Jan 3, 2008
z-pak (All reviews)
I will say this now, if you have not seen the anime called Higurashi no Naku koro ni, then this review will be as useful as the dust that lies under your bed.

With that said, most of what I have to say about Kai will be a rehash of what I said in my season 1 review; therefore, I will not be giving a detailed review. Instead, I will say what I thought were the stronger aspects in Kai compared to that of the first season. No doubt, both seasons of Higurashi were wonderful and one cannot exist without the other. Because of this, it is not exactly fair for me to use the same criteria I use with a stand alone season series or a stand alone anime. Thus, I rate and review Kai based on what was different, whether it be an improvement or not, from season 1.

Story: As said earlier, Kai is a direct continuation of where season 1 left off. Kai shows the last two answer arcs of Higurashi plus an anime-exclusive arc to fill up the holes to answers that were missing from season 1. Every mystery or question posed in the first season is answered nicely. The way everything falls together is very well thought out. The solutions provided to the mystery leaves very little things unanswered.

Art/Animation: Vast improvement in the art department from the last seasons. Animation, however, while it is much better, can still be inconsistent. Well, Higurashi was never known for its animation, and it does its job fine without KyotoAni, Bones, or Madhouse quality animation.

Sound: One aspect of Kai that was the same as the first season. The first season had an OP that matched very well with its atmosphere and mood. Kai was no different. Instead of the creepy, unsettling feeling, Kai uses an OP the shows the drama and desperation of Rika's struggle. The voice acting is still superb, and besides the major theme that is used in Kai and some new tracks, the music remains the same.

Characters: I found the character development to be better and given more time in Kai. While the first season introduced and partially developed the characters, they are fully fleshed out in Kai, especially Rika. Even the characters that you think played minor roles in the first season, Akasaka, Tomitake, Takano, Irie, and Ooishi, gets a good deal of development.

Enjoyment: While I had a lot more fun brainstorming theories and (sometimes, not always) being confused, I enjoyed Kai for other reasons. Firstly, I loved Minagoroshi-hen. It is, no doubt, my favorite Higurashi arc. While some people might enjoy watching psychotic girls beat the hell out of a certain, horrible uncle (I mean, who does not?), I had just as much fun watching Keiichi give his epic speeches. After all, Keiichi is called the Magician of Words for a reason. I also enjoyed watching as everything unfolded.

Overall:This would average out to a 9.4. I did think there was improvement of pacing, being a lot more consistent, quality wise, than season 1, and the awesome ending. The pacing in season 1 felt rushed at some parts and caused certain facts to be left out. Thankfully, most of that was rectified in Kai. So yes, in some ways, I did think Kai was superior to the first season. The first season did really well in setting up the mystery and atmosphere. While Kai's atmosphere may seem too different from that of season 1, it is actually a lot closer to its original source material (the VN). Of course, I will not be going into this, but overall, the way the story unfolds is wonderful, especially if some of your theories turns out to be correct. Even with all that said, this series is not perfect. While the ending itself and final episode was brilliant, the lead up to that ending was weak and could have been executed better. Even with that said, Higurashi, as a whole, is a series that I would definitely recommend. Final verdict: 9/10