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Kuru Media’s Stick or Twist Anime Review: Higurashi when they cry: Gou

It’s time for another Fall Stick or Twist review, in this segment we will be watching the first 3 episodes of as many new Fall Anime. Similar to the Black Jack system, a stick rating will mean we will continue watching the anime for the rest of it’s season and a twist rating will mean that we have given up on it and will not continue to watch. As per our usual reviews we will be focussing on animation, characters and story, before providing our final thoughts and we will rate the Anime as either Stick or Twist.

Up next on our review board is a murder mystery, psychological and Supernatural Horror series, Higurashi When they Cry: Gou. Based on a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion (2002), the massively, popular series was given Manga series in 2004, and an anime series was produced in 2006. This new anime is not a re-make as such and is to be considered a 100% new work so there will substantial differences to the 2006 release whilst still following the original story, we know confusing, right? We have not seen the 2006 series so we went into this series with fresh eyes not knowing the story so we do have somewhat of an unbiased opinion.

Story

Keiich Maebara is city kid who has moved to the peaceful village of Hinamizawa. There are not many kids in his new school but he quickly makes friends with the girls there, who let him know he’s arrived just in time for the big festival. Despite making friends and meeting so many nice people Keiich Maebara can’t help but think something is wrong in this village, unable to shake the feeling of dread he asks his new friends, whose answers seem weird. One day whilst out his suspicions were confirmed when he finds out about a murder involving a construction worker 4 years previously. When he asks his friends about he gets more strange responses. Will he survive to learn the truth behind the murders in the village that have happened every year for the last 4 years?

The story is excellent and they’ve done great job of slowly dripping information in each episode just enough to remind you that something is off in this village, little by little more information is given to the viewer. Another great aspect of the story build is it’s disarming nature, the show does great job of almost lulling you into a false sense of security before reminding you of the series sinister nature so props to that.

Animation

We really like the animation in this series, although not a massively original animation style it’s been done really well, everything from the character and costume designs to the sets and background, all are very well animated. Again similar to the story the animation is very disarming as every seems cute, colourful and light but then at the times the colours seem to drain out and everything darkens as they remind you that this is sinister horror series and the animation for this just works so well.

Characters

The main protagonist Keiichi is likeable enough he certainly so has not demonstrated any dislikeable personality traits. He very much seems like your average high school kid so he is very relatable at times seeming like fish out of water moving from the city to the countryside. There are quite a few female characters in the school from the teachers, and two young little trouble makers who add to disarm the audience. Then there is Rena, a female student who is the same age as Keiichi, shes a great character, most of time she’s a sweet bubbly fun girl who loves everything Kawaii except some times shes not, sometime she’s very dark and sinister, she is an excellent character.

Final Thoughts

We’re loving the story so far, we started watching the series over the Halloween period and it was 100% fitting, as mentioned throughout we love how disarming the series can be before it reminds you of its dark and sinister tones. As a mystery it really is a interesting series that draws you in wanting to know more, to understand more and to work out what is going on, so we are glad we did not watch this having seen the previous series. It gets another plus for that it does seem like series where you don’t need to have watched, read or played the game but also from what I have read those that did enjoy the original can still watch this series as there enough changes for them to still see it as a new anime. Higurashi when they cry: Gou is available to watch via Funimation.

Verdict: Stick


The Great British Otaku

Andrew More

@GBOtaku82

Kuru Collections/Media

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