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Episodes: 12 out of 24
Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller
Under the lens of nostalgia, we tend to hope for the day we’ll get a remake or a sequel to a series that we used to like. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was one of those series that captivates its audience with not just a gritty and riveting story, but also shocks them with the sheer horror of it. So for a remake to appear under the name of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou was a sight to behold for older audiences.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou tells the tale of Keiichi Maebara as he settles into his new home in the peaceful Hinamizawa village. While adjusting to his new environment, he realises that there is something odd about this isolated town. With all this shrouded mystery, he decides to find out what is going on and see what he can do to fix it.
Without spoiling too much of the story, Higurashi takes an interesting story direction that makes it quite unique in its own right. There are several story-arcs within the series, with each arc offering a different perspective into the Hinamizawa village. While the arcs do not seem to connect with one other at first glance, upon closer inspection you will find hints as to how each storyline is intertwined. This is what makes Higurashi such a compelling series.
Although this series is a remake, we’d advise watching the previous series to get the full picture as the story diverges quite a bit from the original.
The main male protagonist of the anime, Keiichi Maebara, is a chill, high school student with a knack for being curious about everything. His friend Rena Ryuuguu is one of the few main female protagonists, who also just returned to Hinamizawa after being away for a year. She is a cheerful girl but can be quite scary when she gets angry. She also likes searching for cute things, proclaiming these items as hers and taking them home with her.
Rika Furude, another lead female protagonist, is friends with Keiichi and the heir to the local shrine. She plays the role of the priestess during the Watanagashi Festival, with everyone in the town looking forward to that festival day. She may be young, but she is wise for a child of her age.
Mion and Shion Sonozaki are identical twins and the other main female protagonists of the series. Even though they are identical, they have very different tastes and styles between them, especially considering how Shion is very kind and Mion acts like an old man at times. They even switch places a couple of times.
Animation & Art Style
Passione Studio’s previous works include Ishuzoku Reviewers, Citrus, Rokka no Yuusha and High School DxD Hero, so you would expect the animation to be above average. However, it is average in comparison to their previous works. The series itself is quite a heavy drama and horror story with more exposition than action sequences, which may be why its animation is executed at the bare minimum.
Its art style, on the other hand, has a moe feel more than anything else. In the 2007 version of Higurashi, Studio Deen used two different art styles that would easily differentiate a normal scene and a horror scene. The normal scenes were moe or colourful, and the horror scenes were dark and gloomy with a skewed camera angle. In the current series, there is no clear distinction of when a horror scene will occur, making it an interesting yet bizarre experience as you watch cute characters do not-so-cute things.
Music & Soundtrack
One of the finer points of the show is its music and soundtrack. The opening theme, “I believe what you said”, is sung by Ayaka. The opening song really conveys the eeriness of the series to the viewers, which is similar to the original opening.
The ending theme is “ Kamisama no Syndrome” by Ayane. It also has an eerie vibe but is more melancholic and showcases the characters’ frustrated expressions well. Both opening and ending theme songs are well-made with a catchy tune to them.
The soundtrack to the series is also good, with some variety to it. During normal high school scenes where the cast is having fun, the soundtrack is chill and optimistic. However, when more tense scenes appear, the soundtrack shifts to make the scene more eerie. Overall, a good soundtrack with great theme songs.
Verdict: A worthy remake for fans of the original
As a remake to the Higurashi series, it tries to appeal to both old and new audiences where even the story arcs are roughly the same, although the remake has a very different ending. After 12 episodes, the series still has plenty in store including the resolution to several story arcs.
Ultimately, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou really is a thriller of a series and with the amount of drama and suspense it brings, I can’t wait to see how Keiichi stacks up to solve these mysteries.
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