Posted by psgels on 27 May 2009 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei



Apologies for the lateness, but I’ve been quite buy for the past week.

Still… wow. Just wow. I don’t think that I’ve ever watched an OVA that contributed as much to its original series as Higurashi Rei (the only one that comes close is the Rurouni Kenshin OVA). This is really why I like Studio Deen so much: at first sight they seem like your average overly cute production company, but SO many of their stories are just SO DEEP and meaningful. Now that the director has become the director of Shion no Ou, this series can really show its true potential now.

What a bunch of awesomeness this episode was. Rika once again demonstrates that she is a truly unique character and really, the way the events unfold in this episode is just amazing, even though this really was a very quiet episode. Again the themes of friendship are explored: it turns out that Rika was very much acting like a princess before she ended up in this world, and this caused the mysterious distance between her and her other classmates: she used to have so many friends, and when they disappeared she always felt alone.

And it makes SO MUCH damned sense. The original Rika was cursed from the point where her mother died, and there was no way that she would have grown up to be a normal girl if she knew about her identity, not to mention that Oyashiro-Rika would never start acting like a stuck up princess, but now that she had nothing to fear, nor wasn’t involved with the whole Oyashiro-sama, she’d indeed grow up to be a very normal girl, and since she was a member of one of the three great families, she probably was quite spoiled as well.

There are two episodes left, and in these two episodes Rika is going to have to kill her mother. When the episode started, she very nonchalantly said that she’d have to kill her own mother if she had to (and I really could see her commit a murder easily, considering all of the things she has been through, which is just shown by the downright brutal way she attacked Satoko), but later this episode, she finally after centuries learns of the feeling of having a caring mother. I believe that in the earlier arcs when Rika’s mother was still alive, she was too busy with the dam and started losing interest (judging by the way how Rika says that her mother never believed her stories).

I’m really not sure what happened to Toshifumi Kawase. He directed some really crappy series in the past, like Beyblade, Dragon Drive and Tenjou Tenge… but then at one point he suddently became incredibly good, churning out Shion no Ou, writing the series composition for Higurashi, the Law of Ueki, and now successfully directs this Higurashi Rei OVA. I don’t know what made him see the light, but I really hope that he can keep this up for the future. At the same time, I’m getting more and more worried about Chiaki Kon. When Higurashi aired, I used to think that he was a great director, but his following series have gotten progressively worse: Junjo Romantica went nowhere in the end, Nodame Cantabile Paris, while good, raped the original series, and Hanasakeru was a complete and utter cheese and emo-fest. Is he really going to be the right guy to direct Umineko no Naku Koro ni?

Rating: *** (Awesome)
A quiet episode, but the sheer depth of it still amazes me.

7 Responses

  1. Avatar ny says:

    Just a little trivia here, Chiaki Kon is a woman. I remember from her interview about the staff of Junjo being mostly women. ^^; Although the universal `he` is ok in a pinch.

  2. Avatar Frost says:

    I usually dont care much for OVAs but this is just amazing, I would never have thought they could put such an awesome story into a 3 episode arc (if I remember the last one is a filler as well)

    One thing I loved is by making the overall atmosphere calm and slow paced, the violence scenes have alot more impact… As soon as Rika lowered her voice and stared at Satoko I thought “OH SHIT” that was just amazing, I usually dont care much about violence (bring it on) but Higurashi affects me in some weird way

    Just cant have enough of this series, so Im looking forward to Umineko as well

  3. Avatar chounokoe says:

    I already guessed that you would love this episode, don’t ask me why, but I’m glad in a way I was right.

    Well I have to admit I don’t really like DEEN’s version of Rei so far, because when you read the original novel you always have the feeling that so much important stuff is missing.
    Well in some parts of your review I’m proven wrong, in some I’m right.

    I somehow find it really sad, that so much internal monologue is missing on Rika’s side, because it fleshes out her character so much more…and it’s not like they wouldn’t have been able to add some of that.
    I always get the feeling, from your review too, that it doesn’t really deliver that Rika decided to HATE her family sometime along her 100 years journey.
    In the novel she describes her mother as an overprotective hothead, who can’t understand other people, can’t keep up a proper household and isn’t even able to cook a decent meal.
    In the novel it come across so much stronger when Rika just decided that it would be nice to spend some time with her mother, after a rather cute cooking session where she has to hide her 100 years cooking training, because maybe it was just the fact of always loosing them anyway that led her to resent her parents.
    THEN everything turns around, a mental hospital is informed by Yamato and Rika’s parents about her rather odd story, she is given her obstacle and finally she notices the Kakera in her mother.

    In the OVA it felt just like ‘Oh…Rika’s mother is the Kakera? That’s…bad I think?!’

    And I still can’t understand why they chose to include a totally random ‘insanity moment’ in episode 2, but chose to exclude Rika’s choice to rename the being she has become ‘Frederika Bernkastel’.

    Oh yeah and it’s not 2 episodes left, it’s 1 episode left. The last episode of Rei will sadly be another Omake-Comedy.

  4. Avatar Westlo says:

    “Nodame Cantabile Paris, while good, raped the original series”

    The best part of the manga was covered in the first season and with the amount of episodes Kon had she had to move through the Paris arc at a lightspeed. Looks like noitamana will never get a two cour show again…

    And if Kon sticks to the material the Umineko will quite possibly be the best thing Studio DEEN have produced.

  5. Avatar Camario says:

    I’m not an expert on Higurashi by any means, not having played the games nor read about them, but this was an excellent episode and really makes me wish the conclusion to this arc would come out as soon as possible.

    Rika was always the one of the most interesting characters and this episode made this very clear. While her choices are relatively predictable, it’s really all about how their consequences will be presented. I’m just guessing, but it’s hard to see a peaceful solution to this problem, even if Rika herself may not actually have to kill her mother directly, depending on the circumstances.

    For the record, I know even less about Umineko, but hopefully that will at least be interesting enough.

  6. Avatar Ana Coppola says:

    Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a Sound Novel written by the author of Higurashi, and it’s getting an anime this summer, animated by studio DEEN.

    The story revolves around a battle of wits between Battler and Beatrice the Golden Witch. If any of you want to know more, the first three episodes of the novel are translated, just search for it on google and you’ll find it.

    I’ll just warn you that Umineko has a real slow start, it takes forever introducing the characters, so you shouldn’t feel discouraged about the first couple of episodes. It totally pays off. The only thing to be worried about it’s the production values, since Umineko features a lot of action scenes who will just feel awkward if produced with a low budget. Furthermore, it has an awesome soundtrack.

    Rika and Tanako (aka Bernkanstel and Lambdadelta respectively) both make appearances, being quite crucial to the plot.

    It’s definitely not flawless, but you should give it a try when it comes out. Just don’t expect it to be like Higurashi, it’s quite different from it, and anyone who just wants to see crazy murderous lolis will be disappointed.

  7. Avatar chounokoe says:

    I just read that it’s again Kon Chiaki who will be directing Umineko and I have to say, after seeing how he advanced the time problem in the case of the Rei OVA, I’m rather scared of how he will direct Umineko.

    I hope he at least sticks with his approach of just leaving things out and doesn’t do it the same way as in Rei and invents some scenes absolutely new so that they don’t tie in with the original anymore.
    I admit in case of Rei it’s more or less no big deal, because all of the big mysteries are known, but when advancing a series that is still in progress he can seriously mess things up by giving a character a line he’s not supposed to have…so I hope he doesn’t act to liberatly, or else we could face something on the scale of Magic Knight Rayearth TV series 1:
    “Hey it’s not big deal letting her die…she’s just a side character”
    >switch to season 2>
    “Oh damn…what now?! Oh yeah, identical twin!!”

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