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|“||All I want is to live here in Hinamizawa with you, Rika. I don't need anything else.||„|
|~ Satoko to Rika.|
|“||Satoko: Now then, let's begin.
Satoko: I learned my lesson. I won't fall for any of your lies next time.
Rika: What?! Next time?!
Satoko: So, good tidings to you... my dear, traitorous Rika.
|~ Satoko's words to Rika before she kills both herself and Rika.|
Satoko Houjou is one of the protagonists of the visual novel series Higurashi: When They Cry. While typically a heroic character, she ended up being the main antagonist of the stealth sequel Higurashi: When They Cry Gou, and is the villain protagonist/main antagonist of its sequel Higurashi: When They Cry Sotsu. Like Rika, Satoko possesses the ability to not only remember the previous timelines, but she has acquired her abilities to traverse them. Ultimately, she usurps Takano after the latter had abandoned her plans thus becoming Rika's archenemy in the sequel as well as the "New Oyashiro-sama."
In Japanese, she is voiced by Mika Kanai. In English, she is voiced by Jennie Kwan in the 2006 anime and Brittany Lauda in the 2020 anime.
She is a far cry from her original counterpart. After the events of the main series, Satoko gradually began to develop abandonment and dependency issues after having a harsh life. Unlike with the other characters, Satoko was the one who was "mentally stunted" continuing her love of creating traps and laughing like a noblewoman even when both aspects would arguably be unbecoming of her especially when it leads to her being badmouthed by the girls in St. Lucia Academy. She also greatly cared for her roommate and best friend Rika (though whether it was of a sisterly or romantic variety is uncertain), but this came to odds when Rika innocently asked her to attend St. Lucia with her so they could both enjoy the experience. Due to not wanting to be alone, Satoko, despite expressing a disinterest in the school, decides to take her up on the offer.
As a teenager, Satoko became an overly depressed girl who hated being at St. Lucia. As such, she appeared as rude in the eyes of her peers. From there, she also began to develop the irrational belief that Rika was only wanting to help her in her studies out of pity. Instead of taking her offer, Satoko instead allows her stubborn pride to cloud her judgment and rejects it. Initially, Satoko was content with letting Rika live her life, but when Rika's new friends came into the equation, Satoko grew to resent her friend for thriving while she was suffering from the stresses that came with the high class life. Satoko tries to remind Rika of her former life by setting up a playful trap like she used to but it ends up accidentally wounding a student. Satoko is punished and locked up in a solitary room for her actions, a teacher telling her that someone said that Satoko "was always known for her trap making skills" which makes her believe that her best friend Rika betrayed her and ratted her out, since she's the only one who could have known that inside the school. This sends Satoko into despair and desperately wishes she had denied Rika's request back then.
It would soon culminate in more animosity between the two former friends. Satoko returns to 1983 and is convinced by a promise that Rika would help her when they go to the school. However, because Satoko did not take the initiative to change events, the same results happen regardless. It also exposes Satoko as a hypocrite: while she claimed that she worked herself hard for the sake of Rika's happiness, she deprives Rika of that said happiness she earnestly fought for by spitefully killing herself and Rika. She does so at the realization that, in her mind, she wasn't essential for her friend's happiness. Rika had stated that she herself was very happy inside St. Lucia in a prior episode and wished she could return, confirming that she didn't need Satoko to share that happiness with her and was completely ignorant of Satoko's feelings.
In short, Satoko is primarily motivated by having the Rika she knew back in Hinamizawa back even if it meant mentally, physically, and emotionally torturing her until she broke. The tragedy to this is that she was unaware of the fact that the cute Rika she knew was merely a mask for Rika to use to avoid suspicion.
By the time that she was truly having a realization about how much of a monster she had been acting, it was too late for her to go back because she has gained a dissociative identity disorder in the process, with her "witch" personality in a battle with her former, "good" self. So it is left uncertain if Satoko could ever atone (especially after killing Teppei in cold blood).
After Takano's defeat, things relatively become normal for the club members. As Satoko got older, Dr. Irie examines her and informs her that she was seemingly cured of the Hinamizawa Syndrome (though he also makes it apparent that there was no true way to get rid of it). During the Cotton Drifting Festival, Rika also clears the Hojo family name by announcing that the curse was not real.
After Mion graduated and left Keiichi to carry the mantle, Rika explains her dream of attending St. Lucia Academy and also wanted Satoko to enjoy the high class life as well. Despite initially being hesitant, Satoko agrees and they both study hard together and get accepted into the school. However, Satoko's grades start to fall after the first day. Rika offers her assistance for her grades, but due to it partially being Rika's ignorance of Satoko being judged by her posse, as well as Satoko's stubborn pride, she declines her offer.
Doing so would lead to Satoko being forced to take remedial classes and this, combined with watching by as Rika quickly became a well-liked figure in St. Lucia, began Satoko's descent into madness. Because of her abandonment issues, she gradually started to see the Rika she was attending the school with as the fake one unaware that Rika had been wearing a mask during her hundred years of suffering. Due to the many miscommunications and presumptions, their relationship slowly disintegrated.
Things take a turn for the worse when Satoko decided to rig washbins to fall on Rika the next day as a way of making her remember the good times back in Hinamizawa. Unfortunately, one of Rika's friends gets injured and Satoko is quickly found out. As punishment, Satoko is sent to solitary confinement until she learned the error of her ways.
Upon receiving a letter from Mion, she reunites with Rika and the two return to the village for a club reunion. Realizing that it was only a temporary fix, Satoko selects to walk around Hinamizawa by herself. Whilst walking, she is driven to go into the shed where a horn breaks out of the Oyashiro-sama statue. Touching it, Satoko is taken to the sea of fragments where she is met by a horned deity (who many speculate to be Featherine Augustus Aurora of Umineko fame). Sensing Satoko's wish, the horned woman grants the young girl her powers of traversing loops but only through the means of dying.
Returning to June 1983, Satoko does try to proactively sabotage Rika and her attempts of attending the academy and has a heartfelt discussion with Rika over her fears of her no longer being friends with her. Rika dissuades her fears and promises to help her once they both went to the academy. However, the events that played out in the first loop happens regardless leading to Satoko's mental health shattering. She confronts Rika about it to which Rika states that she did try to keep her promise, but it was Satoko herself who shrugged off her help. Seeing that there was no further reason to continue the conversation, Satoko suddenly hugs Rika. Telling her that she would not allow her to deceive her next time, Satoko snaps her fingers, triggering the chandelier to fall and crush the two.
Sometime after the events of the main anime series, Rika had left Hinamizawa and went to attend St. Lucia Academy upon becoming an adolescent. However, around that time, Rika somehow found herself back in Hinamizawa and is informed by Hanyuu that version of the village was different from the one she originally escaped from. As such, many of the significant events that happened in the previous story arcs have starkly different conclusions despite Rika trying to make different outcomes (like telling Keiichi that he should trust Rena, but in this new timeline Rena legitimately tries to kill him anyway).
When Rika returns to the sea of fragments, she learns through Hanyuu that there was a second looper, but Hanyuu's influence was fading from the world. When Rika decides to try five more loops before deciding to kill herself if she failed, she finds herself back at her shared home with Satoko. Having become aware of Rika's looping abilities, Satoko proclaims herself to be the new servant of Eua and initiates the sacrifice of the Watanagashi Festival by cutting out Rika's intestines. She explains to Rika that she was being punished for attempting to leave Hinamizawa. She continued to condition Rika until she conformed. Satoko also confesses to murdering the other members of the gang as part of the ritual.
Rika is then taken to a version of Hinamizawa where the Great Hinamizawa Disaster is averted due to Miyo Takano having a change of heart and giving herself up to the authorities. However, Rika still felt that there was something wrong with this timeline and orchestrates a plan when she realized that it would be Satoko's birthday soon. After Rika won a poker game with the club, Rika arranges for her friends to get presents for Satoko while she went with her to buy groceries.
The group of friends celebrate Satoko's birthday and they start handing out the gifts. However when Rika pulls out a yellow box, Satoko suddenly drops to the floor expecting to be hit by the punching glove from the first episode. Rika then reveals that she had secretly switched out the glove with a teddy bear. Exposed, Satoko's eyes turn red and she pulls out a gun.
To further understand why Rika is so determined to escape the village, she orders Eua to allow her to view the hundreds of fragments Rika suffered in. After observing them, Satoko becomes more determined to make Rika break. The remaining episodes of Gou provide some of the answers to the season's events up to and including why all the characters have vague memories of their past events. After having recurrent nightmares of his brutal deaths, Teppei decides to turn over a new leaf and be more nice towards his niece. She was surprised by the sudden change, but she immediately decides to use him as a pawn to further her plan.
In episode 24, when Takano decides to defect from Tokyo and spare Tomitake, Satoko secretly breaches the hospital after her daily check ups. After a few trial and errors, Satoko gets the right combination to the safe and steals a syringe filled with H173, a drug that can induce L5 of the Hinamizawa Syndrome into its victim. Thus, it reveals that Satoko was the one who had been injecting people throughout the arcs fully knowing that Rika would try to go to them for help. The first season ends with Satoko madly telling her beloved Rika that their happy life was on the horizon. She also proudly takes the title of "Oyashiro-sama" after Takano gave up on her plans.
In the first episode, it is revealed that during their club meeting, Satoko follows Rena after she claimed that she wasn't feeling well. Alone in the nurse's room with her, Satoko injects her with L5 of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. She promises to her that she would make a world where she could live happily with her father and, like before, claims its Rika's fault for what she was doing.
In Episode 4, she injects Mion with the Hinamizawa Syndrome while she was distracted. However, she did so because she was curious to see what Mion would do under the influence of the illness due to never going insane in the previous loops.
In Episode 6, Rika goes missing, which could potentially ruin Satoko's plan, given she can only follow her through loops if she dies after Rika. To ensure Rika has died, she goes to the Sonozaki residence to confront Mion. When Mion gets belligerent and holds Satoko at gunpoint, Satoko guns her down before Mion can pull the trigger. A dying Mion attempts to mock Satoko, telling her in unnecessary detail, how Rika died. Instead of grieving, like Mion expected, Satoko is relieved that Rika is dead, which confuses Mion. She then blows Mion's brains out before committing suicide to restart the timeline.
In episode 7, she manipulates her uncle Teppei into believing that she was being mistreated by the villagers due to her parents' part in supporting the dam that would have flooded Hinamizawa. From there, she allows herself to live with her uncle again much to Rika's bewilderment and Eua's amusement.
As a looper, Satoko is able to traverse the fragments in the sea of fragments much like Rika, and in order to activate them, she had to die. However, this is not without its issues: in order to follow Rika, Rika must be killed. If Satoko were to be killed or die and Rika would still be alive, Satoko would be sent to a fragment where Rika did not exist.
Satoko is also a skilled firearm user thanks in part to manipulating Mion to teach her how to shoot and then gradually builds her way up to getting a real gun. She was fully capable of blasting Mion's fingers off with little effort. A lot of her capabilities do come from her repeated deaths and memorization, however.
Despite getting bad grades at St. Lucia Academy, Satoko is very intelligent; still holding the title of the "Trap Master," Satoko can devise brilliant traps with careful, meticulous planning. This also helps in terms of manipulation. For instance, she is able to make Mion envious of her twin sister by suggesting that Shion was flirting with Keiichi. She can also fake her emotions on a whim examples being when she faked a panic attack at school and convincing her uncle that she was being bullied.
- Her parents (accidentally)
- Rika Furude
- Mion Sonozaki
- Teppei Hojo
- Keiichi Maebara
- Oishi Kuraudo
- Dozens of people
- Akane Sonozaki
- During Gou's rendition of the Tataridamashi arc, Satoko has her traumatic episode when Keiichi tried to pet her head (in the original story, she vomits when Keiichi tried to pet her head) thus inadvertently making her recall when Satoshi did so. Ryukishi07 confirmed in a livestream that she was faking it.