Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (When they Cry 2) user review

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai Review

image
Bizarre Luminescent Jelly 2: Schoolgirls from space...

I'll assume that if you have any interest in this anime, you've already watched the first season already. If you haven't go do so right away (and do check out the excellent official anime review of it on The Escapist first). Kai will make almost as little sense to you without watching the first one as the watching the first one without watching Kai afterwards does.

Story
I won't write much on this, at it is supposed to be a mystery after all, but the overall tone and themes differs somewhat from the first season. Where that one focused on the psychological battles the characters had with themselves (the their decent into violent derangement when they usually lost that battle), Kai picks up on the brief theories on the Hinamizawa syndrome touched upon in the first series and runs with and adds considerably too that, making for story which is much more "external" in nature. While I preferred the original approach, a solution to this whole bloody mess, including the annual murders not committed by our group of all-to-flawed heroes naturally must leave the the minds of a closed group for the larger environment to make any sense. It would have been nice to see another season like the first one before Kai though, but there's really nothing wrong with it: it's just very different, and perhaps overall less original than the first one, as it's themes have been seen in anime before. The Horror aspect is also cut almost completely in favour of the Mystery and "traditional approach" ones, so those who loved it mainly for the Horror may be in for a severe disappointment.

Characters
While the first series utilized all of its characters in the club well, giving each of them opportunity to shine in the different arcs, after the first arc of Kai, the focus is almost entirely on Rika, Keichii, a new character and to some degree Satoko, while the others never leave a (diminished) supporting role. Rika, the young priestess who occasionally showed glimpses of a far wiser and world-weary side in the first series (and knowledge of the time-skips), is fleshed out considerably, with many a revelation of the true and tragic fate so intertwined with the fate of Hinamizawa. Keichii brings his optimism, energy and cunning to the table, an ever valiant fighter in a battle lost a hundred times before. The new character is an old friend of Rika, but gains a role of its own later on, becoming an important part of the cast. And Satoko pretty much just hangs out with Rika.
Since I loved the different perspective alternating between each character brought to the series, I'd consider this a step down: but on the other hand, and answer arc needs far more continuity and focus (aside from a recap episode, which in defiance of lazy tradition barely reuses any footage from the original, there are only 3 arcs spread across 23 episodes), it's probably hard to avoid.

Technical:
The visuals have been upgraded to a smoother and slightly more detailed look, although it's not really all that noticeable. If anything, to me it actually makes the screen seem covered in Vaseline sometimes. The Japanese voice actors are all the same (an English cast is (thankfully?) not yet available), and as good as they ever was. Nothing is wrong here, and Higurashi wasn't really about technical achievements in the first place.

Bottom line:
While those who have watched and enjoyed the first Higurashi season would hardly be swayed from watching this one (as they're basicly a single unit), I'm happy to report that you'll probably do so with pleasure. While certainly less original than the first one, and losing much of its horror appeal, it still skillfully ties together the plot threads, and is an amusing (if at times draining) watch.

A note on availability:
As this anime is not yet available in the western world by legal means (and you should be wanting to pay for something as good as this), the only way to legally acquire it currently seems to be Malaysian copies with English subtitles (or the original non-subtitled Japanese DVD sets if you can understand it). Whether they've licensed it or the copyright laws there are just lax (copies come with an official holosign of "inspected by the Malaysian government", so they're hardly illegal bootlegs), if something is legal in the place of origin you can freely import it (paying due customs and all), at least in the jurisdiction where I live. You'll just have to pray that you'll eventually receive your copy, that the English subtitles are tolerable, and that the government haven't censored it to shreds, which may vary widely between releases for all I know. Overall, it's probably far safer to just wait for a western release, although when and if such become available is currently unknown.

Final score: 8/10


I didn't realize they'd animated the answer arcs. I'd think it's only a matter of time before this one gets an official release...possibly a long time, but a matter nonetheless. So yeah, makes my decision to look for the anime easier.

Then again, the actual games the anime are based on have official English translations, too (something of an oddity).

NeutralDrow:
I didn't realize they'd animated the answer arcs. I'd think it's only a matter of time before this one gets an official release...possibly a long time, but a matter nonetheless. So yeah, makes my decision to look for the anime easier.

Then again, the actual games the anime are based on have official English translations, too (something of an oddity).

It originally ran in Japan back in 2007. You should definately check out the first anime season, it should be easy to get hold of in the states. I'm quite curious about the origin games now too, seing as they have translations.

One can only hope it get a western release, although with the main American anime licenser seemingly still down and out (even the first Higurashi anime didn't make it to most of Europe), I'm not entirely convinced.

There's also an anime "third season" of sorts from 2009, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei, consisting of 5 short OVAs, although these supposedly aren't part of the "Higurashi proper" storyline, and aren't out anywhere official with English subtitles.

Imperator_DK:

NeutralDrow:
I didn't realize they'd animated the answer arcs. I'd think it's only a matter of time before this one gets an official release...possibly a long time, but a matter nonetheless. So yeah, makes my decision to look for the anime easier.

Then again, the actual games the anime are based on have official English translations, too (something of an oddity).

It originally ran in Japan back in 2007. You should definately check out the first anime season, it should be easy to get hold of in the states. I'm quite curious about the origin games now too, seing as they have translations.

One can only hope it get a western release, although with the main American anime licenser seemingly still down and out (even the first Higurashi anime didn't make it to most of Europe), I'm not entirely convinced.

There's also an anime "third season" of sorts from 2009, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei, consisting of 5 short OVAs, although these supposedly aren't part of the "Higurashi proper" storyline, and aren't out anywhere official with English subtitles.

Rei are additional side story arcs released after the main 8 games as I understand it (Umineko will be getting 3 similar games called "Shin"). As for further releases and localizations, I would rather doubt it. DEEN seems to be losing what little credibility it has after its numerous poor adaptations and terrible sales. The Umineko anime getting a seconds season at all is even in doubt, with the first selling so terribly (despite their efforts to the contrary with the most BLATANTLY LYING cheesecake cover art this side of Franken Fran).

Personally I take this all as I good thing, as DEEN getting less and less work until it finally collapses would be a well deserved fate.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked