After the success of 07th Expansion's Higurashi no Naku Koro ni comes the sequel that holds the secrets to the mysteries of Hinamizawa. Known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (or When Cicadas Cry: Solution) is the 24 episode continuation to the mystery thriller story of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni which explains what was happening since the 1st season.
The story is seen in Furude Rika's point of view as she explains her role in Hinamizawa and how she tries to battle fate for 100 years with the help of Hanyuu.
In the story, Rika is said to have lived for 100 years and have witnessed everything that happens in Hinamizawa, right from when the Mysterious Deaths started to appear. It's revealed that Rika dies in Hinamizawa and with the help of Hanyuu(who is said to either be the reincarnation or Oyashiro-sama herself), she goes back to life in a new Hinamzawa trying to beat her destiny and saving her friends and living beyond the time of June 1983. The story also tackles the beginning of the Dam War, the mystery deaths and it's cause.
If you were confused by it's 1st season and were left with tons of questions then you should watch Kai. The story of Higurashi no Naku koro ni Kai, like it's 1st season, is also divided in stories called "Answer Arcs" and each story gives an answer to the "Question Arcs" showing you what's behind the deaths occurring and who was behind it.
The OP was once again sung by Shimamiya Eiko(who sung the 1st season's OP). "Naraku no Hana" suits the story perfectly with it's meaning telling of Rika's struggles against her unchanging fate. The animation is made better in the 2nd season and the story is clearer and isn't bad however, the 2nd season has less blood and gore compared to it's 1st season which may make you like it better or less.
For all of the fans of Higurashi, I recommend you watch this if you wish to understand the 1st season.
This review is an updated more thought for the entire Higurashi series "this will cover the visual novel and anime". This review does contain spoilers so if you really hate that sort of thing.. all I have to say is, just deal with it
This series originally came from a visual novel adaption from 7th expansion which first came out in comiket 62 august 10th 2002, and the squeal arcs where released up until 2006 comiket 70. There is a full English adaption out for this visual-novel from manga-gamer and as of now you can also purchase the first arc for your Ipod/Iphone and Ipad via I-tunes for .99$. If wish to play the p.c. version the head over to manga gamer to buy a legal copy or can download a free demo for the first arc. " I also highly recommend you getting the sprite hack for the visual novel, this makes it much more bearable to look at."
What an I say about this series That I do not like... If there is only one thing it's the animation done by "studio deen" and it's so obvious where it falls flat in the quality department, which sadly do cut away from the serious tone the series is trying present. However the series as a whole is picked back up with it's plot/story/characters and sense of mystery with horror elements that happen to kick all of that out the window. So I am able to handle some drops in the overall quality in the animation. One thing I wanto to point out is that if you are not fan gore or are squeamish in any-way please avoid the t.v. anime and read the visual novel.
This series starts off with our male lead Keiichi Maebara who has moved to the country side with his parents in small town called Hinamizawa "this is the usual set up for the typical harem anime and slice of life series however I was proved wrong within the first thirty seconds of episode one." The village that keiichi moves to is in the rural country side so he is in for a bit of cultural shock as well since he is from the city after all "Again I do realize this is cheap set up however it fits the series just perfectly" One other thing I love about this show is that it takes place in the early 80's so there is no chance of DNA evidence to prove who done it "this is a mystery series after all"
Keiichi adapts pretty quickly since he had a reason for wanting to leave his old home town but I will not spoil that for you. He makes friends with one of the main heroine's "Rena Ryugu" who has a fascination with cute things no matter the gender or what kind of toy it is. I also wish to add one of the biggest anime quotes happen to come from rena-chan which is " I am going to take it home". Since the town has such a low population "around two thousand or so" all of kids go to the same school/class not matter what grade you are in, "adding more to reality that the characters do live in rural country side".
So Keiichi is friends with mainly just "females characters such as Rena, Mion, Shion, Satoko and Rika" but this does not fall into the harem territory unless you really want it to. " I really thought it was going to be an harem anime at first..I was proved wrong, majorly wrong by the end of arc1. Keiichi unlike most male leads also helps teach his younger/older class mates, due in part his education is much higher since was learning at a higher level from at his previous school. Even with all of this Keiichi is still a newbie at there afternoon school club where you play card games or old board games and have you have to suffer from a batsu punishment if you loose.
The other main focus of the series is on vast range of serial murders that have been happening for five years that take place from 1978-1983. Everyone thinks this is a curse from the local deity Oyashiro-sama for wanting to leave/tear down the home land during the dam war "this would flood the whole town and force everyone to move". The curse revolves around some one dying and some one disappears from with-out a trace. Is this truly the work of god/goddesses or is it something more major "you will have to come to that conclusion on your own". However if you wish use the old bastard Ooishi or the detective in the series as medium to gather clues.
Hinamizawa it's self dipped in traditional Japanese culture all over the place, from the festival of departed souls to main head family and being ousted for what your family did even though your child. Even with all of these barriers it is still very enjoyable to watch "although it's not for the faint of heart". There is even use for old Japanese torture devices from the Sonozaki family use to keep sin/punishment in order "you could relate them to yakuza if you wish, due their power they hold in the village". They are even to be suspected behind the murders at one point.. maybe they are or maybe it's some one you are least suspecting "I did not see the reason why, how or who at all and neither will you until arc four or five". Another thing that did surprise me was around arc four you realize no only a few people die..everyone in the entire village does, but how or for what reason???
Overall Higurashi is a good example of Japanese style horror that will keep you edge of your seat asking what the hell just happened. However If you have a problem with gore or even "child abuse", which does happen in some arcs then avoid this series at all cost. Something else that might bother a few is the fact the story "re-sets every arc after every five to six episodes" This will really confuse some at first however it is essential to show or set up different perspectives from other characters, if you hate that type of writing the just avoid the series. However unlike many shows this anime/visual novel has a true/happy ending that is worth fighting for which is obtainable through miracle in the second season kai/answer arcs.
Another huge plus for this franchise is the creepy music it uses to set the mood. This helps establish when something major is going happen "such as some-one being killed or closing in the culprit." The t.v. anime does a wonderful job on this level with the bone chilling op from season one that even to this day makes me cringe. Higurashi overall does something very important for the mystery genre. They do established who done it and how they done it. However the cover the most important part which is WHY they done it.
I can not stress enough the reason why is one of the most important branch in a mystery series/novel.This helps gives the reader/viewer a chance to see through the killers eyes and understand what's going on through their brain. It also helps/set up an understanding why a person could kill over two thousand people just to obtain their goal no matter how deprived it may be. Personally even I felt sorry for the person that was doing the heinous acts towards the end, However I think that is the point in covering why the done it in the first place.
Well I could go on but there isn't any need for me to. There is no longer anyone that holds the anime licensed in America so if you want to download it then be my guest, however the visual novel and manga is here to legally own. If you ask kindly enough then maybe I will post links to download the anime if you wish but I will not provide links to download the game or manga "please do support the legal means of supporting the series if you can". That's all she wrote on this one, just leave me some feed back and tell me. Now do you have what it takes to solve the mystery or will you just let two thousand innocent people die???
Overall Total 4.5/5
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai is the sequal to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. It explains all the happenings in the first one. It's also the final STORYLINE season. There is another season completely irrelevant to the first two. In this series it explains about how everything happened. The parasites, Satoshi, and everything else. The main character in this one is Rika instead of Keiichi. (I think anyways stopped watching it awhile ago so that's a little mixed up) The first episode is explaining what happened in a dimension where only Rena lived and everyone else from the town was dead, except the dad cop and his partner i believe. In the middle of this episode it starts to show Keiichi, Rika and the others at their school having fun. This series is a little more for older kids that the last one, although the last one wasn't too kid friendly either. (SPOILER) With the rock smashing to head thing and the parasites eating through Rena's neck. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai is a great, unique and hilarious series to watch, and i definitely recommend it. Midway or so in the series in introduces a new character (SPOILER ALERT) named Hanyuu, who is the Demon god of the town. Hanyuu joins the group as Rika's friend I believe. Like I said watched it a long time ago. Another thing that happens (YET AGAIN SPOILER ALERT) is they start to remember all the hings that happen. Shion's murders, and other past events. They start to solve the evens, but they have limited time, because Hanyuu's power to bring them weeks before their deaths begins to weaken, and it starts to be less time since their death, and they have to quickly find out how to save the members of the town.