Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (aka When They Cry – Higurashi)
Available in both English sub and official English dub
Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller, Explicit Content
If you liked Elfen Lied, Death Note, School Days, Shadow Star Narutaru, or Jigoku Shoujo you might enjoy this
Watch it free here:
http://www.animeseason.com/higurashi-no-naku-koro-ni/ – subs only
boxset:sold out everywhere!!! T_T
complete set: will cost about 30-45 USD
When They Cry – Complete Set (DVD)
Ok so this is a very VERY complicated story. I’m going to give the basic layout of how the story went because the first time I watched it I literally said out loud “what the f%$k just happened!?!” Now just as a warning to all of you that are weak in the gore department this series has a lot of blood and violence. This is not just to have it in the show but because of the show itself, if that makes sense. The season follows a pattern that is strange for most people not familiar with the novel/game that this was made from (this is where the whole WTF thing happens) the game starts with four “question” arcs and concludes for four “answer arcs” this anime covers all four of the question arcs and two of the answer arcs. While the individual arcs have related back story, characters, and the like, they are not chronologically sequential so putting together a working plot is a little difficult to start off, but this is what make Higurashi so interesting and makes you beg for more. So we start this series off as Keiichi Maebara moves to Hinamizawa, a small rural village. He goes to class and joins a club that plays games after school. Basically it starts off as any comedy anime would, set the only guy character up with several girls around him, make visual jokes with the characters everyone has a laugh and we all go home. Yet there is just something not right with this picture, maybe it was a look in the animated eyes but there is always something in the first two episodes that let you know that there is just something not right in this seemingly perfect world. As they get close to the Watanagashi festival, Keiichi learns about a string of serial killings that happen on the night of the festival and as he learns more he becomes entangles in the killing cycle. From here the stories diverge, with each of the arcs having the characters react slightly differently to certain events which result in drastic differences to the overall plot. The arcs range from two episodes to six episodes. The first two are both four episodes long just to get you into the feel of the anime and not throw you into the deep end of the chaos that is Higurashi.
The animation style of this is not going to be as pretty as some of the other stuff out there and some people (including me) think that is because the animators had a low budget; however, they work very well with what they have. There are two things that make this series: one is the voice acting and the other is the characters faces. As I said above there are moments in the first few episodes where something about one of the faces is just off from the normal portrayed looks of the characters. They make the changes quick and it is very creepy, not just for a moment but for the entire show. Higurashi and Elfen Lied share in the same graphic intensity. There’s an extraordinary amount of violence and gore, ranging from bludgeoning death to torture. There is also a bit of dismemberment present, but none is shown physically onscreen.
I will be blatantly honest if it wasn’t for the voice acting this anime would have failed miserably. For example Rena Ryuuguu (the girl in the first image) is a very sweet girl that loves all things cute and immediately wants to take them home but when her face changes so does her voice and it goes from sweet and innocent to a cleaver-wielding sadist with a thirst for blood with a creepy voice that will send a shiver up your spine(at least it did mine). Also the opening theme song is one that fits the anime to a tee. You wont really understand the entire animated bit to it unless you have seen the entire anime but the music gets you pumped for every episode and is very hard to get out of your head. It’s one of those tunes that you will immediately recognize if you ever hear it.
Keiichi Maebara, the only main male character in the series just moved to Hinamizawa a few weeks before the Watanagashi festival. Mion Sonozaki, the daughter of the richest and most influential families in Hinamizawa. Rena Ryuuguu, lover of all things cute and wants to steal or take them all home with her. Rika Furude, an orphaned shrine madden. Satoko Hojo, also orphaned and lives with Rika. Shion Sonozaki, comes into the anime in the second arc. If I said anymore it would honestly ruin the anime as everything is interconnected and to reveal even one thing would be to ruin a plot later on.
This is one anime that even after it is over will leave you scratching your head and saying “WTF just happened!?” Even with the animation that could be better this is still one of the best animes around because it composes such a masterful creepy aura and maintains that feeling throughout the entirety of the anime. Even when its in its happy moments you just know something is going to happen. This is an anime that anyone would love, honestly I have recommended it to everyone and no-one has not fallen in love with it.