and dismemberment of the project’s director.  Now mind you, this information was given to Keiichi after he was joking with Tomitake that Rena may had hid a body in the garbage dump (the land that was going to be used for the dam) where she normally hangs out at. We must also note that some of the remains of the project director have yet to be recovered at this point of the story.

This news doesn’t ease Keiichi’s paranoia. It will get worse after the Cotton Drifting Festival.

It’s the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. After kicking it with The Club, Keiichi goes off  on his own to explore the area.  He links up with Tomitake and his girlfriend, Miyo.  The lovers get Keiichi hip on Oyashiro’s Curse: a series of unexplained “supernatural” deaths and disappearances occurring  at the festival for the past five years – with this year’s festival being the fifth anniversary. This new information in combination of the murder and dismemberment case freaks Keiichi out.

There’s more to the village than he is aware of.

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Miyo explaining the legend of Oyashiro’s curse. 

The following morning, Keiichi is visited by detective Oishi at his school. Oishi notifies the boy that Tomitake was discovered dead during the festival. In addition, Miyo is missing. He asks Keiichi if he believes these incidents are linked to the curse. Keiichi replies that he doesn’t believe in such things such as curses and gods.  Pleased, Oishi sees Keiichi as an useful person for the case . Oishi ends their meeting with him requesting that he does not repeat anything to anyone –especially to Mion – as she is a member of the notorious Sonozaki Yakuza clan.

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Oishi informing Keiichi that Miyo is missing.

Returning to class, Keiichi overhears Mion and Rena discussing the disappearance of past victims of the supposed curse.  Satoshi is mentioned, which Keiichi questions Rena about the boy later.  After school, Keiichi confronts his friends about the murders, the village, and the curse.  He suspects them of withholding information.  Rena counters this, asking him why he too is withholding information.  She brings up that she knows that he spoke with Oishi (contradicting his lie of him talking to their teacher).

The friends argue back and forth.  Rena grows hostile. In the height of their verbal fight, Rena questions the subject of Oishi and Keiichi’s discussion, which he dodges.     Rena snarls at Keiichi – accusing him of lying.  Returning to her normal sweet nature, she tells Keiichi that just like he has secrets, they too have their own.

Knowing that the Hinamizawa Syndrome causes paranoia, one can assume that Keiichi is imagining Rena becoming hostile in her actions. For all we know, Rena could have been teasing Keiichi for fun.  Maybe she was concern that Keiichi was talking to a police officer that he did not know.

Later that night, Keiichi receives a call from Oishi requesting new information.  Keiichi mentions Rena and Mion were talking about the curse, the murders, and Satoshi (with Oishi informing Keiichi that Satoshi was one of the victims of the curse the year before).  Keiichi links everything Rena and the others told him earlier – suspecting that he will be the next victim; Confirming his theory that his friends are withholding information from him.  The phone call is cut short when Keiichi’s dad comes up to his room to give both Keichi and Rena tea.   Keiichi freaks out. He never noticed Rena standing outside of his room, even though his father saw Rena going there. Keiichi believes that Rena might have overheard the phone call and starts to worry.

Keiichi decides to skip school the next morning.  Feeling sick, he heads to the doctor clinic. At the waiting room, he overhears that Miyo may had been spirited away by the demon.   Following that, he links up with Oishi for lunch (as well as to provide the kid with new information).  Oishi informs Keiichi that  Mion and her family were involved in the  Dam Wars. He also supplies Keiichi with new information on Satoshi’s disappearance. Finally, perhaps the most important pieces of information he can give Keiichi – Rena’s past as well the links the curse’s past victims and his friends.

Oishi reveals to Keiichi that a few years ago, Rena suffered a mental break down; resulting in her assaulting her friends with a baseball bat.  She was admitted to a mental health clinic following the incident.  It was documented that during therapy, she repeated the words “Oyashiro-Sama”. It was also noted that Rena believe Oyashiro was watching over her.

(Bare this part of Rena’s past in mind as it will be important later on in relation to Keiichi’s paranoia.)

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Oiishi then explains the link between Keiichi’s friends and the victims. The victims had a relationship with each friend.  The dam director got into it with Mion and her family.   The dam project’s supporters, the housewife that died in the fourth year, and Satoshi were kin of Satoko – blood or otherwise. The priest who died and his wife who disappeared were Rika’s parents.  Finally, Tomitake was friends with The Club.

With this knowledge, Oishi theorizes that Keiichi will be targeted next.

That night, Rena and Mion visits Keiichi out of concern (due to his absence from school).  They gift him with dinner and make him play a game to see who prepped it.  As they chat, the light-hearted visit turns into an interrogation of sorts.  They question Keiichi on his meeting with Oishi, which Rena brings up she noticed the two at Angel Mort. Keiichi starts to worry.  He tells Rena that they weren’t talking about them, but she doesn’t believe him.  Mion  tells  Keiichi that no matter what, she’ll find out his secrets between him and Oishi before leaving.

 

Keiichi examines the ohagai, suspecting nothing of it. As he takes a bite out of it, he starts to freak out and spits the food out into his hand. He spots a “needle” covered in “blood” sticking out and goes berserk.  He tosses the food in the garbage and screams.  Fearing that his life in his danger, Keiichi hurries back to his room, grab a piece of paper and starts writing:

‘I am Keiichi Maebara, and my life is in danger. I don’t know why or who. The only thing I know is that it has something to do Oyrashiro-Sama’s curse.’

In reality of course, the Hinamizawa Syndrome is clouding Keiichi’s thoughts.  As the disease grows, so does his paranoia – therefore, creating false perceptions of reality.  When examining the situation outside Keiichi’s perceptive of fear, you have to take in a few points:

  • The “needle” in Keiichi food (and the pain caused by it) is an illusion. The sharp, painful poke from the “needle” was actually spicy hot sauce (which also explains the “blood”).  This was a prank by from Mion used to mess with Keiichi and cheer him up.  We can assume that Rena and Mion both knew that something was bothering Keiichi and wanted to make him happy.  This can be further supportive with the fact the girls visited him to check up on him.
  • It’s possible that Mion and Rena knew Oishi and Keiichi were at Angel Mort through Shion; Mion’s twin sister and an employee at the café.  One could theorize that Shion informed Mion that Keiichi was talking to Oishi.  Keep in mind that Oishi and the Sozonakis have beef.  Oishi suspects that the Sonozaki are behind the mysterious murders.  The dam director (one of the victims) was Oiishi’s best friend and father-like mentor.  Taking this into account, you can assume that Mion thinks that Oishi is using Keiichi to get information off Mion. Mion could also just have been playfully teasing Keiichi (as well as telling him to stay away from Oishi because her family doesn’t like him due to reasons).

The following morning, Keiichi heads to school alone; planning his next course of action against his enemies.  He’s nearly run over by a van (driven by members of the Yamainu).   Thinking that they’re after him, Keiichi declares that he must not drop his guard. He must fight back.  Upon arriving to school, Keiichi search the lockers for a weapon. Coming across Satoshi’s locker he finds the perfect weapon – Satoshi’s metal baseball bat.

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At recess, Keiichi is “practicing” swinging the bat with aggression.  Rena and Mion see this, questioning why he’s playing around with the bat.  Keiichi lies, stating that he’s practicing for the national finals.  The girls looked on with confusion and concern.  They leave, letting Keiichi do his own thing. After school, Keiichi decides to drop out of The Club’s after school activities and tells them to leave him alone.

They’re worried about him.

Rena follows Keiichi to check up on him.  Keiichi sees her and snaps.  He points his bat at Rena with a threatening stance; demanding the girl to walk ahead of him.  Rena complies, but not before asking him why he’s emulating Satoshi’s actions from last year (as well as using his bat) Rena tells Keiichi how he and Satoshi are alike (such as carrying baseball bats despite not being athletic, being paranoid,  and dropping out of  the club activities). Then Rena asks Keiichi if he’ll “transfer out” of school like Satoshi did prior.  Keiichi uneasiness worsens.  He believes that he’ll disappear like Satoshi from the tone and body language of Rena’s words.

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Reality: Rena is troubled by Keiichi’s actions. She cares for him. She doesn’t want to see another friend suffering (remember: she regrets not reaching out Satoshi when he was suffering).  To take it one step further, Rena had her own bouts with paranoia, stress, and mistrust in others before receiving help.  She is by all means attempting to reach out and help Keiichi.

That night, Oishi calls up Keiichi again.  Keiichi tells the cop that he’s certain that Rena and Mion are trying to kill him (with the whole “needle” in his food ordeal and the Yamainu trying to run him over) Oishi asks Keiichi to find the needle for him for evidence.  Keiichi fails to do so (since the “needle” was hot sauce) and thinks he had accidently thrown it away.  Next, he explains how he got new information on the Satoshi situation from Rena to Oishi.  During this, he is startled by Rena ringing his door bell.  Keiichi goes answer the door.

Just like the other day, Rena brings Keiichi over food and checks up on him.  She asks him if he had anything to eat all night.  He lies to her, which Rena calls him out on.  Rena brings up that she saw him eating noodles and food  he brought from the market.  She starts playing around by yanking on the door chain of his house in an attempt to “break in”. Thinking Rena is out to kill him, Keiichi smashes her hand in the door several time, forcing Rena to leave.

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Now, if I was Keiichi and Rena came through to my crib while my parents were away for the weekend, I would totally invite her in for a few hours.  Just being real. 

Reality: Rena was reaching out and  checking up on him like last time (since he scared everyone earlier that day) Plus, Rena is close with his mom, so it is possible for her to know that Keiichi was alone without food.  And given that Rena has a playful nature, her attempting to break him was just a joke.

Returning to his room, he notices Rena standing outside in the rain, looking into his bedroom chanting “I’m sorry” repeatedly.  The following morning, Keiichi is back to practicing his swing with the bat.  Mion confronts Keiichi and orders him to stop.  Everyone is frightened of Keiichi’s unexplained erratic behavior.  He goes off on Mion, asking her why is everyone is scared. He also tells her that he knows that Satoshi never “transfer” (given his sister Satoko is still in the same school and town).  He tells her that he also knows about her fights with the dam war and asked why did she wasn’t truthful to him about that fact.

Mion breaks down in tears.   She becomes enrage soon after.  She assumes that Oishi – the “old bastard” – was the one who told Keiichi about her fights between the dam director and express regrets of not killing him earlier.  Keiichi ponders if the “old bastard” in question is Oishi.

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Reality: Mion is troubled by Keiichi’s actions.  Like Rena, Mion fears Keiichi will end up like Satoshi and run away.   Mion is also angry that Oishi made her seem like a ruthless killer to Keiichi due to her past with the dam director.  The stress of her family dealing with Oishi’s police force, as well as rumors of her family murdering people has taken its toll on Mion.  Therefore, out of rage, Mion snapped. Her wishing death on Oishi was due to anger.  Deep down, I just think Mion was blowing off steam.

Keiichi leaves school and walks alone again.  He spots Rena and  books it, hiding into the woods, but his efforts fail.  Rena catches up to him.  He notices her billhook in her hand and questions her why she has it.  She laughs at him.  She then explains about how Satoshi was doing everything that Keiichi was doing in the past, her regrets for not helping him, and if he knows about Oyashiro’s curse. She ends with telling Keiichi that only she and she alone can help him solve his problems and that she’ll save him.

Rena starts to manically laugh and Keiichi runs off in the woods.

Reality: Rena was carrying her billhook for one of two reasons:
1. To help her on her grand ‘ol treasure hunting adventures in the not-so-grand garbage dump
2. To protect Keiichi from danger, as it’s implied from Rena’s point of view of the Onikakushi-hen arc (which you can watch a video of that POV  below):

Rena is very observant.  Her watching Keiichi becoming like Satoshi and him pushing everyone away is something not out of the ordinary for her.  Like everyone else, she clearly noticed Keiichi felt and appeared troubled.  Thus, reaching out to him was a priority. She states that she felt regret for not helping Satoshi out with his problems before he left.  Perhaps she felt guilty for that and to atone for her it, she vows to save Keiichi.

Maybe, just maybe, she can save him.

A few hours later, Keiichi awakens in his room (he appeared to have been knocked out by a Yamainu solider).  In his daze, he notices Rena sitting at the foot of his futon.   He starts freaking out, asking her why is she in his house.  Rena tells him that she found him in the woods and decided to carry him back to his house to recover.  While they’re chatting, Mion comes through to the house, welcoming herself to his room.  Mion ask if Rena called the sports supervisor, given Keiichi has an “interest” in baseball. Keiichi (with his paranoia at its highest) asks who the supervisor is.  The girl simply laugh at him.

Mion suggests that they finish the Punishment Game before he comes, which Rena agrees.  Rena gets up, walks over to Keiichi, and restrains him.  Mion gets up and pulls out a syringe from her pocket with a sadistic smile.  Keiichi is terrified.  As he struggle to break free from Rena she asks what they’re about to do to him.  Keiichi remembers Oishi telling him how Tomitake died and they suspected drugs were involved.

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Keiichi overpowers Rena, grabs his baseball bat and beat the two girls to death with it in what he believes to be in self-defense.  After killing the girls, he spots Dr. Irie rolling up to  his house in the same van that attempted to run him over earlier that week.  Seeing this, he reaches into the back of his clock to recover the letter he wrote earlier.

Finishing the letter, he names Rena and Mion as suspects, list five adults in the van, and suggests that the “drug” that Rena and Mion were planning to use on him is the same as the one that killed Tomitake.   He then escapes the house, dodging Yamainu guards in the process.  Keiichi calls up Oishi from a phone booth, panicking.  In his dying breath, Keiichi tells Oishi that he thought the suspects were human, but at this point believes that Oyashiro’s curse is real and that the god is following him.  Keiichi starts to tear at his throat – effectively killing.

Reality: Keiichi murdered Rena and Mion in cold blood.  There were no drugs discovered at the crime scene.  The “drug” he spoke of was a marker. Rena and Mion never attempted to harmed or kill Keiichi – simply, they wanted to help him and be there for him as friends.  They wanted to cheer him up and wish him to get better.  Sadly, Keiichi’s perspective of reality was distorted from his paranoia and the  Hinamizawa Syndrome.   He could not see that his friends only wanted to help him, not harm him.

Because of his paranoia, three young lives were cut short.

The truth of Rena and Mion’s kindness and Keiichi sins would be later revealed in the Atoment Arc.  Rena, the airheaded, kindhearted girl, needed help herself.  Help from her own pain, mistrust, and paranoia.

And what better friend to save her than Keiichi himself?

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Continued in part 2.

(My bad about the spoilers fam  lmfao)