Now the first arc is over, I think it's time for a Higurashi discussion and theorycrafting thread. Obviously contains spoilers for the entire series, I will be using spoiler tags but some things might slip by, so hide the thread if you care about that.52 posts and 20 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
First, the struggle with Rena - I am inclined to believe that Keiichi hallucinated the whole thing. Needless to say, the scene itself is pretty ridiculous, what with Keiichi being repeatedly stabbed in the chest but still somehow managing to muster up the strength to bludgeon Rena with the clock several times. Later when we see him in the hospital, it's confirmed that he is a late stage HS patient, and his wounds don't match the state he was in when he lost consciousness - only his left cheek was grazed, and he had no neck injuries. Except for Ooishi confirming that something went down at his house on that night, none of the other characters allude to what really happened (understandable since Keiichi has just woken up from a coma.) Also, what happened to the neck collar? He's not wearing it anymore when Mion visits.
What the actual fuck happened to Tomitake, Takano and Irie? Takano shows up for only a few seconds, Tomitake shows up briefly but behaves the same as in Onikakushi, and since Keiichi doesn't go talk to them during the festival we don't see any more of them, and Irie doesn't show up at all and his clinic is being "remodeled". I think the most likely scenario is that Takano died for real (since the fake body wasn't found in the mountains and she is considered "missing") and the project was canceled, hence the "remodeling", but then I have no idea how she died. Since Tomitake's body wasn't found either, it's also possible that he wasn't injected with the HS pathogen.
Speaking of Takano, from the circumstances surrounding Rika's death we know it wasn't her who did it this time. I believe Satoko had a HS episode and Rika was forced to kill her, and then committed suicide by stabbing her own neck as seen in Meakashi.
Indeed. Rika even got stuffed into a toilet, this is the pinnacle of entertainment for a witch.