August 10th, 2017 marked 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!
Before I start I want to make it clear that this raw freewrite touch upon sensitive subjects such as child abuse and molestation. There are also manga/comics scans below with gore and abuse. If you’re not comfortable with those things then please, turn back now. Check out some other contents on my website instead!
If you’re still here then that means you’re okay with reading about such topics and seeing the scans below.
During my first run through of the Higurashi anime and manga back in 2009 I realized this: Higurashi was (and still is) that real shit. I mean yea, it has that moe bullshit and slice of life elements to it, but when you analyze and dissect how the series play with those elements, it works well for the themes of Higurashi and it characters. Themes such as child abuse, mental health, and (childhood) trauma.
Let’s take say Satoko for example. Satoko is the typical (annoying) moe little sister type character in anime, right? She’s a bit of a brat, a prankster, and an overall energetic child who seems happy to everyone who knows her.
Yet, she has an incredibly fucked up life; resulted from a series of tragic events that no child should experience.
Deranged (from the Hinamizawa Syndrome), she pushed her parents to their deaths from an observation deck. She was abused (both physically and possibly sexually as it was hinted in the Nintendo DS remakes of the VNs) by her uncle Teppei who downright hates her. Her family were the subject of hatred from the villagers of Hinamizawa (due to her late parents supporting the government’s attempts of flooding the village). Her beloved brother, Satoshi, disappeared, leaving her without any supporting and loving family members.
The horrific events of her life would eventually take its toll on her mental health. Overtime, Satoko withdrew herself from her friends and club activities – believing she’s a burden on everyone. In one incident, Satoko had a meltdown during class. Keiichi’s seemly innocent gesture of patting Satoko on her the head to cheer her up triggered a flashback of Satoshi doing the same. Satoko violently shoved Keiichi across the classroom, blanks out, and starts to vomit. After that, she tells everyone “I’m sorry” repeatedly while crying.
Nobody (sans her best friend Rika I’m assuming) knew she was struggling mentality (as far as I know). Everyone thought she was doing (somewhat) okay with her cheerful, playful attitude that she showing everyone in school. No one forreal knew she was suffering hardcore, she was stressed out, that her happiness was just a mask for her pain.
‘Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public’
‘Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness’
-“Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robbison
Since I’m on the topic of playful blonde characters who’re lowkey insane, Miyo Takano is another Higurashi character who appears they’re okay but deep down, she just as fucked up in the head like Satoko if not worse. Like Satoko, Miyo lost her parents at a young age (from a train accident, and she witnessed her father bloodied and dying in the ER), leaving her orphaned. She was adopted by a government sponsored orphanage where she experienced extreme abuse from the so called “care-givers.
She was constantly beaten, saw children her age die from abused, forced to watch her friend’s remains consumed by chicken, and was forced to clean the bottom of an outhouse with her mouth.
The physical and psychological abuse she suffered would be one of two causes of her insanity which in turn would lead to one of the biggest tragic events later on in the series.
The second cause came after she was rescued from the orphanage by her dad’s mentor, Hifumi. Hifumi wanted to become God-like through his research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. One day, Hifumi presented his research, findings theories to fellow doctors and researchers – whom all mocked his work. Miyo watched as Hifumi’s peers mocking him, pissing her off. She believed in her beloved “grandfather” findings, watch him pour his soul into countless, sleepless hours of hard work, and not only encouraged him to continue despite the criticism, but she pushed herself to study as well.
After Hifumi passed away, Miyo continue where her grandfather left off. in hopes of not only proving his theories correct, but also to prove themselves as gods.
Miyo’s God complex, in combination of her insanity from being abused as a child, led to Great Hinamizawa Disaster – the massacre of 2,000 plus innocent people. Miyo led a military force in slaughtering the Hinimizawa villagers, with six of the villagers were people she executed herself. Six people she personally knew and befriended.
All of this, just because she wanted people to respect her and her grandfather. Just because she wanted to become a God.
‘I can tell you why people go insane’
-“Shadow of the Sun” by Chris Cornell and Audioslave
The Umineko 10th Anniversary is coming soon. May tie in Pt. 3 of my raw thoughts on Higurashi with that series. Also I lied this wasn’t completely raw and unedited I had to change some things about Miyo given it wasn’t consistent with what I saw in the anime and manga.