Uh oh! This article needs revision and updates! The author, 7Mono, has changed her opinions about some parts of this analysis. Other edits are needed, too. 7Mono will work on correcting this blog at her earliest convenience. Thanks for understanding!
If you like anime, reaction images, and anime memes, you probably know a thing or two about Sonozaki Shion. What comes to mind first is probably how crazy and brutally violent she becomes in some arcs of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Or maybe, the first image in your head is Shion getting her fingernails torn off just for talking back to her bigoted grandmother. What about Mion Sonozaki? Maybe you think of when her eyes turn catlike and she pulls out a syringe/ needle to inject Keiichi. On the other hand, maybe you immediately think of how she’s normally so friendly, moralistic, assertive, and fun.
Whether you are terrified by the Sonozaki twins, whether you sympathize with them, or whether both are true, there’s no denying these are interesting and iconic anime characters. Some people think Shion is “the evil twin” and Mion is the “the good girl.” Is that really true? In this post, we’ll be looking at the personalities of Shion and Mion, what they have in common, and where they differ. We’ll also discuss why Shion is more susceptible to Hinamizawa Syndrome compared to Mion.
I’ll use the Myers-Briggs Typology to get a general idea of who the Sonozaki twins are. Here’s a refresher on MBTI dimensions in case you don’t know. E types (extraverts) compared to I types (introverts) are social, outspoken, and get their energy from interacting with other people. While an N (intuitive) is focused on ideas, impressions, and patterns, the S (sensing) types are practical, in tune with their senses, anf focused on the here-and-now reality.
Those with the F letter are Feelers, who are in tune with the emotions of others and tend to rely on their gut feelings to make decisions. In contrast, those with T are Thinkers, deciding based on logic and sense, and sometimes not understanding emotional reactions. P types (perceivers) are spontaneous and flexible, and J types (judgers) are more orderly and premeditated in their actions. With all that in mind, I believe Mion is an ESTJ and Shion is an ENFJ.
Shion is an ENFJ, the type sometimes called protagonists, givers, or teachers. When she’s stable and not affected by Hinamizawa Syndrome, Shion has a strong sense of justice and altruism. She also wants to kindly and gently lead and take care of people. She’s often very protective, and sometimes put the needs of her friends above her own. Shion needs other people and starts to decline if she’s alone for too long. She doesn’t do well with tough decisions.
Most of the above traits are also true of the ENFJ type. Typically, ENFJs are also popular and have good people skills. If you don’t remember Shion being like this, watch the early episodes of Meakashi-hen (Eye Opening Chapter). Here you should see her strong sense of fairness and her desire to protect and love people. Also look at Shion’s behavior in the arcs in which she appears in Higurashi season 2. Here, Shion becomes close with Satoko, protecting and guiding her.
(Also, though they are not as serious, I recommend watching the Higurashi Kira and Higurashi Rei specials to see a little more of Shion when she’s not insane.)
Next let’s discuss Mion and her type. In book or internet descriptions, ESTJs are called guardians, executives, or supervisors. Recall how Mion has a strong sense of duty, desire to help lead the village, and a need to set a good example as a member of the Sonozaki Family. She is also responsible and loves to be in charge. Mion places high value on tradition, self-restraint, and “decency.” These are all characteristics of ESTJs, too. Like Mion, many ESTJs are athletic.
Mion and Shion have a lot in common, but they also have some major differences. They are both extraverted, assertive, energized by being with their friends, and comfortable in a crowd. While Shion is more focused on togetherness with the individuals she loves, Mion focuses on being in charge so she can lead everyone in a good direction. Both girls are confident and outspoken, with Shion being a little more poised in the way she speaks, and Mion being frank and forceful.
Correctness, tradition, and respect for authority are all values that Mion strongly believes in. She lets herself have a lot of fun and act goofy with the game club, but she’s very serious about the traditions of Hinamizawa and Oyashiro, as well as the dignity and conventions of the Sonozaki Family. All this is in stark contrast to Shion’s personality, which is open-minded, flexible, and driven by a desire for fairness and a tendency to stick up for the underdog. (In this sense, Shion is similar to an INFJ. It’s possible her extraversion is weak, and she sits on the boundary between INFJ and ENFJ.)
ENFJs are easily wounded emotionally and can internalize their grief and hurt. ESTJs are much tougher in that sense, but they are also easily offended by what they consider inappropriate, and when stressed, they can be judgemental and bad at expressing themselves. These weaknesses sound pretty spot-on for Shion and Mion, respectively.
Refresher on Hinamizawa Syndrome
It’s implied by Rika in season 2 that Shion more likely to go nuts in a given world than Mion. Why? To understand that, we must review how insanity works in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. A disease called Hinamizawa Syndrome is what makes the characters go crazy. Though, it isn’t a disease in the techincal sense. Microscopic organisms live in and around Onigafuchi Swamp in Hinamizawa. They can’t survive in any other environment. These microbes are parasites that prey on mammalian brains. Hinamizawa Syndrome occurs when the parasites change the brain and cause psychotic behavior.
The earliest symptoms of Hinamizawa Syndrome infection are intense paranoia, anxiety, and violent thoughts. As the disease progresses, violent behavior begins, along with visual and auditory hallucinations, and a feeling of something crawling under the skin, leading to severe scratching. At the worst and last stage, patients kill themselves, sometimes purposely, and sometimes by accident by scratching at their throats enough to hit the carotid and bleed out. Immediately after the victim goes brain-dead, the tiny brain parasites dissolve into proteins, leaving virtually no trace behind.
A parasite gains nothing by killing the host it needs to survive, so what’s the deal? Hinamizawa Syndrome and psychosis only actually happens if certain conditions aren’t met. Humans who live in Hinamizawa developed a tolerance over time to the parasites, evolving with them to be their ideal coexisting species. In this way, if outsiders who aren’t adapted since birth come to Hinamizawa, they are in danger of going insane. However, a healthy, happy lifestyle with supportivve friends can calm down the syndrome, so not everyone is affected.
The second condition for safety is the existence of the Queen Carrier. The person with the purest Hinamizawan blood, usually the female of the Furude Family, carries within her a type of “Queen Parasite” which soothes and calms all other parasites in the area. Should the Queen Carrier die, the whole village could become infected with Hinamizwa Syndrome within a few days. In Higurashi, Rika is the Queen Carrier, and by killing her, Miyo Takano wipes out the village and proves her hypothesis.
Sonozaki Shion was born in Hinamizawa, but spent very little of her life there. She was forcibly sent to boarding schools starting at a young age because her grandmother hated her. Thus, in arcs when Shion comes back to Hinamizawa and spends a long time there, she usually experiences symptoms of parasitic infection. In contrast, Mion never leaves the village, and spends lots of time around Rika.
Remember that state of mind also plays a role in whether Hinamizawa Syndrome manifests. People with reasonably happy, secure lives with trusted friends are safe from the disease compared to people undergoing high stress, trauma, or grief. Shion always has an incredibly rough time when she returns to the village because she inevitably falls in love with Satoshi Houjou, who goes missing and is believed to be dead for most of the Higurashi series. She is also traumatized by the way her family uses torture to punish her for being rebellious.
Shion isn’t any better or worse than Mion as a person. Some fans, including myself, find Shion the more the sympathetic character of the two. Though it’s true she goes bat-shit, now we know there are reasons for that not related to her personality.
A Note on Mion’s Dark Side
If you remember most of the content from the early episodes/chapters of Meakashi-hen, you will recall that Mion has a dark side, too. Despite making friends with Satoko, the older sister didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with the persecution of the Houjou family. She said that Priest Furude was immature for sheltering the Houjou family when they were in real danger.
Then there was that little issue where Mion tattled on Shion for running away from boarding school, having a job and falling in love with a Houjou. She reported her to their evil grandmother. After Shion insulted the Sonozaki family and their traditions, Mion assisted in torturing her twin by ripping off her fingernails as the rest of the family watched calmly. (Granted, Mion tore off her own nails later, as penance. However, I’ve never been impressed by that. It was only done to make her feel less guilty. If Mion had done the right thing and protected her sister, there would have been no need to self-righteously “punish herself” after the fact.)
There are a few other cases of Mion being, well, a bitch. After Takano and Tomitake go missing, and it’s revealed they entered the ritual tools shed, Mion says they deserved to die from Oyashiro’s curse. They deserved to die for entering a shed?! Then she intimidates Shion for overhearing this. Of course, Mion never kills anyone, and she firmly believes her grandmother had nothing to do with the mysterious deaths. But the most important point to consider here is that when Mion did reveal her darker side, she wasn’t under the influence of Hinamizawa Syndrome. It was part of her personality.
If she were switched with Shion, spending most of her life away from the village, Mion might have turned out to be even more monstrous than Shion.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this analysis of the characters of Shion and Mion Sonozaki!