Another Ep 9: Cassette Tape
Sakakibara and his friends search for the message that Reiko left behind 15 years ago in the old room of class 3. They find a package taped to the inside top of a locker, and inside is a cassette tape which may hold the answer to the crucial question: how do we stop the curse?
Synopsis: “Um, My…My name is Katsumi Matsunaga. I’m a student of the 9th grade, class 3 of 1983. When I finish recording this, I plan to hide it somewhere in the classroom. If you’re listening to this tape, you’re most likely in class 3, as well. I wonder what the likelihood of that is…It’s possible that you guys are also terrified by the senseless disaster that I…that we…Never mind. I have two reasons for leaving this tape. One is to confess a sin. My sin. I want to tell someone what I did. I need someone to listen. The other is to give you some advice. It’s about the extra student who gets mixed up in the class, and the calamity that happens as a result…How it can be stopped. In other words…Actually, I should start at the beginning. Our class went on a trip. We all left on August 8th, for three days and two nights. Our homeroom teacher, Mr. Koga, hasd suggested that we visit a local shrine. There’s an old shrine in this town called the Yomiyami shrine. He said that if we all prayed there, he was sure the curse would be lifted. There were 22 students in all, myself included. We only half believed him. On the second day, we climbed the mountain to visit the shrine. It was so old and run-down, like it had been abandoned by the world. Even though it bears the name of the city, it looked like it hadn’t been maintained at all. So we decided to clean up the grounds while we were there. At the time, we hoped that maybe this would lift the curse. And after we prayed, our teacher confidently declared, “everything will be alright now.” But it wasn’t. It wasn’t that easy. As soon as we left the shrine, the clear skies suddenly turned overcast and it began to rain, complete with lightening strikes. As we hurried down the mountain, the first victim was a boy named Hamaguchi. He was kind of dumb. He was the only one who’d brought an umbrella. And we were on a mountain, in a lightening storm…He was walking in front of me when…For a second, my vision went white, and I heard a huge crash. Hamaguchi had been struck by lightening. I still remember the smell of his flesh burning…Anyway, the students panicked and bolted, leaving Hamaguchi behind, desperate to get off the mountain as quickly as possible. But moments after we took off, blindly running through the rain, the second victim was taken. A girl named Hoshikawa. In her panic, she slipped and fell off a tall, sheer cliff. All we could do was call for help at the foot of the mountain. But in the end, we couldn’t save either of them. Praying at the shrine had no effect whatsoever. Now, this is the important part. Right after we finally reached the bottom of the mountain, that’s when it happened. And by “it” I mean…I…”
The tape was long, ramble-filled, and ultimately useless. Sakakibara, Misaki, and his two classmates don’t even get to finish listening to it. This is due to the teacher who comes into the room while they are listening to it, forcing them to hide. In his panic, one of the boys actually ends up destroying the tape. The other says that he may be able to fix it. And he better be able to, or the answer to the end of the curse will be lost forever. What an awful, awful time to break something so crucial to their lives.
Besides just the cassette tape, a few other things happen in this episode. It turns out that Nakao hit his head at home the morning before he left to go to the beach. This is what actually led to the event of his death; if he hadn’t hit his head in the morning, he would’ve been able to swim more nimbly. This shows that the curse can not follow them outside of their town, Yomiyama, as they had thought before.
It’s obvious from the near-beginning of this episode that Sakakibara feels the one that he’s to blame for the deaths of his classmates. It’s been said numerous times before; if Sakakibara had never started talking to Misaki, the non-existent, in the first place, the curse would never have been activated. He has a dream of all of the five people that have died from the curse thus far. In his dream, each of the deceased tell him, “it’s your fault.” He wakes up with a jump, which I don’t find too odd since it was such a terrible dream.
Now, back to the classroom of class 3: the four students search for a while before they finally find the cassette. At one point, Misaki wants to open a window to let in fresh air. As soon as she tries, the window shatters and she’s pulled back by Sakakibara-otherwise she would’ve been sliced up. There are several other close calls while the group is looking for the message: Misaki also almost falls through a weak panel in the floor, and one of the boys is almost crushed by a bookshelf.
Close calls aren’t all that happens during this episode: two people are killed off by the curse at the very end. One is a girl from the class, a passenger in a car with her parents on the highway. A rock, or something equally as destructive, hits the windshield of the car and they go flying off the edge of the highway. The other death is of a girl’s brother. A construction machine rolls down a hill and smashes into her house, jamming part of it through an second-story window and killing her brother.