When I first started watching Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, and later its second season, Kai. I didn't know what to expect from it, almost every source i heard of it from was different. Some sources claim it to be one of scariest and goriest anime they have ever laid eyes on, others claim it to be halerious, fanservice filled, slice-of-life drama, and yet others claim it to be one of the best mystery animes in recent years.
It wasn't till a few of my friends on a nearby forum ( including GuroXChan) recommended it to me. Did I sit down and decide to watch it... it quickly became one of my all time favorite anime.
The first season of Higurashi provides the mystery, and Kai solves most of the mystery. Now instead of answering every question provided. The creators, 07th Expansion, left some of the questions still unanswered for the watchers to ponder. For Example: Is what appears to be an older Rika at the last episode, really Frendrika Bernkastel of their other series Umineko no naku Koro ni? Why was Rika forced into her "groundhog day loop" dillemma in the first place? Those kinds of questions remain (mostly unanswered) but questions such as the one responsible behind the Wataganashi Festival Murders and the Hinamizawa Village Disaster, and what became of those "spirited away" are also solved, provided our protagonists a (well deserved) happy ending.
In short, while Kai illuminates the dark corners of Hinamizawa provided in the first season, it still leaves some questions and mysteries unanswered.
The animation, while good, falters in some areas, especially in the more lighthearted areas of the series, making it more cartoony then needed. However when it is called for, the animation can really set the mood and make characters we have grown to love become horrofying psychopathes just by changing the shape of the eyes.
The Sound, is good and does what does best: Set the Mood. The continous drone of the Cicada's provide ambiant noise making the village seem more natural in some instances, and foreboding in other instances. The Music is also great, the OP of Kai being one of my favorite OP's of all time.
Now on to the characters, easily one of the best parts of the "Hinamizawa Mythos". I won't go into detail on why they work, but I will say that they are some of the most awesome collection of characters I have seen. Some seem almost lifelike in their actions, Detective Oishi is a primary example of this. The Main characters are also lovable, adding realistic real life dillema's to their story, making their gathering together somewhat of a tragedy, however as Rika might put it "a beneficial Tradegy". And characters that the anime wants you to hate, you will hate with diving passion: Hojo Teppei, I arrest my case.
Overall Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai is an awesome mystery reveal to its first season, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Whose suprises and mysteries still keep this Otaku preoccupied even after his fifth rewatch.