24 of 24 episodes seen
Story- WttNHK is about a young man (Tatsuhiro Sato) who quit going to college after he believed he was being bullied by his peers. He thus shuts himself in his cramped apartment for about four years, going outside only at night to shop for cheap convenience store food. He lives off an allowance provided by his mother and father, who are largely unaware of his current lifestyle. Sato’s stagnant lifestyle takes a dramatic turn when he meets the young Misaki Nakahara, who makes it her mission to relieve Sato of his status as a “hikikomori” by making him sign a somewhat juvenile contract stating that he must meet with her for counseling every night, or pay a fine of one million yen. The plot also involves other characters including Sato’s neighbour, Kaoru Yamazaki, his old sempai from high school, Hitomi Kashiwa, and his old class president/representative, Megumi Kobayashi. These characters all interact in what would typically be seen as nothing more then comedic melodrama. This, however, is only half the story. WttNHK goes far beyond the average slice of life anime to bring us what is perhaps one of the most realistic, touching, and dark plotlines one can hope to find in an anime.
Some of the more prominent themes and ideas that are divulged include the notion of societal repression in a modern society and core emotive motivations behind human conduct. Sato’s state of being a hikokomori, which he generally acquiesces, is explored in great detail during the show. By doing this, a great deal of direct allusions to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and other psychologists are made by Misaki herself as she hopes to discover the origin of Sato’s hikikomori state of mind and potential solutions of how to “cure” it by assimilating him back into the workings of modern society. WttNHK thus generally implies that the typical modern lifestyle is a positive one and that humans should generally live their lives in accordance with the status quo. However, it paradoxically claims that such of lifestyle is a negative one through the very fact that some of the shows more intelligent and congenial characters reject the status quo by either becoming a hikikomori (Sato), planning to commit suicide (Hitomi), or using computers games or doujin eroge as a means of escapism (Yamazaki). This debatable paradox is what makes the show quite alluring to most viewers, whether is occurs on a subconscious or largely conscious level. The state of mind is also examined in considerable detail as well- mostly through the lens of psychology. For example, the fact that Sato constantly misinterprets the actions of those around him and hostile or even tyrannical suggests he is repressing traumatic experiences from the past and quite obviously possesses an inferiority complex. I could go on, but must stop myself for fear of digression.
The other dominant aspect of WttNHK is motivations behind human behaviour. In most cases, this is examined through the characters’ love lives, but also seen through why certain characters would choose to take part in largely illegal or thanatic activities. The latter can be seen in the characters of Megumi and Hitomi respectively. Megumi enters an illegal pyramid marketing scheme because she claims to have to provide for her hikikomori brother, when it is revealed that she really just felt a need to secure her place within the economy by possessing a stable job. Hitomi wants, and attempts to, commit suicide because she feels neglected by her fiancé and thus comes to the (irrational) conclusion that she would rather cease living rather than live in a world where she is afraid of being indirectly by her beloved. It is through these examples and the ones that I will present in the next few sentences that I would suggest WttNHK presents a somewhat bleak and austere interpretation of human incentives, since all the characters’ actions essentially stem from personal selfishness. Characters’ love lives are revealed to be quite dysfunctional in this sense as well. While Misaki ends up genuinely having feelings and loving Sato in the end, it is revealed that she wanted to help him in the first place because he was the only person in the world that she believed was more miserable and unsuccessful than herself (which she directly states numerous times in the show). Yamazaki’s potential love life with a girl from his college is destroyed after he becomes overly suspicious of her intentions and comes to the irrational conclusion that she actually loves another man. This stems from the fact that since a girl cheated on him in the past, he believes it will undoubtedly happen again in the present. He is thus guilty of committing the fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc” (false cause). This is relevant to many of the situations that may arise in one’s life, especially as the mature and form meaningful bonds with others. Since the many viewers can identify with the characters and their motivations in the anime, they feel sympathy (pathos) for the characters and become all the more engaged with WttNHK’s story.
The plot does have a few weak points (which I won’t point out since many of you probably are tired of reading this and don’t care at this point), but they are largely overshadowed by the anime’s strong, pertinent themes, meriting my rating of the story to be a 9.
In the end, I hope I have at least convinced you that WttNHK does have legitimate depth, even though you may not agree with some of my conclusions. I encourage those interested in looking more into the plot of WttNHK to read some of the other reviews on this website- many of them are quite juicy.
Because most of my energy was expended by discussing the plot, and I am sure most of you are tired of my ramblings, my comments on the art, sound, character, and enjoyment of the series will be relatively short, but long enough that it will hopefully give you a good idea of what the WttNHK holds in store for you prospective viewers under these categories.
Art- WttNHK was fairly strong for the most part, as it realistically portrays average Japanese citizens without hyper-sexualizing or drawing attention to the characters in ways that most anime tend to (e.g. giving characters odd hair colours). The animation is smooth for the most part and the bright colours used in the foregrounds and backgrounds of many scenes do function as an effective allure for viewers in most circumstances. However, one will not find much, if any, truly exceptional artwork or animation here.
Sound- WttNHK’s background music was consistent and did not become tiresome by the time I completed the series. There was one background song featuring an acoustic guitar that I particularly enjoyed, as it helped to enhance and give life to many of the anime’s more depressing scenes. Opening and ending songs were mediocre at best (although the ending theme “Odoru Akachan Ningen” did have some pretty good lyrics) and all sound effects seemed to be in place*.
Character- WttNHK does an excellent job of resisting conforming to the cookie-cutter stereotypes that many anime seem to recycle time and time again. There are no clearly distinguishable tsunderes, Naruto-types, little-sister types, or ENFs (embarrassed nude females) here, unless they are being used specifically for hyperbolic or comedic effect (such as the hilarious Purin-chan, with her mighty theme song). This keeps all the characters fresh, interesting and likable as they interact with one another in a natural, realistic way.
Enjoyment- I cannot remember one episode where I found myself checking the time remaining before the episode was over while it was playing. If you do not understand what I mean by this, it means I really enjoyed watching this wonderful anime and was completely drawn in by its comedic, yet serious, and intelligent plot. It was definitely a pleasure to watch.
Overall- In the end, WttNHK is a great anime that perfectly combines strong comedy with more serious themes pertaining to human behaviour and the effects of a modern society on the individual. WttNHK effectively comments on these ideas without impeding its core emotive storyline in the least. I recommend that whether you are into comedy, drama, and/or psychological anime, you should definitely give “Welcome To The NHK!” a watch.
*In all honesty, does anyone really actively listen for sound effects during anime? From what I can remember, one of the only anime that had exceptional sound effects was “Ghost Hound”.
25 of 25 episodes seen
Story- Code Geass’ story is incredibly complex- not so much in a psychological or abstract way, but because there is always about fifty things going on at once, with over twenty characters to keep track of. This makes the show incredibly engaging and exciting to watch as you become entranced in its multifaceted storyline. The story line moves at an incredibly fast pace as well. There are no long gaps of staring people down *cough*Naruto*cough* and there are minimal scenes containing subject matter that is irrelevant to the plot. Even though this is a good thing for the most part (no boring scenes=win), the plot sometimes moves too fast for one to fully comprehend, giving it a somewhat rushed feeling. Nonetheless, Code Geass manages to turn a seemingly simplistic mehca plot revolving around a rebellion into a jam-packed roller coaster ride filled with a little bit of everything- political intrigue, comedy, adventure, suspense, action, drama, and even some ecchi- making for an eclectic plethora of different anime genres in one show.
Art- Some excellent work by CLAMP here, although their artwork is usually quite high-quality. While toned-down colours may have been more suitable for Code Geass’ intricate and somewhat dark plot, I felt that the vivid colours that were used throughout the anime added life and energy to the story. Animation was fairly decent as well. The fight scenes between the mechas could have been more detailed at times, but I’m not complaining. Everything was pretty slick and tight- it made for an entrancing display of exciting fight scenes, gorgeous settings, and unique character designs (I’m partial to C.C. <3)
Sound- Top-notch. Code Geass incorporates some wonderfully unique background music during a number of episodes that fits very nicely with the plot. These songs sometimes included some interesting female vocals as well which I enjoyed hearing during some of Geass’ most intense action scenes. It made for some excellent juxtaposition between fast-paced action and relaxing/calm vocals. Sound effects were very appropriate to the story and none seemed to interrupt the flow of each episode. Opening and ending songs were outstanding as well. There were a variety of different genres of music involved in the show’s opening and ending themes from the dissonant “Kaidoku Funō” (2nd opening) to the more poppy “Colors” (1st opening) to the trance-influenced “Hitomi No Tsubasa” (opening for episode 24). Great range of musical genres and all are a pleasure to listen to.
Character- There were a variety of well-developed characters in Code Geass. A few of them include Lelouch, a strategic mastermind who has sworn to enact revenge upon his irrational/totalitarianistic father; Suzaku, a kind-hearted boy who joined the army in order to promote peace in area 11 (Japan); and C.C., a very mysterious girl whose origins and motives are unknown. These are only 3 characters who grow and develop during the show. Countless other characters (including relateively minor characters) also encounter hardships, interact with others, and form unique bonds during the course of the anime. The fact that Code Geass manages to give adequate attention to such a wide array of characters in the course of a mere 25 episodes is quite impressive. One can relate to a good number of the characters in one form or another as well- whether it be Leouch’s protective nature toward his sister or C.C.’s will to remain aloof and isolated from others out of fear of idscrimination or rejection- making them more relevant and realistic in the eyes of the viewer.
Enjoyment- I quite enjoyed watching Code Geass. The storyline was detailed, well thought-out and incorporated some truly remarkable plots into the plot as well. Each episode left me wanting more; it was a rollar-coaster ride I couldn’t help but want to ride again and again, and the line-up to wait for another seat on the ride was my computer that loaded each episode too slowly for the fast pace I wished to keep. Where does Code Geass fall short of a 10 then? For the most part, it’s originality. In all honesty, we have seen this plotline many other times in other mecha series- one that kept coming to mind was Gundam Seed in particular- and the fact that a supernatural ability was thrown into the plot was strongly redolent of Death Note. Code Geass’s plot line also left little room for the viewer to form his or her own theories or ideas of what actually or may have happened throughout the storyline. There was little room for viewer interpretation/extrapolation- something that actively engages me while I watch anime and also something that makes it all the more exciting to discuss with others.
Overall- Code Geass was quite entertaining to watch and was definitely worth my time in the end. If you are looking for a thrilling anime that gets your adreneline pumping andleaves you with little room to catch your breath, look no further than Code Geass. I look forward to seeing how R2 advances with the plot when I watch it in the future.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Story- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s (SZS) story revolves around a group of schoolgirls (OK, there is one moderately important male student, but no one REALLY cares) and their suicidal teacher. Together the class and their teacher engage in everything from normal classroom conversations to stalking each other, to hibernating in their teacher’s (Itoshiki-sensei) house for a night. Each student in the class has one dominant character trait and these traits are usually set up so that they make fun of or satirize some aspect of modern culture. For example, we have Kafuka Fuura, an overly optimistic girl who is so bent on looking on the bright side of things that she is completely blind to all the horrible things that may be happening around her. She embodies the popular notion that optimism is the best way to go through life, but this optimism made her so naïve that she cannot even begin to comprehend the evils, sadness, or injustices in the world- including her own parents’ suicide. Another such student is Kiri Komori, a hikikomori (or shut-in) who has stayed inside and skipped school for so long that her skin actually glows white. She embodies the increasing number of young people in Japan who have become hikokomoris themselves and have thus isolated themselves from any form of human contact. Then, of course, we have Itoshiki-sensei himself. He is a man so pessimistic that he attempts to commit suicide on a regular basis. This is most likely not only satirizing middle-aged adults going through mid-life crises and such, but I also interpreted it as satirizing the increasingly popular “emo” movement in young people today which glorifies and romanticizes depression and angst (a disgusting way of life, if you ask me). As you can see, these characters have quite a bit of depth to them and the various situations they are thrown into are usually hilarious and funny to watch. However, these situations and stories are not always funny, most likely due to the content being lost in translation during the subtitling process. This makes for some fairly boring parts in the anime as well.
Art- SZS is definitely unique and stylized. The artwork used in the anime makes use of more subdued colours that fit well for SZS’s dark thematic overtones that serve as a basis for its comedic elements. A fair number of scenes in the anime were done in different styles of art, including scenes that made SZS look like an old silent film or some trippy video from the 80s. This range of artistic styles was both interesting and challenging to watch at the same time.
Sound- It has been too long since I’ve seen SZS to properly comment on its sound. Nonetheless, there are two parts of the show that I clearly remember in terms of sound/music- the two opening/ending themes (Ito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru and Zessei Bijin). I enjoyed both these songs for the way they integrated 1940’s swing music with J-pop (Zessei Bijin) and for their fast-paced hardcore melody and instrumental track being juxtaposed against the voices of young Japanese schoolgirls who will take over the melody of the song every now and then. Both songs make for great listens and I will often have them blasting in the car when driving long distances. XD
Characters- I have already went to a good amount of depth with the characters in the “Story” portion of my review. Thus, in summary, the characters are interesting, diverse, and each play in an important part in representing various negative aspects of modern Japanese culture (even though they are taken to the extreme in the case of SZS). Awesome characters- too bad they don’t develop much during the plot (not that it matters much in a comedy-esque anime).
Enjoyment- SZS was a fun and enjoyable anime to watch, especially in a group of friends. It made all the funny scenes all the funnier to watch and then allowed us to take them further as we made up our own jokes based on the anime after watching it. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I was fighting sleep during the later episodes which made some of them seem too lengthy and stretched out in some cases. That combined with the fact that some of the scenes that were supposed to be funny just didn’t strike a chord with me brought down this rating to a 6/10.
Overall, this hilarious anime rooted in satire is definitely worth a watch. However, if you aren’t laughing or at least smiling after the first few episodes, chances are that this anime is not for you: many of the later episodes are similar in tone and style.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Story- .hack//LOFT’s story follows Rena and Shugo, who have just won character models of the famous .hackers, Kite and BlackRose. Once a high level monster defeats Shugo, he comes into contact with Aura, who gives him Kite’s bracelet. This bracelet allows him to “data drain” essentially any monster to defeat it with ease. The storyline then goes into Shugo and Rena investigating the mysteries behind the bracelet and how they meet other characters during their adventure. The storyline gets a lot more complex when people start falling into comas, as in previous .hack anime/games. I will not go into detail on this point to avoid spoilers, but I can say that I really enjoyed the story line as I got further and further into the series. The anime does an excellent job of luring the viewer into a false sense of security by portraying characters in chibi form, suggesting a simple, childish storyline. I was impressed as the story became more through and multifaceted.
Art- In my opinion, the chibi-style art that .hack//LOFT was animated in did not suit its storyline or many of its characters. This made for some awkward juxtaposition between a serious storyline and light-hearted, childlike characters. Besides this point, I thought the animation and artwork was really well done. The animation was clean and had a polished feel to it. Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the few fight scenes that came up in the series were also well animated. Each character’s movements were clean and fast-paced- a rare occurrence in some anime today where fight scenes are drawn out over the course of several entire episodes and contain extensive dialogue in between attacks. Backgrounds were also well done and had a polished look to them. Their vibrant colours and attention to detail provided visual eye-candy throughout every scene in the anime.
Sound- Overall, the sound in .hack//LOFT left much to be desired. The opening and ending songs were more boring and irritating than anything. All I can remember from them was a typical Japanese female voice droning on far longer than I care to listen to them. The background music was no better; a soundtrack that contains primarily music written in a major key with occasional vocal overdubs is destined to fail. Sound effects weren’t very memorable at all, but one noise I can never get sick off is the noise that sounds whenever a character logs in or out of an area. That particular noise is quite yummy and I am glad that they didn’t change it since the days of .hack//SIGN.
Character- The characters in .hack//LOFT did not feel nearly as developed as they should have been. Perhaps I was spoiled from the ample character development present in .hack//SIGN, but nonetheless, the characters felt fairly two dimensional on the whole. This is especially true for many of the secondary characters who have extremely stereotypical personalities (e.g. Mireille is the peppy and upbeat type, Ouka is strong and distant, Hotaru is caring and king-hearted, etc.) These characters barely, if ever, break their predictable personality traits and do not grow in any way during the series. Even the main characters, Shugo and Rena, show little to no growth during the series. The most growth that Shugo undergoes during the course of the anime is learning to enjoy and like videogames, when he used to think they were boring and for children. Not a very significant realization, if you ask me.
Enjoyment- First of all, a lot of the jokes in the series were very predictable, overdone, and generally not funny. While the chibi-ness of the characters worked as an effective basis for an element of surprise (as I mentioned earlier in the review), it also prevented me from being able to take the anime seriously. While the storyline did get interesting and fairly complex, the chibi-ness of the characters distracted me from much of its intellectual or artistic value. Also, since I read the manga before watching the anime, I was expecting the same storyline as the manga (for those that don’t know, the anime and manga storylines are VERY different). Once the story started to stray from the manga, I lost some interest in the series because it began to feel like one long filler. While the storyline did deserve some merit for its originality, I unfortunately couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching an extremely long filler- sad, but true.
Overall- .hack//LOFT will be a major disappointment if you are hoping to see an animated version of the manga. However, if you can get over the chibi characters and are looking for an original storyline taking place within the infamous “The World” then be sure to check out .hack//Legend of the Twilight.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Story- Ultimate Girls’ story revolves around 3 girls who have been given special powers to fight random monsters that attack Japan every Monday. They have the ability to grow Godzilla-size, but the catch is that the longer the girls remain in giant form, the more their clothes start to disappear (how wonderfully ecchi! ^^). It would have made for a fun, humorous story with ecchi moments scattered throughout the plot, however, somebody made the bad decision to try to add a romantic plot line into the storyline which revolved around two of the Ultimate girls (Silk and Vivian) and the other Ultimate girls’ brother, whose name is unimportant. Attempting to add a somewhat serious subplot into a ridiculous anime hurt Ultimate Girls’ story more than it enhanced it. This made half the episodes quite boring to watch as meager attempts at adding a romantic plot kept interrupting the fun of the rest of the show.
Art- Most of the artwork wasn’t very exciting to look at and the colors that were used were very childish- they included primarily bright reds, blues, and yellows. The parts of the show that artwork was given any serious focus or attention to detail were during the ecchi moments. This is where most of the effort should have been focused anyway since most people watching this series would probably be watching it for gratuitous amounts of fan service anyway. Besides that, there isn’t much to comment on in terms of art, I suppose the action scenes were animated well enough and the setting was appropriate, even though it included too many childish colors.
Sound- I’m not sure how to even properly comment on an ecchi series’ sound, but I’ll give it a shot. The background music wasn’t very noticeable except song that sounded like a remix of some traditional middle-eastern song. I have odd tastes in music, so I personally enjoyed this tune even though it didn’t fit in with the series at all. The opening song was quite unoriginal, with stale female vocals, a guitar, some drums, etc. I couldn’t be bothered to listen to the ending song, so I can’t give a competent comment on it. Sound effects were fun: I loved over-exaggerated crash noises that went off during the fight scenes. It made some of them quite funny and memorable, particularly when the first monster smacked Silk with the Eiffel Tower and she came crashing down to the ground. XD And, of course, all the high-pitched ecchi noises were properly included in the show as well.
Character- I would have been fine with minimal character development so that the producers could have spent more time focusing on the funny aspects of the show, but the sad attempts at character development ruined this. We had all the stereotypical ecchi characters- the ENF (embarrassed nude female) as Silk, the “mature woman” as Vivian, and the wild/crazy Haruhi-esque girl as Tsubomi. Each character really did not have much depth behind them and there wasn’t much to work with when trying to form a romantic love story between the characters and Tsubomi’s brother. Each character reacted in a typical matter to certain situations, displayed a minimal range of emotions, and did not grow in any way throughout the story.
Enjoyment- The anime was fun for its humor and ecchiness, but the boring love story really took a lot of the enjoyment out of the series, making it a boring watch for a good six or seven episodes (over half the series!). My enjoyment died the more I watched the series until I was ready to take a long nap by episode 12. *Yawn*
Overall- Ultimate Girls was fun to watch for a laugh with friends, but trying to take it seriously really ruins the fun factor and leaves the viewer with feeling bored and unsatisfied. If you are looking for some fun ecchi-action, Ultimate Girls is for you, but if you expect any sort of developed plot to go along with it, you will likely be thoroughly disappointed.
26 of 26 episodes seen
Story: For an episodic anime, the story was fairly engaging for the first ten or so episodes. Seeing different people in difficult circumstances and how they feel they must resort to contacting Jigoku Shoujo to send their enemies to hell is fairly amusing at first, but after seeing it over and over, it is hard for it not to become repetitive. The first ten stories are executed quite well as the viewer definitely feels sympathy for the people in such desperate situations. This pathos engages the viewer, especially if the viewer can relate to some of the different characters' stories in any way. With so many different stories, there should be at least one that the viewer can relate to. However, after episode ten, the stories become less and less convincing to the point where people are sending each other to hell for pathetic reasons that the anime tries to make seem important and reasonable. This mind-numbing repetitive quality of the anime is definitely its greatest downfall. Luckily, the story revives itself in the last four or so episodes in the series, where we finally see some the main characters' back-stories. It is also exciting to see how the two groups of main characters (Jigoku Shoujo & co. and the reporter Hajime & his daughter) interact with each other in the final episodes. This alone makes the series worth watching even though I felt that the series could definitely have been about ten episodes shorter to produce the same effect.
Art: I wasn't really feeling the art in Jigoku Shoujo. The way many of the characters were drawn/portrayed was fairly boring in my opinion. Virtually everyone (except Enma Ai and co.) was dressed in regular street clothes, had normal coloured hair (usually brown or black), and did not have many distinguishing features whatsoever. While this lends the series a sense of realism, as it is set in modern-day Japan, a lot of the characters' stereotypical personalities are not convincing enough to give this style of art any credibility. Backgrounds in the series are fairly bland as well; even when they were supposed to more elaborate than your average Japanese cityscape. An example is the artist's depiction of hell, which came short in my opinion due to static, boring colours and scenery that did not come across as frightening or scary in the least. Stronger, bolder colours of red, yellow, and black for negative space would have created a more memorable setting for hell. On the other hand, the artwork used in the character designs for the main characters (Enma Ai and co.) was great. The main characters really stood out from everyone else because of their numerous distinguishing features, including awesome red eyes that seemed both sad and slightly moe, unique hairstyles, traditional Japanese clothes, etc.
Sound: I believe the sound in this series was above average. There are at least a few memorable background melodies, including one that I heard in one of the final episodes that really moved me. I'm not sure what it is called, but it had a definite traditional Japanese flavour to it. Both the opening and ending are suited well to the show. They both feature cryptic lyrics relating to Enma Ai's situation and have soft, under toned melodies that charm and haunt the audience at the same time. A pleasant listen.
Character: I was disappointed in the lack of character development of Enma Ai's dolls/guardians, which marginally brought my rating for character down. Luckily, a good deal of character development was given to Enma Ai herself, Hajime (the reporter) and his daughter, Tsugumi. Without giving away spoilers, I can safely say these characters receive a decent amount of emotional and psychological development despite seeming relatively two-dimensional at first.
Enjoyment: Obviously, the repetitive quality of this episodic anime brought down my enjoyment ranking. Virtually every episode follows the simplistic formula of: bad things happen to someone, someone contacts Jigoku Shoujo, someone's enemy is eventually sent to hell. Luckily, Hajime and Tsugumi show up to provide some insight into this process (Hajime believes it is wrong and unjust and Tsugumi believes it's OK for people to enact revenge on such people), which lends the anime a degree of intellectual appeal. Then, as Hajime and Tsugumi's back stories are revealed, the plot truly becomes interesting as it intertwines nicely with Enma Ai's back story, leading to a satisfying conclusion in which the main characters all are forced to interact with each other.
Overall: Despite the anime's repetitiveness, I still believe it is worth watching, if you have the patience to make it the end of the series, that is. I look forward to watching Futakumori soon!
24 of 24 episodes seen
Story: Higurashi's storyline is stellar. It starts off as a horror/thriller anime where numerous mysteries arise in the small town of Hinamizawa. These mysterious storylines are filled with tension and suspense as the viewer fears for Keiichi's (the main character) life. Since Keiichi is a righteous character who means no harm, the viewer sympathizes with him and fears for his well-being- which is constantly at risk due to the seemingly murderous girls he befriends. Several story arcs arise as we experience Hinamizawa through Keiichi's eyes. Although these storylines may seem slightly confusing and seemingly unrelated at first, the second season of Higurashi ties them all together extremely well (I won't say how because of spoilers, of course). This ability to keep the viewer in suspense and tieing so many intriguing stories together makes Higurashi's storyline extremely engaging, and is my favourite storyline out of every anime I have seen to date. This intricate storyline also carries a heart-warming underlying theme of the importance of friendship and continually shows us extremely hyperbolic possibilities of what the world may become without trust and friendship. I find it particularily interesting that such a theme exists under Higurashi's superficial hack-and-slash plotline.
Art: As I read other people's comments on Higurashi's art, I noticed that people generally preferred the second season's artwork more than the first. While the second season's art did seem more well-rounded and fleshed out that season one, I had no major complaints with the first season's artwork whatsoever. Both seasons' art tricks most people into believing the anime essentially a typical harem or shoujo. The shock that people recieve when they see such cute characters are actually involved in an intelligent horror/mystery story is priceless. This is the primary reason for which I feel that Higurashi's artwork is extremely effective.
Sound: Higurashi's soundtrack suits the anime extremely well and the only reason I did not give it a 10 is because I cannot remember any specific background music besides Rika's theme. But just because the soundtrack is not memorable does not necessarily mean it is bad. The undertoned, haunting soundtrack is suited so well to Higurashi that it does not interrupt the flow of the anime's plot whatsoever. It only increases tension and suspense as haunting melodies are quietly played on a piano or violin in the background. As for opening/ending themes, Higurashi's openings are extremely catchy and memorable. Both are definitely worth downloading onto an ipod or mp3 player (along with "Dear You", a song from the original Higurashi videogames). The first ending however, did not do anything for me while Kai's ending (Taishou.a) was a lot more pleasurable to listen to. I enjoyed it for it's graceful melody juxtaposed against its rather gruesome lyrics which essentially served as a parallel to highlight the main concept of Higurashi's storyline. This fact alone made Taishou.a an excellent choice for Kai's ending song.
Character: Character development in Higurashi is also amazing. The characters interact with each other in a very natural, human manner and their personalities are not sterotypical in the least. In the first season, Higurashi's character personalities are also quite complex and can keep the viewer guessing at characters' true personalities and motives for episodes upon episodes because of how mysterious every character is (with the exception of Keiichi). During Kai, the characters often adopt a more optimistic or positive outlook on everything as a result of their efforts to work together against a common enemy.
Enjoyment: If you cannot tell by now, I thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of Higurashi and am definitely going to re-watch them both at least a few more times in the future. What is not to love moe girls that have a murderous streak to them? ^^
Overall: My favourite anime series. If you have not seen this, please watch it IMMEDIATELY! The world needs more Higurashi fans. Also, I am aware that a third season of Higurashi will be released sometime this year and I am anxiously anticipating its release. Hopefully, it will explain what happened at the very end of the second season, since I was left feeling fairly confused... but that might just be because I was too stupid to interpret the ending accurately O_o Thanks for reading, I hope it helped! read more