This review is based on the sequel to Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (When They Cry), Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai (When They Cry Solutions). I'm going to not try to spoil this anime, but it's VERY hard not to spoil it. And if you haven't seen the first season of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, you might not want to read the rest of this review.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai is pretty much the answers to some of the arcs in it's premises. But the main storyline instead of different people at each time, we have one and only one for every arc, the one and only Rika Furude. That's right, the girl that got the least screentime in the first season. Anyway, the story follows Rika and how each arc goes along, and some of the arcs about herself. The first episode starts off with Akasaka Mamoru with Ooishi going through Hinamizawa which supposedly had a gas leak killing everyone. When they're going through, Akasaka tells Ooishi that these things were told by them by the one and only Rika Furude. Going through more of Hinamizawa, Ooishi finds the only person who lived through the gas leak, everyone's favorite, Rena Ryuguu. When Ooishi talks to Rena about Rika, she also heard the apocalyptic events that ended up being the future as well. After that, the rest of the series is involved with the past, which means this is the only episode that involves with the future. The first arc involves the events with the Higurashi gang before the gas leak. The second arc involves the gang trying to fight for their lives. The last arc is very much like the second one, but just a little different. Trust me, there would be WAY more I would say about the story, but just trying to explain the story can easily spoil the show. Overall I enjoyed the story for Kai, and can be enjoyed by all Higurashi fans.
The art style of Kai resembles the first season very much. The characters and the backgrounds don't change from the first season, so there is nothing much to say about the artwork. I enjoyed the art from the first season, so I couldn't not enjoy the art from the second season.
The voice actors and the score for Kai do not change. Though for some reason, I keep on thinking that the core improved from the first season, when pretty much the score didn't even change. The opening for Kai has more of a dramatic tone than more of a creepy tone as the first season did. The ending theme as well. I did enjoy both the opening and ending themes. The ending in my opinion is better than the first, but the opening in my opinion still can't beat the creepy psychological first opening. Really, nothing has changed, therefore it's hard to talk about this.
The characters in my opinion become much better from the first season. In the first season, I didn't care for Rika, but now, Rika is now one of my favorite anime characters. Rika now in this season has a personality to her, which makes her sparkle. Her thoughts to keep on trying and to never give up makes her memorable, and therefore she tops my list. We do get a new character for the series that accompanies Rika in the last two arcs, Hanyuu. Hanyuu is supposedly following Rika for pretty much the rest of her days until it ends. Hanyuu doesn't get much screen time in Kai, just like Rika did in the first season. Though I do believe Hanyuu is a very memorable character, especially in the last episode. Keiichi does not change that much, and since Kai revolves around Rika, we do not get much Keiichi in Kai. Though in the last two arcs, Keiichi sparkles, just as Rika does. At first I didn't understand why Keiichi was so popular, but now I completely understand. He is very confident and is one of the most caring characters in any anime. Rena isn't crazy this season. But just because she isn't insane, doesn't make her a bad character. In fact, I enjoy Rena more in Kai (Sorry people, but I'm not a big fan of crazy Rena). Rena is more intelligent with the choices she makes, and she cares for everyone, no matter how cute they may be. Mion does not change in Kai. She is still the energetic tomboy that everyone can be idolized by. As for Satoko, she doesn't get really any attention in Higurashi. The first arc has some stuff to do with Satoko, and the second arc, the gang is trying to help her, but even still, she doesn't get screen time. And for Shion fanboys and fangirls, she doesn't appear either :(
Now watching Kai, I thought that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I would the first season, but Kai proved itself worthy with the last two arcs. The second arc is definitely one of my favorite arcs in almost all the animes I've seen, and the ending to Kai has one of the best endings to the other animes. The first arc was good but didn't stand out. And the first episode made me snooze. But even though, I can't say that I didn't enjoy every second of Kai. If you haven't watched Kai and you've seen the first season, I would strongly recommend Kai to you. I hope it won't disappoint.