This new anime adaptation of Higurashi: When They Cry (it even has “New” in the English title) is my first foray into the franchise. I’ve never seen the original adaptation from 2006-2013 nor have I played the visual novel the anime is based on (though apparently, the first chapter is in my Steam library). I’ve always wanted to give Higurashi a try as I’ve had friends recommend the series to me over the years and this is arguably one of the most famous horror anime/visual novels out there. With this reboot premiering this Fall season, maybe now is the time. Of course, that also depends on this reboot being good in its own right.
I actually don’t know a whole lot about Higurashi‘s story. Like, I know it’s a horror series (which is common knowledge now and presumably at the time too) but in what way is beyond me. The reboot series wastes no time in revealing some of its true colors as it opens up with someone getting violently murdered. I don’t know if that’s the show dropping all pretense or if the story always started that way. All I can say is that it’s one hell of a way to get things started.
To my surprise, the show becomes more of a slice of life comedy for a good period of time. We follow protagonist Keiichi Maebara (Soichiro Hoshi) as he lives out his life in the rural village of Hinamizawa with some of the girls at his school – Rena Ryugu (Mai Nakahara), Mion Sonozaki (Satsuki Yukino), Rika Furude (Yukari Tamura), and Satoko Houjou (Mika Kanai) – all of whom are quite lively and quirky. Part of me would’ve preferred if the show started with this first before taking its turn for horror but I suppose a bait and switch wouldn’t work too well given Higurashi‘s fame and the fact that this is (presumably) a retelling of the same story. The upside is that thanks to the opening side, I was left wondering if there’s more to anything going on at the moment than meets the eye. Keiichi I have no doubt is our everyman protagonist but everyone else? Are all the shenanigans they pull actually how they act or is there something entirely else to it?
Gradually, your own suspicions begins to line up with what’s going on in this series. Keiichi hears from a man visiting the village about a gruesome murder that happened during a construction dispute between the village and the government. Whenever he asks any of his friends about it, they quickly and bluntly deny the story (notice the change in their voices too). Once he finally finds a lead, we see Rena approach from behind him with a machete in hand and looking a lot grimmer than she does earlier in the episode. And behind her is Rika who apparently has some sort of supernatural power, judging by the red glow in her eyes (yeah, that caught my surprise).
I don’t know if any of this is scary per se (that’s a common problem with a lot of horror anime) but I am at the very least interested in what’s going on. I hope for this reboot to be good as Higurashi has been on my backlog for eons. If it doesn’t pan out though, there are admittedly two reasonable alternatives already.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Higurashi: When They Cry – NEW on Funimation