Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku Outbreak

OVA (1 ep x 52 min)
2013
3.62 out of 5 from 2,462 votes
Rank #4,105
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku Outbreak

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Deago
4.4

After two seasons of the complete Higurashi story, we got nothing but short OVAs filled with silly comedy and shameless fanservice, and only one interesting yet pointless sequel; Dice Killing Chapter, we finally got the fifth anime instalment of the Higurashi franchise. Surprisingly, it is a serious side story that takes place in the second season, though the exact timeline was not specified. It's not a pointless sequel like Dice Killing Chapter, because it has little plot exposition like any other alternate world in the two seasons, but the new information you get is very little and trivial for someone who has already seen Kai.It's an alternate timeline where you see an outbreak in action and the mystery surrounding Hinamizawa is revealed internationally in the news, but the OVA failed to focus on the media frenzy and instead focused on the violent outbreak within Hinamizawa; because who cares about political conspiracies or diplomatic relations caused by the outbreak in Higurashi? Who cares about the mystery and inter-organizational conflict within the 'Tokyo' organisation? Allocate the majority of the screentime to depicting the violent outbreak in action and people being brutally murdered, and that's more like it. Wrong.AnimationDespite the fact that the OVA was released in 2013, it was never released on Bluray, so we are stuck with the crappy 480p DVD resolution. However, it's definitely better than the shoddy early BDs of the first two seasons, if you truly care about the visual quality and details, get the SD Blu-ray discs for seasons 1 and 2.The animation is slightly improved in terms of fluidity; this is Studio Deen's final Higurashi title, and they clearly put their best effort for the series in terms of animation here, and I believe it deserves this treatment for an action gore heavy OVA episode. I also like the fact that they kept the same old artstyle and character designs from 2006, which was good and suitable for the genre and setting, and I am sure nostalgia fans will enjoy it.SoundWhile there was no animated opening or ending, which was unnecessary, the credit song (You: Visionen im Spiegel) was really beautifully done for a big good-bye of the Higurashi anime series; yes, a good-bye because this is the last watchable Higurashi title up to now; I dropped the series after only a few episodes of Gou, and I recommend you do the same after this OVA. All of the other soundtracks are the same as in previous titles, so it will feel like you're watching a missing episode of Kai; the music was fitting for the atmosphere, which is a big plus.StoryThe premise itself was intriguing, because, unlike most other chapters which had similar structure, Outbreak plays out a 'what if' scenario in which almost everyone in Hinamizawa goes insane, and the reason for the villagers' violent actions was justified by the unethical lockdown, not just the spread of a virus. However, there is no plot progression because the events are crammed into a prequel, and it doesn't work as a flashback because it's just another usual time reset, there is no theme exploration, nor was there any retrospectively interesting information, it would have been better to experience this chapter before Kai, but it was meant to be watched after Kai because it spoils some of it. So, to those who have already seen Kai, it appears to be nothing more than a storyless mindless action OVA with an excuse plot that adds nothing to the overall story.'My father was murdered not long ago; let us murder those bastards for harming my friends.'While there is death on-screen for gore and shock purpose, the script fails to create impact for characters who are supposed to be important to the protagonist; Higurashi was appealing because of its mystery rather than its action, which is why the fight scene in the final episode of the first season was embarrassing to watch, and now we have this OVA, which feels more like a low-budget B film action survival horror than a psychological horror mystery. The action itself was hilariously bad and unbelievable, akin to a battle between two school kids wielding a bat and cleaver murdering a hundred adult hunters wielding firearms. What is this, a battle shonen?CharacterThere is no character development and no introduction of new characters. I was hoping to learn more about the 'big bad,' Nomura. They could have shown or hinted at how she intended to spread the virus and profit from it, or why she had personal conflict with Tokyo members like Koizumi, and where the hell is Takano, and what happened to Satoshi? Rather than showing me Rena murdering villagers, educate me on the Tokyo organisation. Instead of using Satoko as a damsel in distress plot device for mindless action, show me how Nomura started the outbreak without killing Rika.ValueWhile Higurashi is not an action-heavy series in general, nor does it focus on gore, some fans enjoyed it for its violent scenes and eccentricity. For those who enjoyed the aforementioned elements, this OVA could serve as blood fanservice. It's also a good thing that Studio Deen didn't leave viewers with a bad taste in their mouths with their awful Kira instalment. This work also balances the bad comedy and ecchi that occurred after Kai; even though it has ridiculous action scenes and a bad plot, this OVA has zero comedy and ecchi; the story includes serious elements such as murder, abduction, hazardous virus lockdown, and crazy brutal religion sacrifice rituals, so this OVA reminds you that Higurashi can become serious when it wishes to.EnjoymentAgain, the premise of the outbreak and the lockdown was interesting; I liked the military elements and the opening scene in which helicopters, military trucks, and armed soldiers roam Hinamizawa. You also get to see the heroes' dark side, not because of a virus, but because they have to make life decisions that result in the deaths of many people. Unlike the implausible Kai conclusion, which shows that no damage or death occurs despite the outbreak of a lethal firearms war, this one demonstrates that it is impossible to save everyone in war.

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