Keiichi Maebara has just moved to the quiet little village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983, and quickly becomes inseparable friends with schoolmates Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude. However, darkness lurks underneath the seemingly idyllic life they lead.
As the village prepares for its annual festival, Keiichi learns about the local legends surrounding it. To his horror, he discovers that there have been several murders and disappearances in the village in the recent years, and that they all seem to be connected to the festival and the village’s patron god, Oyashiro. Keiichi tries to ask his new friends about these incidents, but they are suspiciously silent and refuse to give him the answers he needs. As more and more bizarre events occur, he wonders just what else his friends might be keeping from him, and if he can even trust them at all.
When madness and paranoia begin taking root in Keiichi’s heart, he will stumble straight into the mysteries at work in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, a story that is told across multiple arcs. – My Anime List
Based on 11 review scores:
Anime News Network
Despite some dated (and unattractive) artwork, When They Cry holds up really well as a horror title. It has mystery, gore, and an interesting conceit that keeps it interesting from arc to arc, and we’re given just enough new information each time the story resets to keep us hooked. It isn’t as gruesome as other series, which actually is a plus for squeamish viewers, and this season ends with just enough answers to make us want to know what’s really going on. Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth rewatching When They Cry because knowing what’s coming only makes the story more interesting. So come take a trip to Hinamizawa and find out another reason why the devil is in charge of small towns.
The show and its sequel were an unusual premise overall. I was always kept guessing as to the reasons behind the strange behaviour of the cast. I never was too sure what to make of it. Was it a horror story? A murder-mystery? A school comedy? Anyway I enjoyed it and even though there was a lot of violence, it never put me off (unfortunately I’ve seen much worse both in entertainment and in reality). It wouldn’t appeal to everyone and most certainly not for those with a sensitive disposition. For those who have the stomach for something unusual AND plenty of gore, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is an excellent choice.
You’ll have to deal with four creepy girls instead of one like a normal horror film would. They’ll be cute and bouncy for one moment, then murderous and psychotic the next. Full of twists, turns, and unpleasant surprises, after watching this, you won’t be able to close an eyelid for some time.
This anime was truly a big puzzle but once put together, it was beautiful.
My Anime List
Higurashi is really the pinnacle of a dark mystery. You’ll start off the mad scientist, watching those innocents in the test chamber with morbid curiosity. Yet, slowly, that morbid curiosity will be transformed into sympathy, and as you fall in love these victims, that initial curiosity will into turn a genuine desire to figure out whats going on so that they can be saved.
The Foodie Geek
In the early parts, one may speculate that the plot is guided by a supernatural force, in which everything is explained by gods, demons, magic and aliens: the ultimate scapegoats of poor explanations. Let me assure you that it is not. Everything will be logically explained with sound reasoning at the later part of the series, specifically on the answer arcs of the series. That’s when your jumpy “Ah!!!” comes in.
This is a different type of mystery anime. This anime’s episodes are divided into different arcs. All of these arcs start the same way with the same characters, but focus on different aspects and have different outcomes. It is like different small stories based on the same settings. With each arc come new questions and mysteries, but also new answers. Will we be able to see the truth of this puzzle after watching all the arcs?
Because Higurashi is an adaptation from a set of games and novels, it should be noted that the first season does not provide any sort of conclusion to its events. While the first and second seasons must be watched in concurrence, I made a point to write this review before delving too far into the second installment. Because the first season presents four “question” arcs and only two “answer” arcs, it’s hard to pass final judgement on the series based on a matter of completeness. Even so, by itself Higurashi certainly stands as an above-average horror anime that is backed by tangible, substantive drama, and should not be characterized as some sort of mindless gore-fest; nobody dies “just because.” Keeping in mind that I’m not really a fan of the genre, I might have scored this a bit low, but if you’re into a somewhat intellectual mystery piece coupled with a lot of violence, I’d definitely say give it a shot.
Whatever the case, I have high praises for this series. The mystery and psychological horror is enticing enough as is, but the unique art and characters really push this series above all other average anime. However, there are inconsistencies in pacing and the story can get severely confusing. All the plot twists and violence in the world cannot save a story that gets rushed and breaks its own chains of logic. Plus, this repeat mode that the series operates on, while is an interesting aspect of the series, also adds to the confusion. Long story short, this series is short of being a classic, but higher than average.
A lot of folks would take one look at this concept and think it’s a really, really stupid idea but Higurashi is interesting and visceral enough to be worth viewing by the more adventurous. Those who aren’t into violence or horror should skip this and watch some other show, preferably with a character named Haruhi in it.