Watching Higurshi is like locking a group of happy people in a test chamber, only coming back to find they've hacked each other into a bloody mess. Its horrific, its shocking, and yet a part of you, cannot help but wonder, how did it happen?
The curiosity takes over... and so you repeat the experiment, knowing full well that those cute looking teenagers you just sent are going to end up as bloody pulps. But hey, at least each time they die, you're one step closer to figuring out why they died, it's all good.
Higurashi essentially places you in the role of the scientist. It divides
itself into several arcs, each of which begin exactly the same. A teenager moves into a remote countryside village, and befriends a group of sweet fangirls that could have come out right from a harem rom/com. Then, explicably, thing go wrong... very wrong.
The pacing is excellent, the suspence pulpable. You know terrible things are going to happen, but you don't know exactly what. Higurashi would appeal to two types of people. The maglomanics who cackle madly in seeing a happy community descend into the depth of oblivion, and the curious scientist who watched each arc with intense interest... for they want to know exact *why* everything goes wrong (though they can also cackle madly just a little).
The true draw of Higurashi is the mystery. The series will leave you guessing, postulating all manner of reasons why the sweetest girl in the class is now butchering every child in sight with a giant cleaver. Each experiment you run (arc you see) reveals a few more clues, and you formulate a new theory, only to find it shattered by another totally unexpected horror in the very same arc. The beauty of Higurashi is that a mystery of such grand scale, every detail is meticulous, and while every bloody event seems random at first, they all eventually fall into place
Not only are the characters are memorable, and filled with interesting secrets, and unlike school days, they're actually also extreme likeable. This is no small achievement, given what they're portrayed doing to each other.
Higurashi is really the pinnacle of a dark mystery. You'll start off the mad scientist, watching those innocents in the test chamber with morbid curiosity. Yet, slowly, that morbid curiosity will be transformed into sympathy, and as you fall in love these victims, that initial curiosity will into turn a genuine desire to figure out whats going on so that they can be saved.
Higurashi epitomizes how you should never judge something by its cover. At first glance, it looks like a simple, generic harem series or a lame, cliched romance. This anime, however, is nothing short of genius. The whole setting, atmosphere, and mood are incredibly well executed. The plot may seem simple at first, a new kid moving to a strange, new town and meeting new friends. Beneath the exterior appearance of this seemingly tame series, however, lies a dark story of murder, violence, and mystery.
Story: I can confidently say that the story/plot is the strongest aspect of this series. I congratulate the original game designer who
created this series. The execution of the plot is genius. This series mainly consists of arcs. Although these arcs seem disjointed at first, it is all part of the plot and is actually an important part of solving the mystery of the Hinamizawa murders. However, this is not a simple, generic murder mystery where the solutions are force fed to the viewers; it is up to them to decide between what is true and what is not. This way, it makes the viewers think and interact with the story, and this is what I love most about Higurashi.
Art/Animation: If there is one reason why I did not give this series a 10, then it is because of the art and animation. The art itself is not too bad, but the animation... How do I start? It can be extremely inconsistent at time with all those emo face contortions, sometimes out of sync, and was probably animated with a relatively low budget. Thank goodness the director of season 2 learned from those mistakes, and the animation greatly improved in Kai. One good thing I have to say is that the background and setting is very well done.
Sound: The voice acting in this series is amazing. With a series filled with psychotic laughter, blood-curling screams, and in some cases, extremely cute voices, the voice actors/actresses are extremely versatile. The Opening is one of my favorite openings of all time. It sets up the mood extremely well and sent shivers down my spine when I first saw it. There could not have been a better fitting opening. The ending, a slow rather mellow piece, suffers from horrible Engrish. I do love the piano part in the end though. Finally, the background music set the mood nicely, but can get repetitive at times. I did like the sounds of the cicadas; it gave a feeling of impending doom.
Characters: After the initial shock of their mental instability, the cast of characters are extremely well written and developed. Sure, none of the main cast of characters is emotionally and mentally stable; it does not take away from their personality and interaction. One of the best things about this series is that there is no throw away characters that only appear once, does something, and leaves. Every character serves a purpose in the mystery and plot, either directly and indirectly.
Enjoyment: As I have said earlier, I love how Higurashi is not a passive anime where I can just sit in front of the computer and shut off my brain. Then again, I love psychological anime. Higurashi was the first series that forced me to watch raws because I could not wait for the subs.
Overall an excellent show. This would definitely be a 10 if not for its mediocre animation. Final rating: 9/10
Higurashi no naku koro ni happens to be a particular favourite of mine, not only because of its horrifically high gore content, but for the number of times it managed to catch me off guard. I found it hard to believe how a group of seemingly normal, innocent girls could commit such stomach-churning acts of violence and mental torture. It’s the original shock at this fact that compels the viewer to continue watching this highly addictive bloodbath of an anime.
The concept of the anime is simple enough. It follows a teenage boy, Maebara Keiichi adjusting to his new life in Hinamizawa, an isolated village buried
deep in the mountains. It’s not long before he makes friends with a group of girls. At first glance they seem like the average group of teenage girls but all is not as it seems because they’re actually hiding things from Keiichi, things like the mysterious string of murders that seem to occur the same night every year and the gruesome dismemberment of a dam construction worker. The more Keiichi learns about these past events and about his new ‘friends’ the more danger he begins to find himself in.
It is important to remember that Higurashi is divided into 6 separate arcs that feature completely different scenarios. This means that if a character were to meet their unfortunate demise in one arc they would return once again at the start of the next arc. It is this separation of the arcs that often confuses or deters people from watching the show. I too confused by the sudden, miraculous ‘revival’ of a few of the characters at first but the sooner you adjust to the ever-changing alternate storylines the sooner you can start to piece together the puzzle and work out why the murders are being carried out in the first place.
The art style of this anime is nothing spectacular; in fact it seems pretty inappropriate for this particular genre of anime. The girls could very well have been plucked straight from a harem anime, but for some wacky reason that seems to work for this anime. The outward ‘Lolita’ appearances of the girls only make their actions more shocking in contrast; in a sense their design lulls you into a false sense of security.
Unlike in other anime of this particular genre it is difficult not to find someone to like in Higurashi, which is highly unusual considering the sickening acts of torture these girls perform on each other and with those around them. As you begin to get to know the characters better, you begin to sympathise with them and hope that they too won’t meet an untimely fate, thus you begin to feel more involved. Each character has their own interesting perspective and heart-breaking story to tell, it is this that alleviates the anime from being a bloodbath to a bloodbath with depth.
Both the Higurashi OP and EN themes are hauntingly beautiful and nigh on impossible to fault. Shimamiya Eiko does an amazing job at capturing the show’s otherworldly aspect with her almost ethereal voice during the OP theme. The instrumental themes used throughout the show can both send chills down your spine or even cause you to laugh out loud given the right moment. I found that the show’s use of chilling piano solos or mellow flute pieces helped to build tension and inspire fear within myself as a viewer, so by keeping the themes themselves simple they’ve helped to accentuate the atmosphere of the show rather than outshine it completely.
As the viewer becomes more intertwined in both the storyline and with the characters their desire for the characters to be set free from the horrific chain of events grows stronger, it is this that hooks the viewer into watching episode after episode. So overall, for being able to manipulate its viewers emotions so well I’d give this anime a near perfect score of 9/10.
This show is suspenseful, dramatic, creepy, confusing (in a good way), and it's got some good horror.
The storyline follows a small group of friends who live in a village called Hinamizawa. Not all seems be like it should be here, though...
The characters are pretty interesting, to say the least, and they're pretty well "built up". It's pretty obvious that they're a bit crazy at some point, depending on which story arc you're watching.
The story is pretty good, because it leaves you guessing all the time, and even though it may seem a bit confusing at first, don't be discouraged; you start to understand as you
watch more of it.
The animation is pretty cool, but also kind of lame, especially their facial expressions at times. It's a pretty mediocre result, really.
All in all, this is a really good show, but it has its flaws. As long as you can tolerate some confusion and bloody murdering, you're gonna like this show.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has received much praise from the anime community in general, which hails it as the mystery to end all mysteries. Everybody loves it and chances are that, if you're reading this now, you've heard good news!
However, upon my completion of the anime and the 2 subsequent seasons that followed, I came to the conclusion that this praise was COMPLETELY undeserved by the anime, which is mediocre in the intellectual department, and is much less a mystery story than it is an action/adventure story with a lot of secrets. Furthermore, any actual "mystery" behind the story is made impossible to solve
by the introduction of unnecessary paranormal elements and fictional diseases.
Overall, I was very disappointed by this anime, and it is not worth the hype.
Story: The first part of the first season I found to be very interesting indeed. Everything was confined within the laws of physics, and I was constantly on my toes trying to solve the mystery of Hinamizawa. Sadly, the story floundered from the last arc of the first season up to halfway through the second season, and it became a chore to watch. The introduction of unnecessary paranormal elements and fictional diseases did not help either, and only served to further complicate the plot while not adding much value to the story. In any case, we certainly could have done without them. Luckily, the story picks back up during the second half of the second season, which greatly makes up for the absolute failure of a first half, and you'll probably find yourself pleased with the ending.
Overall I would say that the story lowered itself from what it could be (an awesome mystery story) to what it is now... a confusing action adventure story for people that like to pretend they know what's going on from the very first episode.
Score - 6; Completely overrated. So much wasted potential...
Art: I wouldn't say that the art is completely terrible, but it certainly could've been better. The artist uses gradeschool techniques of using unusual hair to differentiate the characters. Okay. The little girls are anorexic and have square-shaped heads. Alright. Mion and Shion have stereotypical oversized breasts. I'm losing my patience...
Then I figured out that Teppei Houjou is a recolor of Ooishi.
Now I'm just angry.
The blood and gore portrayed in the anime does help alleviate the pains of this travesty though, and the general art style isn't atrocious like in some other anime I know, so I can't give it a 0.
Score - 3; Everything you would expect to see in an anime, with added blood. I don't see why everyone thinks it's so special.
Sound: I found that the voice actors fit the characters well, and I was also impressed by the ending and opening themes for each series. However, I found some of the character dialogue cheesy, and some of the children's speech patterns were annoying (okay Satoko, you miss your brother, we get it.)
Score - 7; The VA's were good, the soundtrack is nothing to scoff at, but the dialogue is not without its flaws.
Characters: You know, I must admit that the character development was pretty "good". In fact, it was so "good", that I was bored by it. I found Rika's long tangents later in the series to be uninformative, uninteresting, and unimportant. But it's okay because "it helps build her character!" right?
Furthermore, I don't see why the hell the older characters would even bother to hang around with the younger ones, aside from Shion that is. And, more importantly, why the devil does someone like Satoko know guerrilla warfare!? Humorous as it may be, I don't believe it is ever explained.
(and even if it is, that doesn't explain why she can knock Keiichi flat across the room without batting an eyelash!)
Score - 4; I was sarcastic when I said that the character development was good.
Enjoyment: Despite being highly disappointed by the anime as a whole, the ending was cute and the beginning does get you hooked pretty quickly, so I did moderately enjoy it.
I think my favorite arc was when Keiichi threw the ohagi at the wall. I lol'd pretty hard.
Score - 7; Maybe I'm being generous, but I had a few good laughs and there was nothing better than seeing the look on Keiichi's face when that ohagi went splat.
Overall - 6; Although I was highly disappointed by it, the anime did have its good points. My advice to you is don't listen to the hype and don't bother with it unless you like shoddy, confusing storylines.
Horror. Blood, guts, gore, screams and its very dark tones. Something i am not a big fan of. But despite all that, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is simply astounding. Mind-bending, chaotic and filled with near-perfect execution.
Story: The story focuses on the village of Hinamizawa, and it's hidden and very chilling secrets. Keiichii Maebara has just moved to the countryside village, and is enjoying his new life with his new friends Rena Ryuugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude and Satoko Houjou. But underneath the peaceful times, is the chilling mysteries of the Hinamizawa Dam Construction murders, and the Watangashi festival. With this season split into
the 4 question arcs and the first two answer arcs, not everything is answered yet. But the crazy plot twists will keep you eager to watch the next episode, even if you see a gruesome scene or two.
Animation: All the characters (Especially Rena and Rika) look very cute, and the backgrounds are all quite well animated. The art style is wonderful too. But unfortunately, their faces distort to X-stream when they're in psycho mode. These inconsistencies with the animation is sometimes an added plus when it comes to scaring you even more.
Sound: I'm addicted to the OP and ED. I adore the little touch at the end when they do the next episode preview while the piano plays at the end of the ED. The background music also fits in very well, and the voice acting is superb. How can they laugh so well? Must be practice.
Character: I enjoyed every character in at least one arc. I even liked Satoko and Shion in arcs 2 and 3. Though nothing can beat Rika's cute phrases and Rena's graceful style. They all develop through the story at a steady pace. Keichii's behavior changes quite a bit throughout the show too, but I believe that he will be a very strong character in Kai. His determination and his will to trust his friends will pull him through. Oishi and Irie was also great minor characters, but I'm unsure on which side they are really on, and their motives...
Enjoyment: Simply put, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is the perfect anime for anyone that enjoys to really interact, predict and think with the storyline and it's characters. An unbelievable horror anime, and a decent comedy too. Hey, i liked the lame comedy scenes. This is Studio DEEN's masterpiece.
There is an alarming number of people in the online anime community who hail this series as one of the best series in not only the horror/suspense/mystery genre, but in all of anime itself. A brief skim over the list of reviews here on this website will show that most people give it somewhere between 8 and 10, with many closer to 10. For the life of me, I cannot discern where people get these ratings from. Higurashi is one of the most over rated series I've ever watched.
90% of the reason Higurashi is so terrible results directly due to the fact that the series
is basically the same premise retold over and over again, a little different each time, in each 4-6 episode arc. It becomes a chore to watch it after you realize it's going to start over and retell a similar story in the second arc. But it goes beyond that, once you realize it's not even the same story. It's an entirely new story that has little to do with what you just watched before it.
Higurashi attempts to be a mystery, yet fails miserably. A mystery requires consistancy, something Higurashi lacks entirely. What happens in each arc is not the same as what happened in the arc before it. Imagine a story that retells itself again and again, each time showing you different perspectives of the same story, letting you in on different key knowledge that you may have lacked in the last arc, that you might come to understand and solve the mystery over time: This is what Higurashi SHOULD have been. But it's not. Each arc tells the story differently, to the degree that you are confused by what has actually happened and what events are relevant to what is currently going on. Things happen so differently that what is actually going on is indecipherable, leaving Higurashi little more than imagery of cute little girls turning psychotic in various situations that tell no complete story. Higurashi is utterly confusing and incomprehensible. The true mystery becomes, "Why does this have nothing to do with what I watched in the last arc?" not, "Why are strange murders happening every year at the same time."
The only thing propelling you to watch more of Higurashi is faith that it will eventually explain everythng to you. But it will not. Without giving any spoilers, Higurashi throws entirely new concepts at you at the end which bring about more questions than answers. At the end of the 26 episodes, one feels entirely cheated, as though an enormous amount of time has been wasted. One goes on web forums and complains of this, only to be told by fervent lolicons that, "You have to watch the second series before judging it. It explains all." But one is left looking at another 20-something episode long series and feeling not very optimistic, ready to watch something worthwhile, something that is not Higurashi. I don't waste my time watching an entire season with very little redeemable about it to conclude that I need to watch the second season. I just cut my losses and move on.
The characters aren't even likeable. There is a stupid male protagonist that is often referred to as bright even though he consistently does the stupidest things known to man (horror protagonist syndrome) and everyone else is a generic little girl. Oh, and there's a detective. In one arc he's a nice guy. In another he's a terrible douchebag. Again, no consistency.
Higurashi will appeal to certain groups of people: Lolicons, people that like stuff just because it is weird and confusing, and people that like anything with blood and graphicness in it. Unless you fit that bill, I cannot comprehend what you would like about Higurashi. The only good thing I can say about it is that there are parts of it that are a bit creepy. But it's even a bad suspense story, as each time the suspense builds up, the story retells itself in a new arc and drops all the suspense.
Ignore the hype. Unless you like little girls, pass on this one.
Higurashi is a really confusing, complex and difficult to explain anime. Some may view it as belonging to the horror or psychological genre; some may find it as a really weird harem series containing crazy, killer lolis; others may consider it a failure since it doesn't seem to belong to any of the afore-mentioned genres. Considering how much amount Higurashi incorporates, all views are understandable; this certainly isn't a series that's easy to comprehend by everyone. Higurashi is a mixture of mystery, blood, humor, romance and especially nice moral stories; but above all – Higurashi should be perceived as a really challenging logic problem.
Basically, there are two approaches when watching Higurashi. You may choose to view it as any other anime: wait for the story to unfold, wait for the characters to develop, wait for the plot to advance. It isn't a wrong choice; this way, you may either like or dislike Higurashi; yet you will probably never get beyond the 'killer lolis', 'aww Rena is so adorable', 'okay, something is seriously wrong with this anime' stage. Yes, you might like, maybe even love it; but you will certainly NOT enjoy Higurashi to its full potential, for everything it has to offer.
If you choose the other road, however, you're in for a big torment. You will be annoyed, hurt, growling, and most of all, you will get headaches from the fake hints; to put it easier, you will be mindfucked. Higurashi manages to do something that very few series have succeeded in doing: involve the viewer by making him interact with everything that unfolds on the screen.
Higurashi's main characteristic is that it's intelligently and elegantly indirect. You are shown almost opposite images of the same place, person or event and left to judge by yourself whether that's relevant or not, whether there's something hidden behind the apparent motives and whether it's the correct portrayal of what's actually happening. What may be the correct deduction of a sequence of events at some point is completely overthrown later on; the theories you may have built in the very beginning, some more far-fetched than the others, all crumble as the story progresses. Because Higurashi is so brilliantly created, it actually presents a lot of fake hints, irrelevant tips and confusing matters; but that's all the more reason to enjoy it in the very end and re-watch it as many times as possible.
To put it simply, it's not wrong to view Higurashi as a math problem. You may wait for it to be solved by a teacher or someone in your class and understand it along the way. Or you may try to solve it yourself, by bumping upon walls and dead ends, reaching incorrect results and choosing the wrong parameters – but having a feeling of a much deeper satisfaction once you finish it.
Higurashi's story is its strongest point. The viewer is presented a series of 6 of the 8 main sound novel arcs, all beginning at approximately the same point, having certain common characteristics, but unfolding differently. If you are not a fan of 'what if?' scenarios, then this certainly isn't for you. However, if you do enjoy putting the pieces together and forming a puzzle (which lacks the very core—the margins, only to be completed on season 2), then you will find this extremely entertaining.
Checking Higurashi's synopsis, you will see that there are question arcs and answer arcs. Do not be naive. Answer arcs might solve apparent issues, but they only bring up even more questions – related to the overall story. Don't watch Higurashi expecting to see that if 'a+b=c, then b=c-a'. Higurashi will simply say: 'a + something = c, I'll only give you bits and scraps hinting to what that certain something is, so use your brain to figure out the truth, 'cause I'm not gonna tell ya directly.'
If you are to take each of Higurashi's arcs separately, they all follow the same pattern. Each scenario begins with a peaceful, tranquil Hinamizawa in the summer light, only to end up in a diametrically opposed atmosphere. This might sound quite repetitive in the beginning, but do not forget that it's only a means of hiding the true face of this show. Also, don't make the mistake of thinking each arc can be seen individually; Higurashi does have an overall plot that links together the sectioned, secondary stories.
Higurashi's characters are all really refreshing, strong-determined and easy to recognize. Although their evolution throughout each arc might seem a bit inconsistent, they do develop from scenario to scenario, which only adds up to the enjoyment.
Keiichi is a strong main male character. And he should be, considering what he has to face. It's not just unusual club activities or dealing with a lot of girls; Keiichi has to have the willpower to take what he sees as the (often regretful) right decision at the right time. Keiichi isn't a person to back up when it comes to challenges or teasing; if it's within his reach, he'll do anything to have the best possible outcome.
Rena is a character that might seem extremely likable in the very beginning, but her patterns of acting do tend to get a bit overused as the series progresses. Rena is a typical, nice, charming girl; however, remember that this is Higurashi, so nothing actually is as the first impression suggests. Rena has her dark sides too; quite a lot, in fact. She's one of the elements that give the series its most eerie moments.
Mion is the sanest of all the characters. She's pretty much a walking contrast between how she acts and how she feels. Mion is a game freak and a challenges and penalties lover; that, and the fact that she refers to herself as 'an old man', give off a tomboy aura. Despite this, Mion also has a lot of girly sides, which are mostly shown throughout the second and fifth arc, which center around her and her sister Shion.
Most of the times, Shion is missing from the main, 5 club members group. However, she has an entire arc shown through her perspective. Shion's story is one of the most touching and well executed throughout the show; it clearly shows how easy it is for a person's completely logical and functional world to be thrown upside-down through a series of misunderstandings that pile up and make it crumble eventually.
Satoko is quite a controversial character. Most of the time, she acts like an annoying brat that tries to show off – however, she also has a darker side of the story, materialized through the torments received from her (adoptive) parents and the disappearance of her brother Satoshi. Satoko's arc might seem a bit repulsing in the beginning; however, it only gives her the right portrayal of her personality.
I deliberately left Rika for the end; she's the only character that doesn't have her very own arc in the first season, and there's a good reason for that. As the first 6 scenarios suggest, there's something more that comes to Rika than her joyful 'Nii~pa' or her habit of patting the heads.
ART AND SOUND
Higurashi's art is probably its only flaw. It certainly differs from the symmetrical, big-eyed, perfectly aligned bodies the viewer might be used to. This might seem like a turn-off in the beginning, but it actually manages to catch the unstable spirit of the anime quite well after a while. Despite this, there is a good part too: a big effort was put into backgrounds; they look realistic and flow nicely, deepening Hinamizawa's tranquility.
Unlike the art, the sound of Higurashi is excellent. The actors did an extraordinary job managing to capture all voice fluctuations, especially the negative inducing ones. Shion's laughter is probably one of the creepiest things you'll find in an anime; Rena's 'Uso da!' will surely give you a chill down your spine; Keiichi's paranoid screams will make you paranoid as well. It's not easy portraying such a wide range of emotions, yet Higurashi doesn't fail. There's also the constant chirping of cicadas that can be heard in the background; hence the series' name. This often compensates the background music, which is only above average. OP theme is terrific, being one of the very first elements that might attract the viewer into watching the anime, since you'll just feel like listening to it countless times; still, ED might seem a bit unusual, since it's sung in (a pretty weird) English.
Like I mentioned before, Higurashi isn't a series for everyone. If you watch it expecting to be a horror, bloody show or just another harem, then you'll probably not like it. Higurashi's main function isn't to have horror, fanservice, tragic pasts or cute moments. Sure, it does contain its fair share of all of these; but Higurashi's purpose is to involve the viewer into a really intricate and entertaining mystery and make fun of him being fooled by fake pieces of information. If you do expect something different, however, you might just discover a hidden behind the curtain masterpiece – for Higurashi is certainly special and extremely enjoyable.
In a world where a lot of anime series offer fans simple, almost nonexistent plots with cliché and predictable characters, humor that's either brilliant or fail, tons of useless fanservice and many other simplicities just for the sake of existing, Higurashi certainly stands out – as being an intelligent series where a lot of effort was put into breaking the boundaries and giving the viewer an overall extremely satisfying impression and enjoyable (though often confusing) watch.
June 1983, a sleepy rural town in Japan. This is the auspicious setting of a tragedy that will befall a small group of classmates and their entire community. This is a tragedy that is destined to happen again, and again, and again. How and why is Hinamizawa doomed to this fate? What dark secrets does the town hold? This is a tale that seems simple on the surface but the use of character, perspective, and story-telling helps to make Higurashi one of the greatest anime ever made.
The very first episode of Higurashi can be off-putting, as it introduces a cast of characters that seem at
the time more like a collection of overused anime tropes from a slice-of-life anime than people the viewer would want to care about. Here's Keiichi, the stock new kid in town. Here's Rena, the stock girl-next-door girlfriend-type. Here's Mion, the stock tomboy. Here's Satoko, the brat. So on down the line. This is not the way people will view the characters by the end of the show, but it ends up being a smart choice to use character types that will be initially familiar to regular anime fans. The show is made much more disturbing and emotionally jarring by the juxtaposition between the light comedy parts that happen at the beginning of each story arc and the grim, violent results after events and character psyches degrade. The great contrast between the Azumanga-esque comedy bits, complete with super-deformed characters and great exaggerations, and the paranoia and psychotic murders, is one of the best artistic devices of the show. If these were dark characters more suited for a horror show, there would not have been the same emotional impact.
Style aside, Higurashi takes an interesting format in basically retelling the same story again and again, but changing key details and character perspectives each time to keep rehash almost nonexistent. During this first season especially, each retelling of the Hinamizawa tragedy reveals more truths behind the town, the background of the characters, and the surprisingly deep interpersonal relationships between them. Facts you learn towards the end of the season will give entirely new meaning to events you saw in the first part of the season. Each story arc peels away layers of the juicy truth, which gives each story arc something that enhances the whole.
Even putting aside the conclusions the viewer makes by putting the arcs together, each story arc is also its own rich self-contained story. Each time you start a new arc, the protagonist may be different. The killer may be different. The protagonist may be the victim or the killer. An arc usually focuses on one or two of the main characters and gives them their own story, subtly replacing the original image you had of them as a stock anime character with a new image of them as a fleshed-out character with a strong personality and motivations.
Without giving away any spoilers, the arc that begins with episode 16 is for me the highlight of Higurashi. It encapsulates everything one can love about the show. It creates great revelation about an earlier story arc. It has really intense and disturbing horror scenes (that are still tastefully done). It also is a great character study, showing how a seed of resentment and great trauma can push a normal person to the brink of madness.
After having watched both seasons of Higurashi once before and knowing the entire truth, watching the show a second time still filled me with a range of emotions from laughter to sadness to horror to thoughtfulness to excitement, all delivered to great effect and in a refreshing way. If you are not a horror fan, it may be hard for you to get past some of the content, but at the same time most of the gore is just off-camera so that you can feel the disgust without it being gratuitous. For those with adult sensibilities, it is easy to fall in love with a show and a story as breathtaking and unforgettable as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
On the surface, Higurashi seems like a cute and moe anime that’s chockfull of loli girls forming their own harem for the main character Keichi. It’s not. Seriously, a small village separated from the rest of the world has “murder” written all over it.
Who knew cutesy characters and blood would make a psychotic anime that’s absolutely fun to watch? I’ve always liked cute anime and violent anime but I never thought I’d find one that incorporates both. Whoever made this into an anime knows me too well. It’s even funny sometimes, and I love watching anime that makes
me laugh. It also makes me think and come up with conclusions, another aspect I like about it. Combining all four elements I mentioned is no easy feat, and yet this anime was able to accomplish it.
I like how the characters have split personalities. For the first episodes of each arc, they’re all happy, cheerful and cute, then all of a sudden, they become psychos. That’s when I think “So this is when the real fun starts”. My favorite character would have to be Rika Furude. She’s so cute and innocent looking, but you can’t help wonder if that’s just a façade. I’m still confused about her. She and the other girls are sort of like angels with dirty faces (or plain old schizos).
However, as for the voice actors, seiyu Mai Nakahara will have to be my favorite. In the series I’ve watched, she always played the upbeat and cheerful girl, but by playing Rena you get to hear her voice in a different way. I love how the girls’ voices change from happy to psychotic in a heartbeat.
The animation is sort of a mixed bag. As a whole, everything looks great, specially the backgrounds. However, the character designs need some work. It’s just too inconsistent, and there are times when the characters end up looking deformed and pretzel-like. I like the choice of color though – it’s a fine mix of pastel hues and vibrant colors.
The BGM was good, but the sound effects were even better. The sound effects were very convincing, and it heightens the tension and feel of those especially violent scenes. Hearing the sound of bodies being mutilated was enough to send chills down my spine. I liked the OP very much, I have heard nothing like it before, but I like the Engrish ED too. It’s mellow but creepy.
This isn’t really a spoiler, but more of an explanation on how the storyline operates. Basically, Higurashi is divided into arcs, the longest arc had 6 episodes and the shortest had 2 episodes. In the first season, there are 4 question arcs, which pose a situation that’s left unsolved, and there are 2 answer arcs (the other 2 will be featured in the second season), which will explain the question arcs. The 4 question and answer arcs are distinct from each other, with some constants (Rika is still the Miko, Keichi is still a transfer student, etc). I think they made the series that way because that was how the video game was.
If you’re not into anime that will potentially have you scratching your head, then this isn’t for you, but I urge everyone who reads this review to give Higurashi a try, because in all honesty it is one of the best series I’ve seen in my life.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a Psychological, Horror, Mystery anime unlike any other, as it is easy to get hooked on it. The story is incredible because it does something I haven’t seen before, by splitting the series into various arcs, each telling a different story. Each of these arcs are somewhat linked with each other, as they provide the viewer with different questions and try to give an answer. What’s more interesting is how each story slowly builds up to its climax. I found it amazing how each retelling gave me a different feel and how a lot of things were finally pieced
together. The only problem is that it can be very confusing for people watching this show for the first time, but this just promotes its re-watch value.
The characters for this anime are what deceive you, into a false sense of security, as someone who may not much about it will think of this as a harem (1 guy + cute girls). However these mysterious characters help bring genuine fear, to those who watch this, as you just don’t know what to expect when you add mental instability to the mix.
The one thing that lets this anime down was the animation, as it is incredibly inconsistent. There was very little detail put into the character designs but worse was the disfigured faces as a means of portraying insanity. Nonetheless the animation was pretty fluid and the characters facial expressions were fairly frightening, to suit this creepy anime. The music does a great job in setting the right moods, with creepy melodies to go with eerie tone and sinister music when someone’s being bludgeoned to death.
Overall it’s hard to find a series that that portrays a murder mystery as well as this one; as it perfectly executes suspense, climax and shocking moments to make it exciting to watch. It was quite troubling that it left a lot of questions unanswered, but that is what the 2nd season is for. The real problem was how poorly executed the ending was, as it didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Taking that into account, the overall feeling got from watching this anime isn’t lost. So I recommend Higurashi no Naku Koro ni to any anime fan, who can handle a bit of mind torture.
Although i do not usually find myself watching much anime of this kind, with it's violence and gore, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (as well as the subsequent second season) has had me hooked from the very beginning.
So, where do i begin? Right from the very first the story has you thrown, the opening few sequences quell your thirst as you watch the first of many entangled mysteries, involving the initial main character Keiichi Maebara play out a horrific opening few minutes.
All of the main characters remain likeable, this despite the stories and events that unfold. Unlike much other anime, where the story
unravels gently as the episodes flow, Higurashi cleverly (and at times annoyingly) allows you to observe whats is essentially the same story many times over, each time with differing events and consequences. These seem at first unrelated however as the series goes on we find the stories cleverly intertwining themselves.
The story itself in the first series is composed mainly of the 4 question arcs, each of which takes the viewer down the same path and ultimately the same end, each time a different character becomes embroiled in tragedy, with a big climax ensuing as each arc ends. There are also the first 2 answer arcs, which allow the viewer to see some of the reasons behind the stories and events, but never revealing enough for complete understanding.
How is the music you ask? The musical accompaniment is excellent and captures the emotions of all the key points throughout the series, as i write this i am in fact listening to Higurashi soundtrack music. The opening intro (name same as series itself) becomes very quickly catchy, and whilst the end theme 'Why, or why not?' is not my cup of tea, it is a very appropriate song.
If there is one 'flaw' in the series it is some of the background art, which seems a little bit under detailed at times, however this never has or never will spoil my vast enjoyment of this series (and indeed of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, the second season). The ending episode is also a masterpiece of storytelling, yet it still withholds much of the answers from it's viewers, leaving you wanting yet more.
Overall the series is excellent and well worth a watch, even if the excess violence isn't your cup of tea it is used very well to tie in with the storylines, not just senselessly thrown in for effect.
Not quite my favorite anime (Ranma 1/2 will forever have my heart on that one) but certainly my favorite watch this summer, highly recommended.
I never showed any interest towards this anime but a lot of people seemed to like it because of its unique approach. So I thought, why not give this a try? To be honest, I still don't know what to think about Higurashi...
Let me start by saying this anime is divided in arcs counting 4 to 6 episodes each approx. Each arc tells a different story (though I'm not sure they really were different) and the last two arcs seem to explain the events in the previous arcs. I didn't like this idea but why not give it a try? Well, my main reason
why -not- to watch this again is because the first 3 to 4 arcs are practically the same and bored me for about 13 episodes. I only enjoyed the horror moments which unfortunately were few. After the first half the arcs did get better and the explanatory arcs were nice, but this isn't all that bothered me about Higurashi.
How on earth did the producers come up with such annoying characters?! I'm not the kind of person to be easily annoyed by characters but boy! Never have I seen such unsteady characters. Even the ever expanding chaotic universe is more steady then Keiichi and his friends. I also couldn't stand the voice actors, they didn't sound believable at any point throughout the series. The animation didn't exactly help out here. Scenery and backgrounds were nicely done but I didn't enjoy the character designs. The facial expressions didn't impress me a lot either, except for when the characters got angry. They did a good job there.
I can't say I liked the development of the story since the first few arcs are truly retellings of similar stories. I still don't know what happened and what didn't, but the final two arcs were a big improvement so I am interested in watching the second season: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. The comedy throughout the story wasn't exactly my cup of thee either. The place the story takes place in and the side elements, however, do speak to the viewers imagination. A little town where people desperately believe in their god who happens to enjoy torturing people,.. it's the perfect settlement for a psychological horror anime.
Concerning the soundtrack, I didn't like the opening nor the ending song. Again a bummer. Also its animation wasn't what it could or should have been. I only remember the cicadas crying from the first till the last episode, so there's little to talk about the music.
Higurashi didn't disappoint me since I didn't expect a lot from it, however I will watch the second season hoping for a reasonable amount of horror and some decent storytelling. If only the characters would have been better developed I would have enjoyed this a lot more, but a bunch of insecure children trying to act tough just don't get to me. Funny enough the supporting characters were more convincing and are probably what kept me watching.
If Alfred Hitchcock made an anime, it would be something like this. It\'s a story about a group of kids, and the evil secrets that lies underneath the surface of their small town. Every year during a festival a mysterious murder accurs. at the same time someone else goes missing without a trace.
This story is actually made of several completely seperate but loosely related story arcs. At the begining of each things are almost exactly the same each time. They all start right before the festival begins and follows through the mysterious killings and to the conclusion of what acctually happened. And
it\'s always the same person who gets killed and the same person who goes missing. The diffences come in the hows and whys (Kind of like the end of the movie \'Clue\' "This is how it could have happened...") . The past events and explainations for the deaths are completely different everytime. And in the end you are left wondering what really happened.
It\'s a pyschological thriller, and overall a very twisted anime. It will have you shaking your head asking yourself, "What the.....?" and running in fear of any girl under the age of ten. So needless to say I highly recommend it.
Higurashi: a rather dark horror/mystery title praised for its unexpected twists and complex storyline. It is told in a series of arcs that all have a similar start point and their own unique ending. While many found the story to be thrilling and exciting due to its sudden change ups and shocking nature, I found it to be an overly convoluted and jumbled mess.
As the story progresses, the many arcs are supposed to reveal information about our seemingly peaceful setting and its many troubles, but this is not the case. They are simply a series of disconnected scenarios. As soon as one ended, the writers
hit the reset button and came up with a different way in which the story plays out. The result? A mystery series in which the mystery is not really ever solved. Instead, the case is changed and re-labeled as “Oyashiro-sama’s curse” – a.k.a. a character snaps and goes ballistic for a reason that is either scrapped and thrown out the very next arc or never truly explained. Trying to discern what was happening was very difficult for me. A series that makes its viewers think is not a bad thing; in fact, most of the time it is a very good thing. However, I found Higurashi to be so jumbled up and confusing that it was unenjoyable – and not because I was missing a hidden deeper meaning.
Being that Higurashi is an episodic anime, one would expect that it would be a very character centered story, with each entry unveiling more about the characters as it progresses. However, this is not the case. It is more story-driven than anything, and because the way the story unfolds changes every arc, the characters are the same way. The ways they behave, interact with others, and react to events is constantly changing. While they may react to something in one way in one arc, their actions may take a 180-degree turn just a few episodes down the road. I found this to be quite annoying. It was impossible to get attached to any of the characters because they had no depth whatsoever, or if they did it disappeared along with any happenings of that particular arc. They were just tools to used to try to advance the story, which never really happened.
As far as violence goes, there is plenty. But there isn’t really any point to it. It just felt like the characters were ripping each other to shreds just for the sake of being shocking and gruesome, like a slasher film. At first, yes it was quite unnerving to see the once good friends turn on each other in such a way, but this effect did not last long. My thought process quickly turned into “oh I wonder who is going to murder who next.” Let’s take one of my very favorite series, Berserk, and use it as an example of violence being used to advance the narrative. The violence in Berserk is incredibly difficult to stomach (people who have seen it in its entirety will know what I mean) but the reason it is so effective and meaningful is because it shows the dark and twisted desires of man – something many, if not most, possess, but very few will act on, and for good reason. In Higurashi’s case, the characters act so unrealistically that the violence just feels like it’s meant to make your stomach turn, nothing more.
In the end, Higurashi was not actually as abysmal as I made it out to be. The premise was quite intriguing and I found it to be somewhat entertaining for a good portion, but there were many glaring flaws I saw that took away from the series and made it harder and harder to enjoy.
Time to mix things up and review something good for a change. Today I will be reviewing Higurashi no naku koro ni/Kai. Do your best crazed evil laugh and read on if you dare!
WARNING: Mild spoilers! Nothing major, but it is difficult to talk about the story or characters without saying something. If you haven't seen Higurashi and want to go in to it knowing absolutely nothing, please skip this review!
The story takes place in the small, rural town of Hinamizawa. The story takes place in the 1980s, but Hinamizawa looks like its stuck in the 1950s or earlier. This is no ordinary small
town though, because great evil is afoot and supernatural forces are at play. Plans for an American film adaptation quickly fell through, but I'm sure the American version would inevitably take place in the state of Maine. The first episode begins with Keichi (the bear Jew) Meibara brutally beating his classmates to death with a baseball bat. After the scene fades to black, we find everyone is alive again and it is as if none of it ever happened. Welcome to the madness of Higurashi! For little Rika Furude, a shinto priestess of the tiny village, death is never the end. Every time she dies, she wakes up a month or so earlier and must relive the same month before being killed again. Each alternate timeline has small differences that often ultimately result in large differences. Rika is like Bill Murray's Character in Groundhog's day, only instead of having to become a good person, she must find out who keeps killing her (the one thing she isn't allowed to remember) and protect her village from an unspeakably evil bioweapons expert who is essentially the lovechild of Shiro Ishii and Josef Mengele. I won't give away any more of the plot, since mystery is a large part of this series. I will say that this is a bizarre plot that takes the viewer on a wild ride you are unlikely to forget.
The main character is Rika Furude, who appears to be the most adorable little girl in existence, but in reality is extremely depressed from her Sisyphean quest the Gods have given her. She has failed and died hundreds of times when we first see her, which is why there is something a little...off about her. She copes with her fate by being a complete wino. As an amusing sidenote, her favorite wine is Bernkastel, which is a white wine, yet in the anime it is always shown as a red wine. Other characters include the bossy, self acclaimed leader Mion, Adorable Rena, mischievous Satoko, sometimes crazy Shion, and resident average straight man (comedy term, not talking about sexuality) Keichii. We also have some other quirky characters like the always creepy and possibly pedophilic Dr. Irie, and complete BADASS cop Akasaka. Obviously I'm not going to mention who the villain is, only that he/she is one EVIL motherfucker.
The soundtrack is often creepy, haunting, and plays up the tension of the mood. This is often a grim series, so you would expect a pretty dark sound track. There are also very silly scenes, and the soundtrack does a good job of capturing them as well.
The art from the visual novels is legendarily bad. The art in the anime is actually pretty good. It isn't the greatest I have ever seen, but it is very solid.
This is a series that will make you cringe in horror, cheer with excitement, laugh, question, shiver, and maybe even tear up a bit. It is the total package and over the course of 50 episodes is an epic roller coaster you don't want to miss.
Do you like horror? Psychological drama? Mystery? Higurashi is the series for you! This combines many genre's together with elegance and grace. Some people know of this series only as, "that series with crazy laughs and bloody murders", but it is SO much more than that. I would highly recommend watching it. Although you may have difficulty buying it on DVD in the US. At 200$ for 50 episodes, it is one of the most expensive series to own in all of existence! I know exactly 1 person that actually owns this series!
First off, a word of advice. Do not judge this show by the first episode.
It starts off like your standard anime with several lighthearted moments all the way through the first episode. However, you’d be a fool to think that this is all there is to it. This is not that type of show. Higurashi masterfully combines physiological, mystery, horror and comedy in a way that is simply remarkable. The anime is mind breaking and murderously genius. It is so brilliant and unique that it’s almost criminal to not give it the credit it deserves.
It takes physiological and horror
to a different level, it makes you feel secured using lighthearted moments to give the audience a feeling of false security. The next thing you know, you might be looking right at death and despair. Trust me, it will happen.
The main five characters are Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Satoko and Rika. They all play important roles in the series and their actions throughout each chapter decide the outcome of the Arc (good or bad ending). They all seem to lead carefree lives in Hinamizawa but in reality, they all possess a much darker and sadder history behind them than they appear to have. Throughout the series, they somehow get involved several times with Oyashiro-sama’s curse (the local God) and unfortunate chain of events are triggered every time.
The anime/manga is divided into “Arcs” or Chapters (-hen). The first part of the anime are the “Question Arcs”, showing us the mysterious deaths, Oyashiro-sama’s curse, and the mystery behind the bizarre town of Hinamizawa. The second part, “Answer Arcs”, provides us with answers to several events that happen in the first part. The events in the following arcs may seem similar but the way in which they unfold and the events are quite different than the past arcs. Additionally, throughout the series there are plenty of clues, speculations and theories that are hinted to help you solve the mysteries behind the town. It is imperative to pay great attention to them and you’ll see that the mystery behind the town of Hinamizawa slowly unwraps.
Overall, the music in Higurashi (Kai) perfectly fits the anime. The opening song “When they Cry” flawlessly portrays the dark, raging, and murderous feeling of the anime while contrasting it with scenes of serenity, sorrow and uncertainty. Similarly, the ending theme “Why or why Not?” and the other OST songs are calm and pleasant to listen to.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is a show that should not missed, nonetheless, it is not a show for the overly sensitive, feint hearted, and simple minded due to the bloody scenes and complexity of the show itself. If you are not into physiological-mystery or cannot handle graphic scenes you will not enjoy to the fullest and you will fail to appreciate it. If you are looking for an incredibly unique, very complex and extremely engaging show, this anime is right for you.
The first reason I came across Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was in an animation icon in which I saw a very graphic and disturbing scene and even though it was only about 8 seconds long, it was enough to have me hooked and this was because of what I could see - something insane happened, someone else was there, they were shocked, but then they looked liked they laughed insanely, probably out of fear and being psychotic, I presumed, but I had no idea what it was! I looked for a bit, but did not find it and about two weeks ago I finally
did come across it, found the name and began watching and I will say that within the first 20 seconds I was hooked.
I do have a rather disturbing view on animes such as this, as well as others that are mature, violent and have tragic, jealous love stories - they are my favorites if done correctly and this one is done amazingly and that is only one part of what I love. There are an assortment of murders, but you are never sure what to believe or what to think, nor what is good and what is wrong and they are all done for the best reasons - the reasons that I look for in anime, books, movies and anything else because they are the true human emotions - love, jealousy, family, fear, protectiveness of those that you love, abuse, sibling love, first love, first crushes and everything else that makes a person what they are. Things that would be precious memories are nothing more than a myriad of blurs and confusion in which the main character sometimes does not know what is real and neither does the viewer. If you can top a psychological thriller with supernatural elements, then I am in my glory and this anime does just that.
Aforementioned, the first moments of the anime immediately will let you know if you can stand this kind of anime or not - a lot of is done like the beginning, which you see a rather vague vision of a guy beating something on the ground most likely to death with what looks like a bat, but you have no idea why, obviously and you do not see the actual beating, it is left to the imagination and much of the anime is like this and if you have an active imagination like me, filled with theories, then this anime is perfect for you!
Once the shocking beginning is over, if you are still watching and did not get disturbed and turn away from your screen, you are put into the normal setting for an anime - or so you think. You see a bunch of beautiful girls that look very different and act very different, as well, and the main character guy that was just doing the beating in the beginning, and they are all in school having a dandy time.
By now, you already know that this is not a happy, simple anime, so nothing obviously is what it seems and your mind immediately starts racing as to what just happened and if the violence started so soon, when could the next thing happen and it could literally happen at any moment!
The main characters live in a tiny little village away from main cities and civilization and they only have about 2,000 people in the entire town. The school where the main characters go is nothing more than one classroom which houses all the students in the town, from grade-school to high school, all in one classroom and there are only 15 students altogether, so once you learn this, you are creeped out even more because this is a very unique and disturbing setting. The town is in the middle of a beautiful, huge forest and the whole area is very majestic and isolated.
The storyline of this anime is so intricate and woven that it really is hard to explain in words and I sat for a while before even trying to write this. You will want to watch the scenes again to make sure you didn't miss anything and so many things will rush through your head when you watch this anime because so many things happen unexpectedly and you have no idea why.
Contrary to what I thought, there isn't really an awful lot of actual violence on screen and the first animation I saw was one of the worst ones in the anime. However! There are a ton of different horrific things that happen, but you only get to see the beginning of them for most of the anime and your mind is left to figure out everything else, but really is hard to do!
For me, once again, this anime was perfect. I love watching things where you have to think and have theories and it makes your mind work, and this anime does just that. I was constantly trying to figure out what was happening and who was really who and even though I was right a lot of the time, when I was right, it was just totally more disturbing because the things I thought were very creepy.
This is a psychological supernatural thriller. There are very horrible things that happen very often, but you, the viewer are left to figure out what is real and what is not and who is really in the wrong and in the right. The first season of the anime covers four question arcs and two answer arcs, where the second season will hopefully finish the rest up.
The voice actors... oh, the voice actors were possibly among the best I have ever heard and they were totally satisfying for reach situation. Sometimes someone screams in a situation or laughs insanely, but they are not good at it - that is not the case in Higurashi. All the voice actors are extremely talented at their roles and most of them will actually give you chills at one point or another.
I loved the art! The facial expressions and the different ways the characters eyes would change were absolute genius and I loved how the screen would slowly go over to their faces, so that you, the viewer, would have to wonder what their expression would be - would the character be sane at the moment, or would they be out of their mind? They also did not only have one expression for when people were upset and mad and insane, there were many different expressions for the different characters - they all have their own personal insanities!
The music is absolutely awesome for the anime. I got two of the soundtracks afterwards and have been listening to them non-stop. The music goes perfectly with the anime and sometimes it's happy, but generally it's creepy, psychotic, mysterious and makes you very nervous and scared, but it's also beautifully done. The opening theme will capture you and drag you in and you will have it stuck in your head non-stop and trust me, that is a good thing because it is awesome!
I highly suggest this anime to anyone that liked animes such as Elfen Lied, which is another of my favorites. This anime is now among my favorites and I highly await watching the sequel, which I have not started yet and I am so happy to have come across this anime, I will admit... I LOVE THIS ANIME!
"Since everything is so fun all the time, it's scary to think how it might fall apart one day" - Keiichi Maebara
At the recommendation of a friend, I started watching Higurashi, no expectations, no preconceived notions. Four episodes in, I was extremely surprised at what I'd found. This was the first psychological horror themed anime TV series I'd seen, and has really piqued my interest for more in the future. I want to use the idiom that Higurashi is like a trainwreck: some desperately grim and dark event that you just can't look away from. However, unlike a trainwreck, Higurashi keeps you glued to the
screen in grim fascination and awe of how the twisted depths of humanity can be so sympathetic, and yet so repulsive at the same time.
Higurashi begins in the sleepy mountain village of Hinamizawa, far removed from the hustle of city life... a place where time moves more slowly, and nobody meets a stranger. Keiichi Maebara is a transfer student from Tokyo, and his life is about to change in a series of dramatic and traumatic events.
Animation and Artwork: 7
Higurashi is a little bit of a tossup here. On one hand, the series is quickly approaching 10 years old and looks a tad dated when put up against anime of the last 4 years, but at the same time, the slight roughness of the animation and characters gives an air of camp that fits the 1983 rural Japanese mountains setting despite the low budget, and I liked that.
The contorted faces, the chibi frog look, the dazzling moe bits, and the brutal blood and gore all have a place here, and it looks good for the most part. There are a few moments where characters lose some fidelity, some out of sync mouths, and a few areas where the key frames were few and far between, but otherwise it's good enough.
The OP, eponymously titled, is appropriately haunting and creepy, complete with visuals to match. The ED "Why, Or Why Not" by Hiroyuki Oshima matches as well. I enjoyed both songs and listened to them in every episode.
I don't normally get into the sub or dub argument, but I think it's worth mentioning in this case. The English dub (I watched two episodes of it) was inferior to the sub. The dual personality intensity of Yukari Tamura as Rika was not captured well, and many of the other voices just sounded really forced and flat. The menacing, venomous voices and unhinged frantic rantings that pepper the show were more impactful and creepy in Japanese.
Right from the beginning, you know something is just "not" right with these characters. With every passing scene, a little more of the volatility and darkness of these girls (and guys) that look like they came straight from Haremtown by way of Moe Street reveals itself.
Unlike ecchi harems, there's not any nudity to be found here, and the girls don't exist to fall in love with Keiichi. Each character isn't there to check a box or fulfill some idiotic fantasy- they are all interesting and mysterious in their own right. They are all competent on their own, and have their own tragic or just plain ugly backstories that make them who they are. At some point throughout the series, I found all the characters to be sympathetic in some way, and at other times absolutely detestable. It goes back to how the separate narrative threads are arranged with the limited perspective (described below).
Characters often spout dialogue lines that are foreshadowing the horrors to come, such as the opening quote, which is perhaps the biggest understatement in the entire show. The dialogue is a little cheesy at times, but the protagonists are all kids, so I'll give it a pass.
Higurashi is a slow burn of a story. You're presented with all these disconnected pieces of a puzzle, and somebody kept about a third of them. It really plays well into the general air of mystery and the sense of foreboding. There are a few Déjà vu moments that really tie up seemingly disparate plot threads well, and serve to push the narrative forward, but keep you questioning what else can possibly go wrong.
The plot itself is split up into 6 arcs which, while watching them, seem to stand alone; but slowly link together as the show progresses. The typical progression is almost comedic slice of life for the first short section, which sounds (and watches) really strangely for a horror/mystery show, but it darkens quickly and reaches a climax with enough revelations and crazy moments to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty viewer. Higurashi would be a good example of a show to dissuade those of the school of "anime is for children" thought.
Higurashi avoids many of the typical horror pitfalls with the jump scares and stupid characters locked in a house with a murderer on the loose!! It's too smart for that. The characters have heads on their shoulders, and it's obvious that they aren't crazy just because the plot demands a killer. Everyone has their motivations, a backstory, and a part to play in the plot. Each character essentially gets an arc that focuses solely on them, which allows us to really get in their heads, which really puts what we've already seen in perspective, as we're mostly limited to what the main character of the arc is seeing and thinking. It also changes our perspective on several characters throughout: some characters' motivations don't make any sense until we're seeing the story unfold through their eyes, and the revelatory moments are really incredible, and make you question what you've seen.
There's an expo dump in the middle of the show, the aforementioned Time Wasting arc that really refreshes the sense of purpose in the show and ties up some loose ends that didn't make much sense previously. Higurashi is one of those shows that makes you feel lied to the whole time: that you can't take what you're seeing and hearing at face value, which for me, enriched the experience of sorting out what the truths were. All is revealed in due time, and in many ways I didn't expect.
Man, I might 'beat this one to death' by the time I get to the end of this review, but the violence/blood/gore in this show were awesome. I cringed, I sat on my hands, I grit my teeth, and I even felt sick at one point. That's moving, folks. I enjoyed the twists and turns, and felt every stab, every bludgeoning, every nail. There were a couple of times I felt 'torn' on who I should sympathize with, or feel bad for; but at the same time I wanted to root for brutality, because sometimes they deserved it.
In finishing, Higurashi was a thrill ride of mystery, horror, and pain. There's not much to complain about here... if violence, intrigue, and hurt aren't your thing, you probably weren't reading a review for Higurashi in the first place.
+ "There will be... BLOODBATH!" -Nightmare (Soul Calibur)
+ Deranged, unpredictable characters
+ Plot twists and turns to continually shock and surprise
+\- Rough animation at times
- Occasional unrealistic responses to threats/danger
Yes, Higurashi is definitely a watcher. Awesome blood and gore, twisting and turning story, and insane characters keep you engaged and horrified til your heart's content.
"I think moving to Hinamizawa made me realize how happy I was." Oh, if only, Keiichi.
So yes this is a nice harem Anime, oh wait, this is supposed to be a horror? You sure could have fooled me. In terms of horror and suspense Higurashi is a complete and utter failure. Elfen Lied has nothing to fear now, it still probably can top this. Okay seriously I am very disappointed in this series, considering I wanted a good suspense thriller that wasn't based purely on 100% excess and shock-factoring like Elfen Lied.
Higurashi is a story of several different arcs. Each arc is a different version of the same story. In 1983 a young male transfer student comes to a small
town. A town with a deadly secret. Apparently after a traditional summer festival one person will be killed and another will disappear. The story repeats in the same fashion through each arc usually ending in a brutal murder or murders of some one or some people, but something.
As wonderful as the plot sounds it really isn't. The series had immense potential to create a suspenseful masterpiece, but instead it's like watching a toss away filler arc, that repeats its self until something finally happens after 6 episodes. Each episode is as long winded and wordy as the next. Oh but don't get me wrong, eventually something does happen, but when it FINALLY does it provides maybe a few minutes of fright but that's it, and when it finally does it's a very clichéd horror blunder trick comprised of a very cheesy sound effect that sounds like they are crushing tomatoes, and a cheesy cut out that either goes red or black.
This series seriously lacks suspense, half the time you feel more like you are watching a slice-of-life comedy instead of a thriller.
And then the story continues again and starts out the same, we're in the school house, they act like we don't know any of the character by now, and then some annoying detective shows up again to go over the SAME mystery we heard 5 episodes ago! How many times do I have to be told the little girl's parents were ran out of the village because of a damming project and that the brother's bat has gone missing. I feel like I'm watching Pokemon, with the same thing different day style it's done over the last 10 years.
The series can work up it's suspense and chill level especially with the chirping cicadas that provide an almost melodic atmosphere, but fails to keep it long enough for us to get remotely interested. The whole time you are just questioning should I fast-forward or not? Even when in my jumping through episodes and reading further spoilers, I find the series doesn't go anywhere else, it's a bad version of Ground Hog Day with out the comedy, and the Blair Which Project, with out the suspense.
Sure I like a talky as much as the next guy maybe even more than the next guy, but excessive dialog simply doesn't usually work well in a thriller. The only time I have seen it work, was Madlax. The series tries to build and build but the suspense just keeps falling down again.
But there are a few eerie moments, (key word being few) such as the wonderful psychotic laughter from the tiny little ones. (see: http://tinyurl.com/2w5tll) and when it finally does get to the horrifying climax it can give you a few chills, before it abruptly cuts off. Other than that, the series heavily relies on it's dialog and music to give any sense of a creepy atmosphere. And that is all it has going for it.
I can't express how dull of a horror this really was. Die hard horror lovers may want to stick to Elfen Lied, as for the general suspense lovers (Like me) who want suspense and less gore, you may want to avoid this one.
Apparently when cicadas cry, this horror dies. The only thing decent about this show was the opening theme. The sound effects sound cheesy and really childish. Higurashi is basically a suspenseful melodrama with out the suspense.