Summer vacations does some weird to you. One of the things, among the usual of laziness and the likes, was to instil in me this desire to see horror. I didn't like horror as a genre at all. Didn't watch horror movies or played any horror games etc etc. And yet, I got very interested in it by the start of this year. And with the summer vacations, came this need to fulfil that wish. So, I watched Higurashi. Curiously described by many people as the Attack of the Killer Lolis. Weird name to go with but, hey, works for me.
So, what is Higurashi? Well, before I tell you that, I'll tell you what it isn't. Its not your run-of-the-mill harem show. It's not a romance show in the slightest. Certainly not your average one-dumb-dude-with-lotsa-dumber-girls anime. It is, a murder mystery themed anime with really dark settings and characters. Anyone who does not have the ability to stomach gore, should watch some other lighter-themed anime. Like Clannad!
Anyway, story. The setting is June, 1983 in the village Hinamizawa. A rural village plagued with a curse. A curse rumoured to be the wrath of the village's god, O-Yashiro-sama. Each year for the past four years, during the Watanagashi Festival, someone has been killed while another has disappeared, never to be heard of again. The central plot revolves around Maebara Keiichi, a recent transfer to the village and his classmates: Rena, Mion, Rika and Satoko. He and his friends are engulfed by the mystery surrounding the murders and disappearances, and must uncover the truth behind these events before they are driven insane ,or worse, by the curse. Not just once mind you, but quite often unless and until they solve the mystery, they'll have to relive the moments again and again.
The main characters of Higurashi: clockwise, Sonozaki Mion, Sonozaki Shion, Maebara Keiichi, Furude Rika, Ryuugu Rena, Houjou Satoko and Houjou Satoshi.
This anime is extremely gory. Violent to sick levels, the on-screen deaths are at times, painful to watch. And for all intents and purposes, no matter what the characters do, they will end up death in a very brutal fashion. And admittedly, this is greatly repellent to those who are not used to seeing gore in anime, but it works for this anime. It is eloquently paced and doesn't seemed rushed.
Higurashi is presented in any entirely unique method. Each story arc represents a different point of view and tells a different story altogether which drops clues throughout giving the viewer a clearer picture of what's exactly going on. Each story has one common factor which places it neatly in the time-line with the rest of the series. Since this is a rather unconventional method, even more so than Durarara!!'s take on having several point-of-view storylines, it can take a while to get used to. Certain elements of the story will replay within every arc, so it's easy to place the puzzle pieces once you get the hand of it.
The characters themselves are rather memorable, though Higurashi doesn't give you much of a choice in the matter since each and every character is critical to the story and it makes a point of it throughout the series. And as far as the characters go, there is no unlike-able character per se. Everyone are crafted lovingly to fit into their respective roles, and it works very nicely. Every character gets equal screen time and thanks to the unique storytelling method, they'll appear frequently, sometimes being put into the limelight for their turn to shine. And thanks to their personalities, it never feels dreary watching them on-screen.
My favourite character. Well because that face is oddly compelling and the fact that they're probably the most interesting character in this one.
The art style is simplistic. Reminiscent of Durarara!!. With washed out colours and generic designs, this art style quite smartly depicts the "normalcy" of the characters going through the events. It's fine and it does work as a shock device. Since Higurashi follows the style generally depicted in 'moe' anime, with emphasis on cute faces and gestures, so it comes off as shocking when such characters are involved in violent murders and such. I definitely felt uncomfortable during certain scenes but that was mostly because of the ambience created by the stupendously amazing sound track.
The soundtracks are utterly brilliant and are a treat to listen to. You feel the chills in all the necessary moments and not a moment too soon. It's eerie, creepy and even pulls off happy at times. One of the stronger points this anime has to offer, the opening and ending songs are definitely worth listening to again and again
Conclusion: If you're used to violence in anime, Higurashi is certainly for you. Storywise, it isn't that strong and it'll probably leave you confused as there are few questions which are left unanswered, although with such a smashing ending sequence, you might be forgiven for forgetting about the questions, although due to recent insight, it seems I might need to visit the second season. The characters are depressing and their fates are no less gruesome. It is the sort of anime, in which the journey is far more interesting than the end-game. APPROVED.
Firstly, comment! And feel free to critique. =D
Secondly, if you have any suggestion on what game/anime/movie I should review next, you can post your suggestions and I'll try my ever best to entertain the requests.
Thirdly, if you would like to look up an old review, visit the Remains of the Day Group for the review index, likewise if you would like to remain up-to-date on the reviews posted, join it!