Anime A to Z: H – Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Review)

Recently finished up Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.

A lot has happened.
Or maybe not.

And that just about sums up my review for Higurashi.

Until next time!
Thanks for… all right then I’ll put some more effort into this. One of these days I’m going to end a post just like that though.

This anime has actually been on my radar for far too long. On my old laptop I had a folder of MAL pages bookmarked, and Higurashi was one of them – but I never got around to it. And then I got a new laptop and sort of forgot about it. So when I saw Higurashi while browsing for anime H, I had to give it a watch.

It’s definitely got a lot going for it!
This review will contain spoilers.

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Plot Summary

Higurashi has quite the story. Keiichi and friends playing at school and in town, everyday. Sunshine rainbows, and happiness. Fun for everyone. “Is this a slice of life anime?” I thought.

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Just a bunch of friends and fun side characters having fun. Smiles all around. Everyone having a good time, myself included.

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Bonds of friendship between Keiichi, Mion, Rena, Satoko & Rika. Perhaps even love is in the air? Keiichi you dog!

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Rena-chan? Is everything all right?

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Turns out everything isn’t all right.
Strange events take place in the village of Hinamizawa.

And that’s the summary for this one.

Story & Plot Progression

Higurashi does a few things very well in regards to the story & plot progression.

First the story. It’s very well done. Starts out innocent, and takes a dark turn – many times. The anime managed to provide just enough information to not only keep me interested in what I was watching, but also keep me invested in learning more from future episodes.

The way the story is told is great too. The anime really feels like I’m watching a visual novel. Reach a bad end? The story starts over again, and we experience a different route. Slowly we experience enough that the anime begins to provide us with some very juicy info and answers to questions regarding the village and the curse.

I also applaud anime that aren’t afraid to mercilessly kill off main characters. Naturally, the format of Higurashi is perfect for doing just this. No one is safe.

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Next is the plot progression.

Higurashi starts out guns blazing. In the beginning, I didn’t realize that Higurashi was going to be the type of anime that repeats a timeline over and over, with differences each time. So when I was on episode 3 and Keiichi was already neck deep in some serious trouble, I was elated. “How is Keiichi going to get through this? Those girls are trying to murder him ALREADY, and it’s only a few episodes in!” is pretty much what I was thinking. Imagine if Mirai Nikki revealed Yuno’s twisted / yandere side within the first few episodes, how fast that would feel. That’s how it felt for me – Higurashi wastes no time ramping up the action

It sort of ended up like a double edged sword for me. I was excited to see how Keiichi was going to survive going to school and living in a town where his “friends” were trying to kill him to protect a secret that he was looking to uncover.

Well, he didn’t survive. Neither did his friends.

It was a bit of a shock, but once I saw the next timeline begin, I realized that the anime was designed to play out like a visual novel – and that I had just watched a bad end. So a bit of a downer that I didn’t get to experience more thrilling action following Keiichi, but it was also nice to see that the anime wasn’t afraid to kill off characters and create some very desperate & extreme situations for the characters. I knew that more dark and gritty situations would be coming my way. It really works out well in the end.

Characters

I enjoyed the entire main cast. Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Shion, Rika, Satoko, and even Satoshi. I thought they were all great characters. They all seemed to have a dark side to them, or a secretive side that the others didn’t know about. And if they didn’t have a secret side to them, they would adopt one soon enough. All of the characters (except Satoko?) end up committing some heinous acts at some point, or have a dark / hidden side to them. It’s just a great format – happy times with smiling characters, until certain events cause them to snap.

Shion’s story was especially interesting and enjoyable to me. I love how we end up watching the same timeline twice – once from Keiichi’s point of view, and once from Shion’s point of view. This was probably my favourite timeline of the anime. Experiencing just how EXTREME the situation got and how far Shion had gone was amazing, because when we follow Keiichi we don’t see nearly as much of this. The twist that it was actually Shion and not Mion who went nuts was excellent. We also learned what happened to Satoshi, which was a question on my mind.

I also found Ooishi, the police officer, very interesting. One moment I thought he was a good cop trying to covertly do his job, and the next I was wondering if he was bought off or working for the Sonozaki family to some capacity. He really flipped back and forth for me. What I do know is that he is a veteran who knows how to survive in such a crazy village.

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Horror

I think the biggest detriment to the visual novel style format is that I never really felt the horror from this anime. It felt more like shock value content, because after the first timeline, I knew that when main characters died we would just begin a new timeline. It sort of takes away from the horror aspect. In the first timeline I was really getting into it, and excited to see how Keiichi was going to try and live his everyday life without getting murdered. The problem was that it all ended too fast – I was just starting to get into the thrill and tension of Keiichi’s situation before he died and a new timeline began.

I have to say though that the creepy / maniacal faces throughout the anime were great. They really helped out in making characters seem even creepier / insane.

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Higurashi has made me a little more interested in horror / psychological anime. I haven’t watched too many anime in the genre, and I really did enjoy the thrilling moments that were in Higurashi – even they were generally short-lived.

Favourite Scene

While the Shion timeline was my favourite timeline, my favourite scene in the anime was when Keiichi spots Rena walking alone with a cleaver in her hand, and then she appears next to him. The way she calmly and quietly speaks to Keiichi, moving closer to him, putting the cleaver to his neck, and slowly moving in for a kiss. Followed by some maniacal laughter and Keiichi getting the hell out of there. It’s a great scene, and Rena’s tone / voice really elevates the scene to something memorable. You get a real serial killer vibe from Rena in that scene.

Very creepy and well done.

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Not pictured – the cleaver Rena is holding.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’d have to say that the MAL rating of Higurashi is fair.
I would also like to grant Higurashi the Best Creepy Faces award.

It’s a good anime that I think anyone can watch and enjoy, even if horror isn’t really your thing. The anime does a great job at creating questions and slowly answering them, all while delivering some great creepy / thrilling moments.

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Higurashi no Naku Koro ni gets a winky face and thumbs up from me.

That’s it for anime H.
Stay tuned for anime I!

Until next time!
Thanks for reading.

7 thoughts on “Anime A to Z: H – Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Review)

      1. It’s also slower, and is actually a murder mystery with an answer that doesnt require aliens, parasites, or the supernatural! By the time the killer was revealed near the end of the hundred-ish hours of story, I had all but given up. It was just too much of a mystery for 11th grade me!

        Liked by 1 person

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  2. Ah, but you didn’t watch Kai! You are missing the second half of the story… Really recommend it to you since you enjoyed this. It isn’t as much horror as this season, but it pays off pretty big. You can stop after that because the Season 3 (the first set of OVA’s) is just kind of so-so. I have ’em all reviewed on the site if you want that info. After that they become basically porn OVA’s so… yeah, don’t even look into them. That was a mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

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