In the summer of 1983, Keiichi Maebara is living in the village of Hinamizawa where his family recently moved in to. He enjoys his days with his new friends from the village’s school, Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Hojo, and Rika Furude. But something unsettling seems to be hidden behind the peaceful village…
Halimun Muhammad (The Indonesian Anime Times)
07th Expansion’s popular murder mystery visual novel series from the 2000s have traversed through various media over the years, including two-seasons TV anime adaptation in 2006 and 2007 (and more OVAs after that). It’s quite a surprise that a new TV anime adaptation would come out in 2020 (and funnily enough, after the characters made a cameo in the 2018 anime adaptation of smartphone RPG Last Period as part of the game’s collaboration event). It’s produced at a different animation studio and features a new set of main staff, including Akio Watanabe as character designer, who has been well-known in the past decade for his designs for the Monogatari series anime. But the new anime retains the usual voice cast of the franchise, and also the music composer of the past anime series.
The first episode establishes Keiichi’s daily life in Hinamizawa. His mundane and playful activities with the schoolmates is illustrated brightly and cheerfully with a delightful dose of cartoonish visuals and gorgeous shots of village scenery. Meanwhile there are also bits of hints that there is something off about the village that the other characters try to keep Keiichi out of, which will gradually leads into the tragic scene shown in the episode’s cold open. The passage of time is marked ominously by repeated shots of a calendar at Rika’s residence, which she looks at grievously in her first scene.
A key difference in experience of seeing the anime and playing the game, though, is the lack of Keiichi’s first person narration. The narration frames the player’s experience of the game events through Keiichi’s thoughts and feelings, while outside perspectives are made available at chapter breaks, and the reliability of Keiichi’s perspective becomes increasingly questionable the more he gets gripped with fear. With the first person narration not present, the anime places the viewers squarely in the outsider position in watching the story.
Also, aside from looking somewhat visually different with the new character design and coloring, the first episode doesn’t seem to do much different from the first episode of the old anime adaptation, as they cover pretty much the same amount of story materials. Along with having the original voice cast returning to perform their characters’ familiar speaking patterns, music from the same composer, and even having the old anime’s opening song for the episode’s ending credits, it certainly feels like living the past again for long-time fans of the series; while perhaps, becomes a more visually-appealing entry point into the franchise for new viewers. For new viewers please be advised, though, that the series would feature a significant number of graphic depictions of violence (as the first episode’s cold open demonstrates).
Facts and Figures
|Alternate Title(s)||Higurashi no Naku Koro ni|
|Original Work||Visual novel by 07th Expansion|
|Cast||Chafurin as Kuraudo Ooishi
Mai Nakahara as Rena Ryuuguu
Mika Kanai as Satoko Hojo
Miki Ito as Miyo Takano
Satsuki Yukino as Mion and Shion Sonozaki
Souichiro Hoshi as Keiichi Maebara
Toru Ohkawa as Jiro Tomitake
Toshihiko Seki as Kyousuke Irie
Yukari Tamura as Rika Furude
|Director||Keiichiro Kawaguchi (Hayate the Combat Butler, Sket Dance, Nurse Witch Komugi R, Citrus, Dropout Idol Fruit Tart)|
|Scenario||Naoki Hayashi (A3!, Flip Flappers, Blackfox)|
|Character Design||Akio Watanabe (Nurse Witch Komugi, Monogatari series, The World God Only Knows)|
|Music||Kenji Kawai (When They Cry – Higurashi (2006-2007 anime), Fate/stay night, Eden of the East)|
|Ending Theme||“Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” by Eiko Shimamiya|
|Studio||Passione (Citrus, High School DxD Hero, Interspecies Reviewers)|
|Broadcast Date||1 October 2020 (1430 GMT/2130 WIT/2230 JST)|
Screenshots and Trailer
The Indonesian Anime Times