The previous season of Higurashi was a delicate balance of cutesy underage school girls doing cutesy underage school girl things and violent, brutal murder and torture. The plot was masterfully convoluted and needed a lot more explanation than it was given. Thus, the second season, which I like to think of as both the explanatory as well as the happier season. The violence is toned down with only one scene of gore and a lot more scenes of character drama. So basically, those of you who got into Higurashi for the loli murderers will feel a bit let down by how focused on hope this season is. For anyone who can look past that, they will get to enjoy a rather entertaining and dramatic tromp through the Hinamizawa of June, 1983.
Without spoiling too much, the young shrine maiden Rika has been constantly reliving the same few weeks for nearly one thousand years and has seen so many different outcomes that she just wants to get to one where she and her friends survive. While last season focused on a variety of the characters, this season focuses more on Rika than anyone else; though there is also Rika’s constant companion Hanyuu. Together they attempt to find a future where Rika doesn’t die and she gets to live with all of her friends.
The first half of the series is only kind of entertaining. It’s full of happy-go-lucky school-time moments that tend to be really boring. And especially after the fast paced ending of season one, it’s a very different and off-putting pace. It takes quite a while before the plot gets interesting and the drama really kicks into high gear. With a much more involving and deep plot than the first season lets on, Higurashi actually has a pretty kick-ass story. Like the last season, the characters are really not wherein the series shines, much more so the plot is what will draw you in.
That’s not to say that the characters are bad by any stretch of the imagination. While Shion was my favorite character of last season, I really did enjoy tagging along with Rika. She’s not one of those characters you can invest yourself in, but she’s fun nonetheless. Especially her interactions with her friend Satoko and her companion Hanyuu. She doesn’t develop too much through the course of the anime, but nonetheless she is pretty awesome. She takes death like it’s nothing and doesn’t mind protecting her friends no matter the cost.
Satoko is the cuter one. Despite Rika having her little “nee-pah” thing, Satoko has the fang and her love for her brother. Everything about her radiates cute and adorable. Sure she’s a little sadistic, what with her traps and all that, but overall I liked her. I was happy when she was happy.
And Hanyuu…she’s just there. She’s cute and that’s about all she’s good at. Why nobody asks about her horns is something I wondered throughout, but that’s just a minor complaint.
Also, the bad guy is pretty cool. While not the best bad guy you’ll ever see, he/she is definitely pretty sadistic.
I can’t get too much into the plot of Higurashi without spoiling a lot, which makes it hard to delve deep into the anime. And I described all of the characters in my previous review. The cons of the anime can mostly be found in the poor animation and the first half’s slow pace. But otherwise, there’s not a lot to complain about. Good characters, a very rich plot, and drama throughout. It’s not at all like the first season, but it is definitely better in many respects. If you enjoyed the first season, I’d at least watch this season to understand the plot, though you may be drawn in even further by said plot than you were first season.
Taken as a whole (and by whole, I mean minus the OVA and the third season that has nothing to do with this), Higurashi is a very good drama series with some neat ideas and very disturbing violence. Edge-of-your-seat drama really doesn’t get much better than this series. Though, of course, you must fight through some dry sections to get to that drama.
Higurashi seasons one and two are a definite seven out of ten.
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