August 10th, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of the hit visual novel series “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was adapted into a successful animated series by Studio Deen in 2006 – setting the standard for horror anime which many series have tried and failed to emulate since. In reflection and celebration of the series 15th anniversary, I […]
August 10th, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of the hit visual novel series “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was adapted into a successful animated series by Studio Deen in 2006 – setting the standard for horror anime which many series have tried and failed to emulate since. In reflection and celebration of the series 15th anniversary, I will be providing my raw, unedited thoughts of the anime throughout the month of August. I hope you’ll enjoy!
It was about ten years ago during my senior year of high school. I was at my computer in business class, browsing Google for anime wallpapers. While aimlessly browsing the images, I came across a wallpaper that stood out to me. The wallpaper featured a young teenager with a baseball bat, blood splatter, and film frames with the young boy the frames At the bottom there was layered text that read “Please uncover the truth. This is my only wish.”
I didn’t think much of who was the character, what anime he was from, or the text in the image. I just saw this wallpaper as a cool and edgy anime background for my computer. Yet, there was something about this it that made me drawn to it. Overtime, I became curious about the character on my screen and the meaning of his words.
“Please uncover the truth. This is my only wish.”
“What does that mean, ‘uncover the truth’?” I questioned. Beyond that, I thought of nothing else. My dumbass wasn’t smart enough to google that line at the time, so that mystery wasn’t going to be solved , at least during high school that is.
Little did I know back then that the image would mark the prelude of one of my most beloved series of all time: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry). So, when and how did I discovered the series? Well, let’s fast forward to my sophomore year of college in Fall 2009. A friend recommended that I watch Elfen Lied so I could learn the OP “Lilium” on the violin after class. Once I was completed with classes for the day, I hurried home, pull up the YouTube app on my Wii, looked up Elfen Lied, found the first episode and enjoy it. Upon completion of the first episode, another anime appeared on the suggestion playlist.
“Higurashi no Naku Koro ni? What is this?” I asked myself. Curious, I clicked the thumbnail and laid back on my couch.
“This better be as good as that crazy ass Elfen Lied anime.”
The video starts to play. The show opens with a young teen boy violently smashing the bodies of two lifeless, bloodied girls with a metal baseball bat. Immediately, my eyes widen as I continued watching this dude beat these two girls to death. The young boy dropped his bat as the camera focused on his carnage. Finally, the focus was on the kid’s face as he panted, his eyes widened and blood on his face.
“Holy shit. ” I said to my self quietly. “What is this show?”
I’ve never been much of a horror media guy. I find them boring and cheesy (due to American films) and thoughtless gore fest. Most of them are just the bad guy slicing and dicing up their stupid victims, lacking focus on true fear – psychological fear . But the first 30 seconds of Higurashi felt different. This feeling was solidly in the OP animation and music.
The distance, distorted haunting vocals, the fast-paced arpeggio bass-line, the visual contrast of of a bloodied Rena walking on glass barefoot, Satoko alone in a flower fields crying, and Shion surrounded in red with her face twisted in rage. Each character’s expression and the color usage of their introduction told me that this anime was not like any horror media I’ve seen prior. Just off the OP, I could understand their feeling of sadness, confusion, rage, etc. Emotion plays a huge role in the show I assumed; based off the OP.
This sold me to watching Higurashi.
So, I watched. I watched in confusion at Keiichi waking up in the morning and chilling with Rena and Mion – the two girls he had killed earlier. Was that a dream? A vision he had? I did not know but I stay glued to my seat, wanting answers. Yet, the more I watched, the more questions I started asking.
“What’s with this Himizawa muders and are those girls behind it? “ and “Are they pretending to be happy and carefree to lure Keiichi into a trap?”
As I progressed the first few episodes, I started to figure things out about Higurashi , how the time-loop work, how each arc featured a character just one misstep away from snapping and killing everyone or themselves. And it wasn’t just for say edginess like Elfen Lied, these characters legit have psychological reasons behind their actions.
Rena was bullied and almost raped by two male peers. She (justifying) snapped and beat the two boys with a baseball bat. Keep in mind this: she was already emotionally wrecked by her mom cheating on her dad and splitting the family up, so the bullies attacking her was her breaking point. Shion was treated as a black sheep by her family, and was further disowned by them when she fell in love with Satoshi (a boy who is hated by her family). Satoko (Satoshi’s sister) is a completely wreck mentality due to her the murders of her parents, the disappearance of Satoshi, and her uncle physically abusing her. Rika’s parents were murdered as well and suffers from hopelessness from living thorugh 100 of years of timeloops ending in the same result – death.
Hell, even the series final villain Miyo had issues that lead her into becoming the bad guy; She was left orphaned after the death of her parents. She was taken in by a government run orphanage which was abusing and torturing the children in it. She was no exception to the abuse. Thankfully, she was taken in by her dad’s mentor who treated and loved her like his own granddaughter, but the damage done to her by her abusers at the orphanage took it toll. Stack that with her witnessing her “grandfather” being belittled by his peers for his research, fueling her revenge against everyone that did him (and her) wrong and you got Miyo’s desires to become a God – desires that resulted in the massacred of 2,000+ innocent people a couple of years later.
You just feel so sorry for these characters and understood why they’re behave the way they did throughout the series, ya know?
Anyway I’m going to end this raw freewrite thoughts here but don’t fret! To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Higurashi VN, I will be dropping more raw freewrites on my love for the series and possibly an analysis article .
Also sorry for the bad grammar I have to get to my gig ASAP
I write about why you should have a greater appreciation for wacky Japanese cartoons and the otaku culture revolving around it.
I also co-host a Black Nerd Empowerment podcast with my friend The TV Guru over at http://swarthynerd.libsyn.com/ and create off-color memes about crap tier anime over at https://www.facebook.com/yukithesnowman/
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