Himatsubushi, the “Time Wasting” chapter, is the somewhat long-awaited fourth and final chapter in the original Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and marks the ending of the “Question Arcs”, but is rather an unorthodox conclusion. As mentioned several times within the game itself, Himatsubushi was “never intended to be released,” and is something of a bonus added onto the August 2004 (re)release of the Question Arcs. As it’s only a third as long as the other chapters, there’s little it can be seen as other than a side story, but is nonetheless important to unraveling the ongoing mystery.
Starring a heretofore unknown character, Inspector Akasaka, who belongs to a vague equivalent of the FBI or CIA, Himatsubushi is set five years prior to the rest of the series, even before the annual murders and disappearances emerged in Hinamizawa. Having come to the region to investigate in the unlikely event that the local dam protest movement is behind the kidnapping of a relative of the Minister of Construction, Akasaka soon “befriends” not only everyone’s favorite dangerous person, Detective Ooishi, but also a five-year-younger version of main character Rika Furude. However, what Akasaka finds there is not exactly what he expected…
Given the change in protagonist and removal from the regular narrative, Himatsubushi can be seen as something of a prototype for the Ange sections of Umineko’s Alliance of the Golden Witch, but make no mistake: despite the involvement of a new main character, Himatsubushi mainly concerns itself with further developing Ooishi and Rika, peeling back the layers of their motivations in the regular story. Despite its shorter length, and side story nature, if you have an interest in the world of Higurashi, this chapter is not to be missed.