Aug 23, 2007
z-pak (All reviews)
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