WARNING!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!
I see that no one has yet to do a review for this particular incarnation of Ryukishi-sensei's Massacre arc from his Higurashi story. "Minagoroshi-hen" roughly translates to "The Massacre Chapter". This is not the last arc of Higurashi, so you can guess that things do not end well for our characters...
The reason I'm doing this review, is mainly to point out some things that would be of interest to fans of Higurashi, so this review is to inform fans that have only seen the anime of something very cool that you are missing out on!
First and most importantly, as soon as this arc starts in the manga version, we see Rika in the Sea of Worlds, and she meets her double, the legendary Witch of Miracles- Bernkastel! (All though she isnt really a Witch yet at this point, which is why she looks just like Rika)
This is very interesting, as they immediately recognize one another, and have a long and detailed conversation about the rules of all the worlds Rika has been in, and the various horrible outcomes becuz she wasnt able to solve the mystery behind her death in each of them.
It seems Bernkastel is stuck in the Sea of Worlds, and the only thing that she has around her for entertainment is the various shards of the failed worlds, viewing them like we view the episodes, so she's actually the one who has given them all the names we know- Onikakushi-hen, and it's answer arc Tsumihoroboshi-hen, these are names that she has coined; also the terms question arc & answer arc.
Seeing Rika & Bernkastel talk for so long reminds me of the days before Higurashi Kai was ever finished, it's like seeing two fans of Higurashi talk about how it's all going to end and whether or not if Rika truly does have the power to change her own fate.
Also, this proves that the entity known as Bernkastel is distinct and separate from Rika, even though she was born from the sorrow of her constant failures and such. It's worth noting that all of the manga is written directly by Ryukishi07, so it is canon, so Bernkastel both is, and is not Rika, which means that the Rika Higurashi focuses on does not eventually become Bernkastel in some alternate world.
I found the way that the manga approached the big reveals the story, which made most everything in previous Higurashi arcs/chapters all make sense and fall into place, much better done than how it was handled in the anime Higurashi Kai.
I really wish this scene was portrayed in the anime! This manga is worth reading just becuz of Bernkastels presence being so direct!
Another thing I want to note is the art, for fans that love the story and the characters of Higu, but you felt it's art was holding it back- you dont have to worry about that here. The art for ALL the Higu Manga adpatations is phenomenal! This is becuz a team of different high profile artists does the art for a specific chapter, to fit the mood and themes of that chapter, and Hinase Momoyama’s works here are a splendid sight to behold!
One last thing to note is, usually in the anime we see our main cast take part in club activities and the loser must partake in the punish game. That’s present here in the manga as well. But in the anime, 9 times out of 10 it’s Kei-kun who has to suffer this humiliation! Since Minagoroshi-hen’s focus is Rika, we get to see her lose the game for once… with Rena-chan as the winner!
It should go without saying the outcome is quite hilarious! It’s quite the refreshing treat for die hard Rika-chama fans such as myself~