Higurashi When They Cry: anime review – a text book example of horror show

I love watching any shows in which lots of people die a horrifying death with blood spattered all over the scene. Sometimes I don’t even care about logical explanation or reason behind such cruelty. I thought I had seen it all until I started watching Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni. Seeing cute little anime girls get slashed and chopped to pieces disturbed me more than I expected. But that did not mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

Higurashi no Naku koro Ni was one of those anime that emerged only once in a while in the world full of generic anime. First and foremost, it is a true horror story and an effective one which was a rare treat because most ‘horror’ anime only ended up being ‘violent’ but never truly scary. The anime took place in a quiet and seemingly peaceful village of Hinamizawa. But the place was haunted by the past filled with murders and, as frequently hinted, dark magic.

Storytelling for Higurashi further amplified the already mysterious plot. The series were separated into several small arcs. Some arcs were the same story told through the point of view of different characters. Some were the same story with different details and endings like parallel universe style. Cleverly, with different arcs, many contrasting details were thrown at the viewers. We had to make our mind who was the bad guy and who was the victim. What was believable and what was just fabrication or fantasy. Was it just an act of crazy murderer or a conspiracy of the village leaders or did the ancient gods also had something to do with these gruesome deaths? There was no clear answer and that made the show very suspenseful to watch. No one was to be trusted and nothing was like what it initially seemed. The sense of danger always hung in the air and there was always something hidden behind every character.

Unlike most horror flicks in recent memory, Higurashi delivered several truly scary moments. We all know that ‘build up’ is everything in horror show (the fact which everyone knows but only few could achieve). Higurashi literally did a lot of build ups. Some hints here and whispers there easily turned this quiet village into potential slaughter house full of potential psycho killers. I actually got to see blood at the end of each arc but somehow the whole series kept me at the edge of my seat all the time.

My compliment also went to the production of the anime. Though Higurashi did not boast the most fluid animation or especially beautiful design, it successfully created spooky and unsettling atmosphere. The original score was good though not distinctively memorable.

It’s been years since Higurashi was released and this anime remained one of the very, if not the most, important titles in horror anime circle. My rating seems quite trivial now because time has already proved this anime’s quality and achievement. It was a great horror anime. My only complaint would be the fact that this series were incomplete. This one was the ‘question arc’ and to find the answer, I’ll have to catch the other ones which, from what I heard, weren’t as impressive as the original.

Another thing I would like to mention is the anime’s extremely violent images and contents. Higurashi was not suitable for young children despite the majority of the characters being young children.

Rating: A

Facts
Title: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (aka Higurashi When They Cry)
Genre: horror, mystery
Released date: April 4, 2006 – September 26, 2006
Episode: 26
Director: Chiaki Kon
Animated by: Studio Deen

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16 responses to “Higurashi When They Cry: anime review – a text book example of horror show

  1. Yea, this is undoubtedly one of the more intense anime I have ever seen. The suspense it is able to build. The violence. It’s very well done. Anyway, great point about the build up! Totally agreed. Higurashi is not your usual slash and gore, but something actually… chilling.

    • Thanks!
      Speaking of how great the series were, it was curious how I still never picked up the following sequels…I blame that on bad reviews from other people -_-

  2. Have you seen Deadman Wonderland? Thats a really good gory anime, so is Shiki! I loved both of them!

  3. I’ve been slowly reading the manga for the Higurashi series, and have found it quite fascinating. Everyone touts the story for its horror and violence, but I feel it stands out most in its story-telling. The pacing, tone, atmosphere, and thematic elements are quite spectacular.
    I do plan to watch the anime one day. I’ve seen a few episodes of it just to see how they do with the voices and animation, and I’m quite pleased with the execution. The pacing is probably faster than I’d like, but that’s how anime adaptations go.

  4. This anime was one of the first animes i had ever seen. I love it so so much. a lot of people can’t keep up with the anime and the don’t understand what happened but in the diffident arcs gets you going finding out new this. I have seen school days and started deadman wonderland but after watching this anime i’m not scared for a horror animes any more.

  5. You make it sound pretty intense. I rarely watch horror series besides Elfen Lied, and every time I search for any, this series always pops up. It must be pretty popular. I will look forward to watching it.

  6. We need more shows like Higurashi, filled with awesomeness and blood. BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD.

    Just started Narutaru, but so far, NO BLOOD. WHAT THE FUCK!? Might quit and just read the manga (which I’ve also started and so far is better by a lot).

  7. Oh, Canne, you’re so bloodthirsty, aren’t you?

    Yup, Higuashi terrified me more than once but it’s really the second season (Kai) that made it awesome. Kai had weaker pacing but the plot is so fantastic that nothing else matters, the overall story made me go “holy crap” when they revealed it. If not for the second season, it’d just be a very above-average horror show… but the second season completes the story. Makes everything fantastic.

  8. Pingback: When ‘how’ is more important than ‘why’: ‘Another’ anime review | Canne's anime review blog

  9. I just watched this but i can’t decide whether or not to continue on to Higurashi Kai.

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