| Ryūgū Rena|
|Alternate Name||Ryūgū Reina, 竜宮 礼奈|
|Birthday||July 28, 1967|
|Daybreak Weapon(s)|| |
|Portrayed By|| |
|Image Song||Egao Happy Peace ♪|
Rena Ryūgū is one of the main characters in the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series, the protagonist of Tsumihoroboshi-hen and the villain of Tsukiotoshi-hen and Onikakushi-hen. Despite the fact that she is not the main character, Rena is arguably the signature character as she is featured more than once during the first season opening, as well as appearing on most of the album or game covers. She appears in much of Higurashi's official art and even serves as something of a mascot for 07th Expansion.
Rena is in the same grade level as Keiichi, though she is slightly younger than him, with her birthday falling in July. As Higurashi takes place in June, Rena wouldn't yet have turned 16.
Rena is known to have an obsession with all things cute, and in what called by others as her "Kawaii"--かわいい--or "Cute Mode," she often tries to take those things home with her even if they do not belong to her. Such things include the "Kenta-Kun" doll, Furude Rika, Hanyū, Satoko, and any of the club members in punishment game outfits. Nevertheless, according to Mion, while Rena might seem cute herself, people should be careful not to anger her as she can become quite scary. Keiichi discovers this in an infamous scene in the Sound Novels, manga, and anime where she suddenly screams "Lie!"--嘘だ--うそだ--usoda.
She spends much of her time "treasure hunting" at the town's trash heap in search of cute things, which often appeal only to Rena and more often than not are rather odd. Rena has a secret base in the trash heap which she sometimes retreats to when she's distressed: an old van that has been hollowed out and filled with the kind of things she likes. It is close enough to the middle of the dump that no one outside can hear anything.
The Higurashi fanbase tends to argue over whether the item she found in the town's trash heap (anime), or a tool shed (manga and visual novels) was a cleaver, billhook, cane knife, or a hatchet. The popular term is "cleaver"; however, the more accurate term would be nata: a gardening tool used for clearing brush, though it generally does not have the spike on the end that Rena's tool does.
Rena's parents are both fashion designers, and while she was born in Hinamizawa, her family soon moved away to Ibaraki, for the sake of her mother's advancing career. Her mother soon started an affair with a co-worker, and Rena met him a couple of times. She found him to be agreeable, although she didn't understand the reality of her mother's relationship with him until her mother asked her to come away to start a new family with the two of them. Her mother was pregnant with the man's child and was planning to leave her father.Her father was devastated, and Rena blamed herself for not seeing right away that her mother's "friend from work" was a "bad person." She remained very loyal to her father after her mother betrayed/cheated on him, and as shown in Tsumihoroboshi-hen she is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect him. She spurned her mother, saying she never wanted to see her again, and nearly went mad with the guilt. She is very sensitive about the topic of Oyashiro-Sama, who she believes cursed her for leaving Hinamizawa. She would cut herself, trying to get rid of the "filthy blood" that was left in her by her mother, and imagined it to be filled with maggots.
Rena started to behave in violent and erratic ways, and during this time, she attacked three of her male classmates. However, there is some implication that they were the instigators of the incident since they decided not to press charges. She also smashed all the windows in her school with a baseball bat and was eventually hospitalized.
Rena later claimed that what broke her out of this state was the Shrine God of Hinamizawa, Oyashiro-sama, who "said" to Rena: "If you want to live, move back to Hinamizawa; that's the only way you'll be safe." Rena and her father moved back to Hinamizawa, and Rena, whose birth name was "Reina", changed her name as a part of her new start (though English-speaking viewers may find the difference negligible aside from spelling). According to the Tsumihoroboshi-hen TIPS, the other purpose of removing the "i" in her name was, as interpreted by Rena herself, to "remove the icky things" (いやなこと Iyana koto), though later she realizes that "the "i-ncredible things" (いいこと ii Kotos) also start with an "i".
Rena's experience with Oyashiro-Sama allowed her to bond with Hōjō Satoshi when he started having similar experiences. In Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Mamiya Rina and Hōjō Teppei, both scam artists, target her father. In an attempt to protect her father and herself, Rena ends up fighting and killing Rina, and although it begins as self-defense, she later leads Teppei out to the junk yard and kills him as well. Not long after this, Takano Miyo entrusts her with her scrapbook. Takano dies shortly after, but after reading the book, Rena begins to question the nature of Oyashiro-Sama and the honesty of her friends. She takes the school building, and those inside hostage and only the intervention of Keiichi stops her from making another horrible mistake and becoming another fatality of the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
Rena has short reddish to brown hair in an angled cut with long sides and her fringe parts on the left of her forehead. Her eyes are blue and droop at the ends.
On her school days, Rena wears a fairly typical sailor fuku, complete with a yellow ribbon, and white socks with dark brown shoes. On her free days, she wears a white dress with a purple bow and sash and deep silt up the middle, complete with "her favorite" white cap. She also wears black thigh-high socks with brown knee-high boots. Rena's blood-stained cap was used as a message to Sonozaki Mion in Taraimawashi-hen and a message to Hōjō Satoko in Yakusamashi-hen.
In the first episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, Rena appears as an adult in a purple business dress suit. She has the same hairstyle, though it is a bit longer, and seems to have grown taller since June of 1983.
On Rena's Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Matsuri sprite, her sailor fuku tie has a blue knot that has a small white cross in the center of it, similar to the pin Takano Miyo wears on her left side when she is wearing her black military uniform.
Rena initially is sweet and friendly by nature, but she can be quite scary when threatened or angry. Certain situations in the story cause her personality to change dramatically. In Onikakushi-hen, she reacts strongly to one of Keiichi's remarks with the infamously deafeningly loud "Uso da! (嘘だ! That's a lie!)." Though part of her extreme reaction may be imagined by Keiichi who is suffering from the Hinamizawa Syndrome in this arc, Rena's reaction strongly suggests that she does hate lies, especially from friends.
Along with her intuition, Rena is shown to be capable of becoming quite frightening and dangerously hostile when she is determined, especially in Minagoroshi-hen. She was able to intimidate both the village council and the Child Welfare staff with her eyes and words easily, rarely losing emotional control like Keiichi and Sonozaki Shion both frequently did. During the last Watanagashi meeting of the village council, Rena got into a violent fistfight with one of the elders. Keiichi often calls her the "quiet, blue flame that burns silently," referring to her capability of becoming incredibly powerful when push comes to shove, despite her seemingly girly and airheaded personality; in such situations, Rena will always be the instigator of and the most bluntly offensive in the fight, as observed in many instances; by Shion in Meakashi-hen and Minagoroshi-hen ("I wonder how you were in Ibaraki. You don't even hesitate to attack people!"), Keiichi in Watanagashi-hen, and Furude Rika in Minagoroshi-hen. Rena can also fiercely and successfully retort in a very sharp and biting way when involved in a heated debate.
Mion describes Rena, and Rena is often portrayed, as being hostile towards people who make light of or express disbelief in Oyashiro-Sama's Curse. This attitude is due to her experience with it and her (correct) assumption that Oyashiro-Sama physically exists. On the other hand, she, like Rika, often empathizes with and can identify people who are afflicted with advanced symptoms of Hinamizawa Syndrome. It is implied that she feels guilty for not listening to Satoshi's problems before he disappeared, and asks Keiichi to tell her his problems, most notably in Onikakushi-hen, but as he was already afflicted with the Syndrome, he hallucinates that she was threatening him.
When determined, Rena can be very perceptive, as she can somewhat understand people just by looking at their face. She does admit directly that she can quickly "tell if ___'s telling the truth or not… just by looking into ___'s eyes". She is also able to form detailed and eerily accurate hypotheses of crime scenes based on evidence she observed.Rena possesses a signature "Kawaii Mode,"--かわいい--or "Cute Mode," a comic relief quirk which is instigated when she is embarrassed or when she finds something cute. Once she enters Kawaii Mode, Rena's senses are heightened to an extreme extent, making her inhumanly agile and vigorous. This causes frequent trouble for many of the club members, who have to expend all of their energy to barely control her; Keiichi and Mion have been knocked out cold a large number of times by Rena's flurries of punches, while Rika and Satoko have often been kidnapped (especially when they were wearing club punishment outfits). Satoko and Rika have learned to use Rena's Kawaii Mode switch to their advantages—by either crying to her or posing in an adorable fashion, they can manipulate whom Rena knocks out opponents or how Rena can support them, thus giving them a huge advantage in eliminating competition easily in club games.
During the first episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, an adult Rena
appears to have been affected for life from being one of the few people who survived the events that occurred in Hinamizawa (in the post-Tsumihoroboshi-hen world).
Rena and Keiichi are very close friends, but arguably are something more, as they seem to be important to each other. They face off against each other in many of the club's activities, most notably the "Water Gun Face Off" and their battle for Rena's sanity and the fate of the school in Tsumihoroboshi-hen. Keiichi also likes to "flirt", or make fun of Rena, while they walk to school together. Rena herself is shown to care about Keiichi quite a lot, which was seen in Watanagashi-hen, where she didn't want him to go alone to see "Mion," who was actually Shion. In other situations of danger, she shows her worry and may jump out to defend him, such as protecting his family as well in Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kaku. On a side note, both also seem to work well as a team in the fighting of several vigilantes. In the last episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei, Rena confesses her feelings for him, although she was under influence of the magatamas at the time (Hanyū reacts to this as her real confession to Keiichi, while Rika is disgusted). Rena is also seen to like and have a substantial amount of concern for Keiichi, such as when Takano fatally shot him in Minagoroshi-hen, as she was seen crying while he lay dying, and when she and the rest of the group left.
In Onikakushi-hen, Rena quickly notices Keiichi's unusual and erratic behavior and attempts to help and calm him down, begging him to talk to her about his problems and even following him around "protecting him," to ease his paranoia. She ultimately fails, due to his hallucinations that turn her kindness into treachery, and ends up being killed by Keiichi along with Mion, but only after one final effort to comfort him. This failure is the subject of her image song, Dear you -Cry-.
In Onikakushi-hen, after Keiichi had won the Teddy at the Watanagashi festival and gave it to her, she kissed him.
Mion and Rena appear very good friends and have known each other for a very long time. In Minagoroshi-hen, when Rena was upset about her father and was thinking of murdering Rina and Teppei, she went to Mion, who helped her decide against it. Also, Rena was the only one, besides Shion, to whom Mion confessed her feelings for Keiichi after the doll incident in Watanagashi and Meakashi-hen.
Rena and Shion's relationship is not really explained in the series. Part of the problem is Rena will talk to Shion like others thinking she is Mion when Shion impersonates her sister. However, there is the implication that Shion may feel quite uncomfortable whenever Rena is present. Initially, Shion told Mion that she considers Rena to be Mion's rival, especially after the doll incident. When they first met at Angel Mort, Shion described her as a "weird girl" who was unusually forward when they first met. In Meakashi-hen, when they were conversing at the bus stop, Shion had actually developed a sort of hateful jealousy towards Rena upon witnessing how intimidating and perceptive Rena could be; she immediately felt "one-upped" and threatened, her "position of the strongest demon" quickly taken away only by a cold look from the other. It could be said that that encounter may have even had a small bit of influence on Shion's malicious behavior after hitting L5; after she had witnessed Rika's suicide, her "demon" felt as if it could finally regain its position from Rena as the strongest one. It is also interesting to note that they have hardly ever spoken to each other at all in the Kai season.
There is a possibility that Rena had known of Shion's existence and that Shion was Mion all along, but decided not to say anything for Keiichi's and Shion's sakes.
Rena and Satoko are close friends. On many occasions, Rena has wanted to take Satoko home, particularly when she is in a punishment outfit. Rena is shown to care dearly for Satoko and is very concerned about her when Teppei is abusing her. In Tsukiotoshi-hen, she even agrees to kill Teppei, along with Shion and Keiichi, to save Satoko.
Rena and Rika have been close friends since the very start of the series. On many occasions, Rena wants to take Rika home, mostly when Rika is in a punishment or in her shrine maiden outfit. Rika sees Rena as a very kind and knowledgeable person throughout the series; however, when Rena took the school captive in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Rika stands in her way while Keiichi is trying to stop Rena from destroying the school.
Rena and Hanyū do not meet in person until Matsuribayashi-hen. Before then while under the influence of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, Rena had been aware of Hanyū's presence, though Rena partially correctly interprets her presence as that of Oyashiro-Sama. Once they do meet, Hanyū becomes an object of affection and obsession for Rena, similar to her reactions to Rika and Satoko. Upon seeing her, Hanyū becomes a victim of Rena's "Kawaii" mode:
Rena comments to Keiichi upon Hanyū's arrival that she felt as though Hanyū had always been with them, watching out for them from afar.
Rena and Takano do not have a particular relationship beyond their encounters during the arc. For example, in Minagoroshi-hen Takano kills her like she kills her other friends, although Rena refuses to fear Takano and is unafraid to mock her for the fallacies in her goal before dying. The last episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei; however, depicts a stranger relationship where she temporarily falls in love with Takano due to the effects of the magatama.
Rena as an adult looks remarkably like Takano, as seen in the first episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai.
- In episode 1 of Seitokai no Ichizon, Ken says that he loves Kurimu, who asks him how can he confess his love so easily. Ken answers that he's serious but Kurimu yells at him with a loud "Uso da!" while mimicking Rena's iconic face from Higurashi. Ken only replies that "I think it's more about Umineko than Higurashi nowadays."
- In episode 6 of Seiokai no Ichizon, Magiru, the student council's advisor, says that she would prefer if the student council did it's meeting with a hatchet or a bat, and her dream is "getting sent to Hinamizawa."
- In episode 15 of Kyōran Kazoku Nikki Kyouka turns into a magical girl. After Hiratsuka sees her cute outfit she says "Hau~ I want to take you home."
- She appears in the ASCII part of Ushiromiya Jessica's song, Tsurupettan, in the original sound novel version of Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode 2: Turn of the Golden Witch.
- In Rose Guns Days (Also by Ryukishi07), the icon of the "Over Kill" emblem is a silhouetted Rena holding a cleaver.
- In episode 26 of Negima!?, Setsuna is holding the dud form of Konoka, and states how she would like to "take her home." In the background, a picture of Konoka is seen dressed as Rena, along with her signature weapon, Nata.
- Rena has the second most expanded-upon backstory, just behind Rika.
- Rena has the highest number of murders because in Yoigoshi-hen (the alternate version of Tsumihoroboshi-hen) she successfully blew up the whole school which killed 15 children (including herself, Mion, Satoko, Rika and Keiichi), likewise, she murdered Hōjō Teppei and Mamiya Rina in Tsumihoroboshi-hen and also killed Mion, Keiichi and Rika in Tsukiotoshi-hen (multiple murders of one person do not count towards the total).
- Rena survives in more arcs than any other main character (Watanagashi-hen, Meakashi-hen, Matsuribayashi-hen, and—at least in the anime version—Tsumihoroboshi-hen).
- If one takes apart Rena's real name (Reina), "Rei" would mean 0 and "Na" (from "Nana") would mean 7, possibly referencing the author's name, Ryukishi07. That strengthens the theory that Rena being intentionally made by 07th Expansion the signature character of the series. This intentional translation was also responsible for something called "Rena Day," specifically July 7th, 2007 (07/07/07), where 4chan's anime boards and Japanese image threads were flooded with massive Rena picture spam.
- Rena's real name "Reina" is also the Spanish word for "queen".
- In addition to the 07 implication of Rena's name, it has been pointed out that both her real name and her nickname are the same as the Final Fantasy V character Lenna Charlotte Tycoon's Japanese names (in the game, Lenna's name is "Rena", in which the kana for both Lenna's and Rena's names is レナ. In the FFV anthology, Lenna's name is "Reina").
- Mamiya Rina and Rena's first names, identical with the exception of the vowel, could be considered the two halves of the name "Reina", in which "Rena" is the proper, untainted half of the name and "Rina" is the epitome and physical existence of all the "i-cky things" and the bad experiences in Ibaraki.
- In the English versions, Rena is the only character (besides Takano, after she murders Rena) who acknowledges Oyashiro-sama as female. This statement is most likely because she has heard Oyashiro-sama (Hanyū) speak to her while the other villagers grew up believing Oyashiro-sama to be male but never hearing or meeting him in person. In Japanese, in which talking about someone without mentioning their gender is easy, Oyashiro-sama isn't referred to as male or female.
- Rena often speaks (and writes) in third-person, but mentally, she speaks normally in first-person. Where this habit came from is unknown, but she has had it ever since she was very young.
- In Tsumihoroboshi-hen TIP "The Demon's Script" and Higurashi Kai episode 1, Rena is referred to as "Girl A" by the police, as Japanese law prohibits disclosure of the names of minors involved in criminal cases; the identities of both the culprit and the victim of the Sasebo slashing are still officially unknown, albeit popular topics of Internet speculation. The law is not without its critics: Weekly Bunshun magazine declared that "monsters have no human rights" and published the alleged new names of the murderers of Junko Furuta.
- It is revealed in the Tsumihoroboshi-hen manga that Rena goes grocery shopping with Keiichi's mother. It can be deduced that this is how she knew the type of instant noodles Keiichi eats in Onikakushi-hen.
- Despite being her signature weapon, in the sound novel and the manga Rena never uses her nata to lethal effect in the "core" arcs (Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni and Kai). All of her murders are committed with other weapons. However, in the anime adaptation of Tsumihoroboshi-hen she uses the nata to kill Hōjō Teppei, while in the sound novel and the manga she uses a broad axe for that purpose.