Critic’s Log - Earthdate: May 12, 2013. Review #47: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni: Kai
Well, I survived the horrors that I saw in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni. And... I am prepared for more. With that said, let’s get out of this tunnel from hell with Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni: Kai.
The endless cycle of hatred and death that befell the small village of Hinamizawa still continues. Rika Furude is the sole witness of all those tragedies and she tries to find a way out of it with her friends' help, without knowing if there is one after all.
To be technical, this is another Studio Deen production and this is the sequel of Higurashi. If you think that Higurashi Kai has better quality of animation, you would be half-right. The character designs do look the same and the animation is in the same style that the first show has, but what is upgraded are the aesthetics and the show does look nice compared to the first season. Like the first series, the animation isn’t perfect in Higurashi: Kai but it still looks nice.
The music by Kenji Kawai is recycled from the first season, but it is still used effectively and still worth listening to with or without the show. So there’s not much room for me to bring up the music this time, however, The opening is great and the closing is pretty decent.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese Cast is excellent and an English Dub does not exist in this show. Allow me to explain why this is the case. Geneon was the original licensor of the American release of the first Higurashi anime and well...Geneon went under a few years back. Funimation acquired this anime shortly after but they did not make an English Dub to it as well as an official American release to it. Also, Funimation’s license for Higurashi expired. Making this an Unlicensed Anime for the U.S. My policy with anime is that I don’t review new animes that have not been licensed in the U.S. yet. With Higurashi: Kai, I will make an exception. With that said, The Japanese cast just as good as the first series. There isn’t a bad one in the bunch.
As far as character development goes. Higurashi: Kai has proven to make this topic a lot more interesting. I may have pointed out that character development was a bit hard to analyze because of the “resetting” of the story after the ends of each arc. Well... Higurashi takes a twist in things. For instance, Keiichi is the main lead in the first season. This is made perfectly clear. However, in Higurashi: Kai. It turns out that Rika Furude is the main lead this time. This is one of the few major changes between Higurashi and Higurashi: Kai. Another major change is the tone. Remember when the first Higurashi season had those pants-pissing terrifying moments? Well, that almost plays no part in Higurashi: Kai. Instead of being a Horror anime, Higurashi: Kai is a thriller instead. This could be a turn off for some that were hoping that Higurashi: Kai would have those horrific moments that the first season was known for. As far as character development goes, it is mostly fleshed out to an extent that the development is better than the first . Or maybe that they intentionally developed them in the second season, but I digress. It is much more developed this time. There’s even some thought-provoking moments too but you really have to pay attention in this show to really understand.
However, the change in genre for Higurashi really does throw a major twist in things. Is this bad? You know what... No! Even though the two seasons combined isn’t balanced, The thriller aspect of Higurashi: Kai really works to the show’s advantage most of the time. The thing I was pleased with is the explanation to why the story kept resetting. I have an analogy for you in case you’re still confused. The “Resetting” is like when you play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and you play the Song of Time to go back to The First Day and all that. If you saw the first Higurashi season, you would know that the story begins and later on, the majority of characters are meeting terrible fates and it starts all over again. The deaths are really terrible to witness, and they were horrifying. Just remember, when the story arc ends, the Song of Time would be played off-screen. There’s my analogy. Link must be somewhere off-screen and I wish he could’ve stopped playing The Song of Time earlier because I had to witness these cruel events that took place in the first season. Why am I still talking about Zelda? in the end, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni had one groundbreaking factor, and that is the unconventional narrative that the first season had as well as this, everything else isn’t as groundbreaking, But this is a series that has to be seen if you’re a buff of Horror or Thriller that both have mystery attached.
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni: Kai was never licensed in the U.S. look this series up somewhere at your own leisure.
With all that said, Higurashi: Kai makes some twists and turns but still manages to be just as good as the first season, even though it’s a Thriller and not a Horror anime, it’s just as watchable as the first season. It explains some or most of the confusion and this should be seen if you liked the first season but was confused along the way.
I give Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni: Kai a 7.5 out of 10, it is GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment, and let’s play Old Maid.