May 10, 2008
L-sama (All reviews)
After finishing the first Higurashi series, I was actually looking forward to seeing what Kai had in store for me. Despite my dislike of the horror genre, I was more than willing to give this one a chance too, since I was proven wrong by the former. I was proven wrong, all right, but it was not for the right reasons.

Where the first Higurashi was centered on shocking the viewer at every turn, Kai went for a slower, more suspenseful approach. Because of this decision, this approach turned out to be exceedingly slow. With only two major arcs present and twenty-four episodes to use, many events were stretched out beyond their limits. There were several occasions where the story virtually stalled for two episodes at a time with almost nothing being accomplished. Perhaps because of this, the twists that were thrown in became more surprising. There were just enough of these to help me see this series to its unexpected end.

Luckily, thanks to this pacing change, I did see some good come out of Kai. With several major questions raised at the end of the first Higurashi, the series took each one and explained the reasoning behind everything clearly. I can safely say that I had no further questions about any past events when the final credits rolled. There was one other good thing about this slower approach; something that I didn’t expect. The amount of back story given was a rather nice treat. Most of this was focused around Takano, someone that barely received any time in the first season, but proved to hold much more that what I saw previously. Her story was more compelling and memorable than the actual plot ever was at any given point.

Throughout the entire run of Kai, there seemed to be something missing. The sense of paranoia that was so prevalent in the first season was absent. Granted, this had to do with the focus shift, but there still could have been a way to keep it in the plot. Without the constant fear that someone or something may be lurking around the corner, this series felt rather dull outside of Takano's story. At least the beginning and ending of each episode is enjoyable with the new opening and ending themes.

When all was said and done, I could do nothing but sigh. The ending may have been satisfying, but I still wanted more. Despite my distaste for graphic violence and horror, I actually wished that it were there from the beginning. That, my friends, is saying something.