Go watch this now if you haven't already.
Definitely in my top five all time favourite animes, Higurashi is a masterpiece in what it set out to achieve. I'll admit, for first time watchers it will be difficult to understand what is actually going on, but it all comes into place in the second season which just makes you fall in love with the series even more. You're introduced to Keiichi, who has recently moved to the secluded village of Hinamizawa where he lives out his day to day lives with his eccentric and lovable group of school friends. Yet as soon as he finds out about a secret the village is trying to keep hidden, things go from good to bad, bad to worse, then worse to absolute bat s*** crazy. We are shown chracters who we cant help but fall in love with and throughout the series we are taken on an incredible emotional rollercoaster. Actually, it's more of an emotional back alley lynching. It is beautiful, then brutal. Sweet, then terrifying. We see kind adorable chracters descend into madness and it's completely compelling.
Now I don't normally talk about the sound when it comes to anime, but the soundtrack for Higurashi fits the bill perfectly. the opening song is haunting and chilling, but inescapably beautiful to the point where I can happily sit and watch each opening and ending, when i usually skip them.
In terms of animation, it's pretty standard. Nothing groundbreaking but enjoyable, and really shines in certain scenes, but i'm sure you'll see for yourself.
I could not recommend this show any higher. I gave this review a 9/10 because the first season doesn't really make clear what is going on so it is a little hard to follow, but the next season, as stated, clears it all up. When you do watch it, the first season is done in a series of story archs. We see different scenarios the group of friends are placed in, however the bigger picture that is the main storyline (which is revealed int he second season) remains constant.
In short, this anime will keep you on the edge of your seat, cringe in horror, and will keep you guessing the plotline and the eventual outcome till the very end.
Watch this anime. Now.