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.
Onisarashi-hen is a manga-only scenario featuring mostly different characters from those in the scenarios from the games with a few exceptions. It focuses on Kimiyoshi Natsumi's family and the happenings after Hinamizawa's great gas disaster.
Since this arc is side story to other Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni manga, I decided to check it out and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Actually, far from that. This arc reminded me why I love Higurashi so much.
Like in original story, everything starts out innocently. Natsumi and her family moved from Okinomiya last year and everyone's happy there. Especially Natsumi. She has friends, boy she likes. He even confesses to her. However, everyone hears on news about eruption of gas in Hinamizawa. And this is there everyone's lives change. Not only that, we get an unexpected twist at the end. When we thought
that we knew everything, turns out that we knew nothing.
I don't know about other people, but I personally love the art. It's very nice. Not only that characters are drawn nicely, their emotions are shown well. Also, killing parts are made very well.
Characters are well developed. Even Natsumi's friends, who are unimportant to the storyline.
I enjoyed this arc very much. It was really interesting to read and it really made me wonder that will happen next.
I love this arc because it shows that happens after main characters' deaths when gas erupts.
In short, I LOVE everything about this manga.
What would you do if a member of your family went insane? I'm not sure how many people have really considered this possibilty, but it's quite a scary concept not uncommon in horror movies.
Higurashi no Naku koro ni Onisarashi-hen addresses that concept, being a side story to the popular Higurashi series that's able to be enjoyed even by readers not familiar with the original series.
Onisarashi-hen focuses on a girl from the rural town of Okinomiya who has recently moved to a much more urban area only to later learn of a gas leak that wiped out the entire village of Hinamizawa, a villiage near
Okinomiya that her grandmother was from. Following this are numerous reports of formor residents of Hinamizawa and the surrounding regions going killing their family members as well as innocents.
As stated before, this concept of a family member going insane and murdering their own loved ones has been done before, but it's pulled off very well here. One of the reasons this idea is probably so popular is due to how realistic it is, unlike horror concepts that have to do more with the supernatural, and that gives Onisasari-hen a nice edge of foreboding.
The ending as well was very good, with a very good and unexpected twist that remains reminisent to the rest of the Higurashi series, though it may be a bit too unexpected for some people.
The art as well is very good, having a disturbing sense of realism to it without looking real enough that it becomes more disturbing than it should be, something that helps with the overall atmosphere. The only thing is that a couple of the character models look a bit out of place or just oddly drawn. I swear the grandmother looks like ET in a wig every so often...
The murder scenes are also well drawn, never going noticably off model while managing to fully represent the horror or anger the characters are feeling.
Character-wise though, this series could use a bit of work. While all the characters are likable, exept maybe the murderer at times, they aren't very well developed little buggers, forever doomed to the same character traits. This can be blamed a fair bit however on the fact that it's a very short series meant mostly to instill the reader with fear, quite a bit of it being action scenes. As well, they try to cram a fair number of characters in, some of which probably weren't needed, but still aren't too much of a hinderance as they all play some role in the overarcing story. Also in this arc, we're greeted once again by Ooishi and Akasaka, who stay wonderfully in character throughout.
This is an enjoyable little romp through the land of psycosis that is wonderfully reminiscent of a good old fashioned horror movie with added links to the overall Higurashi story. As I mentioned before, this can be enjoyed by people not familiar with the original series, though people familar with it will probably get more out of it, so if you're thinking of trying Higurashi but aren't sure if you'll like it, consider giving this a try. Be warned though, it's about as bloody as the series ever gets.
Also, a warning to animal lovers, there is a puppy killing scene near the beginning of this, though it luckily isn't very detailed.
All in all, I'm happy to give this wonderful side story an 8 out of 10.