WARNING!!!! THIS ANIME IS NOT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HATE VIOLENCE AND BLOOD!!! IF YOU FAINT AT THE SIGHT OF BLOOD, I SUGGEST YOU DON’T EVEN READ THIS!!!
So, anyone still want to read this review? Yes? No? Well in any case, I’m still going to write it despite whatever you guys say, so hah! So, those of you who are actually brave enough to think you can stomach this…let’s go! Before I get into anything, I just need to say one more thing. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (also known as Higurashi When they Cry) appears to be a shoujo girls anime filled with harem, but let me tell you that the minute you start watching this, you’ll think VERY differently. The first ten seconds of the first episode shows our main character Keiichi beating two people to death. (No, that’s actually not technically a spoiler since you immediately notice it)
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes place during June 1983, at a fictional rural village called Hinamizawa (雛見沢?) which has a population of approximately 2,000. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, moves to Hinamizawa and befriends his new classmates Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Houjou. Keiichi joins their after-school club activities, which consist mostly of card and board games (and punishment games for the loser, usually him.) Hinamizawa appears to be a normal, peaceful, rural village to Keiichi. However, the tranquility abruptly ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro. Keiichi learns that every year for the past four years, one person has been murdered and another has gone missing on the day of the Watanagashi Festival. Keiichi himself soon becomes drawn into the strange events surrounding the Watanagashi Festival and Oyashiro. In each story arc, he or one of his friends become paranoid, and a crime is committed. Usually, the crime involves the murder of one of their own friends. While it seems impossible to tell their delusions apart from the mystery of Hinamizawa, slowly the truth is revealed.
The way the Arcs are laid out in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni are really rather strange. The beginning of every arc starts about two weeks before the end of the last arc. So in the the first arc, it ends with a bit of a surprise. Then, for the start of the second arc, they go back about two weeks to retell the story in a new light. Usually, either new characters are introduced, different events happen, or new discoveries are made in every arc. No two arcs are the same even if they appear to be a repeat.
Arc 1-Spirited Away by the Demon: This gives a good introduction to Keiichi, and all the other characters in the rural village of Hinamizawa. The first episode really isn’t all that interesting, other then Keiichi finding out that a horrible murder happened in the village. However, then it does get pretty intense when he starts meeting with a detective named Oishi and Rena and Mion find out. Still, a lot of questions are presented in this arc, so I can’t say that I really liked it that much. Still, I suppose it was a pretty good introductory to the anime. I didn’t like the way it ended though…too sudden if you ask me.
Arc 2-Cotton Drifting Chapter: Keiichi learns that Mion has a twin sister named Shion who lives in the neighboring village of Okinomiya. I got really surprised when I learned this. Of course, I also got confused wondering why the two sisters lived apart. Keiichi begins to believe that Mion and Shion have something between them, and it’s not really a good something either. This time, two people are killed at the Watanagashi festival, and Keiichi and Shion believe that they’re next. Keiichi and Rena also discover that Mion has a demon in her body-or so she claims. The ending to this arc really wasn’t that bad…and you never do figure out in the end what happened to everyone. I can’t say this arc has a lot of blood, but the details are really gruesome.
Arc 3-Curse Killing Chapter: Keiichi learns about Satoko’s older brother Satoshi, who reportedly ‘transferred’ a few years ago. However, when he brings this up around his friends, they all have very different reactions. Keiichi begins to believe that there’s more to Satoshi’s mysterious disappearance then what’s been told to him. Satoko also gets repeatedly abused by her uncle. In a drastic turn, Keiichi decides to take matters into his own hands to stop the abuse. This arc seriously has a lot more emotion and twists than the other arcs. For example, you would never expect Keiichi-who was so innocent in the previous arcs-to turn into your ‘bad guy’. This arc also offers a few more glimpses into Rena’s mysterious past. All in all, I enjoyed this arc, but there’s still a lot to be uncovered.
Arc 4-Eye Opening Chapter: The events of the Cotton Drifting Arc are retold from the point of view of Shion Sonozaki. It’s revealed that throughout the whole arc, Mion was never involved and that it was Shion that Keiichi was with until the very end. You find out that the younger of twins is always murdered in the Sonozaki family, but Shion managed to slip away. After that, there’s this whole cheesy love sequence between Shion-acting as Mion-and Satoshi. Blah blah blah, the deaths in the Cotton Drifting Arc are then explained in further detail. This is like, one of the most graphic arcs ever! It’s probably my favorite if it wasn’t for the love suggestions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it. It’s just really awkward to see it in an anime like this. Anyways, there’s a LOT of blood in this arc, so just get a bucket if you need it.
Arc 5-Atonement: The final arc of the first season of Higurashi. Rena goes truly insane this arc after finding out that the god of Hinamizawa, Oyashiro, whom she’s feared for so long, doesn’t actually exist. Whoops, spoiler. Anyways, Rena goes mad and starts doing all this crazy stuff which I won’t talk about. Keiichi and the others try to calm her, but of course, what can you do with a mad girl? Anyways, this is an extremely confusing arc, and at the end of it, you have absolutely NO clue what just happened. That’s why they have a second season!!!
|Keiichi Maebara: The only boy who’s part of the school club, Keiichi is a transfer student who moved to Hinamizawa after a few…incidents which are revealed in the final arc by Rena. He is portrayed as the villain only once in the entire series in contrast to some of the other girls. He is always being constantly fooled by Mion and Shion and has a very charismatic personality and is extremely intelligent, but can’t solve problems that he can’t relate to. However, some of you would say that this guy has little to no backbone. I won’t argue with you about that though.|
|Rena Ryuugu: Most of you would probably find her very annoying. She’s an extremely happy and bubbly girl, but also very mentally unstable. She believes very strongly in the curse of Oyashiro, and condemns anyone who doesn’t believe in the curse. She is the villain in the first and final arc and loves caring around a machete while killing. However, she has a fetish for cute things, and takes care of Keiichi. I really find this girl kind of strange, but I don’t mind putting up with her. Still, she can’t tell lies for her life.|
|Mion Sonozaki: The elder of the two Sonozaki twins and the eldest member of the school, thus their president. She’s next in line to head the three great families. I can really relate to Mion because she’s such a tomboy, but she does have girlish instincts. There’s a lot about Mion that’s never revealed at the beginning, and she doesn’t seem to be very happy with her younger sister Shion. Siblings can be so quarrelsome sometimes. That’s why I will never have one.|
|Shion Sonozaki: The younger of the Sonozaki twins who resents her family because she believes that they were the ones who took Satoshi away from her. She currently resides in the neighboring town of Okinomiya and doesn’t attend the same school as the other main characters. She is a lot more innocent then Mion, and a lot more self conscious. However, I freaking love this girl because she’s extremely delusional. I’m listening to her laugh every single day…it’s creepy.|
|Satoko Houjo: Keiichi’s younger classmate who has to live with her abusive uncle. She is known to have impressive arm strength as she can knock out Keiichi (WHOO HOO!!!!) and has a very boastful personality in general. Satoko is suggested to be colorblind. I admire her for her resolve and strength, cause I could never put up with an abusive uncle and she’s only like what, nine? Her past is really full of trauma, and I feel sorry for her a lot. Still, you easily forget that with her daily behavior.|
|Rika Furude: The daughter of the Hinamizawa Priests who were supposedly killed by Oyashiro’s curse. The Furude Family is one of the 3 great families that run everything in Hinamizawa. Rika is an extremely cute girl who lives in the same house as Satoko. Rika believes that she is actually over a hundred years old because of the never ending summer of 1983 (creepy, right) but still acts like a little kid, saying things like “Mii” and “Nipah!” Still, she’s an utterly adorable little kid and if I had a sister like that, I’d cuddle her SO much.|