Higurashi season one (the first 26 episodes) may seem like kind of an a$$hole of a season. I say that because nobody is trust worthy, it feels as though the only point of the show is to watch seriously messed up scenarios that continue even though logically they are conflicting. This will be cleared up as you continue to watch season two.
How about the characters? Well, they change from arc to arc which feels insulting to me considering the consistency of the characters is so vapid. This too becomes a bit more cleared up in later episodes.
Animation-wise it looks fine, and actually only gets better. Sound is good, however predictable it may feel.
The lighthearted situations are the scenarios that are actually hard to watch, most are overdone (gets much worse next season) with little point other than setting up the atmosphere just so it can be broken.
This serious can get pretty nuts so prepare yourself. It is also quite bloody.