Anime Series Review: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (First Season)

Why are you asking questions about Higurashi, sweetie? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LAST BOY WHO- what? Nothing? Making a threat? No, why would you accuse an innocent girl like me of such a hurtful thing? You mean you won't be my friend anymore? I can't believe what a jerk you're being! *cry* Anyway, hehe... if you tell anyone about Higurashi, you might find yourself having to transfer away... Yes. Transfer...

Higurashi is a brilliant horror anime. It starts off feeling like a schoolgirl harem show. Bland anime protagonist Keiichi is a new transfer student at a rural school in Hinamizawa, a remote village. There are several cute girls he ends up befriending, including identical twins, Shion and Mion, brown-haired Rena, and a few others who are less important but still cute.

All of this "quaint village with cute girls" shtick goes downhill fast, when everything gets good and murdery. I don't want to spoil it, but I like the way it has exciting, climactic events close to the beginning of the show, when many other series take a long time to get interesting and to feel intense.

Cool Opening Song!

Title:
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni/ Higurashi: When They Cry
Source Material:
Visual Novel Video Games by 07th Expansion
Studio:
Studio Deen
Year:
2006-2007
Episodes:
50 (2 seasons)
Additional Material:
Manga, Light Novel, Novel Series, Live Action Film, OVAs, Television Drama, Fighting Game

Higurashi has all the elements of good horror films and books without anything in it being cliché. The little girls are drawn with petite frames, big anime eyes, and bright-colored hair, so they're cute and charming. This makes it all the more jarring when they start talking like crazed murderers and wielding knives and other weapons. They also seem to dart back and forth between Miss Innocents and cold-blooded sociopaths, complete with their pupils changing from big and round to lizard-like. Their facial expressions when they are murderous and wielding weapons is haunting, shocking, and memorable.

So I can definitely say I'd recommend it for fans of horror, mature, psychological, and suspenseful anime. The first story arc is gripping, but then the series takes its time to make the girls look more sympathetic and interesting. It culminates in a horror climax that is probably one of the most brutal of any horror movie or anime.

I plan to discuss the second season and various manga arcs separately. But as for the first season of this anime, I loved it.

Rating for Higurashi: 8/10

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