Critic’s Log - Earthdate: May 11. 2013. Review #46 : Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
Notice: This anime is called “When They Cry - Higurashi” in the U.S. but Higurashi’s full title is translated “When the Cicadas Cry”, so I’ll just call it “Higurashi no naku Koro Ni” or “Higurashi”
Before I begin, I just want to tell you that I just boarded up all the exits of my home because of a pants-pissing terrifying note that I received. care to find out what it says? If so, here goes.
“Hello Mr. Cowboy or whatever you go by... Three or four years ago, you watched all of Higurashi but never saw Higurashi: Kai. Well... I was wondering if you would take the time to watch Higurashi: Kai and then review both shows simultaneously. If you want, you can review Rei and the other entries of Higurashi that came after Kai, but that’s up to you. But, if you don’t review the Higurashi series, we will come after you and you don’t wanna know what happens next. There will be painful and deadly consequences if you don’t honor our request.”
Yeah, if I value my life, I’d better just get this over with. by the way, I really did watch the first Higurashi series years ago but I neglected Higurashi: Kai because I was confused while watching the first series and didn’t bother to watch it until now. Also, the whole thing with the note was a joke. What’s not a joke is what I will be talking about unless you are a psychopath, get ready to cry in fear with Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni!
On one hot summer day in 1983, a transfer student named Keichi Maebara comes to the peaceful rural village of Hinamizawa. While he is there, he befriends his classmates Rena, Mion, Rika, and Satoko. Accepted as a full-fledged member of the club they formed, Keiichi and the gang plays all sorts of activities ranging from card and board games to hide-and-seek. But just as Keiichi was beginning to be assimilated in the simple rural life, he stumbles upon the dark history of Hinamizawa. As Keiichi dives deeper into the mystery, he finds that his new found friends may not be all what they seem to be. No one is safe.
To be technical, this is a Studio Deen production and the animation is not really much to write home about. The animation is passable and the character designs could’ve looked better. What does make the animation work...well, I’ll explain that in a moment. The animation is ok, but it’s noticable that Studio Deen took a lot of shortcuts with this show, it’s not too cheaply made, but it’s not too impressive either.
The music is actually on an interesting note. The music for Higurashi is composed by Kenji Kawai, How is this interesting? Well, if you saw the Ghost in the Shell movie... He composed that movie and the music in that movie was pretty good. So how does he fare with Higurashi? Well...I can’t say the soundtrack to Higurashi is somewhat memorable in some places but he does make the music eerie for the show to fit in with the eerie atmosphere. The opening is pretty good and it is fits the mood of the series, I also love the closing theme in this show as well, it's that kind of closing I don't skip after I watch an episode. The song is stuck to my head essentially, but it's a really good closing theme.
When it comes to voice acting. The Japanese cast is pretty good but there’s not a whole lot of famous seiyus in the bunch but they play their roles just fine. Then of course, there’s the dub. It’s...It’s... *sigh* Well... All I can say is that the dub does not have an all-star cast which is fine if the voice cast tried their best at it. I cannot say that the dub was good, in fact I hate the dub to this show. For one, the dub sounds like an english-speaking imitation of the original Japanese intent and a lot of voices did not match or sound right. I think it would be best to stick with the Japanese cast on this one because the dub does not meet expectations and it is a disappointment.
In terms of characters and oh boy, this is going to be a doozy to talk about. The characters are okay in this show. The reason I say they are “Okay” rather than fantastic or amazing is because the development in characters isn’t as fleshed out, but guess what. The character writing isn’t too bad at all. Keichi is fine in this show, it’s the girls that steal the show and I kid you not, If you get scared easily, these girls will scare the shit out of you when you least expect it.
When it comes to story, the story is one big complete mindfrag. My apologies for some slight spoilers but after the 4th episode of the show ends, the story resets back to the beginning .This show is split into story arcs in a non-linear storyline. Some might say that this is kind of clever, some will be confused by it. What I can say is that it gives Higurashi a great feeling of mystery of why it is assembled this way, There will be questions unanswered in the first Higurashi season because these arcs in the first season are known as the “Question Arcs” while Higurashi: Kai has the “Answer Arcs”. Some of the moments in all the arcs are worth seeing especially if Horror is your thing, but there are some slow pacing moments obviously present in all of these arcs.
The directing by Chiaki Kon is interesting and the writing composition by Toshifumi Kawase is pretty good. What really makes Higurashi work is the mysteries that are present in the show, some animation effects to make things eerie and terrifying, and of course...There are those moments of insane laughter and pants pissing horror which is often referred to as the “Higurashi Moments”
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni was available by Geneon until they went under, it was available by Funimation until the license expired. Unfortunately, this anime is out of print. The Higurashi video games were never released stateside unless I somehow misread that. The Higurashi Manga is available by Yen Press. The Higurashi Light Novels have not been released stateside and The Live-Action Higurashi movies have not been released stateside as well.
With all that said, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is an anime that may not be for everybody but it is for anyone that is into the Horror genre. Even with it’s non-linear plot, it has the insane frightening horror, it may not have the best animation in the world and it may not have the best character development. It’s still (if not) one of the scariest anime out there.
I give Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni a 7 out of 10. it is GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment, and enjoy your life before it’s cut short! He he he he, Ha ha ha ha, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!