Sorry I’m late, but I have a good excuse: Hurricane Sandy. Heard of it? I bathed in it. While chillaxin’ in New Jersey on Halloween by a candle that was shoved into the top of a wine bottle, I sampled some bloody good cabernet and sat down with the first volume of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry) Minigoroshi-hen (Massacre Arc) manga. And oh ho ho, who to my surprise should I see nipping at the bottle as well as but:
Name: Rika Furude
Manga: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Arc: Minigoroshi-hen (Vol. 1)
Favorite Dive: Her Windowsill
Type of Drunk: The Closet Drinker, The Functional Alcoholic, The Escapist
***Caution: spoilers ensue***
When your imaginary friend tells you to stop drinkin’, you might just have a problem (and boy is that an understatement), although that problem might not necessarily be alcohol. Rika Furude may look eight years old, but that’s a vampire eight she’s sportin’ (so house rules) still apply, emulative kiddies). Rika carries over one hundred years of memories – mostly the same memories, give or take a few variables – inside a body that’s yet to break pubescence. If you don’t know Rika, you’ve never been to Hinamizawa, a village of suspicion, bloodshed, and perpetual repeat.
It’s within the cursed borders of this small village as head of the Furude family that Rika, considered to be the reincarnation of the deity Oyashiro-sama, watches time and time again as a murderous insanity overtakes at random one of her friend’s sensibilities. After all’s said and done, Rika’s intestines are destined for the gullets of crows...and she remembers each peck. One hundred years of this experience, not to mention the mind-numbing boredom that comes from living the same days of the same June 1983, would drive any mind to beg for reprieve, even the temporary solace indicated by a lowering meniscus. The upside? It’s not gonna take that much to get wasted. The downside? All those safety latches on the subconscious burst off, bolts and all.
For being such a theoretical lightweight, Rika’s a pro at hiding her habit of escaping reality. This is in large part due to her habitation arrangements. When sharing a decently sized house with a deity only you can see and hear and another youngin’ who’s sometimes not even there, who’s gonna say anything about those empty “soy sauce” bottles piling up in the yard? And despite blackouts in public, say at the usual game tournament or anywhere the dronery seems to negate conscious thought, Rika comes back with a witty “nipa!” or “mew” and recovers her sense of composure in the eyes of her astute friends.
When reality is constricted to consist of friends prying off each other’s fingernails, sticking needles in food offered as presents, or helplessly watching your best friend suffer eternal and unstoppable domestic abuse, let’s face it: liquid encouragement’s as good as it’s gonna get. One can’t judge the effect though! After imbibing a bit, Rika seldom loses herself. Instead, she bolsters her confidence anew and continues on. Each drink levels out her extreme sorrow so that she may save Hinamizawa! This village depends on her habit! So here’s to you, Rika Furude, fighter of the good fight. That might not be sacramental wine in the rock-filled glass you’re holding, but with all the blood you’ve seen (and will keep on seeing) no-one’s going to begrudge you a little medicinal amnesia or liquid alright.
On the first Friday of every month (or occasionally on the hazy, hung-over Saturday directly following), Ani-Gamers blogger Ink tackles an anime, manga, or video game through the theme of alcohol in our column "Drunken Otaku." Look out for "Beer Googles" (reviews), "Great Drinkers" (character profiles), and "Great Moments in Drinking" (more or less). To read previous entries, click here.