Higurashi no Naku Koro ni [TV]
On June 1983, Keiichi Maebara moves with his family to Hinamizawa, a peaceful rural village. He quickly befriends his new schoolmates Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Hojo, and Rika Furude, usually spending their leisure time playing board games.
However, the idyllic and tranquil life in this village appears to be not what it seems. Keiichi starts to notice strange events, especially after the village’s annual festival dedicated to its local deity – Oyashiro. He discovers that people have been murdered or gone missing over the past years, and his friends are suspiciously silent about these events.
As Keiichi draws closer to the mystery of his new home, he can’t help but wonder if he could trust his friends, or if he had any friends at all.
About the Show
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, also known as Higurashi When They Cry, is an anime adaptation of the mystery-murder, light visual novel videogame under the same name, developed by 07th Expansion. Produced by Studio Deen, the anime series aired a total of 50 episodes (divided into 2 seasons, plus 6 OVAs) between April 4, 2006 and August 1, 2013.
Keiichi Maebara is the main male protagonist of the series. After a violent incident he was involved in, his family decided to move and ended up settling in the village of Hinamizawa. He has a talent when it comes to rhetoric that helped him win club contests, and earned him popularity throughout the village. Furthermore, he possesses a good natural charisma, allowing him to easily make new friends.
Rena Ryugu is the main female protagonist of the series. A year before Keiichi arrived at Hinamizawa, Rena had initially moved to Ibaraki with her parents. Under the stress from discovering her mother’s affair and the Hinamizawa syndrome, Rena violently assaults three male students. Firmly believing that this was caused by a curse from Oyashiro for leaving the village, Rena and his father move back to Hinamizawa. As a result, Rena developed a strong belief that Oyashiro really exists. She later meets Keiichi, but she claimed to be a newcomer to the village as well, so as not to alarm him. She tries to take care Keiichi most of the time, and is extremely fond of cute things she finds around the village.
Mion Sonozaki is a natural leader, and her social skills are on par with Keiichi. Although almost everyone looks up to her, she respects Keiichi and even views him as a rival. She acts like a tomboy, but it is later revealed that she a girly and soft side for Keiichi. As the eldest child of their family, she is next in line to be the head of the Sonozaki household.
Shion Sonozaki is Mion’s twin sister, and they are both fond of switching places. It is difficult to distinguish who is who whenever they switch places. Although she was sent away from the village after her parents enrolled her in a boarding school, Shion escaped and lived near the village, maintaining a close relationship with her twin sister. However, their relationship was strained after Mion oversees her participation in a barbaric ritual, which required Shion to pluck three of her fingernails. Along with the demonic alter-ego she had developed, Shion later commits mass murder.
Satoko Hojo is also one of Keiichi’s friends, and is fond of planting booby traps for him. Although being small in stature, Satoko has an impressive arm strength, and a boastful laugh. She might show a positive aura through her energetic and enthusiastic demeanor, but she actually has a very dark past. She has experienced abuse from Teppei and Tamae after she lost her parents, who she pushed to their deaths while under the Hinamizawa syndrome.
Rika Furude lives together with Satoko in the same household, and is on the same grade level as her. She is fond of using nonsense but adorable words, which usually triggers Rena’s passion for cute things. Despite appearing to be young, she is actually revered by the villagers as the heir to the local shrine, and becomes the head of their household. There is actually a mystery about her existence, and she keeps this from her friends, as to not worry them.
Hanyu Furude is a mysterious transferee, posing as Rika’s distant relative. She has two horns growing out from her head, but no one seems to notice them. It is revealed that she is responsible for the strange events in Hinamizawa, after she created the eternally repeating June 1983 in an attempt to save Rika’s life. She is also the one to blame for the paranoia everyone experiences. She is closely related to Oyashiro, the village’s local cursed deity.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni might not look much at first glance, but beneath its bland appearance is a series of mind-boggling murder mysteries.
Story: This is where Higurashi no Naku Koro ni shines the most. Although the series is divided into several arcs (which might confuse the viewer), everything falls into place the longer you watch the show. They may seem disjointed at first, but then you’ll suddenly realize everything is connected as is part of a well written plot.
Animation: Now, the series could really use some improvements in this area. The animation can appear really sloppy at times, but the other aspects of the show still makes it worth to watch.
Sound: Excellent voice acting and an opening song that properly sets the mood. What more can you ask for?
Characters: The characters are also well written, and play their parts very well in the story. They are all very likeable, which will certainly add to the surprise when they all start killing each other.
Overall, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a very entertaining series to watch, especially if you like the mystery genre. Its plot will definitely make you replay the whole series, and you’d love it all the same.