Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Title:Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
When Cicada's Cry
ひぐらしのなく頃に
Overall:Buy
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Studio DEEN
Original Concept - Ryukishi07
When his parents decided to move, Maebara Keiichi found himself having to leave behind both his friends and the big city life to transfer to the small village of Hinamizawa with it’s small one-room middle school. Adjusting well, Keiichi found a few close friends and together they pass the days playing games and flirting. And then one day, Keiichi happens to hear of an unsolved murder that occurred in the village some five years ago. In asking about the details surrounding the murder, his close friends claim to know nothing. On the day after a village spring festival (the anniversary of the first murder), Keiichi is quietly approached by a policeman who is investigating the disappearance of two people that night before. Keiichi learns there has been not been just one murder, but a number of murders, each happening on the anniversary of the first event and he begins to wonder if the village is hiding a dark secret. And suddenly things get really strange when one of Keiichi’s school friends warns him not to ask any more questions or else risk the same fate of a student who abruptly disappeared and ‘transferred’ out the year before……..

Animation by Studio DEEN, Frontier Works
26 TV Episodes, based on an amateur murder/mystery computer game.
[edit] The "When They Cry" franchise:

↗Higurashi scenario: ↗Umineko scenario: ↗Ōkami Kakushi scenario:
  • (2010) _ Ōkami Kakushi (12 TV episodes)
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated 7 7 3 7 8 4 Devil Doll [series:1339#752]
[15 episodes watched; temporary score: 57% = "Watch"]
I really seem to have bad luck with hyped series showing their storyline out of order. First Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, and now this one.

A story like Jack the Ripper can be chilling because the audience faces the abnormal, the monstrous. But a story where each and every character acts like Jack the Ripper sooner or later, and many of the main characters (some of which are moe grade school girls!) successfully slaughter each other, only that this event will be undone by the next episode ("Sorry, we lied - it didn't happen"), makes the whole story meaningless: Who cares about victims when you know nothing is for real? It's obviously simulating a game being restarted over and over again to play one arc after the other but this is the cheapest possible solution for turning a game into one consistent, sequential story. I still adore the old Kanon 2002 for its outstanding job in this department thus I'm even more disappointed here.
Around episode 10-11 I was so pissed that I decided to abort the project and give it an "Avoid" rating based on the degree of disgust I felt. Then I read some of the character short descriptions (with huge spoilers, sadly), was even more pissed that such a great scenario was delivered in such a horrible way (and this after having experienced a similar issue with Full Metal Panic), yet decided to continue watching (there's still a lot I don't know) - I did finish Gantz after all, so this series may deserve a rating based on the full 26 episodes as well. And beginning with episode 14 the first details start to make sense, so this might even turn out to be a good decision in the end.

What bothers me most are the Characters. Their behavior is so random (due to reasons yet to be revealed, I do have an idea about it since episode 14 yet hate it all the same) that they don't really deserve being called individuals, and the audience is completely unable to predict their behavior in the very next second (which may be chilling in its own way but destroy any serious drama effect as you can't "feel" with them). Second, the Story based on a time loop (obvious from episode 5 on) shows serious deficits in term of information transfer (such as: Why does Keiichi know Shion in episode 9 even though he never saw her before and didn't know her in episode 5? Why would Keiichi believe that woman's story in episode 11 even thought he never saw her before, and go to Kion in the very next scene to face her with such an outrageous request? And why is Keiichi acting like a complete idiot in episodes 11 & 12 right after we're told he was a kid of outstanding intelligence?). Either the audience is given wrong information about the knowledge of the characters at these points in time (along with those many other lies, so I wouldn't be too surprised about this), or the story is just messed up there.

The horror elements are hard to bear but may still be okay if the story calls for them. Ima Soko ni Iru Boku was great despite its violence, Narutaru even made it the main story, and Elfen Lied still gave us enough reasons for all the splatter stuff (just not for the fan-service), so let's hope this show will give me enough reasons as well for all this ugly content and not turn out to be just another Myself; Yourself or School Days (TV).

Technical elements: Nothing really impressive here. I do like the aggressive (Japanese) OP song while the slow (English) ED song is too weak for this stuff; I like the backgrounds and sceneries but not the visual appearance of the characters (too chibi & SD, only to be turned into ghastly grimaces at times).

More when I decide to move on with this series - I need a break at this stage. Perhaps this is the point in the story where I should start a rewatch from episode 1...

Last updated Tuesday, January 05 2010. Created Tuesday, January 05 2010.
Buy 9 8 8 9 9 10 Ggultra2764 [series:1339#1552]
Who knew mixing lolis and horror would be such a fun and disturbing mix? Higurashi effectively mixes elements of mystery, slice of life, and horror to create a world out of the town of Hinamizawa that makes you wonder just what the heck is going on.

Looks are deceiving when you see the cute character art of Higurashi. This is a dark series that brings you into its world where you are sucked into what appears to be a slice-of-life anime focused on a circle of friends. But as Keiichi becomes acquainted with his friends and activities of the town, he realizes there are some pretty dark secrets that he doesn't know of with his friends and the town. Murders, torture, paranoia, conspiracies, belief in the occult. This is much of what you will find throughout Higurashi. This is one gory and disturbing title, especially as the girls who are supposed to be Keiichi's friends are a part of the mess in some way.

There are two unique things that brought me to be addicted to Higurashi. The first thing is how the arcs in the series are handled. The linearity of the plot development is twisted around as it can go back and forth between different events or take place in an alternate timeline. This would function like how one makes decisions in a storybook game. The first three arcs feature Keiichi becoming acquainted with one of the girls and learning more of the girl's history and personality as he understands them more. But as he gets closer to this girl, he comes to see one or more of these gals as being a part of the mystery surrounding the town festival murders and disappearances. If Keiichi goofs up with a gal, then he gets another chance in the next arc. Quite a fresh approach for an anime based on a storybook game.

The second aspect is something I haven't seen since Perfect Blue. Higurashi loves messing with your perceptions of events taking place throughout the series. If you think the plot is going one way, then the series throws in a plot twist to make you think otherwise. With the paranoia seen in some points of this series, you never know whether something really is happening to one character or they've just gone looney. Within these twists in plot, hints are also dropped at points within each arc to give you a clue regarding certain aspects of the plot or characters. This is done quite often in the first three arcs. The later three arcs unveil facts behind much of the events that take place in the earlier arcs. But, there are some mysteries to the series left unresolved until Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai.

Higurashi features some vibrant color in its artwork and character designs. There's not enough heavy movement in this title for me to rate the animation and character designs employ the typical moe look for the female characters. While this may seem like a turn-off for the series, it helps add to the show's disturbing thoughts of seeing young girls kill you. The music really adds to the suspense and drama of this series. The OP makes for a twisted intro as you become immersed with the duality and dreary sequences from the visuals and haunting lyrics. The ED has more gentle music featuring lyrics sung in English conveying hope of better times beyond the bloodshed that was inflicted.

Despite some open plot elements, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is one of the best horror titles I've seen from an anime since seeing Perfect Blue. Just be sure to remember how incredibly deceptive this title can be with all of its elements.

Last updated Tuesday, December 30 2008. Created Tuesday, November 25 2008.
Buy dirtyd12 [series:1339#1785]
I can't say too much about the plot without spoiling it. Let me just say, don't let the characters or art fool you. If it wasn't for the brutal foreshadowing at the very beginning, I'm sure I would have quit watching because of the style. It seems like it would be one of those boring slice of life animes that lacks substance (like Da Capo). BUT IT'S NOT! Every warm and fuzzy scenario ends with homicidal insanity. It's very interesting the way the plot progresses. The art is not my favorite cause it's too cute and usually I hate that. But in this anime, it's like the cuteness confuses you before the blood-splattering, bone-crushing, rampages begins.

Yes it's very violent and disturbing, but the plot is actually really good and captivating. Each scenario bring you closer to the "big picture." I like it!

Last updated Monday, September 17 2007. Created Monday, September 17 2007.
Buy Chibi-Goat [series:1339#2700]
For starters, let me just say that if you have a friend who's just getting into anime (or if you're just starting out yourself) this is not a good starting point. lol There are so many plot twists and turns that it was initially difficult for me to figure out who's who and what's what...and I sat through all of Lain. Visually, it balances the line between cute, and psychotic, the effect giving you a rather uneasy feeling when you're watching it. Overall, this has to be one of my favorite animes of all time (and that's saying a lot). The characters are somewhat balanced out (there's too many changes to really flesh out a character, imho) and I found myself loving a character one minute to being repelled or disgusted by them the next. It's very violent, just as a forewarning. There are parts of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni that make Elfen Lied look like a saturday morning cartoon. Now, apart from what sounds to be a negative review (which it's not) I love this series. The twists and the unexpected turns the story takes are a refreshing change from some of the more "commonplace" animes out there. Keiichi is a believeable character, and while we don't ever really get that "suspension of disbelief" feeling, I felt that one could relate and actually realize his character as a part of their psyche. The poor guy runs the gamut from innocent victim, to...well, murderer to be blunt. (hopefully I didn't throw a spoiler in there...lol) Very good horror/drama series that comes highly recommended!

Last updated Wednesday, August 15 2007. Created Wednesday, August 15 2007.
Unevaluated Forbin [series:1339#1573]
9 Episodes Watched
HOLEY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I blame Jan-Chan! Now I don't know if I can get to sleep without my trusty metal baseball bat beside me.

What the heck did I get into? Murders? Intrigue? Government Conspiracy? Men In Black?

The 3rd episode was super scary. This is a good one if you like mysteries.

Ah, now I get it. This anime plays like a game, the first 4 episodes had a 'Bad Ending' so now you restart with another chance and see if everything plays out properly this time. Keeping your eyes out for clues to what the real mystery is before it catches up with you.

2nd Book Done! Damn this is a great horror flick. Now I need my trusty baseball bat and I now have a fear of nails! Yikes!

3rd Book Started ! Ewwww, I sure hope I don't see that first scene EVER again.

Episodes

  • 1-4 - What if Keiichi went the Rena 'route'.
  • 5-8 - What if Keiichi took the Mion route.
  • 9-12 Satoko Route


Last updated Sunday, June 11 2006. Created Monday, May 01 2006.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1339#967]
The 3rd episode is available as a fansub. While trying to pretending to be a simple SD/comedic high romance story, this really a very dark and strange horror/drama series.

Episode 4 has just been released... and...wow!! Both the main character (Keiichi) and the two main suspects appear to have been killed.... (in fact ... Keiichi was ... (plot spoiler - sorry -but, wow!) Very gory, very graphic and very strange!! Where is this story going to go now??

Last updated Tuesday, May 02 2006. Created Sunday, April 30 2006.

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