After moving into the quiet town of Hinamizawa, Maebara Keiichi spends his days blissfully in school often playing games with his local friends. However, appearances can be deceiving. One fateful day, Keiichi stumbles upon news of a murder that had occurred in Hinamizawa. From this point on, horrific events unfold in front of Keiichi, as he soon learns his close friends may not be all that they seem. Based on the amateur mystery game by 7th Expansion, the story is told in a series of different scenarios.
Meakashi is the fifth in a series of manga following the different scenarios of the Higurashi games and the first scenario that aims to answer questions raised in the previous scenarios. It focuses on seemingly the same happenings as in Watanagashi-hen only told from Shion Sonozaki's point of view.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai: Meakashi-hen was published in English as Higurashi When They Cry: Eye Opening Arc by Yen Press from February 22, 2011 to August 16, 2011. Yen Press also published the manga digitally per volume on April 22, 2014. The series has also been published in Polish as Gdy zapłaczą cykady: Księga Uświadomienia by Waneko in two-in-one edition since October 31, 2016.
Okay, I'm going to start of by saying, if you don't like Shion, you're not going to like this arc, since it's based heavily around her. Me? I love Shion. She's my favourite character, and this arc portrays why perfectly. Sure, bad things happen, but I don't think the people who dislike Shion look into why what happens, happens. This arc broke my heart, and I'm not saying it was so awful it broke my heart, I'm saying it was so intense and heart-wrenching that I even shed a few tears.
Story 10/10 - This story is placed opposite the "Cotton Drifting Arc" (Watanagashi-hen) and instead
of Keiichi, it's shown from the side of Shion. For the first time, an arc in this series has 4 volumes, and it certainly needs it to cram all the information, feelings and death that revolve around Shion in it. I watched the anime first, so I already knew what was going to happen, but so much more was put into the manga than they put into the anime. Don't get me wrong, I still adore the anime, I just wish that they put in some of the stuff from the manga. So the story, seeing it from another perspective and whether you saw it coming or not, is still amazing and the events that transpire can still shock and haunt you.
Art 9/10 - Yutori Houjyo did the art for this arc, just like she did the art for the Cotton Drifting arc. I actually liked the art style, more so than some of the other artists who have drawn for Ryukishi (I found they came off a bit too "chibi" like for how I would prefer Higurashi to be drawn, but they were obviously still very enjoyable. And yes, I know how the VN was drawn) The creepy scenes we come to expect from Higurashi were done perfectly, so perfectly to the point where my eyes widened when I turned the page to a certain two page spread. A few certain two page spreads, actually.
Character 10/10 - As I said, I love Shion. And even though at times, I felt disgusted at some things that were happening, I still do love her. I love her character, I love her flaws, I love her insecurities, I love her story and I love her love for Satoshi. I am not a romantic, in fact I am quite a big cynic, but her love for him gets me every time I even think about it. And I really don't care how that makes me sound. It was nice to see the other characters change in behavior at some points as well. Keiichi is wonderful, as usual.
Enjoyment 10/10 - If you enjoy learning another, more sinister and bloody side to a story you've already read, then you're going to enjoy this. I love twists, and even if it wasn't a surprise to some people, this was the twist Ryukishi put into Higurashi, along with a fair few others.
Overall 10/10 - There was nothing that could have been changed in this manga to make me like it even more. This story will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Shion.
Well after adventuring to find the entire eries, what I found wasn't the best find.
Story-7/10: The story felt more or less expected, the story was part of Shion's perspective of the Watangashi-hen arc (As from Watanagashi-hen it was from Keiichi's)
Although retaining the same story, it added things i didn't expect to see, some weren't even in the anime version.
Overall the story was very expectable, but still kept me on my toes.
Art-6/10: The artwork for this arc was much different from the last arcs. It was almost shoujo like. I was highly dissapointed it didn't capture some of the scenes that well, unlike the anime
version that had. The blood is there, but far from being as such with it's predecessors. The "Scary slit cat eyes" are not used, and even the new the question of sanity look is very poorly done.
The artwork was a high dissapointment for me compared to my liking of the Onikakushi, and other "-hen" artwork.
Character-8/10: Although as I said above everything was quite predictable the exploration of Shion's side of the story, and view on everything was well done. As with seeing the others personalities return as well made it much better to enjoy (As much as I hate to drag it) the artwork.
The characters are still good, and Shion was much easier for me to understand after i read the entire thing.
Enjoyment-7/10: My enjoyment on this series relied on my love for the anime, and yearning to finish even when i resorted to untranslated chapters. If it weren't for me not liking the near shoujo artwork i'd enjoy this much much more, and it would've been a favorite.
Overall-6/10: If your a fan of the manga, and don't mind artwork you'd probably enjoy it, but if your not a fan of shoujo, and you still want to go through with reading this be my guest, and go right ahead. It didn't meet my expectations, but it still was able to like all other Higurashi arcs keep me enthraled with it to the end.