Believe it or not, originally I was brought on to be the anime guy. Granted, I haven’t always been the most active of people, but that’s my natural laziness taking over. But with the season being what it is, and me having drank enough, allow me to enlighten everyone about one of the finer horror anime out there, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
Previously Arleigh had posted up another yandere classic, School Days. The Higurashi visual novel predates said visual novel by three years. The big difference is that while School Days was a fairly well funded project (with many, many bugs in it!) and Higurashi was basically a doujinshi project.
Let me explain doujinshi for a very little bit. A lot of people make the mistake that doujinshi instantly equals porn comics. Now, if you attend Comiket, which is the single largest doujinshi convention in Japan, you could be excused for thinking that it’s all about comics, and more importantly, comics that solely deal in erotic content. However, doujinshi basically just means “self published”. Again, not a literal translation. You want literal? Fine. The literal translation is “same person periodical publication”. Basically this can be taken to mean a project taken on by someone without the financial backing of the mainstream media. This could mean either comics, games, or even anime. Yes, the more common genre are the comics, but there is a fairly decent market for self published games. Higurashi falls under the blanket of the self published games. From a visual standpoint, they were very raw. In fact, there’s a very good reason why it gets criticized for having bun hands.
Compare that to the anime character art, and the difference is quite obvious.
But if you can get past the rough character designs, (keep in mind that the true meat of the game comes from the story, not the graphics) then you’re in for a very good story with many a twist and turn along the way.
One thing I must say, based on the experiences I’ve had with people is that you should probably watch the anime first. Perhaps I’ve just been subjected to extremely rabid fans, but too many of them have an irrational hatred of the anime. I’ll accept that there is a chance the complaints are valid, because I have not personally played the visual novel (you play them, not read them. Trust me on this) but having seen all of the anime, even if the transition is not perfect, it’s still a fun watch that will keep you guessing right up until the answer arcs are shown.
Each arc starts out in a very light hearted manner, but make no mistake, this is a horror series at its core. The fact that such cute girls are at the center of it all makes it seem all the more horrific, especially with the actions that are taken throughout the various arcs. While it’s very difficult for anime to effectively show gore without getting to the ridiculous buckets of blood level, Higurashi manages to be very effective in its depictions of it, and some scenes are actually a bit shocking to see.
The thing is, you have to watch both seasons of the show, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, to get the true ending and find out the reason for all the happenings in the town of Hinamizawa during June of 1983, but it is well worth the time spent, and shows that anime can successfully pull off the horror genre.