Note: Here is my first anime review, and is also a test to see how the whole system works. If you are wondering, yes, I know Higurashi is an OLD anime, but this is for the anime fans who may never have watched it, and I’m gonna try and persuade them to do so.:D Also, expect a heavy wall of text-I will be explaining all of the episodes in detail. I may sound like a loser with a lot of time, but it doesn’t take too long(maybe 30 minutes or so).
Well…what is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni? Well, the first thing you’ll think when you start watching is ‘Ugh, moe overload…typical+boring. That murder scene at the beginning was just a trick to pull me in.’ Well, if you’re not patient, that is what you would think. No, I’m not going to turn around and tell you that it’s got a brilliant romantic storyline, I’m going to tell you that this anime is actually about a series of homicidal murders, and is a series about the delicious twist that has never been tested before-an anime with evil moes. Oh my!
Episode 1: Onikakushi-hen Sono-1 Hajimari
The year is 1983. The episode then shows us a sudden massacre of what seems to be a few girls, and the person killing them is obviously the main character, as you would notice in a few minutes to come. We are then shown a beautiful OP video, sung by Eiko Shimamiya, and is also appropriately called ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni'(by the way, this means ‘When the Cicadas Cry’). To keep it short, it introduces a contrasting image of bright colors and flowers, and then sudden flicks of shocking images(like a girl walking with blood dripping off of her). The song itself is extremely appropriate to the anime. People who skipped the OP out of laziness wouldn’t get the chance to realize this is a serious anime. We are introduced to the protagonist of the story, Maehara Keiichi. He wakes up in the usual cheesy anime style, slips on his shoes, and leaves the house. He mentions that he has been living in the town of Hinamizawa for only a month now. He then goes on to say how he’s glad he can smell fresh air, which probably means he is from the city. He meets up with a cute girl named Ryugu Rena, who is probably the first cute girl that can get away with an odd hairstyle(the girl featured at the top of this post). They have a typical cutesy conversation, where Keiichi teases Rena, saying that even though she waits for him everyday, if she wasn’t there, he would go ahead without waiting. He then says he’s joking, and says he would wait, which makes her blush. As usual, typical plot line. As they walk, they meet up with a girl with long green hair, named Sonozaki Mion. They have some more typical conversations about being late for their meeting, and they have a few jokes together. We are then told that Hinamizawa is so small, there is only 1 class in the local school, which is a mixture of ages. Since the teacher can’t do it all on her own, the seniors usually teach the juniors whilst they study on their own. We are then told that there are only 15 children in the whole village…seems a bit too small, doesn’t it? They have some cutesy conversations in the classroom, with all the usual chibi faces. After school, they give Keiichi a tour of Hinamizawa. They take him up to the town’s shrine, ‘Furude Shrine’, which has the best view of the town. According to Mion, during the next school break there is going to be a festival. Rena has prepared a picnic, and they get ready to eat. Just before they start, 2 new characters are introduced, Hojo Satoko(a short, blond haired brat) and Furude Rika(a long blue haired sensible little girl). They are both juniors, but are major characters. It seems that Rena and Mion had invited them without the knowledge of Keiichi is is 50/50 about the situation(since he hates Satoko, but finds Rika adorable for her good manners). They then go on to have a cutesy conversation, with a chibiful argument between Satoko and Keiichi over the food. It then skips to sunset, where Satoko and Rika seem to be gone. Rena and Keiichi say goodbye to Mion, and Rena asks Keiichi if he’ll come with her to a place on the way. They walk along, they end up in a rubbish dump. Keiichi is angry about it, angry that the extra trip was just to go to a bunch of rubbish. Rena disagrees, insisting it’s a mountain of treasure. He climbs down a bit, but she says it’s alright for him to stay behind. He lays back against some rubbish, and looks up at the sky. He closes his eyes, but suddenly hears some footsteps. He opens his eyes to see a photographer, aiming a camera at him. In shock, he jumps up, which also seems to shock the camera man. The man apologizes for scaring him, and asks if Keiichi is from Hinamizawa. Keiichi says yes, and the man goes on to introduce himself as Tomitake Jiro, a freelance photographer. Keiichi is angry at the fact he didn’t ask if he could take a photo, but Jiro explains that he is used to taking photos of birds, and he has never had to ask them before. There is an awkward moment, which is then broken by Rena, who reassures Keiichi that she’ll only be a few minutes. Jiro asks what she is doing there, and Keiichi makes a joke, saying he doesn’t have a clue, maybe she’s checking on the corpse she left there. This is when you finally realize that something isn’t right. Jiro’s face tenses, and says that it was a terrible crime. He then says that they(probably the police) have not found one of the arms yet. This comes as a sudden shock to Keiichi, who’s eyes stare in disbelief(featured at the top of this post). Rena suddenly breaks in, saying that she’s done. Jiro apologizes for scaring Keiichi, and walks away. Keiichi’s eyes are still wide with fear. Rena wonders what’s wrong, and wakes Keiichi up from his daze. He cheers himself up by asking Rena if she found anything. There is a little cute scene where she talks about how she found a statue of ‘The Colonel’, who usually stands in front of the cleverly named store, ‘KCF'(scared to get sued, are we?), who is apparently ‘cute’.o_O According to Rena, it’s stuck underneath a heavy pile of rubbish, so Keiichi says that he will dig it out of the trash tomorrow, in return for the lunch. She then turns around, and starts dancing around with happiness, back turned to Keiichi. He then asks her if anything had happened in the past. She turns around, smiles, and said she heard they were building a dam, but she didn’t know too much about it. He asks if anything serious or big happened during the construction. The music suddenly stops, and shows Rena’s head turned away from Keiichi. Almost immediately, she says she doesn’t know anything. She turns around and smiles, saying that she had only lived in Hinamizawa for a year. She turns around, with half of her face covered with shadow, giving off an evil look. She then goes on to say that’s why she doesn’t know about anything before she entered the town. The first half of the episode is over.
So, for all of the not-so-lazy viewers, you all know that Higurashi is gonna have a deep story, and will be much more than a typical moe comedy. Anyways, onto the second half of episode 1:
The school bell rings, and class is dismissed, but the group of main characters stay in the classroom. Keiichi is then invited to join their club, and it follows by a series of chibi scenes, where they play cards, but all of the people in the club know what each card is, because they have put marks on them. After he lost the game, he receives a punishment, by getting drawn all over his face. He walks home alone with Mion, where he talks about how he is going to get the Colonel for Rena, which he thinks is a little stupid. He then goes on to mention that he heard a dam was being built there, and asks if anything happened there. She explains how some government officials came to Hinamizawa, saying they were going to build a damn, and they tried to force the inhabitants of Hinamizawa out of town. According to Mion, the whole town fought back, otherwise Hinamizawa would be underwater. He wonders how a small town could win over the government, and she explains how the village leader and many other high class people got many people to sign a petition. They even went to Tokyo, and won the trust of several important politicians. This ensured that the construction plans would be scrapped. But this hasn’t answered Keiichi’s question. He then asks if any violent crimes were caused by this event. The top half of her face is shadowed, proving something is wrong. Keiichi then goes on to ask if it was an assault or a murder, but she suddenly stands still, looks up and says that nothing happened. She then smiles, and says goodbye. Keiichi then goes on to the rubbish dump, where he finds Rena, who is trying to get the Colonel statue. He then jokes around a bit, and says he’s going to help her get the statue. He realizes that the statue is buried very deep, and he’ll need an axe or a saw to get it out. She tells him to wait a minute, and runs away. Keiichi then does a bit of investigating, and finds a pile of magazines. He opens one up, and finds information on an incident that occurred in Hinamizawa. He’s shocked, since both Rena and Mion had said that nothing had happened. He reads on, and the magazine has information on how a body was tortured, and then chopped in to several pieces. The murders hacked the victim with hatchets and pickaxes. They then struck the victim with an axe, and cut off the head and appendages in to 6 parts. One of the murderers is still at large. This means that both Mion and Rena would have to know about it, which means that they were lying, and there was a murder. The sound of cicadas fill the air, and we see a smiling Rena walking towards the dump, holding a cleaver in her hand. We are then shown a creepy ending, but I personally found it hard to take it serious, since it was funny to hear the vocalist try to sing in English. The video itself is brilliant, though.
So there, that’s my first review. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’s first episode should make you want to see the rest, since it gets straight to the point. If you are wondering, the series is set up in an arc form, which focuses on different character’s view of the story. For more information, check out the Wikipedia article, which can be found here:
Well, thank you for reading, and if you have any concerns regarding this post, please comment. But, comment anyway if you want.:D