Posted on 24 December 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

It’s awesome to see that Higurashi is getting a third season. Because of this, the building-up by this season can really be used well. In case you haven’t found out yet: there are three arcs of Higurashi that were released on the PS2, with one of them containing the “real ending” of the series. When I first learned that the second season would only contain the Minagoroshi-hen and the Matsuribayashi-hen, I was a bit disappointed, but now it seems that the creators had a third season for this in mind. This really has a lot of possibilities.

One thing I didn’t like about this episode was how Akasaka saved the day. I mean, anyone else who stood in the way of the Yamainu before got mercilessly killed. Why didn’t these guys use any guns against Tomitake, and just thought to resolve the conflict with their guns? Ah well, it’s good to see that Tomitake has been working out. While a few years ago, he could just barely beat three Yamainu, along with Oishi, but it seems that this inspired him to work more on his combat-skills.

And really, I absolutely love how this series managed to save a few surprises. Satoshi is alive! I really assumed that the guy died, as soon as he was exposed to Takano, but yet again I forgot the #1 rule of anime: someone only dies when you see the dead body. I love the bit of development for Shion in the end, and how she told Keiichi about Mion’s crush on him. ^^;

Posted on 1 December 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Whoa, things went much, much faster than I expected. And really, the building-up is really paying off now, as this was an excellent episode. With three more episodes left, there are many twists up ahead, as 60 minutes is enough time to throw in some excellent climaxes. It’s hard to imagine that finally, after nearly fifty episodes, Higurashi is nearly getting finished.

This really was an episode for the adults of the story. The children only appear in one scene, but apart from that, it was all about Irie, Tomitake, Oishi and of course Takano. Especially the latter finally crawled out of her shell, and showed us something entirely different from her usual character. I do admit that I’ve often complained at her annoying character, but it was so worth it to see her in despair after finding out that people were once again going against her.

Meanwhile, Tomitake is on the run for Takano and the Yamainu, as it’s obvious that he’s the most likely traitor. Irie tries to remain on Takano’s side, though the latter manages to realize that Irie is against her too, so she puts the guy under surveillance. I hope that Irie does realize that he’s obviously going to be tracked.

There were a few vague parts in this episode, mostly at the police-side. I’m not exactly sure where Ootaka came from, and his “connection” with the Sonozakis. Still, it was good to see this guy getting pwned by Oishi, who refused to let anyone to the autopsy-department of the police office.

Posted on 24 November 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Aaaand the building-up continues yet again. My patience is getting tested quite a bit for this series, and it really looks like the final arc of this series will be around nine episodes of building up, with the climax taking up only two of them. I’m still not sure whether this was a right decision to make. I mean, the climax has to be really good in order to make up for the episodes that it kept us hungry for any actual development. Can the creators really pull it off, without going through the obvious routes in which Takano dies and the others live happily ever after?

In this episode, Rika teams up with both the major children and adult-characters, and they come up with the plan to fake Rika’s death to cause confusion to Takano. Tomitake goes into hiding, and meanwhile investigates on Takano, discovering what we knew already, Akasaka remains in Rika’s house to make people believe that the house is still being inhabited by people, while Rika, Satoko and Hanyuu hide, Irie continues to keep an eye out, and basically forms Akasaka’s link to the outside world, since his phone will probably be tapped and Oishi is going to be the one to spread Rika’s faked death.

Meanwhile, the woman we saw with Takano turns out to be someone who’d like to see Takano’s antagonists fall too, which explains the support she gives to her. The next episode will probably consist out of everyone getting ready for the major plan. Episode 48 will then probably deal with the start of the plan, while the real climax will take place in episodes 49 and 50. Let’s hope the creators know what they’re doing.

Posted on 17 November 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

And with this episode, some of the final left in this series are answered: why did some survive, and what is Takano after? This episode explains about operation #34, where basically the entire village is killed before they have the time to become paranoid. The reason why Keiichi wasn’t killed in the third arc was because nobody knew where he went, and he was only discovered afterwards by some non-Yamainu. If I had to guess, then he was killed immediately afterwards by the same woman who killed Satoko in the first arc of the second season, because their symptoms would develop in time anyway, making them claw their own throats. The reason Rena was the only one who managed to survive was because she was the only one who managed to get cured by Keiichi, so there was no need to kill her. It’s a shame Rika doesn’t remember this, as it would have been a key to keep surviving.

Then, the reason Takano does everything is finally revealed: to put the blame on the bastards who turned down the work of her grandfather. There’s probably more to this, since she kept yelling about being t=a god-like person, but I’d like her to have such a simple goal. It makes much more sense than becoming the next Oyashiro-sama.

I really wonder how this series plans to end… I mean, with this, there are just five episodes left. Higurashi has been building up for quite a while now, but it has to make up for this with some pretty amazing climaxes. How can they turn this into something more than just “Takano dies and everyone lives happily ever after”? Will the creators really be able to trump the highlights of the first season in the end? Overall, I’d say the two seasons are about the same quality right now. The first season had a better feel, was more intriguing and had better climaxes, but the second season has been much more consistent and it managed to avoid the flaws in the script of the first one, but on the other hand, it’s just too slow at times…

Really, writing a review for this series is going to be incredibly tricky…

Posted on 6 November 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Okay, so Higurashi is still in checklist-mode, but it really has been getting better and better with every single episode. What I especially loved of this episode was how well-scripted the dialogue was. It was elaborate, detailed and yet meaningful, unlike you tend to see in other series, that basically sell off a lot of hot air when the characters start monologueing. Also, it seems like the Matsuribayashi will finally get started off for real in the next episode. Yay!

And it was of course great to see more and more members of the old cast back into focus, and see Takano take more of a background-role. It was nice to see how the creators also used this opportunity to show some more TIPS, back from the first season, like how Rena used to be called Reina, and Keiichi’s father, meeting Rika and Hanyuu. I still would have liked to see Keiichi’s shooting-incident, though.

Also, we finally see confirmed what happened to Satoshi. He killed his aunt, and then went berserk right in front of Irie. He was brought to the clinic, where he died and his body got taken care of by the Yamainu. Should have seen this one coming. What was cute was how he went berserk, only after buying the present for Satoko. It seems that Satoko never got the present, though.

The end of the episode also features a surprising conversation between Mion and her grandmother. I’m not sure whether this all happened in every arc, or that this is because the characters unconsciously get closer to each other with every successive arc, but it was an interesting twist, although it does work a bit anticlimactic for the fifth arc.

Posted on 4 November 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Hah! Finally Takano turns into more than that uberevil spawn of Satan that we’ve been seeing for the past few episodes. It really began to get quite tiring to keep seeing her in take-over-the-world-mode with her evil laugh and all. It’s good to see that she did have problems of her own, once Koizumi, the sponsor for her project dies, turning her project into a scapegoat for those who want to succeed him. It’s a bit of a pity that they had to introduce yet another underdeveloped villain for this, but for now I’m happy enough about Takano.

Also, the scenes that didn’t involve Takano were excellent as well. While I’d still wish that the creators would hurry up and start with the real meat of the Matsuribayashi (I miss Mion and Rena!), I do admit that both Satoko, Irie and Rika received some excellent development. I’m beginning to understand Satoshi a bit more. Especially the younger Satoko becomes a horrible person when she doesn’t like someone, probably helped by the disease. I think that she unconsciously realized this at one point, which is why her older version didn’t retaliate to her uncle. She really blames herself for it, and she’s probably afraid to lose Satoshi again if she creates a fuzz once again.

Rika, meanwhile held a quite touching speech in Oyashiro-mode in front of Irie, how she believed that being examined by Irie would save Satoko’s life. We also finally learn why her parents died: their patience with Takano ran out, so she killed them, blaming it on Oyashiro-sama. Irie, meanwhile also received some depth once he found out that Satoko killed her own parents, and asked Takano to make the Yamainu cover up for it. That’s why the guy likes Satoko so much in the later timelines.

Next episode, we’ll probably find out what happened to Satoshi. Still, it remains annoying how the creators are basically going through a checklist in order to fill up the remaining holes in the story. It seems that the original game did the same, but in this way, the viewer does get distanced from the series a bit.

Posted on 25 October 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Now that two episodes have been devoted to giving Takano some background, it’s time for two more episodes of building up, which fill in the final pieces of the mysteries of this show, even though the mystery has long since stopped being a central focus in this show. I suspect that in the next episode, we’ll finally know the only thing I’m still curious about: how did Satoshi die?

This episode… it wasn’t really anything special. The only thing I liked was that Satoshi wasn’t as pure as you’d think he was: Satoko was actually a huge burden on the guy. Takano herself was a bit disappointing, though. She feels too much like a stereotypical villain, even after getting background. Tomitake, who was supposed to visit Hinamizawa once every few months shows up damn often, and I’m also quite confused that Satoko, Mion and Rika of four years younger look almost exactly like their older versions. Things become a bit unbelievable when four, perhaps even five years pass and there is no single noticeable difference in appearance for any of the different characters.

I would have liked the writers to integrate all these revelations a bit with the storytelling as well. Right now, it just feels that they’re going through a checklist of things that still need explanation. Compare that to the first season, where you knew the exact same that the different characters knew. It would have been so much better if we saw Rika investigate on Takano’s past to find out these things, for example.

Posted on 20 October 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

And here ends the second and final half of Takano’s background. Like expected, it was a bit bland, and not that interesting, but it was necessary to give Takano some kind of background. I’m just a bit disappointed that we still don’t know why she’s doing everything. I mean, professor Takano never talked about using the Hinamizawa-syndrome as a biological weapon. What caused Takano to create that vision? Did she stumble on it on her research?

I also didn’t like the head of the orphanage. The guy was just pure evil without any reasons at all, and seriously lacked development. It’s hard to take him seriously when you hardly know anything about him. Also, where did he get so many henchmen from? Didn’t they find the things he did to the children strange? It would also have been interesting to see a bit more about what happened to the other children who ran away. If I understood things correctly, at least one of them got caught back, but did they really all die?

Still, I’m looking forward to the next episode, and how Keiichi and the others will try to outsmart Takano. One thing I did like about the past two episodes is how they showed that Takano has an iron will. That is the reason why everything turned out the same way for every arc, apart from the second and the fifth, perhaps. The strange thing is that even though Rika died, Rena and Keiichi were still fine. I think that this is because Takano really needed to create some kind of fear within the residents, and I think that at that point, Keiichi and Rena unconsciously trusted each other, and didn’t hold any harsh feelings against Shion and the things she did. It would have been interesting to see Takano’s reaction to this.

Posted on 13 October 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

And this episode finally gives Takano her background. I was able to tolerate her evil cackling of the previous episodes because I knew that the current arc would develop her, and this episode makes a good start, showing how she came to her position. Now all that’s left is why she’s doing everything, which I think will be answered in the next episode.

This episode could have been done better, though. My biggest problem was with the owner of the orphanage Takano ended up in. What the creators basically did was make an underdeveloped character developed while using yet another underdeveloped character. Seriously, the guy just beats up the orphans in his orphanage for no apparent reason: just to be evil, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting any more screen-time, since Takano managed to run away at the end of the episode. To be honest, I expected more of Higurashi at this point.

Still, I’ve got hopes. Higurashi’s highlights never were in its first episodes, apart from the first arc, perhaps. This also promises to be the longest arc yet, so there has to happen more than just that.

Posted on 2 October 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Seriously, this could very well be the one of the best episodes of Higurashi yet. There were a few continuity issues, but apart from that, the Minagoroshi-hen has ended perfectly, even though it was very straightforward. It basically focuses on Rika and everyone else, escaping from the Yamainu and Takano, carrying out her plan.

The Yamainu could have been a bit better, though. The fourth arc clearly showed that these guys are professionals, and now they’re beaten by a bunch of kids. Not really the most believable turn of events. The different deaths were magnificent, though. It also seems that for the next arc, the other main characters will remember what happened in the previous ones as well, which can turn out to be pretty interesting.

Then there’s the question of what Takano did after the Hinamizawa-disaster. I mean, years afterwards, Akisaka couldn’t find anything about her. She desires to become the next Oyashiro-sama, but what exactly does that mean? And why does she want it? I’m counting on the Matsuribayashi for the answers to this. With eleven episodes left, it’s promising to become one awesome ride. I wonder who the next main characters will be. Will Rika still take up this role, or is there going to be a different character?

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