Review written on November 26, 2009 for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai.
When They Cry
After finishing up Minami-ke, I decided to check out Higurashi no Naku Koro ni aka When They Cry. This anime is based of murder mystery dojin sound novel of the same name
. There are two seasons of the show and 5 OVA episodes.
Let's start with season one. For the best description of the story, I'm going to quote it form Wikipedia since it's very well done. Story overview
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes place during June 1983, at a fictional rural village called Hinamizawa which has a population of approximately 2,000. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, moves to Hinamizawa and befriends his new classmates Rena Ryuugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Houjou. Keiichi joins their after-school club activities, which consist mostly of card and board games (and punishment games for the loser, usually him.) Hinamizawa appears to be a normal, peaceful, rural village to Keiichi. However, the tranquility abruptly ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro. Keiichi learns that every year for the past four years, one person has been murdered and another has gone missing on the day of the Watanagashi Festival. Keiichi himself soon becomes drawn into the strange events surrounding the Watanagashi Festival and Oyashiro. In each story arc, he or one of his friends become paranoid, and a crime is committed. Usually, the crime involves the murder of one of their own friends. While it seems impossible to tell their delusions apart from the mystery of Hinamizawa, slowly the truth is revealed. ( When They Cry Wiki Page *Spoilers on the Wiki page*)
Watch out for Mion.
So that's the basic story. During the course of the show there are different story arcs, 6 in total. Each one of them is different but, some come together at a different view point. Each arc starts out with the classmates having a good time with each other. Then during the arc something usually bad happens and it goes down from there. During the show brutal acts happen. From beating a person to death with a bat to get getting finger nails ripped off, it's all a gory mess. There is also a very dark tone to the show as well. Going along the show you start learning about the "Oyashiro Curse" and start find out that it's actually a parasite causing people to go crazy. During the final episode of the season you learn that all of these story arcs are actually time paradoxes (Endless Either anyone?) and Rika knows about all of this and she is the reason for it. Every time she is killed time paradox restarts.
Now for the second season.
Peekaboo, I see you! - Rena
The first season of the show seemed like it was all about the horror with deaths, gore, and intense situations happening a lot. With the second season it's more about the story. With the first 6 story arcs being considered "question arcs", the three story arcs during the second season are the "answer arcs" which clears up everything about the killings and such. The first arc is basically just a short arc to clear up some stuff about the story and what not. This is just considered an arc for the anime to help the viewers. In the second story the classmates start doing their usually things but, Rika notices that some things happen that haven't happened before in the other time paradoxes like Keiichi giving the doll to Mion instead of Rena. With this in mind, Rika tries to change the fate of destiny and tries to not repeat the time paradoxes again. In the end she is killed and everything finishes in the last arc. In the long run you find out that Miyo Takano is the one behind all this and she wants to use the "Oyashiro Curse" or the Hinamizawa Syndrome and take revenge on the people who didn't believe in here step father's research. In the end she fails and we get a really cheesy happy ending.
Keiichi and Rena do battle.
Now it's time for my thoughts on the show. I personally loved it. The first season of the show felt like a horror/psychological with a few comedy parts here and there. I thought the horror, psychological , and comedy stuff was all good. With the second season it was less horror and more about the story, which was liked as well. The characters were kinda standard but, there were good. The artwork was solid as well. I just thought Rika and Satako and small bodies with giant heads on them. At first and had this intense felling about the show. Once it rolled to the second season if just kinda thought "this show is about murders and intense situations with a bunch of school kids" and I kinda laughed once I realized that. You got killer school girls in my show!
All and all, this show is easily about the horror and the story which is why I loved it. I kept wanting to watch more and more as I went along. The horror brought me in at first but, as the story got uncovered, I wanted to know more about the story as well. If you are into horror stuff and you haven't watched this yet, this is a must watch. If you are not into the horror genre, then you might want to stay away from this.
My Score - 5/5